Found this in my archives, enjoy while I am acting all impressing on my other draft predictions.
The 2008 NBA is similar to the 2007 draft in that you have a 2 player draft- and a BIG drop-off at number 3 then another steep decline after 6 as well.
At the top of the draft sit the Chicago Bulls, who have a lot of solid players but not any superstars. The signing of Ben Wallace pushed them back more than pushed them forward in the Eastern Conference. I see the Bulls take Derrick Rose (14.9ppg, 4.7apg, 4.5rpg and 1.2spg) from Memphis and packaging Hinrich with some other players for a Power Forward/Center possible even Elton Brand in a return to Chicago. I would always take a top PG over any position other than center in the NBA because – as Utah and New Orleans prove – a top tier PG makes your team a lot better. The problem that the Bulls have in this pick is unless Derrick Rose is a special player then the Bulls will pass on a MAJOR chance to get a lot better over Hinrich. If Rose ends up another Jay Williams then they are going to be in trouble as Rose does have his own problems. Number one: his shot is streaky at best (71% from the line and 47% from the floor) and he has bad form. A point guard should not still be shooting from the shoulder, for example. Number two: Rose has always been the most talented player on the court, and when he gets to the NBA that will no longer be the case. The NBA is filled with players that were men among boys for the first 20 years who then could not compete once they faced players just as fast and just as talented.
With the second prize the Heat get the best player in the draft, Michael Beasley (26.2ppg, 12.4rpg and 1.6bpg) of Kansas State. Just like last year the top pick goes to the hardest position to fill – and the best player goes at number 2. With a solid core of Marion, Wade and Beasley, Pat Riley can really start to rebuild the Heat – and if Haslem can return to form, the Heat will contend a LOT sooner than later. Unlike Rose, Beasley has a VERY smooth shot and has played at a higher level. Beasley has his own problems (one being as 1.2 assist rate) meaning either an unwillingness or inability to share the ball. The major problem is: where does he play? He does not have the footwork to play outside at small forward and may not have the bulk to play power forward. He has shown a willingness to work and at just 19, he may end up answering these questions like Kevin Garnett did, who had the same two major question marks around him – though KG was more polished out of high school than Beasley is after one year of college.
The next level starts with Jerryd Bayless (19.7ppg, 4apg, 1 spg), a good shooting PG from Arizona who should be a good tag team partner with Al Jefferson for the next half decade in Minnesota. No one is going to mistake him for Steve Nash, but he is a better shooter than Nash with a .407 3-point percentage and is almost as quick. Bayless seems to be better on the floor than he is on the stat sheet, and considering he will be playing in Minnesota that may be a good thing. Bayless, unlike the first two picks, appears to be a very polished player who is very aggressive. He is more than willing to put the game in his hands and is a VERY smart player. Bayless does have a few question marks around him. Just four assists for a point guard is a problem and his durability is also a concern. But Bayless could very well end up making the Bulls and Heat look VERY bad in a few years. Potential can kill you and Bayless could cost several men their jobs.
The Sonics dropped two spots in the draft and need some serious size in Seattle. Brook Lopez (19.3ppg 8.2rpg and 2.1bpg) is going to slide right in up North and, being only 20, is going to grow with Durant and Green no matter where the team turns up. Lopez is a very polished player who is going to draw an NBA check for a long time and could wind up being a very solid player – how many seven footers are there in the NBA, for example? I have a lot of issues with Lopez unfortunately. The Pac-10 is not exactly the Western Conference in talent and he barely cracked 8 boards a game. True, his brother might have cut into his numbers but he is not that explosive and quick. Hopefully he will grow as a player and improve his HORRID shot selection for his new home.
The Grizz are toast at 5. They have to rebuild, they didn’t do very well at the lottery, and the obvious pick is sitting there – but he is going to be gone just as soon as he can. Personally, I would trade the pick unless someone falls and do what I can afterwards with OJ Mayo (20.7ppg, 4.5rpg and 3.3apg), who has been waiting for this day since 10th grade and would not surprise me if he pulled a Kobe on the Grizzlies either. OJ Mayo could be the star of this draft or the biggest bust in this draft.
Best case scenario: OJ loves to win and he is going to go to the Grizz with the attitude that he is going to make that franchise in his image the way he said that he going to do to USC. OJ is used to the spotlight, it does not bother him, and he does have the work ethic to make Memphis matter.
Worst case scenario: OJ Mayo goes to Memphis and tries too hard and simply is not good enough to be the MAN he was in High School. He was not able to will USC to the Final Four and he might end up losing his focus and pouting his way out of town – or, even worse, destroying the team by trying to score 50 points a game. There will be less of a spotlight on him than at any point in his life after the draft, and how he handles that is going to tell how good he is going to be in the NBA.
The final second tier player is the European Danilo Gallinari (18.1ppg and 6.5apg) another SF in a team that needs anything but. Yet a new coach and new attitude is going to have to start somewhere and – unless the Knicks dump a salary to jump up a spot to the Grizz to get Mayo – Gallinari will yank a Knicks hat on so fast it might cost him an ear. But Danilo is going to be a top 7 SF in the NBA in a very short time. Danilo has a ton of tools at his age and is a gifted passer for a 6’8 player, though he does need to get stronger. We might have to wait a bit on Danilo, something that might be a blessing as, by the time he is free to come to America, the Knicks will be in a MUCH better cap situation.
The next level of player starts with the Clippers who will also be doing whatever they can to get Mayo or Lopez. But the best of the rest start with Russell Westbrook (12.7ppg, 3.9rpg, 1.6spg and 4.3apg), a point guard from UCLA has been steadily improving over the last year. The Clippers will be glad for the local product and if he is healthier than the current point guard the Clippers will take that. The good news for the Clippers is even if Westbrook is not able to replace Livingston on the offensive end of the floor he will walk through the door already the best on the ball defender in Clipperland.
