I’m a guy who gets frustrated easily when it comes to NBA basketball. Maybe it’s because I have no patience to hear wrong opinions, or maybe it’s the very real (and arrogant) belief I have that I was endowed with more knowledge than your average NBA fan. Whatever the reason, my frustrat-o-meter usually hits tops around the draft period. Why you diligent readers may ask? For the simple reason that the majority of fans look at a mock draft maybe twice every season. The first is when their team finally finishes their season and the second is about two days before the draft where they are facing the very real possibility of knowing next to no one entering the draft. So to solve this dilemma, and stop the grey haired growth I get from discussing the NBA draft with people who have no idea what they are talking about, I have decided to start this ‘Idiots blog guide to the 2008 NBA draft’. It will be filled with all the prospects a fan should really know before even thinking about discussing Steven A. Smith’s ridiculous points come draft day. Now as the draft is just under a year a way, it will have to be updated from time to time. So let’s just skip the inevitable question of ‘Where’s the Idiots guide to the idiots who write idiot guides?’ and jump right into it.

14. Ty Lawson 5’11 PG North Carolina.
Lawson gets the nod because it’s an NBA Draft rule of thumb that there has to be at least one UNC player selected in the lottery each year. And for those who think it will be smart to point to the 2006 NBA Draft, I will tell you that event never happened. That draft was like a pre-season AFL draft, where teams can select players who no one wants anymore. Lawson is small at 5’11, which puts him behind both Rose and Collison as point guard prospects. He’s lightning fast and can get into the lane whenever he wants. However, that lack of height often means he has to pass it out when he does get in the lane more than a point guard should, and unjustifiably gets the ‘one trick pony’ label put on him. But he is quick, and is a natural point guard who goes to UNC. A Bobcat lottery selection beckons him.

13. Danilo Gallinari 6’9 SF Italy
He reminds me so much of Hedo Turkogulu. The guy who you watch an NBA game of, hit up NBA 2k8 and try and score point after point with him. But his virtual self sucks. Whilst Gallinari will have to at least wait until NBA 2k9 to become increasingly frustrated with his virtual self, he has a lot of good traits to be a solid NBA player in reality. His ability to shoot the basketball and score points off the dribble reminds a lot of Adam Morrison and JJ Redick in college. Whilst those two haven’t translated it into the NBA as of yet (but have in NBA 2k7), Gallinari may well considering his maturity and leadership at such a young age.

12. Eric Gordon 6’4 G Indiana
Gordon is one of those players who reminds me of a guy that should have been in the NFL, but decided basketball was the way to go. A good comparison would be with Ben Gordon. Except the exact opposite. The guy just bumps and bruises his way to the basket, no finesse or spark about it, just goes all hell out to the basket. Tremendous strength and body control allow him to use others as a buffer to better his shot – and draw fouls. The problem however, is that at 6’4, he will be looked at more of as a point guard than a scoring guard; and with next to no point guard abilities, that could become a problem. For a poor cliché, he’s the bull that enters the China shop.

11. Donte Green 6’10 SF Freshman
Talk about a time for 6’10 wing players. Kevin Durant goes at pick number 2 with similar expectations to that of George W. Bush when he took office (hopefully Durant won’t be a spectacular failure… or a Republican) and of course the Orlando Magic deciding that to truly make Rashard Lewis feel happy, they would have to auction him off with themselves. Green follows in the same mould as Rashard Lewis; not so much Durant. He’s more renowned for his pretty good shooting ability, and his ability to exist in almost any offence – the reason being probably because throughout High School, and probably throughout his college career, Green has been/will be about 5 inches taller than his opposition defender. Won’t ever be the main man on a wing, but will be a more than useful sidekick at the next level.

