The 2008 NBA is similar to the 2007 draft in that you have a 2 player draft- and a BIG drop-off at number 3 then another steep decline after 6 as well.
At the top of the draft sit the Chicago Bulls, who have a lot of solid players but not any superstars. The signing of Ben Wallace pushed them back more than pushed them forward in the Eastern Conference. I see the Bulls take Derrick Rose (14.9ppg, 4.7apg, 4.5rpg and 1.2spg) from Memphis and packaging Hinrich with some other players for a Power Forward/Center – possible even Elton Brand in a return to Chicago. I would always take a top PG over any position other than center in the NBA because -- as Utah and New Orleans prove -- a top tier PG makes your team a lot better. The problem that the Bulls have in this pick is unless Derrick Rose is a special player then the Bulls will pass on a MAJOR chance to get a lot better over Hinrich. If Rose ends up another Jay Williams then they are going to be in trouble as Rose does have his own problems. Number one: his shot is streaky at best (71% from the line and 47% from the floor) and he has bad form. A point guard should not still be shooting from the shoulder, for example. Number two: Rose has always been the most talented player on the court, and when he gets to the NBA that will no longer be the case. The NBA is filled with players that were men among boys for the first 20 years who then could not compete once they faced players just as fast and just as talented.
With the second prize the Heat get the best player in the draft, Michael Beasley (26.2ppg, 12.4rpg and 1.6bpg) of Kansas State. Just like last year the top pick goes to the hardest position to fill -- and the best player goes at number 2. With a solid core of Marion, Wade and Beasley, Pat Riley can really start to rebuild the Heat -- and if Haslem can return to form, the Heat will contend a LOT sooner than later. Unlike Rose, Beasley has a VERY smooth shot and has played at a higher level. Beasley has his own problems (one being as 1.2 assist rate) meaning either an unwillingness or inability to share the ball. The major problem is: where does he play? He does not have the footwork to play outside at small forward and may not have the bulk to play power forward. He has shown a willingness to work and at just 19, he may end up answering these questions like Kevin Garnett did, who had the same two major question marks around him -- though KG was more polished out of high school than Beasley is after one year of college.
The next level starts with Jerryd Bayless (19.7ppg, 4apg, 1 spg), a good shooting PG from Arizona who should be a good tag team partner with Al Jefferson for the next half decade in Minnesota. No one is going to mistake him for Steve Nash, but he is a better shooter than Nash with a .407 3-point percentage and is almost as quick. Bayless seems to be better on the floor than he is on the stat sheet, and considering he will be playing in Minnesota that may be a good thing. Bayless, unlike the first two picks, appears to be a very polished player who is very aggressive. He is more than willing to put the game in his hands and is a VERY smart player. Bayless does have a few question marks around him. Just four assists for a point guard is a problem and his durability is also a concern. But Bayless could very well end up making the Bulls and Heat look VERY bad in a few years. Potential can kill you and Bayless could cost several men their jobs.
The Sonics dropped two spots in the draft and need some serious size in Seattle. Brook Lopez (19.3ppg 8.2rpg and 2.1bpg) is going to slide right in up North and, being only 20, is going to grow with Durant and Green no matter where the team turns up. Lopez is a very polished player who is going to draw an NBA check for a long time and could wind up being a very solid player -- how many seven footers are there in the NBA, for example? I have a lot of issues with Lopez unfortunately. The Pac-10 is not exactly the Western Conference in talent and he barely cracked 8 boards a game. True, his brother might have cut into his numbers but he is not that explosive and quick. Hopefully he will grow as a player and improve his HORRID shot selection for his new home.
The Grizz are toast at 5. They have to rebuild, they didn’t do very well at the lottery, and the obvious pick is sitting there -- but he is going to be gone just as soon as he can. Personally, I would trade the pick unless someone falls and do what I can afterwards with OJ Mayo (20.7ppg, 4.5rpg and 3.3apg), who has been waiting for this day since 10th grade and would not surprise me if he pulled a Kobe on the Grizzlies either. OJ Mayo could be the star of this draft or the biggest bust in this draft
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