Here is my mock lottery for the 2008 NBA Draft. You will quickly find out that after picks 1 & 2 I am not creating a board where the "best" available player, regardless of position, is picked. My mock draft focuses on the most glaring weaknesses/needs of the teams that have the picks and does not take into consideration all of the draft-day trades that will inevitably take place. Enjoy.
1. Chicago Bulls - Derrick Rose (Memphis, PG): I know a lot of people think they can't afford to pass up Beasley here, but I disagree. Beasley is going to be a 3/4 combo player in the NBA, and that's the exact position played by Tyrus Thomas (whom the Bulls are still high on - remember he was a top-4 pick?). They also have Nocioni who plays the same 3/4 combo position. Further, Rose is going to be the next great PG in the league. With rumors already circulating that Hinrich is now on the trading block, Rose would be a perfect pick. I say they try to get a late-first round pick in exchange for Hinrich and use it on a big man or trade him for an already-proven big man, because they would be loaded on the perimeter with Deng (3), Gordon (2), and Rose (1).
2. Miami Heat - Michael Beasley (Kansas St, PF): This is a no-brainer. The Bulls' pick will dictate what Miami does, but there are only two options here and one will have already been taken.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves - OJ Mayo (USC, SG): This pick makes the most sense as the next-best available player is Bayless, who plays the same type of game as Foye. This will also give them a good reason to dump McCants, and we all know that needs to be done sooner rather than later.
4. Seattle Supersonics - Jerryd Bayless (Arizona, PG): I think he would be a perfect fit and it wouldn't be long before he took some scoring pressure off Durant. I also think he could come in right away and play some minutes at the two, which would enable Durant to slide to the three (his most natural position).
5. Memphis Grizzlies - DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M, C): He's as big as Brooke Lopez, and much more athletic. Mainly, I couldn't stand the mental image of a Darko/Lopez front line. Yuck.
6. New York Knicks - Brooke Lopez (Stanford, C): I was torn on this slot because I think Westbrook would fit perfectly with D'Antoni's style. However, he would be a major upgrade from Eddy Curry in terms of mobility. I'm sure they'd rather have Jordan with this pick, but he's already been taken in my mock draft.
7. Los Angeles Clippers - D.J. Augustin (Texas, PG): I know, I know, #7 is a stretch for Augustin. However, the one position the Clippers desperately need help at is PG. I'm sorry, but when Dan Dickau is getting the majority of PG minutes, you've got problems. I think the Clippers are aware of this, as evidenced by their late-season signing of Smush "brain-dead" Parker. Augustin is the closest thing to a pure PG (even though he's score-first) that's left in terms of lottery-worthy players since I don't think Westbrook will ever be able to carry that mantle (see Monta Ellis).
8. Milwaukee Bucks - Danilo Gallinari (Italy, SF): I have gone seven picks without a foreign player, and we all know there is no way we will ever see another NBA Draft without a foreign player going in the top 10 picks. The foreign factor always adds a bit of uncertainty, which really turns on GM's. That said, I saw some video of this guy, and he appears to have a solid all-around game and good size for a SF (6'9"). Plus, after re-signing Mo Williams last offseason and getting Yi in the draft, SF is the position where the Bucks need the most help.
9. Charlotte Bobcats - Kevin Love (UCLA, PF): I'm sure I'll get plenty of flack for this pick, but I can't help but think Love would thrive for a Larry Brown-coached team. Think of their future starting five: Felton, Richardson, Wallace, Love, and Okafor. With Brown on the bench, they would be a playoff-ready team in the East within two years at most.
10. New Jersey Nets - Eric Gordon (Indiana, SG): This pick would make sense to me as I foresee Jefferson or Carter being traded in the near future. They would have a talented, young backcourt with Devin Harris and Eric Gordon, along with some young bangers down low (Boone, Williams).
11. Indiana Pacers - Russell Westbrook (UCLA, PG/SG): If he falls this far, he would be a major steal at #11. Westbrook is a great on-ball defender & super athletic. I think he would complement Granger & Dunleavy nicely in that fast-paced offense, and we all know about the inury/behavioral problems of Tinsley. Although not a pure point guard, their offensive style does not demand as much in terms of ballhandling out of the lead guard position.
12. Sacramento Kings - Darrell Arthur (Kansas, PF): Kind of a boring pick, but it would make sense given their needs. They just drafted Hawes to be the long-term solution at Center, and the emergence of Beno Udrih created some stability at the PG spot.
13. Portland Trailblazers - Joe Alexander (West Virginia, SF): I would love it if this pick actually happened. The dude is straight athletic, and athleticism is something that is lacking on the Blazers' roster. Selfishly, I'd also be relieved of watching Outlaw log so many minutes and make so many "what was he thinking?" plays (I live in Portland).
14. Golden State Warriors - Ryan Anderson (Cal, SF): This pick would also raise some eyebrows, but if the Warriors can extend the contract of Biedrins, he (along with Brandan Wright) would ensure a talented, young, frontcourt. Their backcourt is already loaded, so a swingman is probably their biggest need at this point. I like Anderson because he has a good three-point shot (which is necessary on any Don Nelson team) and would provide size & depth to a lineup that normally played undersized and had a short rotation.