10. Kevin Love 6’9 PF UCLA
If Kevin Love enters the NBA whilst Shaq is still playing, those two and Dwight Howard should compete in a new All Star Weekend challenge to see who can destroy the most number of basketball rings in a set period of time. I’d pay my money to see that – or at least the petrol money to watch it on ESPN. He would follow on from guys like Oden and LeBron James as top overall picks after they had won the best High School player in America in their High School Senior year, but the lack of quickness and athleticism Love displays, plus the shift towards players who can play both half court and full court sets means Love falls back around six spots more than he deserves. But still, the ‘Destroy the Rings’ competition should be a major part of the half year activities. Why not get Oliver Miller and a trampoline in on that idea as well?

9. Darren Collison 6’1 PG UCLA
Collison has the rare trait of looking like Mugsey Bouges, but somehow measuring 8 inches taller than him. But Collison is one of those quick points’ who UCLA would have loved to see him as good as he is now, consistently. As in, I don’t know, let’s say the 2006 NCAA Tourney title game against the Florida Gators. Now that’s a lot to put on a freshman point guard, but the kid can play. He’s quick (as mentioned before), fast and has an amazing burst of speed about him (yes I am well aware I mentioned three things that were exactly the same – its part of my writing style, its been called ‘cute’ by some but ‘poor’ by most). Oh, and the guy can defend and hit down the open shot, and even score in transition. What’s not to like about him? Other than the fact that he reminds one of a garden stake horizontally, and of course looking like Mugsey Bouges. But, nevertheless, a guy who can come in and lead a team from the point position.

8. Chase Budinger 6’7 SG/SF Arizona
A volleyball star come basketball star. Budinger has a strange combination of athleticism and timing, a combination which very few players have – especially wing players. But Budinger has the right environment to make a siege as a top 10 pick. The Arizona Wildcats have probably the most dynamic offensive system in all College Hoops, and with the physical traits that Budinger possess, there isn’t a reason why he shouldn’t thrive. Add to that, their three best players last season, Radenovic, Marcus Williams and Mustafa Shakur have all left because of either seniority or the draft and Budinger has a chance to shine. I’m still waiting for Budinger to block a shot and accidentally spell out at the top of his lungs ‘S-P-I-K-E.’ Or do Volleyballer’s have a certain sign or signal? Like LeBron James and that hand triangle thing.

7. Roy Hibbert 7’1 C Georgetown
If Hibbert had decided to be born about fifteen years earlier, and hence, had been a senior coming out roughly in the early 90s (if one does the math it would be 1993), he would have been selected about 20 spots behind this. But instead, he gets to become a top 10 pick, and a guy who gets to compete night in and night out against mostly hack opposition at his position. But, he’ll look good doing it. Hibbert’s got firstly good length, good mobility and average everything else, which for a centre – and I’ve tried to indicate this point – is a good thing, for it puts one in the upper echelon of NBA centres. The kind of guy who will never dominate, but will never suck either. He has skilled post moves and the ability to use it; just not in a dominating or a demanding way, which in fairness is probably due moreso to the style of play than the player. But Hibbert will undoubtedly give it his all every game. Plus, every time I pronounce his last name, I sound like I’m doing a Kermit the frog impersonation.

6. Nicholas Batum 6’8 SF France
I’m still waiting for a French guy to put his hand up for the draft, be a top prospect, and have the name Francois and a last name that ends in three vowels. But instead, we get Tony Parker, and two guys whose first names have their origins in Hebrew (Johan Petro) and Slavonic (Boris Diaw). But all very poor stereotyping aside, Batum is an excellent prospect. Long, getting stronger and has a wing span that would rival a Boeing 747. But, the big question is ‘Can he take over games?’, or will he be one of those players who shows flirtations of a dominant scoring ability, but hides it in the ability to play in a team environment?

5. Darrell Arthur 6’9 PF Kansas
Every time I saw Arthur play for the Jayhawks last season, I was constantly reminded of that scene in the movie Flubber where Robin Williams’ character puts the green dots on the players’ shoes, and they can’t stop bouncing. That’s Darrell Arthur in a nut shell. However, if he’s not careful he could wind up as the athletic comparison to Danny Fortson as he likes to foul a lot. However, if that becomes the case, all he has to do is make the Rookie Challenge on All Star Weekend and everyone will be able to see what he can really do.

