Redraft 2008: Kevin Love No. 1
Former UCLA star a consensus top pick, but opinion varies on Rose, others
A long time ago, the NBA draft used to have a lot of rounds. Drafts would have more than 200 selections, and many of these players would never touch a basketball professionally, let alone play in the NBA (some of the more famous draftees include Olympic track stars Carl Lewis and Bruce Jenner). Over the years, the league saw fit to reduce the number of rounds until we arrived upon the current two-round format in 1989.
The point of that introductory paragraph is that, even with just two rounds, a lot of players get drafted but don't really amount to anything in the NBA. Some are lucky to hang around for a few years, and a handful (roughly 15 or so a year) eventually become impact players as rotation guys, starters or even All-Stars.
The 2008 NBA draft was an incredibly deep class: In total, 26 out of the 30 first-round picks are active NBA players six years later, with an amazing 23 of them rotation and/or starting-caliber players. Add to that seven second-round picks who have been of the same quality, and that gives us a whopping 30 impact players.
Based on what we know now and what the teams looked like then, here is how the lottery picks (top 14) should have or even could have gone down:
1. Chicago Bulls | Actual pick: Derrick Rose
Amin Elhassan's pick: Kevin Love | David Thorpe's pick: Love
Thorpe: This class has some real superstars, but only one is the best rebounder /shooter of all time. Then throw in Love's transition passing talent and the Bulls would have one of the five best players in the world.
Elhassan: No argument here. Love has been the most consistent talent from this draft. I never really thought about the rebounding/shooting combo implications, but I won't disagree with you.
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