With the craziness of the trade deadline behind us, I thought it would be an opportune time to look at some of the possible selections of the 2008 NBA Draft. Enjoy!
14. Houston Rockets Kevin Love 6’9 PF UCLA Fresh.
What is it with the Rockets? They have the makings of a dominant team with Yao and T-Mac, but can’t get the right players around them, and to me are going for quantity over quality. For a poor analogy, it’s like choosing Hilary Swank and Nicole Kidman over Jessica Alba because there’s two of them, and every one in twenty movies they can be attractive. As opposed to the Alba option which is attractive all the time. However, Love has the makings to be a big time player, and his range, rebounding ability, shooting ability, and passing ability make him a more ‘attractive’ sidekick to Yao than either Scola or Chucky Hayes.
13. Portland Trailblazers Tyler Smith 6’7 SF Tennessee Soph.
Despite the amazing run the Trailblazers had, they seem destined to miss out on the playoffs. The Rockets, Kings, Warriors, Nuggets and Jazz are all fighting for the last two spots in the 8 in the West currently, and it isn’t a far stretch of the imagination to think it will continue till the end of the season. The Blazers really don’t need any position filled drastically, with enough players at every position to cover them. However, the weakest is probably the wing spot, and with Darius Miles and Travis Outlaw seemingly being a constant in trade talks, the jack-of-all-trades Tyler Smith could find his way to Portland.
12. Sacremento Kings Darren Collison 6’1 PG UCLA Jnr.
Rookie coach Reggie Theus has done an excellent job on both ends of the court, instilling aggressive defensive schemes, and a balanced offensive attack. Here is where the problem lies. With Bibby being shipped off to the Hawks for two point guards that have little value for them in the long term, the starting point guard is Beno Udrih. That’s right Udrih. And despite the fact that a chant that follows the lines of ‘U-D-R-I, you ain’t got no alibi’ is a definite possibility (The ‘H’ is silent anyway), he is not what the Kings want or need. Collison is the next best point guard in the draft, and has that quickness and defensive ability to thrive in the Kings’ new system.
11. Phoenix Suns Jason Thompson 6’10 PF Rider Snr.
The Suns would like to add two areas, a Power Forward/ Centre to come off the bench, and a back-up point guard. With Barbosa still as one of the prime sixth men in the NBA currently, the Suns’ administration might see a more dire need for the bolster in the front court. Especially after the Marion trade, and how liable Boris Diaw has been in the past few seasons. Thompson gives them a tall, athletic and versatile 4 man who can also play as a centre, and exist in the Suns’ fast pace offensive game. Plus, as a senior, his game is more mature, and he is physically more ready to contribute at the NBA level than any possible point guard in the draft this year.
10. Chicago Bulls Roy Hibbert 7’2 C Georgetown Snr.
Follow this game day logic of ex-Coach Scott Skiles and the new interim coach Jim Boylen: ‘Ok guys, last season we had no interior offence. So what we’re going to do this season is dump it down to…uh…umm Ben Wallace? Tyrus Thomas? Joe ‘Generic’ Smith? Joakim Noah?’, I can envisage such a speech would end with a John McEnroe-esque ‘YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!’ type tantrum and would inevitably lead the Bulls to select Roy Hibbert. But Hibbert kind of answers their problems. Not fully, but partially. Can score in the post, can rebound and can block shots. But just isn’t dominant at it.
9. Indiana Pacers Hasheem Thabeet 7’3 C Connecticut Soph.
The Pacers are starting to slide. Which, as selfish as this may sound, it pleases me, as I had them as the worst team in the East this off season. But Bird and Co. should be happy with the majority of their back court. Tinsley seems to have matured, at least ON the court. Dunleavy has finally started to live up to his number 3 overall selection and Danny Granger is one of the most underrated players in the NBA. Throw in Jermaine O’Neal and the makings of a competitive team arise. Thabeet would give them defence on the interior, and allow Troy Murphy and the aforementioned O’Neal to work their offensive game on the block. At 7’3, Thabeet can block shots. Not a dominant rebounder or offensive player, but his potential to be so is very nice.
8. Milwaukee Bucks Nicholas Batum 6’8 SG/ SF France.
I remember playing ‘Jordan vs. Bird’ on the Nintendo Gameboy like 10 years ago, and scrolling through the teams and finishing on the Bucks saying to myself ‘These guys still exist?’ Well, its pretty hard to see why the Bucks haven’t fallen over, and why they haven’t become the laughing stock/ constant gag joke of the NBA. The have a great scorer in Redd, a fundamentally sound low-post threat in Bogut, and two of the most versatile and athletic forwards in the game with Yi and Villenuava, and that’s about it. But even then, you could justify the Bucks’ existence if those four players took like 80% of the teams shots. But instead we got to watch Bobby Simmons, Charlie Bell and Mo Williams throwing up shot after shot and pretty much render their own team mates useless. Batum would ease the pain a little with his all around game, but still, this pick won’t get the Bucks out of the NBA graveyard.
If only there was a draft to draft coaches.
7. Charlotte Bobcats Donte Green 6’10 SF/PF Syracuse Fr.
My Bobcats get the player I want them to get. Hey, I’m writing this, I can do what I want. But still, the Bobcats are in the market for a big with offensive prowess – especially after Nazr Mohammad, Primoz Brezec, Walter Herrmann trade. I can imagine how Michael Jordan broke that genius acquisition to the team.
