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2009 NBA First Round Mock Draft

Because it makes all the sense in the world for a website covering baseball to have a little NBA Draft coverage, right?

Ask anybody who has the distinct pleasure of knowing me personally – my obsession with following the draft doesn’t end with baseball. So why the heck not use this outlet to let some NBA Draft thoughts spill out of my brain, right? I’m asking seriously, why the heck not? Because this is a baseball website? Well…that would be a good answer. I’m not really sure if I have a good comeback for that one. Maybe I’ll just ignore it and see if it goes away…

Anyway. Behold my totally amateur hack job of what Thursday night’s first round could maybe, possibly, kind of, sort of look like. The goal this year is to get at least 5 picks right, and, yes, I’m including getting the Griffin to Los Angeles pick in that five. Setting the bar high this year!

1. Los Angeles Clippers – F Blake Griffin
2. Memphis Grizzlies – C Hasheem Thabeet
3. Oklahoma City Sonics – G James Harden
4. Sacramento Kings – G Ricky Rubio
5. Minnesota Timberwolves – G Stephen Curry
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – G Tyreke Evans
7. Golden State Warriors – F Earl Clark
8. New York Knicks – F Jordan Hill
9. Toronto Raptors – F James Johnson
10. Milwaukee Bucks – G Jonny Flynn
11. New Jersey Nets – G Jrue Holiday
12. Charlotte Bobcats – G Gerald Henderson
13. Indiana Pacers – G Eric Maynor
14. Phoenix Suns – G Ty Lawson
15. Detroit Pistons – F Terrence Williams
16. Chicago Bulls – F Tyler Hansbrough
17. Philadelphia 76ers – G Brandon Jennings
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – G Jeff Teague
19. Atlanta Hawks – G Darren Collison
20. Utah Jazz – F Omri Casspi
21. New Orleans Hornets – G Demar DeRozan
22. Portland Trailblazers – F DeJuan Blair
23. Sacramento Kings – F Austin Daye
24. Dallas Mavericks – F Sam Young
25. Oklahoma City Sonics – G Rodrique Beaubois
26. Chicago Bulls – G Wayne Ellington
27. Memphis Grizzlies – C BJ Mullens
28. Minnesota Timberwolves – G Nick Calathes
29. New York Knicks – G Chase Budinger
30. Cleveland Cavaliers – F Danny Green

My own personal big board (only through pick 17…yes, I’m a Sixers fan) looks a little something like this:

Tier 1 —> Rubio/Griffin
Tier 2 —> Evans/Jennings/Curry
Tier 3 —> Holiday/Harden/Thabeet
Tier 4 —> Clark/DeRozan/Henderson/Williams/Blair
Tier 5 —> Lawson/Teague/Hill/Maynor

I have the T’Wolves picking four guards capable of playing the point. How in the world did that happen? I don’t really know. However, strange as it may appear, it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility. As of this writing, Minnesota only has 2 guards on the entire roster.

Weird fit that has overtaken my imagination – Flynn to Milwaukee. Jonny Flynn in a Bucks jersey, it’s a thought that just won’t leave my mind. But, uh, not in a weird way or anything. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, of course. I think I touched on this idea before — ridiculous unfounded premonitions of amateur players appearing in certain professional uniforms that invariably never actually come true — but it’s one that I’ll always cling to no matter how many wrong guesses (DJ LeMahieu, anyone?) I make.

I was sitting on this mock for a few days, so it was simultaneously disappointing and validating to see some of my late first round picks (Beaubois to OKC, Ellington to the Bulls, Calathes to Minnesota) show up on a couple different mock drafts around the internet this afternoon. I really enjoy picking for teams near the bottom of the first, especially bad teams with multiple picks, because it’s easier to envision certain players fitting in more clearly defined roles around that part of the draft. Take the picks I mentioned in parentheses earlier: OKC and Minnesota both could use a guard, but may not want to guarantee a 2009-10 contract for another young player, and Chicago, a team that has publicly stated a preference for taking players from winning college programs, is in need of a shooter. Perfect fits, all.

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