With the first edition of the big board, Joe and I reserved the right to update and revise our opinion after the pre-draft combine results came in. And good thing we did because there was some fairly big information to come from it. Players being short, being medically red flagged or players not testing at all. There was definitely enough info in some situations to revise and re-evaluate. Remember, this is NOT a mock draft. It’s the top players according to us, with an eye towards the Thunder’s needs. Since OKC picks third, a lot of these guys will be irrelevant, but there’s always the possibility to move down or move up from No. 25 as well.
(In parenthesis is what the player was ranked in our first big board. Players 13-30 will be up tomorrow. Get excited.)
1. Blake Griffin (1) – 6′10″/ F/ Oklahoma (highlights)
Royce: Sigh… if only. If only.
2. Ricky Rubio (2) – 6′3″/ G/ DKV Joventut (highlights)
3. James Harden (3) – 6′5″/ G/ Arizona State (highlights)
Royce: I’m actually extremely close to bumping Harden to the two slot. I just think he fits with this team like Ace Ventura in parking spots. His game compliments every other Thunder starter and he would form a nice two-guard combo with Thabo Sefolosha. Really the only reason Rubio remains above Harden is the hype. I just can’t ignore it, even though I’m desperately trying.
4. Stephen Curry (5) – 6′3″ / G/ Davidson (highlights)
Royce: I’m on the wagon. I’m totally convinced he’s going to be a solid NBA player. I don’t know if he’ll dominate or if he’ll score 20 a game, but he’s going to be good. He’s one of those guys that you can just kind of sense it. He’s got an entirely polished game, is well-spoken, has great basketball lines and any question about athleticism was answered at the pre-draft combine. He’s a legit 6’3, moves extremely well side-to-side, can leap better than we thought and handles the ball extremely well. Honestly at this point, since he can play two spots, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s more of a Presti guy than Harden.
Joe: We agreed that Curry needed to be higher than we had him on our original big board. I was impressed with his numbers at the combine. He same max vertical leap as Blake Griffin and he racked the bench 10 times and he was a legitimate 6’3 1/4 in shoes.
5. Hasheem Thabeet (6) – 7′2″/ C/ Connecticut (highlights)
Royce: Thabeet sort of moved up by default. Obviously he didn’t do anything for himself at the combine because all he did was get measured, but at the same time he didn’t really hurt himself. Except for the fact that he raised a ton of questions by skipping out. The thing about Thabeet is that if he skips past OKC and Washington, he could fall out of the lottery. Seriously, he really could. The closer we get, the more sense I get that Hasheem Thabeet will not have his name called with the third pick.
6. Jordan Hill (8) – 6′10″/ F/ Arizona (highlights)
Royce: Hill is a lot like Thabeet – he kind of moved up because others fell. He measured a legit 6’10 and had solid numbers at the combine. And seeing as there’s really only one or two top 10 big men, he sort of fits in here. I don’t think he’s on Sam Presti’s radar in the slightest, unless he plans on moving down or maybe making a move to grab him along with someone at three. Now that I would be cool with.
Joe: Hill moved up to six here as a consensus, simply because he is a legitimate 6’10”, and is a good rebounder. In a draft so lacking in big men, Hill is one of the ones to benefit.
7. DeMar DeRozan (10) – 6′7″/ G/ Southern California (highlights)
Royce: It’s hard to argue against the type of talent he has. I’m more of a “What have you got right now” kind of person, but he definitely has the potential to get better. But again, I prefer guys like Harden and Curry that don’t need a whole lot of work to fit into a system. He’s clearly the third best two-guard in this draft, but I guess could wind up being the best. But that’s a big risk to take if you’re picking in the top five.
Joe: Even though his reputed all world athleticism took a hit at the combine, DeRozan is still a good mix of size and skill and potential in a weak draft.
8. Brandon Jennings (7) – 6′1″/ G/ Lottomatica Roma (highlights)
9. DeJuan Blair (9) – 6′7″/ F/ Pittsburgh (highlights)
Royce: It’s a little hard to know what to think about all these medical concerns with Blair. On one hand, his stock is soaring because he’s dropped a bunch of weight and showed off much better than expected athleticism at the combine. But on the other, he’s got potentially devastating knee issues. So for those reasons, we’re balancing it out and leaving him right where we had him.
10. Jonny Flynn (10) – 6′0″/ G/ Syracuse (highlights)
11. Tyreke Evans (NR) – 6’6″/ G/ Memphis (highlights)
Royce: Evans is the only guy to jump into the top 12. He narrowly edged Jrue Holliday and Eric Maynor, but Joe and I both liked his combination of size and speed. He really can get to the rim with ease. And again, as a guy that can play the point and off the ball as well, he seems like a guy Presti would like. But he’s definitely not an immediate impact guy. He’s going to need time to develop and whatever fanbase that gets him will have to be patient.
Joe: I don’t really see Evans being a consistent starter in the NBA. He has a unique skill set for his size, but I don’t think he’s a point guard, and he doesn’t shoot well enough at this point in his development to warrant high lottery. He seems a project in the mold of Javaris Crittenton.
12. Ty Lawson (4) – 6′0″/ G/ North Carolina (highlights)
Royce: With the toe issue still not totally resolved and less than impressive combine numbers, Lawson has taken the biggest hit on our board. I still think he’s going to be a solid NBA point guard and I still really like him. He was the top assist-to-turn player in college last year for a reason. But he doesn’t get to the rim as well as Jonny Flynn and with injury questions, you’d be taking a bit of a risk taking him in the top 10.
Joe: I personally love Lawson, but he seems to be free falling. He was found to be the shortest player in the draft (tied) with the shortest reach, and he has been medically red flagged. Still, he is pretty quick and he racked the bench pretty good for a little guy. I think he can be a decent starter in the NBA.