The New Best Draft Class? Part One

February 21, 2010

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.

Number One Pick in 2008

Derrick Rose

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.

Second Pick in 2008 Draft

Michael Beasley

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.

3rd Draft Pick

O.J. Mayo

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.

4th Pick

Russell Westbrook

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.

5th Pick of 2008

Kevin Love

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.

6th Pick

Danilo Gallinari

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.

7th Pick

Eric Gordon

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

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Sun of a gun

January 28, 2010

After losing 18 straight games on the TNT network, the Phoenix Suns finally break that record by topping the Mavs tonight 106-112. 18 straight losses?!?! Unheard of to me… The Amare Stoudemire didn’t play the 4th quarter. The Suns started slow and the Mavs were handling Phoenix easy. Until the 4th quarter, Dirk Nowitzki was shut down not scoring a single point. Nash had a double-double with 19 points and 11 assists. Jared Dudley had a critical game winning steal on Kidd’s pass. After the game, Steve Nash was interviewed on how he and his Suns finally won a game on TNT in years. Nash just smiled and said “I don’t want to speak about the network”.

Other news in the NBA, the Raptors topped the Knicks in a close game 106-104. The Raptors are now one of the hottest teams in the league. Bosh and Turkoglu combined for a total of 53 points. David Lee WHO I HAVE TO SAY WAS THE BIGGEST SNUB FOR THE ALL-STAR GAME!!! Had 29 point and 18 rebound game.

The Celtics lost in Orlando tonight by 2 points. The Magic came in the clutch when J.J. Redick hit a needy 3 to tie the game. Rashard Lewis scored the last two points with a surprisingly easy driving lay-up. With a little more than a second to go, Boston’s Rasheed Wallace took a decent three-point look and air balled. The Celtics are 5-9 after Christmas day.


It’s all fun and Knicks

January 25, 2010

With the huge free agent market next season, I thought it would be fun to mess around with the Knicks roster. With all the rumors like Knicks chasing LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, let’s see if I can make a dominate team for them next year. This season’s salary cap space is $57.7 million. Let’s just round the cap to 58 million next for next season.

On the Hoops Hype salary site, the Knicks will owe $27 million dollars next year. So that makes only $31 million left of the salary cap. However, knowing the New York Knicks, they wouldn’t hesitate one bit to hit the luxury tax which would have the team’s total salary cap at an estimated $70 million without hitting over the tax line which the Knicks wouldn’t like to do again. So that leaves Knicks with a grand total of an estimated $43 million to spend in the 2010-2011 market.

Now we all know that if the Knicks want LeBron, Wade, or maybe even Bosh, they would need to pay a max contract for them. LeBron first of all will be asking for a hefty huge contract. Let’s say the Knicks sign LeBron for a $133 million through a five year contract. Of course each year, LeBron’s pay salary increases totaling in the end to $133 million. LeBron’s first year would be estimated at $26 million taking more than half of the $43 million. Now, the Knicks have $17 million left. Sorry Knick fans, but I believe Wade is out of the picture because he ALSO wants a big max contract. Wade isn’t going to take $17 million next year I guarantee you that. On the other hand, Bosh MIGHT be able to. If the media doesn’t hype up Bosh too much (just joking). Bosh would take a huge pay-cut just for King James to be paid. Bosh and LeBron can happen, but Knicks would like more pieces of talent on their roster.

Now with the big 3 names out of the way, let’s see the other names. Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, and even Rudy Gay since Memphis can’t seem to afford him next season. Amare and Carlos would be a perfect sidekick for star players Wade and James. Amare and Carlos would ask for a 1-3 year contract around lets say $11-15 million per year depending on the amount of years. That would leave the Knicks with around  $2-3 million give or take. With that $2-3 million, I am sure that great veterans like Grant Hill, Kenyon Martin, Ray Allen, Marcus Camby, Rafer Alston, Jerry Stackhouse, and Matt Barnes would accept the veteran minimum contract. All those veterans still have the talent in them to play. Also, if anything, the Knicks can go over the cap with the Mid-Level Exception contract signing any of the players above or bring back maybe Nate Robinson or other young talents such as Tyrus Thomas and T.J. Ford to a one year contract.

The Knicks will still have Eddy Curry, Jared Jeffries, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas, Wilson Chandler, and Jordan Hill next season on their roster for contract purposes. Overall, my Knicks roster would look like this with either LeBron or Dwyane who are the main favorites.

If this were to be LeBron’s OR Dwyane’s team…

PG – Rafer Alston (1.7 mil), Toney Douglas (1 mil)

SG – Dwyane Wade (26 mil), Danilo Gallinari (3.3 mil), Ray Allen (5.5 mil), Jared Jeffries (6.8 mil)

SF – LeBron James (26 mil), Wilson Chandler (2.1 mil), Grant Hill (1.7 mil)

PF – Amare Stoudemire (11 mil), Jordan Hill (2.6 mil)

C – Marcus Camby (2.3 mil), Eddy Curry (11.2 mil), Chris Wilcox (1 mil)

This team equals up to = 76.2 million salary cap

Not a bad add up for this team. It’s a little over the $70 mil mark but hey, look at New York. They can afford even more, I’m just hitting right above the tax line.

I just wanted to have fun putting up a crazy Knicks team fans would enjoy to see. Under Mike D’ Antoni’s system, all the players on the roster would love to just run and gun.