We all know hindsight is 20/20, but how about a mulligan for the teams in the 2008 NBA Draft?
Who were the busts? Who were the breakout players? Which positions weren't filled and should have been? It typically requires three years to begin evaluating a class of players, so now is the time to drop judgement.
A stat I will be citing occasionally is John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER), which attempts to show the total contribution a player provides for his team; 15.00 is average and 25.00 is an MVP candidate. Also, read up on eFG percentage and TS percentage if you want to be schooled on some more advanced metrics.
In addition to reevaluating players, I will also re-draft based on positions of need then and now.
I now present to you the first round of the 2008 NBA Redraft.
Original Pick: Derrick Rose (Memphis)
Redraft Pick: Derrick Rose (Memphis)
"With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select Derrick Rose, from the University of Memphis."
David Stern said these words in 2008, and three years later, D-Rose stands as the reigning NBA MVP.
That usually constitutes a great pick.
Original Pick: Michael Beasley (Kansas St.)
Redraft Pick: Kevin Love (UCLA)
With Beasley not being the secondary scorer to Dwyane Wade they had imagined and later dealing him to the T'Wolves for next to nothing, Miami cleared enough cap space to bring together the Big Three.
But with Kevin Love next to Wade, the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and the guy who did "The Decision" wouldn't have happened, and in retrospect, the franchise might have ended up in worse shape.
As a side note, Love rebounded 23.6 percent available rebounds in 2010-11—tops in the league—and had a PER of 24.3, behind only Dwight Howard, Wade and some guy from Akron.
Original Pick: O.J. Mayo (USC)*
*Traded to Memphis for Kevin Love and others.
Redraft Pick: Russell Westbrook (UCLA)
The 2009 NBA Draft would have gone completely differently had the T'Wolves made the call for Westbrook. They could have locked up a franchise point guard in 2008, but instead deferred and took both Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio the next year. The point guard position has been a disaster since.
Westbrook's PER in 2010-2011 was 23.6, tying him with teammate Kevin Durant for seventh in the NBA.
Original Pick: Russell Westbrook (UCLA)
Redraft Pick: Eric Gordon (Indiana)
Though technically still the Sonics at this time, the franchise originally made a great pick in taking Westbrook, but with his absence on the big board, they now pick Eric Gordon. He's known as an undersized shooting guard with an explosive offensive ability.
In the first 41 games in 2010-2011 before getting hurt with a wrist injury, Gordon averaged 24.1 PPG on .468 FG percentage (.524 eFG percentage and .587 TS percentage for you stat-heads out there).
Original Pick: Kevin Love (UCLA)*
*Traded to Minnesota for O.J. Mayo and others.
Redraft Pick: O.J. Mayo (USC)
Everything comes full circle. The Grizzlies now can pick O.J. Mayo without having to trade for him.
Even through a tumultuous 2010-2011 when he was relegated to the bench and on the trade market, Mayo proved important in their series against the Spurs and Thunder. His scoring ability from the perimeter, as well as his much improved defense, validated his place on the roster.
Original Pick: Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Redraft Pick: Brook Lopez (Stanford)
The Knicks missed their chance to lock up their best center since Patrick Ewing. "Il Gallo" did well for them when on the floor, but injuries derailed him early in his Knicks career.
Original Pick: Eric Gordon (UCLA)
Redraft Pick: Michael Beasley (Kansas St.)
Since Gordon is off the board and the Clippers are a complete mess (as usual), they select the best talent remaining since every position can use a upgrade.
Do they now select Blake Griffin in the 2010 draft?
Original Pick: Joe Alexander (West Virginia)
Redraft Pick: Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
Let's take a moment to laugh at the original selection of Joe Alexander.
Now that you're finally composed—I hope—the new pick of "Il Gallo" gives the Bucks a wing option that can be lethal beyond the perimeter.
I usually have pictures of the new pick, but this one is just too funny to resist.
Original Pick: D.J. Augustin (Texas)
Redraft Pick: JaVale McGee (Nevada)
The Bobcats were and still are in desperate need of a true center. Other than Emeka Okafor, who was later flipped for Tyson Chandler for one injury-riddled season, they have had multiple scrubs manning the paint:
- Nazr Mohammad
- DeSagana Diop
- Alexis Ajinca
- Ryan Hollins
- Theo Ratliff
- Joel Przybilla
Original Pick: Brook Lopez (Stanford)
Redraft Pick: Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
With Lopez gone, the Nets pick the best remaining center. Moving on.
Original Pick: Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)*
*Traded with Ike Diogu in exchange for Brandon Rush, Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts.
