NBA Draft 2008: Winners and Losers
First off, I'm not going to make any jokes "Mayo and Love" jokes in this article. Even though that trade was so awkward and weird that it's hilarious.
Well let's recap this draft shall we? It was the year of the freshman, as twelve were drafted in all. Two twins picked, and they officially have the deepest voices this side of Andre the Giant.
The Grizzlies liked it so much with the Pau Gasol trade, they decided to trade their new best player for...you guessed it...NOTHING of immediate value!! Oh yeah, and has Darrell Arthur found his team yet?
-Minnesota: I don't really like the frontcourt of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, because I always thought Jefferson would play PF, but they are both really talented, so it could definitely work. They also got Mike Miller to fill their SF void. He's an extremely underrated player, and will get all the shots he wants in Minny.
However, the best part of the deal might have been getting rid of Greg Buckner, Marko Jaric, and Antoine Walker. All three were no longer welcome, and their contracts are history.
-New Jersey: The Nets continue to get ready for the LeBron sweepstakes with the RJ-Yi deal, but they also had maybe the best draft of the year. They got great value for each of their picks, adding potential studs in seven-footers Brook Lopez and Ryan Anderson, and talented slashed Chris Douglas-Roberts.
The two contracts they acquired in the Yi deal (Yi and forward Bobby Simmons) both expire before the summer of 2010, when LeBron will be a free agent. They seem to be giving themselves the perfect alley-oop to make a slam dunk and sign LeBron before moving to Brooklyn.
-Portland: They traded an average PG in Jarrett Jack, and got a better, younger one, in Jerryd Bayless. They also got underrated forward Ike Diogu, and heralded French center Nicolas Batum. The Batum acquisition was a big deal because not only is loaded with potential, but the Blazers didn't have an extra roster spot.
Batum will spend at least one more season overseas, so Portland won't have to eat salary by cutting a player. They also got three future second round picks from the Bulls for center Omer Asik, giving them an even brighter future to look forward to.
-Memphis: Yes, they acquired OJ Mayo, but now they have Mayo, Jaric, Buckner, Mike Conley Jr., Javaris Crittenton, and Kyle Lowry. Maybe they are setting up another trade, but by my counts that's four average guards and two potentials. Not too exciting, especially for next year.
Additionally, they traded Mike Miller, who was really the team's only long-distance threat with JC Navarro returning to Europe. Yeah they got rid of Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins, but Antoine Walker, Buckner, and Jaric don't look much better.
On the positive side, I like the Donte Greene pick at 28, who they promptly traded for Darrel Arthur. Who I like much less.
-Denver: They had no draft picks for the second straight season after giving theirs to Charlotte for a future pick. For a team that has a lot of incumbent, stale talent, a youth movement could have really added some energy.
-Danilo Gallinari: The poor kid had just about everything go against him last night. First off, he got the crap booed out of him at MSG. That's not easy for college vets to go through, so for a young player from Europe, it had to be a rough introduction to his future fan-base. Second, the Knicks drafted him.
That just unfortunate right there. He actually fits a position of need for the team, and fits in very well to Mike D'Antoni's offense, but it's not going to be fun to play in NY for a while. Third, his father’s friend and former teammate drafted him. If that doesn't scream out preferential treatment, I don't know what does.
He'll have to prove himself immediately to get the boo birds off his back. Luckily, Jared Jeffries and Wilson Chandler probably won't provide much comp at the small forward spot, so he should get a chance as soon as he starts working out with the team.
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