Thursday, May 22, 2008

2008 Mock Draft a.k.a. Where 2% matters....

The Miami Heat may have been hoping for the number one overall pick last night as the ping pong balls jumbled around. Dwyane Wade, their superstar, represented the team as they made their selection, hoping to get the same kind of luck he brought South Beach when they drafted him number five in 2003.

However, it was the "Baby Bulls" potentially getting first crack at the top college performers when they landed the first pick despite just a 1.7 percent chance of doing so.
That unlikely twist actually could end up benefiting both teams.

The Chicago Bulls have lacked a low post scorer since...well ever (Ok Elton Brand before 2001). Michael Beasley has the potential to bring the kind of inside rebounding and scoring presence they desperately need to go with that wing heavy roster. Chris Duhon is a free agent and Kirk Heinrich was inconsistent last year, a big reason the Bulls struggled. Derrick Rose, a Chicago product, will be tempting, but ultimately Beasley just seems to make too much sense to pass up.

The Heat, might actually be in a better position to upgrade their team despite having the second overall pick. Much like Seattle last year simply had to take the "other" guy, the Heat will gladly take Derrick Rose second as he is actually the player they would likely have taken with the first overall pick.

If the Bulls do take Rose first, the Heat will be able to package their pick, perhaps with Shawn Marion, and get a veteran low post scorer (Pat Riley REALLY wants Elton Brand and the Clippers believe he will leave if he does not opt out of his contract this offseason).
Despite their obvious struggles last season, a healthy Wade and either Rose or low post scorer X will be exciting if nothing else.

Keeping Flash and Shawn Marion while getting Rose could be the ideal scenario for next season and could make the Heat dangerous to once again challenge for the division.
For the rest of the teams in the draft, much still must be decided. With pre-draft camps, workouts, and interviews, we must take a wait and see approach. If the draft were to happen tomorrow, here is what it may look like:

1.) Chicago Bulls - Michael Beasley F Kansas State
Bulls must add toughness inside and Beasley's scoring will only make the "Baby Bulls" more dangerous.

Rose will certainly draw consideration, but ultimately Jim Paxon will likely decide Beasley is a considerable upgrade over Drew Gooden and Tyrus Thomas. Beasley makes the most sense, but as we know, the NBA rarely does.

Rose seems to be the sexy pick, but Beasley will absolutely dominate pre-draft workouts and make Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and Drew Gooden look like Mark Madsen.

Player comparison: Carmello Anthony

2.) Miami Heat - Derrick Rose PG Memphis

Anyone brave enough to watch the Miami Heat last season saw their offense was in disarray most of the time. Players stood around and watched a hobbled Flash go one on five. When he did pass the ball, his teammates couldn't make shots.

Rose would join his fellow Chicagoian Wade in the backcourt and create one of the most dynamic guard combos in the league. If it looks like Rose is the #1 pick, expect Pat Riley to be on the horn, trying to move this pick, particularly to L.A. (Nothing Riles does suprises me)

Player Comparison: Jason Kidd

3.) Minnesota Timberwolves - Brook Lopez C Stanford

While Lopez may not be the third best player in this year's draft, he will be a better fit with the T-Wolves than a guard like Jerryd Bayless or OJ Mayo.

Al Jefferson quietly put in one of the best seasons in the league down low (Fantasy Stud!!), but he gets little too no help inside. Lopez would bring strength on the block as well as a feathery touch (See the turnaround jumper to beat Marquette in the Tourney).

Jerryd Bayless could work too, but he is too much a shoot first point guard, and they already have two of those.

Player Comparison: Um..... (any suggestions)

4.) Seattle SuperSonics (Or whatever they're gonna be called) - OJ Mayo SG USC

The Sonics don't have a true point guard. This is true, but Jerryd Bayless is not a true point guard either.

Jeff Green can play point forward and Luke Ridnour, when healthy, has proven to be adequate (Plus how hard can it be? Pass the ball to Kevin Durant. Let him shoot. Repeat).

Mayo has unlimited capabilities as a scorer, but might be the best perimeter defender at the shooting guard position in this class. Mayo would take pressure off of Durant by spreading the defense.

I like Mayo over Bayless in this spot, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Bayless taken.
Player Comparision: reminds me a little bit of Kobe Bryant and/or D-Wade.

5.) Memphis Grizzlies (Thank you so much for Pau) - Anthony Randolph PF LSU

This now puts Memphis in a difficult position. They would really like to see Lopez fall after trading away Pau Gasol to my beloved L.A. Lakers (Did I already say Thank You Memphis?).

The Grizzlies have a glut of point guards which means Jerryd Bayless makes little too no sense here.

Randolph will add tremendous length alongside Rudy Gay and if he can get stronger, has the type of explosive athleticism to be a solid rebounder and shot blocker. He won't be Gasol anytime soon, but with talent on the perimeter, the Grizzlies must look to add low post fire power.
Player Comparison: Rudy Gay and Tayshaun Prince

6.) New York Knicks - Jerryd Bayless PG Arizona

Another shoot first point guard for the New York Knicks? Well, not exactly, but Mike D'Antoni will need to get a point guard to groom for his system.

