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Friday, July 18, 2008

Draft Notebook: 2008 Edition

Alright, so this has been a long time coming. While the NBA Draft was a long time ago, and I promised my annual draft notebook right after it, I lied. Why would I do such a thing? Well, because someone stole my draft notebook. Sterling and I think it may have been Charles Oakley stealing it on behalf of Michael, but we can't be certain. One thing is for sure though; my criteria for making my notebook was all in that book, and so I'm doing this from scratch. If you need to see how accurate I've been in the past, you can go right here.

As a quick recap, heres how it goes...I am giving you the guys that were the best value of this draft. That means I'm not giving you who I think will be the best players in the draft, because for the most part that is what the draft does. I am giving you the guys that will fit into their new teams best, that were picked lower than I think they should've been, and that will outperform their draft position. I've got four guys that I am positive of, and this year I've added the Asterisk Zone, because it seems asterisks are extremely popular now. That zone will include three guys I am very high on, but am not high enough to include them in the notebook. Consider them the "best of the rest" if you will. To the picks...

Eric Gordon: Number seven overall by the Clippers: Gordon is the best pure shooter in the draft, and he goes into a situation where he will play right away, and will play under a veteran guard who will help him along the way. Gordon was considered the top pick for parts of the year, but fell apart some late in the season when his entire team was in disarray. That was not his fault though, Indiana's problems were just too much for anyone his age to overcome. And sure, the Clippers have their own problems, but they are at least trying. I could see Gordon becoming a similar player to Ray Allen, and with Baron Davis, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman around him he should step in and contribute right away.

Jason Thompson: Number 12 overall by the Kings: This guy was a complete stud in college, and I was one of the first writers out there to put him in the first round. As the draft approached more and more projections had him going higher and higher, which means he impressed in workouts. Normally, I don't put much stock in workouts, but for Thompson it just solidified the fact that he was NBA ready. And he went to the Kings, who may start him as soon as their opening game. I really think he can excel quickly, and would not be surprised if he competes with Michael Beasley for the Rookie Of The Year.

J.J. Hickson: Number 19 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers: I wasn't sold on Hickson coming out of college, I thought he was a year or two away and was still too raw. He quickly changed my opinion though in his first summer league appearances, averaging 22 points and 7 and a half boards. Heres the real reason I like him though; he has a chance to bond with Lebron James, and Lebron will make him better. There is the potential for him to come in and play right away, and if he can perform well and earn Lebron's trust then he will be successful because he'll have plenty of open looks. Plus, he came out of the ACC, the best conference in college basketball.

Courtney Lee: Number 22 overall by the Magic: In case you haven't noticed yet, there is a trend with my picks...they often fit a need. For the Magic, I wrote it before and I'll write it again, they need guards, both a 2 guard and a 1 guard, to be considered a contender. I also wrote that they can live with Jameer Nelson running the point, Keith Bogans at the two doesn't work, and J.J. Redick is not in their best graces. Lee can come in, play right away, and is a great shooter and a plus defender. He is a more polished, slightly less skilled version of Eric Gordon, and is in a perfect situation to possibly start right away on a very good young team.

Alright, now it's time to give you the first annual Asterisk Zone selections...

D.J. Augustin: I absolutely love Augustin, and it hurts to leave him off the list. Here is why I did: I evaluate my performance within a few years of the draft. Augustin went to a team where he will probably play behind Raymond Felton, and Charlotte also took Kyle Weaver, telling me they aren't sold on Augustin. While I am, I don't think he plays enough to be consistently good. Mark my words though, this guy will be an all star at some point in his career. He is such a good leader, and has all the skills a basketball player ever could want.

Trent Plaisted: This guy was on the top of my notebook list for much of the college season, then he kind of fell off the map. He is extremely consistent, but very rarely wows you. In the NBA unfortunately many teams are obsessed with the wow factor, and because of that he may not get the playing time he deserves. If things break his way though, expect him to do great things.

Danilo Gallinari: If he wasn't picked so high, and had such high expectations placed on him, he would be on the list. Unfortunately, he has high expectations placed on him, and at the six spot I'm just not comfortable saying he is going to significantly outperform that pick. To me, to outperform that pick he has to be hall of fame worthy, and I'm not quite there with him yet. Close though.

Bill Walker: This guy is extremely athletic, and is becoming more and more talented. He still has a little ways to go, and it will be interesting to see how he overcomes his knee issues, but he as the skill set to succeed. He doesn't make it on the list because of the knee injury, and because he was traded to the Celtics, so he probably won't see much playing time. The only way he plays is if they consider him their new James Posey, which is possible, but he can't shoot it well enough yet.

~Aaron Jackson

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