Friday, June 27, 2008
I was able to watch a decent chunk of the draft last night, but was unable to blog it because while watching I was also holding Wonderbaby. First comments on the Wolves' results, then the draft as a whole.
Round 1 - OJ Mayo (traded to Memphis with Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Gerg Buckner in exchange for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins)
I do wish they would have announced this right after the pick, because I went to bed talking myself into OJ Mayo and looking forward to having him and woke up seeing he was traded. I'm not so sure, but I can see the upside here. I'm madly in love with Mike Miller, one of the best shooters in the NBA, and I'm excited to have him in Minnesota. Cardinal is still as annoying as ever, and Collins is worthless, but I'd rather have those two than Jaric, Walker, and Buckner. As for Love, personally I ignore his lack of "measurables" and pay more attention to his production. I didn't think Mayo fit the Wolves all that well because the backcourt would be undersized, but now with Love, the frontcourt will be undersized.
Love should fit in well, and will be a productive player, although I don't think he's all-star material, where Mayo had that kind of potential. And as much as I like Miller, he doesn't really make that much sense for a rebuilding team. Even though I like Love and was never a huge Mayo fan, I hate this deal. You aren't winning with Jefferson, Love, Miller, Foye, Telfair.
Round 2 - Nikola Pekovic - I was completely disgusted with this pick when it was made, and am only slightly less disgusted after doing a little more research into this commie. Turns out he's not your typical Euro: seven feet tall, skinny frame, soft, averages of 5 pts and 5 rebs per game. He's actually quite good, averaging nearly 20 points per game and being named EuroBasket's player of the year. Even so, he just signed a rich, 3-year contract with his team in Europe, so he wouldn't even be available for three more years. I also read that he "hates the NBA" so he may never come over at all. And they could have had Bill Walker.
Round 2 - Mario Chalmers (traded to Miami) - I liked the Chalmers pick here, especially with the weaknesses the Wolves at PG, and don't understand why they'd ship him off for two future second rounders, especially from Miami when they just picked up Beasley and will be improving. The picks will almost certainly be lower than #34 (where Chalmers was picked), and he was talented and would fit the team perfectly. Don't get it.
In short, despite liking Love quite a bit, I completely and totally hated this draft in every possible way. Snacks made a good point about the direction the Wolves are heading in an email to me, which hopefully he'll repost in the comments, but I can't shake the disappointment I feel from trading Mayo.
Let's move on to the draft as a whole:
1. Derrick Rose - Chicago: No brainer. Plays a valuable position, no real concerns, played well on a big stage, and is from Chicago
2. Michael Beasley - Miami: All the Mayo talk was just talk, as it should have been. The Derrick Coleman comparisons are ludicrous.
3. OJ Mayo - Minnesota (to Memphis): The third of three guys with the potential to be a star. We don't need him.
4. Russell Westbrook - Seattle: I don't get the Westbrook love. He's a great defender, yes, but he's too small to play the 2 and doesn't have the PG skills to play the 1. And he's not a good shooter.
5. Kevin Love - Memphis (to Minnesota): See above. I like Love and think he'll be qualilty, but it pains me that the Wolves passed on a potential superstar.
6. Danilo Gallinari - NY Knicks: Obviously I've never seen him play, but seeing as he's foreign and was drafted in the lottery, I'm going to predict bust. I'm sure Bill Simmons will mention this as well, but watching him get interviewed by Stephen A Smith was hilarious.
7. Eric Gordon - LA Clippers: Bust. Shrinks in big games, just isn't NBA ready. May get there in time, but not this year.
8. Joe Alexander - Milwaukee: Don't get the love here either. He's too slow to drive, too weak to post up, and doesn't have the outside shot to be a perimeter guy. Maybe he can combine the three to become a good player, but I doubt it.
9. DJ Augustin - Charlotte: Excellent pick, as Augustin is built for the NBA. Will be a better player than Gordon, and could join the Deron Williams/Chris Paul discussion down the road.
