2008 Draft: Winners & Losers: Part Two
The 2008 NBA Draft is finally in the books, and most of the viewing audience are regaining their hearing after listening to four-plus hours of Stephen A. Smith, Dick Vitale and Stuart Scott. Sixty picks, a handful of trades, buckets of tears from proud mothers, some odd suit choices and A LOT of camera shots of Darrell Arthur in the green room later, it's time to see who came out ahead this year, and who will be saving seats for next year's lottery.
Darrell Arthur: There's always one person left waiting in the Green Room, and this year the award went to the Kansas big man, who fell down many draft boards after rumors of health issue with his kidneys. He was eventually selected late in the first round, and then dealt to Memphis late in the night. However, the news might not be all bad, as the Grizzlies need some help up front, and Arthur's skill set could enable him to gain some immediate playing time.
DeAndre Jordan: The consensus among many draft analysts was that Jordan, despite being an athletic freak, needed at least another year of seasoning at the college level. However, no one thought he would fall completely out of the first round, eventually landing in Clipper-land with the 35th pick. A highly-touted recruit, whispers about a less-than stellar work ethic hurt him leading up to the draft, as did his concerning lack of playing time down the stretch at Texas A&M. Now, instead of pulling in the guaranteed first-round money, Jordan will have to still try to make the Clippers' roster in training camp...probably not exactly what he pictured when he declared for the draft.
New York Knicks: Now, I'm not saying Danilo Gallinari will be bust; in fact he could turn out to be a very solid player in Mike D'Antoni's system. But with the recent history of the Knicks, and the growing disenchantment between the fans and the team, I'm not sure the best way to usher in a new era is to draft a foreign player who many fans have never seen play, who doesn't speak fantastic English, and will never beat out Derek Jeter or Eli Manning for a billboard. Gallinari could prove to be a great fit for D'Antoni as a point forward, but with the team looking to rebuild their image and marketability, as well as improve their record, I can't help but wonder if they should have gone with a more well-known player like Eric Gordon or Jerryd Bayless.
Milwaukee Bucks: To be fair, I really like the Joe Alexander pick - I think he's going to be a great player who has a chance to be an All-Star one day. And I also like getting Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the second round. He's a tough, hard-nosed defender who brings a winning attitude and is willing to let other players take the spotlight. I also like the acquisition of Richard Jefferson on draft day, adding a proven scorer on the perimeter to join Michael Redd. The only reason the Bucks make this list is that they acquired three small forwards in one day...where are they all going to play? Knowing they had Jefferson in the fold, why not address another need with the 8th pick? I just don't see the logic in using a high draft pick on a position where you just acquired a young, starter-caliber player less than two hours earlier.
Jamont Gordon/Davon Jefferson: It happens every year, and this year was no exception. Talented players overestimate their own draft stock, ignore the advice and warnings from scouts, and then fail to hear their name called on draft night. Now these aren't the only two underclassmen who went unselected, but they're two of the biggest names who will now have to try to catch on with a team this summer. Jefferson is a fantastic athlete, but he has very little understanding of the game other than dunking, which will make it very hard for him to catch on somewhere. Gordon is the typical tweener, not a real point guard, but too small to play off the ball full-time. He is a very skilled player however, and if he shows some play-making skills, he could find a home somewhere. Either way, both of these players would have benefited from returning to campus.
Return to Part One: Draft Winners