Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Los Angeles Clippers won the Blake Griffin Lottery Tuesday night.
The Clippers garnered the No. 1 overall selection in the June 25 NBA Draft for the third time in their history.
The Clips drafted Danny Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in 1988 and then a decade later selected Michael Olowokandi, who turned out to be a bust.
The Memphis Grizzlies will select at No. 2 and the Oklahoma City Thunder choose at No. 3.
The Clippers had a 17 percent chance of winning the lottery. Sacramento, which owned the NBA’s worst record and thus had the highest chance at 25 percent, will draft at No. 4.
The Knicks pick at No. 8 and the Nets at No. 11.
“It’s a great day for Clipper fans and I’m very happy. I know we’re going to get a great player and someone who’s going to help our franchise for a very, very long time. As soon as we’re done here I’m going to be on the phone with Coach [Mike] Dunleavy and we’re going to start talking about that,” Clippers President Andy Roeser told ESPN.
Griffin, the 6-foot-10 National Player of the Year out of Oklahoma, is the obvious choice at No. 1 and most observers expect the Clippers to draft him.
“I was obviously excited,” Griffin told ESPN. “Just being presented the opportunity to be able to play in the NBA, something that’s been a dream for so long, it’s a great feeling. I’m going to try to make the best out of whatever situation I’m put in.
“Hopefully, I can make a big impact. I’m going to try to come in and try to learn as much as I can on the fly and hopefully help the team in as many ways as I can.”
With his combination of size, strength and athleticism, Griffin has been compared to a young Karl Malone and could contribute to a Clippers front line that includes Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman and Zach Randolph.
“I think Blake Griffin would fit in with anybody,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. “He’s such a great player and a great prospect. He’s got the ability to come in and play right away because he’s such a great athlete.”
As for the Knicks, they could select Davidson guard Stephen Curry, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, at No. 8.
Steph Curry, who is listed at 6-3 but is probably closer to 6-feet even, led Division 1 in scoring at 28.6 points per game last season as a junior.
“That would be a dream come true,” Curry told ESPN 1050 recently when asked about the possibility of being drafted by New York.
“One, to play with an NBA jersey; two, to play at Madison Square Garden every night; three, to play in front of the greatest NBA fans — I think it would be something I would look forward to and I would work very hard to help my team, if that was the case, to be better,” he said.
“I think, with my pointguard skills, I could add a lot to the New York Knicks.”
The Nets, at No. 11, could look for a guard like Jonny Flynn of Syracuse or go big and take James Johnson, a 6-8, 235-pound combo forward out of Wake Forest.
2009 NBA Draft Lottery Order / Chad Ford’s Mock Draft
1. Los Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin
2. Memphis Grizzlies – Hasheem Thabeet
3. Oklahoma City Thunder – Ricky Rubio
4. Sacramento Kings – Jordan Hill
5. Washington Wizards – James Harden
6. Minnesota Timberwolves – DeMar DeRozan
7. Golden State Warriors – Brandon Jennings
8. Knicks – Stephen Curry
9. Toronto Raptors – Tyreke Evans
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Jrue Holiday
11. New Jersey Nets
12. Charlotte Bobcats
13. Indiana Pacers
14. Phoenix Suns
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.