Everyone nowadays considers the draft class of 2003 as the greatest draft class of the era. I can’t blame them though because of all stars like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, David West, and Josh Howard. Along with great role players in Chris Kamen, Kirk Hinrich, Boris Diaw, and Travis Outlaw, this was the probably the best draft class to play with in 2K9. And like every great draft class, there’s a big bust in there in Darko Milicic. There’s a new greatest draft class of this era though in 2008. The draft class that produced Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, and much others has probably the best lottery picks ever. Today, I’ll name the first 7 picks, and the last 7 lottery picks in a future post.
Averaging 19.8 Points a game right now and is the reason that the Bulls who everyone thought fell off at the beginning in the season are now playoff contenders. His leadership qualities and athleticism has earned him a spot on the all-star team this year. Rose is not going to duplicate the greatness of Michael Jordan for Chicago but he is now the undisputed star of the team and has the ability to bring the Bulls great success. Him and Joakim Noah are one of the best guard/big duos out there right now and have really put a bright spot in Chicago in the post-Jordan years.
The number 2 draft pick in the 2008 draft pick is Michael Beasley who is having a great sophomore year. He currently averages 16.3 points a game and 6.6 rebounds. As of right now he is currently the second best player in the Miami Heat after Dwayne Wade. And if Dwayne Wade was to leave Miami this summer, that would make Beasley the star player of the team which I think is a position he can handle. His jump shot, freakish athleticism, height, and abilities to play both forward positions makes him a Kevin Garnett-esque player. Like all the players I’m listing, Michael Beasley is a future All-Star in the making and like Derrick Rose, can carry his team far into the playoffs on his own if given the chance.
The USC star who has a name that makes you hungry. Mayo was one of those highly touted prospects that scouts were following since the age of 13. I consider him one of those star shooting guard players in the model of Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant. Of course, Mayo hasn’t done much so far in his career to be named with the rest of those future hall of famers but he has shown the potential. Right now his game is raw, but with a few years of refinement, he can and will be the franchise player, knocking down game winning shots all day. Mayo just needs to not let his hype get in his way and improve on his own pace before he can become the top dog in the NBA.
This UCLA Bruin is the Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman. He’s the starting point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder and currently averages 16 points, 7.5 assists, and 5 rebounds a game. He’s an excellent scorer and terrific second option on a rising young team that is mos def bounded for the playoffs. And as of right now, I see Westbrook as a star only in the Scottie Pippen vein. Like Pippen, he is a great player but proves more effective when he is not relied on as the number one option on the team. So yes, he can become a future all star in the future but he just does not seem like a player that can lead a team. The Thunder are lucky to have him on the team though. Westbrook just needs to keep improving his point guard game and keep creating shots for his teammates more often. Once he gets that down, him and Kevin Durant will be the most unstoppable duo of the new era.
Another UCLA Bruin. Besides having an awesome name, Kevin Love is a star in the making too. This season, after a pretty big injury, Love is averaging 15 points a game and 11.3 rebounds. For a white boy power forward that plays alongside Al Jefferson, another beastly rebounder, those numbers are impressive. Unlike Westbrook, Kevin Love does not play the sidekick role to Al Jefferson. Instead, the both of them are a tandem that clogs the middle, making it unapproachable to the likes of slashers and dunkers. Jonny Flynn must be having a blast out there having two big men to pass to that can handle the post equally. Kevin Love also has a nice jump shot that is pretty beastly too. Even though the T-Wolves suck right now, Love has been a bright spot. Give the team some wings, more time to learn the triangle, and they will be a new force in the West.
The 6th pick from Italy was supposedly a bust in his rookie year because of injuries. But after coming back from his back injury, Gallinari showed the world his sharpshooting skill and became one of the best 3 point shooters in the league right now. Averaging 14.3 points a game and .395 3-point shooting percentage, Gallinari is the only thing the Knicks have for them this summer that’s a for sure. But the Knicks have made him a desirable teammate to have. Every player would like a 3 point beast out in the perimeter to throw the ball to on any given notice. Of course, Gallinari will never be anything else other than a sharpshooter unless he learns some hardcore defense a la Bruce Bowen status. But right now, his future is bright. Who knows whats going to happen this summer with the free agents, the only thing for sure with the Knicks is that they have a great role player in Gallinari. He kinda sucked in the 3 point contest though but I’d say he was a star compared to the dunk contest.
The 7th pick is Eric Gordon, the future of the Los Angeles Clippers along with Blake Griffin. Eric Gordon is a shooter who can get to the hoops and also plays beastmode defense. This year alone, he was able to shut down Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy, and Dwayne Wade, leading the supposedly lowly Clippers to nice winning streak early in January. Being the only bright spot his rookie year in a pathetic Clippers season that ended in 19 wins, Eric Gordon has shown that he is the future of the team. Currently second in scoring by averaging 17 points a game, Gordon has the skills to explode into a 30 point game on any given night. Right now his ball handing skills are a work in progress which leads to many turnovers but that is something that can be worked on. His shy demeanor also makes it hard for him because he does not get that many calls from the refs that he should be getting. There are times when Gordon can be decked in the face and the refs still would not call a foul. In several years time though, Gordon is going to be a destructive force in the Clippers and a top shooting guard.
Here’s the first 7 picks of 2008, and all of them are great players. All have the potential to become future all-stars and become a powerful option on their team. I’m going to get through the rest of the lottery picks of this draft class along with honorable mentions next time and it is not going to be as great as the first seven. There are good players there but this first seven is just amazingly great. In a couple years, the 2003 draft class will become just a forgotten bunch of stars with barely any champions on there while 2008 will have a bunch of players leading their teams in the playoffs.
And yes, I saw the rookie-sophomore game and this class lost to the rookies. But with Westbrook and Beasley taking half of the sophomore’s shots and not playing coherently, they practically gave it to the rookies. Derrick Rose was also not there distributing the ball which also hurt. But like other all star weekend festivities, the game did not really matter. At least it didn’t suck like the Dunk Contest. Dontletshannondunk.com plz