Michael Beasley Is The Next ...
Derrick Rose is the next ... Deron Williams? Is Michael Beasley the next Derrick Coleman? It's our instinct to try to find a past or present player to match up with the top NBA draft prospects and every year it produces and interesting conversation.
Here's my comparisons on some of the top players coming out of college - I won't pretend to tell you I know anything about the European players. These comparisons are partly a product of their style of play, but more so a representation of how successful I predict their careers will become. For a few guys, I've added a worst case scenario. I want to hear your comparisons below.
Derrick Rose = (a faster) Brandon Roy
This is difficult, obviously, because Rose is a unique talent, but also because Memphis' freshman brings a lot to the table that can't be found in boxscores. There's comparisons out there to Jason Kidd, but Rose is way more explosive than that and plays several levels higher above the rim. There's definitely some Deron Williams in him, but I prefer to liken him to Brandon Roy which is to say he'll be a regular All-Star, but more importantly a team leader, community role model, defensive star and become dedicated to making his teammates better. Admittedly, the Roy comparison is lacking when it comes to Rose's ability to attack with his speed. Maybe he's Monta Ellis with several more inches and a great basketball IQ. In the end, I think Portland's guard is the best we can do right now.
Michael Beasley = Chris Webber
There's the tendency to always match lefties with lefties, thus the skeptic in me wants to say the worst case scenario is Chris Gatling, but he's going to be way better than that. I like the Carmelo Anthony comparisons as a guy who will rack up some very impressive offensive statistics but doesn't always appear to be playing as hard as he could. 'Melo is a little more of an offensive creator than Beasley will ever be. Kansas State's freshman will be your deadly pick and pop guy, and get the ball on the block far more than Anthony tries to. Unfortunately, I don't see the all-timer career that many others do. We're going to have to go with the ringless Fab Fiver on this one.
O.J. Mayo = Dwyane Wade
I'd been saying all winter that O.J. Mayo was merely a slightly taller version of Ben Gordon, but here's the factor that's convinced me he'll be a few notches better: he actually plays defense. I'm also convincing myself that Mayo has been hearing NBA chatter for so long, I think the college game left him uninterested at times and always looking ahead. It's hard to blame him. The comparison to Wade is not meant to be entirely flattering, however. He's going to be exciting at times, hit the outside shot consistently, but not capable of handling the point guard duties entirely by himself without the aid of a capable low post scoring threat. Al Jefferson could be the perfect teammate in Minnesota. I still can't ignore how terribly off Mayo's shot was at USC and his tendency to dribble, and dribble and dribble.
Russell Westbrook = Shannon Brown
I hate to trash one of my favorite Spartans, but the comparison is way too perfect. Westbrook is a highlight reel waiting to happen in the open court, which unfortunately is all some NBA teams are looking for, but he's not a point guard in the NBA. Nor will the UCLA freshman be big enough to handle the number two position. He's a 6th man, perhaps a far more valuable bench player than Brown has shown us so far, but he's not going to be a starter in the Association. Isn't that what you should be drafting high in the first round? I suppose it's fair to concede that he has Monta Ellis potential, the leaping ability is very similar, but his deep range will need plenty of improvement.
Kevin Love = Elton Brand
The Bruins freshman is the safest pick in the draft, from my point of view. I don't believe any of the skepticism over his size, athleticism, and quickness not translating into the NBA game. Sure, he's not the ideal height, but his post moves are better than anyone coming out this year and as good as anyone's have been at his age. He's going to be a killer in the pick and roll NBA game with range out to the three-point line. Just go ahead and chalk up 15 and 10 in his rookie year, eventually growing into 20 and 12 for rest of his career. Probably won't be an all-star since he'll lack the flash, but he'll eventually be on a consistent winning team. OK, so Love and Elton Brand won't have that in common, but their size and mid-range game are too similar.
Anthony Randolph = Marcus Camby
OK, how about a slightly poorer man's Marcus Camby. He'll have a ways to go when it comes to creating in the post on his own, but you can expect plenty of blocked shots and tap-ins early on. He's also got Camby's body that just isn't meant to add on a healthy amount of beef. This could lead to injuries that have kept the Camby Man's career in the good range instead of great.
Donte Greene = Taller Caron Butler
I can't figure out why Greene hasn't popped up into the Top 10. He's your prototypical 'tremendous upside potential' player of this draft. For 6'10 with his range, he's unguardable around the perimeter. Might follow Butler's path of exploding later in his career after he figures out all the little things that need to be done to play winning basketball.
Jerryd Bayles, Eric Gordon, among others I'm still lost on. Feel free to comment on these and any others you think you have a better career comparison.