NBA Draft 2008

June29, 2008

By Bob Radl, Staff Writer

The next generation of future NBA stars was drafted last Thursday night inNew York. College freshmen were selected 1-2-3 for the first time in thehistory of the NBA draft. Five of the first seven players selected were alsotrue freshman. This also set an NBA record. The NBA draft means more to teamsthan its counterparts in other pro sports. Players selected in this years draftwill need time to prove themselves. This draft will need to be evaluated threeto four years down the road due to the large number of young players drafted.Four international players were taken in the first round as the NBA continuesto expand its borders in search of talent.

1. Derrick Rose, PG, Chicago Bulls, Rose is considered to be theproto-type for an NBA point guard. He possesses a great combination of speed,athleticism and power. He has good ball handling skills with either hand as NBAscouts feel you can build a team around him. Rose improved his assist toturnover ration as last season progressed. He has good defensive potential withthe ability to guard multiple positions in the NBA. He is extremely good intransition. He will need to work on his decision-making and improve hisperimeter shooting.

2. Michael Beasley, PF, Miami Heat, Beasley has incredible scoringinstincts and can create his own shot. Possessing a great combination ofstrength, quickness and body control, he has the potential to be a scoringmachine in Miami. He will team with Dwayne Wade to give the Heat somewell-needed offensive punch. He is very fluid and agile for his size and has agreat first step. Beasley is a very strong rebounder for his size and led thenation in rebounding as a freshman. There are questions about his actual heightas he is not 6’ 10” as listed in the official program. He may be closer to 6’7”or 6’8”. There are also some character questions about his maturity.

3. O.J. Mayo, Guard, Memphis Grizzlies, Mayo, drafted by theTimberwolves, was traded on draft day to the Grizzlies. He is considered to beNBA ready as he is almost 21 years old. He has the ability to create his ownshot and has natural scoring instincts. He is very fluid in his moves and quitegraceful on the court. He has great court vision and body control. He is alsoconsidered to be a strong defender at this point in his career. He appears tobe stuck between the 1-2 positions on the court. He is not a true point guard. Hewill need to improver his shot selection and decision making at the next level.He does have All-Pro potential.

4. Russell Westbrook, PG, Seattle, Westbrook was considered to be oneof the most improved players over the last year or two. He has freakishathleticism, huge hands and a long wingspan, which will help in defending onthe perimeter. Bringing great energy to the game, Westbrook can beat playersoff the dribble with a great first step. He is strong defender and a greatfinisher, especially in transition. He will need to work on his ball-handlingskills, as he is not a natural point guard. He will also need to improve hisshooting consistency.

5. Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota. Love is a very strong and skilled bigman with a high basketball IQ. He makes a superb outlet pass that reminds NBAfans of Wes Unseld or Bill Walton in their prime. Love has a nice feel for thegame and solid footwork for a big man. He has good ball handling skills and isa nice passer for his size. He lost 15 to 20 pounds at the end of the NCAAseason and appears much leaner. Questions do remain about his lateral quicknessand defensive potential. He will most likely not be a great shot blocker as heplays below the rim.

6. Danilo Gallinari, SF, New York, Gallinari was the firstinternational player chosen in this year’s draft. He is considered to be thebest player in Italy and the next rising European star despite his young age(19). Possessing a great feel for the game, NBA scouts feel you can possiblebuild a team around him. He has great size for his position, very good ballhandling skills for a big man and great body control. He will need to getbigger and stronger to survive in the NBA. There is also some question abouthis lateral quickness on defense.

7. Eric Gordon, Guard, LA Clippers, Gordon is a big time scoringcombo guard who can light it up from all over the court. He has a nice firststep; good athleticism, a quick release and can get to the line. He has asmooth shooting stroke as he squares his feet and sets his shoulder veryquickly. He will need to work on his ball handling skills to play the point inthe NBA. He is will have to work on his defense against bigger and stronger SGin the pros.

8. Joe Alexander, SF, Milwaukee, Alexander has the size, length andframe that you like to see in an NBA SF. His athleticism is almost freakish, ashe appears to have springs in his legs. He tested as one of the strongestplayers in this year’s draft. His value skyrocketed in pre-draft camps where hedisplayed his skills. He is still a work in progress. He will need to improvehis shooting range and prove that he can create his own shot.

9. D. J. Augustin, PG, Charlotte, Augustin is an undersized floorleader that makes good decisions with the ball. At 5’11”, he is short for atrue PG in the NBA. He does have outstanding ball handling skills with eitherhand, has good court vision and plays well in transition. He possesses a quickrelease and showed the ability to get to the line despite his stature. NBAteams will exploit his size on defense until he proves himself.

