2009 NBA Mock Draft: Sekou Smith

Finally, after weeks of debate over what might happen after Blake Griffin goes off the draft board first in Thursday's NBA Draft, there's a consensus.

Nobody knows.

The top five of the lottery has seen more ups and downs and tosses and turns than Lindsay Lohan's acting career lately. Just as he has from the outset, Griffin remains the only solid bet to be drafted where everyone has him slotted.

But Ricky Rubio's stock -- for reasons not related to his game -- remains fluid because of a monster buyout he'll have to negotiate with his Spanish club. Hasheem Thabeet's sore shoulder kept him from working out for Memphis, causing other teams to scramble in anticipation of the Grizzlies possibly passing on the draft's best center -- but it says here they'll take him after all.

James Harden's somewhat uneven showing in a workout with the Grizzlies has others thinking that the draft's best wing player might be sliding down the draft board just a bit -- but it says here he won't. And now that Minnesota has four picks in the first round, that further scrambles things -- and who knows how many other last-minute maneuverings there will be?

None of it will make sense until Thursday night, when the mocking of the draft ends and the real choices begin. In the meantime, however, we bring you this:

2009 NBA Mock Draft - 06/25/2009
Round 1
1. Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma: Anyone waiting for Griffin to stumble during the process will just have to face facts: There's not another player in this draft with as many bankable traits as this future star. As is always the case for the top player in a "weak" draft, Griffin's now somehow being labeled as really good but not necessarily a sure-fire All-Star. Don't buy it. Griffin has everything any team would want in a power forward. And you'll never have to worry about his motor. He's never been accused of doing anything but playing all out, and despite theories to the contrary, effort is a skill that all teams covet in a player, particularly a No. 1 draft pick.
2. Memphis Grizzlies
Hasheem Thabeet, C, Connecticut: The Grizzlies chased a bunch of other leads in the last few weeks, but it's hard to look past the 7-3 Thabeet, who has a chance to be the only true dominant post player in his draft class -- Griffin's future will be in his ability to cultivate a face-up game as well. Even with Marc Gasol on the roster, the Grizzlies don't have the shot-blocking presence that Thabeet provides.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
James Harden, SG, Arizona State: Harden presents the Thunder with an ideal wing man for Kevin Durant and an explosive scoring threat alongside Russell Westbrook. If Harden is anything like another former Pac-10 star he is often compared to, Portland All-Star Brandon Roy, the Thunder might end up with the steal of this draft.
4. Sacramento Kings
Ricky Rubio, PG, DKV Joventut: The Kings need a lead guard with Rubio's talent, charisma and abilities. And Rubio needs a team willing to deal with all the drama that could come with extracting him from a multimillion-dollar buyout from his Spanish team. Both sides get exactly what they need in the other, though everyone will need to be patient.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Washington)
Tyreke Evans, SG, Memphis: The Timberwolves grab the pick that Washington had and nab the first part of their backcourt of the future (the other half is below). Evans has the ability to play both guard spots and gives the Timberwolves a player who can match up on both ends of the floor at as many as three different positions (small forward, too).
6. Minnesota Timberwolves
Stephen Curry, PG, Davidson: The best shooter in the draft, Curry joins Evans as the pillars of the Timberwolves' renaissance, along with Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. That's a nice young nucleus for a team that will have to sell hope for the future as it tries to claw its way back to respectability.
7. Golden State Warriors
Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA: The Warriors had their eyes on nearly every top point guard prospect in hopes of pairing one of them in the backcourt with the explosive Monta Ellis. Holiday isn't ready right now, but he might have the highest ceiling of them all, and that includes Rubio. Forget about what you saw at UCLA. There's so much more to Holiday's game.
8. New York Knicks
Brandon Jennings, PG, Lottomatica: If Rubio blossoms into an All-Star, Knicks fans will never get over it. But Jennings is a fantastic consolation prize. And he's every bit the player Rubio is right now, though he's not as tall. Mike D'Antoni works wonders with point guards, and he'll have plenty to work with here.
9. Toronto Raptors
Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona: The Raptors need someone to help fortify their frontline, and Hill falls in their lap here. One of the few players in this draft ready to contribute immediately at his established position, Hill's still young enough and raw enough to use the terms "upside" and "potential" when discussing his NBA future.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Jonny Flynn, PG, Syracuse: The Bucks are in dire need of some insurance at point guard, and they get it here with one of the best point guards in a draft filled with them. Flynn has impressed everyone who has seen him. He has the elite athleticism and leadership qualities that the great ones have. The only thing missing is the consistent stroke from deep, which will come in time.
