2008 NBA re-draft: The way it should have been
The 2008 draft is low-key one of the best of the century with a bunch of players still productive in the NBA to this day.
This class is of course led by Russell Westbrook and it features six other All-Stars. (Two of them were selected in the second round).
Additionally, this draft has a low number of busts, with only two lottery picks not being featured in our re-draft.
No. 1 pick: Russell Westbrook
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Russell Westbrook came into the NBA after an impressive sophomore season at UCLA, where he shared the court with the likes of Kevin Love and Darren Collison. UCLA reached the Final Four both seasons Westbrook was there, though Love was the clear star of the team. Still, Westbrook’s explosiveness and scoring were impressive enough to get him drafted fourth overall in 2008, a draft position he has outpaced during his time in the NBA, averaging triple-doubles in three separate seasons, winning a league MVP award and being named an All-Star nine times. He might have his faults as a player but there’s no doubt Westbrook is the best player from his draft class and a future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
Actual position: No. 4
Career earnings: $291,756,333
Career stats: 22.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.4 apg, 43.8 FG%, 30.5 3P%
No. 2 pick: Kevin Love
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Kevin Love, a college teammate of Westbrook, has done enough to be considered the second-best in this draft class. Not bad for a player whose draft rights were traded for OJ Mayo after Love was selected fifth overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. At his peak, Love was a preposterously good scorer and rebounder, a floor-spacing big man with crazy face-up scoring abilities. He then acclimated well to a tertiary role with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helping the team win the 2016 championship.
Actual position: No. 5
Career earnings: $237,969,812
Career stats: 17.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 43.9 FG%, 37.0 3P%
No. 3 pick: Derrick Rose
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It was a tough call between Love and Derrick Rose for the No. 2 spot in this re-draft, but Love’s longevity (and Rose’s lack thereof) were enough to give the former Bruin the upper hand in the vote. Rose looked well on his way to a historically great career early on, winning league MVP in just his third season, 2010-11, thanks to his otherworldly athleticism for a point guard and ability to make tough shots. But injuries ended his prime prematurely and sapped away a lot of the athleticism that made him so special.
Actual position: No. 1
Career earnings: $150,016,396
Career stats: 17.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, 45.6 FG%, 31.5 3P%
No. 4 pick: Brook Lopez
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Big man Brook Lopez wasn’t some diamond-in-the-rough prospect, instead coming out of Stanford with some acclaim, enough to get him picked 10th overall by the then-New Jersey Nets. He remains an above-average starting center to this day, too, an impressive feat in its own right considering he’s now 35. Lopez deserves credit for developing his game well for the modern NBA, becoming a reliable outside shooter when so much of his early NBA career was spent posting up out of the low block and shooting hook shots.
Actual position: No. 10
Career earnings: $158,867,792
Career stats: 16.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 apg, 49.6 FG%, 34.6 3P%
No. 5 pick: DeAndre Jordan
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The highest second-round pick in our re-draft, DeAndre Jordan goes from being the actual No. 35 pick in 2008 to going fifth overall in this exercise. Jordan’s peak maybe wasn’t as impressive as other players from his draft class, but he did do enough to be a 1st Team All-NBA center once and a 3rd Team All-NBAer twice, though that in part had to do with how weak the center position was league-wide in the mid-2010s before the recent boon at the position. Still, Jordan was an elite defender and rebounder, as well as a monster above-the-rim finisher out of the pick-and-roll.
Actual position: No. 35
Career earnings: $162,940,691
Career stats: 9.0 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg, 67.5 FG%, 15.4 3P%
No. 6 pick: Goran Dragic
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Another second-round success story from 2008, Goran Dragic was roughly an All-Star-level guard in his prime, which took place between his time with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, even helping the latter reach the 2020 NBA Finals. Dragic was a poor man’s Westbrook, a player who could put his shoulder down and get to the rim against anyone, and one who was a beast in transition. Dragic also did well to develop his outside jumper and stop-and-pop midrange shooting, which really helped him extend his prime.
