Draft Time: Instant Analysis
For the first time in this site's history, NBADraft.net will be breaking down the draft as it happens. Nick Prevenas and Kevin Duffy will be offering instant analysis after each pick, while attempting to document every trade, awkward interaction and ill-advised suit choice. Feel free to join the party by leaving a comment below.
To the surprise of nobody, the Chicago Bulls made Derrick Rose the top overall pick. Kirk Hinrich might not be pleased, but the Chicago faithful can’t wait to give the hometown legend a hero’s welcome. Look for Rose to quickly join Chris Paul and Deron Williams as the NBA’s top young floor generals while leading the Bulls back into playoff contention. A no-brainer.
After flirting with the thought of drafting OJ Mayo, the Heat made the right choice in selecting Beasley. He was the most dominant player in college basketball last season (sorry Dicky V, even more so than Tyler Hansbrough) and should be the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. He measured at just 6-foot-7, but his wingspan is over 7-feet. The question marks surround his off-court behavior, will he stay focused with South Beach so close by?
Talk about a culture shock. After spending his entire “amateur” basketball career in the spotlight, OJ Mayo will be spending his rookie year with the Memphis Grizzles -- a team that doesn’t spend much time on ESPN or TNT. Mayo was the centerpiece of a massive post-draft trade that involved cross-town rival Kevin Love, who will head to Minnesota to talk post-up technique with Kevin McHale. Mayo will likely win the Grizzlies’ shooting guard spot and should get to shoot as often as he wants. Wins might be tough to come by, but look for Mayo to contend for the Rookie of the Year award.
Until about a week before the draft, Jerryd Bayless seemed to be a lock to go here. They were also thought to covet Brook Lopez in the past few days. Their selection of Westbrook comes as a bit of a surprise because he’s not the best natural point guard out there and has some work to do offensively. He’s by far the best perimeter defender in the draft, but Bayless would have provided a nice complement to Durant in the backcourt.
The Memphis Grizzlies used the No. 5 pick to select the draft’s most divisive prospect -- Kevin Love. Some see him as a modern combination of Bill Walton and Wes Unseld. Others see him as a bust along the lines of Adam Morrison or Christian Laettner. Chris Wallace sent him, along with Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal’s awful contract and Jason Collins to Minnesota in exchange for Mayo, Marco Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner. He is a smart, hard-nosed basketball player with the aptitude to succeed at the NBA level, but he will struggle against some of the league’s more athletic bigs. Wallace might have botched the Gasol deal, but he made a defensible move here. He gets rid of Cardinal’s albatross of a contract and upgrades his high-profile rookie prospect. But those Jaric/Walker contracts are just as terrible. Hmm. Wallace and Kevin McHale should make a blockbuster trade every six months, just to give Bill Simmons more material to work with.
I don’t think the Knicks have ever made a pick without hearing a chorus of boos (maybe Ewing). There actually were some cheers for Gallinari, who has a solid skill-set and a good head on his shoulders. He’ll probably have trouble cracking the line-up early on, but he’s an unselfish player who won’t demand a lot of shots—as Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph, and Eddy Curry already do. With Marbury coming off the books after this season, it would have made sense to draft Bayless here, however.
Chaos seems to follow Eric Gordon around, doesn’t it? He goes from the disastrous situation that surrounded the Indiana Hoosiers to the perpetually dysfunctional Los Angeles Clippers. With 15 losing seasons out of the last 16 years, there will be a lot of pressure on Gordon to produce quickly. He possesses a beautiful jump shot, but he is the textbook definition of a “tweener.”
The fastest-riser in the draft, Alexander wowed in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments and boosted his stock even more at the Combine. Alexander has a phenomenal mid-range game, terrific strength and athleticism, and incredible potential. He’s a true steal at No. 8. The Bucks made out well on draft day, also trading Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons for Richard Jefferson. The only possible question mark is that Jefferson and Alexander play the same position.
With no Tar Heels projected to go in the lottery this summer, Michael Jordan was forced to extend his scouting trips beyond the golf course and casino. While most people assumed the Bobcats would take a big at this spot (Jay Bilas was REALLY pushing Brook Lopez), they decided to go to the other end of the size spectrum with Augustin. Some people list Augustin at 6-feet, but he’s closer to 5-foot-10. He’s lighting quick, but he gives the Bobcats essentially the same things as Ray Felton. Is a trade (Portland) in the works?
