Poll: 2008 NBA Draft Take Two (Pick No. 5)

Scouting players and predicting how their skills will translate to the NBA is one of the more difficult tasks front offices have on their plates. Looking back over past drafts and how many lottery picks never evolved into stars, or even made a significant impact in the league, illustrates just how often stats, combine numbers and pure gut instinct often come up short.

Of course, we get the opportunity to critique these moves with the benefit of hindsight — a luxury that GMs don’t have on draft night. Having said that, it’s still fun to go back in time and take a theoretical look at how these drafts should have/could have gone.

We recently finished revisiting the lottery portion of the 2005 NBA Draft, which was one of the weakest in recent memory. In drafts light on impact talent, the GM who can find a diamond in the rough is king. But drafts that have a number of star-potential players can also be difficult and many an executive has made what turned out to be the wrong call. Greg Oden over Kevin Durant immediately springs to mind (sorry Blazers fans), likewise taking Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan…ouch!

The 2008 draft, which is the one we’re tackling now, had a number of players who have gone on to post big numbers in the league. This was the year of Derrick Rose (No. 1 overall), Russell Westbrook (No. 4), Kevin Love (No. 5), Brook Lopez (No. 10) and Nicolas Batum (No. 25). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting a series of polls asking readers to vote on whom teams should have selected in each spot.

We’ll continue with the Grizzlies, who held the No. 5 overall pick that year. In the “real world” draft, Memphis had acquired the No. 3 overall pick in a swap with Minnesota. The actual swap went like this: The Grizzlies acquired the draft rights to O.J. Mayo, along with Marko Jarić, Antoine Walker, and Greg Buckner, from Minnesota in exchange for the draft rights to No. 5 overall pick Kevin Love, plus, Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins. To avoid muddying the waters too much, we’ll assume the trade wasn’t completed (since Love was nabbed by the Heat with pick No. 2), so whomever is selected here will end up in Memphis.

So cast your vote for who the Grizzlies select and check back on Wednesday to see the results and to vote on who the Knicks will nab sixth overall. Also, don’t limit yourself to a simple button click. Take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on the pick and why you voted the way that you did. Also, if I fail to list a player who you think should be selected, feel free to post that in the comments section and I’ll be certain to tally those votes as well.

  1. Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
  2. Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
  3. Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
  4. Sonics/Thunder — DeAndre Jordan [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]
  5. Grizzlies — ?? [Actual Pick — Kevin Love]

If you’re a Trade Rumors app user, click here to vote.

Boeheim Says ‘Melo Unlikely To Win Title

Carmelo Anthony made the playoffs in each of the first 10 seasons of his NBA career, but he has sat out the past three postseasons as a member of the Knicks. The merits of Anthony as a player have been much debated throughout his career, with many doubting that he has the ability to lead a team to the promised land that is an NBA title. The forward’s college coach, Jim Boeheim weighed in on his former player’s title chances, and noted they’re not good, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes.

He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title. As a player, all you can do is try to make your team better and every team he’s been on he’s made them a lot better. Denver hadn’t done anything prior to him getting there and he took them into the playoffs. They weren’t going to beat the Lakers or the Spurs. In those years, they won the championship most of the time.

He wants to win in New York,” Boeheim continued. “I know the general opinion is if [new additions] Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose are healthy then they’ll be a better team. It’s just a question of if they will be healthy. They’ve been off and on the last two years. They’ve both been hurt. I think if both those guys are healthy, it certainly would make a big difference and Kristaps Porzingis continuing to progress. If those things happen, they can be better.

‘Melo took some heat earlier this month after he told ESPN’s Marc Stein that he’d still consider his career a success if he failed to win a championship. “I would be very happy walking away from the game knowing that I’ve given the game everything I have, knowing I played on a high level at every level: high school, college, won [a championship at Syracuse] in college and possibly three gold medals,” Anthony said.

Is Boehim correct? Will Anthony’s career end without him hoisting a championship banner? What are your feelings about ‘Melo’s former coach’s candor regarding the forward’s title chances? Sound off in the comments section below.

Festus Ezeli To Miss Six Weeks

The Trail Blazers announced today that Festus Ezeli will be sidelined for six weeks. The center had his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate and Orthovisc today in Chicago. The treatment is designed to alleviate pain and improve function in the joint, per the announcement. If his recovery goes as planned, Ezeli should be available for the start of the regular season on October 25th.

