NBA draft: 5 things to watch for | NevadaAppeal.com

NBA draft: 5 things to watch for

Justin Lawson
jlawson@nevadaappeal.com

Clippers and the No. 1 pick

According to all experts, the Los Angeles Clippers taking Blake Griffin is a foregone conclusion. The Associated Press National Player of the Year put up goddy numbers during his sophomore year at Oklahoma, averaging 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds on his way to a 30-6 record and an NCAA tournament quarterfinals appearance.

But this is the Clippers. They could go down in draft history as the team to draft the most busts: Michael Olowakandi, Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Chris Wilcox, Chris Kaman, Shaun Livingston and Yaroslav Korolev. Those seven players were taken with the Clippers’ first-round picks from 1998-2005.

Will Griffin join them?

Minnesota Timberwolves

The T-Wolves have undergone a youth-movement since trading away cornerstone Kevin Garnett two years ago and new general manager David Kahn looks as if he will keep it going a little longer.

Kahn, the former owner of the Reno Bighorns, made a trade Wednesday that garnered him the fifth pick in the draft in addition to the sixth, 18th and 28th.

If they keep all four picks, rather than trade up, they could have an all-star college team on their hands with Kevin Love and Corey Brewer entering their second seasons. Now, the question remains can Kahn turn that into a winning a NBA team?

Point guards

The draft is loaded with the NBA’s version of the quarterback position. And the names read like a who’s-who of top-flight players: Ricky Rubio, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Ty Lawson.

Depending on whom you ask Rubio or Lawson are the top true point guards, but that doesn’t mean those two will be the first ones taken.

Don’t wait to hear the word Nevada

This is more of a what not to watch for. For the first time since 2003 there is no talk of a Nevada player and the NBA draft. Since Kirk Snyder was taken by the Utah Jazz with the 16th pick in 2004 there has been plenty of chatter about which players will leave early for the draft this year. That’s not the case this season. We will likely have to wait until Armon Johnson (2011) and Luke Babbitt (2012) complete their senior seasons to see another Nevada player selected.

…selects Tyler Hansbrough

The ACC’s all-time leading scorer with 2,872 points could go anywhere from top 10 to late in the first round and many see him as a Nick Fazekas-type: a guy who dominated in college but showed his lack of athleticism on the pro level.

At the very least Hansbrough will be the best practice player in the league, but “Psycho-T” is on a mission to prove his detractors wrong.