Ok never too early to start an NBA Draft thread, this year if enough players declare, can be a special deep draft. Anyways I’ll be posting here a lot, but here are just some thoughts to get it started.
My Top 25 Prospects for the 2008 NBA Draft:
1- Derrick Rose:
They used to say that the hardest thing to find in the NBA is a quality Center. I no longer think that’s true though. With the direction the NBA is pointing towards, you can win and be a contending playoff team with no real dominant inside force as long as you have good guard play. I think in fact the hardest thing to find is a real point guard. There are a handful of NBA teams who would have 10+ more wins every year if they had a special point running their team. Derrick Rose is one of the best point guard prospects I have seen in a very long time. There really are no holes in his game. Athletically he might be the most athletic pure point I have seen the past 10 years. He has uncanny vision especially in the open court. Offensively his athletic ability puts him on another level when driving to the hoop, as he can finish at the rim like a Dwayne Wade. His outside shot is solid. Defensively he has the skill set to be an all defensive performer. Great on ball guarding skills and understands how to play the passing lanes. As for negatives he sometimes plays with too much energy. Gets caught trying to do to much and needs to slow the game down. While with other players we will be talking about their attitude issues, Rose is quiet and laid back and has no record of disciplinary issues.
2- Deandre Jordan:
I know absolutely no one shares this same opinion as me, but I like better as a prospect than Greg Oden. But I’ll tell you why I think that. Physically Jordan is just as impressive as Oden. While Oden has a much stronger body he is a finished product. Jordan is still yet to grow into his body and is actually longer. What separates them though is their fluidity. Oden is mechanic and robotic and a slower mover, while Jordan runs the floor like a guard and doesn’t have that 2 second change of direction adjustment that Oden and most other big men have. I think Andrew Bynum will be a perennial Allstar, where as Oden will be a good defender ala Dalambert but not much more. Oden will probably make the Allstar team because of his name but why I mention this is because I see a lot of Andrew Bynum in Deandre Jordan. And if he can maximize his potential I think he can be even better. Jordan is a great rebounded and shot blocker and very active on the offensive side, yet only taking smart shots. Mark my words, he will be the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
3- Nicolas Batum:
I the past 3 years have seen a lot of Batum, and you all know I was extremely high on him at last years draft. I had him ranked as my #1 SG and a definite top 10 pick. Over the past year he hasn’t really added much strength which is his biggest problem, but he has finally put his game together and perform on a consistent basis. He has the best pure stroke in the entire draft as he can hit threes effortlessly. But what makes him special is his versatility. When I first saw him play I thought he was a point guard prospect because of his vision. To think of a comparison he is a more athletic Boris Diaw, with much more explosive offensive skills. He is one of the smartest basketball players I have seen and falls in that same category as Jeff Green. If he can just add some weight, there is nothing stopping him from being one of the better players in the NBA.
4- Blake Griffin:
The more and more I watch him, the more and more I like him. He in my opinion is easily the most NBA ready young player who is eligible for the draft. He reminds me a little of Al Horford, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer. He just has that kind of game. He is your classic Power Forward banger. He however does separate himself from those guys because of his athletic ability and impressive perimeter skills. He will be an Allstar early in his career. He has a solid strong body, a freak athlete, monster on the boards, inside outside combination. What I love about him is his intensity. He will bring it to you. That however leads to my negatives on him. He can sometimes play out of control because he has so much energy. He needs to hone that energy sometimes. Also he needs to understand his role more of an inside threat inside the lane. It’s nice he can hit the midrange and even a little bit further but he can’t make that his game. Out of all the big men in the draft he’s the safest bet to be a good NBA player.
5- Michael Beasley:
I’m sure everyone has him ranked higher than this, many #1 overall, but while he is the most superior college player right now, there is just something about his game that scares me away. First of all for the positives he has the body of a man. He is the best inside outside threat in the draft. Currently he is dominating the college game inside both on the glass and offensively the post. There is no doubt that he is the most dominant college player out of the youngsters, but as an NBA prospect I have my worries. First to be mentioned is his past attitude issues. But since I haven’t heard of anything recently on that, I won’t even talk about that as a negative. The first thing I notice about him is laziness. I don’t know if it’s because he thinks he’s so much better than his competition, but I have never really ever seen him try his hardest or go all out. He seems to settle a lot of times at chucking up threes when he can drive and score every time down the court. My next issue with him is that I’m not really sure about his position. Everyone knows his future is at SF but I think his skills are better suited as a PF. I think these Carmelo comparisons aren’t accurate. He doesn’t have that fluidity or assertiveness on the perimeter to be Carmelo like. Again he has unreal athleticism and skills but there is just something about his game that scares me away. Kind of like Rudy G from a couple of years ago, but Rudy obviously has been able to shed away those problems, but Rudy is a hard worker and listener, I don’t think the same can be said about Beasley.