Actual position: No. 45
Career earnings: $152,467,157
Career stats: 13.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.7 apg, 45.9 FG%, 36.1 3P%
No. 7 pick: Serge Ibaka
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A three-time 1st Team All-Defense big man, Serge Ibaka was considered the best shot-blocker in the NBA for many years, a true terror for foes as a rim-protector. Ibaka was also able to develop his midrange and outside jumpers to help modernize his game when he was originally more just a play-finisher around the rim. Ibaka played an important role for the 2019 Toronto Raptors team that won a championship, too.
Actual position: No. 24
Career earnings: $138,844,561
Career stats: 12.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 51.3 FG%, 35.9 3P%
No. 8 pick: Eric Gordon
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Although Eric Gordon played just one year at Indiana, he did enough as a Hoosier by averaging nearly 21 points per game in college to warrant a No. 7 pick in the 2008 draft, a position he has pretty much lived up to in the NBA. Gordon was a very solid scorer, one who could get buckets from all three levels, though primarily from beyond the arc. He has never provided much outside of scoring but he was effective and efficient enough as a bucket-getter to stick it out in the NBA to this day.
Actual position: No. 7
Career earnings: $158,631,382
Career stats: 16.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.8 apg, 42.9 FG%, 37.1 3P%
No. 9 pick: Nicolas Batum
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Like Ibaka, Nicolas Batum was playing pro-level ball in Europe when he got drafted by the Houston Rockets, who then traded his draft rights for Darrell Arthur and Joey Dorsey, a move that doesn’t look great now in hindsight. Batum was a fantastic 3-and-D role-playing swingman in his prime, a player who could defend multiple positions and knock down open threes at a respectable enough rate. Like many other players from the 2008 class, Batum remains a serviceable player in the NBA to this day.
Actual position: No. 25
Career earnings: $168,137,820
Career stats: 10.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.4 apg, 43.7 FG%, 36.5 3P%
No. 10 pick: Danilo Gallinari
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Danilo Gallinari, famously booed on draft night by New York Knicks fans and referred to as the best shooter Mike D’Antoni had ever seen early on in his career, was an above-average starter in the NBA thanks to his great size and elite shooting ability. Unfortunately, constant injuries plagued him in his NBA career, causing him to miss a ton of action in his prime. Still, when healthy, Gallinari often showed why the Knicks thought highly enough of him to take him sixth overall in 2008.
Actual position: No. 6
Career earnings: $177,685,814
Career stats: 15.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.9 apg, 42.8 FG%, 38.2 3P%
Danilo Gallinari Rumors
No. 11 pick: George Hill
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Another decent starter in his prime, George Hill came out of IUPUI, a tiny college basketball program, to get taken 26th overall in 2008 by the San Antonio Spurs, who would eventually use him as part of the package to land Kawhi Leonard during the 2011 NBA Draft. Even so, Hill was a good enough player that he’ll be remembered for more than just being part of the Leonard trade. Hill could knock down open threes, run an offense and play stingy defense from his lead-guard spot.
Actual position: No. 26
Career earnings: $109,331,400
Career stats: 10.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.1 apg, 45.6 FG%, 37.9 3P%
George Hill Rumors
No. 12 pick: JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee may be remembered most for his time as basically being a walking meme during his time with the Washington Wizards, but he was a solid starter, a high-level backup type during his prime, an elite shot-blocker with fantastic length and athleticism who could finish just about everything near the rim.
Actual position: No. 18
Career earnings: $70,692,164
Career stats: 7.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 57.7 FG%, 18.6 3P%
No. 13 pick: Roy Hibbert
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A star in college at Georgetown, Roy Hibbert was a fascinating case in the NBA because he did enough with his low-block scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking to help the Pacers win a lot of games in the early 2010s and to be named an All-Star twice but even so, his NBA career would be over just three seasons after his final All-Star campaign in 2014. It probably had to do with his massive size (he was listed at 7-foot-2, 270 pounds in his heyday), causing his body to lose the little athleticism he had before even hitting 30, rendering him too slow to be an effective NBA player any longer.
