Draft Watch: Odds now favor Rose as No. 1 pick, not Beasley
Originally Published: May 12, 2008By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesWith point guards hot right now, Derrick Rose could power past Michael Beasley for the No. 1 pick.In 2007, one question dominated the months before the NBA draft: Who is the No. 1 player in the draft? Greg Oden, a once-in-a-decade center prospect? Or Kevin Durant, who had been arguably the most productive freshman in the history of college basketball? After more than a month of deliberation, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to take Oden with the top pick. This year, again, the focus is on two players. The consensus two months ago was that Kansas State forward Michael Beasley was, far and away, the likely choice for the No. 1 pick. Beasley had a freshman season that, in almost every way, was even more impressive than Durant's. He ended the season as the country's leading rebounder and one of its top scorers -- impressive feats for an 18-year-old freshman playing in an elite conference such as the Big 12.
Beasley, a 6-foot-10 power forward, has the physical tools and basketball skills to be a great NBA player. He's a prolific scorer both inside and outside, with elite athleticism, great range on his jump shot, the power to bang in the paint, the speed to run the break and the nastiness to mix it up down low -- with the cockiness to think that he can deliver a victory for his team every night. But a late charge by Memphis point guard Derrick Rose has dramatically changed the game. Rose, not Beasley, was a dominant force in the NCAA tournament, putting on a performance that would've garnered him MOP honors for the tournament had Memphis not blown a late second-half lead in the championship game versus Kansas. Rose is considered a cross between Chris Paul and Deron Williams, with excellent size, athleticism and leadership abilities. The lack of a consistent jump shot is the only real mark against him. In the last 20 years, only one player shorter than 6-6 -- Allen Iverson -- has ever gone No. 1. When in doubt, NBA GMs almost always opt for a big man. However, as we watch point guards such as Paul, Williams and Tony Parker dominate in the playoffs, the thinking is beginning to change. It's no longer considered a given that a big man is the key to winning in the NBA. Over the past few months, I've talked to scouts and/or executives from almost every team in the draft lottery in an effort to determine what each would do with the No. 1 pick. Some were open, while some refused to answer. With character questions still swirling around Beasley, and Rose gaining stock in the eyes of NBA front-office decision-makers, Beasley is no longer the favorite to be the No. 1 pick -- and he has dropped to No. 2 on our Top 100. With about a week to go before the NBA draft lottery, Rose has emerged as the most likely candidate for the No. 1 pick. The race remains close: We're projecting seven lottery teams opting for Rose and seven for Beasley. But if you break down the likelihood of each team's landing the No. 1 pick, it's a landslide for Rose. According to our latest intel, Rose has a 66.3 percent chance of becoming the No. 1 pick -- up dramatically from the 10.5 percent chance we gave him in March. Here's the team-by-team breakdown:
Brian Spurlock/US PresswireHe may not be the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft anymore, but Michael Beasley's still got game.
To continue reading this article you must be an Insider
2008 NBA Draft
We've got the 2008 draft covered. Who are the top prospects? Check out our analysis, projections, scouting reports and more. '08 NBA Draft Index • Roundup: A rundown of who went where
• Keeping up with draft day trades
• Mayo to Memphis, Love to Minnesota
• Simmons, Ford: Great Draft Debate '08
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft 7.0: Picks 1-30 | 31-60
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft 6.1: Picks 1-30 | 31-60
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft 6.0: Picks 1-30 | 31-60
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft: Version 5.0
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft: Version 4.0
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft: Version 3.0
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft: Version 2.0
• Chad Ford's Mock Draft: Version 1.0
• Draft Machine: Make your picks
• Who's in, who's out of 2008 draft?
• Ford's Top 100: Best draft prospects
Chad Ford• Draft Watch: How high or low will they go?
• Draft Notes: Heat trading Beasley pick?
• Draft Notes: Rose-Beasley rages in Chicago
• NBA draft strategy: Ranking prospects by tiers
• Draft Watch: Teams coveting UCLA's Westbrook
• Draft Watch: Final in/out decisions made
• Draft Watch: Rush's hot, Arthur's not
• Draft Watch: International top 15
• Draft Watch: Alexander's hot, Lawson's not
• Draft Watch: Miami takes close look at Mayo
• Draft Watch: Using the measurements
• Draft Watch: Analyzing combine results
• Draft Watch: Analyzing official measurements
• Draft Notes: Who's looking to trade their pick?
• Draft Notes: Stars come out in Orlando
• Draft Notes: Beasley, Rose a marked contrast
• Draft Stock Watch: Forbes taking wing on charts
• Draft Notes: No. 1 question looms over Paxson
• Draft Watch: Lawson bouncing back
• Draft Notes: Rumors, promises and PGs
• Draft Watch: Orlando hopefuls eye first round
• Draft Watch: Could Mayo be the No. 2 pick?
• Draft Watch: Who's No. 1 -- Rose or Beasley?
• Draft Watch: Mayo's stock is rising again
• Draft Watch: Judging early entry calls
• Draft Watch: Nike Hoop Summit buzz
John Hollinger• Draft Rater: How will the Euros translate?
• Draft Rater: Who are the best perimeter players?
• Draft Rater: Who are the best big men?
• Draft Rater: Beasley has most pro potential
• Rating college prospects
More Analysis• Katz: Bayless, Gordon survived turmoil
• Katz: Freshmen could produce record numbers
• Katz: Draft trade rumors abound
• Gottlieb: Mayo impresses while others falter
• Katz: On top 12 picks
• Katz: Rose's unique passion to win
• Fraschilla: Who made right choice to return?
• Katz: Heels win on withdrawal day
• Katz: Anderson still on fence
Draft Lottery• Ford: Beasley-Rose debate rages in Chicago
• Bulls win lottery; get first pick
• Ford: Will Bulls take Beasley No. 1?
• Vote: What should Bulls do?
• Katz: Lottery projections
• Fraschilla: Projecting picks 1-14
Podcasts• NBA Dish: Paxson on winning lottery
• Mike & Mike: Paxson on No. 1 pick
• NBA Dish: Joe Abunassar, NBA trainer
• NBA Dish: Kevin Love, UCLA
SportsNation• NBA Draft polls
Fantasy• McKitish: Most freshmen have little impact
• McKitish: Beasley and Rose as NBA rooks