Don’t forget to send in your submission for the Daily Thunder MockTest. Winner gets an autographed copy of Strong and Handsome: The Royce Young Story.
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News on the draft’s swingmen: “Either way, it may well describe James Harden, the Arizona State shooting guard who may or may not be the second player chosen in Thursday night’s NBA draft. He most certainly is in the conversation when it comes to figuring out who goes directly after Blake Griffin. “He’s a ready-made, step-in NBA contributor,” Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. And there just aren’t many of those in this draft. In fact, Harden may be the only one at the swing positions – shooting guard and small forward.”
Taylor Griffin was “drafted” to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. I really have no idea what that means or if he’s actually a Globetrotter now, but that’s what happened: “The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters today selected University of Oklahoma senior forward Taylor Griffin as the top pick in the team’s third annual player draft, just days before his younger brother, and Sooners teammate, Blake Griffin is expected to become the number one overall selection of the upcoming NBA Draft on June 25.”
NBA.com has put together a consensus mock draft using all of the most reputable sites: OKC is taking either Hasheem Thabeet or Ricky Rubio (tie). James Harden goes fifth the Washington.
Scott Howard-Cooper with info on the Grizzlies situation: “The growing league-wide sentiment is that the Grizzlies won’t select Rubio, but by their own choice rather than being scared off. Adding size is simply more pressing and Conley still has promise. Trading out of the spot is possible. If not, Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet is the logical choice. “That’s who they’re taking,” a rival personnel boss said. “The rest is smoke. Bet on it.”
It really sounds like the Grizzlies are taking Thabeet: “The Thunder weren’t the only team to meet with Thabeet in LA this weekend. The Grizzlies, after being snubbed by Thabeet in their workout, flew to LA and met with him for three hours. Sources close to both Thabeet and the Grizzlies expect Memphis to take him at No. 2. If they don’t, chances are they have a trade in the works.”
Rubio worked out for the Kings: “Ricky Rubio’s second Sacramento visit was much like his first, a covert operation that was seen as mysterious and methodical by some, maddening and manipulative by others. But there was one significant difference this time around: he worked out…While the session remained secret at the request of his representatives, he told The Bee it was a necessary exercise that hardly showcased his game. ‘It’s difficult to show them what I have to do on the court, because there are no teammates and nobody there,’ Rubio said at the Sacramento airport just before leaving town. ‘I can’t show them what I do on the court. This workout is not my style. I need my teammates around me to play basketball. I was alone.’”
Matt Moore of Hardwood Paroxysm on Rubio and the Grizz: “Rubio has the potential to be a game-changer (so to speak) for certain teams. New York. Minnesota. Even the Clippers though Dunleavy will give up Griffin over his cold, dead body. Or if you offer a bloated contract with little to no value, apparently, since that’s been all their other moves. Rubio could be a true facillitator for the Wizards, a franchise player for the Kings, the next evolution for the Warriors, or the Nash Toronto wants but can’t have. But to Memphis? He’s a pain the ass that may decide to play chicken with them; a player that won’t sell as many tickets as other players can (we’ve seen the way Memphis gets attached to awkward looking Spanish dudes), doesn’t provide them an inside scorer, makes their investment in Mike Conley seem completely vapid, and generally is a terrible fit.”
The Clippers aren’t budging: “The Clippers remain intent on keeping the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, and they’re expected to make Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin the top selection. “The pick’s not going anywhere,” assistant general manager Neil Olshey said yesterday. Coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy said he hasn’t spoken to anyone seriously about trading the pick in more than two weeks. He and Olshey haven’t ruled out the possibility of acquiring another pick on or before Thursday’s draft.”
The Thunder will work out five players today: “Thunder just announced a five-player workout for today that includes Arizona’s Chase Budinger, Memphis’ Antonio Anderson, Temple’s Dionte Christmas, LSU’s Garrett Temple and Villanova’s Dwyane Anderson. It’s the second workout for Christmas, which is interesting because the Thunder doesn’t currently have a second-round pick and the No. 25 is considered way too high to draft him. I did have Christmas as a potential sleeper, though. Maybe the Thunder would like to trade into the second round and grab him, or even do a post-draft trade similar to the Kyle Weaver acquisition and bring him in.”
The Baseline’s mock: “Oklahoma City Thunder: Hasheem Thabeet. If things worked out so Thabeet slipped to No. 3 and the Thunder weren’t moving up to No. 2 to get Rubio, he’d be a great pickup, giving them a much needed interior presence.”
Empty the Bench looks at players that will be better than expected and players that will be worse. Worse – Hasheem Thabeet: “For someone who is so big (7-3, 265) and has such good numbers, he sure didn’t seem to show up very often versus good teams. Against Pitt, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Georgetown, and Villanova, Thabeet averaged 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. Huh? Bring on Buffalo, Seton Hall, Western Carolina, or Chattanooga, though, and it’s back to domination. There’s no doubt he’ll get his blocks at the next level, but Thabeet gets tired too quickly when challenged, disappears for huge chunks of games, and his offensive repertoire makes Dwight Howard look like Hakeem Olajuwon.”
Blake Griffin is the NCAA 2010 cover boy: “Yeah, the market out there is great. And I’ve already been able to partner with a lot of great companies. You know, partnering with EA Sports and being on the cover of NCAA 10 is very exciting. And to be on the list of guys who have been on the cover before me is exciting. And I definitely think LA will help with that and the marketing standpoint.”
FanHouse previews the draft for teams in the Northwest Division: “There are some who believe the Thunder are onto something big here, with three-fifths of their starting lineup in place for the foreseeable future: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. All that leaves is center and shooting guard, and since shooting guard is considered one of the easier positions to fill, there’s a lot to like about Hasheem Thabeet here.”
Draft Express does the same: “The Thunder’s most significant need lies in the post, where the previous regime drafted unsuccessfully in the past. They are due for an upgrade at either the power forward or center positions. With the third pick in the draft, they can take their pick of this year’s top, draft-eligible big men, particularly a more defensively oriented player. They may opt to shore up their backcourt somewhat, though, adding another playmaker and perimeter shooter who is willing to play unselfishly within the team’s existing pieces. With their late first round pick, they can find another solid player to bring off of their bench and deepen their frontcourt rotation.”
UPDATE: Chad Ford reports a major trade happening with Richard Jefferson going to San Antonio for Bruce Bowen, Fabricio Oberto and Kurt Thomas.