11. New Jersey Nets
DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh: Any fears about Blair's knee issues -- he was red-flagged at the pre-draft combine after it came to light that he's had ACL injuries in both -- seem to have calmed down in recent days. Blair is what he is and the Nets need a bruiser.
12. Charlotte Bobcats
Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina: The Nets had a choice to make between Hansbrough and Blair and opted for Blair, who isn't as big as Hansbrough but is stronger and more of a low-post grinder. The Bobcats get a guy that's better than advertised and one who will be an instant hit with the local fans.
13. Indiana Pacers
Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina: Graded by most teams as the draft's best pure point guard, Lawson is snapped up by a Pacers team still trying to get from under the financial avalanche of Jamaal Tinsley's contract. Jarrett Jack's a restricted free agent and T.J. Ford's health is always an issue, making Lawson the ideal insurance policy.
14. Phoenix Suns
Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga: The Suns need to get younger everywhere and Daye is as talented as anyone still on the board, even if he is likely two or three years away from being a full-time starter. There are just so few shooters his size in any draft. Steve Kerr can't pass him up.
15. Detroit Pistons
Terrence Williams, SG, Louisville: The Pistons have the cash to do their heaviest lifting after July 1, in free agency. Williams is simply too versatile and too talented to pass up for a team that must restock its ranks for the future.
16. Chicago Bulls
B.J. Mullens, C, Ohio State: The Bulls are one of the few teams with enough young talent in the frontcourt to take Mullens and give him the time needed to develop properly. This is a great fit for both sides.
17. Philadelphia 76ers
Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke: Not that the fans in Philly care about a hometown kid coming back, but Henderson does qualify. And he's a solid addition to a rotation that needs another guy who can play both ends of the floor.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Miami)
Eric Maynor, PG, Virginia Commonwealth: The Timberwolves answer their need for a point guard with Maynor, who might be the most polished pick-and-roll specialist in a deep point guard crop.
19. Atlanta Hawks
James Johnson, PF, Wake Forest: If the Hawks hold on to their pick, and there are rumblings that a trade could be in the works, they can't afford to pass up on a player like Johnson, who could have gone anywhere from 10 on down.
20. Utah Jazz
Omri Casspi, SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv: Casspi makes great sense for the Jazz as an offensive-minded forward who can play a backup role if Carlos Boozer decides to leave and pushes everyone up a spot in the rotation.
21. New Orleans Hornets
Sam Young, SF, Pittsburgh: Folks don't care what position Young projects at, they just love his game. "He's just a player that will tear your heart out," one Eastern Conference executive said.
22. Portland Trail Blazers (from Dallas)
Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest: Blazers add a valuable young talent here who could supplant Steve Blake down the road at point guard.
23. Sacramento Kings (from Houston)
DaJuan Summers, SF, Georgetown: Summers can work both inside and out and is sturdy enough to bang at power forward if necessary.
24. Dallas Mavericks (from Portland)
Earl Clark, SF, Louisville: Too much talent to pass up on at this point in the draft. And the Mavericks need talented young reinforcements everywhere.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder (from San Antonio)
Wayne Ellington, SG, North Carolina: If the Thunder don't move up, they'll need to add another quality shooter to their rotation and Ellington fits that bill.
26. Chicago Bulls (from Denver through Oklahoma City)
Toney Douglas, SG, Florida State: Douglas is as feisty a defender as there is in this draft at any position. This is a great value pick this late in the first round.
27. Memphis Grizzlies (from Orlando)
Derrick Brown, SF, Xavier: Brown has all the tools to be an immediate contributor behind Rudy Gay.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Boston)
Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona: The Timberwolves go for the skilled shooter here. And Budinger's a better athlete than you think.
29. Los Angeles Lakers
Jonas Jerebko, SF, Angelico Biella: The Lakers don't have time to worry about anyone who isn't one of their own free agents. They can keep Jerebko in Europe and keep the cash for Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers
Rodrigue Beaubois, PG, Cholet Basket: The Cavaliers are in the same boat as the Lakers, needing cash to make moves for free agents and to facilitate trades. Beaubois is a valuable asset down the road.
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