MJ: “Ok guys, so we need to bolster our big men stocks. So, we’ve made a trade and have acquired Nazr here. And we only had to give away two big guys for him in return.”
My team is built to succeed.
But regardless, Green fits the Coach Vincent mould, a guy who can shoot, block shots, get rebounds and explode to the whole. And the coup de grace, he is athletic and tall.
6. Los Angeles Clippers Jerryd Bayless 6’3 PG Arizona Fresh.
So the average age of the Clippers guards is around 75 years of age, and it has just been discovered Sam Cassell pre-dates dinosaurs, and was actually apart of the ancient civilization of Atlantis. Maybe its time for an upgrade? The Clippers could see themselves as having their wings settled with Maggette and Al Thornton. And their front court solid with Elton Brand and Chris ‘Killer’ Kaman (Number 1 on my ‘NBA players who look like they should be on death row’ list.) Where they struggle is at the point. And whilst Livingston may be back soon, they need a back-up plan. Bayless is the best point guard outside of Derrick Rose. Bayless has a perfect jumper, and can get to the rim whenever he feels like it. If he can improve his distributing ability he could be an elite point guard in a few years. Reminds me of Deron Williams when he came into the league.
5. New York Knicks OJ Mayo 6’5 SG USC Fresh.
Oh I can see Spike Lee when this name is read out as the next Knick. If anyone saw him react when they selected Renardo Balkman about 20 picks to early, imagine how he will react with the Knicks grab the most well known, most marketable guy in the draft. His selection will continue to things. One, is that the Knicks will continue to be the NBA’s most richest franchise, and two, the Knicks will continue to be a rubble. Mayo has struggled this season, but his potential is still there if he gets the right coaching, and is ran the right way – mainly working to score with the ball out of his hands, not with the ball in his hands.
4. Memphis Grizzlies Brook Lopez 7’0 C Stanford Fresh.
Get this, from 2006-2010, the Grizzlies will have picked up at least 9 first round picks in 5 drafts. And I have a feeling they ain’t done dealing just yet. With the last two NBA drafts landing the Grizzlies Rudy Gay and Michael Conley, it would permissable to think that they wouldn’t need a perimeter guy or a point guard. But the Gasol trade made it almost impossible for opposition teams to get beaten down low by the Grizzlies and that will have to be answered quickly. Lopez has been brilliant this season. His low post skills are extremely refined, and his ability to rebound the ball and especially block shots is exceptional. Don’t know if Lopez will ever be the dominant centre type, but he’s the kind of guy that helps your team rather than hinders it, which would automatically put him in the top 10 NBA centres the moment he steps into the league.
3. Seattle Supersonics Eric Gordon 6’4 SG Indiana Fresh.
So you have taken two NBA wings with a two top 5 picks in the last draft. Why take another one? The reason being is because Eric Gordon would be perfect alongside Durant. The lack of height Gordon has, Durant makes up for. The lack of strength Durant has Gordon makes up for, and they are both athletic and gifted basketballers. Where does Jeff Green fit in to this equation? He becomes the new Power Forward. Where does Nick Collison fit into this? He becomes the new centre. At least, that’s what I think should happen.
On a side note, why would you play a 6’10 athletic freak like Durant at the top of a 2-3 zone? This is a guy who averaged 11 rebounds and 2 blocks in college. I don’t understand why you would take away the ability to be close to rim defensively when you’re that good at rebounding and blocking shots. Is there any explanation?
2. Minnesota Timberwolves Michael Beasley 6’9 PF Kansas State Fresh.
Beasley would be perfect for the T-Wolves, and the T-Wolves would be perfect for Beasley. The ¾ combo forward would be a perfect compliment to Big Al down low because of his outside shooting ability, and slashing ability. This pick would actually put the T-Wolves back on the map for reason which would fill the ‘good’ column as opposed to ‘laughing stock of the NBA column.’ No really, it would. So much so I think that the ‘laughing stock’ tag should be transferred to the Bucks. There are few players whom I can see them go from scoring 3 points in a half, and then explode for 24 points in the second half. In all forms of the game. Bryant is one. LeBron is another. And then the list falls away after that. Beasley is one of those guys. And he does it all whilst looking mystified at how he actually got to the court.
1. Miami Heat Derrick Rose 6’4 PG Memphis Fresh.
It is a well known fact that men are allowed to have crushes on other men, on one condition. They are a sports star. Thus, I can confidently state the fact that I have a man-crush on Derrick Rose. I love the way this guy plays. He has shown he can do it all, and do it with a grace and effortless that makes him often look like he’s a flashy player – though he’s not. The Heat have been searching for a point guard to get the ball out of Wade’s hands before he goes the way of the Penny/ Hill/ Mashburn (talented players beset by injury). Whilst the backcourt duo of Smush Parker and Jason Williams is great in video games because of their high three point shooting ability, they are far from players you want on a roster that will win a championship in real life. The player most likely to put a team on the championship path, should always be selected number one. That is the ‘Oden Rule’ and I’m sticking to it.
Well, that’s it for part 2. Part 3 will be around the actual draft. So until then, happy mocking, happy blogging, and happy Bobcating. Don’t quite know what the last one means, but we need all the help we can get. Cheers!