2008 NBA Mock Draft:
1.) Chicago Bulls—Derrick Rose
I want to start out by saying I think this pick is a huge mistake. The Bulls seem locked into Rose, and as a fan of the division rival Pacers, I could not be happier that he is the way they are leaning.
Derrick Rose will be a solid NBA point guard, probably easily an above average one, but they are passing on a player that will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and a multiple time NBA All-Star. I will talk more about him when he gets picked though; I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
I keep hearing people refer to Rose as a tall point guard who can dominate the NBA physically, but Rose is only 6’2” which makes him shorter than Jason Kidd, Kirk Hinrich, Jamaal Tinsley, and Devin Harris. Rose will never pass as well as Kidd, shoot (or defend) as well as Hinrich, handle the ball as well as Tinsley or penetrate as well as Harris.
What I see Derrick Rose becoming is a Deron Williams with less strength and less explosive scoring ability. He is also not nearly as strong as Williams and will take a beating in the NBA when he gets in the paint.
Of course there are positives to Derrick’s game—he is very quick, has a high basketball IQ, and will be very able when it comes to running a team’s offense. He possesses a nice array of ways to score from 5-15 feet, and will probably develop a nice floater adding to that versatility, but he will never bring to the Bulls what Beasley could right away or in the long term.
2.) Miami Heat—Michael Beasley
I have a hard time believing that the Heat are really shopping this pick as has been widely reported. I think in the end you will see Miami sit here and get far and away the best player in this draft and we will quickly see them with the top level Eastern Conference teams again.
Michael Beasley is a hybrid of so many players past and present, and is as much of a sure thing that we’ve seen in the draft since Tim Duncan.
He combines Charles Barkley’s rebounding as an undersized power forward, Antawn Jamison’s versatility and ability to score from anywhere on the floor, Shawn Marion’s explosive leaping and offensive rebounding talents, and Carmelo Anthony’s quick first step and strength. I am not saying what Beasley could become; I am listing what Beasley is right now.
When he gets the ball down low he is nearly unstoppable because he has so many moves he can score with. He dominated teams last year who would collapse all five players to the paint every time he touched the ball. Oh yeah—he has a pretty nice jumper too.
I will even go as far as to say that in 15-20 years when we are looking back on Beasley’s career we will be talking about a top 50 all time player in this league.
The only drawback is that he is less than stellar defensively, but I saw some definite improvement in his defense as the season went on last year. He will probably always be somewhat of a liability defensively, but there is a real possibility that he could lead the league in scoring in a couple of years, so you just hope for whatever improvement you can get on that end and welcome his offense with open arms.
3.) Minnesota Timberwolves—O.J. Mayo
Personally I have Mayo listed as the second best player in this draft behind Beasley. You hear the same thing about Mayo every time he is talked about—great first step and excellent ability to clear space to get off his jumper.
These are the qualities that make Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Tracy McGrady etc. elite wing scorers. We will have to wait to see if he will be able to do it at the same level that those guys do, but there is no question that he is that type of player.
The concern with O.J. is that he is a good four or five inches shorter than all of those guys, but his worst case scenario is pretty much Ben Gordon, and he is a far better defender than Gordon is.
O.J. Also handles the ball very well and could play some point.
4.) Seattle Sonics—Brook Lopez
Seattle has a tough choice here. They have had bad luck taking centers high in the draft before, and Bayless is a very solid player who would bring scoring punch next to Durant.
I think Seattle settles on Lopez because they feel like you can get a guy like Bayless more often than a reliable center like Brook Lopez.
Brook has a very nice low-post game, and is an underrated defender. He isn’t the quickest or most athletic, but he knows how to use his body and would be a nice front court complement to Chris Wilcox and his athleticism.
5.) Memphis Grizzlies—Kevin Love
Kevin Love is an excellent outlet passer, probably the best we’ve seen in the draft since Wes Unseld. Love’s basketball IQ is also the highest out of any of the top five picks.
Kevin is just too perfect a fit for Memphis to pass on here. Eric Gordon is a possibility, but I think they end up taking Love who fits their system to a T. He will be perfect starting the break and will give them a solid defender and rebounder.
Another thing people forget about Love is that he is a decent outside shooter and will knock down the midrange jumper with some consistency in the NBA. I think he is the type of big you could pair with a jump shooting big, or a banger. Very versatile big man.
6.) New York Knicks—Danilo Gallinari
There has been a lot of hype the last few days linking Gallinari to the Knicks, and I think they are becoming pretty comfortable with taking him here.
