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Here is the draft order now:

1. Los Angeles Clippers
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Sacramento Kings
5. Washington Wizards
6. Minnesota Timberwolves
7. Golden State Warriors
8. New York Knicks
9. Toronto Raptors
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. New Jersey Nets
12. Charlotte Bobcats
13. Indiana Pacers
14. Phoenix Suns
15. Detroit
16. Chicago
17. Philadelphia
18. Minnesota (From Miami)
19. Atlanta
20. Utah
21. New Orleans
22. Dallas
23. Sacramento (From Houston)
24. Portland
25. Oklahoma City (From San Antonio)
26. Chicago (From Denver and then from Oklahoma City)
27. Memphis (From Orlando)
28. Minnesota (From Boston)
29. LA Lakers
30. Cleveland

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Clippers May Prefer Rubio Over Griffin

The Clippers, according to insiders that spoke with the Oakland Tribune, are enamored with Ricky Rubio and could conceivably select him instead of Blake Griffin with the number one overall pick.

If such a scenario occurs, the Clippers will look to deal Baron Davis.

For now, the Clippers look like they will lean towards the obvious selection.

"I think five years from now, Blake Griffin will be hitting his stride in the NBA, and he will be an impact player wherever he is," Clippers president Andy Roeser told AP. "He is an athletic player. He can do all sorts of things and has a ton of talent, and I think any team will be happy to have him."

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Clippers Win Lottery; 'Taking Griffin'

The Clippers have twice had the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, and will get it again for a third time, having won the league's draft lottery Tuesday night at Secaucus, N.J.

"Clearly, we're taking Blake Griffin," Clippers General Manager and Coach Mike Dunleavy said in a telephone interview from Barcelona, Spain.

"This guy is the No. 1 pick. We're extremely excited. He's the guy."

Anytime a GM says they are taking so and so, I get suspicious.

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Here's a question:

Washington offers the #5 to us (after drafting James Harden) for Rip Hamilton. Skip whether this is possible cap-wise... I just wanted to ask (trading Rip for James Harden):

Would you guys do it?

I know very little about Harden, so hard for me to say. I do know I would love to get Rip out of town. I think he needs to go, and getting what hopefully would be a young and talented player in return sounds good to me.

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Here's a question:

Washington offers the #5 to us (after drafting James Harden) for Rip Hamilton. Skip whether this is possible cap-wise... I just wanted to ask (trading Rip for James Harden):

Would you guys do it?

This is almost exactly the scenario I as thinking about when I started reading this thread. The SI mock draft (by Ian Thomsen; http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/ian_thomsen/05/20/mock.draft/index.html?eref=T1) states for Washington (whom they have drafting Jordan Hill, following Griffin, Rubio, Harden, and Evans):

Like Boston in this spot two years ago, the Wizards are expected to trade this pick for a veteran to help Flip Saunders win now. On the small chance they keep it, Hill's interior presence would be a big help to a franchise that needs to change its soft image.

Would Washington go for Rip and #15 for their #5? If Thabeet and Harden were still on the board after 4 picks, wouldn't the Pistons be crazy not to try to make it happen, even if it took a little more?

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I've watched James Harden for two years and still can't figure out why he's great. Nothing in his game stands out as exceptional and he's far from an elite athlete physically. I really wonder if this guy has the will to work and get better at the pro level or if he'll just be happy to cash in on being a lottery pick.

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Clippers Begin Using Griffin To Sell Tickets

The Clippers claim to have made their decision to draft Blake Griffin with the number one overall pick in this year's draft a year ago when he decided to stay at Oklahoma for his sophomore season.

"I'd say we made the decision June 2008," assistant general manager Neil Olshey said Wednesday. "When he decided to go back to Oklahoma, that if we got the No. 1 pick in '09, he'd be the guy."

On Wednesday, the Clippers strategically placed pictures of Griffin on their Web site to advertise ticket sales for next season.

What that snippet doesn't mention, is the fact they also have Ricky Rubio on their site in multiple places as well.

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SI mock draft: Pistons select B.J. Mullens

When all the NBA lottery teams have made their first round selections, the Pistons will be on the clock.


Ian Thompson of SI.com has Detroit taking center B.J. Mullens (Ohio State) with the 15th overall pick.

"It's going to take a few years, but Mullens has the size and soft hands to develop into a legit center. He'll be a wise investment for a team that is turning over its frontcourt," Thompson wrote.

Thompson projects the top three picks to be: 1. Los Angeles Clippers -- Blake Griffin (Oklahoma); 2. Memphis Grizzlies -- Ricky Rubio (DKV Joventut - Spain); 3. Oklahoma City Thunder -- James Harden (Arizona State).

To read the entire mock draft click here.

