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The odds are against the Wizards getting the #1 pick in the upcoming draft. That consensus #1 pick, Blake Griffin, by all accounts is one of the best basketball players to come out of College in the last several years. There are those who think he can be the next Karl Malone.
Is Griffin worth trading up?
I had only watched several games when I wrote my Draft prospect review on Griffin earlier this year.
Since then, I've watched all the Oklahoma games. Of all the top draft prospecs, (Harden, Jordan Hill, Thabeet, Jeff Teague, Stephen Curry, etc...), NO ONE and I really mean NO ONE, brings it every night like Blake Griffin. Even though I wrote a glowing review of Griffin, after watching him all year, I probably underestimated his skills and abilities.
He's a beast on the boards, both offensive and defensive. He's got advanced offensive moves. He's fast, quick, fluid, efficient, smooth, extremely strong and athletic. He's an explosive jumper. He's an excellent ball handler. He's got great hands and nice touch. His footwork is textbook. He finishes strong, even through heavy contact. He has wonderful body control and coordination; and a surprisingly effective jump shot. He's practically unstoppable close to the rim. And those are just his physical qualities.
When you start talking about subjective qualities, Griffin starts to sound almost too perfect. He's got a great attitude. He's been the face of College Basketball and his Oklahoma team all year. He understands the game, and is as unselfish as they come. He's always the hardest working guy on the court, with an incredible motor and an intensity that others just can't match. He's the son of a High School basketball Coach, and has a high Basketball IQ. He's a tough guy that withstands the pounding he gets night after night by guys trying to knock him off his game. An extremely hard worker, he brings a winning mentality to the locker room. He plays "mean" (something the Wizards sorely lack). And, oh yeah, he wears number 23.
Players like that don't come along very often. No "if's" about it, he WILL rebound at the next level; and he WILL score inside in the NBA.
So, what happens if the Wizards are not fortunate enough to get the #1 pick?
We've already discussed picking someone else.... (Thabeet, Hill, James Harden, etc...)
We have already had a discussion about trading down to get more picks, or veteran help, or to pick DeJuan Blair.
But what about TRADING UP?
Is Blake Griffin the kind of player that is worth giving up a young talented player or two, to swap picks with Sacramento, Memphis, OKC, or the Clippers? How about a Veteran and a youngster?
What kind of package would it take to pry Griffin away from the Clippers or Sacto? Would they go for it?
LA Clippers: They already have a crowded front line with Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby all signed through 2010. They have been reportedly trying to move Kaman, but his salary ($10.5 Million) and length of contract (through 2012) have most teams backing away. With Eric Gordon and Baron Davis both tied up through at least 2013, the Clippers need versatile wing players.
OKC: This is an interesting team. The Thunder Management has made a full out commitment to playing their young players; and the results have been very good. With a core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and Nick Collison; a sprinkling of veterans (Earl Watson, Nenad Krstic, Chucky Atkins) and some nice young bench players (Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Weaver) - the only thing they need is a solid big man. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Griffin would fit right in at OKC.... So unless the Wizards could come up with a WOW package that included a bona fide NBA starting Center, I doubt OKC would trade the #1 pick.
Sacramento: Sorry, but that whole line-up is a mess. Someone at Sacto needs to be fired. I mean Kevin Martin is a good player, but the rest are all role players. They need much more than just Blake Griffin. They've got a lot of short guards, and some bigs (Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Donte Greene) but no wing players to speak of. Weird team. That's probably why they're in the Lottery. This team needs a lot of help - and might be willing to trade the #1 for some real players.
Memphis: Forget it. If the Grizzlies get the #1 pick, they'll NEVER trade it. Griffin would plug right into their line up, and make them a Playoff team his first year in the League. People have made fun of the Grizzlies, but they're under the Salary cap; they have a nice core of players locked up to cheap long-term contracts (Rudy Gay, OJ Mayo, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley), Antoine Walker's salary ($8.8 Million) comes off the books this year and gives them even more cap flexibility, and they've started to gel as a team. People won't be laughing at the Grizzlies next year if they get Griffin.
So let's hear from the BF faithful. In your opinion, what kind of package would it take to move up?