The Nets were very lucky to have Lopez fall into their laps at No. 10. They’ve drafted Josh Boone and Sean Williams in the past two years, but neither is the low-post scoring threat that Lopez is. Then again, neither sounds like Bigfoot from the Howard Stern show, but what are you going to do? Lopez should step in and start right away.
Jerryd Bayless’ long wait comes to a merciful end. Considered by most scouts as a top-five prospect in this draft class, Bayless found himself as one of the draft’s sliders and could turn out to be a steal. The Trail Blazers recognized this and traded Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack to acquire his rights (along with Ike Diogu) He still needs to improve his left hand, but he has a remarkable first step. Add Bayless and Greg Oden to a maturing roster who took the Western Conference by surprise last year and you’re looking at an explosive, entertaining team.
Wow. Here’s our first real shocker of the draft. Thompson is a big body with good skills, but he played below-average college competition and will face a major transition. Darrell Arthur would have been a more logical selection if they wanted to go with a power forward. Thompson wasn’t projected to go until towards the later portion of the first-round, but he might work out for them as he's ready and still has upside.
The Pacers keep the trade winds blowing by dealing Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu or Rush and Jarrett Jack. Rush is a legitimate NBA talent with a wide array of skills. His game is similar to Brandon Roy’s, down to the knee problems. But Rush is an outstanding shooter and perimeter defender. He is the perfect “glue guy” for any successful franchise. With Rush and Danny Granger, Indiana is clearly targeting guys who excel at the little things.
This marks the third year in a row the Warriors come out of the draft with a very long, very young, and very thin big man (Patrick O’Bryant and Brandan Wright the last two years). If these guys all blossom, the Warriors have a bright future. Like O’Bryant and Wright, Randolph probably won’t get much time as a rookie, especially with Golden State contending for a playoff spot.
Michelle Wie's beau made it into the back nine of the draft. Instead of selling their pick to the highest bidder, the Phoenix Suns elected to actually use their pick to select a player. It’s a controversial strategy, but kudos to Suns’ owner Robert Sarver for rolling the dice. Sideshow Bob, um, I mean Robin Lopez should be able to contribute some much-needed hustle and post defense while adding depth behind Shaquille O’Neal and Amare Stoudemire. However, taking someone with Lopez’s offensive limitations prove that the “Seven seconds or less” philosophy is a thing of the past.
Speights is a good pick here. Philly is perimeter-oriented right now, and Speights will provide a physical presence inside. He has all the tools to be an All-Star down the road, but he only really played at Florida for one season and definitely could have gone back to school to fine-tune his game. The only questions surrounding him relate to his work ethic, not his physical ability.
Roy Hibbert is likely headed to Indiana as a result of the proposed Jermaine O’Neal trade. Had he declared last year, he would’ve been a lock for the top 10, but with another year for scouts to nitpick his flaws, the slow-footed Hibbert took a bit of a slide. On the plus side, he’s absolutely massive, and there is always a spot in the NBA for anyone his size -- as long as he has some skills. He would’ve fit into the Pacers’ past offensive philosophy, but will Hibbert be able to run the floor with Ford, Rush and Granger?
Many thought they’d go with Darrell Arthur here. McGee is a 7-footer with a 7-foot-6 wingspan and should provide an upgrade to Brendan Haywood in a few years. Minutes after this pick, it was announced that the Blazers acquired Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu from the Pacers for Brandon Rush and Jarrett Jack. Once again, Portland comes out as huge winners on draft day. Bayless, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Greg Oden will have a championship under their belts in the next five years. This team is going to be scary.
Still looking to fill the void after the bungled Carlos Boozer negotiations, the Cavs look to J.J. Hickson to add some much-needed frontcourt scoring. He didn’t always show up every night at N.C. State, but when he did, he dominated both ends of the floor. He’s an excellent athlete with remarkable upper-body strength. He falls somewhere between Antonio McDyess and Chris Wilcox. Will it be enough to keep LeBron James in Cleveland after 2010?
After picking DJ Augustin ninth overall, the Bobcats pretty much were forced to go big with their second pick. Ajinca has a 7-foot-8 wingspan, but is rail thin at 220 pounds. While Augustin figures to help Charlotte right away, Ajinca is a serious project. At this point, there were some players — Kosta Kofous, DeAndre Jordan, and Darrell Arthur —that would have provided more immediate help. Ajinca is likely to remain overseas for a few years.
