The 2008 NBA Draft, while not full of star players, had some very good depth. NBA Executives once again did not fail to surprise us loyal viewers with some head-scratching picks and trades.
Without further ado, my surprises, steals, and more of the 2008 NBA Draft:
1) Russell Westbrook being taken at the number-four spot. He's a good player, but I don't think he's top-five good. I think that NBA Execs overrated his "winning" and "intangibles" qualities.
Yes, those are very important. But I think his deficiencies in other aspects of the game make him a liability at this position. I thought Bayless should have gone here, as the Sonics need someone to run the point.
2) Charlotte taking D.J. Augustin at the ninth spot. More importantly, they took him over Bayless. I think Augustin could be a good player, but I still think Bayless will be better and Charlotte reached for the little man.
3) Jason Thompson going number twelve. Who?
4) George Hill going number twenty-six to San Antonio. I had heard of this guy a while ago during the tourney—but, really? Is he better than Chalmers? I would doubt that.
5) DJ White at number twenty-nine. I just don't see him doing much as an short, stocky power forward.
6) Chris Wallace trading Love and Miller to get Mayo and an awful contract in Jaric.
Well, I guess this isn't really a surprise. Chris Wallace is so unpredictable that he can't really surprise you. But anyway, it seemed like he had finally done something right when he took Love, who I think will develop into a quality starter in the NBA. He was not only a need pick for them, he was the best player available at pick number five.
However, they decided that they wanted a combo scoring guard in O.J. Mayo—who, I must say, did look incredibly sharp in that suit (with the glasses to boot) at the draft.
The problem is that the Grizzlies already have an excellent (and underrated) scorer in Rudy Gay. Can you name their big men? Marc Gasol? I think you get the point.
Okay, so even swapping the picks would have been a mistake for Memphis. However, resident genius Chris Wallace didn't stop there. He traded Mike Miller, another player who does not get enough credit for what he can do. He's a lights-out three point shooter, a solid mid-range player, and a good rebounder. Last year, he averaged 16.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Memphis also acquired Marko Jaric as part of this blockbuster deal. The only good thing about Jaric is that he is engaged to Adriana Lima, so maybe she'll be around practice more often as a morale booster.
1) Jerryd Bayless falling to number eleven. I thought he could have gone as high as number four. I'm shocked that Augustin was selected over him in the first place. Portland then stole Bayless from Indiana. Imagine this starting rotation in a few years: Bayless, Roy, Outlaw/Webster/Batum, Aldridge, Oden. I'm scared. Seriously.
2) Darrell Arthur dropping all the way to number twenty-seven because of a potential kidney problem. I think the humiliation alone will provide Arthur, a player with plenty of skills, the drive to become a really good player in the league—and, in the process, make a lot of NBA GMs look really bad.
Honestly, there were no other blatant steals. We have to wait months or even years until we can really decipher the other steals from this draft.
Some Quick Thank-Yous
1) Thank you to the Lopez twins for providing a solid five minutes of entertainment. That includes the moment when Robin Lopez put on his undersized Suns hat on his oversized bed of hair.
2) Thank you to Michael Beasley, for making nearly every Heat fan have a heart attack after your interview.
3) Thank you to Chris Wallace, for making me scratch my head. It was bothering me.
4) Thank you to Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, for making the second round somewhat enjoyable.
There are only about 364 days until the next draft. I can't wait.