2008 NBA Draft: Potential Steals and Sleepers
This draft already has been billed as Rose vs. Beasley by many different people, analysts and fans alike.
However there are many quality prospects besides the fast athletic Rose and the strong dominant Beasley, for example: O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, D.J. Augustin and Anthony Randolph.
Moreover I believe that this draft can go even deeper than that with prospects who can become great players in the NBA.
JOE ALEXANDER 6'8" 230 LBS WVU
Alexander was one of the most improved players this year in the Big East Conference. Increasing his points per game average from 10.3 ppg to 16.9 ppg in his junior year. His rebounding also saw a rise going from 4.3 rpg to 6.4 rpg this previous season.
If teams question his size and strength, Alexander already added 20 pounds to his frame in between his sophomore and junior seasons, and looks able to add another 10+ pounds and not hurt his game and athleticism.
While on the topic, this kid has what some people like to describe as "bounce." He's explosive and gets up and off the ground quickly and with relative ease.
Coming from West Virginia and learning under the tutelage of John Beilein for his first two seasons, he developed a consistent jumper that he only continued to improve through hard work last year. He really pushes off the floor on his jumpshot, making it almost non-blockable when you add his length and wingspan into the equation. Alexander has excellent shooting mechanics and if he is able to add NBA range to his already smooth stroke, that could mean trouble.
Also would need to further enhance his ballhandling skills to become a complete overall player
Comparison: Matt Harping (much much much more athletic).
CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS 6'7" 200 LBS MEMPHIS
Now, CDR had a great college career and a special run during the 2008 NCAA Tournament. However he is not thought to be "lottery-worthy," with some mock drafts having him being picked between the high teens and early twenties.
I see Douglas-Roberts as a steal in this years draft if he does fall down that low. He's an athletic guard who can drive to the rim and also can slash through defenses and is bigger, height-wise, than some of the current shooting guards in the NBA.
Only true question mark for CDR is his ability to knock down jumpshots. In Memphis' spread drive-and-kick style offense, CDR was often one of the main drivers taking advantage of the smaller players who would guard him. Yes he did shoot 41% from three point range this previous season but that increase in percentage from 32% last year is mainly thanks to the penetration and ability of Derrick Rose.
Also Douglas-Roberts isn't very muscular for his height but he was able to make it work in college and Kevin Durant had a pretty good year—2008 Rookie of the Year—despite his lack of bulk.
Comparison: Jerry Stackhouse (minus the jumpshot)
COURTNEY LEE 6'5" 200 LBS W. KENTUCKY
A very capable and prolific scorer, Lee averaged 20.4 ppg in his senior campaign. Lee almost lead his team deep into the NCAA Tournament before losing a close very well contested game to the Bruins of UCLA.
Has a good quick release and gets his jumper off with minimal space. Along with a silky smooth jumper Lee also has great one-on-one ballhandling skills and is able to create space from his defender to let that picture perfect jumpshot of his fly.
Can also attack the basket and is strong enough to finish strongly at the rim, which leads him to the foul line a considerably good amount of time. This will always be helpful in the NBA, especially with the league wanting to crack down on the physical play.
A good competitor with a great attitude and even though he wasn't in one of the best conferences he has what it takes to be a quality defender in the next level.
Comparison: Richard "Rip" Hamilton (more built)
JR GIDDENS 6'5" 205 LBS NEW MEXICO
Giddens is the definition of a freak athlete: runs fast, jumps high, floats in the air, etc. Giddens also has the ability to shoot the three very well, even though his 33% this latest year doesn't tell that at first glance.
He is a great rebounder thanks to his athleticism and long arms, which allow him to play bigger than his listed height of 6'5". Giddens was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school and would have given LeBron James a run for his money in the dunk contest if it wasn't for an injury.
Giddens attended Kansas University for two years before transferring to New Mexico his final two seasons. His numbers weren't terrible at KU either (averaged 11.3 ppg and 3.6rpg as a freshmen and 10.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg as a sophomore).
His numbers saw a nice boost while at New Mexico (15.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg as a junior and 16.3 ppg and 8.8 rpg as a senior), and he has all the tools to become a great and perennial First-Team All Defense type player for many years in the NBA.
Giddens name began to slip down most draft boards after leaving Kansas but he still possess all of the same traits that made him a highly recruited prospect and after sitting out one year due to transferring, has had 5 years to only make his game stronger. He is developing a better handle and will need that in order to be a consistent scorer on the next level.
Comparison: Shawn Marion
JAMONT GORDON 6'4" 220 LBS MISSISSIPPI ST.
Very big combo guard who has the ability to be a point guard on the next level. Knows how to use his body to his advantage when he gets in the paint and how to create separation on the perimeter from the defense. Very aggressive point guard and is always on the attack offensively.
Gordon is a stat-sheet stuffer as he can consistently put up impressive numbers in points (17.2 ppg), rebounds (6.6 rpg), assists (4.9 apg) and steals (1.1 spg).
A southpaw with the typical form that most left-handed ball players possess, a little bit of a slinging motion but its effective and smooth. Nice elevation and quick release allows him to get his shot off over taller defenders and once he heats up the green light suddenly pops up for Gordon.
Due to his size and strength it's possible for him to be able to guard players from the point guard position all the way to small forwards. Even though he is a very versatile prospect he is yet to solidify one aspect of his game as his niche or something he is great at.
At times has questionable decision making and limited court vision lessening his ability to be an elite playmaker. Will need to fine tune his game and develop a specialized area of his game.
Comparison: Antonio Daniels
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