David K. gives us an in-depth look at how this year’s NBA Draft Lottery could play out.
1. Miami- Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State, Freshman
How quickly the mighty have fallen on South Beach.Â Just two seasons ago, Dwyane Wade and Shaq had the Miami faithful decked out in white, celebrating an NBA Championship.Â Now, the Diesel is back on the West Coast, and the Heat are the worst team in the NBA.
Michael Beasley is without a doubt the top pick in the NBA Draft, no matter which team lands the top spot.Â Assuming Shawn Marion returns, the Heat would run out a starting five of Udonis Haslem, Beasley, Marion, Wade, and a legitimate starting point guard that Miami could sign with some of the cap space they will have this off-season (Jose Calderon?)Â Beasley doesnâ€™t return the Heat to the top of the East, but there is the potential to have a very exciting playoff caliber team back in Miami.
2. Minnesota- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis, Freshman
What better fit for a re-building franchise than drafting a point guard who knows how to run a team?Â With Sebastian Telfair a free agent and Randy Foye seemingly more fitted for the two-guard role, Rose is the obvious choice.Â Plus, you now have a young nucleus of Rose, Foye, Corey Brewer, Big Al Jefferson, and Rashad McCants with tons of cap space freeing up after the â€™08-â€™09 season. And potentially three first-round picks in the â€™09 draft.Â (The Clippers owe Minnesota a first-rounder, top ten protected through 2011.Â T-Wolves get a first rounder from Miami, top ten protected in â€™09 and Bostonâ€™s first-rounder as well)
We are seeing now what Chris Paul has meant to New Orleans.Â Rose could potentially have that same impact on Minnesota.Â As teams like Milwaukee and Atlanta learned from passing on Paul and Deron Williams, a franchise point guard does not come along too often.Â Rose would be a no-brainer pick.Â Then again, it is Kevin McHale making the selection.
3. Memphis- Brook Lopez, C, Stanford, Sophomore
The Griz are loaded with young players in their backcourt and on the wing with Mike Conley Jr, Javaris Crittenton, Kyle Lowry, Juan Carlos Navarro, Mike Miller, Rudy Gay, and Hakim Warrick.Â A young post player like Lopez to help fill Pau Gasolâ€™s absence would be ideal.Â Lopez is an agile big man who runs the floor well and can hit the mid-range jump shot.Â Sounds like a perfect fit for a young Grizzlies team that wants to play with a more up-tempo style.Â There is a possibility that Navarro could leave via free agency, which would also make Eric Gordon an option.Â The more immediate need is up-front though.
4. Seattle- Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana, Freshman
The Sonics donâ€™t play a heck of a lot of defense so why not add another gunner on the offensive end.Â Youâ€™re telling me you wouldnâ€™t want to watch Gordon and Kevin Durant slanging threes with wingman Jeff Green doing the little things?Â Gordon has proven that he has the all-around game and typical NBA build to be an immediate contributor.
Another option for Seattle would be at the point where the Earl Watson/Luke Ridnour combination isnâ€™t exactly a long-term solution.Â A guy like Arizonaâ€™s Jerryd Bayless could also be a nice fit in Seattle, or wherever they end up calling home.
5. New York- Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona, Freshman
Stephon Marbury and the Knicks need to part ways from one another.Â It has not been a healthy relationship from the start and certainly isnâ€™t getting any better.Â Bayless has emerged into a big time college point guard.Â He can score in a variety of way and his 6â€™3 size allows him to be more physical which often results to several trips to the free throw line.Â The one possible knock is that Bayless seems to be a shoot-first point guard just like Starbury.Â The Knicks could also look for help up-front.Â Eddy Curry, Jerome James, and Zach Randolph are a strange mix and this triad probably needs to be broken up sooner rather than later.Â A big like Hasheem Thabeet, DeAndre Jordan, or Roy Hibbert could also be looked at with this pick.
6. L.A. Clippers- O.J. Mayo, G, USC, Freshman
With Sam Cassell gone and Shaun Livingston coming off a season-long injury, the Clips really need a point guard and would probably love to see Bayless drop to them.Â The next tier of point guards would probably be a bit of a reach here, meaning itâ€™s time for plan B.Â Corey Maggette can choose to opt out of his contract which would make a wing player a need. Mayo is sort of the forgotten freshman this season.Â Before the season began, he was the talk of the town, but the hype diminished when he failed to live up to the outrageously high expectations.Â He has definitely picked up his play down the stretch for the Trojans.Â I think Mayo will be a better pro than college player.Â Plus, his ability to play either guard spot makes him a nice fit to stay in L.A.
