2008 NBA Draft Grades

The 2008 NBA Draft is over with some surprises and some trades, but in the end, it was fairly predictable. Up until the Mayo/Love trade at the end of the night, the top 10 picks had all been logical picks by their teams and none of them had been traded. Below I have recapped each teams moves on draft night, briefly analyzed those moves, and graded them. Enjoy!

Atlanta Hawks

No picks. No trades.

An uneventful night in Atlanta. The Hawks proved they had some talent by forcing the Celtics to play 7 games, but this team is not ready for the big-time yet. Not sure if any teams are looking, but I would have liked to see Atlanta part ways with point guard Mike Bibby and try to get younger. There’s plenty of time for that to happen still over the summer.

Grade: C

Boston Celtics 

Chose J.R. Giddens in 1st round (30th Overall)
Chose Semih Erden in 2nd round (60th Overall) 

Acquired Bill Walker (47th Overall pick) for cash considerations and a future draft pick from Washington Wizards

Interesting night for the World Champions. I can’t find a way to explain choosing the trouble-laden Giddensover Chris Douglas Roberts. As a Celtic fan, I was crossing my fingers that CDR would be one the board at the 30thpick and he was, but Danny Ainge passed on him. Giddens may have talent, but he has had so many off the court issues that I can’t see him playing any pro ball. Plus, Ainge could have traded back 20 picks and still gotten Giddens. Having said that, I love the trade for Bill Walker. He is an extremely talented player and has huge possibilities if he stays healthy. I can’t say I know much about Semih Erden except that ESPN says that he has some work ethic issues as well. Seems like the Celtics were looking for players with issues in this draft.

Grade: C+

Charlotte Bobcats 

Chose D.J. Augustin in 1st round (9th Overall)
Chose Alexis Ajinca in 1st round (20th Overall)
Chose Kyle Weaver in 2nd round (38th Overall) 

Not sure how Augustin fits in to the Bobcats system as they already have a young point guard in Raymond Felton. I think Augustin is an improvement there, but not enough to choose him over a player like Brook Lopez who could have solidified the Bobcats’ center position. Rumors are Felton may be on the trading block though so the pick could make sense in the end. Ajinca is a seven-footer who has struggled to score in his French league. If he can’t score there, what makes the Bobcats think he is going to score in the NBA? I like the pick of a big man, but not the big man they selected. DeAndre Jordon would have been a better selection in my opinion. I like the Kyle Weaver pick though as he is a lock down defender and a true point guard who will be a very nice backup to Augustin if Felton is traded.

Grade: B-

Chicago Bulls 

Chose Derrick Rose in 1st round (1st Overall)
Chose Sonny Weems in 2nd round (39th Overall)

Acquired 2009 Second Round Pick for Sonny Weems from Denver Nuggets
Acquired Omer Asik (36thOverall) for 3 Second RoundPicks from PortlandTrail Blazers

Rose is a great selection and the right choice for the Bulls. The hometown point guard will allow Ben Gordon to shift to his natural position and the Bulls now have the flexibility of trading Kirk Hinrich. I think the Bulls did the right thing in trading away their second round pick and using it to acquire Omer Asik. Asik has great potential and could be a big steal if he continues to develop in Turkey, but he may never make the transition to the NBA so there is certainly a risk involved.

Grade: A-

Cleveland Cavaliers

Chose J.J. Hickson in 1st round (19th Overall)

Acquired Darnell Jackson (52nd Overall) for future second round pick from Miami Heat
Acquired Sasha Kaun (55th Overall) for cash considerations from Seattle Sonics

Hickson adds a solid body to the Cavs. He can rebound and score very well and will compliment the carousel of players Cleveland has at the low post position. The additions of Jackson and Kaungive Cleveland a couple of prospects who could become solid role players, but I don’t see anything special in these acquisitions. Jackson seems to have much more potential than Kaun, but his ceiling is pretty low as well.

