NBA Draft 2008 Analysis: Winners, Losers, Steals and Busts
Now that the draft and major draft day trades are completed, it is time to analyze which teams won and lost from this draft. Also, which players are set to thrive in the NBA and who will join the likes of Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic, and Rafael Arujo as draft busts.
Miami Heat- With Michael Beasley, the Heat acquire the most NBA ready talent who is set to become a perennial All-Star. The Heat also address their point guard needs by trading for Mario Chalmers in the second round. A trio of Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley, and Shawn Marion will catapult the Heat back into the playoffs and respectability.
Portland Trailblazers- Over the past three seasons the Blazers have most effectively used the draft to rebuild the Portland Trailblazers into a championship contender. Drafting Jarryd Bayless adds another solid young player with superstar potential to a loaded team with Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and Lamarcus Aldridge.
LA Clippers- Drafting Eric Gordon fills an immediate need for both the point guard spot and perimeter scoring. He also has the potential to become a superstar and will immediately contribute. The Clippers also drafted a raw, but athletic talent in DeAndre Jordan. However, the probable losses of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette will keep the Clippers in lottery land.
Sacramento Kings- The Kings surprised the league by reaching to pick Jason Thompson (who was estimated to be picked in the 20's) with the twelfth overall pick. At Rider, Thompson did not even dominate mid-major competition in the MAAC, so his NBA success is uncertain at best. Sean Singletary is not good enough of a player to fill the Kings' need at point guard.
Minnesota Timberwolves- The Timberwolves would have been winners if they did not trade away O.J Mayo. O.J Mayo has the tools to become a perennial all-star in the NBA while Kevin Love's fundamental skills do not make up for his lack of speed or size to compete with top power forwards in the NBA. They also traded away a good point guard in Mario Chalmers for two mid-second rounders (the Heat are poised to return to playoffs).
Milwaukee Bucks- Drafting Joe Alexander (bust of the year) puts the Bucks on the losers list. Also since they traded for Richard Jefferson, there is limited playing time available for Alexander or second round pick Luc Richard Mbah A Moute who play the same position. The Bucks did nothing to improve its need at power forward either.
Charlotte Bobcats- DJ Augustin is probably one of the players who is most likely to succeed in this draft class, but the Bobcats (pending any [needed] trades) already have a promising point guard in Raymond Felton. Their second first round pick Alexis Ajinça only averages 5 points and 5 rebounds a game in the Euroleague. What other than his size equates to him doing any better in the NBA? If he had those numbers in the NCAA, he would not even sniff the second round.
Steals of the Draft:
Jarryd Bayless, No. 11 Portland (via Indiana)- A top five talent who has the game of a rich man's Stephon Marbury spurs the Blazers into championship contention.
Chris Douglas-Roberts No. 40 New Jersey Nets- CDR is a proven winner who has the ability to hit the clutch shot and immediately contribute in the league. He is also one of the best one-on-one players in this draft class.
Biggest Draft Busts:
Joe Alexander No. 8 Milwaukee Bucks- Before the Big East tournament, no scouts or college basketball fan outside of West Virginia identified Joe Alexander as a top ten NBA prospect. Postseason play shot Alexander up the draft board, but now he is playing opponents that equal or exceed his physicality. He is also unproven in shooting three pointers from NBA distance. His spot on the Milwaukee's depth chart will also affect his success in the league.
Kevin Love No. 5 Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis)- Kevin Love was an incredible college player who has old school fundamentals and excellent touch around the basket and shooting for a big man. However, like Adam Morrison and JJ Redick, college basketball's finest players tend to not succeed in the NBA. Kevin Love's physical inferiority will prevent him from reaching an all-star level in the NBA.
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