Future Defensive Player of the year
Russell Westbrook, OKC
Is there a better perimeter defender in the country? Westbrook claimed the Defensive Player of the Year award in the Pac10 last season, arguably the best conference in the country. Locking up some of the best offensive threats in the country, Westbrook defended the likes of Stephen Curry to 6-19 shooting, Manny Harris to 3-12 shooting, James Harden to 2-6 shooting, and OJ Mayo to 6-16 shooting just to name a few. Had this team stayed in Seattle, Sonic fans may have seen the second coming of “The Glove”, Gary Payton.
Future 6th Man of the Year
Eric Gordon, LAC
Eric has the same last name, same size, and same skill set as the last rookie to win the 6TH man award. Yes, Ben Gordon. Eric will be given plenty of minutes with the lack of depth in the Clipper backcourt during his rookie year. Is he a future starter in this league? Possibly. But with his smaller frame and lack of experience at the point guard spot, Gordon may be best suited as a gunner off the bench. And man can this guy fill the bucket.
Future Most Improved Player of the Year
Anthony Randolph, GS
Randolph really has no right to be playing big minutes during his first few years. His raw talent as a one-and-done freshman alone should keep him on the bench. When you add in that he weighed under 200 lbs at the pre-draft measurements along with the fact the Warriors have plenty of forwards ahead of him in the rotation…well, you see where I’m going. But the fact that Randolph has the most upside in this draft gives Warriors fans a lot of hope. He’ll take a while to develop, but he is the most likely candidate to have a breakout year in the way of a Zach Randolph or Monta Ellis.
Future MVP Award Winner
Derrick Rose, CHI
Rose is just a pure game changer. Nobody in this draft has the ability to change the style of play, character, or win total of a team the way Derrick Rose can. Comparisons to Jason Kidd and Deron Williams only help the cause. The Bulls will be building around this guy for years to come, hopefully getting a city in need of excitement back to championship contention.
Nicolas Batum, POR
The Blazers filled a hole at small forward while at the same time getting it in a guy who was once regarded as a lottery pick had he entered the 2007 draft. Nicolas Batum plays a similar style to that of Richard Jefferson, now of the Milwaukee Bucks. Kevin Pritchard has one of the best eyes for talent in a general manager, and I trust he made the right choice in trading for Batum. As far as being picked in the 20’s, Batum could be the next Tayshaun Prince.
Brook Lopez, NJ
It’s not shocking that Brook fell to the number 10 pick in the 2008 draft. There has to be something he wasn’t showing to other teams who could have been interested (Minnesota, Seattle, Memphis, Charlotte). Brook had a poor showing at the NBA pre-draft measurements, testing last in both the ¾ court sprint and lane agility drill. He only could do the bench press 7 times, tied for lowest for a big man with Javale McGee. Much smaller players such as Tyrone Brazelton (5’10”), Drew Neitzel (5’11”, Ty Lawson (5’10”), and Sean Singletary (5’11”) were able to bench more. Brook’s lack of aggressiveness in the post in college could cost him in the NBA. He only shot 46.8% in college while usually being 2-3 inches taller than his defender. He is not as active a rebounder as you would like in a 7 footer (Marreese Speights, DJ White, JJ Hickson, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Jason Thompson were all better rebounders while being smaller) and is not an atheltic big man. All this adds up to a BUST.
Rookie of the Year
Michael Beasley, MIA
The Miami Heat are in some desperate need of scoring as they were dead last in that category last season. Yes, Dwyane Wade wasn't healthy for the whole season. And yes, Shawn Marion wasn't there the first half of the year. Oh and yes, half of the Miami Heat's team were brought up from the DLeague. But that's no excuse. Beasley was easily the best scorer in college basketball last season and will be a good one on the professional level immediately. Is he a power forward? Is he a small forward? He's neither. Beasley is a scoring
forward. Just what the doctor ordered.
2007-2008 All-Rookie Team