The Bucks are in a hard spot – the two best players on the board are Eric Gordon and Kevin Love, and the two best players on the Bucks are at the two spots they play. Redd can’t play another position so the pick here is Kevin Love (17.5ppg, 10.6rpg and 1.4bpg), a solid frontcourt player who should draw an NBA check for the next 10 years. Love may never seeing an all-star game as a player but he will never be seeing the bench very long either. Love at times showed some VERY good post moves and some VERY solid footwork. Problem is, Love wears out quickly and in an 82-game grind might not even MAKE it to the rookie wall. If put in the right system under the right coach, Love is going to be a solid player for 22 minutes, but he is NOT going to be the answer at Power Forward.
This leaves Jordan a chance to swing another deal to get out of this pick – perhaps Jamaal Tinsley from the Pacers? Failing that, that the Bobcats have Gordan, Anthony Randolph, and Darrell Arthur on the radar. I would think the pick will be Eric Gordan (20.9ppg 3.3rpg and 2.4apg,) a solid shooting guard from Indiana to pair with Wallace in the frontcourt. The Bobcats are set at the middle 3 positions, but this is simply the best player available and in today’s NBA a sixth man is as important as a starter. Gordan will give the Bobcats a spark off the court for years to come and he seems to have the personality to take that role until Jason Richardson drops or he can take a LOT of point guard minutes. Gordon is a very good shooter and works HARD on the defensive end of the court. If Gordan was 3 inches higher he might be Joe Johnson.
The Nets are going to add Anthony Randolph (15.6ppg, 8.5rpg and 2.3bpg) to the club and be rather happy about it. He is a very good player and has a chance to devolop into a player who is going to be looked at as a steal at 10. Randolph is going to regret passing up another year in the NCAA to work on his game but is going to be Harris’ best friend for the next decade and is going to have a lot of success. I look at him having a Lamar Odom type of career. He isn’t THAT much better – he has tons of talent and can dominate, but never for a series or for longer than 10 minutes at a time. But I do like him as a player. He is a massive matchup problem on the floor, he does love the game, and he has gotten better and better as the season went on. Had he gone to a coach like Dave Odom, he would be the top pick in 2010 like Duncan was a while back and looking to anchor a franchise for YEARS. Randolph is a VERY skinny player and HAS to work on his 11% 3 point shooting.
The Pacers are going to try to either replace Tinsley before the draft of during it when they take D.J. Augustin (19.2ppg, 5.8apg and 1.2spg) from Texas, who took over that team post-Durant and at times had them playing better ball then they did last year. Mike Conley was not the PG in the NBA he was in DJ’s spot last year. That and the fact that he is 5’11 might cause him to slip even further. DJ has a lot of negatives but the teams he plays on wins. He might be a good fill-in point guard but is not going to solve the Pacers problem there, but with a solid (38%) 3-point shot DJ will get a chance.
The Kings are going to take a loooooong look at a lot of teams and a lot of trades but if they keep the pick then JaVale McGee (14.1ppg, 7.3rpg and 2.8bpg) is coming off the board. He is raw but has a TON of potential and is a true 7-footer. Considering the Kings are at a crossroads of a franchise, McGee is not a bad place to start – and the Nevada ties help as well. McGee improved across the board and even doubled his assist-to-turnover ratio. One of the more impressive facts about JaVale is that even though he played over 27 minutes a game, he only had 2.5 fouls a game. McGee has a large frame and a willingness to learn that will help in his development. If McGee can add about 15 more pounds without losing his agility the next King generation will be built around him.
Portland is going to have a solid Rookie next year – if it is not top pick Oden from last year, then PF Darrell Arthur(12.8ppg, 6.3rpg, and 1.3bpg) from Kansas. Arthur, while not even coming close to being the PF from last year’s champion Al Horford’s impact in the NBA, would be a good turnout at but 60% of that production. Arthur might be a great leaper and have a great looking shot, but his boarding and shooting percentage does show that looking great does not show great stats or great production. Arthur is a solid mid-round pick that should have gone back for another year. But, at 6’9″, he shows a ton of potential on a very young frontcourt.
This just in – Baron Davis is looking to go from Golden State – meaning that they are going to have to find Don Nelson some players. That starts with Joe Alexander (16.9ppg 6.4rpg, 1.5bpg), a small forward from West Virginia, who is shooting up the boards after some workouts and may end up going to Nets. I just don’t seem him being that good a player, yet without Davis the Warriors need everything. If Alexander had about 2 more inches to go with his WIDE wingspan he would end up a good power forward and in Nellie Ball he might even play a good bit of minutes against certain teams as he has great conditioning and is willing to do anything. These are qualities Don Nelson is going to LOVE. And if any coach can take Alexander and make him a consistent force, it’s Don Nelson.
Wrapping up the top 15 Mock Draft is the Suns, who have a pretty good pick here. Getting DeAndre Jordan (7.9ppg 6rpg and 1.3bpg) this low is a pretty good thing as long as they have Shaq to tutor this kid, who could have been a top 5 pick next year or even top 10 this year if he wasn’t looked at as lazy by some GMs. Well… maybe pairing him with Shaq isn’t the best idea after all. Jordan is very athletic and explosive but lacks any shooting touch at all and needs to develop some post moves. Jordan is young and can run the floor pretty good for a 7-footer.
This is the way I have the first half of the NBA Draft. This draft has a lot of potential but almost every player has holes – where they go and who develops them is going to go a long way to telling how good this draft pans out.
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