Bulls go for Rose over Beasley in NBA draft; Mayo, Love swap places
NEW YORK -- The 2008 NBA draft started with Derrick Rose going home and ended with a blockbuster trade between two lottery teams.
For the first time in NBA draft history, college freshmen were selected with the first three picks of the draft as the Chicago Bulls picked Memphis freshman guard Rose with the first pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, a choice that was first reported by ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
Rose, a Chicago native, was one of two players the Bulls worked out. Chicago decided to go with Rose over Kansas State freshman forward Michael Beasley.
Beasley didn't have to wait long to hear his name called, though. The Miami Heat picked him with the No. 2 overall pick and hope to add some bulk to a frontline that was weakend by a mid-season trade of Shaquille O'Neal to the Phoenix Suns. He'll join former All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion as the Heat try to rebound from a 15-67 record, worst in the Eastern Conference.
Rose is the first player taken No. 1 overall by Chicago since it selected Elton Brand in the 1999 NBA draft. Rose joins a Bulls' backcourt that already boasts veterans Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon, Larry Hughes and second-year player Thabo Sefolosha.
Rose should be an upgrade over Hinrich, who now could be traded, and gives the Bulls another option if they don't re-sign Gordon.
After he was picked, the 6-foot-3 guard put on a red Bulls cap, hugged some supporters, including Memphis coach John Calipari, and shook hands with Beasley, seated at a nearby table, before walking onto the stage to meet NBA commissioner David Stern.
"I was a little nervous when they came back out, but I always had that in mind that I want to be No. 1," Rose said. "So it was great hearing my name and being the No. 1 pick."
Expected to contend for a division title, the Bulls instead stumbled to a 33-49 record and eventually replaced two coaches. But with just a 1.7 percent chance, they won last month's draft lottery, giving them a chance to quickly return to the playoffs.
"It feels great to go in and compete," Rose said. "I'm just blessed to be in that position right now, because a lot of people aren't. And just knowing that we are a few pieces away from really contending as a team, it just makes me happy."
Rose led the Tigers to the national championship game in his lone college season. The Bulls opted for the point guard's playmaking ability over the scoring and rebounding of Beasley, who ranked in the top three in the nation in both categories.
"We talked so much about it. We really did," Bulls general manager John Paxson said. "Very honestly, at the end when we made our decision, it was unanimous with my scouts and coaches and myself. This was the direction we wanted to go in the end, and it has nothing to do with the talent of Michael Beasley. This had everything to do with the direction we felt was right for us."
Beasley is the first Kansas State player taken in the first round since Mitch Richmond was chosen fifth overall in 1988. Debate raged for weeks on whether the Bulls would pick Rose or Beasley first, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says Miami was easily convinced it would pick Beasley.
"For the last five or six weeks we did some extreme research and checked his background and we felt really comfortable," Spoelstra said. "If he was available we knew in the last few days we were going to pick him. "There was so much speculation out there that it got a little humorous. We got criticized for bringing people in but we were doing our job. We were just ready for different scenarios."
Questions surrounding Beasley's maturity were also a popular topic heading into the draft, but Spoelstra said the Heat were impressed with Beasley's off-court attitude.
"On the court he's what we're looking for. He just has a magnetic personality, a million-dollar smile. He's really at ease while sitting with the coaches. Michael is a mature young guy, a highly intelligent guy. He's very perceptive. And he asked very mature questions."
Beasley, for his part, was just glad to be selected.
"With so many trade rumors, I didn't know where I would end up. I couldn't sleep at all," Beasley said. "I'll be down there -- in Miami -- by myself. I'm gonna be me. It's a lot of stuff I can fall into but I'm just gonna live my life."
Then USC freshman Mayo was selected third by the Timberwolves as his selection marked the first time in draft history that three freshmen were selected with the first three picks. Five of the first seven players selected were freshmen, also an NBA record. It was also a big night for the Pac-10 Conference, which had five of the first 11 picks.
A pair of UCLA teammates then went in back-to-back picks. The Seattle SuperSonics, who finished with the worst record in the West, took UCLA guard Russell Westbrook fourth and the Grizzlies took his teammate Love next.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant stood and applauded the Sonics' pick from the back of the crowd at the draft.
It was the first time since 1995 that two Bruins were selected in the first round, when Ed O'Bannon went ninth and George Zidek went 22nd overall. It's also the first time since 1979 that two Bruins were selected in the Top 10 in the same draft.
The New York Knicks selected sixth, but their pick wasn't exactly well-received. They selected Italian League teenage star Danilo Gallinari and he was showered with boos by the Knicks fans in attendance at Madison Square Garden. Gallinari's father, Vittorio, was a teammate of Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni when both played in Italy.
"It's part of the game, all the players have got to hear this," Gallinari said. "Not every time can you hear good things. It's normal."
The Clippers picked Indiana scoring machine Eric Gordon with the seventh pick as they attempt to solidify their shooting guard situation.
Milwaukee was already active on draft day, trading Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons to New Jersey for Richard Jefferson. Then, they also added athleticism to their team by picking West Virginia forward Joe Alexander with the eighth pick.
