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Kings, Clippers, Hansbrough clean up in eventful Draft

By Art Garcia,
Posted Jun 26 2009 4:19PM

NEW YORK -- None of these guys has taken a dribble, nailed a shot or committed a foul in the NBA. Feels about the right time to assess grades.

Draft night wouldn't be complete without winners and losers, even if the scoreboard inside Madison Square Garden is off for the summer.


Clippers: Gotta start with the Los Angeles team that didn't win the title. Sure, giving them kudos for the obvious choice of Blake Griffin seems like an easy way out, but considering the luck of this franchise in lotteries past, getting a building-block power forward is more than solid.

Sacramento: The Kings picked up 6-foot-5 point guard Tyreke Evans (No. 4) to pair with Kevin Martin in the backcourt and Israeli small forward Omar Casspi (23). The 21-year-old Casspi was thought to be a second-round talent not long ago, but he moved up a number of boards in recent weeks.

Tyler Hansbrough: Thought to be going in the late teens or the 20s, the North Carolina senior went 13th to Indiana. The hard-working power forward likely won't be a star, but he knows how to play the game and figures to be a contributor as a rookie. Stay in school, kids.

New York: The Knicks didn't get Stephen Curry, but they were high on Jordan Hill. The 6-foot-10 power forward from Arizona loves to run the floor, which make him a natural for Mike D'Antoni. What does that mean for David Lee?


Ricky Rubio: The Spanish flash, projected by some as the second pick, "fell" to fifth and ended up on a team that drafted two other point guards. Minnesota, of course, didn't keep all three, but the drop potentially costs the 18 year old more than $3 million. Still, he's 18 and in the NBA.

DeJuan Blair: The forward left Pitt after his sophomore year with the expectation of being a mid-to-late first-rounder. He ended up going 37th to San Antonio, which means no guaranteed contract. On the flip side, expect the Spurs to give Blair every shot to stick.

New Orleans: Darren Collison may have been a reach at No. 22. And he's also a point guard. Finding a backup for Chris Paul, who plays a ton a minutes, doesn't seem to make much sense in the Big Easy. The Hornets need scorers, especially on the wing, to play with Paul.

Ehhhhh ...

Minnesota: New general manager David Kahn didn't have to trade up to No. 2 to get Rubio, so that's a plus, but the Wolves also picked up fellow point guard Jonny Flynn. Kahn said both can play together in the backcourt, ala Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge. We'll see.

Memphis: Hasheem Thabeet appears to have all the tools on paper, especially defensively, but there are too many questions about the 7-foot-3 center to be truly comfortable. The Tanzanian, by way of UConn, could be building block or bust.

If you have a question or comment for Art Garcia, send him an e-mail.

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