I decided it's time for me to post my 2008 NBA Mock Draft. This is not how I think the teams SHOULD draft, but how I think they WILL draft. A couple picks into this I decided I would only do the lottery because if I try to do the entire first round I'll probably be up half the night.
1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose
Personally, I think Beasley would be the better pick for the team, as the Bulls already have Gordon, Hinrich, Duhon, and Hughes. They have a big need at the PF spot. I don't think that Thomas and Gooden are the answer, but all signs so far have pointed to Rose. He's the hometown kid, and the Bulls seem to love everything about him. Who wouldn't? He looks like the next Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but Beasley is also looking like he will turn into a franchise player. Either way, they'll make out with a good player and will be in contention again soon, if not this coming season. If they pick Rose, expect them to deal Hinrich and someone else for a big guy to solidify their frontcourt. Whichever way they go, the Bulls will do well in 08-09.
2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley
Although the Heat have been silent about what they will do with this pick, I think they'll keep it because the top 2 prospects are such studs. This is the easiest pick in the draft, with the obvious choice being whoever the Bulls don't draft. Expect the Heat to make a move in the offseason to get a PG to pair with Wade in the backcourt (maybe TJ Ford?). Beasley will mesh beautifully with Shawn Marion (if he comes back) at the 3/4 spots. This pick will give them one of the best 2-3-4 line-ups in the NBA. The Heat are another team I expect to be back in the playoff race next year.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jerryd Bayless
This is a tough choice for the T-Wolves. They could go Mayo, Westbrook, Love, or Bayless. I think they will go with Bayless, because they have a need for a floor leader, a guy who can distribute the ball to Jefferson and the others and score as well. A lot of people are saying they need another big man to compliment Al Jefferson but I think that can wait. Sebastian Telfair is not the answer at point guard, but he will do just fine as the back-up. Minnesota will go Bayless because of his tremendous NBA potential and immediate scoring impact. He will give them a solid starting PG right off the bat and his presence will also help the other young players that they have in Jefferson, Foye, McCants, and Gomes.
4 . Seattle SuperSonics - OJ Mayo
Kevin Love or Brook Lopez is tempting here but with Seattle's terrible luck with drafting centers, they will shy away from heading down that road again and go with a tremendous talent in Mayo. Mayo will probably be turned into a scoring point and will team up very well with Durant and Jeff Green. But what about their frontcourt? Chris Wilcox is underrated and actually a good role player for now but they have a HUGE need at center. Hopefully they will look to sign someone this summer and use the nearly $10 million in cap space wisely to speed up the rebuilding process. If the right players are added, Seattle could be a serious threat not so far down the road.
5. Memphis Grizzlies - Brook Lopez
There have been questions about Brook Lopez's ability lately, but I think the Grizzlies will jump at the chance to take him. He was once considered a worthy #3 by many, but his stock has been slipping lately. Lopez is definetely NBA ready, but many question how much he can actually contribute in the league in the long run. While he is not a sure thing, he is a low risk choice, and that's what the Grizzlies covet. He may not turn into an All-Star but chances are he will be a solid contributor sooner than later, and Memphis needs help in the frontcourt ASAP (Kwame Brown and Milicic definetely aren't the place to look for that).
6. New York Knicks - Russell Westbrook
Mike D'Antoni will love this guy in his up-tempo offense. He can do everything, and that includes playing D. Who D'Antoni really wants is Mayo, but I highly doubt he will slip to #6, so Westbrook is the next best thing. The Knicks will definetely be making some moves this offseason and if they put the right pieces in place around the possible backcourt of Westbrook and Jamal Crawford, they can make a huge improvement this coming season. I'd like to see them move anyone and everyone except Crawford, Zach Randolph and David Lee (if they can hold onto him) and pick up a good 3 and 5.
7. Los Angeles Clippers - Eric Gordon
There are a lot of question marks for the Clippers right now with the whole nucleus of the team (Elton Brandon, Shaun Livingston, and Corey Maggette) possibly on the move. Chris Kaman is holding down the 5 spot well, coming off a breakout season (he put up nearly 16 and 13). At #7, I can't see them reaching for DJ Augustin, so I'm going with the popular choice of Eric Gordon. He is one of, if not THE, purest shooter in the draft and at one point was considered a definite top 5 pick. His stock dropped after a horrid conclusion to the season but I think that he will be a steal at this point and the Clippers won't be able to resist this upgrade from Cuttino Mobley.
