The draft is 52 days away people. And tomorrow it will be 51 days. And before you know it, it’ll be a week away. But right now we’re counting the days until the lottery (15), and reader J.G. has put together an incredibly extensive “What if we get this pick?” piece. Agree, disagree, whatever – but good discussion should definitely come about. And right now, that’s what it’s all about – arguing about stuff. It’s long, but hey, what’ve you got to do that’s better? Work? Plus it’s an extremely informative and fun read.
By J.G. Marking
Special to Daily Thunder
Disclaimer: Like any good mock draft, this prospect analysis is equal parts research-driven hypotheses and equal parts utterly opinionated and completely indefensible guesswork. Obviously if the Pre-Draft Combine reveals shocking measurements, weaknesses or strengths, then these picks will change (except for #1, I don’t care if Blake Griffin turns out to be 4’9 and 110 pounds). So have at it!
The #1 Pick – “Thank you, David Stern! Thank y-What? Tampering? I didn’t see anything!”
It wouldn’t be unprecedented but you know that everyone in the NBA, including yours truly, would have to raise an eyebrow at the Thunder somehow landing the first pick when yet another hometown hero is projected to go #1. But hey, look at the bright side, the rest of the league couldn’t hate the Thunder anymore than they already do if they land the best overall player with the fourth-worst record, right? So with that in mind, come on 11.9 percent! By the way if this happens, only two cities are not allowed to gripe whatsoever and should be docked 10 fanhood points if they do: Chicago and Cleveland.
The Pick: Blake Griffin – 6’10, 245 – PF – Oklahoma
This would pretty much be penciled in the moment the Thunder were awarded the first pick. Had the Tyson Chandler ‘Turftoegate’ extravaganza not occurred, then maybe we could have a real discussion about who the Thunder would take with the first pick (actually, probably not but this is supposed to promote discussion, right?), but since the biggest hole on this young team still is interior toughness, rebounding, and a desperate need for a physical body in the post alongside with the fact that he’s the unquestioned prize of this draft class, it’s really a no-brainer. The only question would be how soon could Presti turn in the card? Is a month too soon? Is thirty seconds?
NBA Comparison: Everyone says Boozer, but I disagree. With his agility, athleticism and surprisingly soft touch (when he’s not trying to rip the rim off), I say Griffin is a more athletic Karl Malone sans the sweet jumper. Here’s hoping Blake can fix his odd free-throw (I don’t understand the tippy-toes bit) mechanics and add a 20 foot jumpshot to his repertoire. Also, I don’t agree with some people who question his defensive abilities. The major component to defense is desire, which we all know. It’s all about effort. And since A) he didn’t want to foul out, B) never retaliated to numerous cheap shots and C) he still jumped over tables for loose balls and did actually block shots/get steals (he averaged 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per game), his defense will only improve in the NBA because Griffin is incapable of not giving all the effort he can.
The Problem with selecting Blake Griffin: What do you do with Jeff Green? No, seriously, what do you do with Jeff Green? Do you move Durant back to the 2 (ugh) and Green to the 3 to play Griffin at the 4? Well, I guess you could, but are we totally set on Krstic as the starting 5? And isn’t that a huge no-no to tamper with Durant’s skyrocketing success at the 3? Others would suggest not having a true 5 and starting Durant, Green and Griffin with a three forward lineup (it’s what I would do if I was set on Griffin starting immediately and not logging some time on the bench as Green’s backup for a little bit. Why? Due to his athleticism and bulk, Griffin plays bigger than a 4 already). But the question will remain to see if Griffin’s wing span and 6’10 frame can be enough to stop legit 7 footers night after night. All that being said, it’d be a great problem to have since he’s the most surefire elite prospect in this draft-and it’s not even close. Keep Reading…