Grade: B+

Dallas Mavericks 

Chose Shan Foster in 2nd round (51st Overall)

I don’t know much about Foster and I’m not sure this pick suits Dallas. Foster is a phenomenal shooter, but the Mavericks could have used a point guard like Mike Taylor (drafted 55th overall) instead of the sharp shooting Foster.

Grade: C+

Denver Nuggets 

Acquired Sonny Weemsfor 2009 Second Round pick from Chicago Bulls

Trading for Weemswasn’t a very big move for the Nuggets. He may make it to the pros some day, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. The Nuggets didn’t have a draft pick this year for the third consecutive year. They have Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony so the talent is there, but I just don’t think the team chemistry is good enough to make that combination work. Carmelo was rumored to be on the trading block, but that seems to be off the table now. Not sure what Denver is planning on doing this off season, but I think they need to make some big moves andput a team on the floor not necessarily filled withsuper stars, but filled with winners.

Grade: C

Detroit Pistons 

Chose D.J. White in 1st round (29th Overall)
Chose Deron Washington in 2nd round (30th Overall) 

Acquired Walter Sharpe (32ndOverall) and Trent Plaisted (46th Overall) for D.J. White from the Seattle Sonics

D.J. White is a solid player, but the addition of Sharpe and Plaistedgives the Pistons some greater depth. Sharpe specifically has the talent to eventually make it in the NBA, but will need some tuning down in the D-League. Washington is an incredibly athletic guard, but just doesn’t have that much skill. He is a true warrior on the court, but I don’t see him ever making an appearance in the NBA.

Grade: B+

Golden State Warriors 

Chose Anthony Randolph in 1st round (14th Overall)
Chose Richard Hendrix in 2nd round (49th Overall)

Golden State seemed to have gone with talent over need in the draft. Randolph has a huge upside andHendrix played extremely well in the SEC. The problem is that both Randolph and Hendrix are power forwards and the Warriors Al Harrington and Austion Croshere there. Plus last year’s pick Brendan Wright is a similar player to Randolph and Hendrix. There is a lot of talent in that list of names, but the Warriors are going to have to trade some of those players to open up spots for Wright or Randolph to play

Grade: B

Houston Rockets 

Chose Nicolas Batum in 1st round (25th Overall)
Chose Maarty Leunen in 2nd round (54th Overall)

Acquired Joey Dorsey (33rd Overall) and Darrell Arthur (27thOverall) for Nicholas Batumfrom the PortlandTrail Blazers
Acquired Donte Greene (28th Overall) and a future second round pick for Darrell Arthur (27th Overall) from the Memphis Grizzlies

The Rockets were busy on draft night, selecting two players andmaking two trades. They ended up with Maarty Leunen, Joey Dorsey, Donte Greene, and a future draft pick. I’d say they made out pretty well. I thought Greene could have been selected 15thoverall at the highest, but he slipped a lot. Greene is a versatile guard who will help back up Rafer Alston andcan give the Rockets depth if Tracy McGrady gets hurt. Leunen has some skill, but does not seem to have the body of an NBA player. If he matures and works out profusely, then he could see some action in a couple years and could grow into a very good player for the Rockets. A good risk-reward pick for Houstion. Dorsey is a big man inside who will strengthen the Rockets power forward position where they lack a bruiser.

Grade: A-

Indiana Pacers 

Chose Jerry Bayless in 1st round (11th Overall)
Chose Nathan Jawai in 2nd round (47th Overall)

Acquired TJ Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Roy Hibbert (17thOverall), and a player to be named later for Jermaine O’Neal and Jawai
Acquired Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, and Brandon Rush (13thOverall) for Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless (11th Overall)

Phew. Big day for the Pacers as they made two monster trades. I love the first trade for Indiana. O’Neal has not been playing as well in recent years due to injury. Even if he was playing well, TJ Ford is an excellent point guard that will be able to lead the team extremely well. Nesterovic will be a good role player. Hibbert, Jack, McRoberts, and Rush all have great potential. Hibbertis a big player who will be an asset on the inside. Rush is a high flying scorer who will give the Pacers a boost of energy off the bench. Once they acquired Ford, the selection of point guard Jerryd Bayless didn’t make any sense. Who needs two great point guards, but the trade of Bayless straightened my confusion out.

