June 26, 2009
The Los Angeles Clippers selected Blake Griffin with the No. 1 pick Thursday night, grabbing the only player considered a sure thing in a draft full of question marks. Griffin was the consensus college player of the year after leading the nation with 14.4 rebounds per game while averaging 22.7 points last season for Oklahoma. The Clippers said they would take the forward with the pick hours after they won the draft lottery last month.
The Memphis Grizzlies then grabbed Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet, a dominant rebounder and shot blocker who doesn't have strong offensive skills.
The draft followed a busy day of trades in the NBA. A deal that sent Shaquille O'Neal to play alongside LeBron James in Cleveland was completed earlier Thursday, and Eastern Conference champion Orlando acquired Vince Carter from the Nets in a swap completed shortly before the first pick was made.