First of all, I just want to apologize to everyone that had to keep scrolling down to keep up with the live blog last night. About 20 picks in I realized it would have been smarter to put new posts on the top, but hey, it was my first live blog and I think it went pretty successfully. Thanks to everyone who followed along!!
Now back to the draft.
Before I get to the winners and losers of this year's draft, let me just run through a few things that happened in the second round or after the draft itself. This biggest news coming out of the second round on Draft Night was the blockbuster trade between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves will send the rights to OJ Mayo (3rd) along with Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, and Greg Bucker to the Grizz for the rights to Kevin Love (5th) and Mike Miller, Jason Collins, and Brian Cardinal's horrific contract (2 years, $13 million). This is a pretty good trade for both teams. Minnesota lands a big man to play along side Al Jefferson and a shooter in Mike Miller, who should be able to open things up for Randy Foye, Rashad McCants, and the big guys in the paint. The only thing I don't like about this trade for the Wolves is that they now have a small front line without a great defensive presence. Memphis gets a player that they can market, will brings in fans, and may actually be talented enough to build the franchise around (and they get rid of Cardinal's contract). The worst part of this trade for Memphis is we will never see a front line of Gay Love, although Gay Mayo still has a nice little ring to it. Another interesting side note - Mayo and Love were the two finalists for best beard's of the draft. I gotta give it to OJ, Love's was just a bit too redneck for me.
The most interesting night probably belonged to Darrell Arthur. He was projected as a late-lottery or mid-first rounder, and as a result was in the Green Room at the MSG, but as a result of concerns of a blood test and kidney issue, he dropped all the way to 27th to New Orleans. This was only the beginning of a roller coaster night for the former Jayhawk. The Hornets were picking there for the Blazers who had bought the pick. The Blazers subsequently sent Arthur to the Rockets (see below), who them sent him to Memphis for Donte Greene (28th) and a future second rounder.
There were many others trades during the draft, with Portland (no surprise there) being involved in many of them: they moved Brandon Rush (13th), Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts to Indiana for Jerryd Bayless (11th) and Ike Diogu; they sent Darrell Arthur (27th) and Joey Dorsey (33rd) to the Rockets for Nicolas Batum (25th); they sent the rights to Omer Asik (36th) to the Bulls for three future second rounders; and they sent Mike Taylor (55th) to the Clippers for another future second rounder.
Other trades of note: DJ White (29th) was traded from the Pistons to the Sonics for Walter Sharpe (32nd) and Trent Plaisted (46th); Mario Chalmers (34th) was traded from Minnesota to the Heat for two second rounders; Bill Walker (47th) was traded from Washington to the Celtics for cash.
And now, the 2008 NBA Draft Winners and Losers.
- Jason Thompson - He was projected all over the board (some had him going in the second round, some in them mid-first), but the Kings scooped him up with the 12th pick. I don't really understand this one - the Kings have Brad Miller and last year's 10th pick Spencer Hawes, and really need a point guard.
- Mario Chalmers - Yea, he dropped out of the first round and won't receive a guaranteed contract, but he ended up with Miami, a team in dire need of a point guard that can knock shots, play D, and not turn the ball over. I can see him making this team and getting a good amount of playing time along side D Wade.
- Portland Trailblazers - First, Brandon Rush drops all the way to 13th for them. Then they are able to package him with Jarrett Jack (a poor man's Brandon Roy) and Josh McRoberts (the only good thing he's done the league is LC from The Hills ... zingg) for Jerryd Bayless and Ike Diogu, giving them a scoring guard and playmaker to play along side Roy. Next, they use the pick they bought from New Orleans to take Darrell and package him with Joey Dorsey for Nicolas Batum, an extremely athletic and talented wing that they will store in Europe for a few years until he is NBA ready. Oh, and they managed to turn two second rounders this year into four next year.
- Others with a good draft: Boston (I love the two guys they picked up - Bill Walker and JR Giddens. They provide depth on the wing, play D, and are athletes. Both head cases, but is anyone going to cross KG?); Utah (they got Koufus with the 23rd pick, a big guy that can pull the other team's center out of the lane with his shooting ability, and Ante Tomic at 44th, a guy that some expected would go in the mid first-round); and Miami (they made the right decision taking Beasley with the second pick, and landed Chalmers in the second round as well).
- DeAndre Jordan - This guy was viewed as a potential top 10 pick at one point, but a loss of confidence at the end of the season combined with a poor combine and workouts, and he slid all the way out of the first round. He's got loads of talent, but can he ever put it together? I wouldn't be surprised if the only time you ever heard his name again was as a precaution to underclassmen.
- Jamont Gordon and Davon Jefferson - There were seven other early entrants that didn't get drafted, but these are by far the two most notable ones. Gordon is a tough, rugged player that can probably make a roster in an Adrian Griffin role if he figures out that he is not going to be an NBA star. Jefferson, for all the talent and athleticism he has, has no work ethic (which showed when he was out of shape for the combine and his workouts). Too bad his eligibility is gone, because he could have helped USC a lot.
- Sacramento Kings - OK, so you miss out on your top three choices (Russell Westbrook, Bayless, and Augustin), but the best you can do after that is select a guy that you could have gotten with the 25th pick? You have to know that those three may be gone and have a contingency plan ready, right? And to top it off, you pick Patrick Ewing, Jr. and Sean Singletary with the 42nd and 43rd picks while Bill Walker, Ante Tomic, Richard Hendrix, and DeVon Harden are all still on the board? Those four have a much better chance of being an NBA player than Singletary or Ewing. I just don't get it.
- Milwaukee Bucks - OK, so draft day wasn't so terrible for them. They need to move one of their 4/5s and pick up some wings that were willing to play defense. Well, they did that - Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons for Richard Jefferson. And then with the eighth pick, they take Joe Alexander. I love the pick, but isn't he the same player as Jefferson. To top it off, they take Luc Richard Mbah a Moute with the 37th pick - another rebounder/defender/hustler on the wing. Don't get me wrong, I love all three of those players, but there was more than one reason the Bucks were in the lottery. On second thought, I'm going to hold judgement on this one.
- Washington Wizards - Your poised for a playoff run, especially you can get Gilbert Arenas back, so who do you take? JaVale McGee. Don't exactly know what Ernie Grunfeld was thinking on this one.
- Others with a bad draft - Charlotte (Felton is on the market, so they took Augustin as insurance, although I am not sold on DJ as an NBA starter just yet, and they took Alexis Ajinca, who averaged a whopping 5 pts and 5 rebs in France last year. He does have a 7'8" wingspan and, in the words of Jay Bilas, tremendous upside potential. I do like the pick of Kyle Weaver at 38th); Seattle (I liked the Westbrook pick - fits in well with Durant and Green - but I don't understand why the Sonics keep wasting first rounders on big men that disappear - Mohammed Sene, Robert Swift, Johan Petro. And they also added DJ White, DeVon Hardin, and Sasha Kaun); and Golden State (so the Warriors last year traded J-Rich for super athletic, super skinny lefty forward Brandon Wright. This year's lottery pick - super athletic, super skinny lefty forward Anthony Randolph. Really?).