Actual position: No. 17
Career earnings: $70,680,193
Career stats: 10.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg, 46.5 FG%, 25.0 3P%
Roy Hibbert Rumors
No. 14 pick: Robin Lopez
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The twin brother of Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez wasn’t as highly regarded of a prospect coming into the NBA as his brother, but he still went 15th overall in 2008. Robin Lopez has been a solid NBA player, a good finisher down low who could protect the paint on the other end. He just never developed the shooting ability his brother did, causing him to be more of a role player for the majority of his career.
Actual position: No. 15
Career earnings: $94,540,945
Career stats: 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 53.7 FG%, 30.1 3P%
Robin Lopez Rumors
No. 15 pick: Michael Beasley
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The biggest bust of the 2008 class, Michael Beasley went No. 2 overall when many thought he could go first (prior to Rose’s explosion in the 2008 NCAA Tournament), falling to the Miami Heat, where he would spend two seasons before getting shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Beasley’s main problem was that he was a player between positions in the NBA, back when positions mattered more than they do today. He wasn’t big enough to be a true big man or quick enough to be a full-time wing. Beasley could score thanks to his reliable face-up game and pretty jumper, but he wasn’t all that efficient and wasn’t a huge threat from three, which pretty much doomed his NBA career as far as becoming a star.
Actual position: No. 2
Career earnings: $40,612,888
Career stats: 12.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.3 apg, 46.5 FG%, 34.9 3P%
Michael Beasley Rumors
No. 16 pick: Mario Chalmers
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After winning a national title at Kansas, beating Rose’s Memphis team in the championship game, Mario Chalmers was drafted in the second round by the Heat, where he went on to have a solid career as a point guard who could play off the ball, rack up steals and knock down open threes.
Actual position: No. 34
Career earnings: $24,872,315
Career stats: 8.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 41.7 FG%, 35.1 3P%
Mario Chalmers Rumors
No. 17 pick: Ryan Anderson
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A prototypical stretch-4 power forward, Ryan Anderson has lived up to his draft billing, hitting a lot of three-pointers in his career, though without providing much else outside of spot-up three-point shooting.
Actual position: No. 21
Career earnings: $109,360,492
Career stats: 12.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.9 apg, 42.2 FG%, 38.0 3P%
Ryan Anderson Rumors
No. 18 pick: DJ Augustin
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DJ Augustin was a star in college at Texas, being named a 1st Team All-American as a sophomore before declaring for the draft, which helped him get selected ninth overall in 2008. He didn’t quite live up to that in the NBA, though he was a solid starter in the NBA for some years thanks to his elite quickness and deep shooting range.
Actual position: No. 9
Career earnings: $63,752,723
Career stats: 9.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.9 apg, 41.2 FG%, 38.1 3P%
No. 19 pick: OJ Mayo
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The player whose draft rights were traded for Love on draft night, Mayo was thought of as potentially being the next great NBA 2-guard, something he failed to live up to despite a solid start to his career. Mayo averaged 18.5 points as a rookie, a career-high mark, before seeing his play fall off by his third season. His NBA career didn’t last into his age-29 season.
Actual position: No. 3
Career earnings: $46,149,437
Career stats: 13.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 42.9 FG%, 37.3 3P%
OJ Mayo Rumors
No. 20 pick: Courtney Lee
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A high-flying wing who could defend, provide energy and shoot threes, Courtney Lee was a decent NBA player in his career, which is about all you can expect from a first-round pick in the 20s.
Actual position: No. 22
Career earnings: $75,428,153
Career stats: 9.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 45.1 FG%, 38.8 3P%
Courtney Lee Rumors
No. 21 pick: Nikola Pekovic
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Injuries shortened his prime, which was particularly unfortunate because Nikola Pekovic was a throwback-but-effective center in his prime, an absolute bruiser who would bully defenders until they were under the basket, and finish with aplomb around the basket.
Actual position: No. 31
Career earnings: $73,143,600
Career stats: 12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.6 bpg, 51.8 FG%, 76.0 FT%
Nikola Pekovic Rumors
No. 22 pick: Luc Mbah a Moute
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A teammate of Westbrook’s, Collison’s, and Love’s at UCLA (is it any surprise they made it to back-to-back Final Fours?), Luc Mbah a Moute was a defensive specialist with good length who could hit open threes.