Bayless already has a smooth scoring ability and D'Antoni will have to hope he can teach him how to be unselfish and pick his spots like Steve Nash.

Bayless has a similar skill set to current Knick Stephon Marbury, but won't make that kind of money and has the attitude to be molded into a solid point guard in the NBA.

7.) Los Angeles Clippers (They'll have this pick for about 5 minutes)- Danilo Gallinari SF Italy

Corey Maggette could opt out of his deal and Quinton Ross is a restricted free agent.

Gallinari has the body and the passing skills that would make Toni Kukoc proud, although he is not the long-range shooter Kukoc was.

He can convert oops as well as he can throw them and his feel for the game at only 19 gives him outstanding upside.

The Clippers continue to rebuild and with injury issues lingering for Shaun Livingston, Russell Westbrook or D.J. Augustine could be options here as well.

8.) Milwaukee Bucks - (Sleeper for R.O.Y.) Eric Gordon SG Indiana

New GM John Hammonds will have to decide what direction this Milwaukee team will be headed in. With Bogut, Villanueva, and Yi inside, the Bucks could look to build around their interior players.

Additionally, their most valuable trade chip is Michael Redd (Rumored to be heading to Lebron .. er the Cavs) and with all the money they just paid to Mo Williams and Charlie Bell, it might be time to trade the face of their franchise.

Eric Gordon has the kind of fantastic outside touch and possesses a better dribble drive game than Redd. If the Bucks can find a willing trade partner, Gordon and whoever they can get for Redd could make them tough much sooner than trying to simply build around Redd.

9.) Charlotte Bobcats - Kevin Love PF UCLA

Kevin Love reminds me a ton of Anthony Mason, only without the attitude (Great if we are talking about the Knicks' Mason, but not the Bucks).

The Bobcats have Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor in their front court and Love would create easy buckets for those guys with his cerebral ability to find his teammates.

There are two point guards and maybe a center ahead of Love, but the Bobcats have depth at point guard. If they don't think they can keep Emeka Okafor, DeAndre Jordan makes sense, but Larry Brown would rather have a guy who can help right away.

10.) New Jersey Nets - DeAndre Jordan C Texas A&M

After trading Jason Kidd, this Nets team did flirt with a playoff birth, but they are clearly rebuilding and should do so around Devin Harris and Richard Jefferson.

Now we're hearing Carmelo Anthony could be on his way to New Jersey with Marcus Camby for Richard Jefferson and Marcus Williams, but I can't believe the Nuggets would trade one of the top ten players in the league for so little.

Nenad Krstic has been hurt and was never strong inside. They could lose DeSagna Diop and Stromile Swift to free agency and will have very little inside.

Jordan has the body of Dwight Howard, but no where near the polish. With the best players on the board point guards, Jordan makes the most sense for a franchise needing a low post presence.

11.) Indian Pacers - D.J. Augustine (My personal choice for sleeper R.O.Y.) PG Texas

Jamaal Tinsley has been nothing but problems since he came to the Pacers. Jermaine O'Neal's days appear to be numbered in Indiana and D.J. Augustine could pick up guys like Danny Granger and help turn them into premier players.

He can create his own shot by getting to the rim and can get white hot from deep. He can run a pro offense and has passing abilities to distribute the ball. Augustine would be a steal for the Pacers and an ideal fit here at 11.

12.) Sacramento Kings - Russel Westbrook PG UCLA

I am not as sold on Westbrook as others seem to be, but the Kings really need a floor leader since trading Mike Bibby and Wesbtrook fits the bill.

He can come off the bench early on and play solid defense. He can straight handle the rock and get to the rim.

Reggie Theus ought to know how to coach guards and with scorers like Kevin Martin already in place, he will not have to carry the offensive load. Augustine would be better because of his experience, but he probably won't fall this far.

13.) Portland Trail Blazers - Joe Alexander F West Virginia

Players like Donte Green and Darrell Arthur could be good fits, both with huge upside, but ultimately the toughness and versatility of Alexander should win out.

Alexander reminds me of a Dirk Nowitzki only with a backbone and some mental toughness. He can handle the ball, really pass, and will take the big shot. He could be a valuable contributor off the bench for the Blazers next year.

There are some talented bigs available here, but with Aldridge in place and Oden coming back (presumably), Alexander or Greene make the most sense here.

14.) Golden State Warriors - Darrell Arthur PF Kansas

The Warriors will love Arthur's versatility, able to play the three or the four at 6'10''. He has tremendous feet and agility and can really score on the block out to 15 feet with his jumpshot.
He uses his length to block shots, although he is not exceedingly strong against bigger players inside.

Despite his age, he probably has more polish than Brandon Wright and expect him to compete for playing time, if not a starting role on this wing heavy team.

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