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News » Taking the first step

Taking the first step

Taking the first step
When asked early this week which opposing teams were poised to best improve themselves in Thursday's NBA Draft, Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld had a simple answer.

"The Clippers."

Grunfeld let out a laugh over his painfully obvious - and safe - statement but went on to explain that time will tell who will emerge as the draft's winners and losers.

"As with every draft, there are some very good players in this draft," Grunfeld said. "But because many of these players are 19, 20 years old, it's just going to take some time for them to develop. But teams will be able to get better through the draft."

Indeed, with college freshmen and sophomores accounting for most of the players taken in the first round, there will be growing pains, and it's too tough to call at this point. But for the fun of it, here's the snap reaction:

Like what they did

* Los Angeles Clippers - The no-brainer of the night, the Clippers took the only sure thing in the draft in Griffin, who draws comparisons to Amare Stoudemire and should give an infusion of young, athletic energy to a front line that features an aging Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, who is coming off of an injury, and the underachieving Zach Randolph.

* Minnesota Timberwolves - They dealt Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Wizards for injury-prone center Etan Thomas, backup forward Darius Songaila and the seldom-used Oleksiy Pecherov so they could attain the fifth pick in the draft. They used the pick on Ricky Rubio - the player the Wizards wanted but didn't think would be left on the board by then - who's drawing comparisons to Pistol Pete.

* Oklahoma City Thunder - The Thunder surprised some when they took James Harden third overall, but Harden will fit perfectly with the young nucleus of swingmen Kevin Durant and Jeff Green and point guard Russell Westbrook. Harden is a lefty who can score in a variety of ways. They then completed their Five for the Future by swapping Rodrigue Beaubois for B.J. Mullens from Dallas. Mullens gives them the athletic shot-blocking center to defend the paint and develop along with Durant, Green, Westbrook and Harden.

* Philadelphia 76ers - UCLA point guard Jrue Holiday was projected by some to go among the top 10 but slid to 17, where Philadelphia snatched him up. Like many others in this draft, he's young and will take his lumps, but in Holiday, coach Eddie Jordan has a great prospect to groom for running the Princeton offense. Holiday could become the best point guard in this class.

What were they thinking?

* Minnesota Timberwolves - Grabbing Rubio at No. 5? Great. Turning around and taking another point guard, Jonny Flynn, at No. 6 and then taking a third, Ty Lawson, at No. 18? As soon as they took Flynn, the thinking was, "OK, they're about to trade this." Still waiting. Then they took Lawson, and they did trade him to Denver, but for what? A future pick that Denver is owed by Charlotte. Say what?

The Wizards reportedly wanted to get the 18th pick in that trade for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, but Minnesota wouldn't budge... because it wanted to trade it for a future pick? Hmm The Timberwolves couldn't package it with No. 28 to move up or get a veteran player?

* Indiana Pacers - Tyler Hansbrough at No. 13 seems like a reach. Many projected Hansbrough to drop to the late teens or early 20s. But Larry Bird did what he had to do. Hansbrough will provide some interior muscle, most likely off the bench. But a franchise cornerstone? Not likely.

It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out next season and the seasons to come. Who's the big bust? Who's the steal? It might be about four years before anyone knows.


First round

1. L.A. Clippers, Blake Griffin, f, Oklahoma.

2. Memphis, Hasheem Thabeet, c, Connecticut.

3. Oklahoma City, James Harden, g, Arizona State.

4. Sacramento, Tyreke Evans, g, Memphis.

5. Minnesota (from Washington), Ricky Rubio, g, DKV Joventut (Spain).

6. Minnesota, Jonny Flynn, g, Syracuse.

7. Golden State, Stephen Curry, g, Davidson.

8. New York, Jordan Hill, f, Arizona.

9. Toronto, DeMar DeRozan, g, Southern California.

10. Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings, g, Lottomatica Roma (Italy).

11. New Jersey, Terrence Williams, g-f, Louisville.

12. Charlotte, Gerald Henderson, g-f, Duke.

13. Indiana, Tyler Hansbrough, f, North Carolina.

14. Phoenix, Earl Clark, f, Louisville.

15. Detroit, Austin Daye, f, Gonzaga.

16. Chicago, James Johnson, f, Wake Forest.

17. Philadelphia, Jrue Holiday, g, UCLA.

18. a-Minnesota (from Miami), Ty Lawson, g, North Carolina.