10. Brook Lopez, Center, New Jersey, Lopez brings a tough physicalpresence to floor along with a mean streak. He missed the beginning of the lastseason due to back surgery. He has a phenomenal wing span, can run the floorwell for his size and has a nice shooting touch. He can score in the post andhas a nice jump hook.  He is considered to be a good but not great athleteand must improve his shot selection. Many Scouts expected him to go in the topfive this year.

11. Jerryd Bayless, Guard, Portland, Bayless is a quick and explosivescorer.  He is very fluid and smooth in his movements and is a goodperimeter shooter. He has a nice mid-range pull up jump shot to go along withnice offensive package. He has good ball handling ability to go along withlateral quickness. He is considered to be a better scorer then a playmaker. Hewill need to work on his decision-making as well as his shot selection in thepros.

12. Jason Thompson, Forward, Sacramento, Thompson was the first truecenter to be selected in the 2008 draft. He is a big physical player and quitestrong, but played against weaker competition in college. He runs the floorwell for his size and can play facing the basket. He is a predictive rebounderfor his size and an unselfish passer for a big man. He will need to improve hislow post defense and get stronger to be a force in the NBA.

13. Brandon Rush, Forward, Indiana, Rush is a good shooter anddefender. He did mature a great deal in his three years at Kansas. He has goodathleticism and a smooth game. He can knock down the trey from the behind theNBA 3-point line. He needs to improve ball-handling skills and to take hisdefender off of the dribble to be a successful NBA wing player.

14. Anthony Randolph, Forward, Golden State, Randolph is very longand athletic with a 7” 3” wingspan. He runs the floor well for his size whileshowing great explosiveness and a fluid game. This explosiveness will help inblocking shots. He has good ball handling skills for a man of his size. He hasa skinny frame and needs to get stronger to play in the low post. He needs towork on his all-around defense and his shot selection.

15. Robin Lopez, Center, Phoenix, Lopez is the twin brother of BrookLopez. He is an intense defender with big soft hands. His offensive game isslowly being developed. Possessing a good fell for the game, Lopez is veryagile and active for his size. He will need to get stronger and work on anunpolished offensive game.

16. Marreese Speights, Forward, Philadelphia, Speights is a 6’ 10”power forward with as many skills facing the basket as any other big man inthis draft. He has solid shooting mechanics to go along with a natural,flawless stroke. He has a solid frame and soft hands. He will need to work onhis shot selection and defensive fundamentals at the next level.

17. Roy Hibbert, Center, Indiana, Hibbert has the size ands strengthat 7’ 2” and 270 pounds that you like in the pros. He has excellent hands anice variety of moves in the low post. He is viewed as unlikely to be either astar or a bust as a pro. He is not considered to be too athletic. He lacksquickness in the paint and tires quickly due to his size.

18. JaVale McGee, Forward/Center, Washington, McGee has excellentsize and leaping ability to go along with a big wingspan. He is a terrificathlete who runs the floor well for his size. He is considered to be a latebloomer with shot blocking potential. His fundamentals are suspect and he isweak physically for a big man. Many scouts consider McGee to be a very highrisk/high reward type of player.

19. J.J. Hickson, Forward, Cleveland, Hickson is a strong toughathletic forward with a great deal of potential. He is very explosive with anNBA body. At 6’9”, he can play with his back to the basket. He has shown theability to finish through contact and get to the free throw line. He will needto work on ball-handling skills and improve the range on his jump shot.

20. Alexis Anjica, Center, Charlotte, Standing 7’1” and possessing a7’ 8” wingspan, the young French center is an intriguing prospect. There ishuge upside to his game, especially his shot blocking potential. Anjica willneed to get stronger and has a very raw offensive game. He may benefit fromtime in Europe to develop his game.

21. Ryan Anderson, Forward, New Jersey, Anderson is a very productivescorer with nice range on his shots for a big man. He hustles and competeswell. He also showed a nice touch inside and is a solid rebounder. He will needto get stronger and improve his lateral quickness at the next level.

22. Courtney Lee, SG, Orlando, Lee is tough as nails while possessinga superb frame and nice shooting mechanics. He has a nice mid-range game andwill be a versatile role player for the Magic. He will need to work on his ballhandling skills and a much higher level of competition in the pros.