Stanford's Brook Lopez was the first center taken in the draft, going to New Jersey with the 10th pick.
The Pacers were busy the day before the draft, working out a trade that sends them Toronto guard T.J. Ford for former All-Star Jermaine O'Neal. They picked Arizona's Jerryd Bayless with the 11th pick, but he wasn't around for long.
Sacramento pulled a surprise at No. 12 by picking Rider forward Jason Thompson, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference player of the year and first senior taken.
Rush, whose brother Kareem plays for the Pacers, averaged 13.3 points last season for national champion Kansas.
Sacramento coach Reggie Theus was pleased the Kings could land Thompson.
"He was the best big guy we worked out," Theus told ESPN.com on Thursday night.
Theus said the Kings worked out Thompson three times, twice in Sacramento and once at a group workout at Golden State's facility. They felt safe Thompson would be available at No. 12.
"His ability to be versatile, and help us around the basket was important and this guy can score around the basket and step out with his size,"' Theus said. "In our opinion for what we need, he was the best big on the floor."
Golden State grabbed LSU forward Anthony Randolph -- yet another freshman -- with the 14th and final lottery pick.
Robin Lopez joined twin brother Brook in the NBA when Phoenix chose him at No. 15. That started a run of big men in which Philadelphia took Florida's Marreese Speights, Toronto picked Roy Hibbert of Georgetown at No. 17, and Washington drafted Nevada 7-footer JaVale McGee with the 18th pick.
The Cavaliers took N.C. State freshman forward J.J. Hickson with the 19th pick and Charlotte took French 7-footer Alexis Ajinca with the 20th pick, marking the first international player taken in Bobcats' history.
Cal power forward Ryan Anderson, who averaged 21.1 points and 9.9 rebounds, went 21st to the Nets.
For the fourth time in the last five drafts, the Sonics took a big man project, selecting Serge Ibaka of the Congo with the 24th pick. Seattle had previously drafted Mouhamed Sene, Johan Petro and Robert Swift.
New Orleans took Kansas' Darrell Arthur with the 27th pick, but was traded to three other teams before the night finished.
His trade was all part of a busy night for the Blazers as they pulled off five draft-night trades. Arthur, who started his journey on draft night as property of the Blazers, soon found himself on the move.
A source told ESPN.com the Rockets traded Batum to the Blazers for the rights to Arthur and Joey Dorsey (No. 33 overall).
After Arthur landed with the Rockets, he was later sent to Memphis for the rights to Syracuse freshman Donte Greene, the 28th overall pick, and a future second-round pick.
Portland also traded the draft rights to Omer Asik (No. 36 overall) to Chicago for three future second-round picks. The Blazers also traded the draft rights for Mike Taylor (No. 55) to the Clippers for a second-round pick in 2009.
Arthur's drop from a projected late-lottery draft position may have been partially due to concerns over a blood test that showed a potential kidney issue, three front-office personnel told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.
According to the sources, Arthur initially declined to be re-tested after the issue showed up, which raised further concerns. Earlier this week, Arthur did a re-test for the Washington Wizards and passed, according to one source.
Following his selection at No. 27, Arthur said: "My health is fine. I took another blood test & and everything came out fine. But I guess those guys never contacted anybody."
Arthur's agent, Jerry Hicks, did not return a phone call for comment.
Detroit selected Indiana's D.J. White with the 29th pick, but his rights were traded to Seattle for two of the Sonics' second-round picks (32nd overall pick Walter Sharpe and 46th overall pick Trent Plaisted).
Boston closed out the first round by selecting New Mexico guard J.R. Giddens with the 30th pick.
Among the other notable second-round selections:
• Memphis shooting guard Chris Douglas-Roberts was taken by the Nets with the 40th pick.
• Minnesota picked Kansas guard Mario Chalmers with the 34th pick but he was sent to the Heat for cash and two of Miami's second-round picks in 2009.
• Texas A&M center DeAndre Jordan, considered a possible lottery pick, tumbled to the Clippers at No. 35.
• Milwaukee, which chose small forward Alexander in the first round, added another one by selecting UCLA's Luc Richard Mbah a Moute with the 37th pick.
• Washington took Kansas State's Bill Walker 47th overall and he was traded to the Celtics for cash considerations.
• Oregon teammates Malik Hairston (48th to the Suns) and Maarty Leunen (54th to the Rockets) were both second-round choices. Hairston's rights were eventually shipped to the Spurs with a a future second-round pick and cash considerations for Goran Dragic.
• Kansas center Sasha Kaun went 56th to the Sonics, making him the fifth Kansas player drafted this year. That tied Connecticut (2006) and Florida (2007) for the schools with the most players selected in the first two rounds of an NBA draft.
ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
2008 NBA Draft
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Draft Lottery• Ford: Beasley-Rose debate rages in Chicago
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Podcasts• NBA Dish: Paxson on winning lottery
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Fantasy• McKitish: Most freshmen have little impact
• McKitish: Beasley and Rose as NBA rooks