2008 NBA Draft Review

The NBA Draft is one of my favorite times of the year. Each and every potential draftee is thoroughly scrutinized and dissected in every which way. Teams literally use hundreds of complex statistical algorithms to try to determine who to pick. Teams find out what each draftee does with their free time and who he hangs out with. No detail goes unnoticed or unconsidered. From the moment the player declares until the day of the draft, every move the player makes is noted and analyzed. BUT…once the draft occurs, all the hoopla ends. You will not hear about most of the draft picks for years. At that point, some draft picks will be re-evaluated and labeled as “studs,” and some labeled as “busts.” But, most of the draft picks will never again find themselves as popular as they were for these couple months.

The 2008 NBA Draft was quite eventful. Before I reveal my thoughts, a little background on this draft. Almost every team in the draft says that it is one of the most difficult drafts ever to predict. Different teams are coming to drastically dissimilar conclusions on all sorts of players. Therefore, I did not attempt to preview or mock the draft, but I will review it. One of the common mistakes made in drafting is drafting for need or position rather than simply taking the BPA (best player available). For a simple example of this mistake, see the 1984 Draft and some guy named MJ. Another mistake is the best-case scenario mistake. Too many fans, and some teams, evaluate players based on their best-case scenarios. Teams draft the player with the highest potential or upside. Instead, teams should more heavily value which players have the best chance of reaching their best-case scenarios. These are the players with the strongest character and best work ethics.

Now, I will go through the lottery picks and give my thoughts focusing on the players that I saw play the most and therefore know the most about. Then I will add thoughts on a few post-lottery picks that I liked.

  1. Bulls - Derrick Rose – Easy no-brainer pick. Hall-of-fame potential. Great teammate.

  2. Heat - Michael Beasley – Another easy no-brainer pick. Hollinger’s #1 guy by a mile.

  3. Wolves - O.J. Mayo – Grizzlies end up getting Mayo, the guy they wanted badly. Mayo is going to be a solid NBA player, no doubt. But it remains to be seen if he can be a star.

  4. Sonics - Russell Westbrook – Shocker of the draft going this early. Best 1-on-1 defender in the draft. Long, fast, and athletic. Perfect complement for Durant if he can develop into a PG. Decent jumper and ball-handling but must improve upon both. Gets into the lane and finishes easily. All-NBA Defensive 1st Team potential.

  5. Grizzlies - Kevin Love – The most risk-free pick in the draft. Great grab by the Wolves along with Mike Miller. Love has the highest basketball IQ in the draft. Can shoot, rebound, pass extremely well. Mentally and physically tough. Extremely strong. More athletic than people think. Improved defense immensely under Ben Howland last season. Potentially an NBA All-Star, but no chance at being a bust.

  6. Knicks - Danilo Gallinari – I respect Donnie Walsh and the Knicks for choosing the BPA, instead of trying to appease the fans. Do not know much about him except from watching some YouTube highlight videos.

  7. Clippers - Eric Gordon – Have not seen him play much. Known as a great shooter (even though stats disagree) and a solid defender. Small for a SG.

  8. Bucks - Joe Alexander – My least favorite pick of the draft. Passing on Lopez and Bayless is puzzling. Tough, very athletic combo forward, but needs to improve skills in all facets.

  9. Bobcats - D.J. Augustin – Risky pick with Lopez and Bayless STILL on the board. More of a Steve Nash type PG who can shoot, pass, and penetrate. Small in size and cannot defend very well. Good leader.

  10. Nets - Brook Lopez – Lopez finally picked. Steal for Nets. Lopez (with limited athleticism) has potential to be a bust, but his combination of size, length and skilll is promising.

  11. Pacers - Jerryd Bayless – Steal of the first round. Bayless traded to Blazers. The Blazers are scary good, and their GM looks like the best in the business these days.

  12. Kings - Jason Thompson – Confusing, but gutsy pick, could have traded down and gotten him. Put up great numbers at a small school (Rider). Big NBA Frame that he needs to grow into.

  13. Blazers - Brandon Rush – Traded to Pacers. Like the pick. Think more athletic Aaron Afflalo.

  14. Warriors - Anthony Randolph – Similar player to Brandan Wright. Freak athlete. At least three years away from being any kind of productive.

  15. Nets - Ryan Anderson – He can flat out score. Led Pac-10 in scoring.

  16. Hornets - Darrell Arthur – If healthy, one of the steals of the draft. Traded to Grizzlies.

  17. Wolves - Mario Chalmers – Biggest steal of the draft. Quick and heady point guard who can defend the ball and cause chaos on defense. Shot 47% from 3-point range. Takes care of the ball and runs the offense well. Traded to Heat. Chalmers-Wade-Marion-Beasley core is dangerous in East (in a couple years).

  18. Clippers - DeAndre Jordan – #1 overall pick type athleticism. Would have been top 5 pick out of high school. Disappointing freshman season, but was still projected lottery early on. Could become a dominant force if he develops a work ethic and passion for the game. Low risk, high reward pick for the Clippers.

  19. Bucks - L.R. Mbah a Moute – Terrific defender. Think James Posey without a jump shot. Can guard several positions. Will be in the league a long time simply because he plays hard and dominates defensively.

  20. Nets - Chris Douglas Roberts – Richard Hamilton clone who can also flat out score.

  21. Wizards - Bill Walker – Top 10 talent, but has suffered from bad advice and some knee injuries. If healthy, potential All-Star. Traded to Celtics.

Draft Winners:

  • Heat – Chalmers and Beasley were both easy picks, but the easy pick is not always made.
  • Celtics – Giddens and Walker are both athletic guys who can contribute off the bench when Pierce and Allen are resting.
  • Bulls – Derrick Rose.
  • Pacers – Hibbert and Rush are solid, experienced winners who will have long NBA careers (albeit as role players).
  • Clippers – Solid pick with Gordon, possible superb draft if Jordan turns out.
  • Sonics and Wolves – Just because I like Westbrook and Love so much.
  • Nets – Got great value at their picks with Lopez, Anderson and CDR.
  • Blazers – Stole Bayless. They have been on the draft winners list for many consecutive years now.

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