7. Milwaukee- Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn, Sophomore
The Bucks are seemingly set in their backcourt with Michael Redd and Mo Williams.Â Up-front, there is a nice group of young players with Andrew Bogut, Yi Jianlian, and Charlie Villanueva.Â Only problem is, Bogut is the only real physical one of that group, making a big a very big need. Thabeet is climbing up my board.Â He has asserted himself as the best defensive big man in college basketball.Â The 7â€™3â€ center owns the paint as heâ€™s second in college basketball in blocked shots and changes twice as many shots as he swats. He could fill the void for a shot-blocker in Milwaukee.Â His offensive game is still a work in progress, but has definitely improved since his freshman season.Â His athleticism for someone of his size is also very impressive.
8. Charlotte- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown, Senior
Hibbert is a big body at 7â€™2 and probably the most established big man in college hoops.Â
He has a great feel for the game and he is an extremely talented passer.Â He also has a nice touch around the rim for his size.Â Concerns come about with his mobility.Â
The Bobcats are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league and could use Hibbertâ€™s help.Â Emeka Okafor and Nazr Mohammed are the only post players returning besides an injury-proned Sean May.Â Charlotte also tends to draft established players rather than waiting for a young talent to develop which makes Hibbert a good match.
9. Indiana- DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M, Freshman
The Pacers are a franchise that needs to bring in some fresh, young talent to one day lead this team.Â Jermaine Oâ€™Nealâ€™s career continues to be injury-plagued, Troy Murphy has been a disappointment, and Jeff Foster is pretty much just a big body.Â
Iâ€™m not as high on Jordan as other people are and think he would be better served staying in school to develop his offensive game.Â He is picked based on potential which is dangerous.Â With this pick, heâ€™s the best available option for the Pacers.
10. Chicago- Kevin Love, PF, UCLA, Freshman
I picked the Bulls to win the Eastern Conference title before the season began.Â Whoops.Â Chicago is a franchise that has a lot of decisions to make this off-season.Â They already dumped the disappointing Ben Wallace.Â Ben Gordon and Luol Deng both rejected contract extensions last off-season and will be restricted free agents at the end of the season.Â Assuming both players return, Love would be a great fit for this team.Â He wonâ€™t wow you with his athleticism, but he knows how to play the game.Â He is physical, can step out and hit jumpers, and play in the post as well.Â
11. New Jersey- Danilo Gallinari, SF, Italy, 1988
An athletic, all-around wing player who can handle the ball, shoot, and play multiple positions; sounds like a perfect fit in the Suns up-tempo offense.Â Gallinari has already developed into one of the better players in Europe.Â Like most young euros, strength will be an issue. Depending on how the Shaq experiment unfolds, a young big man, or a Shawn Marion-type replacement could also be options with this pick, which was acquired from Atlanta in the deal that sent Joe Johnson to the Hawks.
12. Sacramento- Nicolas Batum, G/F, France, 1988
Batum would be a nice replacement down the road for Ron Artest who is likely gone via free agency.Â He is a versatile player who does a little bit of everything well.Â He can handle the rock, shoot from the outside, and use his length to his advantage inside.Â He is still growing as a player and will need to get tougher. Point guard could be another option for the Kings since they gave away Mike Bibby, though Beno Udrih has played well in Sacramento this season.
13. Portland- D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas, Sophomore
The Blazers have three young point guards in Steve Blake, Jarrett Jack, and Sergio Rodriguez; but none of them figure to be the point guard of the future in Portland.Â Augustin would give Portland a young, but mature and poised point guard.Â He has shown the ability to lead an offense, is quick with the ball, and can hit from deep.
Some depth on the wing could also be an option, but with Rudy Fernandez likely coming from overseas, he should help fill that void.
14. Denver- Darren Collison, PG, UCLA, Sophomore
Sorry, but Anthony Carter and Chucky Atkins just arenâ€™t the solution at point guard for the Nuggets.Â With Marcus Camby, K-Mart, Nene returning from injury, and the emergence of Linas Kleiza, the Nuggets seem to be set up front for the time being.Â Collison would give Denver a mature young point guard to help set the table for AI and Melo. Collison has really improved his shooting and is a great playmaker and decision maker.Â He would have no problem deferring to AI and Melo and playing a complimentary role.Â
On the brink of the lottery:
Tyler Smith, SF, Tennessee, Sophomore
Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas, Sophomore
Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina, Junior
Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis, Junior
Other players who could crack the lottery if they declared, but are probably better suited staying in school:
Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse, Freshman
DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M, Freshman
Blake Griffin, PF, Oklahoma, Freshman
Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona, Sophomore
Anthony Randolph, PF, LSU, Freshman
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