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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Athleticism critical in 2008 NBA draft picks

The NBA Draft is tonight and the Chicago Bulls, who have the No. 1 overall pick, have a huge decision to make. The obvious choices for this year’s first pick are Memphis point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State forward Michael Beasley. Both played only one college season before declaring themselves eligible for the draft.

The addition of hometown star Rose would be the best choice. Rose brings size, speed and strength to a Bulls team that just might trade guard Kirk Hinrich with Rose’s addition.

The No. 2 pick belongs to the Miami Heat, which will most likely draft the athletic Beasley. Beasley will join Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion on a Heat team that needs a post-player presence.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have third pick and are looking at USC guard O.J. Mayo. Mayo is a LeBron James type of player and is very athletic, with the ability to take over a game. Despite alleged off-court recruiting violations, Mayo will play well in Minnesota alongside young star center Al Jefferson.

The Houston Rockets will pick late in the first round with the No. 25 pick after coming off a great 55-27 season. The Rockets’ needs include a small forward, a shooting guard, and center positions. Veteran center Dikembe Mutombo may not return to back up injury-prone All-Star Yao Ming, and they must find scoring from someone other than Tracy McGrady. Guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, power forward J.J. Hickson, guard Courtney Lee, center Mareese Speights and small forward Bill Walker should all be considered and available.

The Rockets also have the 54th pick in the second round, and scoring will be important in their choice. Players to consider late in the draft are Xavier forward Josh Duncan, Vanderbilt guard/forward Shan Foster and New Mexico guard J.R. Giddens.

Overrated players in the draft include LSU power forward Anthony Randolph and Texas A’M center DeAndre Jordan. The two big men have great size and are very athletic, but were not proven college players and did not have great seasons.

The steal of the draft and the player with the most upside should be UCLA guard Russell Westbrook. The New York Knicks, who have the sixth pick, should be a great fit for Westbrook. Westbrook has great height for his position, but the key to his hype and great draft grade are his defense and athleticism.

Former UH shooting guard Robert McKiver is not a projected draft pick, but still has a great shot to sign with an NBA team as a free agent.

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