Redraft Pick: D.J. Augustin (Texas)
The Pacers had the right idea picking a point guard who could score, but it's been difficult with Jack, T.J. Ford, Earl Watson, A.J. Price and Darren Collison. It's definitely a better looking team with Augustin in place.
Original Pick: Jason Thompson (Rider)
Redraft Pick: Jason Thompson (Rider)
Jason Thompson is a very underrated young post player. He just needs a few years to get stronger and more polished as a power forward or center.
Original Pick: Brandon Rush (Kansas)*
*Traded with Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts to Indiana in exchange for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu.
Redraft Pick: Anthony Randolph (LSU)
Hear me out on this one.
It's a reach, but at 6'11'' with the abilities to block and rebound, Randolph could be molded into a decent NBA center. I think playing alongside LaMarcus Aldridge would do wonders in helping him reach his potential.
When Kevin Love went down with injury, Randolph filled in with a career-high 31 points and 13 rebounds, and 24 points and 15 rebounds in consecutive games. The Blazers have been a solid team and can afford to wait on this project.
Original Pick: Anthony Randolph (LSU)
Redraft Pick: J.J. Hickson (NC State)
The Warriors have needed a big post presence for a while and attempted to remedy that by picking Randolph—and later, the trade for David Lee.
But Hickson was a more NBA-ready prospect than Randolph.
Over his career, Hickson has scored almost 16 points on .495 FG percentage and grabbed nearly 10 rebounds per 36 minutes. That's near All-Star level.
Original Pick: Robin Lopez (Stanford)
Redraft Pick: Serge Ibaka (Congo)
As we move into the non-lottery teams, the pickings get slimmer.
Ibaka has become an elite shot-blocker with 2.41 blocks per game in 2010-2011. Digging even deeper, he blocked 3.22 shots per 36 minutes last season, the most among qualified players.
Serge "Iblocka" would have been a great fit to run the pick-and-roll with Nash and Stoudemire, as well as a defensive intimidator and finger-wagger, like a certain other Congolese NBA player.
Original Pick: Marreese Speights (Florida)
Redraft Pick: Ryan Anderson (Cal)
I went with Ryan Anderson here because the next season the 76ers were last in three-point percentage at .318 and second-to-last in attempts and makes. They were also lacking a PF alongside Iguodala and Dalembert since Elton Brand was giving them very little at the time.
Anderson's .379 three-point percentage and 8.6 rebounds per 36 minutes would have helped stretch the floor and secure rebounds.
Original Pick: Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)*
*Traded to Indiana with T.J. Ford and others for Jermaine O'Neal and the draft rights to 41st pick Nathan Jawai.
Redraft Pick: George Hill (IUPUI)
The Toronto Raptors were and are in desperate need of scoring from the perimeter and rebounding. More outside guard shooting helps push post players back to the paint.
Andrea Bargnani has put up the most shots from long range every year since this draft, but more alarming is that he is a seven-foot center. He grabbed only 9.5 percent of available rebounds in 2010-2011. For perspective, he was out-rebounded by J.R. Smith, Thabo Sefolosha and Evan Turner.
Original Pick: JaVale McGee (Nevada)
Redraft Pick: Nicolas Batum (France)
The Wizards have had a huge roster turnover since 2008. Their top five scorers from that 2007-2008 season—Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood and Roger Mason—are no longer on the team, as well as Gilbert Arenas, who missed most of the season with a knee injury.
Needless to say, they needed—and mostly still need—any position available. Batum is a glue player (think Luol Deng) who is solid, though unspectacular, in all facets of the game.
Original Pick: J.J. Hickson (NC State)
Redraft Pick: Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky)
Let's go way back in the day when "The Infamous One" still wore a Cavaliers jersey. They had just lost a heartbreaking series to the Celtics in the conference semis and were looking for one more piece to get them over the hump.
Their second scoring options were Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes and "Boobie" Gibson. All they needed was someone to space the floor and hit open three's.
Courtney Lee seemed best fit out of the remaining picks, and instead of making the move for Mo Williams, they could have looked for a post player in the offseason.
Original Pick: Alexis Ajinca (France)
Redraft Pick: Marresse Speights (Florida)
At this time, the Bobcats had Raymond Felton, Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor (all no longer with them), so the only real position that could be upgraded was power forward.
Honestly, considering the lack of remaining talent (especially in the post), this was the best possible pick.
Check out Speights (No. 16) wondering how Emeka gets so high. It's called athleticism, my man.
Original Pick: Ryan Anderson (Cal)
Redraft Pick: Brandon Rush (Kansas)
The Nets haven't had much wing play since the departure of Vince Carter.
Not that Brandon Rush is much better than Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, Chris Douglas-Roberts or Terrence Williams.
