2008 Draft Journal

» June 27, 2008 5:07 PM | By xphoenix87

7:33 EST – Draft Time!! Last year I did a live blog of the draft which basically turned into a draft journal anyway. This year the live blog didn’t work out, so I’m just going to go ahead and do a journal.

7:37 – Why do the Bulls have to take all 5 minutes to select Derrick Rose? Seriously, we’ve known they’re taking him for a week, what’s the wait for?

7:38 – Surprise, Bulls take Rose. By the way, how did the fact that Rose isn’t actually 6′4 not hurt his stock? Everyone was raving about him because he was a tall point guard, the next Jason Kidd. Then he ended up being just 6′2, and nobody blinked an eye.

7:41 – Rose’s nickname is Pooh, and he has a “Poohdini” tattoo on his shoulder. These are the kind of things we need to know. Over/Under on number of “Poohdini” jokes that Joakim Noah makes next year, I’m thinking 150.

7:43 – Beasley is the pick for Miami. No sane person would have passed on him. Of course, I think no sane person would have passed on him at #1, and that happened (sigh).

7:48 – Minnesota takes Mayo. My friend Joel: “Nice suit buddy. Either he needs a new tailor, or someone needs to remind him it’s not the 70s anymore.”

7:50 – Jay Bilas, just tell us which players don’t have “The Complete Package”, it’ll be faster.

7:51 – Quick survey here, does anyone like Stephen A. Smith? Anyone? Why does he have a job?

7:53 – Pat Riley basically just told us that his scouts forced him to take Michael Beasley.

7:54 – Seattle is apparently keeping their pick, and they take Westbrook. Words cannot express how much I hate this pick. Good information to know: Westbrook didn’t start until his senior year in high school. He didn’t start until midway through last year at UCLA. HE DIDN’T ACTUALLY PLAY POINT GUARD!! It blows my mind that he’s a top 5 pick.

8:01 – Love to the Grizzlies. I love him. He’ll get Rudy Gay some ridiculous open court opportunities with his rebounding and outlet passing. (Note from after the draft: It kills me that I didn’t spot the obvious Gay-Love joke in here. Frankly, I’m ashamed of myself)

8:06 – Knicks pick, it’s gotta be Gallinari here. He’s going to get booed though.

8:07 – Yup, it’s Gallinari, and they’re booing him. I love him, he’s gonna be a fantastic player. He’s like a 6′10 Manu.

8:09 – Fan’s Grade for Gallinari: F, and they’re still booing. Man, he just threw out “New York is the best city in the world”, and they wouldn’t stop booing him. I feel bad for the guy, he’s got to deal with New York fans and Stephen A. Smith.

8:11 – I admire Jeff Van Gundy, admitting complete ignorance on the Gallinari pick.

8:12 – Gordon is the pick for LA. He’s the guy they wanted anyway, and they didn’t have to swap picks with Seattle to get him. Good pick, he’s the best talent on the board. For all the talk about the craziness of this draft, it’s been remarkably sane so far.

8:17 – This just in, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy, not that smart with the draft analysis. Van Gundy said New York doesn’t need a point guard, they need Stephon Marbury to magically become good again, and Jackson said they needed a guy who could contribute immediately to please the fans. Seriously guys? Can’t we get Chad Ford to do the draft broadcast? He’s the best.

8:18 – Milwaukee takes Joe Alexander, and I must say I’m surprised. Why do you trade for Jefferson and then draft Alexander? I’m confused.

8:25 – First real “out of left field” pick. Charlotte takes D.J. Augustin with the 9th pick. He’s good but…a little short. I thought Brook Lopez would be the pick here. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Raymond Felton now.

8:29 – New Jersey is up, and they take…Brook Lopez. I would’ve taken Bayless here, but I can’t argue with Lopez. He’s not a bad pick at 10, and he’s a good fit for them. He’ll team well with Sean Williams.

8:35 – Why does it take Indiana all 5 minutes to take Bayless. Shouldn’t that be an instant pick? And…yup, the pick is Bayless.

8:36 – Jay Bilas just told us that Bayless “wants to be good”, which is good, cause I hate it when teams draft all those guys who don’t want to be good.

8:39 – This is the first tricky pick in the draft. Who does Sacramento take here with Augustin off the board?