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Even with 15th draft pick, point guard is an option for Pistons

One of the more interesting points from Joe Dumars' season-ending news conference was the evaluation that Rodney Stuckey is not a true point guard.

"Playing the point can take your aggression away because you're worried about the other four guys," the Pistons president of basketball operations said. "What this year confirmed is he's a combo guard. We have to play him on the ball and off the ball."

After Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery, it appears the Pistons will have many options if they decide to select a point guard with the 15th pick June 25.

Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor, Syracuse's Jonny Flynn and North Carolina's Ty Lawson could be available after top prospects Ricky Rubio of Spain and Brandon Jennings, who played overseas this season, likely are picked before the Pistons' turn.

Maynor is 6-feet-3 and 180 pounds -- good size for a point guard. He was the best player at VCU all four of his seasons and a clutch performer. But there are questions about the competition he played against in the mid-major Colonial Athletic Association.

Flynn, a good athlete, helped himself with a solid postseason. But at 5-10, he is undersized and will have to learn how to play man-to-man defense coming from Syracuse's legendary zone scheme.

Lawson proved he was more valuable to the Tar Heels than Tyler Hansbrough this season as North Carolina looked vulnerable when he missed time with an injury. With Lawson, the Heels were a juggernaut and won the national title. Lawson is great in transition, but undersized at 5-11.

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NBA AM: Rubio Waiting Until 2010?

Rubio's Camp Unhappy With Lottery

For those of you who love drama and were disappointed by the Los Angeles Clippers coming out and saying that Blake Griffin is going to be the top pick, there's no need to worry. With Griffin ending up in a Clipper uniform a certainty there's still the compelling situation with Spain's Ricky Rubio, who did not like how the draft panned out to say the least.

Rubio's Agent, Dan Fegan, wants Ricky to land either in Los Angeles or Sacramento. Memphis and Oklahoma City, his two most likely destinations after the lottery, are not attractive options to Rubio's camp and if nothing changes in the draft order he could end up waiting till 2010.

"He'll pull out if he doesn't like what he's hearing," an NBA source told Jonathan Givony of Draftexpress.com. "Or he can stay in and force the Grizzlies to call his bluff—would they really take him knowing that he may never come over? That's one way to get him to fall to three."

This isn't the first time that a Dan Fegan client has tried to position themselves to land where they feel best. If you remember back in 2007 Yi Jianlian's representatives made it very clear that they had no interest in Yi playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, but they drafted him anyway. Yi however didn't have the options that Rubio currently does.

A move to the NBA is going to be an expensive one for Rubio unless there are some drastic changes with DKV Joventut over the next four weeks. He currently has a buyout of $7.7 million and they don't appear to be willing to accept anything less than the full amount right now.

"Rubio doesn't want to go to Memphis, and he especially does not want to pay money out of his own pocket with that huge buyout for the honor of doing so," said another scout to Draftexpress.com. "Fegan [Rubio's agent] wants him in L.A., and if he can't have him there, he wants him in Sacramento. Definitely not Oklahoma City."

For Rubio there really is no downside in waiting until 2010. In 2010 his buyout goes down just over $1 million, which whatever NBA team that drafted him could play nearly half of. He'd also have a chance to go number one overall, which isn't going to happen this year despite the reports of the Clippers having a quiet interest in him.

At 18-years-old Rubio has all the time in the world. Although a lot of his countrymen have come over and been very successful in the NBA, Juan Carlos Navarro taught him how important it is to land in the right situation. If his camp isn't comfortable with where he's likely going to end up this year there's no reason not to put his NBA career on hold for another year.

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Could Mavs, Thunder Make Deal With Clips?

There will be no shortage of competition, however, particularly from Oklahoma City, which has the third pick in the draft. The Thunder is expected to make a play for Griffin, using the third pick and one of their young core players (Jeff Green or Russell Westbrook) as bait for the top overall pick, which would allow them to keep Griffin in his hometown.

That would be a huge move in terms of local interest and, by extension, ticket sales.

The Mavericks have to take a proactive approach on this. The Clippers were trying to dump salary all last season. They have a nice core with Al Thornton, their big guys, Davis and Eric Gordon. Pairing Griffin with that group should make the Clippers playoff worthy.

But if they can pare some of that salary, presumably Davis and/or one of their big men, the Mavericks have to be ready to move, something they’ve never been shy about in the past.

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-A number of teams are already reportedly sending out feelers indicating that they would like to acquire a pick in the late first round—including the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors. A few teams that are rumored to be looking to trade or sell their picks are the Oklahoma City Thunder (#25), Minnesota Timberwolves (#28) and New Orleans Hornets (#21).

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NBA PM: Grizzlies Trading #2?