As part of the Jason Kidd deal, the Nets make a bit of a reach for Cal’s Ryan Anderson. This guy is a terrific scorer with a deceptively versatile floor game. At 6-foot-10, he can shoot it from three and create mismatches. Sure, he’s a terrible defender and might not be the quickest guy on the court, but he can flat-out play. If he can make the necessary adjustments, he has a decent chance to remind Nets’ fans of those productive Keith Van Horn seasons in New Jersey.
Lee might have been a bit of a reach here, but he is an experienced player who does everything pretty well, and he knows how to win. Again, there were big names on the board, but Orlando’s pressing need at shooting guard was the reason for this pick. As sort of a combination of the two, Lee will compete with JJ Redick and Keith Bogans for playing time right away, with a good chance to come out the starting 2g. Lee has landed in a great situation and could really thrive in Orlando.
Utah must really like what Mehmet Okur gives them, because Koufos is essentially the same player. He might not be the toughest 7-footer around, but he is a lights-out perimeter shooter and a legitimate zone buster. He can play pick-and-pop with Deron Williams when Okur needs a breather or gets into foul trouble. The Jazz still need a slashing swingman, and with Chris Douglas-Roberts available, it’s possible that he might’ve been the better fit. However, Koufos gives Utah some added flexibility on the front line and another tremendous shooter to space the floor for Williams and Carlos Boozer.
Yet another Sonics draft, yet another foreign big man. Just like Johan Petro and Mohamed Sene, Ibaka is an upside pick. The Sonics know they likely won't be able to bring him over for 4 years, but feel that Ibaka is worth the wait.
Batum is an elite-level athlete with excellent shooting and ball-handling ability. He’s much more polished than most prospects at this age. He was later dealt to Portland for Arthur and Joey Dorsey. Rumored heart issues caused his stock to slip, but it appears as if those concerns have been alleviated, at least to a degree. At worst, he’ll still be better than fellow countryman Boris Diaw. Portland is loading up. Jump on the bandwagon now.
When the Spurs draft late in the first-round, they almost always draft a foreign player to stash overseas. By drafting Hill, a three-year player who can step in and give them some minutes as a reserve guard, we’re starting to see a sense of urgency from San Antonio. Hill is a polished all-around player and defender, but this pick was relatively surprising considering guards Mario Chalmers and Chris Douglas-Roberts were also available.
With Phoenix electing to actually participate in the draft this year, Paul Allen’s Trail Blazers had to find a new team looking to sell a first-round pick. New Orleans obliged, giving up pick No. 27 for cash considerations. Kevin Pritchard pulled the trigger on Darrell Arthur, ending his agonizing Brady Quinn-esque wait. Alleged kidney issues put a major dent in his stock. Arthur was traded twice before the night was over first going to Houston and then being dealt to Memphis for Donte Greene. Arthur started in the penthouse, downgraded to a condo and would up in the outhouse. On the bright side, he should get ample opportunity at getting PT.
Greene wound up in Houston after being dealt for Darrell Arthur. Greene should provide another solid shooter to spread the floor for Yao, he just needs to learn what a good shot is. I get the feeling that Greene is more cut out for the NBA than the college game. He isn’t expected to make a big impact for a few seasons, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him emerge as a viable starter within two years.
The always-dealing Sam Presti packaged a pair of his second-rounders to snag D.J. White to help bulk up a suspect front line. White is a no-nonsense, blue-collar grinder who will fit in nicely alongside Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nick Collison. He overcame injury to post a productive campaign at Indiana. He might not possess Ibaka’s jaw-dropping athleticism, but he owns some polished low-post moves and should see significant playing time for the young Sonics next year.
Maybe this is a sign the Poesy is out the door. There aren’t many bad things you can say about Boston right now, but this was a serious reach. Giddens has some ability, but was looked at as a mid-to-late second round prospect. The Celtics could have taken DeAndre Jordan to learn under KG’s wing and then traded up in the second-round to get Giddens. In terms of upside, Jordan would have been a tremendous value here.