Ezeli’s deal with Portland was for less money than expected because of concerns about his knees, which is looking like a smart move given this latest setback. The former Warriors center signed a two-year, $16MM contract with Portland, with a team option for the second season. Ezeli underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee back in February, and according to a July report by Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, a number of teams passed on signing the big man because they were worried about his durability.

The 26-year-old appeared in 46 games for the Warriors during the 2015/16 campaign, with Ezeli notching averages of 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 16.7 minutes per outing. His slash line on the season was .548/.000/.530.

New York Notes: Rose, Carmelo, Lin, Nets

Derrick Rose, traded by the Bulls to the Knicks two months ago, referred to his new squad as a “super team” last month, and recently doubled down on the assertion. In a conversation with Nick DePaula of The Vertical, the former MVP continued to rave about his new club and his new teammates.

“I just love the group,” Rose said. “I think everybody is on the same page. I love the culture that Phil [Jackson] is creating. Just the organization and franchise, I love everybody that’s working on it, and they seem like they’re very excited for everything. That just rubs off on people. … I think we have a chance to win every game, and in the league, that’s rare.”

While Rose expects a big year from the Knicks, Hoops Rumors commenters recently named the Nets as the most likely team to be the NBA’s worst in 2016/17. Here’s the latest out of New York on both squads:

  • Carmelo Anthony is riding high after winning his third Olympic gold medal this summer, but his supporting cast with the Knicks this season won’t be as star-studded as the one he enjoyed in Rio. Marc Berman of The New York Post examines the leadership role Anthony will have to assume for the new-look Knicks as they look to return to the postseason.
  • Nets CEO Brett Yormark, speaking at an event in Beijing, admitted that the Nets will market newly-signed point guard Jeremy Lin in an effort to tap into a new, Chinese-American fan base (link via Net Income of NetsDaily). However, Yormark says his team won’t try to recreate the “Linsanity” phenomenon, preferring to let things happen organically.
  • A separate NetsDaily piece focuses on the storylines to watch in Brooklyn with training camp around the corner, including Lin’s arrival, Bojan Bogdanovic‘s contract year, and the Nets‘ youth movement.

Lakers Sign Yi Jianlian

AUGUST 23: Jianlian’s one-year deal is only guaranteed for $250K, but it counts for $8MM against the Lakers’ cap, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. The base salary, partially guaranteed for $250K, is worth the minimum ($1,139,123), while the deal features another $6,860,877 in likely incentives.Yi Jianlian vertical

AUGUST 22: The signing is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 17, 3:55pm: The proposed deal will pay Jianlian the veteran’s minimum, but incentives could push the total value upwards of $8MM, Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times tweets.

10:41am: The Lakers and Jianlian are finalizing a one-year deal that will pay him approximately $8MM, Stein tweets.

AUGUST 16: The Lakers and Yi Jianlian are in advanced talks to bring the big man to the NBA, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times notes (Twitter link) that the Lakers had representatives at the Staples Center during USA’s exhibition game against China last month.

Yi was selected by the Bucks with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. After an up-and-down rookie season, he was traded to the Nets in a deal for Richard Jefferson. The 28-year-old last played in the NBA for the Mavericks during the 2011/12 season. He averaged 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 6.8 minutes per game.

The Lakers have 14 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates. Yi would have competition for minutes. However, if Timofey Mozgov‘s groin injury lingers, he could possibly end up starting a few games for Los Angeles should he sign.

NBA D-League Affiliations For 2016/17

The NBA D-League announced its 2016/17 schedule this week, and once again, the league has officially expanded its list of teams. The NBA’s ultimate goal is to have each of its 30 franchises affiliated with a D-League squad, and the league inched closer to that goal this year.

Three additional NBA teams – the Nets, Hornets, and Bulls – now have expansion affiliates in the D-League, while two more teams – the Suns and Jazz – relocated their affiliates, ensuring that the distance between the NBA and D-League clubs has been reduced. Phoenix’s old D-League team, the Bakersfield Jam, is now located in Northern Arizona, while the Idaho Stampede, Utah’s old D-League affiliate, has moved to Salt Lake City.

Listed below, sorted alphabetically by NBA team, are the 22 NBA D-League affiliates for the 2016/17 season.