8:41 – Kings take…Jason Thompson?!?!? I really like Jason Thompson, but not at 12. He’s a great late-first round pick, not a lottery pick. Yikes. Even if this turns out as a good pick, how do you not trade down and pick him?

8:44 – What does Portland do with this pick? I can’t believe we haven’t gotten word of this pick being traded yet.

8:47 – Portland take Brandon Rush, and I think this pick has to be going somewhere. He’s not really gonna be better than the Outlaw/Webster/Fernandez SF combo. They have to trade this, don’t they?

8:49 – Stephen A. Smith just asked Brandon Rush if he was excited to play with Greg Oden and Brandon Rush. Seriously Stephen, Brandon Roy was an All-Star this year, can’t you get his name right?

8:51 – Golden State takes…Anthony Randolph. I’m hoping they play he and Brandan Wright at the same time to have the thinnest frontcourt in the history of the game.

8:54 – Hey! First Dick Vitale sighting…and amazingly, I’m agreeing with him. He thinks Seattle should’ve taken Love over Westbrook.

8:56 – Phoenix up to bat. Robin Lopez is the pick. The hat resting on top of his huge hair, absolutely ridiculous. Not a bad pick. I like Mario Chalmers or Darrell Arthur better, but not a bad pick.

9:02 – Philly up, and I think De’Andre Jordan is a distinct possibility here. And, it’s Marreese Speights. I’m not sure I like this pick, I think there were better big men picks out there (Arthur, Jordan, Koufos).

9:07 – Raptors are picking for Indiana and take Roy Hibbert. Not sure I’m a big fan of this. Indiana is in big-time rebuilding mode, don’t you take a high-ceiling guy?

9:16 – Washington takes JaVale McGee, meh. More exciting is that Portland finally makes their trade. Indiana is trading them Jarryd Bayless and Ike Diogu for Brandon Roy, Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts. Great trade for Portland, Bayless and Roy can be a fantastic backcourt, and they didn’t give up much for him. I don’t get it for Indiana. Doesn’t your best player (Danny Granger) play Small Forward? Do you really need Brandon Rush?

9:18 – Cleveland is up, and it’s gotta be Koufos. They’ve been praying that he would fall to them.

9:20 – Wow, and the pick is my boy J.J. Hickson. I thought for sure this was Koufos. Hickson is a monster though. I watched him a lot last year, and he’s ridiculously strong.

9:26 – Bobcats take…my least favorite player in the draft, Alexis Ajinca. As I said in my draft preview, if you average 5 points in the French league, you probably shouldn’t be a first round draft pick. If you’re going to gamble for potential, why don’t you take Jordan?

9:33 – Nets up, don’t you have to take Arthur here? Ouch, they take Ryan Anderson. Again, I’m not a big fan. He’s a second rounder.

9:38 – Courtney Lee for Orlando. This pick has been on mocks for weeks. They love his shooting ability, and he’s a very solid defender as well. Still, you don’t really have a PF, don’t you want to take Darrell Arthur?

9:42 – I’m losing it, I just said that Utah should take Roy Hibbert, and he’s been gone for a while. Anyway, they take Kosta Koufos, who should’ve gone to Charlotte, but they were too stupid to take him.

9:44 – Watching clips of Alexis Ajinca on YouTube, still haven’t seen him do anything but block shots and dunk. Sigh.

9:46 – What do you do if you’re Seattle? Jordan makes sense, but they’ve taken project centers for years.

9:50 – How do the Sonics take Serge Ibaka? First of all, he’s another inexperienced project. Second, his agent told NBA teams to not take him in the first round because he’s just signed a contract overseas. Seriously, how is that a good pick? As impressed as I’ve been with Sam Presti so far, this draft looks terrible so far.

9:55 – Houston on the clock, I think Donte Green makes sense here. The other guy who makes sense is Mario Chalmers.

9:56 – Houston takes Nicholas Batum. Not a bad pick. He’s been compared to Rudy Gay, though his ball-handling isn’t as good. He’ll be a good defensive player, and I think a solid role player.

10:00 – Is the renovation of Madison Square Garden really a relevant topic right now?

10:01 – George Hill?? For San Antonio? I’m so confused right now. I’m just going to trust the Spurs and move on. They’re usually pretty smart over there.

10:03 – According to my buddy Joel, 1999 was the last year where Seattle did not take a foreign center who didn’t pan out. Fun stuff.

