The 2008 NBA Draft brought much needed talent to the NBA. Players including Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, and Kevin Love burst onto the scene in the league. The NBA Draft always takes place in New York City, with thousands of fans flocking to the city to watch their favorite team make their pick. As young guys prepare for their departure from college into the NBA, emotions are spread. This was especially true in the 2008 draft.
Five international players were drafted, along with 39 collegiate players. Among these collegiate players were soon to be superstars. Though this draft was pretty solid, there were a good amount of sub par professional players and busts. This article will identify the way the draft should have went, instead of the way that history has it. That being said, if you rewind time to nearly two years ago, this actual draft order might make more sense. As time changes, so does the NBA.
“When Mr. Adam Silver came out, I saw him and he said, ‘With the number one pick…’ I was racing,” Towns said. “I told Coach Cal before when he first came out that I was trying to drink the water and I was shaking uncontrollably. I told him, ‘Coach, don’t give me the ball right now for the last second shot. I wouldn’t make it.”
As one can identify from that quotation from Karl Anthony Towns, the draft is a very nervous affair, and extremely exciting at the same time. Sure “KAT” was drafted in 2012, but the feeling remains the same for any draft. Guys are excited to finally start their career, hopefully with the right team. This list looks at what could have been the right teams for the first 15 picks.
As always feel free to let us know your draft order in the comments below, and tell us if you agree with the way it’s listed here.
1. Russell Westbrook
The two time MVP, should have been taken first overall. Westbrook is the most athletic player in the NBA, and when he gets hot shooting, he won’t miss. The Thunder just upset the legendary San Antonio Spurs, and KD and Westbrook were leading the charge. Westbrook is a beast, and may continue to lead the Thunder to multiple championships in his career. He’s a dominant shooter, scorer, passer, and rebounder, and deserved to be taken number one.
2. Kevin Love
Kevin Love originally was drafted fourth, but his success in the NBA has moved him up to two spots. Now partnered up with LBJ, and Kyrie Irving, Love is a very dominant player in the league. He gets a lot of heat from the media for various reasons, but he’s a good shooter and rebounder, obviously. His best season (2012) he averaged nearly 27 ppg, and this past season he averaged 18 ppg, along side King James.
3. Derrick Rose
Rose was a great player his first couple years in the NBA, and this list wouldn’t exist if his career didn’t change for the worse. Ever since his injury, he hasn’t been as dominant as he once was. The former MVP sometimes plays like he’s on ice, and doesn’t want to take risks, which I can understand. He is still a good player in the league, but his dominance lacks what it once was. Even then, Rose is so good when he is healthy, that he still deserves at least the third pick on this list.
4. DeAndre Jordan
DeAndre Jordan was selected in the second round in this draft. For his skill level, this is totally comical, as Jordan is a monster rebounder and block artist. With that in mind, he doesn’t score big buckets, it isn’t his strong suit, but two years ago, he averaged 15 rpg which more than makes up for it. He often gets made fun of for his poor free throw abilities, but besides that Jordan should have been picked very high in this NBA draft.
5. Nicolas Batum
Batum has never been a superstar, but he is one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA. He has always been a solid asset, (minus his rookie season), and for Portland, he was a good player, and his transition to Charlotte went well. Batum averaged 15 ppg this past season, and the French born star has solidly increased his average assists since entering the league to just over five per game. There’s no way he falls below the bottom five in a re-draft.
6. Goran Dragic
Dragic has been a good player ever since he took over for Steve Nash on the Phoenix Suns. In Miami, he has averaged double digits and been very productive all around. He has been equally productive in Miami’s multiple trips to the playoffs since his 2015 trade to South Beach. Dragic turned his mediocre career into a solid one, and has earned a spot in the top 10, rather than his 45th overall selection in 2008.
7. George Hill
I think Hill may have been better suited for the seventh pick, then such a low round pick. Hill has been very key for the Indiana Pacers, and their success in the NBA in recent seasons. Hill averaged 16 ppg two seasons ago, and 12 this past season. He’s an okay passer, but a pretty good shooter. George Hill has usually been a pretty good playoff player as well, scoring double digits basically every year he has appeared there.
8. Brook Lopez
Lopez has been a very good big man, who scores a lot. He’s a good rebounder, and a dynamic big man. Though he hasn’t led his team to a great spot in the league, he’s a hard nosed player who doesn’t shy away from aggressive nature underneath. He’s been better than his brother Robin, and more productive; everyone saw that coming, and he proved it. He made one All-Star appearance in 2013. If only he wasn’t stuck with a terrible Nets team.
9. Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon is a good scorer. I put him so low on the list, because I feel his career is regressing. He’s a good spot up shooter, he’s a driver and very athletic. Gordon’s play style should not be doubted, and he could be higher up on this list. He plays very big minutes in New Orleans, but is without a doubt not the same player he was when he was drafted seventh overall by the Clippers. At 27 years old, his career may not last as long as was initially projected if his regression continues.
10. O.J. Mayo
Mayo was also picked a little too high, placing at third in the NBA Draft. He’s been solid additions to the teams he has played on, but has never had that “breakout” season. It’s not to say he isn’t a good player, just Mayo doesn’t really live up to the spot he was taken in the NBA Draft. His stats from this past season were average at nearly 12 ppg, and 2.8 apg. Maybe he was selected so high because he had the hype from playing Michael Jordan at his summer camp.
11. Michael Beasley
It turns out Beasley was taken way too early in this NBA Draft. He was originally picked at two, and he hasn’t lived up to at all. He does okay as a role player in the NBA and scores double digits when he needs to put up numbers. Beasley has off the court problems though, involving the law frequently. His best season was in 2010-11 when he averaged nearly 20 points PPG. In a stronger draft class, Beasley would have been knocked down further, but he’ll settle for 11 here.
12. Robin Lopez
He was taken at 15 originally, but I project he could have moved up a couple spots due to his performance in the NBA. He hasn’t been a standout player, but his rebounding and low post scoring abilities have been a nice addition to the teams he has been apart of. He gets big minutes in New York, and his skill level will continue to increase as he progresses through his career it appears. Perhaps his play could improve further if the Knicks get more talent.
13. Nikola Pekovic
He was originally taken late in the second round, but obviously plays like a first round pick. Pekovic has made a name for himself in the NBA as a slightly dominant big man. He can shoot mid range jumpers, and do everything good big men can do, especially rebound. He has averaged double digits for some years now, and will continue to be a good force in the NBA. The Wolves are a team slowly getting better, so Pekovic may be in a good spot.
14. Mario Chalmers
Originally picked 34th, Chalmers has been way better than his draft spot. The two time NBA Champion, and past starting point guard for the Miami Heat has been a productive player. Though he isn’t a big scorer, he gets assists when it matters most. Chalmers hasn’t been excellent recently, but has a chance to step up his game in the next couple years, with Memphis rebuilding. Looking at what he turned into it’s safe to say that Chalmers could have easily coasted into the top 20.
15. D.J. Augustin
Augustin was selected ninth in the draft. Too bad his career never reached the next level. He currently plays for the Nuggets as a role player. He gets decent minutes in Denver, but he should have been picked lower than ninth overall.
He averaged nearly 11 points this year, but he only played around 28 games. Augustin was a good Texas Longhorn in college, but his pro basketball career did not follow his fantastic college basketball career.
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