2016/17 D-League Affiliations:

Boston Celtics: Maine Red Claws
Brooklyn Nets: Long Island Nets (new)
Charlotte Hornets: Greensboro Swarm (new)
Chicago Bulls: Windy City Bulls (new)
Cleveland Cavaliers: Canton Charge
Dallas Mavericks: Texas Legends
Detroit Pistons: Grand Rapids Drive
Golden State Warriors: Santa Cruz Warriors
Houston Rockets: Rio Grande Valley Vipers
Indiana Pacers: Fort Wayne Mad Ants
Los Angeles Lakers: Los Angeles D-Fenders
Memphis Grizzlies: Iowa Energy
Miami Heat: Sioux Falls Skyforce
New York Knicks: Westchester Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder: Oklahoma City Blue
Orlando Magic: Erie BayHawks
Philadelphia 76ers: Delaware 87ers
Phoenix Suns: Northern Arizona Suns (relocated)
Sacramento Kings: Reno Bighorns
San Antonio Spurs: Austin Spurs
Toronto Raptors: Raptors 905
Utah Jazz: Salt Lake City Stars (relocated)

Listed below are the eight NBA teams still without a D-League affiliate. These eight clubs will get to assign players to D-League teams associated with other NBA franchises.

Teams without D-League affiliates:

Atlanta Hawks
Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Clippers
Milwaukee Bucks
Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans
Portland Trail Blazers
Washington Wizards

Kwame Brown Attempting Comeback

AUGUST 23, 2:25pm: Brown’s new representatives are shopping their client overseas, seeking a deal in the $300K range, according to international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Brown’s minimum NBA salary would be in the $1.55MM range, but as I noted below, Brown’s long layoff – combined with the fact that most teams already have 15 or more players – makes an NBA deal a long shot.Kwame Brown vertical

AUGUST 22, 12:35pm: Fifteen years after he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft, and more than three years after he played his last game in the league, Kwame Brown is attempting to make a comeback. Interperformances announced today on its website that the agency now represents Brown, the former No. 1 pick.

“[Brown] is ready for a new life,” Interperformances wrote in a statement. “His comeback can be the road to glory for a team that believes in him. Kwame is back, physically healthy and ready to be the outstanding player he was on several NBA teams. … No longer the young man that entered the NBA, Kwame is now an experienced and mature player and man. And he’s back, for the love of the game.”

Brown, who is now 34 years old, last played for the Sixers during the 2012/13 season, and hasn’t played major minutes since he was a member of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010/11. In 607 career NBA games, Brown averaged 6.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG, shooting 49.2% from the field. While he was a decent role player for a few seasons, he’s widely considered one of the biggest busts for a first overall pick in recent history.

It seems unlikely that many NBA teams would be eager to take a flier on Brown at this point, particularly since many clubs already have 14 or 15 players with guaranteed contracts and would prefer to use any remaining offseason roster spots on young players willing to join D-League affiliates. Still, if Brown is returning “for the love of the game” and can’t find an NBA home, perhaps he’ll seek a job with a team in Europe or Asia.

Latest Update On Unsigned 2016 Draftees

The NBA draft took place two months ago tonight, and when Brandon Ingram signed his rookie contract with the Lakers earlier today, he became the final first-rounder to lock in a plan for the 2016/17 season.

Of course, for Ingram, there was never any doubt that he’d sign an NBA contract and enter the league immediately, but that’s not the case for all of this year’s first-rounders. As our list of draft pick signings shows, three of the 30 players selected in the first round – including two Celtics – will play overseas this season.

The percentage of draftees heading (or staying) overseas is higher among second-round picks, but for those second-rounders, there are options besides entering the NBA or playing international ball — Celtics second-rounder Abdel Nader, for instance, has agreed to sign with Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine. He’ll earn less money there than he would’ve overseas, but the Celtics will be able to keep a close eye on him and will have a hand in his development as they retain his NBA rights.

When we provided an update on 2016 draft pick signings in late July, five first-round picks and eight second-rounders were still waiting to resolve their situations. Since then, 10 of those draftees have gotten that resolution, leaving just three players whose statuses remain uncertain. They are as follows:

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Hamilton, SG (UConn)
  2. Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Cousins, SG (Oklahoma)
  3. Utah Jazz: Tyrone Wallace, PG (California)

Hamilton, Cousins, and Wallace were all bottom-five picks in the draft, having been selected 56th, 59th, and 60th, respectively. All three were also drafted by teams with their own D-League affiliates. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising if those clubs wanted agreements similar to the one Nader worked out with the Celtics — getting these draftees to sign D-League contracts would mean retaining their rights without having to worry about clearing an NBA roster spot for them.