4. Kosta Koufos 7’1 C Ohio State
I can understand how one of the most renowned college football campus’ can acquire the best centre coming out of High School one year, and then the best centre coming out of High School the next year; but three years in a row? Koufos is the second of the three coming through Thad Matta’s system at Ohio State – following on from Greg Oden, and BJ Mullins looks fit to be Koufos’ successor in a season’s time. Koufos reminds some of a more agile (and taller) and more skillful version of Mehmet Okur. A good player with a year or two of college could become a legitimate top 10 centre in the NBA… one day.

3. OJ Mayo 6’5 G USC
The man everybody knows from the High School class just graduating and has been on the media radar long past this season. A combo guard in the mold of Dwayne Wade, which is probably a good way to describe him – Dwayne Wade with a jump shot, minus the creativity. However, the question is ‘What position does he play?’. With the success as the aforementioned Wade as a combo guard at the 2, Mayo may find him dubbed with the Shooting Guard label and forced back a few picks in the draft. He also answers the call of the next guy in pro sports who we can nickname ‘The Juice’. Just hope his life takes a different path to the original ‘Juice’s’.

2. Michael Beasley 6’9 F Kansas State
Beasley has arguably the highest ceiling out of the ‘Big Three’ (which in itself is redundant as each of the three’s limit has been described as ‘The Sky’). However, attitude problems have raised certain concerns about his ability to survive, and be a star player at the next level. Beasley is in a similar position to Carmelo Anthony at this stage in his career, a combo forward with equal rights to play either forward position. However, with another offensive stud by the name of Bill Walker (and yes, his nickname is ‘Skywalker’) playing on one wing, Beasley should fit comfortably as the go to guy inside the paint of K-State.

1. Derrick Rose 6’4 PG Memphis
People who have googled ‘NBA Mock Draft 2008’ or a similar phrase would have probably realized that Rose is usually displayed on most mock drafts as the third talent taken behind the previous two players in this mock draft, and rarely first. The reason being is namely due to his inability to dominate the scoring for his High School team the way Beasley and Mayo did. However, Rose is my number one for what I’m henceforth dubbing ‘The Oden Rule’. If you have a choice between multiple talents all with similar potential to be superstars, take the one which fills the least dominant position in the pros, ala the point guard and centre positions – and then buy them a futon from IKEA. Rose is a traditional and naturally blessed point with great size, quickness and athleticism, Rose has the perfect combination to be a dominant point guard at the next level. He follows it up with the ‘point guard modesty’, never over reacting when he makes a big play. Furthermore, he is a lock down defender – and in an era in which the NBA struggle to name an All-NBA Defensive First team year in year out not due to depth related issues, having that trait is only a good thing. Plus, Rose is stepping into the starting point guard role at the team most likely to win the NCAA title this year (with great odds if one wants to indulge in sin), and is surrounded by four guys more than capable of putting points on the board. He’s like a cross between Jason Kidd and Gary Payton, minus the inability to see when he’s time is up (That’s a knock on Payton and not Kidd by the way).

Hopefully this idiot’s guide will have the effect which it’s intended to – that it helps people cross the threshold from draft idiocy to draft pro. But the draft is still a long way off, and as hard as it is for me to admit it, I’m usually wrong on a few points at the start of the season. So stay tuned for my next update of the ‘Idiots blog guide to the 2008 NBA draft’, out around the All-Star Weekend period.

Comment posted by
at 11/22/2007 7:15:59 PM

Try this guy on for size…. Plus, he’s a True Blue Aussie.

http://smcgaels.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/recaps/112107aab.html

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=37525

http://www.ais.org.au/basketball/mills.asp

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=273242608


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