Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 NBA Mock Draft 1.0

The NBA Lottery took place last night with the Chicago Bulls capturing the number 1 pick despite only having a 1.7% of getting it. Now the Bulls top question becomes do they take Kansas State forward Michael Beasley or Memphis point guard Derrick Rose? Who will the rest of the teams pick and will there be trades?

So now that the ping pong balls have bounced Chicago's way, it's time to answer these questions. With the Draft still over 1 month away expect tons teams to flip flop on decisions. After all, the NBA pre draft workout in Orlando has not yet taken place. Also, the June 16th deadline for players that have not hired an agent to withdraw has not passed so the players available on draft day may be different than they are today.

Now on to the selections. (In my best David Stern voice) With the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select......

1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose - PG - Memphis
The Chicago native may get a chance to return home and bring the Bulls their first championship sans Jordan. The Bulls have a PG Kirk Hinriech locked up for 5 more years but they will not pass on the best player in the draft. Rose immediately will step in as a floor general and make the Bulls one of the favorites in the East. One thing is for sure though, Rose won't be able to his #23 that he wore at Memphis.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwayne Wade/Jason Kidd

2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley - PF - Kansas State
The Heat had an admirable tank job last season and now face a win win situation. They may get the number 1 player on their board (Rose) if Chicago takes Beasley. If Chicago takes Rose, look for the Heat to try and trade this pick because Pat Riley is not completely sold on Beasley. That may also signal the beginning of the end for Dwayne Wade in South Florida when his contract expires.

NBA Player Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Brook Lopez - C - Stanford
The 7 foot Lopez will fill the Timberwolves need for a big man to compliment Al Jefferson inside. Lopez is the most polished big man in the draft. However, because Kevin McHale is in charge of the Wolves draft don't count out the possibility of the them taking OJ Mayo or even Danilo Gallinari.

NBA Player Comparison: Brad Daugherty

4. Seattle Sonics - Jerryd Bayless - PG - Arizona
The Sonics were the big loser on NBA Lottery night falling from 2 to 4. However, they can still pick up a "must see to believe" type point guard not named Rose. By taking Bayless, they will be adding a scoring guard who will take offensive pressure off Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

NBA Player Comparison: Gilbert Arenas

5. Memphis Grizzlies - OJ Mayo - SG - Southern California
The Grizzlies are loaded at PG (Kyle Lowery, Mike Conley, and Javaris Crittenton) so they will opt for the best SG in the draft in OJ Mayo. Also, look for them to perhaps part with a loaded back court and move down if they favor Eric Gordon or a PF. Mayo's star potential may be too much to resist. A trio or Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, and OJ Mayo may put the Grizzlies in playoff contention in a few years.

NBA Player Comparison: Ben Gordon

6. New York Knicks - Danilo Gallinari - SF - Italy
This Knick will be widely unpopular in NY and booed on draft night. Knicks fans need to trust new coach Mike D'Antoni as he has deep connections to the Italian League. The Knicks need a small forward that can step back and shoot. He will eventually fit into D'Antoni's run and gun offense when the Knicks find the right point guard. This pick will be made by Donnie Walsh with the thoughts of overhauling the team and rebuilding with pieces around Gallinari and perhaps free agent to be in 2010 Lebron James. Also, look for the Knicks to trade down to gather more picks and take Eric Gordon or either of the two best remaining point guards DJ Augustin and Russell Westbrook.

NBA Player Comparison - Detlef Schrempf

7. Los Angeles Clippers - Russell Westbrook - PG - UCLA
The Clippers would love to have Gallinari fall to to them but with him gone look for them to take a guard who will fill an immediate need. This guy is fearless in a wide-open game. He just goes to the basket, though maybe a little too hard when a big man is waiting. Westbrook has good size and some muscle to go with his decent mid-range jumper. He also gets into a defensive stance and will try and match up and move his feet and guard. The Clippers need a point guard with Shaun Livingston’s injury issues and they land a local guy. Look for the Clippers to try to trade down to (perhaps Indiana at 11 that desperately needs a PG) take one of the next best small forwards in Donte Green or Joe Alexander.

NBA Player Comparison: Monta Ellis

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Eric Gordon - SG - Indiana
Eric Gordon's late season slump will cause him to fall a bit to 8. The Bucks are loaded up front with Yi Jianlian, Andrew Bogut, and Charlie Villanueva. If the Bucks take Gordon it will mean they may explore trades for Michael Redd who is not getting any younger. The Bucks can change their losing atmosphere by taking Gordon who can be an instant impact guy.