|31.||*Minnesota||Nikola Pekovic 6-11 243 PF Serbia 1986||Pekovic is a mean bruiser with a soccer hooligan's mentality. He's locked into a big-money contract with his Euro team, but could establish himself as a gritty banger for the T-Wolves in 3-4 years.|
||*Detroit||Walter Sharpe 6-9 235 PF UAB So.||Seattle takes Sharpe for Detroit as part of the D.J. White deal. He might be a bit raw, but he possesses good size and athleticism for the position.|
|33.||*Portland||Joey Dorsey 6-7 265 PF/C Memphis Sr.||Portland grabs the best middle linebacker available in Dorsey. He's one of the top post defenders available and should give the Trail Blazers a much-needed mean streak.|
||*Miami||Mario Chalmers 6-2 181 PG Kansas Jr.||Traded from Minnesota to Miami. With some mock drafts having him as high as No. 12, Chalmers takes a massive slide and the Heat win big. Besides hitting the game-winner for the National Title, Chalmers is an excellent playmaker with solid point-guard skills and lock-down defensive ability.|
||LA Clippers||DeAndre Jordan 6-11 250 C TX A&M Fr.||In past drafts, Jordan might've been a top-5 pick. With GM's shying away from projects, Jordan dipped into the land of un-guaranteed contracts. He should've returned for his sophomore season.|
|36.||*Portland||Omer Asik 7-0 249 PF/C Turkey 1986||John Hollinger loves Asik, so take that for what you will. He's a decent Turkish prospect with improving ball skills.|
||Milwaukee||L.R. Mbah a Moute 6-7 230 SF UCLA Jr.||Mbah a Moute didn't feel like another year under Ben Howland would do him any favors, so he took his chances in the draft. No one figured he would go as high as pick No. 37, he should find a spot on the Bucks' roster as a shut-down defender.|
||Charlotte||Kyle Weaver 6-5 201 SG/PG Wash.St. Sr.||
Weaver didn't get the same publicity as his Pac-10 brethren, but he was as vital to his team's success as anyone. He might be the draft's strongest man-to-man defender and even possesses some combo guard skills. Guys like Weaver tend to find themselves on winning teams.
||Chicago||Sonny Weems 6-5 193 SG Arkansas Sr.||
Weems had a strong season under the radar at Arkansas. He impressed scouts at the Orlando pre-draft camp and will have an excellent opportunity to earn a roster spot with the Bulls.
||New Jersey||C.Douglas-Roberts 6-7 200 SG Mem. Jr.||Finally, my man CDR hears his name called! The first-team All-American will be this year's prospect who inexplicably slid to round two, yet becomes an indispensable piece for a title contender. His quirky offensive game will find a niche. Rumor has it he's never lost a game of one-on-one.|
||*Toronto||Nathan Jawai 6-10 270 PF/C Aus.1986||
Jawai is an absolute beast. He's incredibly strong, yet incredibly raw. With patience, Jawai could turn into an asset down the line.
|42.||*Sacramento||Sean Singletary 6-0 180 PG Virginia Sr.||
Singletary suffered due to a lousy supporting cast, but still managed to post a strong senior campaign. He out-played Jerryd Bayless when Virgina beat Arizona at Tucson. He's relentlessly competitive and plays with a chip on his shoulder.
||Sacramento||Patrick Ewing Jr. 6-7 224 SF Georgetown Sr.||More than two decades after his dad was the prize of the 1985 draft class, Ewing Jr. hears his name called. He owns a jaw-dropping 42-inch vertical leap and a versatile offensive game. He needs to get stronger, but should have an impact in Sacramento.
|44.||*Utah||Ante Tomic 7-1 220 PF/C Croatia 1987||Tomic used to be a guard before a nine-inch growth spurt turned him into a post player. At 7-foot-1, Tomic is a bit of an anomaly among European big men with his ball-handling skills.|
|45.||*San Antonio||Goran Dragic 6-4 180 PG Slovenia 1986||
The Spurs continue their love affair with overseas prospects to take Slovenian guard Goran Dragic. Similar to former Spur Beno Udrih, there's a chance Dragic could see action with San Antonio if his buyout issues clear up.
|46.||*Seattle||Trent Plaisted 6-10 240 PF/C BYU Jr.||Seattle took Plaisted for Detroit to finalize the D.J. White deal. The lefty from BYU surprised scouts with his impressive early-season performances and dominated the Mountain West Conference. He'll need to get stronger and quicker if he wants his game to translate to the pros.|
||Washington||Bill Walker 6-6 230 SG/SF K.State Fr.||The oft-injured Walker has a chance to win next year's Slam Dunk Contest, if his knees cooperate. As Beasley's K-State teammate, Walker had the opportunity to showcase some of the skills that made him such a highly recruited prep star.|
|48.||*Phoenix||Malik Hairston 6-6 205 SG Oregon Sr.||The former Oregon stand-out came to campus with a lot of hype. Injuries kept him from achieving his potential, but he is still a solid prospect who does everything well. Hairston should find a spot on the Suns' roster.|
||Golden St.||Richard Hendrix 6-8 250 PF Alabama Jr.||Hendrix is a tremendous athlete who plays with a high energy level. He's rather raw, but could establish himself as a productive role player in the right situation.|
|50.||*Seattle||DeVon Hardin 6-11 235 PF California Sr.||
Injuries and a questionable motor kept Hardin from becoming a first-round pick, but on sight alone, he looks like he should be a star in the league. He has that rare combination of size and athleticism to make it in the league, but does he want it badly enough?