Grade: A-

Los Angeles Clippers 

Chose Eric Gordon in 1st round (7th Overall)
Chose DeAndre Jordan in 2nd round (35th Overall)

Acquired Mike Taylor (55thOverall) for 2009 Second Roundpick from PortlandTrail Blazers

Eric Gordon was the perfect pick for the Clippers as he fills a huge hole in the backcourt and has the potential to be a special player. Jordan’s draft stock fell dramatically andhe landed into the Clipperslaps. He could have been a mid first roundpick but team after team passed on him until along came the Clippers, licking their lips. Mike Taylor has had some issues with teammates in the past, but has some skill. If he works hard in the D-league and keeps his cool on and off the court, he could see some time in the NBA

Grade: A

Los Angeles Lakers 

Chose Joe Crawford in 2nd round (58th Overall)

Not much to talk about with the Lakers. Crawford is an okay player who isn’t a great candidate for the D-League and doesn’t look like he’ll make the team next year. The Lakerslost their first round pick in the “trade” for Pau Gasol. Lakersneed to find another scorer in the off season to help Kobe out, but that scorer isn’t coming from the draft.

Grade: C

Memphis Grizzlies 

Chose Kevin Love in 1st  round (5th Overall)
Chose Donte Greene in 1st round (28th Overall) 

Acquired OJ Mayo (3rdOverall), Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner for Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins from Minnesota Timberwolves
Acquired Darrell Arthur (27thOverall) for Donte Greene andfuture second round pick from Houston Rockets 

Memphis was busy on draft night as well, but I think they made a huge mistake in the trade. I value Mayo greater than Love and don’t really expect Love to do anything big in the league. However, trading away Mike Miller and taking on the contracts/attitudes of Walker, Jaric, and Buckner make this trade awful for the Grizzlies. I liked the selection of Greene, but then they traded him away for Arthur and in the process, lost a future second round pick. Having said that, the Grizzlies did fill a hole with Arthur and they have a surplus of guards so Greene would have nowhere to play anyways.

Grade: B-

Miami Heat 

Chose Michael Beasley in 1st round (2nd Overall)
Chose Darnell Jackson in 2nd round (52nd Overall) 

Acquired Mario Chalmers (35thOverall) for two future second round picks and cash considerations from Minnesota Timberwolves
Acquired future second round pick for Darnell Jackson from Cleveland Cavaliers 

The Heat made the right choice in Beasley as he could easily become a superstar in the league. He will make an immediate impact in Miami with the potential to average a double-double. Trading for Chalmers was also an excellent move as he could be a steal at the 35th pick. I really like how Pat Riley sucked up his concern about Beasley and stayed away from OJ Mayo. Beasley is going to be dominant for many years and Chalmers has the chance to make a real impact off the bench for the Heat.

Grade: A

Milwaukee Bucks 

Chose Joe Alexander in 1st round (8th Overall)
Chose Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in 2nd round (37th Overall)

I didn’t get a chance to talk about Milwaukee’s acquisition of Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. I’m not a huge fan of Jefferson, but I’m not a big fan of Yi either. The only thing I see in the trade is the Bucks taking on a big contract. Then they drafted Alexander, who has a lot of potential and if he hits the weights, could be an offensive force. However, Alexander and Jefferson are both small forwards. Then they drafted yet another small forward with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute is an excellent defender but the Bucks are now way overloaded at the three position. They are going to have to make some kind of trade or do something to clean up this mess. I just don’t really understand what they were going for, but there could easily be a trade that makes this all make sense.

