Hindsight is 20/20: The 2008 NBA Redraft
Only a few more redrafts left, the 2008 NBA draft was certainly interesting as a lot of these young players have already blossomed into all-stars and high-impact contributors. Let’s see how it would unravel today.
1. Chicago Bulls – 2008 Pick: PG Derrick Rose 2012 Pick: Rose – The 2011 MVP stays in Chi-town even though his ACL injury could have long-term ramifications on his career. While others like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love are already premier players at their position, you can make the argument that Rose is not only the best PG in the game, but maybe even the best young player.
2. Miami Heat – 2008 Pick:
F Michael Beasely 2012 Pick: PF/C Kevin Love– the primary concern out of college of Love was his athleticism, but he has quickly disproven those concerns by developing into a 3-point shooting, rebound grabbing big man. Beasely, now Love’s teammate in Minnesota, has become a third option and flammed out in Miami after just 2 seasons (to make room for Lebron & Bosh).
3. Memphis Grizzlies – 2008 Pick:
G OJ Mayo 2012 Pick: G Russell Westbrook – I don’t know if Westbrook would compliment PG Michael Conley JR, but he might be a top-5 PG and his elite speed makes him nearly unstoppable. Westbrook has increased his FG% every season and peaked this past season with 23.6 points after averaging 8 & 8.3 assists the previous 2 seasons. Mayo never turned into the next Lebron, but he’s still an impact player off the bench.
4. Seattle Sonics – 2008 Pick: Westbrook 2012 Pick: C Roy Hibbert – Westbrook is as close to a perfect pick as possible, and no other PG is worthy of going top 5. Looking at the Thunder’s stats for ’08-09, they had a huge void at center and Hibbert would be able to make an impact while still letting KG and Co. put up plenty of shots.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves – 2008 Pick: Love 2012 Pick: SG Eric Gordon– Like Westbrook, his fellow former Bruin is as close as you can get to a perfect fit (yeah, how did Kahn pull that off?). With Love off the board, and the Wolves still having Al Jefferson in tow, it would be time to add a playmaker sharpshooter. Before this past season, Gordon showed that he was the SG of the future as he averaged 22.3 points in his last season for the Clips. Gordon has yet to average under 16 points per game, and hasn’t shot less than 44.9% from the field since entering the league. Up until this past season, he had an outside shot of making the 2012 Team USA.
6. New York Knicks – 2008 Pick: F Danilo Gallinari 2012 Pick: Gallinari – the Knicks remained a mess in’09 despite drafting the Italian Stallion. Gallinari ended up being the center piece for Carmelo and has proven to be a quality starter in the league, I wouldn’t change this pick.
7. Los Angeles Clippers – 2008 Pick: Gordon 2012 Pick: PF/C Brook Lopez – Gordon was a terrific selection, and unfortunately for the Clips he’s off the board. Enter Stanfurd’s own Brook Lopez, the Palo Alto Dragon. Lopez famously slid during draft day, but still became a solid player for the Nets as he holds career averages of 17.4 & 7.5.
8. Milwaukee Bucks – 2008 Pick: F Joe Alexander 2012 Pick: PF/C JaVale McGee – I’m probably higher on McGee that most, but after seeing what he did during game 6 of this past Denver-Lakers series, I think he would have been interesting in Milwaukee where he would have been given plenty of minutes next to Andrew Bogut coupled with great outside shooters. But he also has plenty of these moments too. He’s full of potential if he just plays up to it.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – 2008 Pick: G DJ Augustin 2012 Pick: PF Ryan Anderson – The former Golden Bear might be going a little high, not sure if the current Most Improve Player of the Year deserves to go top-10, but at the same time, it’s definitely a Charlotte Pick. He brings versatility and would keep costs down. He just had career highs in minutes, points, FG%, 3PT%, and boards.
10. New Jersey Nets – 2008 Pick: B. Lopez 2012 Pick: C Nikola Pekovic – Pek came on strong this past season while playing next to K. Love in Minny, while he took a few years to come to the NBA and had a rough adjustment period in 2010-11, Pekovic received recognition this past season as he averaged nearly 14 points & 7.4 boards, while only starting 35 games and averaging just 27 minutes per contest. I see only a bright future for the Yugoslavian. And Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov would enjoy having another Euro on the team.
11. Portland Trailblazers – 2008 Pick: G Jerryd Bayless 2012 Pick: G George Hill – Although I believe Bayless has a bright career, he struggled as a 19 year old in the ‘Association and Portland would have been better off with a more pure point guard versus a scoring guard. Hill turned out to be quite a steal for San Antonio, where he averaged 12.4 points and 3 assists in a primary back up roll.
12. Sacramento Kings – 2008 Pick: PF Jason Thompson 2012 Pick: Beasley – Be Easy Mike Beasley wasn’t mature enough for the league despite being physically ready. He struggled being the 2nd in command in Miami, and probably would have seen similar success earlier had he gone to a smaller market (like he did with the eventual trade to Minnesota). Thompson has stalled in the league, as his numbers have dipped and the Kings have failed to improve.
13. Indiana Pacers – 2008 Pick: F Brandon Rush 2012 Pick: Mayo – The Pacers have tried multiple times to try to trade for the former U$C Trojan but to little avail. The Pacers had a huge opening at SG where they tried to fill the void with guys like Mike Dunleavy & Marquis Daniels, sometimes even starting two PGs in TJ Ford & Jarrett Jack. Mayo has failed to live up to expectations, but I just believe they were set too high. He’s had a strong start to his career (18.5 points his rookie season, 15.2 over his career), and things will only improve for the 24 year old.
14. Golden State Warriors 2008 Pick: PF Anthony Randolph 2012 Pick: PF Serge Ibaka – the Thunder had quite a draft, bringing in young players Westbrook & Ibaka to their core of Durant and Jeff Green, but in thire draft they lose out on both. Ibaka, while still offensively limited, recently just finished 1st runner up to defensive player of the year. He needs to still develop offensively as he averaged just 9.1 points for the Thunder this past season, but still had 3.6 blocks! I’m still not sure why the Warriors drafted Randolph the year after taking similar Brandan Wright, did Don Nelson really need two almost identical, young developing 4’s to NOT play?s
While a lot of players of the 2008 draft are still developing, these 14 have already made an impact for their teams. Only 5 of these players failed to the make the playoffs, and three of them were on the young Timberwolves! There were some players that came close to making this lottery including Nicolas Batum, Mario Chalmers, DeAndre Jordan, Augustin, Goran Dragic while I still believe players like Bayless, Rush, Marreese Speights, JJ Hickson, Courtney Lee, Luc Mbah a Moute and even Bill Walker have helped their teams or will soon.