The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

2008 NBA Draft Recap and Early Projections: Part One

This is part one in a series of four parts recapping all of the transactions made in the NBA on Draft Day 2008, and making very early projections for the upcoming 2008-2009 season. Coming on Friday will be the Southeast Division along with the completion of the Eastern Conference.

Eastern Conference – Atlantic Division

Boston (66-16, NBA Champions)

The #30 selection in the draft (J.R. Giddens out of New Mexico)
The #60 selection in the draft (Semih Erden out of Turkey)

Traded away the #47 selection in Bill Walker out of Kansas State to the Washington Wizards for cash considerations

Key contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Rajon Rondo, SG Ray Allen, SF Paul Pierce, PF Kevin Garnett, and C Kendrick Perkins. Key unrestricted free agents include PF/C P.J. Brown, PG Sam Cassell, PG Eddie House, C Scot Pollard, and SF James Posey, while SG Tony Allen will be a restricted free agent, and PF Leon Powe has limited salary protection.

Report Card: Still a great team as long as Allen, Pierce and Garnett are healthy. They really did not need to prove anything in the draft, and picked based on the best available player. As long as they are able to fill in the gaps this off-season by resigning a few guys like Posey and Howe, they will not miss a beat. No way they are not a top two seed in the Eastern Conference next season, 55+ wins is a given. Projection: #1 in Atlantic, #1 in East, between 55-59 wins.

Toronto (41-41, #6 seed and lost in five games in the first round)

PF/C Jermaine O’Neal from Indiana
Traded away PG T.J. Ford, C Rasho Nesterovic, and the #17 pick in Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown for O’Neal

Key contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be SG Anthony Parker, SF Jamario Moon, PF Chris Bosh, PF/C Jermaine O’Neal, PF Andrea Bargnani, and SF Jason Kapono. Key restricted free agents include PG Jose Calderon and SG Carlos Delfino, while C Primoz Brezec is an unrestricted free agent.

Report Card: I am not so sure what they were thinking in trading away Ford, and a budding prospect in Hibbert for the oft-injured O’Neal. The addition of him to the mix will be similar to the addition of Larry Hughes in Cleveland, and Toronto will not improve as much as they should next season with such a young roster. If they re-sign Calderon, I am guessing just a little bit better than last season, if not, they are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs. Projection: #3 in Atlantic, #8 in East, between 38-42 wins.

Philadelphia (40-42, #7 seed and lost in six games in the first round)

The #16 selection in the draft (Marreese Speights out of Florida)

Key contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Andre Miller, SG Willie Green, SF Rodney Carney, PF Reggie Evans, C Samuel Dalembert, and PF Thaddeus Young. Key restricted free agents include PF Louis Amundson, PF Herbert Hill, C Shavlik Randolph, PG Louis Williams and SF Andre Igoudala while PG Kevin Ollie is an unrestricted free agent.

Report Card: As long as they can keep Igoudala, and Williams, I believe that this team is capable of performing just as they did in the second half of this past season. I really like the addition of Marreese Speights to the team, and he will be a great fit with Evans, Dalembert and Young. Might be able to surpass Toronto within the division, and might be in contention for first round home court advantage if they continue to improve. Projection: #2 in Atlantic, #4 in East, between 44-48 wins.

New Jersey (34-48, #10 in conference, three games out of playoffs)

The #10 selection in the draft (Brook Lopez out of Stanford)
The #20 selection in the draft (Ryan Anderson out of California)

The #40 selection in the draft (Chris Douglas-Roberts out of Memphis)

SF Bobby Simmons from Milwaukee

PF Yi Jianlian from Milwaukee

Traded away F Richard Jefferson to Milwaukee for Simmons and Jianlian

Key contributors on the team in 2008-209 are projected to be PG Devin Harris, SG Vince Carter, SF Bobby Simmons, PF Yi Jianlian, C Sean Williams and PF Josh Boone. Key unrestricted free agents include PG Darrell Armstrong, C DeSagana Diop, C Stromile Swift and SF Bostjan Nachbar, while PF Nenad Krstic is a restricted free agent and SF Keith Van Horn has limited salary protection.