Bayless is one of my favorite players in all of College basketball. I had insisted since his junior year that I thought he was better than Mayo and I still stand by that. He is the next great combo guard. Arenas the best combo guard from Arizona, but Bayless has the PG skills that Arenas lacks. He plays the game with great intelligence and ease. For a guy who is a big time scorer, it’s rare you say this but he’s a team player and unselfish. He has great vision and real point guard skills. This isn’t just a Ben Gordon who can “run point” but isn’t a point. Bayless can actually run a team. He has a great shot, especially his pull up. He can kind of do everything like Brandon Roy. Bayless will be productive from his first game in the NBA.
Summers is a player who I think is very underrated in draft circles. He probably doesn’t get proper recognition because he doesn’t have eye popping statistics, but that’s because under JT3’s system it limits stats. If anything it is a positive and shows he is willing to be unselfish for the good of the team. Jeff Green is my favorite college player the past 10 years, and I think he will be a very good NBA player, but I think Summers could be better. From the first time I saw him I said that he looks like a Caron Butler clone. Everything he does looks like Butler, same size, weight, playing style and even their shots are eerily similar. He has all the tools you look for in an Allstar Small Forward in the NBA. Summers played at a high level right away, taking the role as the Hoyas’t 3rd best player as a Freshman on last years final 4 team. He has an NBA ready body, probably the strongest SF prospect in the draft. He can rebound and post down low, but has range out to the 3 point line and a silky smooth mid range game. His outside shooting is much more advanced than when Caron Butler was coming into the league. Summers playing in the Princeton offense, can handle the ball and pass. He has a great understanding at cutting and finding the holes in a zone. Athletically he is above average and has no trouble creating his own shot. His only negative is assertiveness as I’d like him to take more shots, but in the Princeton system I don’t think that will happen. Summers is an elite NBA prospect who gets ignored because the lack of gaudy stats. But I will point out that no one had Jeff Green as a top 20 pick most of last year so I think eventually teams will come around. All the way through half of last year, most people had Jeff as a late first rounder and he ended up being a top 5 pick. Smart, unselfish players with every tool you look for don’t come around often.
Donte Green is a great, great player, especially for how young he is. Not as heralded behind the big 3 but he will make a great NBA player. He has a solid offensive game, with his biggest attribute being his length and athleticism. Only negative I can think about him is that he is kinda frail. He will be a 3 in the NBA but he needs to gain weight because he will undoubtedly have to mix it up inside at some points in games. My prospect comparison for him, or the guy he reminds me the most of is a much more assertive and better shooting Julian Wright. And Wright was a lottery pick in his own right.
Gordon is the freshman scoring sensation. One of the most explosive scorers to come out of high school in quite a while. Explosive athlete who has a money outside and midrange shot. In addition he is unstoppable sometimes when he drives to the hoop. The negative on him is his height, and people shouldn’t underrate the disadvantage of his height because he doesn’t have those PG skills to make a Gilbert Arenas or Dwayne Wade type transition. I am sure he will end up being a 20 point NBA scorer, but buyer beware call me crazy but he reminds me a little of Fred Jones coming out of college, just something to think about.
OJ Mayo was wayy overhyped too early in his career. He isn’t the next LeBron or even Gilbert Arenas for that matter but he is still a lottery prospect. The thing I dislike about Mayo is that everything seems to have to be about him. Just the way he plays the game it’s like he’s trying to show off. He at times can completely ignore his teammates when he’s trying to get his and even when he’s passing it’s almost like he only does it to try to prove that he can pass. He will make a great highlight pass but fail to make an important pass when it really matters. He kinda reminds me of Larry Hughes on speed. But he shares those same negatives like Hughes. Stuck between the 1 and 2, poor shot selection, bad FG percentages, lots of turnovers, more about show than substance, etc…
He is the most documented big man in the draft. I said it last year that he should have stayed in the draft because he would have been a top 5 pick, but this year he will likely be a late lottery pick with a chance to slide down in the teens. That really has nothing to do with his play or him doing worse it’s just the strength of the youth and his stats not blowing up due to the restrictions in the Hoyas offense. Hibbert is enormous which is where most of the intrigue comes from. He playing for JT3 you know has great skills. He can handle up top, nice touch inside with his hook shot, and as he showed with his game winner vs. UCONN he has a little bit of an outside shot. Negatives are that he is a slow mover. But his size and skills can’t be ignored and he could end up being a solid 12+5 guy off the bench. We aren’t looking at the next Shaq but he can be a more than decent role player. One thing to mention is that he needs to be drafted by a more half court oriented offense. If a team like the Hawks or Suns drafted him he would be dead weight. He takes time to get up and down the floor as you would expect for someone as big as him. Another positive on him is that he is a very smart and hard working player. A good big man coach and he can stay in this league for a very long time and not just be another Patrick O’bryant.
The Super Frosh from Ohio State and his name isn’t Greg Oden. He’s had to fill the shoes of Greg Oden and has done a pretty good job. He actually seems to be getting a lot of pub from national media outlets. His height is obviously one of his biggest assets as he is a legit 7 footer. He has the typical skill set of your European Big man but combine with his size and early exposure to the American game and he has a potentially bright future in the NBA. Downside is his lack of strength and toughness in the paint to “hang with the big boys.”