NBA Player Comparison: Mitch Richmond

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Darrell Arthur - PF - Kansas
Michael Jordan and new Coach Larry Brown have been known to not sit around let the fruit ripen on the vine. That's why they will take veteran Arthur over longer term project Anthony Randolph. Also look for the Bobcats to give a hard look at Kevin Love but ultimately they will pass on Love because of lack of condition and athleticism. This is also the franchise that took Emeka Okafor over Dwight Howard and Adam Morrison over Rudy Gay.

NBA Player Comparison: Antonio McDyess

10. New Jersey Nets - Anthony Randolph - PF - Louisiana State
The Nets can afford to gamble on a high risk/high reward guy because they are in rebuilding mode. Randolph has tons of buzz around him being a 6-foot-10 raw power forward. He has upside with the speed and length and touch, but still there is work to be done. A major weakness is he can be a turnover machine.

NBA Player Comparison: Lamar Odom

11. Indiana Pacers - DJ Augustin - PG - Texas
Augustin can shoot it and he can handle it. He’s only 6-feet tall, which got him in trouble against taller PG in college but he has NBA skills. He has great character, which attracts him to the Pacers, who have had continuing off-court problems. This pick will be the replacement for Jaamal Tinsley and may be Westbrook if he is available.

NBA Player Comparison: Travis Best

12. Sacramento Kings - Nicholas Batum - SF - France
Agile forward with size, an incredible wingspan, and great all around skills. Batum will need more time to develop and the Kings are a perfect situation where he can learn for a few years before contributing. Like Rudy Gay, his struggles have diminished his draft stock, but he's oozing with potential and could end up going higher.

NBA Player Comparison: Rudy Gay

13. Portland Trail Blazers - Kevin Love - C - UCLA
He could go higher, but if he is around, Portland can grab a local hero and a really good player. He is a glue guy who would thrive with an emerging team. D.J. Augustin’s value as a point guard moves him up the ladder and makes Love available.

NBA Player Comparison: Wes Unseld

14. Golden State Warriors - Joe Alexander - SF - West Virginia
The Warriors could look to go in a number of directions. Alexander would be an excellent upgrade over Al Harrington at the forward position. JaVale McGee would be a nice long-term pick for them if their intention is to unload Baron Davis and build for the future around their young nucleus (Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright).

NBA Player Comparison: Shawn Marion/Tom Chambers

15. Phoenix Suns (via Atlanta) - Donte Greene - SF - Syracuse
Greene would be a tremendous pick if the Suns decide to keep a first rounder for a change. He will make them younger and he will eventually remind Suns fans of a Shawn Marion combo forward with size. He has a lot of different shots in his game, which includes three-pointers, some post-up stuff, and mid-range jumpers. The issue is going to be teaching him some shot selection. It’s not good when a player who is 6-10 shoots 133 free throws and 261 three-pointers. Is he coachable?

NBA Player Comparison: Rashard Lewis

16. Philadelphia 76ers - DeAndre Jordan - C - Texas A&M
The 76ers are looking for size down low. If Jordan slips out of the lottery to them, they will be ecstatic. Jordan drops this far because of his lack of motivation. A good showing at the pre draft workouts will mean a lot to GMs and he will move back up. He is high risk/high reward but he will not fall further than 16.

NBA Player Comparison: Dwight Howard

17. Toronto Raptors - Robin Lopez - C - Stanford
Toronto has a big man in former number one overall pick Andrea Bargnani. However, he has been a bust and Lopez is the exact opposite kind of player who can hits the glass hard and really hustles. The Raptors need a solid role player like Lopez to get them out of the first round of the playoffs.

NBA Player Comparison: Andris Biedrins

18. Washington Wizards - JaVale McGee - PF - Nevada
At this point in his career, McGee is a crapshoot. On one side he has freakishly long arms: around a 7-6 wingspan which makes him a great rebounder and shot blocker. On the other hand he is incredibly thin, only shoots 50% from the stripe and must develop maturity and some low post moves. McGee may pay off big dividends in a couple of years.

NBA Player Comparison: Andrew Bynum

19. Cleveland Cavaliers - Brandon Rush - SG - Kansas
LeBron James needs help. Rush has size and shooting ability to help out offensively. He is an above average defender which fits into the Cavs defense first mentality. Rush played 4 years at Kansas so he is mature player that can step in right away. He can explode over the rim, but he needs to be a better ball handler and can be indecisive on the wing closing out the break; he looks better coming from the left or down the middle.

