I have now updated my top ten draft picks I want the Sixers to target before the 08 NBA draft.
1. PF Michael Beasley- he's the prize of the draft. He IS the future of the NBA power forward. The size, attitude and rebounding tenacity of Kenyon Martin when he entered the NBA + the dribbling and shooting of Lebron James = BEST POWER FORWARD PROSPECT I HAVE EVER SEEN. He can simply do it all. His ceiling is through the roof and a can't miss talent. Beasley would instantly change the entire offense of the Sixers the second he plays. He may not have it on defense, but his ability on offense more than makes up for his laziness on d.
2. PG Derrick Rose- the 'other' can't miss prospect of the nba draft. His athleticism and first step quickness is beyond anything the nba has ever seen. While he may not have the best mid range game, he does have solid and fluid mechanics to be a reliable jump shooter. Passing, intangibles, transition, finsishing, and leadership qualities are all there and top notch. Bottomline, his skill level is the best I've ever seen in a point guard prospect, which is even more incredible due to the fact that he is a pass first point guard.
3. SG Eric Gordon- the Michael Jordan comparisons of Eric Gordon before he played a single college game don't seem that far off now do they? A freshman shooting guard averaging almost 30 per game? That is unheard of. After watching several of Gordon's game so far, I can tell you right now that his ability to score the ball are right up there with the best of them. He may not have height, but his ridiculous and consistent ability from range and freakish ability to attack the rim and finish in traffic are top notch. I'm almost completely confident that Eric Gordon will lead the NBA sometime in points per game. IMO he is a Dwayne Wade clone with better range. Oh and by the way, he is a MUCH better passer than first stated.
4. PF Blake Griffin- another freshman power forward that won't get much media due to the storm that is following Michael Beasley. Blake Griffin, a bruising power forward, is quietly averaging 15 and 9 for the Sooners early on. I've only seen him once, but other than Beasley, he is extremely athletic for a power forward. This is more of a need pick. While the Sixers desperately need a point guard and OJ Mayo could be their guy, I believe that the need to seriously upgrade their front court is more important.
5. PG/SG OJ Mayo- surprise! Another freshman! OJ Mayo is a hit or miss prospect IMO. While he is and will be extremely streaky in the NBA, no one can argue his ceiling or scoring ability. He is a lights out, premiere scorer who may have just as potential as Derrick Rose. He is the total package, it just isn't as developed as much as Derrick Rose right now. Other than Beasley and Rose, in terms of pure talent, Mayo is just a slim notch below them. Any team that has the opportunity to get this guy will have a future all star on their team for many many years. While many stray away from the hated 'combo' guard, you just can't get away from his talent. I've always been one to put the 'true' point guard on a pedestal, but I would take OJ Mayo in a heart beat if we had the chance. He has every shot to be as good or even better than his competition, Derrick Rose in the NBA.
6. C Kosta Koufas-As many of you know I am not a fan of Samuel Dalembert. There is nothing in Sammy D's game that shouts out as him being a championship worthy center in this league. The Sixers need a fresh, new look with their front court, and moving Sammy might be the key. I've seen more than I need of Koufas' game to know that he is a premiere talent, plus it would be nice to start getting into the foreign market with the American/Greek big man. He is an Ilgauskas clone with an even better jump shot and more range. Unlike many white centers, his wing span is immense and he is an aggressive scorer in the paint with excellent moves already. He is extremely polished and has more of a face to the basket type game. His defense isn't where you would want it to be right now, but he is an offensive center and there aren't many of those in the NBA these days.
7. C Roy Hibbert- see number six about Dalembert. Hibbert may not have the highest ceiling in the world for an NBA center, but his size, dependability, offensive polish and presence are significant enough to make him a top 5 pick in the NBA draft. Hibbert and Koufas will battle it out as the first center taken off the board, and it will be a close one. IMO it will done by teams' need instead of talent because they are both very, very good prospects. Where Koufas may give you 18 and 9 someday down the line, I think Hibbert will give you 10/10 for a very long time. That's much more than you can ask in terms of the quality of centers in today's NBA.
8. SG Nicolas Batum- he was my number one guy in last year's draft before he opted out at the last second. He's a 6'8 off guard with the largest wingspan I've seen in a long time. While he's extremely talented in passing, defending, leading and athleticism are all top notch, he is a bit inconsistent shooting the ball. With all that said, his ceiling is just as high as Eric Gordons' potential. Why? If Batum can ever put it all together he will be literally unstoppable. He, like Michael Beasley of the power forwards, is the future of the NBA 2 guard. Big guard, top notch athleticism, daunting wingspan and defense, extremely good passer, significant team player, etc. He reminds me of a lesser shooting but even better defending and rebounding Richard Hamilton. I love this kid. I fully expect Batum's stock to continue to rise all the way to the minute before the draft. He is THAT good.
9. PF Kevin Love- dependable, consistent, mature, physical, tenacious,... these are all words you hear frequently with Kevin Love. The hype of this kid before he entered college was immense, but he backed up all that talk with his early play so far this season. He's got the most sound, fundamental game I've seen since Tim Duncan, unfortunitely his athleticism is very poor for him to be a top pick. Regardless, some team will find him as a lock for the lottery. Love unfortunitely reminds me of Kris Humphries. Humphries was a top recruit for Minnesota, had an incredible freshman season and went to the draft. What has he done? Not much. I like his skill set and talent right now, but I'm afraid what you see is what you get with Kevin Love, which isn't that bad in the end.
10. PF Serge Ibaka- As some of you probably know I am a HUGE fan of this kid. Why? First, unlike many of the top prospects from Africa Ibaka already possesses very good skills and hands around the rim. He may not be experienced, and he has never faced top notch level like in college basketball, but you better watch out for this kid. He has just been approved to play overseas in Europe. Everyone better watch out because if he does well I see this kid skyrocketing up the charts. He has top five pick potential. This is the guy to look out for. Make sure you keep an eye on him because I know you'll fall in love with him.
There is my top ten list that will surely change a ton as the season progresses. Some notes: DeAndre Jordon is not on the list. I am not sold on him unlike many experts. While he may possess a top notch frame and high ceiling, I'm not sold on his athleticism and offensive game. He has to prove to me he is not just another big time recruit, because that is what I think he is. I don't have Chase Budinger up there because, well frankly, he is not anywhere near as good as the players I feel I have selected for my top ten. He may have good size and athleticism, but IMO he is not a difference maker or impact player. Donte Green did not make it because of the Sixers' needs. He is a top talent and surely among the top 10, maybe top 5, of teams who need a SF. Darrell Arthur did not make the list because I firmly believe Kansas will be his downfall. With so many talented freshman, especially freshmen bigmen, I believe his stock will only keep falling. Why? College basketball is now officially a numbers game. The numbers the freshman are putting up are staggering. Kansas is too deep and too talented. Arthur will have to become more insertive on offense or have an incredible tournament to be mentioned in my top 5. Regardless, he is a top talent.