With the 8th pick in the 2008 SBNation NBA Mock Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks, represented by BrewHoop , select...
Anthony Randolph, Forward, Louisiana State University. 6-11, 220 lbs.
As we huddled in our virtual war room last night, Alex and I agreed that there were four guys we were focusing on with the Bucks' pick: Anthony Randolph, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Joe Alexander. The order depends on which one of us you asked and what time of day it was (I really like Westbrook in the late morning for some reason). Anyway, it's been obvious for a while Love probably wouldn't be around, and at least him going fifth prevents the awkwardness of the Bucks having 18 young PFs on the roster. Yet Love was so damn productive last year that I still would have had a hard time passing on him. Westbrook meanwhile would seemingly fit Scott Skiles' defensive, up-tempo system to a T, along with bringing bona fide star potential at the NBA's sexiest position. Danilo Gallinari probably should be in the mix as well, but with all the talk about him perhaps returning to Italy if he doesn't end up in the New York metro area, we'll pass, thank you very much. The summer of Yi was enough excitement for us. A trade down for someone like Brandon Rush would also be appealing, but taking him at eight seems like a reach. Speaking of trading, does anyone want to trade up for Brook Lopez? He's got a great personality. Anyone? Look at his winning smile. No? OK, nevermind.
With Love and Westbrook off the board, that effectively left the decision between Randolph and Alexander, currently the people's choice in our latest reader poll. Alexander was a marginal first rounder a few months ago, but a big finish to his junior season (23.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg in his last eight games) opened eyes. And once the games were over, his absurd athleticism and beastly work ethic started winning people over left and right. His dedication to the game borders on derangement, something which would no doubt mesh well with the blue collar mentality that Skiles and Hammond would like to see develop in Milwaukee. And his athletic white guy novelty factor (AWGNF) is off the charts. Still, he also needs to develop his perimeter game and figure out how to score without needing a ton of shots, which was a problem even during his hot streak. Plus, there are a lot of moments when he just looks like a guy who has only played organized ball for five years.
On the other side you have Randolph, who brings massive potential but plenty of question marks as well. He's frighteningly skinny (6'10", 197 pounds). He takes bad shots (46.4% fg) and can't shoot that well anyway (2/19 from three). His team sucked. And the last two über-athletic tweeners who came out of LSU with this much hype were, gulp, Stromile Swift (#2 in 2000) and Tyrus Thomas (#4 in 2006). So yeah, we'd be lying if we said Randolph was a sure thing.
But it's tough to dwell on the negatives with an 18-year old kid who dribbles ambidextrously like a two, blocks shots like a five, and rebounds like a four. As good as Andrew Bogut is and Yi Jianlian might be, neither has the look of a superstar. Randolph may never get there either, but he has a chance. As a Tayshaun Prince-like small forward who could potentially beef up into a mismatch-causing four, Randolph could be a perfect addition to a team that desperately needs help at the forward position and is thinking longer-term anyway. It's that sort of RIDICULOUS UPSIDE® which was the deciding factor for us. Randolph was already about as productive as Alexander last year, despite being 30 months younger than the West Virginia junior. The kid will no doubt take his lumps in the NBA and his body might not be as NBA-ready as Alexander's, but for the Bucks to ever contend they will need to gamble sometime. Why not start now?
The Charlotte Bobcats, represented by Queen City Hoops , are on the clock.
The 2008 SB Nation Mock Draft so far:
1. Chicago Bulls- Blog-A-Bull: Derrick Rose
2. Miami Heat- Peninsula is Mightier: Michael Beasley
3. Minnesota Timberwolves- Canis Hoopus: OJ Mayo
4. Seattle Supersonics- Ridiculous Upside: Eric Gordon
5. Memphis Grizzlies- 3 Shades of Blue: Kevin Love
6. New York Knicks- Posting and Toasting: Russell Westbrook
7. Los Angeles Clippers- Clips Nation: Jerryd Bayless
8. Milwaukee Bucks- BrewHoop: Anthony Randolph