As to be expected after the conclusion of the NBA finals, the silly season has began. Rumors and rumors of rumors are all over the papers, blogs and message boards. Sometime you have to really filter all of the information that is and will be coming out right up until David Stern walks up with that first pick in his hand. It is a fun time for someone like me who lives and breathes the NBA but it can be very confusing.
This mock draft like the first is based on what I think each NBA GM will do when it is their time to send that index card up with the players that are still on the board. I consider the GMs drafting history, team needs and the team's culture. Last year's draft was very active with 12 draft day trades and I suspect the 2008 draft to surpass that activity due to so many "beauty in the eye of the beholder" prospects available from 3-30. Hopefully, this will be the offseason that the Grizzlies finally build a championship contending foundation.
1. Derrick Rose - University of Memphis
Disregard anything that you here about them not taking Derrick Rose. Absolutely no GM will throw their job away by having the home town kid have a chance to kick their tail every season in the playoffs. Rose has zero chance of falling to Miami and Pat Riley and this pick was sealed on lottery day. How long do you think Paxson would last if Rose and Wade came in and knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs next year? This one is a done deal.
2. Micheal Beasley - Kansas State University
As a Grizz fan, I am holding out hope that Pat Riley makes the biggest mistake in his career and "donates" Beasley to us. For me there is no package to large to put together a core of Conley, Gay and Beasley. Miller, Lowry, Warrick, Gasol and the 5th pick for Beasley and scraps. Thank you! Come again. I might pause if Mayo is available at #5 but I doubt that scenario plays out.
3. O. J. Mayo, University of Southern California
Mayo has established himself as the third best prospect in the draft at this point and I doubt even Kevin McHale would pass him up to fill an obvious need the Wolves have in the front court. The Wolves frontcourt need might force McHale to trade Mayo on draft night but his value is worth the risk. I could see Mayo being dealt for front court help.
4. Jerryd Bayless - University of Arizona
Rumors hit soon after the lottery that the Sonics wanted Bayless at this spot and I think they are true. The only hitch here is the rise of the stock of UCLA combo guard Russell Westbrook. I think Bayless goes here regardless.
5. Danilo Gallinari, Armani Jeans Milano
When Chris Wallace returned from his trip to see Gallinari live in Europe, I had the impression that he really liked his game. Unlike other European talents to come to the NBA, Gallinari has much experience as the first option on his team at a young age. Although not a deadeye shooter, Gallinari is a versatile offensive performer that could thrive playing opposite Rudy Gay. He supposedly measured 6'10 in shoes in a recent private workout with the Grizz and has displayed the skill of a guard.
6. Russell Westbrook - University of California at Los Angeles
Westbrook is probably one of the most athletic guards in this draft. He has in game athleticism that he uses to finish with powerful dunks on top of defenders. His point guard skills are in doubt because he shared point guard duties. D'Antoni has learned from the shortcomings of the Suns and knows he needs to have some defense at the point guard position. Westbrook is build for defense and has the size to allow him to defend either guard position.
7. Kevin Love - University of California at Los Angeles
The Clippers are in desperate need of athleticism and skill in the backcourt. However, Love is the most talented player on the board and gives them a potentially dominant frontline rotation with Chris Kaman and Elton Brand. They could also deal this pick for some veteran backcourt help.
8. Joe Alexander - West Virginia University
With Yi at power forward, the Bucks need a physical specimen at small forward and Alexander fits the bill. Alexander gives them a nice athlete to complete front line. Alexander is considered a little raw skills wise but can play more inside here and off of Bogut.
9. Kosta Kufos, Ohio State University
This will be the first "shocker" of many on draft night. Kufos was projected as a lottery pick coming in to his freshman year but was not seen to live up to his hype. He had a fairly midland season and was projected in the 20s at the end of the college season. His workouts have been outstanding and his fit hear is optimal as he can step out and hit jumpshots, help Okafor guard the basket and has the athleticism to get up and down the court.
10. Eric Gordon, Indiana University
If New Jersey is successful in deal Richard Jefferson, Gordon can play shooting guard and Vinsanity can move to the small forward position. This gives Jersey a fast and athletic backcourt that will put pressure on teams from day 1. Remember, Jersey is trying to prepare for the Summer of LeBron and a Harris/Gordon backcourt would be perfect for him in two years.
11. D.J. Augustin - University of Texas
The Pacers want someone to take over for the oft-injured Jamaal Tinsley in the backcourt. Augustin is probably the most talented point guard not named Rose. His size (5'11) is questionable but he has the length of other comparable small point guards drafted recently. He should provide leadership immediately and he is a model citizen and good student. This is a good fit for him and the pacers.
12. Anthony Randolph - Louisiana State University
Randolph is the definition of raw. Is he a PF or a SF? Either way he will have some time to learn here backing up Artest at SF until he puts on some muscle and weight. Randolph gives them a versatile athlete to go along with Hawes.
13. Brook Lopez, Stanford University
The Trailblazers are not likely to keep this pick. Lopez will be the supposed best player available at this point and someone will consider hima low risk, high reward pick. He will probably go higher on draft night but this is a good area for his talent level. Lopez will add a big body and an interior offensive option for a team.
14. Donte Green, Syracuse University
Quietly, Chris Mullin is rebuilding on the fly while waiting for his veterans to peter out. Green will join a frontline of Wright and Beidrins to give the Warriors a lot of length, athleticism and skill. The final peice is a big point guard with range to go with Ellis (Rick Rubio, Nick Calathes?)
15. Marreese Speights - University of Florida
Speights is definitely raw but he has the hands, athleticism and production to give the Suns a good backup on the frontline. Once Shaq's decline is complete, he will provide a more than able frontcourt partner to Amare for the future of the Suns. Should give them a good counter to the big LA frontlines.
16. Philadelphia 76ers - Darrell Arthur - University of Kansas
17. Toronto Raptors - Robin Lopez - Stanford University
18. Washington Wizards - Brandon Rush - University of Kansas
19. Cleveland Cavaliers - DeAndre Jordan - Texas A&M University
20. Denver Nuggets - Courtney Lee - Western Kentucky
21. New Jersey Nets - Omer Asik - Fenerbahce Ulker
22. Orlando Magic - JaVale McGee - University of Nevada
23. Utah Jazz - Mario Chalmers - University of Kansas
24. Seattle Supersonics - Serge Ibaka - CB L'Hospitalet
25. Houston Rockets -Roy Hibbert - Georgetown University
26. San Antonio Spurs - Ryan Anderson - Cal
27. New Orleans Hornets - D. J. White - Indiana University
28. Memphis Grizzlies - J. J. Hickson - North Carolina State University
29. Detroit Pistons - Bill Walker - Kansas State University
30. Boston Celtics - Chris Douglass-Roberts - University of Memphis