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Draft Watch: Griffin Heading to NBA

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin has officially given up his final two years of eligibility and is heading to the NBA after a sophomore season that ended with him being recognized as college basketball's top player.

From the Associated Press:

Griffin announced his decision Tuesday at a campus news conference alongside coach Jeff Capel, saying it was time to take his game to the next level.
Griffin helped the Sooners win 30 games in a season for only the fifth time in school history, shattering the school records for double-doubles and rebounds along the way.
"It's tough to walk away from something like this but at the same time, it's a big opportunity and I felt like I was ready for it this year," Griffin said.
After declaring last year that he would stay at Oklahoma for at least one more season, Griffin said he wanted to be able to contribute immediately in the NBA before he would turn pro.
For him to feel like he was "100 percent sure" that he was ready, he said he'd probably have to be in line to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Now, Wizards fans, Griffin is in line to be the No.1 pick and Washington is close to having the best odds to obtain the No. 1 pick. One step closer ...

By Alexa Steele  |  April 7, 2009; 4:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

The Karma of the owners will determine who gets the #1 pick, it won't be Abe.

Posted by: closg | April 7, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Man with the NBA lottery system there is just no guarantee of a high pick. At least with the NHL lottery only one team can win the lottery so max a team gets pushed down is one slot.

Posted by: usiel3 | April 7, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

we wont get the pick, its just been that sort of year for us. I see us getting the 2nd-3rd pick and trading it for Amare, which isn't the worst thing in the world

http://www.wizardsextreme.com/showthread.php?t=2163

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | April 7, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how people say the Wiz will not get a high pick. Worst case scenario, Wiz get the 5th or 6th pick (depending on whether the Clips win again).
If moron Tap didn't push for the Wiz to beat the Kings last month in a game the Wiz could've easily lost, we'd be in contention have the most balls for #1 pick
(and 4th pick worst case). Please get rid of Tap - don't move him upstairs in the organization - he's Wes Unseld brought back to life.
While we're on the subject, please get rid of Little Unseld With Famous Father on the bench - the guy's a jinx. Why do you think we had all those injuries this year? It's the friggin' Curse of the Unselds.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | April 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"Washington is close to having the best odds to obtain the No. 1 pick."
They may be close but Sacramento and the LAC are the front runners and comparing schedules, seem more likely to finish ahead, or is it behind, the Wiz in the lottery race.

Posted by: midlevex | April 7, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm crossing my fingers, and praying at every temple available to improve our chances.

Knowing our luck, we'll keep Tapsquatch, Trade Mcgee for Michael Ruffin and start Stevenson.

Posted by: Fontana1 | April 7, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards don't have the money to sign Griffin.

That's the ironic thing about the team.

Even though they have only won ONE playoff series this DECADE, the team is up against the salary cap with the current roster.

Of course, extending Etan Thomas' contract for 6 years at $36M and signing duds like Antonio Daniels (at age 31) to a 5 year deal (and then having to trade him) didn't help matters.

Posted by: leopard09 | April 7, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of whiners. Lighten up, will you?

Posted by: pjkiger1 | April 7, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Having the most ping-pong balls doesn't guarantee anything. Only 3 or 4 teams with the worst record have actually gotten the number 1 pick in the last 20 years or so. Some believe it's a kind of karmic backlash from the basketball gods against teams that tank.

And the Wizards do have the money to sign Griffin, if they're willing to go over the luxury tax or if they can unload some salary over the summer. It's too early to say that neither can or will happen.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 7, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

If they land Griffin the window is wide open for the next 2 or 3 years. I'm pretty sure they'll go over the luxury tax in that scenario.

Posted by: uptownjive | April 7, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

SOMEHOW THE EG/TAP DIDN'T GET THE MEMO:

Starting with the 1994 Draft Lottery, the chances were weighted even more in favor of the teams with the worst records. The heavy weighting of the lottery has been ridiculed as providing incentives for lottery-bound teams to tank at the end of the season.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1 250 .250 .215 .178 .357
2 199 .199 .188 .171 .319 .123
3 156 .156 .157 .156 .226 .265 .040

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | April 7, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I believe Pollin said in an interview fairly recently that he would go over the luxury tax limit if he thought it would help him win a championship.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

It was noted in the Washington Times a few weeks ago that Ernie/Abe were willing to exceed the luxury tax if the player is worth it. So if they get #1 and Griffin (highly unlikely) they will pay the tax, if not they will not go over it.

Posted by: Lisa_R | April 7, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Do not be surprised to see the Wizards get Blake Griffin and trade him and Etan for a Theo Ratliff type player. Seems laughable but it just might happen!