Grade: B-

Minnesota Timberwolves

Chose OJ Mayo in 1st round (3rd Overall)
Chose Nikola Pekovic in 2nd round (31st Overall)
Chose Mario Chalmers in 2nd round (34th Overall) 

Acquired Kevin Love (5th Overall), Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins for Mayo, Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric, and Greg Buckner from Memphis Grizzlies
Acquired two future second round picks and cash considerations for Mario Chalmers from Miami Heat

General Manager Kevin McHale must be smiling after last night. He got his man in Kevin Love, though I personally think Mayo is better and that Love will not have a good NBA career. He got a great shooter in Mike Miller and was able to shed the contract of Marko Jaric (though Minnesota took on the contract of Cardinal). With Al Jefferson down low, Minnesota has made itself a contender for a playoff spot next year. I don’t know much about Pekovic except that Minnesota loves him andhe has played well overseas. Whether he has the game for the NBA or whether he will make the jump to the NBA is still up in the air, but a good risk/reward second round pick. I do wish McHalehad kept Chalmers as he has the potential to be an excellent point guard and was a steal at the 34thpick. However the Timberwolvesdid get two future second roundpicks for Chalmers so the trade wasn’t a complete bust. Either way, the Timberwolves did a lot to improve their team last night and McHale deserves credit.

Grade: A-

New Jersey Nets 

Chose Brook Lopez in 1st round (10th Overall)
Chose Ryan Anderson in 1st round (21st Overall)
Chose Chris Douglas Roberts in 2nd round (40th Overall) 

Brook Lopez’s stock dropped in the Draft, allowing the Nets to scoop him up. He is a good, big man inside andthough I don’t expect him to ever become a star, he should be a good role player for many years. Anderson is an interesting pick, especially with the Nets’ recent acquisition of Yi Jianlian. Anderson and Yi are very similar players andI am not high on either of them so I would have much rather seen the Nets go with Darrell Arthur or DeAndre Jordan. The choice of Chris Douglas Roberts in the 2ndround was perfect. I think many teams are going to regret passing on CDR. The Nets finally did take him withtheir second round pick and he will fit into their backcourtperfectly. New Jersey has to be very happy with the outcome of the draft

Grade: A-

New Orleans Hornets 

Chose Darrell Arthur in 1st round (27th Overall)

Acquired cash considerations for Arthur from PortlandTrail Blazers

New Orleans didn’t do much on Draft night except try to save money. The sold their one pick for 3 million dollars and kept quiet the rest of the night. Chris Paul is a fantastic point guard and David West is a very good big man, but they are going to need another scorer to put the team over the top. I expect the Hornets to make a run at someone like Corey Maggette or Ben Gordon.

Grade: C

New York Knicks 

Chose Danil Gallinari in 1st round (5th Overall)

Gallinari is a great choice for Mike D’Antoni andwill fit well into his system. With Russell Westbrook gone, the Knickswent with the best player remaining in the draft and he should play excellent for New York. It is still just the beginning of a long road back for the Knicks, who will spend the next couple of years rebuilding andthen try to regain respect around the league.

Grade: A-

Orlando Magic 

Chose Courtney Lee in 1st round (22nd Overall)

Lee is a good shooting guard who can drive the ball some and find gaps in the defense as well as knock down the open jumper. He has a good amount of potential though I doubt he will develop into a star. It is a good pick for Orlando who fills the whole at the two position andnow has a good team with Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson solidifying the starting lineup.

Grade: B+


Chose Marreese Speights in 1st round (16th Overall)

Speights is a solid big man for the 76ers to pick up. He is a bruiser who can grab rebounds in traffic as well as post up down low and score some points. He may never develop into a big time player, but at the very least, he should be an excellent role player and play many years in the league.

Grade: B+

Phoenix Suns 

Chose Robin Lopez in 1st round (15th Overall)
Chose Malik Hairston in 2nd round (48th Overall) 

Acquired Goran Dragic (45thOverall) for Malik Hairston, a future second round pick, and cash considerations from San Antonio Spurs

The Robin Lopez pick adds defense to the Suns who are clearly switching philosophies. Lopez has very little offensive game, but he can play excellent defense and gives the Suns energy off the bench. Dragic could become a useful backup point guard if he continues to improve in Europe, but don’t look for him to come over anytime soon. I’m not sure Dragic was worth giving up Hairston, a draft pick, and cash, but the Suns clearly had him highly rated and in a couple years, we may see why.

