Thursday, June 26, 2008

One of the cornerstones of this blog has been predictions, and what event calls for predictions more than tonight's NBA draft. Sure I'm not an "expert" but I follow sports, so let's give it a shot.

1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose - this is what most people seem to think, and what I think makes the most sense for the Bulls as well - perhaps a slightly less developed player than Beasley, but oh so much potential, and the type of potential franchise-changing point guard the Bulls (or how many other teams) could really use, even more than someone up front like Beasley. Smart call (or so I say now, before he drops out of the league in three years).

2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley - now I've heard rumors they like Mayo, but there's no way that if they're still in the #2 spot they can not take Beasley - they may investigate a trade, but whoever's trading up will be taking Beasley. There's a lot of young talent in this draft, but there's a general consensus two guys at the top Rose, and Beasley - then it gets all murky.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - OJ Mayo - he's still the best fit here, and the third most talented player in the draft, even if he didn't end up being the consensus number one that everyone thought he would be a couple of years ago. He's a scorer which the wolves can use to complement Al Jefferson, and really, it would be folly to draft anyone else at the third pick who simply won't be as talented.

4. Seattle Supersonics - Russell Westbrook - okay, now here it gets hard. There's all sorts of choices here for them - Brook Lopez probably the most tempting (and of course if Mayo falls), but Westbrook whose stock rose dramatically as UCLA soared to the Final Four (while his teammate Darren Collison's dropped) and he fits a hole at PG.

5. Memphis Grizzlies - Brook Lopez - Lopez's stock has just been rising, rising, rising over the last couple of weeks, and most of the teams, Grizzlies included would love a big man like Brook with a solid offensive arsenal and the tools to be a good big defender, though may not a great one. Still, big men are at a premium, and what Lopez lacks in pure athleticism, he makes up for in size.

6. New York Knicks - Jerryd Bayless - For weeks, it seemed the Knicks would have no chance at this guy as he would go earlier but as Westbrook and Lopez has risen, Bayless is likely to go sometime in the 6-10 range. From what I've seen/read, he seems like a Gilbert Arenas type of point guard - one whose scoring, not passing is his forte, and while Mike D'antoni would love a Steve Nash-type point guard to install into his system, he needs players to score as well, and I think Bayless is better than Eric Gordon, and more of a safe bet than Danilo Gallinari, both of whom the Knicks may also consider here.

7. LA Clippers - Eric Gordon - the Clippers could also use a scorer and will be elated that Gordon falls to them - I'm not as high on Gordon after watching him in college as many scouts seem to be, but they're the scouts, so what do I know. Anyway, the Clippers would love a scoring guard here and might jump on Bayless or Westbrook if they're avaiable as well. Could Gordon and Bayless swapping.

8. Milwaukee Bucks - Joe Alexander - no one, and I mean, no one's stock has risen like this guy, who was not too far from a nobody before absolutely dominating Duke in the NCAA tournament for West Virginia, and then impressed everyone and their brothers in workouts, as a guy who has a ton of strength to bump around inside on defense and rebounding, while possessing ability to finish at the rim. He goes from hanging around another year to top 10 pick.

9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kevin Love - I don't love him as an NBA player - he seems like a classic college star-turns-into-useful-bench-player-but-not-star, but Charlotte would love him if he drops this far. Another guy who was initially this high, seemed to drop, but whose stock has picked up again, Larry Brown would love this very solid/fundamental type of post up player.

10. New Jersey Nets - Danilo Gallinari - The player I know the least about as an Italian, but from what I hear/read, he's an excellent scorer, has range, and is essentially a huge risk - he could prove himself worthy of a higher pick, or a much lower one - no one has quite figured out how the property translate skills in Europe to skills in the NBA yet.

11. Indiana Pacers - Anthony Randolph - man, if the first 10 were tough, now, it's just a shot in the dark entirely. I could see Indiana taking another big man here - I've seen Robin Lopez and Darrell Arthur tossed around too. I'll guess with the LSU project, another big risk-reward guy.

12. Sacramento Kings - DJ Augustin - I'll have less comments as we go forward, particularly as these are all kind of up in the air - they could use Augustin and hope his true point guard passing abilities make up for his lack of size and general athleticism.

13. Portland Trailblazers - Alexis Ajinca - the one team that has no need for more young players can take a European and wait for them to develop while they watch their young players mature back home. Or, there's a good chance they trade this pick.

14. Golden State Warriors - Kosta Koufus - they could use his size and post skills as a scorer from inside the paint.

15. Phoenix Suns - Brandon Rush

16. Philadelphi 76ers - DeAndre Jordan - classic risk-reward - for much of the past few weeks he was projected to go way higher but didn't impress - still if he develops, watch out, he could be the steal of the draft.

17. Indiana Pacers - Darrell Arthur - let the filling in of Jermaine O'Neal's shoes begin. Though they have so many needs, they could go anywhere.

18. Washington Wizards - Robin Lopez

19. Cleveland Cavaliers - Donte Greene

20. Charlotte Bobcats - Roy Hibbert

21. New Jersey Nets - JJ Hickson

22. Orlando Magic - Marreese Speights

23. Utah Jazz - Alexis Ajinca

24. Seattle Supersonics - Nicolas Batum

25. Houston Rockets - JaVale McGee

26. San Antonio Spurs - Ryan Anderson

27. Portland Trailblazers - Omer Asik

28. Memphis Grizzlies - Chris Douglas-Roberts

29. Detroit Pistons - Jason Thompson

30. Boston Celtics - Courtney Lee

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