Posted by: t-train | April 7, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Worrying over a little luxury tax -- you'd think we were in a recession or something.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the NC crew last night, I found myself going back and forth as to who'd be the better pro. Lawson is obviously a terrific player, if I could just get these pictures of Ray Felton out of my head. Ellington reminds me of Rashard McCants, at least the shooting, and the freshman Davis(?) of Brandan Wright. All have had respectable pro careers except Wright, but he's the youngest.

It's Hansbrough I have trouble. He's not Sean May by any means, and like May he's got a size problem which could haunt him in the pros. Does he try to stay at center like Nick Collison, or make the move to PF where he fits so much better?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I think Hansbrough will stay at PF, and will end up as a more athletic version of Darius Songaila. He probably will never approach all-star status, but he's certainly capable of being a useful player for the right team team, especially a team that plays uptempo a la the Suns, Knicks, or even the Wizards. His shot and athletic ability are better than people give him credit for. I'm not saying they should pick him in the top 5, but if they don't end up with # 1 or 2 and trade out of their spot, he might be worth a look in the mid to late 1st round.

Posted by: bucky_katt | April 7, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

buckykatt: "I think Hansbrough will stay at PF, and will end up as a more athletic version of Darius Songaila."

That's the thing though -- has he ever really played PF? Does he have anything resembling a jump shot from fifteen feet?

Posted by: Samson151 | April 7, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah that's it DC_man -- long term the Wiz would be better signing Mason offer Arenas. Fantastic. The only boneheaded signing was Etan Thomas. The other players have or will live up to the deals. Mason is not that special of a player."

Mason is not special, but he's more of an asset to the team compared to DS or Dee Brown.

"Now, the Wiz did not sign Hughes because he wanted more money -- based on how Hughes has played since leaving the Wizards, not signing him to the $14M/year contract was a great non-move by EG."

Why do people keep getting this situation confused?

EG said he'd do everything to resign LH. EG came out with a low offer. LH got a better deal with the Cavs and signed with them. EG came back with an identical offer, but it was too late as LH already committed.

"Same with Jared Jefferies -- the guy is average defensively and horrible on offense yet the Knicks wanted to pay him $6M. EG was very wise to let Jefferies walk."

EG was "wise" to let him walk, but in the same light, Les BouleS F'd up by drafting him when there were many others players drafted later than JJ who turned out better.

"DeShawn was good the first two years with the Wizards. He filled the role he was asked to play quite well. The first year, prior to Arenas and Caron getting hurt (65 games or so) DeShawn was shooting 50% from the floor and playing good defense. Last year, DeShawn was a good 3-point shooter and again the teams best perimeter defender. This year he played terrible and appears to be because of a back problem. The problem may last but he is getting paid less than Mason and was signed the year before -- you know, when Mason was barely in the NBA."

DS hasn't lived up to his new contract. He may be done now, if his back doesn't heal up. He couldn't back up his smack talk on the court against LeBron.

"As for Jefferies being a wasted pick -- those other players are not really a comparison because apparently at least 12 other teams did not value those players as highly as Jefferies. Jefferies had just lead Indiana to the title game and was considered a great prospect. It was not a wasted pick, but a pick that simply did not work out. You have to look at the players picked near Jefferies to see if the Wiz had better options -- they did not (Melvin Ely --Hahaha -- Haislip -- whoever -- Fred Jones -- haha -- Nachbar -- that would have been a better pick eventually -- Jiri Welsh). The bad pick was Juan Dixon at 17 -- that is where drafting Tayshaun Prince would have made sense because then it would not have been such a reach.

Posted by: Chad32 | April 7, 2009 12:37 AM "

Nobody cares if other teams f up the draft. It doesn't make Les BouleS that much better.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Why not take Habeet?

Posted by: rickyroge | April 7, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

"I believe Pollin said in an interview fairly recently that he would go over the luxury tax limit if he thought it would help him win a championship.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 6:16 PM "

What else has Abe said?

That he'd let MJ buy back into ownership after his 2 year stint as a player is done?

How'd that turn out?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Do not be surprised to see the Wizards get Blake Griffin and trade him and Etan for a Theo Ratliff type player. Seems laughable but it just might happen!

Posted by: t-train | April 7, 2009 6:50 PM "

That's likely.

With MeTawn entrenched at the 4 with his 5 year deal, and AB behind him, that's pretty much a lock that Blake won't get any PT at the 4.