10. Brook Lopez - New Jersey: Whatever. Tall. Good. We'll see if it translates. He sounds like Jame Gumb.
11. Jerryd Bayless - Indiana (to Portland): I've mentioned I love Bayless, and I love what Portland is doing. Bayless will be a huge upgrade over Jarrett Jack.
12. Jason Thompson - Sacramento: You know, there was a lot of talk about how Rider had an NBA draft caliber player this year, but he never really dominated the way you'd think if he was going to go twelfth. Very curious to see how he works out.
13. Brandon Rush - Portland (to Indiana): Can't hate this pick, he's very solid. Rush is one of the safest players to pick, but also with not a whole lot of upside. You know he's going to be a quality rotation type player, who may crack a starting rotation at some point, but will never be a star.
14. Anthony Randolph - Golden State: A bit of a super athletic project, but at this point, why not?
15. Robin Lopez - Phoenix: Jame Gumb with the Sideshow Bob hairstyle. Lopez is a defensive kind of guy, and by going to the Suns shows they may be looking to change up their team identity a bit. I think he would have been well-served staying in school for a year to show he could carry a team himself, but 15th is nothing to be ashamed of.
16. Marreese Speights - Florida: I have a really good feeling about Speights. He's excellent down low, but also has a better outside game than many realize.
17. Rob Hibbert - Indiana: I guess he has to be taken somewhere. I wouldn't touch Hibbert until later than this, but I suppose there is also a place for a 7-2 uncoordinated, slow big man in the NBA.
18. Javale McGee - Washington: I have no idea why you would take him ahead of Darrell Arthur or Kosta Koufos if you want a big man. No idea.
19. JJ Hickson - Cleveland: I'd think you'd want a guy with a little more polish if you're the Cavs and are trying to simultaneously take the next step as well as convince LeBron not to leave when his contract is up - like Darrell Arthur.
20. Alexis Ajinca - Charlotte: He has a girls name, is from France, and averaged 5 ppg in a french league - guess how this one will turn out.
21. Ryan Anderson - New Jersey: Bascially Joe Alexander with a better outside shot, and 13 picks later.
22. Courtney Lee - Orlando: Great pick. Guy will be a very solid 2 guard.
23. Kosta Koufos - Utah: I think he will be a very solid player, and going to Utah and Jerry Sloan is a great fit. He needs to gain some weight and get stronger, but already has a good post game and can step out and hit the outside jumper. Like this pick.
24. Serge Ibaka - Seattle: I'm not even going to pretend I know who this is, but he's from the Congo so he'll likely be killed by Killer Apes before he even gets to the NBA.
25. Nicolas Batum - Houston (to Portland): Another Frenchy. According to the Blazers GM, they have a chance to actually sign Batum for this coming season. How weird is that? Teams keep drafting guys who they won't even see for a few years. Don't get it.
26. George Hill - San Antonio: The Spurs' backup PG is Jacque Vaughn, so they clearly need a PG here. Why Hill over Chalmers? I don't know.
27. Darrell Arthur - Memphis: A steal, as long as those Kidney issues - which caused him to drop to here - don't end up being a big deal.
28. Donte Green - Houston: Some people (Snacks) really love Green. I don't. he doesn't do anything other than shoot three pointers. The problem is he's 6-11, over half of his FG attempts last year were from three, and he only shot 34.5%. He has talent, if only he can figure it out.
29. DJ White - Detroit (to Seattle): I think White has a real chance to be a contributor right away. For two second round picks, it's a great move for the Sonics.
30. JR Giddens - Boston: I didn't even realize he was considered first round material, but he is a hell of a player. Lots and lots of off court issues, but lots and lots of talent. A big gamble. Boston also picked up Bill Walker in the second round, who is another possible first rouond talent kind of guy if his knee turns out to be ok. If even one of the two work out, the Celtics will be in great shape. Ainge might be turning out to be a pretty good GM.
So there you have it, and congratulations to all the underclassmen who declared and either went undrafted or were picked in the second round. Special shout out to USC's Davon Jefferson, a very talented freshman last year who definitely would have been first round material, possibly lottery, with another year or two in college, but declared this year and went undrafted. Good luck in the D League, genius.