As the news came out this morning from our friends at Draft Express, that Ricky Rubio was upset at the way the NBA draft lottery turned out, a rumor quickly followed behind that the Memphis Grizzlies would look to trade the pick rather than use it themselves. While Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace has been openly interested in Rubio, we're being told that the Grizzlies would rather have the $3 million they'd likely get from a team looking to move up, as well as a slightly lower pick.

The first issue is, of course, Rubio's buy-out. In order for Rubio to come to the NBA he must first buy his freedom from DKV Joventut, which is proving to be a fairly cut-and-dried scenario. They want 6 million Euros and they won't negotiate. No payment plan, no percentage of endorsements and contracts signed . . .pay it all, cash up front. Rubio is essentially DKV Joventut's version of LeBron James. They're nothing without him. For that reason, they want to keep him around as long as possible, and if they have to give him up they want to have the cash to bring in several players to replace him.

Assuming Rubio would be willing to come up with the cash - and his NBA team would only be able to contribute $500K to the effort - it comes down to which team would be most fitting for his talents. It's a given that he'll want to start, but we're not talking about another Derrick Rose here. A better comparison might be OKC's Russell Westbrook. He started slowly, but was quite good by the last month or so of the season. As much as the Grizzlies were initially high on Rubio, the arrival of Lionel Hollins as head coach, his admiration for starting point guard Mike Conley, and Conley's emergence under Hollins' direction make it less likely that Memphis would even want to explore a starting point guard at this point. What they really need is a back-up point guard, and they can get one of those in the middle of the first round and get some cash in the process.

With that in mind, don't get too excited thinking the Portland Trail Blazers are going to pull another draft day miracle and reunite Rubio with former teammate Rudy Fernandez. While that idea is intriguing, it would be a step backward for the Blazers. Expect them to make an offer to Andre Miller and Jason Kidd - established point guards who are legitimate upgrades over Steve Blake. But bringing in a rookie when they already have Jerryd Bayless on the bench would make little sense for the Blazers, who are looking to get to the second round of the playoffs and beyond next season.

More likely might be the Philadelphia 76ers, who will likely lose Miller, or the Washington Wizards, who thought they were going to get the #2 pick and have already given Rubio a lot of thought.

One thing is certain: the number two pick in the 2009 NBA Draft is for sale. Stay tuned to HOOPSWORLD as we continue to follow this story.

I imagine 15 is probably lower then they want to go. Good thing we made the playoffs.

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Wizards, Thunder to Swap Picks?

Look for the Thunder to be pretty active in trade discussions with the No. 3 pick. They like (Ricky) Rubio, but if they draft him, they'll have to move Russell Westbrook to the 2-guard position. I talked to Thunder head coach Scott Brooks on Tuesday, and he said that although he believes that Westbrook can play the 2, Westbrook wants to be a 1.

I think the challenge is that Westbrook is most effective when he has the ball in his hands and struggles more when forced to play off the ball. With Rubio and Kevin Durant likely to have the ball a lot in that offense, Westbrook would have to make an adjustment. When you factor in that neither Rubio nor Westbrook is an accomplished shooter yet, there is an issue.

That's why a couple of teams think the Thunder might be willing to trade down in the draft. Two league sources said the Wizards and Thunder already had discussions about a swap of the No. 3 pick for the No. 5 pick and the Wizards' 2008 first-rounder, JaVale McGee.

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Grizzlies Leaning Toward Thabeet?

Several sources told me that owner Michael Heisley loves (Hasheem) Thabeet. He wants the team to be tougher defensively and thinks Thabeet would give it the shot-blocking and size it desperately needs.

I'm told that the rest of the Grizzlies' front office is partial to (Ricky) Rubio, but as we've seen the past few years, Heisley runs the show in Memphis.

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I've watched James Harden for two years and still can't figure out why he's great. Nothing in his game stands out as exceptional and he's far from an elite athlete physically. I really wonder if this guy has the will to work and get better at the pro level or if he'll just be happy to cash in on being a lottery pick.

Exactly. The guy wasn't consistently a star in college, so what makes you think he'll get it done in the pros as a top pick.

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Disclaimer: I only follow NBA, not college or Euro. But I've done some reading on Rubio and I just don't get the love.

He's built like a stick and doesn't have that athletic jumping ability you'd like. His stats don't look all that great for someone who supposed to be such a huge talent, especially playing in a weaker league. He's a transition PG that isn't great in the half court or with the outside shot. He can't produce in a one-on-one situation against his current competition, how's he going to provide any sort of dribble penetration at the NBA level?

This just smells of Darko to me. I don't want to move up to the second pick and take another young Euro project with all kinds of hype. Someone else can have him.

If I move up to #2, I take Thabeet. At least I know the kid can rebound, block shots, and clog the paint. Pair him up with a scoring PF (Boozer or Bosh) and you're in business. Good luck finding a 7'3" shot blocking Center anywhere else if you waste a #2 pick on a Euro prospect at PG.

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