Sometimes you pick a winner, other times you pick Kwame Brown. I could only imagine how many times NBA teams have kicked themselves for passing on a proven player, for a player they felt may or may not blossom. It's easy to say "Well, we should have picked that guy knowing what we know now", so, that's what we're going to do today. This draft is based on team need or long term potential based off what has been exhibited this season, and does not involve any trades. Rosters are based off current rosters in the NBA. Go ahead and feel free to comment, as I'm sure you won't agree with every pick or reasoning, which is what makes this sort of thing so great.
- Chicago Bulls: PG Derrick Rose (Memphis)
Who was picked: Same
The Bulls pick up their PG of the present and the future. Rose is still unquestionably the most talented player in this group.
- Miami Heat: C Brook Lopez (Stanford)
Who was picked: F Michael Beasley
The Heat has struggled at the Center position ever since Shaq was traded to the Suns. To put a player with the scoring, rebounding, and shot blocking ability on a team with Dwayne Wade is scary. With averages of 13ppg/8rpg/2bpg, he can only improve with time. It doesn't hurt having a player of this caliber in the same division as Dwight Howard.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: G Russell Westbrook (UCLA)
Who was picked: G O.J Mayo
The Timberwolves have been desperate for a PG since Randy Foye has proven to be better suited for the 2 spot. The Wolves pick easily the 2nd best guard in the draft, with the defensive talents to go along with his superb athleticism. A backcourt of Westbrook/Foye could have been dynamite for a young Wolves team.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: C/F Kevin Love (UCLA)
Who was picked: G Russell Westbrook
Speculation says that the Thunder will draft Blake Griffin if awarded the no.1 pick in the 09 draft. Why wait until then? The Thunder get a legit double/double guy in Love to place alongside Kevin Durant while still keeping Jeff Green at the 4. They miss out on a PG, but with the 09 draft stocked with guards, they can afford to pass on one this year.
- Memphis Grizzlies: G O.J Mayo (USC)
Who was picked: C/F Kevin Love
The Grizz get their man without trading away Mike Miller with the 5th pick. Mayo has been dynamite for the Grizz this year, leading all rookies in scoring. He still helps move Rudy Gay to small forward, and doesn't allow Greg Buckner to become the starting shooting guard, which is scary.
- New York Knicks: G Eric Gordon (Indiana)
Who was picked: F Danilo Gallinari Gallinari, D
The Knicks currently have Larry Hughes and Quentin Richardson at the 2. That alone could be enough to justify this pick, however, Gordon justifies this pick with his scoring ability and knack for being a tough defender. He is currently averaging nearly 16 points for a bad Clippers team. Add about 10 points to that playing for D'Antonio and you have a dynamite pick.
- Los Angeles Clippers: PG DJ Augustin (Texas)
Who was picked: G Eric Gordon
The Clippers have a good for around 50-60 games Baron Davis and then.....Fred Jones? With this pick, they get a speedy Augustin to groom behind Davs, and eventually take our the teams starting guard spot.
- Milwaukee Bucks: F Michael Beasley (Kansas State)
Who was picked: F Joe Alexander
I have a hard time watching Beasley slide this far based off his potential, however, having watching him this year he still looks to be a work in progress. Many experts believed him to be the frontrunner for rookie of the year, though his lack of defense has kept him from getting big minutes for the Heat. The Bucks pick him up, and while Skiles is all about defense, he needs someone else to score besides Richard Jefferson and Charlie V. After those 2, there isn't much depth. Beasley also brings some hype to a Bucks team that is often overlooked in the NBA, unless a player of theirs tweets.
- Charlotte Bobcats: F Jason Thompson (Rider)
Who was picked: PG DJ Augustin
With Emeka Okafor moving back to the center position since acquiring Boris Diaw, the Bobcats have little depth at the 4 spot. Despite Vladimir Radmanovic being 6-10, he is more suited at SF. The Bobcats pick up a legit 4 in Jason Thompson, who has shown to be one of the steals of the draft, averaging 10/7 in under 30 minutes a game.
- New Jersey Nets: F/C Marreese Speights (Florida)
Who was picked: C Brook Lopez
The Nets miss out on Lopez, however, they get a promising big in Speights. Questioned about his work ethic coming out of Florida, Speights has quickly shown he is for real, averaging the highest PER out of his class at 19.08. Speights also fills a team with little quality depth at the 4 and 5, with Sean Williams not panning out the way the Nets envisioned.
- Indiana Pacers: F Anthony Randolph (LSU)
Who was picked: PG Jerryd Bayless
Randolph has been inducted into the HoF by Lamar Odom already, but in reality, the forward has shown moments of brilliance in his young career. At the tender age of 20, his lack of maturity is one of the only things holding him back from prospering. He joins a Pacers team that already has Danny Granger at the 3, but an oft-injured Mike Dunleavy and good but not great Marquis Daniels as depth.
- Sacramento Kings: PG Mario Chalmers (Kansas)
Who was picked: F Jason Thompson
Probably one of my easiest picks, the Kings have been desperate for a PG to either replace Beno Udrih, or back him up. Chalmers was originally picked in the 2nd round, but has proven to be a 1st round talent, leading all rookies with 1.9 spg, and is 3rd in assists with 4.8 a game.
- Portland Trail Blazers: F Danilo Gallinari (Olimpia Milano)
Who was picked: G Brandon Rush
Many experts wonder what this team would be like with Kevin Durant at the 3 to go along with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers pick up a legit prospect at small forward, all while keeping everyones golden boy Greg Oden. Gallinari has battled back issues, but has shown flashes of why he was picked so high in the real draft. With the young Blazers having Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez capable of playing the 3, they can bring Gallinari along slowly to be ready for the future.
