Hall of Famers: Too Early to Tell
All Stars: 5 (Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert)
Elite Starters: Goran Dragic, Deandre Jordan, Omer Asik*, Nikola Pekovic, Nicolas Batum, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon, Danilo Gallinari, Javale McGee, Robin Lopez, Ryan Anderson, Serge Ibaka
Elite Role Players: Mario Chalmers, George Hill, Luc Mbah a Moute, Mareese Speights, Courtney Lee, DJ Augustin
Busts: Joe Alexander (8th)
* Asik was considered a top flight starting center before Dwight Howard was traded to Houston, it is expected for him to return to the starting lineup with another team.
Its shocking for a draft whose players have not yet entered their primes to be considered this high, but the list of players and the potential they have is impressive. At the same time their is concern that this group may not live up to its potential.
Derrick Rose became the youngest MVP at age 22, but has suffered two devastating knee injuries in consecutive seasons. Brook Lopez had become the best low post scoring big in the NBA but has continually had foot problems.Russell Westbrook is the most dynamic guard in the league but he still struggles to stay under control. Kevin Love has become an incredible shooter, rebounder, and passer but has yet to take a team to the playoffs.
Roy Hibbert had emerged as a top center but is plagued with inconsistency. There is more to the 2008 draft, however, than just its top end stars. While some would consider Michael Beasley, taken 2nd overall, to be a bust, he has averaged 13 points for his career, once averaging nearly 20 points a game over a full season. At age 25, he should be labeled a journeyman.
Their is significant depth, starting with Goran Dragic, who made Third Team All NBA without making the All Star team. Jordan, Pekovic, and Asik form the basis of what might be the best 2nd round ever. Its very possible to revisit this group 5 years from now and see 10 all stars and 5 Hall of Famers emerge from this group.
Hall of Famers: 3 (Bill Walton,George Gervin, Jamaal Wilkes)
All Stars: 12 (Walton, Gervin, Wilkes, Maurice Lucas, John Drew, Truck Robinson, Campy Russell, Scott Wedman, Phil Smith, Brian Winters, Bobby Jones, Billy Knight)
The NBA in 1974 was facing a talent drain due to the high flying American Basketball Association, but Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas had an immediate impact on the league, winning the NBA title in the 1976-77 season. Gervin won 4 scoring titles and Jamaal Wilkes was a linchpin on the 1974-75 Champion San Francisco Warriors and later with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bobby Jones was a star in the ABA, but became one of the elite role players in the NBA as a key part of the Philadelphia 76ers, who finally won a title in 1983, after 4 Finals appearances.
Hall of Famers: 1 (Magic Johnson)
All Stars: 8 (Bill Cartwright, Bill Laimbeer, James Donaldson, Sidney Moncrief, Calvin Natt, Jim Paxon, Magic Johnson, Mark Eaton)
Elite Role Players: Vinnie Johnson, Clint Richardson, Jerry Sichting,
Busts: Greg Kelser (4th), Larry Demic (9th), Roy Hamilton (10th)
Magic changed the NBA immediately winning a championship in his rookie year and making 9 Finals appearances over his first 12 seasons. Bill Laimbeer quietly made 4 All Star appearances and was a building block of the great Detroit Pistons’ teams of the late ’80′s.
Sidney Moncrief was a dominant off guard in the first half of the 1980′s before knee injuries slowed a surefire Hall of Fame career. He made 5 consecutive All Star games. Bill Cartwright was an All Star in New York before Patrick Ewing and then morphed into a solid role player for the 3 peat Chicago Bulls in the early 90′s.