I haven’t seen much of him other than highlight reels, but the Knicks need help everywhere, and he will probably be a good fit for D’Antoni’s system.
7.) Los Angeles Clippers—Jerryd Bayless
The Clippers are thrilled to see Bayless get to this point and they take him easily. Bayless has the ability to play off the ball and be a high scoring shooting guard or he could play point. Both are positions of need for the Clippers, so I see no way they let him slip any further.
8.) Milwaukee Bucks—Joe Alexander
This is a lock here. Skiles and Alexander are a good mix, Milwaukee needs a small forward, and there is no way Alexander goes any higher. I feel as confident in this one as I do in Rose going to Chicago.
Alexander brings a very versatile game to the Bucks, but he is still raw. I could see Skiles turning on him at some point and ending up burying him on the bench, but if he is patient, Alexander will develop in to a premier small forward.
9.) Charlotte Bobcats—Anthony Randolph
Charlotte is extremely disappointed in Lopez and Love being gone here, so they take the big man with the potential instead. Randolph is a project, but he has legit NBA size, legit NBA athleticism, and can do a ton of things well with the ball. He seemed to be slipping these last couple weeks, but I think Jordan is going to try and make a splash with this pick.
They look hard at slipping Gordon and Westbrook, but decide to go with need instead.
10.) New Jersey Nets—Russell Westbrook
I know they are supposed to go big here as well, and they are definitely disappointed with Lopez and Love going so early, but they can’t be too disappointed with getting a wing player that makes Carter and Jefferson expendable.
I view New Jersey in more of a rebuilding mode than others. I think the Carter/Jefferson duo will be broken up, and a backcourt of Devin Harris and Russell Westbrook has the potential to be jaw dropping.
11.) Indiana Pacers—Eric Gordon
The Pacers love the way this works out for them as they get to pair Gordon with newly acquired T.J. Ford, and the Pacers now have three excellent scorers from the wings in Gordon, Dunleavy, and Granger. It also is a pick that helps the fan base as they get the IU star. All that’s left is trading Tinsley and maybe people will start coming back to Pacers games.
Eric Gordon will be a very explosive scorer in the NBA, mostly because of his ability to get to the free-throw line. He reminds me of a smaller Corey Maggette with a better jump shot. I see him as a full blooded two guard, unlike some who think he could develop into a point.
12.) Sacramento Kings—DJ Augustin
Everyone in the Sacramento organization loves the Pacers right about now. They make the move for Ford so a point guard is no longer a pressing issue, and Augustin is there for them at 12. This is the scenario Sacramento is hoping for, and I think they’ll get him.
Augustin is a very good outside shooter, nifty ball handler, and passer and can start right away in the league. He is very NBA-ready on the offensive end. Defensively he is a liability, but the Kings have had to suffer through Mike Bibby’s defense for so long, they probably won’t even notice.
13.) Portland Trailblazers—Brandon Rush
They could easily move up to 10 to take DJ Augustin, which throws off everything, but if they stay put I think Rush is the perfect fit.
Brandon has great size as a two guard, and will play some small forward in the NBA as well. The Blazers need wing depth, and he’ll provide them with that instantly. He has a very complete game on both ends of the floor, and could end up being the steal of the draft.
I am convinced Mayo will be an all-star, but I could easily see Rush ending up becoming the second best wing player in this draft.
14.) Golden State Warriors—Marreese Speights
Speights is a perfect fit for Golden State. He can play in their offense right away and is a good complement to Biedrins.
A lot of teams are unhappy when Speights goes here, as he is being labeled as a possible lottery talent outside of the lottery, but I can’t see the Warriors passing on him.
15.) Phoenix Suns—Kosta Koufos
Koufos can hit the outside jumper with consistency, and is very good at getting open on the baseline without the ball and can get his shot off quickly. He will get a lot of open looks playing with Steve Nash and could average double digits his rookie year.
The issues with Koufos are that he has almost no back to the basket game what so ever. His only real back to the basket move is a hook shot that is unreliable at best. He will also become immediately the worst defender in the NBA. I think he’ll be a nice backup big man for them though.
16.) Philadelphia Sixers—Darrell Arthur
Arthur reminds me a lot of Antawn Jamison, and I think he’ll develop a better outside shot in the NBA like Jamison did too. He is a top 15 talent without question and Philadelphia has a need for some scoring out of the power forward position. They are going to try to sign Elton Brand, but in case they can’t, Arthur fits extremely well with the young squad they are building.