Report Card: The rumors of New Jersey already planning to court LeBron James in the summer of 2010 must be true, as I see very little evidence that the Nets will be any better this coming season. Lopez and Douglas-Roberts should be solid players in the future, but I do not see them coming in and lifting this team into the playoffs. Vince Carter is way past his prime, and Bobby Simmons and Yi Jianlian cannot be relied upon to be the cornerstones of a playoff team. I would be shocked if they win more than 40 games. Projection: #4 in Atlantic, #13 in East, between 30-34 wins.

New York (23-59, #14 in conference, fourteen games out of playoffs)

The #6 selection in the draft (Danilo Gallinari out of Italy)

Key contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Stephon Marbury, SG Jamal Crawford, SF Quentin Richardson, PF Zach Randolph, C Eddy Curry, PG Nate Robinson and PF David Lee. C Randolph Morris is a restricted free agent, while SG Fred Jones is an unrestricted free agent.

Report Card: Despite the chorus of boos from the Knicks fans at the Draft on Thursday, I believe that drafting the SF Gallinari will be a key boost for the long-term. However, with an already chaotic roster of players, I do not think he will be able to take over a starting position just yet. This team looks talented on paper, and with D’Antonio as the coach I can see them improving a little bit. They are one or two years away from making a run at the playoffs, but they are moving in the right direction with the selection of Gallinari. They are looking better, but may still be the worst team in the conference. Projection: #5 in Atlantic, #15 in East, between 26-30 wins.

Eastern Conference – Central Division

Detroit (59-23, #2 seed and lost in six games in the Conference Finals)

The #32 selection in the draft from Seattle (Walter Sharpe out of UAB)
The #46 selection in the draft from Seattle (Trent Plaisted out of BYU)

The #59 selection in the draft (Deron Washington out of Virginia Tech)

Traded away the #29 selection in D.J. White out of Indiana to the Seattle Sonics for Sharpe and Plaisted.

Key contributors on the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Chauncey Billups, SG Richard Hamilton, SF Tayshaun Prince, PF Rasheed Wallace, C Antonio McDyess, SG Rodney Stuckey and PF Jason Maxiell. Key unrestricted free agents include SG Juan Dixon, SF Jarvis Hayes, PG Lindsey Hunter and C Theo Ratliff while SF Walter Hermann is a restricted free agent.

Report Card: Rumors are that the Pistons are shopping out one of their main four players in Billups, Hamilton, Prince and Wallace. If one of them is gone, I do not see this team improving much. They disappointed me against Boston in the playoffs after pulling off 59 wins in the regular season, and I called this dynasty dead after the Cavaliers beat them in the playoffs in 2006-2007. This will be the beginning of the end for streak of Detroit success, and I think this will be the first time in a while they will not make the Eastern Conference Finals. Projection: #2 in Central, #5 in East, between 43-47 wins.

Cleveland (45-37, #4 seed and lost in seven games in the Conference Semifinals)

The #19 selection in the draft (J.J. Hickson out of NC State)
The #52 selection in the draft from Miami (Darnell Jackson out of Kansas)

The #56 selection in the draft from Seattle (Sasha Kaun out of Kansas)

Traded away a future second round pick to the Miami Heat for Jackson, and traded away cash considerations to the Seattle Sonics for Kaun.

Key contributors for the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be SG Sasha Pavlovic, SF LeBron James, SF Wally Szczerbiak, PF Joe Smith, C Anderson Varejao, C Zydrunas Ilgauskas and C Ben Wallace. Key restricted free agents include PG Daniel Gibson, PG Delonte West and C Dwayne Jones, while SF Devin Brown is an unrestricted free agent, and PF Lance Allred and SG Billy Thomas have no salary protection.

Report Card: Yes, the Cavaliers desperately need a second option on offense alongside LeBron James. Yes, they desperately need to resign Delonte West, Daniel Gibson and Devin Brown and continue to exploit as much as they can out of these players. The good news however for Northeast Ohio fans is that this team is very young, and the acquisitions of Hickson and Jackson should help out the sketchy frontcourt. If the Cavaliers are able to acquire a consistent starting guard, then I think they will revert back to 50 wins this coming season. They hit that mark in the previous two seasons, before serious injuries brought them down to 45. Projection: #1 in Central, #2 in East, between 46-50 wins.

