Rose was No. 1 in the Draft and holds the same spot in the Rookie Rankings.
Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE/Getty Images
Rookie Rankings -- Draft Night 2008

NEW YORK, June 26, 2008 -- Itís 14 days until the start of the Las Vegas Summer League, 105 days until the Heat and the Nets tip off the NBA preseason in Paris and 127 days until the 2008-09 regular season begins, but what better way to recap the Draft than by churning out the first Rookie Rankings of the season?

You might be thinking, ďCanít this wait?Ē but in our 24/7/365 news cycle, itís all about staying ahead of the curve.

I mean, as soon as you heard Obama got the Democratic presidential nod, you immediately started to question who his running mate would be, right? As soon as you dwell on current news, it becomes old news and then its time to find new news.

Hence the genius of this column idea.

Line of the Night
Brandon Rush (IND)
2 Hats worn, 1 Brother gained as a teammate
(Which, was only the second smartest idea I heard today.

My buddy Paul attended the draft until the bitter end, waiting over five hours to hear Adam Silver finish the festivities by calling Semih Erdenís name, and while he sat in the WaMu Theatre he came up with the hoax of the century.

He plans on coming to the Draft next year dressed to the nines in a suit and sitting in the crowd. In the Second Round, when the deputy commissioner calls out the name of an international player who doesnít appear to be in attendance, Paul will give it a couple moments for dramatic effect and then make his way to the stage to put on a cap, shake Silverís hand and mug for the cameras.

Now, Paul is only about 5-10, but if somebody drafts a 6-foot guard out of Serbia with like the 51st pick next year, youíre telling me that anybody at Madison Square Garden would doubt Paul was him as he made his way to the dais? That would work, right?)

Anyway, on to the rankings Ö

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  • Overall Rankings - Draft Night

    (Stats taken from players' college averages.)


    1. Derrick Rose, G, Chicago

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    14.9 4.5 4.7 1.2 0.4 .477 .337 .712
    Drafted: 1
    I'm not in the business of promoting Jay Mariotti, but he makes a great point in this article. Anytime you have a rookie coming in with his sights on the MVP rather than on the pedestrian Rookie of the Year trophy, you're dealing with somebody who's pretty special. That's like an incoming college freshman saying, "Screw making Dean's List this semester, I want to be THE DEAN." Rose, possessing the speed of Rod Strickland and the strength of Jason Kidd, can get Chicago back to the success it had two seasons ago when it won 50 games and swept the Heat in the First Round of the playoffs. Plus, Bulls fans can dig through their closets and get more wear out of their old Jalen Rose jerseys. Rose wore No. 23 in Memphis which is as off limits as off limits gets in Chi-Town. Two + Three = Five, which is the number that Jalen Rose wore. I'm just sayin'...

    2. O.J. Mayo, G, Memphis

    G RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    20.7 4.5 3.3 1.6 0.4 .442 .409 .803
    Drafted: 3 by Minnesota (Reportedly traded with Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner to the Grizzlies in return for the draft rights to Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins)
    Mayo didn't have to sweat the night out too much, his named was called right after the two posterboys in the group, but it still wasn't as easy as his college selection process, especially because of the trade. I mean, he couldn't just call up Chris Wallace and say, "I'm playing for the Grizzlies next season" and then when Wallace asks for his cell phone number to keep in touch, respond with "Don't call me, I'll call you, baby." (Yes, that REALLY happened when Mayo first spoke to USC coach Tim Floyd.) He should be able to step right into the starting lineup playing the two now that Miller is gone and probably will be the second option after Rudy Gay.

    3. Eric Gordon, G, L.A. Clippers

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    20.9 3.3 2.4 1.3 0.6 .433 .337 0.834
    Drafted: 7
    If the Clippers part with Elton Brand and/or Corey Maggette, Mike Dunleavy's team will need scorers worse than milk needs a new slogan. (Doesn't "Got Milk?" just remind you of 1995?) Gordon fits the bill perfectly as a relentless shooting guard who can put it on you in a variety of ways. He can drive, he can shoot, he can move without the ball. If Shaun Livingston is healthy, the Clips' core of Livingston, Gordon and Al Thornton could be a fun one to keep an eye on. Born on Christmas day in 1988, Gordon will be a gift to watch for Clippers fans. He didnít finish his freshman year the way he would have liked to, falling into a shooting slump after Indiana fired head coach Kelvin Sampson, but he has a great feel for the game and should be able to show his capabilities in the league without the distractions of a midseason coaching change.

    4. Greg Oden, C, Portland

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    15.7 9.6 0.7 0.6 3.3 .616 .000 .628
    Drafted: 1 in 2007
    Microfracture surgery to Oden's right knee put the 7-footer's debut on ice for a year, but now the cork on his career is ready to be popped. I'm putting him at a cautious No. 4. Portland has plenty of young talent and don't need him to do much more than rebound, plug up the middle and be active. His stats probably won't reflect the impact he'll have on Portland's success. There was a little concern for the weight that Oden put on while he was out with the injury, but that will happen to a big body that had been accostumed to working out to the max for the last five years. Once he's back practicing, the weight should vacate his body like movie goers running for the theatre exits early at The Love Guru. Oh, and he's 981 years younger than these guys claim he is.

