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News » Is this draft really something special? 2008-06-25

Is this draft really something special? 2008-06-25

Is this draft really something special? 2008-06-25
Everyone knew LeBron was going to be a star when he walked to the podium and shook David Stern's hand in 2003. When Dwight Howard was taken first overall the following year, I wasn't alone in the belief that he'd become a perennial All-Star. And it's just a matter of time before Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, taken with the first two picks last year, turn into NBA stars.

That said, there's no one in this year's draft that carries the same "can't miss" label.

2008 NBA Draft


  • Final grades A to F
  • Who went where? NBA Draft Tracker
  • Kahn: Grading each team's draft
  • Winners and losers
  • Goodman: Chicago's big mistake
  • Full pick-by-pick draft analysis

Draft news

  • Bulls take Rose with No. 1 pick
  • Wolves, Grizz swap Mayo, Love


  • What were top draftees wearing?


  • Video Central: Highlights, analysis
  • Johnson: Draft winners and losers
  • Johnson's recap: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-14
  • Goodman on Mayo-Love deal


  • NBA Draft Central 2008
  • Complete list of early entrants

Not Derrick Rose. Not Michael Beasley.

No one.

All the talk circulated early that this class — one that featured Rose, Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love, Jerryd Bayless, et. al — was special.

How this year's draft was absolutely loaded.

How NBA general managers should stockpile picks for 2008 because the talent level would be something that the league hadn't seen since the infamous 1984 draft that produced four of the greatest ever to play the game — Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton.

I just can't seem to find that one guy who is a lock to carry his team to the next level — a la Kobe or LeBron.

The Chicago Bulls will choose between Rose and Beasley for the bragging rights as to who is the No. 1 overall pick. Rose has insane athleticism and incredible speed, but he's still a guy who is all about potential. Don't even try to put his passing abilities on par with, say, Jason Kidd or Chris Paul. He's not exactly a vocal leader, either.

Beasley is a proven scorer who doesn't quite measure up (he was listed at 6-foot-10, but measured in at 6-foot-7 without shoes), and many continue to question his character. He's not exactly a guy who is going to be able to go into the trenches consistently and dominate the paint and the glass.

There's an abundance of combo guards in 2008, including Mayo, Bayless and Russell Westbrook. Here's my definition of a combo guard: Someone too small to play shooting guard who also isn't a proven commodity at running a team and making his teammates better.

Mayo has been touted as potentially the next LeBron since he was in the eighth grade, but there's absolutely no comparison between the two. LeBron had stardom written all over him, while Mayo has had issues no matter where he's been, with the latest being allegations of taking money from a street agent.

Bayless is a big-time athlete who can shoot the ball from deep and also get to the basket, but NBA executives wonder whether he can run a club or if he's an undersized shooting guard at the next level.

Ditto for Westbrook, who is basically a carbon copy of Bayless, sans the perimeter shot. Westbrook and Joe Alexander will be the two guys sitting in the green room that weren't supposed to be there. Both were obscure recruits coming out of high school, and both have rocketed up the draft boards in recent weeks — largely in part to impressive workouts and success in the postseason.

Eric Gordon was, at one time, considered a viable option as the No. 1 overall pick. However, a subpar second half of the season, one in which he battled a wrist injury, has sent Gordon's stock tumbling into the middle of the lottery. Gordon is the most well-rounded perimeter scorer in the draft, but his size (6-foot-2 without shoes) is also questionable for the shooting guard position in the pros.

Besides Rose, there's not another sure-fire point guard to whom NBA teams are willing to hand the ball and build their team around. D.J. Augustin doesn't possess the physical attributes and eye-popping athleticism that sent Mike Conley's stock soaring a year ago, but he's got a high IQ and that may be enough to get him in the middle of the lottery.

Anthony Randolph may have as much physical ability as anyone in the draft. He's long and reminds some of a young Kevin Garnett — without the ferociousness and intensity. Questions remain about Randolph's work ethic and toughness.

Then there's Kevin Love, the antithesis of Randolph. He's gone out and produced each and every game in high school and his one season at UCLA. However, he doesn't have the leaping ability or the length of Randolph, and the major question is whether he can guard a power forward in the NBA.

The Lopez twins, Brook and Robin, have looked the part for years. They play hard on the court, but Brook is too emotional and Robin can't seem to put the ball in the basket. Robin is also regarded as a defensive presence, but shouldn't a 7-footer who doesn't score average more than 5.7 rebounds per game?

As is the case each and every year, there are big guys who haven't proved all that much at the collegiate level, but they have size and that's enough to convince them to make the jump. DeAndre Jordan and JaVale McGee may wind up being this year's version of Patrick O'Bryant.

The international group isn't helping the cause, either. Just one guy, Danilo Gallinari, appears to be a lock for the lottery — and he's projected as a piece by NBA types.

I'm not saying that this draft won't have plenty of guys who enjoy a lengthy career in the NBA. In fact, it's deep enough that the Boston Celtics could wind up getting a solid contributor like skilled Cal forward Ryan Anderson, Indiana power forward D.J. White, or athletic Kansas State freshman Bill Walker at No. 30.

However, let's not compare it to 1984. There won't be four Hall of Famers in this draft. In fact, there may not even be a quartet of All-Stars.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: June 25, 2008


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