With the 2008 NBA Draft readily approaching, here is my second take projecting which rookies will be selling NBA tickets next season after being lottery picks.
1. Chicago Bulls – Derrick Rose, Guard, Memphis
The Bulls get a franchise player and a Chicago native in Rose.
2. Miami Heat – Michael Beasley, Forward, Kansas State
Getting a number one talent in Beasley with the second pick is a nice consolation prize.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves – O.J. Mayo, Guard, USC
I think Brook Lopez fits more of a need, as I’m sure the Wolves would like to pair Al Jefferson with a center, but I’m going with Mayo because teams usually take the best player available regardless of positional need and Mayo’s ability to sell NBA tickets may be unparalleled in this draft.
4. Seattle Sonics – Jeryd Bayless, Guard, Arizona
I’ve had Bayless slotted here since the get go, but now there are a lot of rumblings that the Sonics love Russell Westbrook and Brook Lopez. I’m sticking with my guns, for now, and going with Bayless.
5. Memphis Grizzlies – Kevin Love, Forward, UCLA
There is a lot of talk about Eric Gordon here, but the Grizzlies have a lot of perimeter scoring as it is with Rudy Gay and Mike Miller. Love can provide some inside scoring with his vast repertoire of post moves. If the team is planning to trade Miller as speculated, Gordon could be the option here.
6. New York Knicks – Russell Westbrook, Guard, UCLA
The Knicks are a hard team to get a read on right now. There are a lot of names being thrown around concerning this pick, but I think that in the end Mike D’Antoni will lobby for a point guard to run his offense and Westbrook is the best one available at this juncture.
7. L.A. Clippers – Eric Gordon, Guard, Indiana
The Clippers need a point guard, but Augustin would be a reach here. I think they go best player available and grab Gordon, who is a heck of a scorer and should be able to contribute immediately.
8. Milwaukee Bucks – Joe Alexander, Forward, West Virginia
I have a hard time seeing the Bucks passing on Alexander. He’s done so much to help his stock.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Brook Lopez, Center, Stanford
This would be a slide for Lopez, but it would enable the Bobcats to move Emeka Okafor to his natural position of power forward.
10. New Jersey Nets – Danilo Gallinari, Forward, Italy
Gallinari would be the best player available at this point and the Nets have been rumored to be shopping SF Richard Jefferson. Gallinari could probably step in and contribute immediately.
11. Indiana Pacers – D.J. Augustin, Guard, Texas
The Pacers need a point guard and Augustin is the purest floor general aside from Derrick Rose in this draft.
12. Sacramento Kings – Anthony Randolph, Forward, LSU
Randolph is a project but has a ton of upside. The Kings have a hole at power forward right now and if Randolph and last year’s lottery pick Spencer Hawes both develop they’d make a nice inside tandem and would complement each other’s games very well.
13. Portland Trailblazers – Brandon Rush, Guard/Forward, Kansas
I’ve heard a lot about the Blazers dealing this pick because they’ve already got so many good young players. If they keep it, Rush could be a nice option because he can defend, is ready to contribute right away and can play the two and three positions.
14. Golden State Warriors – Donte Green, Forward, Syracuse
An offensive talent like Green would fit well in Don Nelson’s system on a Warrior’s team that may be heading for a youth movement.
Wherever these players land, they are sure to help sell NBA tickets in their respective cities.