Bayless is a journeyman but a decent off-the-bench scorer. Thompson is a decent big man. Rush can’t stay healthy but can play some. Randolph wasn’t a bust. Lopez isn’t as good as his brother but is a solid center. So there was some value 11-15.
OK, 16-20: 16. Marreese Speights, Philadelphia; 17. Roy Hibbert, Indiana; 18. JaVale McGee, Washington; 19. J.J. Hickson, Cleveland; 20. Alexis Ajinca, Charlotte.
Are you kidding me? Speights is a solid backup center, then came three starting (or virtual starters, Denver does some funky things with McGee) centers. And then the total bust of Ajinca. So quick review. Through 20 picks, there have been what? Two busts and a couple of dubious picks. And the Bobcats had one of the busts (Ajinca) and one of the dubious (Augustin). No wonder Charlotte stinks. And it gets worse.
Now, 21-25: 21. Ryan Anderson, New Jersey; 22. Courtney Lee, Orlando; 23. Kosta Koufos, Utah; 24. Serge Ibaka, OKC; 25. Nicolas Batum, Portland (via trade with Houston). Let’s see. A great offensive player in Anderson, a solid rotational guard in Lee, a starting center (with the Denver caveat) in Koufos, Ibaka you know about and an excellent all-around player in Batum. That’s picking 21-25, and everyone got a ballplayer.
OK, 26-30: 26. George Hill, San Antonio; 27. Darrell Arthur, Memphis (via trade with New Orleans); 28. Donte’ Greene, Houston (via trade with Memphis); 29. D.J. White, OKC (via trade with Detroit); 30. J.R. Giddens, Boston.
Hill is a starting point guard on a conference finalist. Arthur is the first big man off the bench for a conference finalists. This draft didn’t run out of gas until the 28th pick, unless you were Charlotte or Milwaukee. And even after the first round, there were hits.
The Timberwolves got Nikola Pekovic No. 31. The Heat got Mario Chalmers No. 34. The Clippers got DeAndre Jordan at No. 35. The Bulls (via a trade) got Omer Asik at No. 36. The Bucks got Luc Mbah a Moute at No. 37. The Suns (via trade) got Goran Dragic at No. 45.
So in 2008, there were tons of ballplayers take 12th or later.
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