10:07 – How did this whole “Darrell Arthur has a kidney problem” thing not come up earlier? Can Portland draft Arthur in the first round and then draft someone to be a kidney donor in the second round? I mean, just saying…

10:09 – Arthur finally goes…to Portland. That’s not fair. Seriously, a guy who many considered a lottery pick falls to the Blazers at 27? I feel like the league is just setting things up for Portland to dominate for the next decade.

10:14 – Marc Gasol highlights!!! This is what you traded an all-star power forward for Grizzlies fans.

10:15 – The pick is Donte Green, not too shabby. He’s not a great fit, but he’s a quality talent.

10:22 – Detroit takes D.J. White. I love D.J. White. He’s a great talent who can score, rebound and defend. I’m not sure if they need him with Maxiell, Wallace and Amir Johnson, but I like him.

10:23 – They just mentioned Isiah Thomas in passing, and the whole crowd booed for a solid minute. I love New York.

10:26 – Boston needs to take Chris Douglas-Roberts. He’d be a great pick here. Need some backup for Ray Allen running around on two surgically reconstructed ankles.

10:29 – this pick is taking forever.

10:31 – Celtics take J.R. Giddens. Interesting. He’s got character issues apparently, but Chad Ford says he’s one of the top 30 talents in the draft. I’d still rather take CDR.

10:37 – According to Chad Ford, D.J. White is going to Seattle in exchange for the 32nd and 46th pick.

10:39 – The second round begins, and with it comes a large group of European players who I have little knowledge of. Updates will probably come less frequently as I get more tired and I care less.

10:42 – Ric Bucher just told us what we’d already learned from Chad Ford. Huzzah.

10:43 – Larry Brown already looks like he doesn’t care about this job.

10:45 – Joey Dorsey goes to Portland. Good pick, I like that one. He can be a Ben Wallace type guy off the bench.

10:48 – Minnesota gets Mario Chalmers at 34. That’s a steal. He’s a fantastic defender. I’m not sure he’ll have much chance to contribute since they’ve got a whole lot of guys in that backcourt. Shouldn’t this have been De’Andre Jordan? Doesn’t he fit that team better?

10:52 – The De’Andre Jordan freefall ends with the Clippers. He’s a complete steal there. People were talking about him as a potential top 5 pick earlier this year. In the second round, he becomes no-risk, all-reward.

10:58 – Watching Nicola Pekovic highlights on YouTube, and I must say I’m impressed. He looks very skilled and coordinated. Good pick for Minnesota.

11:04 – New Jersey steals CDR at 40. What an absolute steal. Just not fair. One of my favorite guys in the draft.

11:23 – The European influx really makes it hard to watch the second round. Washington just took Bill Walker though, which is a fantastic pick. He’s no sure thing, but in the second round who cares. He’s got a huge ceiling if he shakes his injury problem.

11:29 – Things that bug me about the NBA Draft. Can’t they get more quality video of international prospects? I mean, you’re putting millions of dollars into these guys, can’t you afford to get good video of them? Instead, we just get like 2 low-quality highlights. Ridiculous.

11:30 – I love Richard Hendrix, fantastic pick. Good pick for the Warriors.

11:37 – I’m gonna wrap this up since I just don’t really care about the rest of the picks, but here are some final thoughts on the night.

The first 8 picks were, as I remarked, very predictable. After that, all hell broke lose. Augustin at 9 was a surprise. Jason Thompson at 12 was a complete shocker. De’Andre Jordan and CDR fell like crazy, and we got some odd reaches (George Hill?)

I hate Seattle’s draft with a burning passion. I also don’t like Charlotte’s and I didn’t like Indiana’s trade with Portland.

Minnesota had a really good draft. So did New Jersey, Portland and the Clippers.

That’s it, closing out the 2008 NBA Draft Journal. Until next time…

BallerBlogger contributing writer ‘xphoenix87′ is a college student who dreams of one day writing about sports for a living. Since that’s not gonna happen, he’ll do this instead.

7 Responses to “2008 Draft Journal”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    Nice – so make me feel good about Hickson.

    I watched some highlights on ytube – he looks like he plays a little below the rim…also seems a little one dimensional.

    Throw me a bone, X!

    Nice work on the draft coverage.

  2. xphoenix87 Says:

    Alright, I’ll give you a quick scouting report on Hickson, since I watched almost every one of his games at State.

