Thursday, February 28, 2008

2008 NBA Draft Primer (Part 1)


I had hoped to do my first One Game Breakdown by now but after the Pau Gasol trade added a late first rounder to the Memphis Grizzlies mix, I had to start watching more games that included more of the late 1st round hopefuls. Hopefully this is the year the Grizzlies get a little lottery luck. Now the more college games that I watch, it is becoming very apparent that there are very few players who are capable of coming in and helping a NBA team next season. The question for Chris Wallace and the Grizz staff is: Do you take the player most ready to compete now or the player with the most long range potential? I think the answer is different depending upon the player. I also think that the Grizzlies have to hit a home run in this draft. They need a player that will be making a big impact on games. They don't need a stat machine. They need an impact player. There are five important things that the Grizzlies need this summer:

(1) Swagger
(2) Athleticism
(3) Size - Length
(4) Basketball IQ
(5) Winning Mentality

With those five qualities in mind I am going to present my Memphis Grizzlies Draft Board. Part 1 will be the top 15 players and Part 2 will conclude with players 16-30 with regards to the Grizzlies.

1. Michael Beasley - Kansas State - This one is a no brainer at this point. Beasley is more perfect for the Grizzlies need then Kevin Durant was last year. He is a merciless scorer, a tenacious rebounder, and has the attitude to dominate. His versatility will allow him to excel in a fast paced game or a half court game. Will be able to punish teams that go small with his board work. He will become the prototype for the "Phoenix" 4.

2. Derrick Rose - University of Memphis - Does not fit a need for the Grizzlies but is the second best talent in the draft. Big for his position and has the tendency to shine in bigger games. Outside shot is coming along and his ability to get to the rim is NBA level. Might cause a log jam but it is a problem Wallace would gladly deal.

3. DeAndre Jordan - Texas A&M - A physical specimen like no other. A true seven footer with the athleticism to match. Draws comparison to Dwight Howard but he isn't there...yet. Whispers of attitude and work ethic problems in school but you have to remember that the coach he is playing for did not recruit him and he is probably one and done so his minutes have been limited even though he is out producing the starters. Will require a lot of background by the team that wants to take him.

4. Blake Griffin - Oklahoma University - A muscular power forward. Not quite as polished offensively as Beasley but just as mean on the boards. Has said he will not come out but if he peeks at his draft status he might get an offer he can't refuse.

5. Anthony Randolph - LSU - Blowing up the draft charts right now. Long, lanky bean pole right now at 6'11 and 220lbs. However, remember Chris Bosh came in a t 225lbs and just last year Brandan Wright came in at an even 200lbs. He is a great game time athlete. He makes plays with his athleticism and could have a future as a 3/4/5 in an uptempo system.

6. Marreese Speights - University of Florida - Another physically gifted big man that might not declare with the glut of freshman likely to enter the draft and the good advice given by his coach to the last batch of potential NBA players at Florida. Speights has one of the quickest second jumps in college basketball and he uses it on both ends of the court for put back dunks and quick blocks. Dunks everything around the rim. Lacks in awareness but this is probably due to inexperience. No real offensive game to speak of at this time.

7. OJ Mayo - University of Southern California - Trying to hold off Jerryd Bayless as the best combo guard in college. He has the size and shot to be special. Lacks in over the top athleticism but is real adept in creating his own shot and creating for teammates. He is not Kobe or LeBron but he is a damn fine combo guard prospect.

8. Jerryd Bayless - University of Arizona - Playing point guard most nights especially with Nick Wise injured, Bayless is very good at getting into open spaces for clear shots or creating contact and getting to the line. Reminds me of Monta Ellis with range but he has more natural point guard instincts. However, he is a scorer first and does it well. Think of an American version of Juan Carlos Navarro but more athletic.

9. Eric Gordon - Indiana University - Hit the college scene in a blaze and has not really cooled off. However, his handles really need work and he lacks a developed mid range game that keeps him a notch below Mayo and Bayless. He has more range on his jump shot but does not get the elevation of the other two and that could be a problem because he has the least ability to move over to point guard. Top notch athlete and strong for his position but has holes.

10. Danillo Gallinari - Armani Jeans Milano - Knows the game. Supposedly has grown to almost 6'10 which if true would help him leap frog the combo guards for Memphis purposes. High basketball IQ and has been battle tested at the highest European levels of play. He should excel in the faster pace, less physical NBA where his ball handling will be top notch on the wing. He is just 19 so further development is likely.

11. Brook Lopez - Stanford - Personally, I have not been impressed with him as an NBA prospect. He has the size and the body but seems easily pushed off the block in college. Shoots less than 50% which is alarming for someone playing primarily in the post. Benefits from playing beside his twin brother and is not a dominant defensive presence (I like Robin more as a future NBA player). However, his size and production will make him a lottery pick and he will more than likely disappoint.

12. Nicolas Batum - Le Mans Sarthe Basket - French product who shined in Memphis at the Nike Hoop Summit. Looks to be a smother version of Rudy Gay. Great athlete and seems to have more court vision. Needs work on his handle and his shot but is somewhat productive in Europe (not on Gallinari's level though). Shows flashes of greatness.

13. Darrell Arthur - Kansas University - A great offensive player that is showing more on the boards lately. Not going to shine statistically on a deep Kansas team but has a lot of weapons in his arsenal offensively. Has a tendency to drift in games especially defensively.

14. Kevin Love - UCLA - A beast on the boards. Simply goes and gets every missed shot on both ends of the court. Not tall and not a great athlete but gets balls tall athletes do not get. Has range out to the college three point line. Decent back to the basket game and great outlet passer. Will have a place on the next level and likely will work his way into a significant role on a very good team in the NBA.

15. Roy Hibbert - Georgetown - Colossus. Very big player that lacks the end to end mobility of the better center prospects. However, he knows what to do in the post. Has a decent face up game. Although he is a senior, he is only 21. He really needs a professional conditioning program to take him to the next level. Will cause problems in the NBA with his size alone. If he can increase his end to end speed, he has a chance of making an impact even as a rookie. Great post passer.

BallHype: hype it up!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

anthony randolph is not good. yes he is getting a lot of press, but he is skinnier and weaker than stro and tyrus thomas from lsu that also had big runs before the draft. also he cannot rebound and his outside shot is way off. like stro and thomas, he would be lost i nthe nba as he cannot play the 5 and not a good enough shooter or rebounder to play the 4. horrible lottery pick, maybe good 2nd rd pick.

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