The year 2008 saw Derrick Rose going number one in the NBA draft. A native son of Chicago, he was the consensus top pick after starring for Memphis in college and was touted as the savior of the proud Bulls franchise that had been searching for a star post-Jordan. Rose delivered initially, but was he really good enough to get selected first?
Teams still need luck on their side when choosing players, no matter how good they were coming out of college. No pick is ever a 100% sure thing as roster fits matter as well as, of course, injuries. This draft was no different. For this list, we're only taking into account the careers of the players and not the roster fit with the team picking them.
No. 1 (Chicago Bulls): Russell Westbrook
Original pick: Derrick Rose
Rose is the native son but objectively, Westbrook has been better throughout his career. Overshadowed by Kevin Durant for most of his career, he has proven himself to be a legitimate superstar. With unstoppable athleticism and, here's his advantage over Rose, durability, Westbrook is a legitimate top pick talent in this draft class.
An MVP who averaged a triple-double for two seasons, and the most win shares of the whole class with 90.1, Westbrook is number one among his 2008 peers.
No. 2 (Miami Heat): Kevin Love
Original pick: Michael Beasley
Surprise surprise, it's still not Rose. Love gets the nod here because he's been a good player in his own right. Love has stayed relatively healthier and has shown the ability to lead a team as he did in Minnesota or play a complementary role as a second or third option.
Love has often been criticized by the press as well as fans but we all seem to forget that he was once good for 20 points and 15 rebounds per game in 2010-2011. Accepting of any role asked of him, Love is a consummate pro.
No. 3 (
Minesotta Timberwolves): Derrick Rose
Original pick: OJ Mayo
At the peak of his powers, Rose was a game changer. He tortured the defense with unparalleled explosiveness, was an excellent defender when engaged, and a good passer. Rose was the rookie of the year in 2009 and became the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA at age 22 in the 2010-2011 season.
Sadly, multiple knee injuries have all but ended Rose's career. Heavily reliant on his athleticism, Rose hasn't been able to compensate for the loss of his explosiveness with other skills. His peak may have been the most entertaining, but his whole career has been a sad reminder that health matters so much in the NBA.
No. 4 (Seattle SuperSonics): DeAndre Jordan
Original pick: Russell Westbrook
DeAndre Jordan was the 35th pick in this draft and he has definitely been a steal at that position. After a slow start to his career, Jordan exploded with Chris Paul's arrival. Would his career be the same without Paul? Definitely not. Is he still worth a 4th overall pick? Yes.
A rim runner that blocks shots and rebounds with aplomb, Jordan is an asset who never seems to get injured. Since he was given a chance, he's been one of the top centers in the league. His skill set is not that diverse but he knows what he does well and sticks to that.
No. 5 (Memphis Grizzlies): Serge Ibaka
Original pick: Kevin Love
Serge Ibaka was labeled as a unicorn, and rightly so, as he was one of the first players to be able to knock down threes consistently as well as block every shot in his vicinity. A three-time first team all defense, Ibaka was a vital cog in the OKC machine as the third option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
He was so important to them that they chose him over James Harden. Oops. Nowadays, Ibaka has been overtaken by the league as many more players like him are arriving. He can call himself a trendsetter though, and he was a good player in his years for OKC and remains serviceable until now.
No. 6 (New York Knicks): Goran Dragic
Original pick: Danilo Gallinari
Dragic has blossomed into a legitimate star in the NBA. A deft finisher at the rim and a slippery operator, capable of playing as a point or shooting guard, Dragic is a problem for defenders even if he doesn't make a lot of threes.
Not the greatest of defenders, but he doesn't need to be in order to provide value for a team. Dragic is a star and he deserves to be recognized as such.
No. 7 (Los Angeles Clippers): Brook Lopez
Original pick: Eric Gordon
Lopez is a scoring center who has added a three-point shot in recent seasons. He has always been limited by his lack of explosiveness but he is smart, especially on offense where he can hurt you in a myriad of ways.
A great value at number 7, especially considering he has been healthy for most of his career and has shown the capability to adjust his game to fit the shoot happy NBA nowadays.
No. 8 (Milwaukee Bucks): Eric Gordon
Original pick: Joe Alexander
First, does anyone remember Joe Alexander? No? Okay, just checking.
Eric Gordon has always been talented, but has rarely been healthy. Gordon has only topped 70 games in two seasons but has shown the ability to be a knockdown shooter and a great slasher. He doesn't play a ton of defense and rarely contributes in other areas. Much like Lopez, he does what he does well. If only the injury bug stops affecting him.
No. 9 (Charlotte Bobcats): Nicolas Batum
Original pick: DJ Augustin
Batum is an extremely versatile player, capable of fulfilling a number of roles. He may not do one thing to the highest level, but he is a classic Jack-of-all-trades who will help any team that gets him.
Need a shot? Batum can score. Need defense and rebounding? Batum and his 6'8" body with his speed can handle all types of ball handlers and corral boards. Need a secondary playmaker, Batum has averaged almost 4 assists per game in his career.
No. 10 (New Jersey Nets): Danilo Gallinari
Original pick: Brook Lopez
Gallinari beats out the likes of George Hill, Courtney Lee, and Ryan Anderson by virtue of proving himself as a player leading the offense or a more than
Gallinari does miss a lot of games though, and that, along with his less versatile game is why he's slotted behind Batum.