Thunder Draft Harden, Trade for Mullens, Vaden

Thursday, June 25th 2009, 8:24 pm
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City picked Arizona State guard James Harden with the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft.

Harden, who averaged 20.1 points last season with the Sun Devils, provides another high-scoring option for the Thunder alongside former Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant.

The Thunder were left with a bevy of guards to choose from after Memphis took the draft's top big man, Hasheem Thabeet, with the second pick. After using the fourth overall pick on point guard Russell Westbrook last year, they went with the 6-foot-5 Harden over Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio.

Harden is the franchise's fourth top-5 pick in the past three years. The Thunder still have the No. 25 pick.

Read NEWS 9 Sports' analysis of the Thunder's No. 3 overall pick James Harden.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Rodrigue Beaubois with the 25 pick of the first round, probably the first thought many Thunder fans had was, who? But that was followed immediately by another question, what? And then the final one, why?

That's because the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks swapped their draft picks from late in the first round.

The Thunder get 7-foot center B.J. Mullens from Ohio State in exchange for point guard Rodrigue Beaubois from Guadaloupe and a future second-round pick.

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver announced the trade Thursday night.

Dallas had taken Mullens at No. 24, and Beaubois went to Oklahoma City with the very next pick.

Mullens averaged 8.8 points and 5.7 rebounds in his only year of college before making an early entry into the NBA draft. Beaubois has been playing in the French Pro A league the past three years after being discovered by NBA player Mickael Pietrus, who is from the same Caribbean island.

Mullens is a 7' 0" 258 lb. center who wasn't good enough to start for the Ohio State Buckeyes last year. But there is an upside to Mullens that had to be of interest to the Thunder.

As an old coach once said, you can't coach size. That's something Mullens does have. He's also very athletic for being a 7-footer. B.J. is a very aggressive player with the ball in his hands, always looking for ways to score. On the defensive side, he is a legitimate shot blocker with good timing.

Mullens will almost certainly spend the next year learning the center position while playing behind Nenad Krstic.

Without a second round pick, the Thunder made a trade to pick up Robert Vaden, who had been selected by the Charlotte Bobcats with the No. 54 pick.

Vaden is a 6' 5" guard/forward from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He's a long range specialist who set scoring records at UAB this year for three-pointers made, three-pointers attempted as well as points scored in a year.

Round 1 Draft Picks:
1. Clippers - Blake Griffin, Oklahoma
2. Memphis - Hasheem Thabeet, UConn
3. Oklahoma City - James Harden, Arizona State
4. Sacramento - Tyreke Evans, Memphis
5. Minnesota - Ricky Rubio, DKV Joventut
6. Minnesota - Jonny Flynn, Syracuse
7. Golden State - Stephen Curry, Davidson
8. New York - Jordan Hill, Arizona
9. Toronto - DeMar DeRozan, USC
10. Milwaukee - Brandon Jennings, Lottomatica Roma
11. New Jersey - Terrence Williams, Louisville
12. Charlotte - Gerald Henderson, Duke
13. Indiana - Tyler Hansborough, UNC
14. Phoenix - Earl Clark, Louisville
15. Detroit - Austin Daye, Gonzaga
16. Chicago - James Johnson, Wake Forest
17. Philadelphia - Jrue Holiday, UCLA
18. Minnesota - Ty Lawson, UNC
19. Atlanta - Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
20. Utah - Eric Maynor, VCU
21. New Orleans - Darren Collison, UCLA
22. Portland - Victor Claver, Spain
23. Sacramento - Omri Casspi, Israel
24. Dallas - B.J. Mullens, Ohio State
25. Oklahoma City - Rodrigue Beaubois, France
26. Chicago - Taj Gibson, USC
27. Memphis - DeMarre Carroll, Missouri
28. Minnesota - Wayne Ellington, UNC
29. L.A. Lakers - Toney Douglas, Florida State
30. Cleveland - Christian Eyenga, Congo