Blake Griffin loses lottery, headed to Clippers
Last year, Chicago was a long shot to win the NBA draft lottery and still wound up with the first pick. The Bulls used it on Derrick Rose, who led the team in an epic battle against the Boston Celtics in the first round of this year's playoffs.
This time, the first choice belongs to the Clippers.
"Clearly, we're taking Blake Griffin," said the team's general manager and coach, Mike Dunleavy, after the Clippers won the 14-team lottery. "This guy is the No. 1 pick. We're extremely excited. He's the guy."
At least one pick is set. Then again, this involves the Clippers, so anything could go wrong. Here's what analysts at NBADraft.net and DraftExpress.com are projecting for the rest of the local pro and college teams:
Lakers: With the team's exact draft position still to be determined by the outcome of the playoffs, it's not really clear what the Lakers will do and what needs they'll have to address. Draftexpress.com has them taking North Carolina shooting guard Wayne Ellington in the first round and Texas power forward Damion James and Temple swingman Dionte Christmas in the second. NBADraft.net says they may take Pitt small forward Sam Young in the first, small forward Vladimir Dasic from Montenegro and Fullerton point guard Josh Akognon in the second.
Clippers: It's one-and-done for the "other" tenant in Staples. They sent their second-round pick to Portland. Considering they already have several big men and Griffin projects as a center or power forward, don't be surprised if they wind up with a second or third pick through a trade.
UCLA: Jrue Holiday could go 18th overall to Portland, which is something both of the popular draft sites agree on. Darren Collison is projecting on the border of the two rounds. DraftExpress.com thinks he'll go 28th to the Timberwolves (rejoining Kevin Love), while NBADraft.net has him headed to Sacramento at 31, the first pick of the second round. No love for Alfred Aboya or Josh Shipp.
USC: DeMar DeRozan will be the top Trojan, going sixth to Minnesota, according to NBADraft.net, or eighth to the Knicks, according to DraftExpress.com. Taj Gibson remains tough to project, with NBADraft.net sending him 26th overall to Chicago and DraftExpress sliding him to the Spurs with the 23rd pick of the second round. No love for Daniel Hackett.
-- Adam Rose
Photo: Blake Griffin is expected to go from the Oklahoma Sooners to the Los Angeles Clippers. Credit: John Bazemore / Associated Press