Blake’s Take -- NBA Draft 2008
Posted Jun 28 2008 11:05AM
NBA Director of Scouting Marty Blake analyzes this year’s draft.
This was one of the strangest drafts we’ve ever had. I was expecting a lot of trades before, during and after. So, now we have to wait for some the trades to be signed off on, but I think basically, except for the teams that didn’t get a player – and those teams are going to be able to pick up some very good players who weren’t drafted – but I think it was one of the most exciting drafts in the history of the league. I’ve never seen so many young players that we liked picked so early. I think this is a very unusual situation, and not something that’s going to occur every year.
Derrick Rose – I don’t think it was any secret. I think Rose was the guy they wanted from the beginning. I think most of the teams would have taken him. He’s ready to play now. He solidifies their backcourt. They can play him at the point. The can play Kirk Hinrich at the two. They can also make Hinrich a backup. They can also bring Ben Gordon off the bench. I think they’re in good shape.
Michael Beasley – In the case of Miami, I think there was some smoke thrown out that they possibly wouldn’t take Beasley, but I think he’s the guy they wanted all along. They added some players later in the draft that I like. I think they’re open to making some deals. I think they’re very happy today. This is the first step. Pat Riley has done an outstanding job. Erik Spoelstra, who’s going to be a fine young coach, he has to put all the pieces together.
O.J. Mayo – Minnesota took Mayo and later shipped him to Memphis for Kevin Love. The trade had a lot of other parts too it, but those are the key figures. And I think both teams are very happy. You’re talking about two of the more NBA ready players in this draft.
Russell Westbrook – I think Westbrook was coveted by a lot of teams. He could have gone anywhere from four to seven. He’s one of those dynamic young players who made a tremendous jump from his freshman to his sophomore season. He’s a great defender. We haven’t talked enough about defense. A lot of these players are also good defenders, and defense, as we know, is really all about hard work. We forget to put the term defense into a draft. This is one of the better defensive drafts in recent years.
Danilo Gallinari – I think New York had a few people they liked. Gallinari is certainly the best of the international players. A lot is being made of his father having played with Mike D’Antoni. But, you have to understand, this guy was the best young international player out there. He’s only 19, and he’s already played three years of professional basketball. He can do a lot of things. He should fit into D’Antoni’s system very well.
Eric Gordon – The Clippers took Gordon. They were looking for a scoring guard. He can probably play a little one. They’ve had a lot of injuries in the backcourt. They were looking for a backcourt guy who could put points on the board, and I think they were very happy to get Eric Gordon. He’s a good, solid point-maker.
Joe Alexander – I saw a lot of him this year. The kid brings a lot of energy, has a solid work ethic. He can beat people off the dribble. Has a good first step. He will join a pretty solid nucleus in Milwaukee, and a tough-minded coach in Scott Skiles.
D.J. Augustin – He’s 5-11, and some people say that’s too small, but I won a world championship with Slater Martin as my point man. He was 5-9, and also led the Lakers to a bunch of titles. He knows how to bring the ball from point a to point b. Very good pick for Charlotte.
Brook Lopez – He could start for New Jersey. He’s going to be a better defensive player than people think. New Jersey really added some size in this draft, and Lopez should turn out to a nice player for them.
Jerryd Bayless – If you look at the draft, where could he have gone? He’s not a true point guard, but he can play the point. Very dynamic player. He joins a great young nucleus on Portland.
Jason Thompson – This was definitely a surprise. My son, Ryan Blake, the Assistant Director of Scouting, was a big Jason Thompson fan. We started tracking him early at Rider. Was he a high pick at 12? Remember when Sacramento took Kevin Martin at 26, everyone thought that was too high, and he’s turned out to be their best player. They wanted a guy who could play the pivot and step outside and shoot the jumper. He can run the court. This guy could definitely surprise people.
Brandon Rush – I thought that Rush was maybe the best all-around guard in the draft. He can play some small forward. He’s a very well rounded player. Does a lot of things well. This is a guy that should really help Indiana.
Anthony Randolph – I think he might grow to be 7-1. He’s a tremendous athlete. I saw a lot of him this year. Jumps out of the building. Has long arms. Runs the court. Don’t worry too much about his weight. He can easily add 20 pounds. Golden State plays the type of system that could be well suited for a guy like Randolph.