8. Milwaukee Bucks - Joe Alexander
In my opinion, Alexander is as NBA ready as pretty much anyone in this draft and whoever gets their hands on him will be glad they made the choice in a year or two. This guy is tough, disciplined, and a helluva all-around player. The Bucks need someone to come in and make an impact immediately, especially with Michael Redd possibly on the move. Alexander seems to fit this mold and would therefore fit right in up north in Milwaukee.
9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kevin Love
Steal after steal after steal...I feel a lot of these guys have been underestimated and Love is one of them. Many people have him going at #5 to Memphis or even #3 to Minnesota but there are many questions about his athleticism and upside and I think these teams will shy away from him for a "safer" choice. After his combine results, Love should have silenced any doubts regarding his athletic ability but there are still nay-sayers out there. Love has tremendous talent and ability and will compliment Emeka Okafor very well in the front court. With the possible line-up of Felton, Richardson, Wallace, Love, and Okafor next year and Larry Brown calling the shots, expect the Bobcats to surprise a lot of people. I'd still give it another 2-3 years before they are playoff caliber though.
10. New Jersey Nets - DeAndre Jordan
I really hope that Kevin Love slips to my Nets, but I don't think he will get past Charlotte. The Nets are set at the 1-2-3 with Harris, Carter, and Jefferson, but they have serious frontcourt needs. Many people have Danilo Gallinari going here, but I don't see why they would pick another European at a position where they don't need anyone. Josh Boone showed potential last year so I expect them to bring him back as starting PF and give him more minutes. That leaves the 5 spot, where Nenad Krstic is only decent. He usually started when he was healthy but he only played 45 games. They could use an upgrade here and Jordan looks like the best available. He is a boom or bust pick but I don't think that will stop the Nets from snatching him up at the 10 spot.
11. Indiana Pacers - DJ Augustin
It looks like Jamaal Tinsley may have played his last games in a Pacers uniform, so PG is the logical pick here. Augustin is the one true point in this draft and the Pacers will pounce on him. Indiana is craving a stable floor leader after a couple rocky years of Tinsley running the point/getting suspended and that's what Augustin would provide.
12. Sacramento Kings - Danilo Gallinari
The Kings really want and need a PG but I think all the lottery quality points will be gone at this point in the draft. Rumor has it Artest is on his way out, so Gallinari would be his replacement. If Artest stays or Gallinari really won't play anywhere but NY or NJ, expect him to be used as trade bait. I think things can and would be worked out between them, and his shooting and size would compliment Kevin Martin very well. No matter the pick, they are still a long ways away from a playoff run or a return to form of the Kings of the early 2000s.
13. Portland Trailblazers - Anthony Randolph
This guy has huge potential and could become a huge contributor for any NBA team. Portland really wants a SF and would jump at the chance to take Joe Alexander, but his stock jumped so high in recent weeks that he is now a top 10 pick. They will have to settle for Randolph, which isn't all that bad. I would see him beginning off the bench behind Martell Webster and Travis Outlaw, and then taking over as the starter late this coming season or to start 2009-10. His size at the SF position would give Portland a scary 3-4-5 combo in Randolph, Aldridge, and Oden. Add Brandon Roy to the equation and Portland is now in playoff contention. All they need now is Jarrett Jack to become a 14 & 6 floor leader, but I don't know if that will happen. Who knows though? He only averaged a little more than half a game last year and put up 10 & 4.
14. Golden State Warriors - Kosta Koufos
The Warriors have a lot of talent and I was surprised they ended the season as a lottery team. With the right choice here, they could easily be back in the playoffs next year. I really don't think Davis is going anywhere and I think that Monta Ellis & Biedrins will resign. Harrington had a disappointing year and Biedrins is good but no All-Star, so adding another big man here would be a good idea. With Koufos, Harrington, and Biedrins, Golden State's 4-5 would be in much better shape. Koufos needs a year or two to develop more, but Don Nelson likes to groom his players just right before putting them in the rotation anyways.
This draft has a lot of talent/underestimated players and I see a lot of teams improving tremendously next year. I expect the Bulls, Heat, Blazers, and Warriors to be in the postseason in 08-09. The Sonics, Bobcats, and Nets should get close but won't quite have enough to make it. What do you guys think?