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 Sonics/Thunder, who held the No. 4 overall pick that year. With Westbrook already off the board, having gone No. 1 overall to the Bulls, OKC will have to find a different running mate for Kevin Durant, who the franchise nabbed the previous year. So cast your vote for who the Sonics/Thunder select and check back on Tuesday to see the results and to vote on who the Grizzlies will nab fifth 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.
- Bulls — Russell Westbrook [Actual Pick — Derrick Rose]
- Heat — Kevin Love [Actual Pick — Michael Beasley]
- Wolves — Derrick Rose [Actual Pick — O.J. Mayo]
- Sonics/Thunder — ?? [Actual Pick — Russell Westbrook]