NBA Rookies: Comparing the Crop

Gary LloydSenior Analyst IJuly 5, 2008

Most newcomers to the NBA don't like to compare themselves to past NBA players.

Well, some do, but deep down they want other players to be compared to them, in time.

What I'm about to do is compare the 30 first-round picks to a current NBA player.

Let's get to it.

1. Derrick Rose: For a point guard, Rose has great size, athleticism and strength. He's explosive in any situation on the court, and has the ability to be a stat-sheet-stuffer. The Comparison: A slightly more advanced version of New Jersey Nets' star Devin Harris.

2. Michael Beasley: Beasley is a bit shorter than we all thought, so he's a better fit as a small forward. He can, however, still score from anywhere on the floor. His rebounding skills are above average as well. The Comparison: He reminds me a little bit of a left-handed Antawn Jamison.

3. OJ Mayo: Mayo is a can't-miss star in this league. He can play the 1 and 2 positions, making him a star in the making as a combo guard. Despite questions about his character, he'll make his team better. The Comparison: Brandon Roy of the Portland Trail Blazers.

4. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook's offensive game still needs a lot of work, but he's an athlete the Sonics must have on the floor immediately. He was probably the best defender in the draft. The Comparison: Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors - both are point guards in the making with freakish athleticism.

5. Kevin Love: Love's offensive game is polished compared to most freshmen, so he's good in that category. He must improve his endurance, possibly needing to get a bit stronger or lose a few pounds. The Comparison: David West of the New Orleans Hornets.

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6. Danilo Gallinari: Gallinari is a small forward with point guard abilities. He can also shoot the ball very well from beyond the arc. The Comparison: Mike Dunleavy Jr. of the Indiana Pacers.

7. Eric Gordon: Gordon is a bit short for the natural shooting guard position, but he's a strong guard who will get his points. He could be an explosive option off the bench as a rookie for the Clippers. The Comparison: Ben Gordon of the Chicago Bulls.

8. Joe Alexander: Alexander can do so many things all over the court, so his game is pretty rare. He can knock down long shots and finish beautifully. The Comparison: Shawn Marion of the Miami Heat.

9. DJ Augustin: Augustin will be criticized because of his height until he proves otherwise on the court. The Comparison: Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic.

10. Brook Lopez: Lopez has solid post moves, but lacks athletic ability. He tends to look slow at times, but he won't turn the ball over with his great hands. The Comparison: Brendan Haywood of the Washington Wizards.

11. Jerryd Bayless: Bayless is an exceptional natural scorer who plays with a lot of passion. He makes his team better, even if the assist numbers aren't always there. The Comparison: Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards.

12. Jason Thompson: Thompson entered college as a guard, but grew significantly in his time at Rider. He can shoot from the outside, post up and block shots. He's also a fluid athlete. The Comparison: A quieter version of Kevin Garnett.

13. Brandon Rush: Rush recently mentioned a former player he wants to be like in his NBA career. I know he's not a current player, but you never know when he may come back. The Comparison: Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers.

14. Anthony Randolph: Randolph is an incredible athlete that will time after time get bashed for his rail-thin frame. He'll just have to prove the doubters wrong. The Comparison: Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons.

15. Robin Lopez: Lopez plays with a high motor, blocks shots and is an overall great defender. Nah, you know what, it's just the hair. The Comparison: Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

16. Marreese Speights: Speights will struggle early on in his career because he wasn't quite ready to make the jump. But, his ability to make mid-range jumpers and bang in the post makes him an intriguing young player. He has the frame to add weight and muscle, too. The Comparison: Elton Brand of the Los Angeles Clippers.

17. Roy Hibbert: Hibbert is an astounding 7-foot-3 and a bit of a quiet guy on the floor. His short jumpers must improve, which he's shown they can. The Comparison: Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

18. JaVale McGee: McGee was a pick purely based on potential, as he still has a ton of room to grow, both mentally and physically. He could turn out to be a great surprise, though. The Comparison: Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers.

19. JJ Hickson: Hickson is a bruising prospect with great length for a power forward. He could be a fierce defender as a pro. The Comparison: Kenyon Martin of the Denver Nuggets.

20. Alexis Ajinca: Ajinca probably won't be on an NBA regular season roster soon, but his thin frame and offensive tendencies remind me of a former Texas star. The Comparison: LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers.

21. Ryan Anderson: Anderson is a tough matchup because he has near center height and a shooting guard's stroke. He'll have to learn to get in the paint, though, much like his comparison. The Comparison: Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.

22. Courtney Lee: Lee was a great scorer at Western Kentucky. He'll be the three-point specialist the Magic need in the coming years. The Comparison: Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics.

23. Kosta Koufos: Koufos is one of many athletic 7-footers in the game today. His outside game will definitely improve, as he'll be playing with his similar pro. The Comparison: Mehmet Okur of the Utah Jazz.

24. Serge Ibaka: Ibaka is an amazing athlete for his size, but may not be with the Sonics for a couple seasons. As a pro, though, his game is either boom or bust. The Comparison: Stromile Swift of the New Jersey Nets.

25. Nicolas Batum: Batum is a prototypical small forward with incredible quickness. He'll have some highlight dunks in the future. The Comparison: Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies.

26. George Hill: Hill is an extremely efficient offensive player that knows when to score and when to get his teammates involved. He could be a solid floor general for the Spurs. The Comparison: Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns.

27. Darrell Arthur: Arthur has enough size to bang in the post, but also enough to jump over his counterparts. He's an amazing athlete that can step outside and knock down jumpers consistently. The Comparison: Antonio McDyess of the Detroit Pistons is a perfect parallel.

28. Donte Greene: Greene could have benefited by staying in school, but his athletic ability earned him a first-round contract. He needs to mature and better his shot selection, but his potential is very intriguing. The Comparison: Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic.

29. DJ White: White had his injury issues, but when he was on the floor, his impact was felt on both ends of the floor. His passion for the game is unquestioned. The Comparison: Chris Wilcox of the Seattle/Oklahoma City Supersonics.

30. JR Giddens: Giddens is a highlight waiting to happen on a fast break, and a sure thing from beyond the arc. He's an OK defender, but has the potential to be great. The Comparison: Jason Richardson of the Charlotte Bobcats.

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