Original Pick: Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky)
Redraft Pick: Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis)
The Magic could have used a stronger, more defensive-minded bench guard than J.J. Redick to compete with the top shooting guards like Kobe Bryant. However, CDR does not really fit in with the Magic's three-point-shooting-around-Dwight-Howard strategy, as his .286 three-point percentage would suggest.
The Magic went to the NBA Finals the next year, where they fell to the Lakers.
Original Pick: Kosta Koufos (Greece)
Redraft Pick: Donte Greene (Syracuse)
Just look how that franchise has fallen recently. No Carlos Boozer, no Jerry Sloan and no Deron Williams. They had planned their future around them three years ago, and things have not come to fruition.
Back then, they had a very good starting five with Williams, Brewer, Kirilenko, Boozer and Okur, but the bench was a liability. Donte Greene provides some energy at multiple positions off the bench.
Original Pick: Serge Ibaka (Congo)
Redraft Pick: Mario Chalmers (Kansas)
How does Mario Chalmers fall so far in the redraft like he did in the real draft?
In college, he played with the ball in his hands the majority of the time and made big plays for the Jayhawks in their 2008 championship run through the NCAA tourney.
However, there were question marks with his ball-handling, passing and mid-range shooting.
Chalmers was projected as a back-up point guard, but on this redrafted team with Durant, Gordon and Green, he becomes the starter. Just as he is with the Heat in 2011 and beyond, he doesn't need to contribute too much offensively other than knock down open three's.
Original Pick: Nicolas Batum (France)*
*Sent to Portland in a three-team trade that brought Donte Greene to Houston.
Redraft Pick: DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M)
In only three years, after not getting out of the first round in the playoffs many times, T-Mac and Yao would give way to Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola, then to Kevin Martin and Scola.
They should have noticed Yao's glass feet and loaded up on centers in the draft, but again, hindsight is 20/20.
I went with Jordan over Robin Lopez because of the shot-blocking and rebounding potential. Per 36 minutes, his career averages are 10.3 PPG, 10.6 RPG and 2.4 BPG. Also, he was fifth in block percentage (percentage of shots blocked per opponents' shots) in 2010-2011.
Original Pick: George Hill (IUPUI)
Redraft Pick: Robin Lopez (Stanford)
Though the Spurs are recently removed from their fourth championship in nine years, they should recognize that Tim Duncan is slowing down and bring in some young proteges.
Maybe Popovich and his crew could have molded the other Lopez twin into a better player than he currently is.
Check out his intense look in the picture. That, my friend, is a fierce desire to be half the player Duncan is.
Original Pick: Darrell Arthur (Kansas)*
*Traded to Portland for cash, then to Houston for Batum, then to Memphis for Donte Greene.
Redraft Pick: Darrell Arthur
Few people remember how solid the Hornets were back then. Chris Paul had the "best point guard in the league" label, they had David West and Tyson Chandler in the post and Peja Stojakovic was still a deadly three-point shooter (.441 three-point percentage in 2007-2008).
This time after drafting Arthur, they keep him, and he acts like he currently does with the Grizzlies—a gritty bench post player.
Original Pick: Donte Greene (Syracuse)*
*Traded in three-team trade to Houston that brought Darrell Arthur to Memphis.
Redraft Pick: Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)
Bayless falls due to his inefficient shooting (.410 FG percentage and .445 eFG percentage) and reluctance to facilitate (only 5.4 APG per 36 minutes).
Memphis could use a bench point guard behind Mike Conley Jr., although Greivis Vasquez now seems capable.
Original Pick: D.J. White (Indiana)
Redraft Pick: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA)
This is Detroit's first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, and they have needed these to spell their older players with fresher legs. They won 59 games in 2007-2008, but lost to the eventual champion Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
They still had the defensive-minded corps of Billups, Hamilton, Prince and Wallace who won them the 2004 NBA Championship. But over the last three years, their age has caught up to them in an ugly way.
Mbah a Moute is an above-average defender and capable rebounder, just the type of players the Pistons have loved over the years.
Original Pick: J.R. Giddens (New Mexico)
Redraft Pick: Bill Walker (Kansas St.)
Fresh off an NBA title, the Celtics were riding high, and frankly, this pick didn't really matter.
I mean, how else do you explain the selection of J.R. Giddens?
Bill Walker has proved to be a decent bench option with the Knicks now.
That concludes the 2008 NBA Redraft.
Notable undrafted players include Goran Dragic, Joe Alexander (hold your laughter), Alexis Ajinca, Kosta Koufos, Sonny Weems, Nikola Pekovic and Omer Asik.
Did your team improve with these picks? Feel free to leave some comments.