2009 NBA Draft: First Pick - Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio?



Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Let the debate begin; who should be the No. 1 choice in the NBA Draft, Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio? While most mock drafts believe Griffin to be the guy, I think the Sacramento Kings would take Rubio if they won the draft lottery. That is the catch though, whichever team gets the ping-pong ball to bounce their way on May 19 will have a tough decision on their hands.

Below is my breakdown as to which player the lottery teams would take if they got the right to pick first at the NBA Draft.



Sacramento Kings (25% chance of winning lottery) - Ricky Rubio
As it currently stands in our 2009 NBA Mock Draft, Rubio makes the most sense for the Kings because of their dire need for a point guard and face of the franchise. Sacramento has gone big the past two years so drafting another post player is not a priority.

Washington Wizards (17.8%) - Blake Griffin
With Gilbert Arenas set to make $96 million over the next five years, it would not make a lot of sense to draft Rubio unless Agent Zero accepted moving to the off-guard position. Drafting Griffin would give the Wizards some flexibility to shop Antwan Jamison and fill some other areas of need.

Los Angeles Clippers (17.7%) - Either
The Clips invested a lot of money this past year, signing Baron Davis and acquiring Zach Randolph. Drafting Rubio would make Davis sulk on the court even more than he did this past season. Picking Griffin would cause a logjam up-front with Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, and Randolph already in house. Good luck with that decision.



Oklahoma City Thunder (11.9%) - Blake Griffin
In drafting Russell Westbrook last year, OKC has their point guard of the future. What they are lacking is an explosive, athletic post player like Griffin. A young core of Griffin, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Westbrook would be a step in the right direction for the Thunder.

Minnesota Timberwolves (7.6%) - Ricky Rubio
Picking Griffin would make little sense since the T-Wolves already have young inside threats, Al Jefferson and Kevin Love. I still do not think Randy Foye is the answer at the point, and drafting Rubio would allow Foye to move to the two and play his more natural role as a scorer.

Memphis Grizzlies (7.5%) - Blake Griffin
The Griz have their building blocks in place with Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Mike Conley. Add Griffin to that equation and Memphis would be ready to make some noise. If they think Rubio will be better than Conley, they could draft Rubio and try to deal Conley.

Golden State Warriors (4.3%) - Ricky Rubio
Rubio is exactly what "Nellie Ball" needs; a facilitating point guard who is more interested in involving his teammates than scoring thirty points. Golden State has the tendency to play a smaller line-up and already have young post players in Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph, and Brandon Wright.

New York Knicks (2.8%) - Ricky Rubio
Now that someone other than Isiah Thomas is running the Knicks, their cap situation and roster is not a mess meaning they could use whoever they feel is the best overall player. I lean towards Rubio being the pick because he would be a perfect fit in Mike D'Antoni's run and gun style of offense and New York already has a young, talented power forward in David Lee.

Toronto Raptors (1.7%) - Blake Griffin
With Jose Calderon already in place at the point, Griffin is the logical choice. He would be nice insurance in case Chris Bosh bolts next off-season, or a great compliment to play alongside Bosh if he re-signs with the Raptors. Again, if Toronto is fascinated with Rubio (which would not be a surprise since they tend to like bringing in foreign talent), they could try and deal Calderon.



Milwaukee Bucks (1%) - Either
The Bucks most glaring needs are a long-term answer at the point and a physical low post presence, so either guy would make sense. Griffin might be more of a Scott Skiles-type player due to his hard-nosed style of play, but Milwaukee would likely experience a win-win situation with whichever direction they chose to take.

New Jersey Nets (0.9%) - Blake Griffin
The emergence of Devin Harris as an elite NBA point guard makes this an obvious choice for the Nets. Griffin would team up with impressive rookie Brook Lopez as a formidable low post duo.

Charlotte Bobcats (0.7%) - Blake Griffin
With point guards D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton already in Charlotte, drafting Rubio would just make the point position more crowded. With that being said, the Bobcats do not necessarily need a post player either, but Griffin would be a better option alongside Emeka Okafor than any of the bigs currently on Charlotte's roster.

Indiana Pacers (0.6%) - Blake Griffin
While the Pacers already have Troy Murphy, they do not have a player with the aggressiveness, size, and athleticism of Griffin. With serviceable point guards T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack in Indiana, there is not a pressing need for Rubio.

Phoenix Suns (0.5%) - Ricky Rubio
Let's face it; Steve Nash is not getting any younger and will be a free agent after next season. Rubio would greatly benefit from a year of tutelage under Nash and be ready to take the reigns of the offense once Nash left. Coincidentally enough my comparisons for Rubio and Griffin are the Suns' Nash and Amare Stoudamire.





Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: wpc112@gmail.com




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