Grade: B

Portland Trail Blazers 

Chose Brandon Rush in 1st round (13th Overall)
Chose Joey Dorsey in 2nd round (33rd Overall)
Chose Omer Asik in 2nd round (36th Overall)
Chose Mike Taylor in 2nd round (55th Overall) 

Acquired Ike Diogu and Jerryd Bayless (11thOverall) for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts, andBrandon Rush from Indiana Pacers
Acquired Darrell Arthur (27th Overall) for cash considerations from New Orleans Hornets
Acquired a 2009 second round pick for Mike Taylor from Los Angeles Clippers
Acquired Nicolas Batum (25th Overall) for Joey Dorsey and Darrell Arthur from Houston Rockets
Acquired three second draft picks for Omer Asik from Chicago Bulls

Wow were the Trail Blazers busy. To sum it up, the Blazers started the night with 4 draft picks, traded all four of them as well as Jarrett Jack and Josh McRoberts and ended up with Ike Diogu, Jerryd Bayless, Nicolas Batum, and four future second round picks. McRoberts and Jack will almost definitely never be good pros while Diogu is a mediocre role player. Batum has put up good numbers in France and should make a good transition to the NBA. Bayless is an excellent point guard whose draft grade slipped and the Blazers were able to pull off a trade to get him. Portland coveted Bayless and must be very happy at the deal they were able to pull off. The four extra picks the Blazers received is just icing on the cake for a very successful and very active day.

Grade: A

Sacramento Kings 

Chose Jason Thompson in 1st round (12th Overall)
Chose Sean Singletary in 2nd round (42nd Overall)
Chose Patrick Ewing Jr. in 2nd round (43rd Overall)

The Kings shocked everyone when the chose Thompson at number 12. He has some skill but is not a lottery-type talent. There were plenty of better players available, specifically Brandon Rush who would have been a nice fit in Sacramento. Singletary has some skill at the point position, but is not big enough nor skilled enough to lead a team in the NBA. He has a chance at becoming a solid back up though. Ewing Jr. will not turn into a Hall of Famer like his dad and may even have trouble making the NBA. He is athletic, but was only a 6th man at Georgetown and doesn’t have the talent to survive in the pros.

Grade: C-

San Antonio Spurs 

Chose George Hill in the 1st round (26th Overall)
Chose Goran Dragic in 2nd round (45th Overall)
Chose James Gist in 2nd round (57th Overall) 

Acquired Malik Hairston (48thOverall), a future second round pick, and cash considerations for Dragic from the Phoenix Suns.

Hill is an interesting selection as he has some skill andcan play bothguard positions, but he was not the best guard available. Mario Chalmers is more athletic, a better scorer, and a better defender than Hill, but maybe the Spurs see something no one else sees because they have done an excellent job drafting over the last decade. Hairston is a solid player who really doesn’t fit a certain role but could back up at multiple positions and is a smart player. He is a great fit for the Spurs. Gist is a good fit as well. He is a solid body inside who is athletic andcan push people out of the way. He’ll probably spend a couple years in the D-League, but could easily develop into a solid role player.

Grade: B

Seattle Supersonics 

Chose Russell Westbrook in 1st round (4th Overall)
Chose Serge Ibaka in 1st round (24th Overall)
Chose Walter Sharpe in 2nd round (32nd Overall)
Chose Trent Plaisted in 2nd round (46th Overall)
Chose DeVon Hardin in 2nd round (50th Overall)
Chose Sasha Kaun in 2nd round (56th Overall) 

Acquired DJ White (29thOverall) for Sharpe and Plaisted from Detroit Pistons
Acquired cash considerations for Kaun from Cleveland Cavaliers 