19. Atlanta, Jeff Teague, g, Wake Forest.

20. Utah, Eric Maynor, g, Virginia Commonwealth.

21. New Orleans, Darren Collison, g, UCLA.

22. Portland (from Dallas), Victor Claver, f, Pamesa Valencia (Spain).

23. Sacramento (from Houston), Omri Casspi, f, Maccabi Electra (Israel).

24. b-Dallas (from Portland), B.J. Mullens, c, Ohio State.

25. b-Oklahoma City (from San Antonio), Rodrigue Beaubois, g, Cholet (France).

26. Chicago (from Denver through Oklahoma City), Taj Gibson, f, Southern California.

27. Memphis (from Orlando), DeMarre Carroll, f, Missouri.

28. Minnesota (from Boston), Wayne Ellington, g, North Carolina.

29. c-L.A. Lakers, Toney Douglas, g, Florida State.

30. Cleveland, Christian Eyenga, g-f, DKV Joventut (Spain).

Second Round

31. d-Sacramento, Jeff Pendergraph, f, Arizona State.

32. e-Washington, Jermaine Taylor, g, UCF.

33. Portland (from L.A. Clippers), Dante Cunningham, f, Villanova.

34. f-Denver (from Oklahoma City), Sergio Llull, g, Real Madrid (Spain).

35. Detroit (from Minnesota), DaJuan Summers, f, Georgetown.

36. Memphis, Sam Young, f, Pittsburgh.

37. San Antonio (from Golden State through Phoenix), DeJuan Blair, f, Pittsburgh.

38. d-Portland (from New York through Chicago), Jon Brockman, f, Washington.

39. Detroit (from Toronto), Jonas Jerebko, f, Sweden.

40. Charlotte (from New Jersey through Oklahoma City), Derrick Brown, f, Xavier.

41. Milwaukee, Jodie Meeks, g, Kentucky.

42. g-L.A. Lakers (from Charlotte), Patrick Beverley, g, BC Dnipro (Ukraine).

43. h-Miami (from Indiana), Marcus Thornton, g, LSU.

44. i-Detroit, Chase Budinger, f, Arizona.

45. Minnesota (from Philadelphia through Miami), Nick Calathes, g, Florida.

46. Phoenix from (from Chicago through Cleveland), Danny Green, f, North Carolina.

47. Minnesota (from Miami), Henk Norel, f, DKV Joventut (Spain).

48. Phoenix, Taylor Griffin, f, Oklahoma.

49. Atlanta, Sergey Gladyr, g, Mykolaiv (Ukraine).

50. Utah, Goran Suton, c, Michigan State.

51. San Antonio (from New Orleans through Toronto), Jack McClinton, g, Miami.

52. Indiana (from Dallas), A.J. Price, g, Connecticut.

53. San Antonio (from Houston), Nando De Colo, g, Cholet Basket (France).

54. j-Charlotte (from San Antonio), Robert Vaden, g, UAB.

55. Portland (from Denver), Patrick Mills, g, St. Mary's, Calif.

56. Dallas (from Portland), Ahmad Nivins, f, Saint Josephs.

57. Phoenix (from Orlando through Oklahoma City), Emir Preldzic, f, Fenerbahce Ulker (Bosnia and Herzegovina).

58. Boston, Lester Hudson, g, Tennessee-Martin.

59. L.A. Lakers, Chinemelu Elonu, F, Texas A&M.

60. Miami (from Cleveland), Robert Dozier, f, Memphis.

a-Traded the rights to Denver for a future first-round pick.

b-Traded the rights to Oklahoma City for the rights to Rodrigue Beaubois.

c-Traded the rights to New York for a future second-round draft pick and cash.

d-Traded the rights to Sacramento for the rights to Jeff Pendergraph.

e-Traded the rights to Houston for cash.

f-Traded the rights to Houston for cash.

g-Traded the rights to to Miami for a future second-round draft pick and cash considerations.

h-Traded the rights to New Orleans for two future second-round draft choices.

i-Traded the rights to Houston for a future second-round draft pick and cash considerations.

j-Traded the rights to Oklahoma City for cash.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 27, 2009


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