Blake Griffin was going to be number one, everyone knew that a long time ago. He went number one, to the LA Clippers and we pray for him he breaks the Clippers string of bad luck and just bad play, but on the other hand it’s funny watching them fail again and again. Besides Griffin it was wide open, and we give you the 3 best picks of the draft and a couple that we don’t think will turn out so well. One team, Minnesota, managed to get into both lists, with picking Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, while San Antonio maybe got a huge break and a great draft steal by getting Dejuan Blair deep into the second round.
Ricky Rubio – Picked 5th by the Minnesota Timberwolves
You can say – fifth isn’t really a steal… but with Rubio, I think it is. Blake Griffin is a sure thing and was the consensus no.1 pick in this draft, no doubt about it. He’ll start immediately and produce nice numbers, something close to a double double average in his rookie year. But for Memphis, Oklahoma and Sacramento to pass on Rubio like that? Big mistake.
Rubio is the real deal. He’s been a pro since the age of 14, teaming up with the Blazers’ Rudy Fernandez in Joventut Badalona of the Spanish League. He’s a real point guard, something that doesn’t come along too often these days in the drafts, and he’s an excellent one. He’s got passing skills that don’t come around very often in the basketball world, and he’s only 18. He’s battle tested, both as a pro and with the Spanish National team, including that classic Olympics final against the USA a year ago. He’ll be a starter right away, and I see a few All Stars in his future. Minnesota got lucky with teams being afraid to pick a European at no. 2, maybe with Darko Milicic hanging above in an ominous way.
Tyler Hansbrough – Picked 13th by the Indiana Pacers
Hansbrough probably won’t be an All-Star in the NBA. That doesn’t matter. Hansbrough is a great addition to any NBA team. He’ll give you leadership and a winner mentality. I always like players from Colleges that won titles or competed for one even if they aren’t the highest in the mock drafts.
Plenty of mock’s put “Psycho-T” getting picked late in the first round, maybe even early second. Indiana took a chance, at least on paper, and I think it’s going to payoff. Hansbrough isn’t the star they wanted next to Danny Granger, but they weren’t going to get it with the 13th pick in this draft. They got a good player who’ll score, rebound, defend and give 200% every minute he gets. That solidifies and strengthens the team, and when it does get the player to compliment Granger, they’ll have a deep squad to make a long run in the playoffs.
Dejuan Blair – Picked 37th by the San Antonio Spurs
This could turn out like one of the biggest steals in recent draft history. Back in March, when Sportige.com was just starting, we mentioned Blair in a preview to the NCAA tournament. A lot of water under the bridge, a lot of injury concerns stacked up. Blair, a few months ago, would probably be a lottery pick. As concerns of his ACL piled up, his place in the upcoming draft dropped.
The Spurs took a chance on a guy that if healthy, has a huge upside. He can contribute right away, whether it’s points in the paint or rebounding on both ends and in such a great basketball program like the Spurs will have the right teachers (Popovich, Duncan) and patience towards him in becoming a good NBA player.
And two bad picks
Hasheem Thabeet – Picked 2nd by the Memphis Grizzlies
He did win Big East player of the year, joined with Dejuan Blair, but second? The Grizzlies probably have a lot of faith in Conley, cause It’s hard for me to understand how they passed on Rubio and picked Thabeet. Yes, he’s 7’3 and provides a great blocking umbrella in the paint, but I won’t be surprised if we’ll have another Shawn Bradley case.
Thabeet is very very raw offensively, despite greatly improving in his college career from year to year, but still, as Jay Bilas said last night, “he’s not there yet, and I doubt he’ll ever be”. Being a second pick in the draft bring a lot of pressure and expectations with it, and I’m not sure Thabeet was the man to fill that spot. He won’t produce enough points and everybody knows he’s less effective when played aggressively and closely on both ends. He needs to bulk up, work a lot in the gym and add moves to his pretty empty repertoire if he’s to have a successful NBA career. I doubt he’ll ever live up to the potential many think he has.
Jonny Flynn – Picked 6th by the Minnesota Timberwolves
This pick wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for Rubio. Minnesota were the first team to wise up and pick the Spanish Teenager. And then, a pick later, they pick another point guard. And not the best one on the board. They had Stephen Curry and Ty Lawson before him. They picked Lawson later, but he has already been shipped to Denver. Now, if they were planning on shipping Flynn or Rubio that would make a little sense, but from what the Timberwolves GM said, they’re planning on keeping them both. WHAT?!
Jonny Flynn is OK, even good, but I don’t see him ever being a starter in this league, at least not a permanent gig. Picking him after you already got Rubio with intentions of playing both of them is insane, or just plain dumb. Maybe they think they’re on to some genius master plan of playing two PG’s at once, with Rubio maybe playing a two-guard, but I don’t see that working. From making the smartest pick in the draft Minnesota quickly made on of the dumbest and I hope they change the situation there quickly, cause the team has potential to become a playoff threat in a couple of years, maybe even next season.