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Posted: Thursday June 19, 2008 11:09AM; Updated: Thursday June 19, 2008 5:34PM
Ian Thomsen Ian Thomsen >
INSIDE THE NBA
Mock Draft No. 3
The big shock here is the possibility of the SuperSonics' taking Russell Westbrook at No. 4. Many in the league would criticize this high territory as too rich for Westbrook, who must grow into the new role of NBA point guard after filling in at the point part-time as a UCLA sophomore, but he is in the Sonics' mix because of his athletic potential, character, work ethic and defensive ability. The Sonics are willing to give their draft pick a couple of years to develop, in hopes that he'll be ready to contribute to a winning program as Kevin Durant begins to peak. In that context Westbrook makes sense, as do Jerryd Bayless and Brook Lopez.

 
1 PG Derrick Rose Memphis Fr. 6-3 196
The Bulls need the leadership that Rose showed in the NCAA tournament -- along with his speed, size and court vision.
2 PF Michael Beasley Kansas State Fr. 6-8 239
The Heat can't afford to pass on Beasley's outrageous talent as a scorer to bookend with Dwyane Wade.
3 C Brook Lopez Stanford Soph. 7-0 258
The scoring center will enable Al Jefferson to return to power forward. Minnesota also could pick O.J. Mayo or trade down.
4 G Russell Westbrook UCLA Soph. 6-3 192
Other options could be Lopez or Bayless, but the guess is that they choose Westbrook's defense and point-guard potential.
5 G O.J. Mayo USC Fr. 6-4 200
A big guard ready to help the Grizzlies immediately at both ends of the floor -- but they would be happy to land Kevin Love here too.
6 G Jerryd Bayless Arizona Fr. 6-3 204
This Ben Gordon-like scorer will help launch the transformation to Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo style.
7 SG Eric Gordon Indiana Fr. 6-3 222
This aggressive scorer will share the scoring burden with Cuttino Mobley and help fill the box score if Corey Maggette departs as a free agent.
8 SF Joe Alexander West Virginia Jr. 6-8 220
One of the draft's toughest guys, Alexander will plug a hole at small forward and excel for new coach Scott Skiles.
9 F/C Kevin Love UCLA Fr. 6-9 255
New coach Larry Brown will love this hard-nosed player with the skills to score and the smarts to create offense for others.
10 SF Danilo Gallinari Armani Jeans Milan (Italy) -- 6-9 221
Gallinari is a precocious athlete with an outgoing personality, and he'll hasten the Nets' rebuilding project.
 

 
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