- Golden State Warriors: F J.J. Hickson (North Carolina State)
Who was picked: F Anthony Randolph
Despite rarely playing them, it appears the Warriors love to stockpile young bigs on their bench. Hickson is an athletic rebounder who could help a team that isn't known for having guys like this. The Warriors are currently starting Stephen Jackson at the 4. Enough said.
- Phoenix Suns: C/F JaVale McGee (Nevada)
Who was picked: C/F Robin Lopez
McGee is a legit 7 footer who could run the floor and block shots with the best of them. Sitting behind a Shaq couldn't hurt the big man either, as he wouldn't have to be rushed into playing time so quickly.
- Philadelphia 76ers: G/F Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky)
Who was picked: F/C Marreese Speights
It pains me to watch the Sixers pick up one of my favorite players, but with Willie Green and Kareem Rush as your 2 guards, it's an absolute no brainer. I was tempted to put Courtney higher, but felt this would be a great fit for a Sixers team with one of the worst SG rotations in the league. The do it all rookie has proven to be one of the biggest steals in the draft, originally falling all the way to the 22nd pick.
- Toronto Raptors: C DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M)
Who was picked: C Roy Hibbert
No knock on Hibbert, who could easily be picked here again, but Jordan fell all the way to the 2nd round after being compared to Dwight Howard in many mock drafts. Jordan stepped in well when Marcus Camby was injured, grabbing 20 boards in a game against the Warriors. Jordan is still very raw, but shows enough potential to be chosen by a team that has a lack of quality big men besides Bosh and Bargnani.
- Washington Wizards: PG George Hill (IUPUI)
Who was picked: C/F JaVale McGee
With Gilbert Arenas battling injuries, and only having journeyman Mike James and young but raw Javaris Crittenton as your PG's, the Wizards pick up George Hill. Like Courtney Lee, Hill comes from a small school, but immediately has stepped up and contributed siginificantly to a title contending team.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: G/F Brandon Rush (Kansas)
Who was picked: F J.J. Hickson
Missing out on depth at the 4, the Cavs pick up depth at the 2 spot. Sasha Pavlovic has regressed, and the Cavs lack much beyond Delonte West. Rush has been somewhat of a disappointment, but this slot is much better suited for him. Playing for LeBron James may benefit him as well.
- Charlotte Bobcats: PG Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)
Who was picked: C Alexis Anjinca
This was one of my toughest picks. Bayless falls way harder then I really believe he would, but I just couldn't put him on any other team. Sure, the Warriors might have picked him up, but they don't need him with all their guards already. He also could have went to the Raptors, with Calderon being their only quality PG. Bayless immediately backs up Raymond Felton, and plays a similar role that DJ Augustin is this year.
- New Jersey Nets: C Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
Who was picked: F Ryan Anderson
The Nets get more big man depth with Hibbert. Playing in an Eastern Conference with Dwight Howard, it doesn't hurt to have a banger down low to pick up some fouls and rebounds.
- Orlando Magic: F Ryan Anderson (California)
Who was picked: G/F Courtney Lee
The Magic get a better version of Brian Cook to fill some depth at the 4. I also had Luc Richard Mbah a Moute or Robin Lopez going here, but neither of them can shoot the 3 like Anderson, who is hitting a cool 36% as a rookie. We all know the Magic need to space the floor for Dwight, so this is the obvious pick over the other two.
- Utah Jazz: F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (UCLA)
Who was picked: C Kosta Koufos
I almost had the Jazz making the exact same pick, however, they recently sent Koufos to the D-League. This probably means they view him more as a project then an instant contributor. Instead, the Jazz get more defense, and pick up Mbah A Moute. He can can fill the depth needed as Matt Harpring gets older, and the Jazz battle injuries. Originally picked in the 2nd round, he has passed numerous players production wise picked before him already.
- Oklahoma City Thunder: F Joe Alexander (West Virginia)
Who was picked: F Serge Ibaka
Alexander falls hard, but still has loads of potential. The Thunder continue the youth movement and pick him up to backup Kevin Durant at the 3.
- Houston Rockets: F Nicolas Batum (Le Mans)
Who was picked: Same
The Rockets pick Batum again, but this time, keep him. With McGrady being injured 80% of the time, Batum fills a depth need at the 3, and continue the trend of the Rockets having great wing defenders.
- San Antonio Spurs: PF Serge Ibaka (L'Hospitalet)
Who was picked: PG George Hill
The Spurs pick up a promising young big who has been compared to Shawn Kemp to store away overseas. The Spurs are good at this (See: Luis Scola)
- New Orleans Hornets: F Darrell Arthur (Kansas)
Who was picked: Same
The Hornets pick Arthur again,but keep him this time. This team needs depth badly, and Arthur has proven to be able to play in the NBA, albeit still being raw. Putting up 6 ppg and 5 rpg, he is still way better then Ryan Bowen and Melvin Ely.
- Memphis Grizzlies: C Robin Lopez (Stanford)
Who was picked: F Donte Green
The Grizz get a quality big with loads of potential to be a banger, but I feel was picked way too high in the draft. With the young Grizz, he can come along slowly, as opposed to being on a potential playoff team like the Suns.
- Detroit Pistons: C Kosta Koufas (Ohio State)
Who was picked: F D.J. White
This may be too low for Koufas, but he is still very raw, and can learn from bigs such as Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess. His game also reminds me of Mehmet Okur, who the Pistons let get away from them. He turned out pretty good.
- Boston Celtics: F Donte Greene (Syracuse)
Who was picked: F J.R. Giddens
The Celtics have lost Tony Allen to injury and James Posey to free agency. They pick Greene who has the potential to be a great scorer with tons of length. This is a no brainer, considering who is left.
Credit: NBA.com, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the Washington Times for the photos.
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