He is one of my favorite players in college basketball. Lightning quick, scorers mentality while still getting his teammates involved. Good defender, there isn’t much not to like about the kid. He is smallish and frail though and will also need to learn how to make an impact when you have to slow the game up and can’t just go 100 mph at all times.
14- Danilo Gallinari:
Currently he is much more productive than his fellow teammate Batum but his potential isn’t great. He too is in the Diaw mold albeit less athletic. He is very skilled and very smart to go along with being a pretty good scorer, but he just seems like the type of player who will struggle mightily with the physicality and speed of the NBA. He has always looked a step slow to me especially in last years Italy cup.
The less heralded Freshman USC star but I still like him a lot. When I saw him a couple years ago in high school I thought his future would be as a big man as I saw a young Al Jefferson in him, but it appears that he will be more of a swingman in the NBA. It doesn’t hurt that he has those post skills in his background. He has a good looking shot inside of the arch. He is an above average athlete but needs to work a little on quickness to be an NBA 3 much like Kevin Durant.
Kevin Love is the most skilled bigman in the country. He’d be a top 5 pick if it weren’t for his lack of athleticism. Trust me he will have troubles getting his game off with the type of bigger, faster, stronger, and quicker guys he will face. His craftiness though will make him a very solid NBA player.
Most people aren’t this high on Dorsey but for a team drafting in the middle to late round 1 I don’t see why you wouldn’t want Joey Dorsey especially considering how he is starting to show more smarts on the court. When you watch him you can’t help but think Ben Wallace. Similar height and build both are intimidating forces in the interior. Dorsey is a great rebounded and shot blocker, and that’s what he will be asked to do I the NBA. I can easily see him as a 10 rebound 2 block kind of guy in the NBA. He’d be a perfect complement to a perimeter oriented PF ala Dirk, Jamison, KG, etc.
Most people probably know him best from playing with Kevin Durant last season, and in a league in which it is pretty hard to find a reliable pure point guard and Augustin is that. He’s really quick and decently strong being able to finish inside but most importantly is that he sets up his teammates. He will be graded lower though being a point guard under 6 feet.
Many people are much higher on Darrell Arthur than me, and while I think he’s a good player he won’t be an Allstar. He has a great combination of height, length, and athleticism, but honestly I don’t really see him as an NBA Power forward. He is kinda weak and doesn’t really have a low post game. He is a great athlete but reminds me more of a Tyrus Thomas like player. Closer to the size of a PF but lacking the skill and strength to do so.
Beaubois is a very underrated guard in this draft and reminds me a lot of Devin Harris from what I have seen from him in the French pro league. Much like Harris coming out he is a lightning quick guard who can penetrate and finish at will, but has an questionable jump shot. He is a good defender which will probably be his initial impact for an NBA team.
A solid SG prospect but not spectacular. He is a big and strong guy who is capable of taking it to the hoop but his biggest asset is his jump shot. That’s his bread and butter. He’s got what we’d call an NBA ready body. He is also a very good defender. However like Beasley I just get that sense from him like he doesn’t really have a passion for the game, he never looks like he’s leaving it all out on the floor. That’s why he’ll be a mediocre guard his entire career.
He started off the season on fire and I thought he might be able to sneak into the late lottery because of how hard nosed he is, but after mediocrity the past 7 or so games he is looking more like a late first rounder. Offensively Hardin needs to add a better shot but he will make his money in the paint. Finishing put backs, blocking shots, rebounding etc. He can be a nice 7th or 8th body to provide quality minutes off the bench.
Reynolds I think is overlooked by a lot of people in terms of his draft prospect. I think he is already one of the better guards in the country and while I’m not insinuating that he’ll be that type of player he does remind me a little of Deron Williams in college. Reynolds at the very least you know he will be able to score and run the point decently. He is a very solid player who I think can have a Jarrett Jack like impact in the NBA.
24/25-Tyler Hansborough/Hasheem Thabeet:
I had to make my final spots here for two of the more known draft names, but both guys I don’t really see having great NBA careers or even lasting more than 5 years. First off with Hansborough, I will say that he is one of the top College players. His skills however don’t really translate to the NBA. And we’ve long heard the Mark Madsen comparisons, and while he has better skills I kind of have to agree with that. He works hard but in the NBA because of lack of speed, strength, height, and athleticism, he will be an average defender, average rebounded, below average scorer. I like Aaron Gray’s future much better than Tyler. But hey he seems like the kind of guy who can find his way on a team like the Spurs roster and never play but collect 3 or 4 rings while he’s at it. As for Thabeet, he’s a guy who many people the past couple of years have pegged as a potential top 5 pick but to be honest he just isn’t that good. There is nothing to tell me that he will be any better than Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje. Yes he’s tall, long, decently athletic, but he has no skills, no court presence, no strength. If you want an even worse version of Saer Sene than go ahead and take Thabeet.