By Ian Thomsen
June 11, 2008
Mock Draft No. 2
According to several league sources, Danilo Gallinari is putting out word that he would like to be drafted by a franchise in the greater New York area, among a few other preferred teams. It was explained to me this way: If he isn't a top five pick and he winds up being drafted by, say, the Charlotte Bobcats, he may decide to remain the next year or two in Italy with his current club, Armani Jeans Milan. Mr. Giorgio Armani himself is prepared to make Gallinari feel very wanted with salary and other commercial opportunities, not to mention a club that hopes to move up in the Euroleague next year.

"I heard Monday that he wants to go to New York or New Jersey," an NBA team president said. "He's too good to pull out of the draft, but he might stay over there [in Europe] for a while if he doesn't like the team that drafts him."

As revealed below, I have a feeling that Mr. Gallinari's dream may come true ...

1 PG Derrick Rose Memphis Fr. 6-3 196
The Bulls have reached no conclusions but the consensus is that they'll seek leadership from a new point guard. But don't assume that they'll necessarily trade Kirk Hinrich after taking Rose. Hinrich isn't a pure point guard, and his shooting will improve by playing alongside Rose.
2 PF Michael Beasley Kansas State Fr. 6-8 239
The Heat are encouraging trade rumors to assess the value of this pick, a no-stone-unturned approach typical of Pat Riley. But it will be a shock if Beasley doesn't show up at training camp as an excellent front-line scoring complement to a healthy Dwyane Wade.
3 G O.J. Mayo USC Fr. 6-4 200
The guess here is that the Timberwolves will pass on center Brook Lopez and use this pick to take the best available player in Mayo, a combo guard who with Randy Foye and Rashad McCants gives Minnesota a big backcourt. Al Jefferson may have to spend another year at center.
4 G Jerryd Bayless Arizona Fr. 6-3 204
It would be no surprise if the Sonics went for Russell Westbrook or Eric Gordon instead. But for now, pencil in the speedy Bayless to join with Kevin Durant in providing a second pressure point on the defense.
5 C Brook Lopez Stanford Soph. 7-0 258
The Grizzlies have their backcourt filled with Mike Miller (though he remains potential trade bait) as well as their young point guards. That's why it makes sense to go with Lopez, a reliable scorer who will benefit from the coaching of big-man guru Marc Iavaroni. He'll fill a huge need in Memphis.
6 G Russell Westbrook UCLA Soph. 6-3 192
He's rising fast and may not be available when the Knicks pick. Westbrook isn't a true point guard yet, but he has the makings of one. Plus, he can become a lockdown defender. The Knicks' need for backcourt leadership will trump their desire to pick Gallinari.
7 SG Eric Gordon Indiana Fr. 6-3 222
The Clippers need a combo guard to ease the burden on Cuttino Mobley and provide minutes at the point as Shaun Livingston tries to come back from knee surgery. Mike Dunleavy will look forward to coaching Gordon.
8 PF Anthony Randolph LSU Fr. 6-10 197
He has the biggest upside in the draft, and the rebuilding Bucks can afford to wait as they spend the next year re-sorting their roster while finding out who can -- and can't -- play for coach Scott Skiles.
9 F/C Kevin Love UCLA Fr. 6-9 255
The Bobcats have been doing their homework on Love in belief that he may fall to them. He's a smart player and Larry Brown will be able to play some offense through him.
10 SF Danilo Gallinari Armani Jeans Milano (Italy) -- 6-9 221
His threats to remain in Italy for a year or two should scare off the other teams and enable him to land near New York as he wishes. Gallinari is a precocious athlete with an outgoing personality, and he'll hasten the Nets' rebuilding project.

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