23. Kosta Koufos, Center, Utah, Koufos, who many had expected to be apotential lottery pick, fell to the Jazz. He has an extremely high skill levelfor a young player. Possessing excellent size and natural scoring instincts, hehas a nice back to the basket game. His game is mostly finesse and not one ofpower. He is not considered to be very explosive in going to the rim. He willneed to improve his toughness and refine his all-around game at the next level.

24. Serge Ibaka, Forward, Seattle, Ibaka was the youngest player inthe draft but has amazing physical tools. He can run the floor very well andhas an explosive first. He could be a solid shot blocker in the NBA, given hisframe and length. He is huge project at this time with great upside. He willneed more time in Europe to develop.

25. Nicolas Batum, Forward, Houston, Batum has all of the physicaltools needed to make it in the NBA with size, length and athleticism. He has anice feel for the game and a great deal of untapped potential. Some scouts feelthat Batum plays soft and needs to be more aggressive. He will most likelyremain in Europe for a while.

26. George Hill, guard. San Antonio, Hill’s stock soared in the weeksleading up to the draft. He is considered to be a strong defender but can alsoscore if needed. He is considered to be more of a combo guard. At only 6’2”, hewill have problems guarding taller and larger guards in the NBA. The Spursbackcourt is quite loaded so his minutes may be limited.

27. Darrell Arthur, Forward, Memphis, Arthur is considered to be veryathletic, can score in the paint and has a nice turn around jumper. He wasexpected to be drafted 10 to 15 picks earlier but unsubstantiated concerns overa kidney issue scared some teams away. He has good lateral quickness and is asolid defender. He will need to improve his shot selection and show moretoughness at the next level.

28. Donte Greene, Forward, Houston, Greene has a terrific frame,smooth athleticism and uncommon mobility and coordination for man who standsabout 6’ 10”. He can elevate and create his own shot, but most stop being aspot-up shooter. He has near picture perfect mechanics and a quick release. Hemust work on his shot selection, toughness and ball handling skills.

29. D. J. White, Forward, Seattle, White has decent size, long armsand is a tough and physical player. He has solid footwork, a nice touch aroundthe basket and is an excellent rebounder. He had several injuries in hiscollege career that robbed him of some of his athleticism. He will need to workon his lateral quickness. He appears to have limited upside and will mostlikely be a role player in the NBA.

30. J.R. Giddens, Guard, Boston, Giddens is a superior athlete withnice range on his jump shot. He will need to work on his defense to play forthe Celts as he is considered to be a poor defender at this stage of hiscareer. He may have trouble breaking into the rotation Boston.

Notable playerstaken in the second round of the NBA draft:

33. Joey Dorsey, Forward, Houston, Dorsey played four years of ballat Memphis. He is a very strong and athletic forward. He can hit the boards onboth ends of the floor and scores most of his points off of offensive rebounds.He will need to extend his range and work on his post defense in the NBA.

34. Mario Chalmers, Guard, Miami, Chalmers has a great understandingof his role in the offense. He does not turn the ball over much. He is anefficient player with a nice wingspan considering he is only 6” 1”. As a pointguard in the NBA, there questions about his ball handling skills and hisathleticism. He will also need to improve his mid-range game.

35. DeAndre Jordan, Center, LA Clippers, Jordan is an imposingphysical specimen with great size, a long wingspan and great hands for a bigman. He has the ability to draw fouls and has nice quickness in the post. Hehas a quick second bounce when rebounding. He is considered to be raw on theoffensive end and lacks in basic fundamentals. He is considered to be a highrisk-high reward player at this time.

40. Chris Douglas-Roberts, Guard, New Jersey, Douglas-Roberts is oneof the more experienced and productive products in this draft. He is a verycreative scorer. At 6’ 7”, He can play on the wing and be a solid defender withhis long arms. He is considered to be tough and fearless with the ball in hishands. He has a slight build and will need to extend his range to the NBA threepoint line. He also has a tendency to play out of control at times and does notrebound as well as he should from the perimeter.

43. Patrick Ewing Jr. Forward, Sacramento, The son of formerNBA Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing, the younger Ewing is a tall lanky playerwith good timing and excellent elevation in attacking the glass. He plays withenergy and has shown the vision to pass out of double teams to find an openteammate. He will need to extend the range on his game and also get stronger todefend players in the post.

47. Bill Walker, Forward, Boston, Walker was traded to the Celtics ondraft night for cash. He was a high school teammate with O.J. Mayo at NorthCollege Hill High school in Cincinnati. He has an NBA ready body and is a greatathlete. He can create his own shot and get to the basket. He will need toimprove his defense, perimeter shooting and tendency to turn the ball over toomuch at the next level.