||Dallas||Shan Foster 6-5 207 SG Vanderbilt Sr.||Foster was the SEC's strongest overall performer last season. He lacks explosiveness, but he can really handle himself on a basketball court. If this whole NBA thing doesn't work out, maybe he can convince Mark Cuban to finance his recording career.|
|52.||*Miami||Darnell Jackson 6-8 240 PF Kansas Sr.||Jackson played admirably alongside Arthur for the national champs. He's a bruising undersized power forward in the mold of Chris Richards.|
||Utah||Tadija Dragicevic 6-9 235 PF Serbia Sr.||
Utah takes a flyer on Dragicevic, the mysterious Serbian forward with good size and strong face-up ball skills. Odds are, he won't see much time for Jerry Sloan's squad anytime soon.
||Houston||Maarty Leunen 6-9 220 SF Oregon Sr.||
Leunen is a fundamentally sound senior with a winner's mentality. He's not very athletic, but he makes up for it with his sharp skills. He might not have the right game for the NBA, but he should have a lucrative career in Europe.
|55.||*LA Clippers||Mike Taylor 6-2 166 SG NBDL 1986||
Mike Taylor became the answer to the trivia question: "Who is the first player to be drafted out of the D-League?" He's a play-making guard who needs serious bulk. He's an all-or-nothing type of performer who could fill an Eddie House type of role down the line.
|56.||*Seattle||Sasha Kaun 6-10 247 C Kansas Sr.||Kaun is extremely raw offensively, but he can block shots. He was forced to play in Arthur's and Jackson's shadow, but he really knows how to handle himself defensively. He'll be cashing in while playing in his hometown of Moscow, but we might see him in the NBA one day.|
||San Antonio||James Gist 6-8 220 SF/PF Maryland Sr.||Gist is an explosive leaper of the Renaldo Balkman variety, but might not have enough other skills to contribute to an NBA team. He can rebound and block shots, but his jump shot needs work and he's a weak ball-handler.|
||LA Lakers||Joe Crawford 6-4 210 SG Kentucky Sr.||The former Kentucky guard is an experienced, hard-nosed performer with an attacker's mentality. He's not a point guard, but could make a roster with his heart and determination.|
||Detroit||Deron Washington 6-7 210 SF Va.Tech Sr.||Washington is a smooth, athletic 2-guard with excellent defensive ability. His spot in the NBA will be as a defensive role player, as his offensive game is a work in progress.|
||Boston||Semih Erden 7-0 249 C Turkey 1986||Erden wraps things up for the 2008 draft. He's Asik's Turkish teammate with a lot of size, speed and athleticism. Although scouts worry that he's a head case.|
The Grizzlies acquired OJ Mayo (No. 3) from the Timberwolves for Kevin Love (No. 5) in a multi-player deal.
The Blazers acquired Jerryd Bayless (No. 11) from the Pacers for Brandon Rush (No. 13) in a multi-player deal.
The Blazers acquired Nicolas Batum from the Rockets for the rights to Darrell Arthur (No. 27) and Joey Dorsey (No. 33).
The Grizzlies then acquired Darrell Arthur (No. 27) from the Rockets for Donte Greene (No. 28), and a future second-round pick.
The Heat acquired Mario Chalmers (No. 34) from the Timberwolves for cash and two second-round picks in 2009.
The Sonics acquired D.J. White (No. 29) from the Pistons for Walter Sharpe (No. 32) and Trent Plaisted (No. 46).
In a three team deal, the Bulls acquired the draft rights to Omer Asik (No. 36) from Blazers, the Blazers recieved a (Knicks) 2009 2nd rounder (from Bulls), and 2009 (Warriors) 2nd rounder from (from Nuggets). The Nuggets received Sonny Weems (No. 39).
The Suns acquired Goran Dragic (No 45) from the Spurs for Malik Hairston (No. 48), a future second-round pick and cash.
The Celtics acquired Bill Walker (No. 47) from the Wizards for cash considerations.
The Clippers acquired the draft rights to Mike Taylor (No. 55) from the Blazers for a second-round pick in 2009.