He’s been following the 2008 draft like a hawk since his first Idiot’s Blog Guide back in November last year. With draft day now behind us Robd sat down with the Draft Dude, just like he did last year, to see how he made sense of it all.
RD: We’ve had a few drafts recently where the #2 pick is arguably easier to make than the #1 pick. Durant vs Oden, Howard vs Okafor, Darko vs Lebron (that was a joke). Do you think the Heat might have ended up with the best player in the draft in Beasley at #2?
JB: For me, Beasley v Rose is almost exactly the same as Oden v Durant last year. Basically the best player (Durant/ Beasley) were taken second and the players who are the most likely to help any team win an NBA championship are taken first (Oden/ Rose).
RD: Do you think there’s a trade in the pipeline for the Bulls involving Hinrich/Gordon? What do they need to surround Rose with to make a strong playoff push?
JB: The Bulls have made it known that they will have to make some trades. Whether that involves Hinrich or Gordon – which would get them maximum return, or Duhon or Hughes I don’t know.
In terms of the right players, it all really depends on the system new Coach Vinnie Del Negro puts in place. If its uptempo style, then its more patience of letting the team gel. If anything they may need one or two taller and quicker front court players. However, Noah and Thomas may fit the bill really well with Rose as the main player. The most important thing they need to do is get experience and playing time into those younger guys. Remember, this is a team that many (including me) thought would be the best team in the East last season; they are not your traditional team with the first overall draft pick.
RD: In your last mock draft you thought Minnesota would take Mayo at #3 and trade him to the Heat. Were your surprised to see the Grizzlies trade for him instead? Which team got the better of the Mayo/Love trade?
JB: The Grizzlies really wanted Mayo or Beasley, so I’m not surprised from their persepctive that they traded for him. I’m surprised that the Heat decided not to go for him, but at the end of the day it was the right move by Pat Riley and his staff – the game between Mayo and Beasley is so much in favour of Beasley.
I think the Grizzlies got the best out of the trade though. Not only because they got the better player, but because Mayo’s versatility in being able to handle the basketball takes pressure off Michael Conley Jnr at the point guard position. Couple that with the fact he fits great within their line-up. For the T-Wolves, I like both Love and Miller as prospects, but Love coupled with Al-Jefferson gives the Wolves a very short and unathletic front court. Miller on the other hand will take vital minutes away from guys like Brewer, Gomes and Craig Smith among others, which at this point during their young careers is vital.
RD: Your #1 man-crush from the draft (Westbrook) ended up going higher than everyone thought at #4. Do you think Seattle could have taken someone better at #4? How do you see him fitting in with this young Sonics team? And are you jealous that other people out there seem to have as big a crush on Westbrook as you do?
JB: No jealously whatsover. Just along as people remember he was mine first, and all should be sweet.
Seattle picked a player that is going to help them. They needed a few areas in their game to be improved in this pick, in shooting, creating space through off-ball movement and defence. Westbrook helps on the defensive end, and if his shooting improves, he could really add something on that end of the floor. But Jerryd Bayless is a terrific shooter and off-ball worker, which would allow studs like Durant and Jeff Green to get a lot high quality of shots, and stretch the defence and keep it honest.
But Westbrook fills a need, and three seasons down the road we could be saying that Westbrook was Bayless’, or Brook Lopez’s eqaul with this pick.
RD: Were you surprised when the Knicks chose Danilo Gallinari at #6? You had him a little lower in your mock draft, as did most. Do the Knicks know something we don’t?
JB: I think the Knicks really wanted Russell Westbrook. But obviously he went at pick 4, and the Knicks weren’t so sold on Bayless or anyone else other than Gallinari. Once Westbrook went at 4, I personally thought Gallinari would be the pick, as he was the next main guy associated with the Knicks (and truth be told, I had Gallinari at 6 in my mock draft before I changed it at the last minute for Westbrook). At the end of the day, the Knicks get a guy that has proven himself already in a pro league – which is great for a team that really needs to manage its roster in a smart way.
RD: Were you happy with your Cats picking up Augustin at #9? How is he going to help your team? Last year we joked about the Bobcats possibly making the playoffs (they weren’t even close). With LB on board, could this be the year?
JB: Im sort of half and half on Augustin at 9, he really helps our team, but it would be a great pick if the draft had gone our way and they selected Roy Hibbert at 20. However, prolonging Kyle Weaver (The Bobcats’ second round pick) shows some point guard abilities, it could free up Raymond Felton for trades – which could be good as he isn’t really an LB point guard.
Our picks really only added depth and nothing else. Last season, I felt depth wasn’t really our problem as a team, it was the inability of our front court to score. The Bobcats didn’t add to that and it really puts pressure once again on Okafor to carry the front court offensive load. In saying that, trades, free agency and development in guys like Jamaero Davidson could make it a littler easier for the Cats. So long story short, no I don’t think the Bobcats will make it this year. They’ll have their spurts, but over 82 games I don’t think so.
RD: If you had to grade the teams, who do you think fared best on draft day?
JB: Undoubtedly the Portland Trailblazers. They started with pick 13, landed pick 11 who turned out to be Bayless who was a top 5 talent in the draft. The acquired pick 27 turned it into pick 26 which was Nicholas Batum, who is a top 15 talent in this draft. And to sweeten the deal, they are both perfect players for their team. Add to that they traded Omer Asik (who was rumored to be the main reason Portland wanted the 27th pick) and turned that one second round selection into not another one, not two more, but three future second round picks. The Blazers really are the big team of the future.
Honorable mention goes to the Memphis Grizzlies who gained the third best overall player (OJ Mayo) from pick 5 in a trade, and then gained a top 15 talent in Darrell Arthur. But no one comes close to the Blazers.
RD: Lets fast forward to next May. Two part question: 1) Who’s in the 2008-2009 All NBA Rookie First Team? and 2) Who’s the number 1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft?
JB: 1) In order of votes: Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Derrick Rose, Rudy Fernandez
2) Ricky Rubio, the 6′4 PG from Spain. The ‘Oden Rule’ will come into play again.
RD: Looking a little more to the future, I’ll ask you the same question I asked you last year. Which guy in this draft not named Rose, Beasley or Mayo could end up an all-time great? I’m talking the Amare at #9 or Kobe Bryant at #14 kind of pick.
JB: Thats a tough one, but I’ll go Joe Alexander at pick 8 for Milwaukee. A guy whose got an insane work ethic, and is playing for a coach who suits his game. Another one who could fit the bill is JaVale McGee at 18 who went to the Wizards.
RD: That wraps it up. Thanks for your time Jobba and for your draft insights over the past year. Look forward to the first installment of the Idiots Blog Guide to the 2009 NBA Draft.