NBA Player Comparison: Reggie Lewis

20. Denver Nuggets - Marreese Speights - PF - Florida
Speights doesn't have great conditioning so he will fit in well when the Nuggets mail in the game in the third quarter. All kidding aside, once Speights develops he will bring a hard nosed attitude to the low blocks for the Nuggets. He will a safety net in case Camby and Martin go down with injuries. Look for the Nuggets to take the best available big man with this pick.

NBA Player Comparison: Juwan Howard

21. New Jersey Nets (Via Dallas) - Kousta Koufos - C - Ohio State
Koufas turned down millions to play professionally in Europe so there is a good chance he gooes in the middle to late first round. He is a skilled big man who can run the floor and step outside to shot. However, he tends to fade away on too many shots and hardly ever gets to the free throw line (2.7 per game). Will he fit in the rough and tumble NBA? With no pure center on the roster, the Nets will chance it.

NBA Player Comparison: Mehmet Okur

22. Orlando Magic - Chase Budinger - SG - Arizona
Orlando needs a SG and will risk this pick on a guy that can shoot and has great size at 6'7 but cannot play defense. Budinger carried his team offensively last season at times but at other times he disappeared. He would would fit in in Orlando who had Lewis to be the primary scorer.

NBA Player Comparison: Grant Hill

23. Utah Jazz (Via Phoenix) - Roy Hibbert - C - Georgetown
Hibbert was a sure fire late lottery pick but he had a rather so so Senior season at Georgetown after 2006-07 Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green left. Many felt he did not take over games and became to mechanical and predictable at times. The Jazz would love for him to be available as it will add size inside and there methodical half court pace will suit Hibbert perfectly.

NBA Player Comparison: Joel Przybilla

24. Seattle Sonics (Via Phoenix) - Serge Ibaka - PF - Congo
Ibaka is said to have insane athletism. He is only 220 lbs on a 6'10 frame, but he will have time to develop and bulk up as this pick is for the future. Ibaka not only is relentless on the glass but possesses a jumper with solid touch. If this pans out and the Sonics grab Bayless at 3 to go along with ROY Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Oklahoma Sonics could be a perennial contender for the Western Conference title in a few years.

NBA Player Comparison: Shawn Kemp

25. Houston Rockets - Bill Walker - SG - Kansas State
It is time for him to come to the NBA because he shouldn’t have to play another year and wonder if there is another knee injury around the corner. He is the worth the shot in the first round with explosive leaping ability and finishing ability. If not for the knee issues he would be a top 10 pick; even with them he should get a first round look.

NBA Player Comparison: Ruben Patterson

26. San Antonio Spurs - Wayne Ellington - SG - North Carolina
Ellington has improved his defensive play so much in the past two seasons that he is not jsut considered an outside spot up shooter. However, he does shoot the ball beautifully from outside whether its that stop and pop from 3 or mid range, he has nice ark and rotation and decent size at 6'4 to come in off the bench to aid a vetern team.

NBA Player Comparison: Cuttino Mobley

27. New Orleans Hornets - Chris Douglas-Roberts - SG - Memphis
CDR will fit in the rotation in NO and will benefit from CP3 continually getting him clean looks. CDR can play the 2 or 3 and he is a good mid range jump shooter. However, he does not have a deep outside shot and is not explosive, but he has a feel for the game and can bury you at the rim on the break. His shots go in the basket.

NBA Player Comparison: Julius Hodge

28. Memphis Grizzlies (Via Los Angeles) - Nathan Jawai - C - Australia
By not addressing a big man earlier in round 1, the Grizzle will likely have to go with the best big man available. Jawai has size (6'10, 275) and some real power. At this late in the draft, this is worth the risk.
NBA Player Comparison: Charles Oakley

29. Detroit Pistons - JJ Hickson - PF - North Carolina State
The Pistons can groom in a back for Rasheed Wallace by taken the raw Hickson. He is a bruising power forward that fans in Detroit will appreciate. He provides instant defense and size in a more skilled version of Jason Maxiell.

NBA Player Comparison: Chris Wilcox

30. Boston Celtics - Jason Thompson - PF/C - Rider
Thompson needs to improve the streangth in his legs to last a full NBA season but he will come in and split time with Kendrick Perkins as PJ Brown will likely hang it up after this season.Thompson has 1 gear and that is overdrive. He will fit in nicely with KG.

NBA Player Comparison: Jason Smith

FIRST ROUND BUBBLE: Ty Lawson, Courtney Lee, Ante Tomic, Mario Chalmers, Richard Hendrix, DeVon Hardin, Davon Jefferson, DJ White

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