    5. Michael Beasley, F, Miami

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    26.2 12.4 1.2 1.3 1.6 .532 .379 .774
    Drafted: 2
    The talent that Mike Beasley has is undeniable. He's a whirling dervish of skill, speed and strength. Rather, it's his attitude that lands him in the middle of the top 10. His off-the-court antics have led him to be labeled anything from a goofball to a knucklehead, and those are on the polite end. What concerns me about Beasley is A) Pat Riley shopped the No. 2 pick because he wasn't high on Beasley's character B) He has people saying things like "I doubt Michael is ever going to get itĒ about him C) He's been "the man" wherever he's been. Now he's the third option after Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion, who is not about to be the "I just want to fit in" Matrix now that he's out from Steve Nash's and Amare Stoudemire's shadows D) As a rookie head coach who Mayo recently confused for being just a "young team trainer," do you really think that Erik Spoelstra has the stones to properly discipline Beasley when he needs to? He'll have his big games, but he'll also have his moments that cause headaches for the Heat. Then again, maybe I'm being too harsh on the guy. Even Michael Jordan was suspended in junior high hitting a girl with a popsicle stick.

    6. Kevin Love, F-C, Minnesota

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    17.5 10.6 1.9 0.7 1.4 .559 .354 .767
    Drafted: 5 by Memphis (Reportedly traded with Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins to the Timberwolves in return for the draft rights to O.J. Mayo, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker and Greg Buckner)
    There is no spot in the stat line for picture perfect outlet passes (or for 94-foot shots for that matter), but the old adage goes that you need one superior skill to make it in the league and a fastbreak igniting outlet pass is at the top of Love's bag of tricks. Love can play inside/outside as a pick and pop guy and while he might not be the quickest of players, his innate basketball I.Q. usually guides him to be at the right place at the right time nonetheless. Think of Love as Al Horford with three-point range. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota plays Love at the four and keeps Al Jefferson playing out of position at the five, or slides Jefferson back to power forward and give Love the challenge of playing as an undersized center.

    7. Jerryd Bayless, G, Portland

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    19.7 2.7 4.0 1.0 0.1 .458 .407 .839
    Drafted: 11 by Indiana (Reportedly traded with Ike Diogu to the Blazers for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and the rights to Brandon Rush)
    Following in grand Point Guard U. tradition, Bayless is the latest Arizona product to come into the league with a floor general's lineage. Just like Jason Terry, Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas before him, Bayless should become an impact player in the league. As a young player, could there be a more appealing team to go to than Portland? There is so much potential there, it's scary. The team broke even at 41-41 last year and had a 13-game winning streak at one point, and now it adds Bayless and Oden while its two best players - Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge - enjoy another year of improvement and maturation.

    8. Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    8.3 2.4 2.5 1.0 0.1 .443 .402 .808
    Drafted: 4
    Russell is at the tail end of the top 10 because the Sonics already have Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour as point guards on their roster, but there are two main reasons why I think he'll have an impact next season. One: a team that's coming off a horrendous 20-win campaign doesn't use its No. 4 pick on a guy who they feel isn't ready to contribute right away. There is a sense of urgency to turn things around and sitting your Lotto selection doesn't jive with that sentiment. Two: when all else fails, defense gets you on the court. Westbrook is a physical, ballhawking defender that only knows how to play hard. That won't be discounted by an old school coach like P.J. Carlesimo.

    9. D.J. Augustin, G, Charlotte

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    16.9 2.9 6.2 1.4 0.0 .443 .402 .808
    Drafted: 9
    Forget all the combo guard talk surrounding this year's backcourt crop. Augustin is a classic pure point suiting up for a coach in Larry Brown who is all about playing the "right way." The Raymond Felton experiment appears to be in its final stages and with Brown never having coached either Felton or Augustin, the rookie out of Texas will have a fair shake at the starting job. While we're on Texas, how about the pros they've been producing in recent years? Rick Barnes has turned his program into an NBA factory with Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford, Daniel Gibson, Royal Ivey and now Augustin all coming into the association in the last couple years.

    10. Brook Lopez, C, New Jersey

    PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
    16.0 7.1 1.1 0.5 1.9 .480 .142 .764
    Drafted: 10
    You know that Nets head coach Lawrence Frank will break out an oh-too-easy "It's great to have a Stanford twin back" joke at the press conference to introduce Brook Lopez as a Net. Lopez had better outproduce Jason Collins, who was shipped out of town in the Stromile Swift trade last year, and known by everybody on the team by his nickname "Twin" but not for his success at racking up the stats. Lopez should be considered a steal at No. 10. The mocks steadily had him in the No. 3-5 range in the time leading up to the Draft. Out of all the tape Iíve watched, what has impressed me the most with Brook is his commitment to keeping the ball above his head when he catches it in the post, utilizing his height rather than bringing the rock below his waist where guards are free to swipe at it. The Nets already have a scattered group of big men in Nenad Krstic, Sean Williams and Josh Boone, but there will be a place for Lopez in the rotation.

    Got beef with the rankings or have a comment or question for the Rookie Report? Send the Report an e-mail.

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