2008 NBA Draft Review -- Damn, MJ Sucks At This

My friends and I argue about basketball all the time. Allen Iverson's relative greatness is a flash point. We differ on how important clutchness is. However, we all agree that the Bobcats had a terrible draft this year. First, take a look at who I wanted before the draft, and let's recap:

D.J. Augustin - 9th overall - 5'11" PG
He's far from a terrible player. He can shoot. Can pass. He can do point guard things. He has the capacity to be an excellent offensive player. He's also 5'11" and will have a hell of a time defending anyone in the league. And Brook Lopez was sitting there.

Instead of taking a guy who'd have to learn some big man defensive skills and taking their chances on a guard to back up Felton later in the draft, they took a guy who would have to grow three inches and add pounds in order to become a solid defender. I'm afraid we have a Jannero Pargo situation on our hands.

Let's say the Cats were married to the idea of drafting a point guard with their first pick because they figured they'd get Roy Hibbert later. Well, Jerryd Bayless was sitting there, waiting to be picked. Assume that, offensively, Augustin is better, because consensus is that while Bayless is a great scorer, Augustin can still put the ball in the basket and he's a better distributor. However, on defense, no matter how vague these guys' skills might be, Augustin doesn't meet minimum size thresholds necessary to defend effectively. Not only is he short, but he's slight. That is to say that Nate Robinson is very short, but dude is ripped and built like a cinder block; you can't push him around.

How much better on offense would Augustin have to be in order to make him a better prospect than Bayless? I like Augustin--really, I do--but I also know Raymond Felton is pretty decent in his own right, and adding another big man is where the team could have made the biggest talent gains.

Alexis Ajinca -- 20th overall -- 7'1" PF/C
In 25 French league games last season, Ajinca scored 5.2 points and grabbed 5.0 rebounds per game. That's not terrible for an 18 year old, by any means, but for the love of Michael Jordan, why does the team think he can help an NBA squad any time soon? There were several guys from American universities still sitting there who have proven that they can help immediately, if not become excellent players within the next few years.

Ryan Anderson -- 21/10 in the Pac Ten. I love him. There was no real reason for him to fall this far.
Darrell Arthur -- 13/6 in the Big XII. Fell because of rumors he had a kidney issue.
Kosta Koufos -- 14/6 in the Big Ten. Stiffness is an issue.
Richard Hendrix -- 18/10 in the SEC. I don't know why he fell. If you're taking a flier on some guy who scored 5/5 in a French league, why not take a flier on this guy? I don't know why he dropped so low. Maybe teams aren't looking for low post bulldogs anymore.
DeAndre Jordan -- I know, I know. He likely sucks. And I'm sticking by that. There's no use looking at his stat line, because it's just depressing. Here's the thing: If you're gonna take a big man project who might be able to come off the bench this year, why wouldn't you take a guy who at least has a track record and real consensus on his ceiling instead of a big mystery?

And if they were able to bite the bullet and move away from the desire to get a big man and simply draft the Best Player Available(tm):

Courtney Lee -- 20/5 for Western Kentucky. If he's as good as advertised, would've made the Cats a scary small-lineup scoring machine.
CDR -- 18/4 for Memphis. It's inexplicable that he lasted into the second round. His floor is Daequan Cook. It's easy to project him as a a solid bench player for years, and with a little luck, he could be a good starter. Being one of the two best players on one of the most stacked college teams in recent memory just doesn't get you anywhere these days, I guess.

I can't justify taking anyone else in the first round over Ajinca, because there is some evidence dude can play. However, given the choice of Ajinca or offering the pick straight up for a first rounder next year, just like the Nuggets did to give us the freaking thing, I'd take next year's pick.

The Ajinca Debacle (yeah, I'm calling it a debacle already) illustrates the folly of the Bobcats' draft plans. They figured they'd get a guard early, then snare a falling big man later, probably Hibbert. Unfortunately, they played their hand too early, and Indiana snagged Hibbert, leaving the Cats to make do with a pick they would have been better off without.

Kyle Weaver -- 38th overall -- 6'6" PG
I saw some Washington State games this year, and I don't really remember Weaver. They're saying he's gonna play point, which would imply Felton's on his way out. In any event, I wouldn't have thought to pick Weaver. I would've picked any of those guys listed above, or Patrick Ewing, Jr. Ewing is the kind of athletic swingman whose ceiling is a hard worker on defense who doesn't take away too much on offense, kind of like a high-flying Jared Dudley.

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So there we have it. Augustin better be awesome. I have no hope for the Rich Man's Mamoud Sene, i.e. Ajinca. If Weaver gives us anything, it's a bonus.

And for the final depressing thought, we apparently just avoided total catastrophe earlier in the week when Bryan Colangelo got a little too greedy and failed in his attempt to fleece Charlotte of Gerald Wallace in exchange for TJ Ford. Allegedly, the Hindenburg never sparked because the Raptors asked for a draft pick, too, finally causing MJ/LB to get suspicious.

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Final Assessments

Best Draft -- New Jersey Nets -- Brook Lopez, Ryan Anderson, and CDR. Wow. Those guys all have the capacity to start in the league, and it wouldn't be shocking to see Lopez or Anderson in an All Star Game someday.

Worst Draft -- Atlanta Hawks -- Congratulations. Zero picks and Mike Bibby. Good times.

Best Pick -- NJN, Ryan Anderson -- I'm telling you, he's going to be great.

Worst Pick -- Los Angeles Clippers, Eric Gordon -- They'll regret passing on Joe Alexander and a bunch of other dudes in favor of a short two guard who isn't even that much of a shooter. God bless 'em.

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