17.) Indiana Pacers—Mario Chalmers
The Pacers need a big man, and would have taken Speights, Arthur, or Koufos if any of them were available here. But Chalmers is the perfect backup to T.J. Ford and the Pacers would love to solve their point guard problems long term and have a backup plan in case Ford goes down. Chalmers defends very well, and can shoot the three—exactly what the Pacers need in a backup point.
DeAndre Jordan is a real possibility here, but I think the Pacers will move Ike Diogu, Shawne Williams, or Jeff Foster to pick up another first rounder and will take a big man there.
18.) Washington Wizards—Roy Hibbert
The Wizards would like to get Darrell Arthur, as they may be losing Jamison to free agency, but they are OK with Hibbert here.
Wherever Hibbert goes he will anchor their defense and brings a skilled offensive game to the table, and at 7’2” how could he slip any lower than this?
19.) Cleveland Cavaliers—DeAndre Jordan
Cleveland could use some front court athleticism and Jordan is great value here. He may not be the next Dwight Howard as some were touting him this year, but he certainly has loads of potential, and Cleveland can afford to wait on him a couple of years.
20.) Charlotte Bobcats—Chris Douglas-Roberts
What better guy for CDR to break in to the league with than Gerald Wallace? I think this is a great pick for the Bobcats if they go this way. If Adam Morrison were to come back strong next year, Douglas-Roberts' slashing game would go perfectly with him in the second unit.
21.) New Jersey Nets—Robin Lopez
After going with Westbrook at 10, the Nets will go big here for sure, and they are happy to see Lopez still sitting here. Robin is skilled passing big, but I’m not sure how he and Kristic would co-exist.
22.) Orlando Magic—Jason Thompson
Orlando is an up and coming team that could use a big man to go next to Howard who is capable of banging. They will not do any better than they did last year with Rashard Lewis playing the four, so Thompson will come in and bring explosive scoring down low to that position. Howard is happy because Thompson will bang and take some pressure off of him.
23.) Utah Jazz—Nicolas Batum
Batum is an interesting guy; he probably would have gone 17 to Toronto had they not traded the pick, but instead he slips to Utah here who snatches him up easily. He gives them a scoring threat from the wings, but we’ll see how long it takes for Sloan to give him minutes. He is certainly very raw.
24.) Seattle Sonics—Donte Green
This is pretty much a case of a guy who is way too good to still be here and Seattle just taking the best available. Green has the talent to be a top 10 player from this draft, and in Seattle he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills right away. He couldn’t ask for a better situation.
His explosiveness is a good mix for Jeff Green’s steadiness.
25.) Houston Rockets—Alexsis Ajinca
Houston has a lot of guys set to step into bigger roles this upcoming year, so they take the project in Ajinca instead of someone who is going to help right away.
He is very athletic and had great workouts, so I don’t expect him to fall much further than this.
26.) San Antonio Spurs—Courtney Lee
San Antonio’s picks never seem to make much sense when they happen, but this one makes perfect sense. Lee is very skilled, and can actually help a team right away; he is actually a type of player San Antonio rarely takes. With Finley and Barry aging in their second unit, they need a wing man who gives them youth and stability for the future.
27.) Portland Trailblazers—Kyle Weaver
I think Portland wants to wind up with a PG in this draft, so they reach for Weaver.
Kyle is an excellent defender and will bring competition to their PG rotation in camp. The Blazers will have a lot of guys competing for starting spots which will make them more ready for the start of the season. Look for a strong start out of the gates by Portland.
28.) Memphis Grizzlies—JaVale McGee
Many expected McGee to go much higher, but this is a fine fit for him. He can go into a team with no pressure to develop right away, work on his jump shot and low post game, and probably develop into a pretty good all around big man.
He is the total opposite to Kevin Love, and Memphis has a much better looking young front line coming in to next year.
29.) Detroit Pistons—Bill Walker
Detroit would like to get a small forward to backup Prince, and Walker is more of a shooting guard, but he’ll do well enough for them here. It is hard to anticipate exactly what Detroit will look like next year as they are definitely in the blockbuster trade market. This pick is hard to forecast, but I think Walker is a safe one.
Watch out for Walker to win a dunk contest sometime in the upcoming years.
30.) Boston Celtics—Nathan Jawai
With the final first rounder the Celtics go for the Aussie with the explosive game and they let him develop for as long as he needs to.