2008 NBA Draft: The Smart Selections
There's still two weeks before the early entry withdrawal deadline (June 16), but this final mock draft assumes the following players will still be in the draft. My selections are based on team needs and who I'd take, not a projection of which player a certain team may take. Essentially, I'm the GM and front office of every NBA team. Might sound selfish, so take these selections for what they're worth.
1. Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose, Memphis point guard: The Bulls could go with Rose or Michael Beasley and be more than happy, but adding a starting point guard right away who fits the system gives Rose the edge. Plus, he's from Chicago, so it's a nice story.
2. Miami Heat select Michael Beasley, Kansas State forward: At the pre-draft camp, Beasley measured closer to 6-foot-7, so he could be more of a small forward at the NBA level. Not a big deal, though, as Beasley will probably be an immediate starter.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves select Brook Lopez, Stanford center: Not the sexiest pick considering the guards available, but Lopez will compliment rising star Al Jefferson in the post. Plus, look at all the star forwards and centers in the Western Conference. They have to be reckoned with.
4. Seattle Sonics select Jerryd Bayless, Arizona point guard: I've been somewhat critical of Bayless' game, but after going back and watching more of his freshman season, I now realize he could be a pretty solid pro, especially alongside Kevin Durant.
5. Memphis Grizzlies select Kevin Love, UCLA forward: Memphis is based on athleticism, but is in dire need of a post presence because of the Pau Gasol trade. Love is an exceptional passer, great rebounder and has shown the ability to knock down outside shots.
6. New York Knicks select OJ Mayo, USC guard: New York needs help at all positions, but Mayo is probably a good choice for first-year head coach Mike D'Antoni and his up-tempo style of play.
7. Los Angeles Clippers select Eric Gordon, Indiana guard: The Clippers' two biggest needs are health and a three-point threat. Chris Kaman and Elton Brand will be back to anchor the middle, so a guy like Gordon, with his range, could really stretch the opponents' defense.
8. Milwaukee Bucks select Danilo Gallinari, Italy forward: The top need for Milwaukee is a small forward, and Gallinari is the best European prospect available in this draft. He plays like a point forward, but also has the ability to score in bunches.
9. Charlotte Bobcats select DeAndre Jordan, Texas A&M center: Charlotte wants to move Emeka Okafor to power forward, his natural position. Jordan is teeming with potential, and Charlotte, as well as Okafor, would love to have him.
10. New Jersey Nets select Darrell Arthur, Kansas forward: The Nets are set in the backcourt, so a solid low-post player is needed. Arthur is a bit of a risk because of his struggles on the boards, but his offensive productivity could potentially be a reward.
11. Indiana Pacers select DJ Augustin, Texas point guard: Indiana needs a backup (soon to be starter) for Jamaal Tinsley, and DJ is definitely that guy. His high character is great for a Pacers team that has had character issues the last few years.
12. Sacramento Kings select Russell Westbrook, UCLA guard: The Kings really could use an impact guard, and Westbrook is just that. He can score in a variety of ways, and his defense is second to none. He'll be solid on both ends of the floor as a pro.
13. Portland Trail Blazers select Anthony Randolph, LSU forward: Randolph could go as high as the top five, but I'm not sold on him just yet. He has the height of an NBA power forward, but the weight of a collegiate shooting guard. He even wore long sleeves at the pre-draft camp to conceal his wiry arms.
14. Golden State Warriors select Kosta Koufos, Ohio State center: Koufos is a 7-foot-1 athletic center who has the potential to do it all. He gets up and down the floor well, rebounds and knocks down shots from the outside. Great fit for the Warriors.
15. Phoenix Suns (via ATL) select Joe Alexander, West Virginia forward: Alexander has great size, athleticism and outside shot. His versatility makes him an immediate impact player, especially for a team like Phoenix that needs help from three-point range.
16. Philadelphia 76ers select Marreese Speights, Florida forward: Philadelphia prides itself on steals and transition buckets, and could ultimately use some help in the post. Speights is a guy that has great size that still fits the system, so he's a good choice here.
17. Toronto Raptors select Donte Greene, Syracuse forward: At nearly 6-foot-10, Greene is a very intriguing player because of his versatility. He has the tools to become an above-average defender as well.
18. Washington Wizards select JaVale McGee, Nevada center: Whichever team takes McGee is more so investing in his future than his immediate impact. If he's on the board here, it should be a no-brainer for Washington, a team that struggles on the boards.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers select Brandon Rush, Kansas guard: The Cavs need depth at all positions, but an immediate impact shooting guard sits atop the wish list. Rush hit many big threes at Kansas, and Cleveland needs an experienced player like that.
20. Denver Nuggets select Robin Lopez, Stanford center: A point guard is a definite need, but any beyond Augustin and Westbrook is a reach at No. 20. The next option is to find a defensive-minded interior player to take over for the aging Marcus Camby. Lopez fits beautifully.
21. New Jersey Nets (via DAL) select Chase Budinger, Arizona guard: I do think Budinger will slip past the lottery, but the Nets shouldn't pass him up here. It doesn't hurt to back up Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter, both of whom almost always have some type of injury.
22. Orlando Magic select Jason Thompson, Rider forward: I've been locked on this pick for a while, as I believe Thompson would complement Dwight Howard well. The Magic could, however, certainly go with a shooting guard here.
23. Utah Jazz select Roy Hibbert, Georgetown center: If he's available at No. 23, this pick should be obvious. The Jazz are a halfcourt set-type team, and Hibbert needs that, as there is no way he'll get up and down the floor without tiring quickly.
24. Seattle Sonics (via PHX) select Nicolas Batum, France forward: Seattle has shown it likes to go international with late picks, and Batum would be perfect. He's not one to stay overseas for a few seasons and mature, either. He's an immediate impact player.
25. Houston Rockets select Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis guard: Houston needs guard help badly, and CDR's ability to slash and score, as well as fill it up from beyond the arc makes him an intriguing prospect.
26. San Antonio Spurs select Serge Ibaka, Congo forward: Ibaka is a very young power forward, so he may be kept overseas to develop for a couple seasons. Typical San Antonio.
27. New Orleans Hornets select Wayne Ellington, North Carolina guard: Peja Stojakovic isn't getting any younger or healthier, and an assassin from distance is needed. Ellington has shown flashes of brilliance in Chapel Hill, and he could be the guy for New Orleans.
28. Memphis Grizzlies (via LAL) select JJ Hickson, NC State forward: The Grizzlies continue to add low-post depth in round one. Love and Hickson could be a nice rotation in a few seasons.
29. Detroit Pistons select Richard Hendrix, Alabama forward: Hendrix showed he's a hustle player at the pre-draft camp, and that he can bang in the post. Running the floor and staying out of foul trouble are hindrances that Hendrix will have to deal with as a pro.
30. Boston Celtics select Ty Lawson, North Carolina point guard: Rajon Rondo needs a backup, and Lawson would be that great energy guy off the bench for Boston.
Best Remaining Players
Mario Chalmers (Kansas point guard), Nathan Jawai (Australia forward), Davon Jefferson (USC forward), Kyle Weaver (Washington State guard), Lester Hudson (UT-Martin guard), Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky guard), Bill Walker (Kansas State guard), Gary Forbes (Massachusetts guard), Omer Asik (Turkey center), DJ White (Indiana forward), Joey Dorsey (Memphis forward), Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State guard), DeVon Hardin (California forward), Shan Foster (Vanderbilt guard), Nikola Pekovic (Serbia forward), Trent Plaisted (BYU forward).
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