2008 NBA Draft – Thoughts, Reaction, AnalysisWritten by: Todd Robinson
So the draft started and I was still at work, checking the pick by pick on Yahoo. Rose, Beasley, Mayo…ho hum, until pick # 4 – Russell Westbrook. I immediately emailed my entire fantasy hoops league – “Westbrook @ #4? Is the draft this shallow?” Don’t get me wrong, I love his freaky athleticism, intense D, and upside…but #4? Oh well, at least it wasn’t the big overrated stiff Brook Lopez – more on him later.
I’m still at work when Memphis goes Love @ #5 – better surround him w/ athletes, but what a passer, what a smart, heady player. The Knicks go next with this year’s favorite Eurotrash star – Danilo Gallinari. So this time it’s different, huh? This guy will pan out…look at all those skills in a big man. I think I heard this about Tskitishvili, then Milicic, then Bargnani…let’s see what he does in the ‘no pressure, no distractions’ town of New York.
My Clips pick next & I’m praying they make the right choice – Jerryd Bayless – or the bold choice – Anthony Randolph. They choose neither and go with Eric Gordon, Boooooo…Milwaukee goes Joe Alexander next, a SF, after having just traded for Richard Jefferson, another SF…hmmmmm. Also, I think they made a mistake giving up on Yi so quickly to acquire Jefferson. That franchise seems to be spinning its wheels. Charlotte takes the smurf PG DJ Augustin next. Clearly the best pure PG in the draft, but even in his high-tops he’s not 6 feet. I suddenly realize we’ve gone 9 picks and Brook Lopez is still on the board – maybe these GMs are getting smarter.
Now it’s NJ’s pick with Kiki Vandeweghe at the helm. Lopez, crying in the ‘Green Room’, is the pick. The crying is utterly pathetic, and reminiscent of Cedric Benson on draft day 3 years ago. How’d that work out for the Bears? Maybe not everyone is as down on this very pedestrian, unathletic big man like myself, but New Jersey doesn’t need a big. Josh Boone developed quite nicely this year and Sean Williams showed flashes as a rookie. And don’t they need a SG?…like Jerryd Bayless, who’s amazingly still on the board? Bayless goes next to Indy, who then trades him to Portland (jeez are they stockpiling talent!!).
Finally I make it home after my buddy texts me the 11 through 17 picks on my phone, as my car radio wasn’t working. I can’t believe Phoenix took Robin Lopez (5 rebs a game last year?!!?!?!) over Marresse Speights, whom I see a bright future for. And I love Golden State collecting another freaky athlete by stealing the aforementioned Randolph @ #14. Nice job Mullin, you’ve come a long way since signing Dunleavy to a $45m deal a few summers ago. My 3 year old is sitting in mom’s car, telling me he’s driving the bus, and asking me where I want to go. I tell him New York to the NBA Draft. He says no, so I go in the house. The next interesting pick is Orlando taking Courtney Lee at #22 – I really like him, and they needed a decent SG.
By now we’ve hit that awkward time when one lonely guy is sitting in the ‘Green Room’, waiting ever so uncomfortably for his name to be called. This year it’s Darrell Arthur of nat’l champs Kansas. Finally at #27 N.O. takes him to be traded to Portland. The painful wait is over, but ESPN still needs more painful, awkward moments, so they have their reporter ask the ridiculous question of Arthur’s crying mother, and I’m quoting the reporter, “Those tears are reflective of what?” Are you kidding me? Was this lady a poetry major in college? First of all, we don’t need the emotional touchy-feely crap, we need more analysis of the pick. How does he fit in Portland? What player should the Grizzlies take with the next pick? And secondly, if you’re going to ask a stupid question, do it in a straightforward manner – ‘Why are you crying?’ I guess when it’s put that way, the stupidity of the question is more clearly exposed.
Oops, I almost forgot to mention Kiki’s 2nd pick in the first round – yep, another big man. This time it’s Ryan Anderson from Cal at #21, another complete non-athlete softy who likes to shoot jump shots and averaged a mere .5 blocks a game for his career, despite being 6’10”. So instead of adding Jerryd Bayless (or Anthony Randolph) and Courtney Lee to their roster, the Nets added two centers who will never develop into solid starters in the league…a league dominated by athletes, that more and more plays small ball. Nice job Kiki, you’ve proven that your pick of Nicolas Tskitishvili 6 years ago was no fluke.
Anyway, here are some of the other picks I really liked:
16. 76ers – Mareese Speights…I’m flabbergasted that both Lopez twins went above this guy, who’s quite athletic & looks like a solid starting PF in a couple years.
24. Sonics – Serge Ibaka…18 year old PF from Senegal, playing Europe, great athlete, could be a gem when they bring him over in a few years.
25. Rockets – Nicolas Batum, SF…nice athlete who dropped due to heart concerns…raw, but very athletic.
34. Heat – Mario Chalmers…wasn’t this PG on the nat’l champs supposed to go around #20? Great value and fills a need.
40. Nets – Chris Douglas Roberts…Kiki stumbled into one good pick out of three.
47. Wizards – Bill Walker…very athletic SF from Kansas St. dropped due to knee concerns and attitude, but at # 47, great risk/reward pick, will likely make the team and possibly contribute soon.
One last thing – can someone please get Jay Bilas a sense of humor?
More work by Todd can be found at his "Speedburner on Sports" blog.