History tells us that teams can find what they are looking for at the end of the first round and the second round seems to become more productive every year. The 2008 draft may not offer a dominant big man but there are some good choices to be made at every position.
And there’s always the chance of landing a sleeper.
Last year, everyone recognized the high-scoring ability of Eastern Washington’s Rodney Stuckey, but many questioned whether he could make the transition from the Big Sky to the NBA. Not the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons took Stuckey with the 15th pick overall and they ended up with a strong, combination guard who was a fixture in Detroit’s rotation by the end of the season and into the playoffs.
And don’t forget the lesson of Carl Landry. The former All-Big Ten player from Purdue was Seattle’s selection with the first pick of the second round in 2007 draft — the No. 31 selection overall. The SuperSonics traded him to Houston, where he began the season on the bench. But after Yao Ming was injured, Landry emerged as an important role player and a big part of the Rockets’ historic 22-game winning streak. Landry averaged 8.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and shot better than 61 percent from the floor in 42 games during the regular season.
Just because commissioner David Stern leaves the podium, it doesn’t mean you need to switch channels or turn your TV off.
The top sleeper in the 2008 draft might be Rider’s Jason Thompson. The senior power forward recorded three games last season with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. Those are the type of numbers that made Beasley a household name, but because Thompson played at a small school in a small conference, he didn’t receive near the amount of publicity as the Kansas State freshman.
Rider and Kansas State actually met on Nov. 25, 2007. The Wildcats won 82-69 but Thompson had 24 points and 13 rebounds while Beasley was held to 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Don’t read any of that the wrong way. By no means are we trying to suggest that Thompson will be another Beasley in the NBA. He is not the sensational athlete or the franchise player Beasley may become. He had a tendency to become frustrated when he faced better players. But Thompson is a solid big man with an NBA body at 6-11 and 250 pounds.
Forget the knock that Thompson didn’t play against quality competition. He was consistent as a senior and the progress he made every season at Rider shows he is willing to learn and improve his game. Thompson improved his scoring average from 9.1 as a freshman to 16.6, then 20.1 and finally 20.4 as a senior. His improvement was just as noticeable on the boards. His rebounding average increased from 7.4 as a freshman to 12.1 as a senior.
His game is still raw and there’s no doubt Thompson could do everything just a little better. But it’s that upside that makes him worth picking, even if it is in the second round.
Indiana lost Game 1 in OT on a LeBron James layup at the buzzer. Game 2 offers a chance to even the series.
PBT: Pacers coach Frank Vogel said that the Heat have a more effective plan of attack against Roy Hibbert than the Knicks.
Not every No. 1 pick is an easy one. See which teams wish they could turn back the clock and which surprising players were (and weren't) taken first.
Video: NBA from NBC Sports
DPS: Is it really all about the rings?
DPS: Dan Patrick talks about Phil Jackson's comments about starting a team with Bill Russell now because of his championships and brings up the great question of, if it's all about championships, how come we don't talk about guys like Sam Jones, Frank Ramsey or John Havlicek who all have multiple rings?
Latest from ProBasketballTalk
Get your NBA cheer on
Check out some of the dancers from the NBA.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.