June 24, 2009
With the NBA Draft just a day away, Ball Don't Lie has decided to weigh in with its own 2009 Mock Draft. But since we know so little about college basketball, we called in SB Nation's team experts (and a few others) to throw their darts at the board. Let's see what sticks ...
With the 24th pick in the 2009 Ball Don't Lie NBA Mock Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select ...
Omri Casspi: F, Maccabi Tel Aviv, (Int.)
"It's nearly impossible to believe that General Manager Kevin Pritchard would use his first round pick at No. 24 after standing pat and watching the top 11 point guards go off the board ... but since these are the rules I'll opt for a tried-and-true Blazers tactic: draft-and-stashing all-potential international prospect Omri Casspi.
Casspi, potentially the first Israeli to play in the NBA, worked out for the Blazers in Portland and drew rave reviews from Pritchard. "He played well, had a good workout, shot the ball better than we expected. He's a competitive kid, when he's out there he seems to raise the level of play.'
Casspi passes the smell test: upon first glance, you can tell immediately that he has an NBA body and NBA grace to go with it. He moves like a player and it's easy to imagine him out running (maybe even leading) a fast break. His slight build necessitates a face-up game, though, and he probably slots in as a SF in the NBA — a position where the Blazers are currently log-jammed.
At age 20, Casspi has shown the requisite grit and toughness in his group workouts and still has all the time in the world to figure out how to stop shooting jumpers like Shawn Marion(notes). Barring a draft day trade, there's really not any room for Casspi on the Blazers' roster but in a thin draft year and with their eyes towards free agency, Portland can afford to wait a year for him."