Posted 06/26/2008 at 05:07 PM
5:00 p.m. Eastern: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. The NBA Draft is just hours away and I'll be here all night to give you play-by-play on each pick. Let's get started by going over a few trades and the various rumors that are out there a few hours before the Bulls are expected to make Derrick Rose the No. 1 selection in 2008.
ESPN.com is reporting that New Jersey and Milwaukee have agreed to a trade that will send Richard Jefferson to the Bucks in exchange for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. This is a huge score for the Bucks, who get Jefferson coming off a career year in which he averaged 22.6 points per game and played in all 82.
Milwaukee has the No. 8 pick tonight and could add Joe Alexander from out of West Virginia. If that happens, I'll be ready to give the Bucks an A+ grade for this draft, as I have Alexander listed at No. 4 on my Big Board.
Speaking of the Big Board...
**Notes: I did not include any European players because I haven't seen any of 'em play. You may also note a few adjustments from the Big Board I released on June 5.
5:35 p.m. ET.: Make sure to tune into the Power Hours tonight from 6:00-8:00 p.m. At the conclusion of the show, I'll jump back on this blog and stay with you until about midnight (with possible exception of a quick dinner break).
8:15: Ok, just signed off on Power Hours, so a tad behind here. Rose went first to the Bulls as expected. This is a great pick and he'll be a great NBA player for many years to come.
As I anticipated, Pat Riley was simply throwing out smoke screens about Michael Beasley, hoping to entice a team to overwhelm him with a trade offer. The Heat end up going with Beasley, and that's probably the right move. However, Miami desperately needs to add a center via free agency and/or with its second-round pick.
O.J. Mayo went to the T-wolves with the third pick. I don't doubt Mayo's skills, but I do question what sort of teammate he'll be. And I think he's the me-first sort, so we'll see how he turns out.
With the fourth selection, Seattle went with Russell Westbrook. The Sonics tried to trade down (which is what I would've wanted to do as well), but they took Westbrook when that failed. I don't like the pick at all, especially at No. 4.
Memphis took Kevin Love at No. 5. I love his skills for a big man and think he'll be an excellent player. Love has a great basketball IQ and can pass extremely well for a big man. If I'm the Grizzlies, I would've rather gone with Eric Gordon or Joe Alexander. With that said, they could've done a lot worse.
The Knicks go with the European Gallinari and as I mentioned, I really don't know anything about the kid, so I won't pretend to have an intelligent opinion to offer.
At No. 7, the Clippers go with Gordon. We know L.A. has a horrendous draft history, but it says here that the Clips got it right with this IU product. (More on Gordon later...)
8:30ish: Milwaukee gets my highest grade so far (A+ without question) after taking West Virginia's Joe Alexander at No. 8. More on the Bucks, a lock to make the playoffs in the East this year, in a bit...
With the ninth pick, I think Charlotte makes the worst call of this draft -- so far -- with its selection of D.J. Augustin. The Texas product has great speed, but I question his ability to shoot from 3-point range. I think Augustin is the equivalent to Orlando's Jameer Nelson. As we know, Nelson is the starting point guard on a playoff team, so that's not necessarily a negative statement. But I do think Augustin's lack of height will sometimes be a liability at the defensive end.
Bottom line: I don't want to use a No. 9 pick on a point guard whose ability to shoot the 3 is a question mark.
New Jersey takes Brook Lopez with the 10th pick. Some mock drafts had the Stanford product going as high as No. 3 to the T-wolves, and I would've been critical of that pick. But at 10, Lopez is a better-than-decent grab for the Nets, who get bigger and tougher with the pick.
My main problem is this: Dude has pictures of Michael Jackson on the wall in his bedroom (see photo in Sports Illustrated feature a few months back).
We're almost caught up...
9:00ish: Indiana takes Jerryd Bayless out of Arizona at No. 11. I might be wrong, but I just don't see what everyone else seems to see in Bayless. Not sure what Larry Bird is thinking here.
Also, since we failed to mention it earlier, the Pacers have traded Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the No. 17 pick. Obviously, Bird is thinking of 'going big' with the 17th choice.
Sacramento pulls a moderate surprise with the selection of Jason Thompson of Rider. I haven't seen Thompson play at all, so I can't be critical of the Kings, who definitely need inside help. To me, there were better choices of big men like Kosta Koufos and Darrell Arthur.
Portland gets a great player at No. 13 in Brandon Rush. There's another guaranteed playoff team next year -- along with Milwaukee from the field of non-playoff teams -- in the Trail Blazers.
Golden State goes with LSU's Anthony Randolph, who is just like last year's Warriors' pick Brandan Wright -- not ready to contribute yet. Randolph is a great athlete and might end up being a terrific player, but he needs to add a bunch of weight/muscle.
Phoenix picks Robin Lopez with the 15th pick. Hmmm, me thinks Koufos or Chris Douglas-Roberts would've been better choices.
Marreese Speights becomes the fourth GATOR to be taken in the first round in the last two years. The 76ers go with Speights at No. 16. Solid pick by Philly.
Did I just question Larry Bird a minute ago? I should've known better. The Pacers have dealt Bayless and Ike Diogu for Rush and Jarrett Jack. Great trade by Pacers! And don't underestimate Jack's presence in this deal. Indiana also gets Roy Hibbert with the 17th pick. Like I said, Bird was definitely thinking big and gets the biggest guy in the draft in Hibbert (7'2"). I think he's going to be a pretty good pro, but he's certainly limited and will get beat up and down the court by most other 'bigs.'