Seattle had many draft picks to work with this year anddid a good job with them. I’m in between about the Sonics choice of Westbrook ahead of Gordon or Augustin. If the Sonics wanted a guard, then I think I would have chosen Augustin. Especially give the fact that Augustin and Durant already played together in college, I think that Augustin would have been a better choice. Ibaka has potential but is going to need to develop a lot over the next couple years overseas. Don’t be surprised to hear his name in the NBA though. DJ White is a bruiser on the inside and has a mediocre low post game. He can back people down, but doesn’t have a great scoring touch. Hardin is a good defender and could make it as a defensive specialist some day. Seattle clearly is looking to the 2010/2011 season as the year they make a run at the Western Conference crown. Ibaka may be in the league and Durant and Westbrook will hopefully have matured in star players

Grade: B+

Toronto Raptors 

Chose Roy Hibbert in 1st round (17th Overall)

Acquired Jermaine O’Neal and Nathan Jawai (41stOverall) for Hibbert, Rasho Nesterovic, and TJFord from the Indiana Pacers

The Raptors has two excellent point guards in Ford and Jose Calderon so they chose to ship Ford out and bring in a big man. O’Neal is a former all star who has been troubled by injuries, but will be a great player in Toronto if he stays healthy. Jawai has some size andcould help rebound and defend as a role player in Toronto. Though I am not a huge Jermaine O’Nealfan, I do like this trade for both teams involved.

Grade: B+

Utah Jazz 

Chose Kosta Koufos in 1st round (23rd Overall)
Chose Ante Tomic in 2nd round (44th Overall)
Chose Tadija Dragicevic in 2nd round (53rd Overall) 

Koufos fell in the draft and was a great big man for the Jazz to pick up. He fills a hole in their roster and will solidify the front court. Tomic has great potential andthough he will still spend a couple years developing in Europe, I expect to see him over here fairly son. I have to admit that I have never heard of Dragicevic and though he put up good stats over seas, I would be surprised to see him in the NBA.

Grade: B+

Washington Wizards

Chose JaVale McGee in 1st round (18th Overall)
Chose Bill Walker in 2nd round (47th Overall)

Acquired cash considerations and future draft pick for Bill Walker from the Boston Celtics

McGee is small for a big man and is not very strong, but has some skill. He’s not quite ready for the NBA, but has the skills to become a big time player. If he hits the weight and continues to mature, McGee will have an impact on the Wizards in a couple of years from now. As a Celtic fan, I’m happy Washington traded Walker to my Celtics. He has phenomenal skills, but has been bitten by a lot of serious injuries. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a steal in the draft and the Wizards will regret trading him.

Grade: B

There you go. Every teams draft day moves analyzed and graded. I counted 15 trades that happened, but some of those are still pending review by the commissioners office and I’m sure other trades will happen in the next week. These grades are instant analyses of last night so they could easily change as the off-season progresses.


7 thoughts on “2008 NBA Draft Grades

  1. Dear Matt, Donnie Walsh is the reason the Knicks picked a SF. That’s all he ever picked when he managed the Pacers and they CLEARLY NEEDED HELP AT GUARD. First he drafted Danny Granger cause he was a steal at 17, OK that was a good pick. But then he goes out and draft’s another forward the following year with Shawnie Williams then trades for 2 more forwards. Looks like you will be calling the Knicks the New York Small Forwards untill they get rid of Walsh. And I dunno why he’s this way now cause he has drafted the Pacers other position players before.

  2. Also I think the Pacers are idiots for trading of Jarryd Bayless to the Kings. HE WAS CLEARLY THE STEAL OF THE DRAFT AT GUARD AND QUITE POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST STEAL OF THE DRAFT OVER ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. If the Pacers had kept Bayless, they would have had a logjam at the point with TJ Ford. Ford is a proven point guard in the NBA while Bayless is still just potential. Who would you rather have? Keeping both of them makes no sense so Indiana made the right move in trading Bayless,though I think they should have gotten more for him.

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