Robin Lopez – This guy really came on as the season progressed. He’s a very good defensive player. He hasn’t had the chance to really show on the offensive end as of yet, but I think he can develop in that area. He’s a hard worker. He can run the court. This is a very good pick.
Marreese Speights – They got a guy who’s a very quick jumper. Great body, can run the court, and a very good 10-to-15 foot jump shooter.
Roy Hibbert – He’s more athletic than people give him credit for. He functioned very well in the Princeton offense in college. He’s a very good passer for his size. Indiana needed a big guy, and he’s a good fit.
JaVale McGee – He made a tremendous improvement from his freshman to sophomore year. A great athlete. People say he’s a little thin, but he should be able to add some weight. He’s a project, but not that big of a project.
J.J. Hickson – An inside player. Did not play on a really good team at North Carolina State. He likes to play in traffic. Big body. Likes to throw it around. Needs to improve his jumpshot.
Alexis Ajinca – A lot of teams liked him. Charlotte was looking around for a big guy they could develop. I think he might play in Charlotte this year. He’ll be brought along at a good pace. For the future, this is a nice pick.
Ryan Anderson – Put up some great numbers in the Pac-10. This is a tough kid who should play in the NBA for a long time.
Courtney Lee – We watched for him the last few years. Courtney did not work out for a lot of teams, and he didn’t want to play in Orlando. He has an all-around game. Very good basketball player. Knows how to play the game. He has a chance to start right away.
Kosta Koufos – Utah was going big. This is a guy who can shoot from the outside. Utah has always done a nice job at this spot in the draft. I like this young man a lot. I think he’ll be a nice player for them in a few years.
Serge Ibaka – He’s a little bigger than 6-10. Very good athlete. Most people tend to think Seattle will leave him overseas, but they may just go ahead and keep him here.
Nicolas Batum – Everyone has seen this player. A lot of people like him. Whether he’s going to be brought over right away remains to be seen.
George Hill – Hill is a fourth-year junior at IUPUI. One of our top scouts, Don Sicko saw him a bunch over the last few years and liked him a lot. We invited him to Orlando, and he played very well. He impressed everyone with his knowledge of the game and his ability to play the right way. Very smart player. Disregard where he came from. All the teams knew about him.
Darrell Arthur – Everyone was concerned about his health, and that hurt him. He definitely has talent, and he’ll have a chance to prove some teams wrong over the next few years.
Donte Greene – Sometimes the draft runs a certain way. He was tabbed to go earlier, but I think some teams drafting for need probably pushed him down a bit. He’s a guy that can put points on the board.
D.J. White – Seattle is stockpiling a lot of people. He had some injury troubles over the years, but he’s healed. He’s a tough inside player. A lot of teams liked him in this area of the draft. Very good pick at this point.
J.R. Giddens – He was tabbed as a first-rounder when he first started out at Kansas. Had some problems there. Got a fresh start at New Mexico, and made the most of it. He has a lot of athletic ability, and I think he could maybe add some punch off the bench for Boston.
Nikola Pekovic – Another big kid. Not the swiftest guy in the world. Definitely likes to throw his weight around. We like him.
Walter Sharpe – He played very well at the start of the season. We knew he had some academic issues and was probably in the draft for good. He’s a very talented player.
Joey Dorsey – Joey brings a lot of intensity. He’s a guy who will hammer the boards. He’s not too much on the offensive end, but he’s got very good end-to-end speed. He can really help you as a defender on the interior.
Mario Chalmers – Everybody thought he’d be a mid-first-round pick. He winds up in Miami, and he will help them. There’s a chance he could start.
DeAndre Jordan – Everybody thought his range was 12-30. I think teams shied away, fearing he might not realize his potential. He has some ability, but we really need to see if he’s going to put it all together.
Omer Asik – He’s 7-0. Has a lot of ability. Remains to be seen what their plan is for him. Chances are he’ll remain overseas for a year or two.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute -- I don’t thin people realize what a terrific defender he is. He’s a guy that will come off the bench and give you some hard minutes defensively. He comes to play. Has good experience.