I'll come back to Washington and Cleveland's shaky picks at 18 and 19 in a minute, but let me say now that Charlotte is on the clock and should go with Koufos or Arthur.
Instead, MJ and Larry Brown go with Boris Diaw's cousin (kidding, but he is French). Hmmm, the Bobcats add Augustin and what's his name. Not sure that I agree with the Zeus of Basketball and Larry Loves to Travel.
We're to New Jersey at No. 21. I say the Nets should go with Douglas-Roberts.
9:30: The Nets go with Ryan Anderson, who I had at 19 on my Big Board. I'm ok with this pick.
Magic on the clock...with plenty of solid options. Maybe you go Arthur here? Douglas-Roberts is fine by me. Koufos would work. I'd also be fine with Gary Forbes out of UMASS, one of my sleepers in this draft.
Damnit, I could've made the same statment in previous sentence about Courtney Lee instead of Forbes. That's who the Magic go with and it's an outstanding pick. I actually have Lee ahead of Forbes (see Big Board above). I got to see Lee play in person out in Las Vegas two years ago when the Gators played Western Kentucky. He can score and this is a good pick by Orlando GM Otis Smith.
With the No. 23 pick, Utah takes Koufos. He's huge, he can put it on the floor and shoot from the perimeter. You can't teach that. Everything else? Well, Jerry Sloan can teach it to him. There's no ceiling for this kid. He just needs to get tougher and Sloan is the best in the business at doing that.
Seattle on the clock...and with that in mind, let me say again that Westbrook at No. 4 was a bad pick. The Sonics need help inside, so Arthur is the best option here. Let's see what they do...
9:50ish: They take somebody from the Congo that Fran Frachilla says is "3-4 years away." Ok, I have my worst grade of the 2008 Draft ready...it's Seattle and it's an F-. That's F- as in F MINUS!
11:00: I had to get a bite to eat, so let's get caught up. I don't know much about George Hill, who went 26th to San Antonio. New Orleans gets Arthur at No. 27 and the Hornets have a steal, assuming the 'kidney rumor' is inaccurate. Memphis gets Donte Green at No. 28. He was at Syracuse just one year and probably won't do much as a rookie, but he has a chance to be real good down the road.
Detroit takes D.J. White with the 29th pick. As usual, Joe Dumars makes a solid selection. The ony knock on White is that he went down with a couple of injuries while at Indiana.
The first round ends with Boston picking J.R. Giddens, the New Mexico product who started his collegiate career at Kansas.
Past Midnight: Here are my favorite second-round selections:
1-Joey Dorsey (Portland)
2-Chris Douglas-Roberts (New Jersey)
3-Mario Chalmers (Miami)
4-Patrick Ewing Jr. (Sacramento)
5-Richard Hendrix (Golden State)
Dorsey is a PERFECT fit for the Trail Blazers, bringing muscle and a streak of nastiness to Portland's big-man rotation next to LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. Dorsey is this generation's version of Rick Mahorn, who was an excellent compliment to Charles Barkley and Bill Laimbeer during his days with the 76ers and Pistons, respectively.
Dorsey has no back-to-the-basket offensive game whatsoever, but he can rebound and defend with the best of them. Like I said, he's Mahorn and we know every team in the league can use a Mahorn. (Just don't ask 'em to play smart or make any free throws at crunch time. Instead, ask him to set on-the-ball screens for Brandon Roy, burn fouls that might otherwise go to Aldridge or Oden and finally, bring a nasty streak into the lane that the Aldridge-Oden combo don't yet have.)
I have no idea how/why Douglas-Roberts (CDR) dropped to 40th, but New Jersey fans are loving that he did. CDR reminds me a lot of Richard Hamilton -- takes and makes shots at winning time, gets to the free throw line a bunch and plays tenacious defense.
And how about this post-draft news: Minnesota has traded O.J. Mayo and three packages of mustard (Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner) to the Grizzlies for Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Jason Collins and Brian Cardinal.
I like this deal for the T-wolves, who now have three Gators on the roster in Miller, Corey Brewer and Chris Richard. They are still a long way from being contenders, but Al Jefferson, Love, Randy Foye, Brewer and Miller are decent pieces to build around.
Getting late here and still so much to get do, but let's start to wrap up. In doing so, let me give you my 10 WORST moves of the night.
1-Sonics taking Westbrook at No. 4.
2-Bobcats taking Augustin at No. 9.
3-Bobcats taking 7'1" dude that only weighs 225 at No. 20.
4-Grizzlies trading Love and Miller for Mayo.
5-Bobcats taking Kyle Weaver instead of CDR at No. 38.
6-Bulls taking Sonny Weems instead of CDR at No. 39.
7-Clippers picking DeAndre Jordan at No. 35. Can you say B-U-S-T?
8-Trail Blazers dealing Jack and Rush for Bayless.
9-Sonics taking Ibaka at No. 24
10-Hornets trading Arthur (No. 27) to Trail Blazers.
And my 10 BEST moves...
1-Bucks trading for Richard Jefferson.
2-Bucks taking Joe Alexander.
3-Bulls taking Derrick Rose (no-brainer is why it's not #1).
4-Clippers taking Gordon at No. 7.
5-T-Wolves trading Mayo for Miller and Love.
6-Blazers getting Dorsey at No. 33.
7-Nets getting CDR at 40th.
8-Pacers trading Bayless for Rush and Jack.
9-Jazz taking Koufos at No. 23.
10 (tie)-Magic getting Lee at 22.
10 (tie)-Nets getting Lopez at 10 and Anderson at 19.
One move I want to see: Hawks signing undrafted Forbes from out of UMASS and/or Pat Calathes from St. Joseph's.