If Hamilton, Cousins, or Wallace signs an NBA contract, then doesn’t earn a spot on his team’s 15-man, regular-season roster, that team would still hold his D-League rights, but would lose his NBA rights. In other words, Hamilton could be assigned to the OKC Blue, but another NBA team could sign him to its regular-season roster, and the Thunder wouldn’t be able to stop it.

For a team to retain its NBA rights to a second-round pick, it must tender a one-year, minimum-salary contract offer before September 6. With that deadline fast approaching, we should soon find out what the short-term future holds for this year’s final three unsigned draftees.

Lakers Sign Brandon Ingram

12:15pm: The Lakers have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve formally signed Ingram to his rookie contract.

8:31am: Heading into Tuesday, 29 of 30 first-rounders from the 2016 draft have either signed their NBA contracts or elected to play overseas for the coming season. Number two overall pick Brandon Ingram will make it 30 out of 30 later today, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers are poised to sign their rookie forward.Brandon Ingram vertical

[RELATED: 2016 Draft Pick Signings]

The Lakers will sign Ingram exactly two months after he was drafted, having waited this long because it gave the team a little extra flexibility. While the odds of packaging the No. 2 overall pick in a trade for a star were slim, keeping Ingram unsigned allowed the club to move him such a deal — once he signs his rookie contract, the former Duke standout can’t be traded for a month.

The delay also gave the Lakers the opportunity to make the most of their leftover cap room. Ingram’s cap hold of $4,401,400 has been on Los Angeles’ books for the last couple months, but that number will increase to $5,281,680 once he officially signs his deal, since he’ll get the maximum allowable 120% of his rookie-scale amount.

[RELATED: Salaries For 2016 First-Round Picks]

The difference between those two figures only works out to about $880K, but there was no reason for L.A. to give up that extra flexibility early. That flexibility appears to have allowed the Lakers to max out their cap room with deals for Yi Jianlian and Zach Auguste this week, though we haven’t yet seen the official numbers on those contracts.

Ingram, who will turn 19 next month, averaged 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.1 SPG while shooting 41.0% from three-point range during his first and only college season. He was viewed as the consensus No. 2 prospect in this year’s draft behind first overall pick Ben Simmons.

Kyler’s Latest: Cousins, Westbrook, Griffin

A handful of big-name players, including Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap, and Blake Griffin, have been mentioned in trade rumors at some point this summer, but those guys almost certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. In addition to Butler, Millsap, and Griffin, stars like DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love are staying put with their current teams, despite being the subjects of frequent trade speculation.

While the gist of Kyler’s tidbits on each of those six players is the same – they’re not being traded unless things change drastically for the team or player – each situation is a little different, so let’s round up some of Kyler’s latest info on those stars…

  • The Kings and Cousins have agreed to take a “fresh-start approach” to their union, according to Kyler, who notes that the big man likes the hiring of coach Dave Joerger. While Cousins’ potential 2018 free agency will be a factor down the road, Sacramento is turning away incoming inquiries and will likely play out the 2016/17 season with Cousins as the team’s cornerstorne before considering any franchise-altering decisions.
  • Like the Kings with Cousins, the Thunder would have to play extremely poorly in the first half for the team to consider any major in-season change involving Westbrook. Sources tell Kyler that there is almost no scenario in which Oklahoma City explores moving the star point guard during the season, though the team will of course be keeping a close eye on how its roster looks in the post-Kevin Durant era.
  • Per Kyler, sources close to Griffin “have been adamant” that he intends to re-sign with the Clippers once his current contract is up — that could happen next summer, since the star forward has an early termination option. Doc Rivers is confident Griffin will remain in Los Angeles for the long term and has no interest in engaging in trade talks, says Kyler.
  • The Hawks seriously explored a Millsap trade in July, but those talks came to an end after the team lost Al Horford. Sources tell Kyler that Millsap has been assured he won’t be dealt anytime soon, though the veteran’s potential 2017 free agency looms as a possible concern if Atlanta struggles out of the gate.

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