NBA lottery winner will have easy decision
As the Lakers continued to battle for a chance to reach the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season, the Staple Center other tenant got some good news last week when it won the rights to draft Oklahoma superstar Blake Griffin in next month draft.
Griffin the 6-10 skilled power forward who is clearly considered the best player in what has otherwise been labeled a weak 2009 draft class is expected to become the clear choice for the NBA’s most cursed team.
Griffin is leaving Oklahoma after his sophomore season with nothing else to prove in collegiate basketball where he was selected at the National Player of the Year.
That is the good news. The bad news is that the Clippers already have a log jam at his position with the gifted albeit undisciplined Zack Randolph and his hefty contract, youngster and inconsistent Al Thornton, veteran Marcus Camby and under achieving Kris Kaman.
Head coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy was in Europe still scouting players when the team lucked up and won the rights to be the first team to pick on June 25th.
If history serves us any indication about the Clippers, then Griffin will last two season and then be traded where he will probably blossom with another NBA club.
That’s what happened with Terry Cummings in 1982 when he was the No. 2 pick and in 1988 with Danny Manning when he was the No. 1 pick.
Last year’s top choice Eric Gordon was third on the team in scoring with a 16 point per game average and played in more games than any Clipper at 78.
Randolph traded to the Clipper by the Knicks played in 39 games and led the team in scoring with 20 points per game, but was arrested and injured along the way.
Prized free agent signing Baron Davis had his worst season in years averaging a meager 14 points on 37 percent shooting.
Thornton is perhaps the Clippers best talent, but Dunleavy became frustrated when he could not produce consistently from game to game.
Thornton averaged 16.8 points per game and was the second leading scorer on the team.
Because Griffin would be such a no brainer it probably would not help the Clippers where they need it most which is in the marketing department. On that front teenage phenom Ricky Rubio, whom Dunleavy has fell in love with, is an intriguing option.
Rubio is an accomplished point guard in Europe and held his own against the US Olympic team last summer, and with Davis aging he could be a great fit in the future backcourt to pair along with Gordon at shooting guard.
Another option for the Clippers would be to trade out of the top slot and take multiple first round selections where they could drop down to perhaps four or five and nab USC prize freshman DeMar DeRozan from Compton, or Arizona State’s polished guard James Harden also from Southern California.
Harden also a sophomore is considered to be the most NBA ready player in the draft besides Griffin and his stock is skyrocketing with each workout.
It is the Clippers we’re talking about here and remember that last year many thought they would be a real force in the West to only wind up in the lottery. Anything can happen.