- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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Some thoughts on NBA draft night ...
• I really believe Stephen Curry will be the top rookie next season. He has charisma, ballhandling ability and great shooting range. Realize that last season at Davidson he saw a lot of double-teaming and even triple-teaming. Curry saw gimmick defenses and found ways to score; he still led the nation in scoring, averaging well over 28 points per game. I feel Curry is the best perimeter player available and Golden State made a great pick.
• Blake Griffin has great mental toughness and athleticism. He is explosive and will make an immediate positive force for the Clippers. I spoke with him at the Oklahoma-Texas game and he is a quality young man.
• Hasheem Thabeet joins former UConn star Rudy Gay in Memphis. He brings a post presence on the defensive side and you can't teach 7-2. He is still learning how to play but he has to learn skills offensively. He also has to get much stronger physically to go against Dwight Howard and other big men. How good he becomes is up to him and solid work ethic will help. You know that he will get plenty of minutes in Memphis.
• I was surprised when Arizona State's James Harden went third overall to Oklahoma City. His presence gives the Thunder a physical backcourt with Russell Westbrook. Harden passes the ball fairly well and is good going to the basket. He struggled in the NCAA tournament, and personally I would have taken Curry over Harden. I think Ricky Rubio's contract situation contributed to Harden's selection at No. 3. Give credit to Herb Sendek for working well with Harden.
• Tyreke Evans has great size but must improve his shooting range. He has a good feel for the game, is very active, can beat you off the bounce and gets into the lane well. Evans can score from the point guard slot. I like his aggressiveness and the way he attacks. This was a good choice for Sacramento.
• Ricky Rubio has to get stronger. He has great flair, is a creative passer and has charisma. Rubio is young and he has potential upside. One positive is that he faced great competition in the Olympics. I feel he has to cut down turnovers because he tries to make spectacular plays. I love his vision; he is showtime.
• I don't know about the combination of Rubio and Jonny Flynn. That could lead to a coach getting fired.
9hEric D. Williams
46mChris Broussard and Marc Stein