Actual position: No. 37
Career earnings: $31,024,380
Career stats: 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 apg, 45.4 FG%, 33.4 3P%
Luc Mbah a Moute Rumors
No. 23 pick: Marreese Speights
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Out of the University of Florida, Marreese Speights developed into an interesting big man in his prime, one who played like a guard at times thanks to his shooting and ball-handling in one-on-one situations. He wasn’t traditional in that he didn’t provide much rebounding or defense but he could score off the bench.
Actual position: No. 16
Career earnings: $26,389,661
Career stats: 7.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.7 apg, 45.9 FG%, 35.6 3P%
Marreese Speights Rumors
No. 24 pick: Jerryd Bayless
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Jerryd Bayless, after a superstar high-school career, was impressive in his one year at Arizona before declaring for the draft. He never really lived up to that billing out of high school, lasting a while in the NBA but just as a role player who could provide some scoring off the bench.
Actual position: No. 11
Career earnings: $48,706,520
Career stats: 8.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 41.1 FG%, 36.1 3P%
Jerryd Bayless Rumors
No. 25 pick: Omer Asik
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Omer Asik wasn’t a star, but he was a decent enough role player for a spell in the NBA thanks to his elite screen-setting and strong rebounding game.
Actual position: No. 36
Career earnings: $69,702,436
Career stats: 5.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.7 apg, 52.8 FG%, 55.1 FT%
Omer Asik Rumors
No. 26 pick: Anthony Morrow
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A shooting specialist. who hit 41.7 percent of his career threes, Anthony Morrow lasted nine seasons in the NBA, peaking in 2010-11 with the Nets at 13.2 points per game. He even led the league in three-point accuracy his rookie season at 46.7 percent.
Actual position: Undrafted
Career earnings: $24,237,958
Career stats: 9.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 44.7 FG%, 41.7 3P%
Anthony Morrow Rumors
No. 27 pick: Timofey Mozgov
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The recipient of one of the worst contracts in NBA history, Timofey Mozgov did play a role in the 2016 championship Cavs team thanks to his pick-and-roll finishing and rebounding.
Actual position: Undrafted
Career earnings: $82,132,279
Career stats: 6.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 apg, 53.5 FG%, 73.8 FT%
Timofey Mozgov Rumors
No. 28 pick: Jason Thompson
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Jason Thompson became the 12th pick in the 2008 draft despite coming out of small Rider but never really lived up to being a lottery pick, despite averaging double-digit points three times in his career.
Actual position: No. 12
Career earnings: $35,473,022
Career stats: 8.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49.6 FG%, 65.7 FT%
No. 29 pick: Kosta Koufos
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A five-star prospect in high school, Kosta Koufos spent one season at Ohio State before declaring for the draft. He lasted 11 seasons in the NBA, too, though mostly as a bench player.
Actual position: No. 23
Career earnings: $47,778,792
Career stats: 5.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.5 apg, 53.4 FG%, 58.2 FT%
Kosta Koufos Rumors
No. 30 pick: Anthony Randolph
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Anthony Randolph looked intriguing early on in his NBA career, thanks to his guard-like skills in his big-man size, but he never put it all together in the NBA. He has, however, had an impressive career overseas, winning a Euroleague championship at Real Madrid in 2018.
Actual position: No. 14
Career earnings: $13,673,791
Career stats: 7.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 45.3 FG%, 24.1 3P%
Anthony Randolph Rumors
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
Anthony Morrow: From undrafted to No. 26
Timofey Mozgov: From undrafted to No. 27
Goran Dragic: From No. 45 to No. 6 (+39)
DeAndre Jordan: From No. 35 to No. 5 (+30)
Mario Chalmers: From No. 34 to No. 16 (+18)
Serge Ibaka: From No. 24 to No. 7 (+17)
Nicolas Batum: From No. 25 to No. 9 (+16)
George Hill: From No. 26 to No. 11 (+15)
Luc Mbah a Moute: From No. 37 to No. 22 (+15)
Highest picks not listed
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Joe Alexander: No. 8
Brandon Rush: No. 13
JJ Hickson: No. 19
Alexis Ajinca: No. 20
Story originally appeared on HoopsHype
Source: Yahoo Sports