    Something you have to keep in mind with Hickson is that he played on a pretty crappy team (sigh) with absolutely terrible guard play and poor defense. Therefore, some of his weaknesses, particularly his tendency to go for the block at the expense of rebounding position, stem from the situation he found himself in.


    + Very Strong: He’s got tremendous upper body strength and does a great job of finishing through contact. He hit some tough shots with great touch even when taking hard contact.
    + Length: He’s got a great wingspan and uses it well to get shots off in traffic and to contest shots.
    + Athleticism: He’s not a world-class athlete, but he’s definitely above-average. He’s quick on his feet and has explosive leaping ability.
    + Rebounding: His rebounding technique isn’t great yet, but that’s teachable. He has a nose for the ball though, and he’s going to be a guy who gets rebounds outside of his area because of his explosiveness and wingspan.
    + Skill Level: A lot of people talk about how he needs to develop his offensive game, which is true, but he’s more polished than a lot of post players I’ve seen at the college level. He does a good job facing up and using spin moves to beat you, and he’s also pretty good at using countermoves inside to get free from a defender. The form on his jumpshot looks very good, with a high, smooth release; he just needs to put more practice into it.


    - Hands: He doesn’t have great hands. He fumbled the ball a lot more than I thought he should have last year. Some of that could be the result of facing so many double/triple teams and playing with bad point guards, but it’s still a weakness in my opinion.
    - Fundamentals: Defensive fundamentals especially. His knowledge of the game is not great yet, and he was out of position a lot last year. While he has a lot of shotblocking potential, often it came at the expense of giving up an easy rebound.
    - Passing: Once the ACC season hit and teams started double teaming him early and often, he started to struggle. Again, some of this is his teammates, but he just didn’t handle pressure very well. He often turned the ball over, and very rarely made the defense pay with a pass to someone other than the guy who had just passed to him.

    Obviously, he’s inexperienced. That’ll happen when you’re 19. I think he’s got tremendous ability though. He might never be an All-Star, but I think worst case scenario is he becomes a Jason Maxiell/Brandon Bass type of player.

  3. Tsunami Says:

    Ok – well that I can handle. I was saying last year I wish we had a guy like Maxielle. So you think he will add some toughness and athleticism to the Cavs?

    Besides LeBron and Delonte they are pretty soft at all the other positions. I don’t count Ben Wallace because he’s SUCH a non-factor on offense that he BETTER be tough. Kinda like Eric Snow.

    But this guy looks like he knows how to use his body to bully smaller people around the rim. I just don’t think people in the NBA are going to be smaller than him. We’ll see. Do you think he has the tools to become a great defensive player? Or the work ethic? What did u think of his personality watching him?

    Thanks X!

  4. xphoenix87 Says:

    I don’t think he’ll ever be an elite defensive player, but I also don’t think he’ll be a liability on that end. Once he learns the game a bit more, he’s got the strength to deny post position, his feet are quick enough to guard some on the perimeter, and his wingspan and athleticism allow him to be a good shotblocker.

    Work ethic and personality it’s a bit hard to get a handle on. N.C. State really seemed to lack chemistry this year, though whether that’s because the players didn’t like one another, the coaches didn’t do a good job, or because of the lack of good guard play, I’m not sure. I don’t recall hearing anything particularly negative about Hickson during the year though, and he apparently was really impressive in individual workouts, which usually gives teams some idea of a player’s work ethic. He also trained before the draft at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball camp, one of the best training programs out there.

  5. Tsunami Says:

    Cool, thanks.

    I forgot to take part in your survey – Steven A. Smith entertained me for about a month back in 2004. I can’t STAND the guy.

    Here are the national NBA TV-guys I can’t stand:

    EVERYBODY, except:

    Hubie Brown
    Kevin Harlen
    Marv Albert
    Steve Kerr (…sigh…)
    Doug Collins
    Ernie Johnson

    Seriously, everyone else BLOWS.

    Van Gundy and Marc Jackson annoy the NUTS outta me…

    The TNT crew is good for entertainment (when YOUR TEAM AINT PLAYIN) – Their game analysis is HORRIBLE.

  6. King_kaun Says:

    Mike Fratello does a good job, too.

    Kevin Harlen and Marv Albert are the kings!!!!

  7. Tsunami Says:

    Yeah I like the Czar as well – he does a good job.

    The people that know the game AND are positive are much more fun to listen to than fools like Van Gundy who are always just trying to show off how much they know and put players down.

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