Indiana (36-46, #9 in conference, one game out of the playoffs)

PG T.J. Ford from Toronto
PG Jarrett Jack from Portland

F Josh McRoberts from Portland

C Rasho Nesterovic from Toronto

The #13 selection in the draft from Portland (Brandon Rush out of Kansas)

The #17 selection in the draft from Toronto (Roy Hibbert out of Georgetown)

The #41 selection in the draft (Nathan Jawai out of Australia)

Traded away F Ike Diogu and the #11 selection in Jerryd Bayless out of Arizona to the Portland Trailblazers for Rush, Jack and McRoberts. Traded away PF/C Jermaine O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors for Ford, Nesterovic and Hibbert.

Key contributors to the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG T.J. Ford, SG Mike Dunleavy, SF Danny Granger, PF Troy Murphy, C Jeff Foster, PG Jamaal Tinsley and SG Marquis Daniels. Key restricted free agents include C David Harrison, PG Andre Owens, while PG Flip Murray and SG Kareem Rush are unrestricted free agents.

Report Card: I really like the Jermaine O’Neal trade from the Pacers perspective. It enabled them to get Roy Hibbert, who should be a solid pro, and T.J. Ford, who is an above average starting point guard in this league. Brandon Rush was another great draft pick, and with a solid and young core of Ford, Dunleavy, Granger, and Murphy, I expect this team to drastically improve in the years to come. But I still find it hard for them to make it to the playoffs this coming year, because the Bulls will not be able to repeat what happened last year, and the Bobcats and Hawks will be much improved as well. Projection: #4 in Central, #9 in East, between 36-40 wins.

Chicago (33-49, #11 in conference, four games out of playoffs)

The #1 selection in the draft (Derrick Rose out of Memphis)
The #36 selection in the draft from Portland (Omer Asik out of Turkey)

Denver’s second round pick in 2009
Traded away the #39 selection in Sonny Weems out of Alabama to Denver for their future second round pick and traded away two future second round picks to Portland for Asik.

Key contributors for the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Derrick Rose, SG Larry Hughes, SF Andres Nocioni, PF Drew Gooden, C Joakim Noah, SG Thabo Sefolosha and PF Tyrus Thomas. Key restricted free agents include SF Luol Deng, SF Demetris Nichols and SG Ben Gordon while SG Shannon Brown and PG Chris Duhon are unrestricted free agents and SG JamesOn Curry has limited salary protection.

Report Card: I still do not understand how a team with such promise and upside delivered a 33 win season. With Derrick Rose added to the picture, and probably a trade or two projected to happen within the coming months, Chicago should move right back on track into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. I am still not that big of a fan of their frontcourt, which lacks serious height, but I think their solid guard play in Rose, Hughes, Deng and Gordon should be enough as long as they stay together. Projection: #3 in Central, #7 in East, between 40-44 wins.

Milwaukee (26-56, #13 in conference, eleven games out of playoffs)

The #8 selection in the draft (Joe Alexander out of West Virginia)
The #37 selection in the draft (Luc Richard Mbah a Moute out of UCLA)

F Richard Jefferson from New Jersey

Traded away SF Bobby Simmons and PF Yi Jianlian to the New Jersey Nets for Jefferson.

Key contributors for the team in 2008-2009 are projected to be PG Maurice Williams, SG Michael Redd, SF Richard Jefferson, PF Charlie Villanueva, C Andrew Bogut, SG Charlie Bell and SF Desmond Mason. Key unrestricted free agents include PG Royal Ivey, C Michael Ruffin, and C Jake Voshkul, while SF Awvee Storey is a restricted free agent and PG Ramon Sessions has limited salary protection.

Report Card: Talking to my brother Sam, and to the only true Milwaukee Bucks fan I know in Akron Aeros Director of Media Relations Rob Sinclair, has led me to believe that the Richard Jefferson trade might be enough to bring the Bucks from lottery team to early exit playoff team. The only thing stopping that from happening is the mass amount of teams in the East that happen to be just above average, such as Charlotte, Toronto, Indiana, Chicago and Atlanta. All of those teams are better than Milwaukee right now, and only if Richard Jefferson can play like he did in the glory days of the New Jersey Nets can the Bucks make the playoffs. Projection: #5 in Central, #11 in East, between 32-36 wins.

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June 30, 2008 - Posted by | NBA Draft | , , ,

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