Kyle Weaver – I think he made a mistake not playing Orlando. I saw him play a few times this season. He can play a few different positions. Has good versatility. This is an ideal team for him, because they’re in a state of flux, and they have plenty of openings.
Sonny Weems – He has some really interesting tool. He’s an excellent athlete. Has some range. I think he can develop into a solid NBA player.
Chris Douglas-Roberts – He’s a slasher. He can take the ball to the basket. He should fit in nicely in New Jersey.
Nathan Jawai – He’s a big, strong banger. Worked out for a lot of teams. He’s ready to play. I think he has the ability to play some minutes right away.
Sean Singletary – He came to Orlando in 2007 and didn’t play all that well, and made a smart decision to go back to school. He was very impressive this season. Carried his team. He does a lot of things well. Can shoot, handle, pass, he’s a terrific athlete.
Patrick Ewing Jr. – Brings a lot of energy. Need to work on his offense. He can rebound for you. He can run the court. He can guard a few spots. Great leaper. He’s a project, but Sacramento has openings.
Ante Tomic – Utah was looking for big people. This is a player they might allow to develop overseas.
Goran Dragic – Phoenix does a nice job with their international scouting. He’s a point guard with some good skills. He’s a little slight, and will probably stay overseas for a few more years.
Trent Plaisted – He’s a big kid who hustles. I don’t think he’s a great shooter. He likes to run, can defend.
Bill Walker – They like to take this type of player. A 6-6 guy, who’s an athlete. He’s had some injuries problems, so we’ll have to see how that works out.
Malik Hairston – He’s pretty tough physically. He can handle the ball and play a few positions. San Antonio is looking to add some youth.
Richard Hendrix – People say that he’s a short power forward. I’ve seen guys who are 6-9 who play 6-6. He’s 6-8, 6-8 ½, and he comes to play. He plays very hard, he can play defense, and he’s improved as a shooter. I think he can carve a niche in the NBA.
DeVon Hardin – He’s going to be a backup. I thought he would develop quicker at the college level. He’s got a great body. He needs to learn how to the play the post a little more. But he’s a center, and as Frank Layden said, ‘you can’t teach height.’
Shan Foster – He came off a big time career at Vanderbilt. Had a very strong senior season. He had a tough week in Orlando. I think he has some good offensive skills, and he can really shoot.
Darnell Jackson – At the start of the year, very few people were really talking about Darnell. I think this is a very good pick at this spot. He can defend some people. He can face the basket and knock down some shots.
Tadija Dragicevic – He’s somebody they’ll probably leave overseas to develop. We knew about him, checked him out. Utah definitely put a premium on finding bigger players, and this pick is another example of it.
Maarty Leunen – I like him. I don’t think he’s overly polished at this point, but he’s a hard worker, he can make some shots, he’s going to give you effort, he’s going to play within the team concept. He’s the kind of player GM’s like to fill out a roster with, and he has a chance to be a decent player.
Mike Taylor – The Clippers have a lot of openings in the backcourt, and Taylor should have a chance to make this team and maybe grab some minutes. We all know his story by now. He left Iowa State and wound up playing in the D-League, and was one of the more impressive players in the league. He played very well in Orlando. I like him. He brings a lot of hustle and desire.
Sasha Kaun – Sasha just signed a three-year contract with CSKA Moscow. All he has to do is work on his offense. He’s a very good interior defender and rebounder, very aggressive player. That’s a guy you keep tabs on over there and maybe a few years from now he’ll be ready to come over.
James Gist – Gist has some range for a big player. He’s a leaper. He has some athletic tools.
Joe Crawford – He’s a guy that can play the two, maybe some one. When he gets it going, he can really fill it up. He’s strong, can handle the ball a bit and shoots with some range.
Deron Washington – He’s a jumping jack. He’s great on the fast break. He really can jump over people. He didn’t play well in Orlando, but he was impressive in Portsmouth.
Semih Erden – Another big center from Turkey. I like him. He’s definitely a project, but Boston is looking to the future with this pick. He’ll stay overseas for a few years, and Boston will re-visit this pick. He can run the court. Definitely needs to put on some weight. To get a quality big player at this stage is a good get for Boston.