Also, with BTH locked at the 5, and with OPech, JaTravel, DSong, and DMac hovering between 4 and 5, that's a lot of mediocrity right there, but with high salaries.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Griffin is a no-brainer at #1. If the Wizards get lucky and land the #1 overall pick, the Wizards won't punt. I'll be very surprised if they don't sign him even if it means a one-year hit on the luxury tax.

If the Wizards can't land Griffin, they have options.

I'm on the Rasheed Wallace bandwagon right now -- if the Wizards can move some contracts and convince Abe that Wallace has matured since 1994 -- he could be a great veteran addition for another year or two if the Wiz can lock him in at $8 to $9 mill a year.

He would provide some insurance in the front court in the event of injuries; he would give the Wizards a quality 6th man in the front court; he would give the Wizards a defensive presence in addition to Haywood; and he has Finals experience.

Given EG's eye for talent though, I'm confident he'll find value in the Wizards off-season options. They have a good hand to play with.

Posted by: JPRS | April 7, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

"I'm on the Rasheed Wallace bandwagon right now -- if the Wizards can move some contracts and convince Abe that Wallace has matured since 1994 -- he could be a great veteran addition for another year or two if the Wiz can lock him in at $8 to $9 mill a year.

He would provide some insurance in the front court in the event of injuries; he would give the Wizards a quality 6th man in the front court; he would give the Wizards a defensive presence in addition to Haywood; and he has Finals experience.

Given EG's eye for talent though, I'm confident he'll find value in the Wizards off-season options. They have a good hand to play with.

Posted by: JPRS | April 7, 2009 9:49 PM "

You really think Abe will want a guy like Rasheed on his team?

Get real.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Will Griffin wear #23 on the Wizards?

Posted by: jeremydvid | April 7, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

DC_MAN88 where have you been all this time? i've missed reading your comments :)

Posted by: hibachi | April 8, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

"Wallace has matured since 1994"

Physically, sure. Not in any other meaningful way. Plus, he's old, his body is breaking down, and he's gone from playing at 3/4 speed most of the time to half-speed most of the time. When he's healthy, fully engaged in the game, and playing with full energy he's one of the best players in the game. Problem is, even in his prime he rarely did all three of those things. He's way past his prime now.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 8, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Having the most ping-pong balls doesn't guarantee anything. Only 3 or 4 teams with the worst record have actually gotten the number 1 pick in the last 20 years or so. Some believe it's a kind of karmic backlash from the basketball gods against teams that tank.

And the Wizards do have the money to sign Griffin, if they're willing to go over the luxury tax or if they can unload some salary over the summer. It's too early to say that neither can or will happen.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 7, 2009 5:42 PM

Agree with Kalorama on this issue.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 8, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

dcman: "With MeTawn entrenched at the 4 with his 5 year deal, and AB behind him, that's pretty much a lock that Blake won't get any PT at the 4."

Okey-dokey, I'll take that bet. If the Wiz get Griffin, he'll get playing time at PF.

Somehow, I think I'm going to win that bet.

Posted by: Samson151 | April 8, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

"I believe Pollin said in an interview fairly recently that he would go over the luxury tax limit if he thought it would help him win a championship.

Posted by: cannontl | April 7, 2009 6:16 PM "

What else has Abe said?

That he'd let MJ buy back into ownership after his 2 year stint as a player is done?

How'd that turn out?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | April 7, 2009 9:36 PM

Deciding to let MJ go developed over a period of time.

I believe Abe/Ernie would go over the luxury tax limit for the right player. In a couple of months, we may get to see (or not see) an example of that.

Posted by: cannontl | April 8, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Do not be surprised to see the Wizards get Blake Griffin and trade him and Etan for a Theo Ratliff type player. Seems laughable but it just might happen!

Posted by: t-train | April 7, 2009 6:50 PM

We did trade Chris Weber for Otis Thorpe and Mitch Richmond.

Posted by: Fontana1 | April 8, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"We did trade Chris Weber for Otis Thorpe and Mitch Richmond."

Last I checked, Wes Unseld wasn't the GM anymore.

Posted by: kalo_rama | April 8, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of who the zards draft, it's the vets that will determine how well they play next year.

Jamison, Arenas, Butler, Haywood and anybody else is about as good a starting 5 as they need. IF those guys stay healthy and together they'll make everyone else better too .. including any pick #1 or #6, don't matter which one.

Posted by: boblas | April 8, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

If we are so lucky to get Blake Griffin I predict we will win a championship in the next 5 years. With his speed, power, and basketball IQ he's going to be the next dwight howard, lebron type player. Players that are stronger and faster than those at their position. BG would send Jamison to the bench where he belongs as a 6th man. He could come off the bench firing and still put 15-17 points per game.

Posted by: restonhoops | April 8, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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