Tom Keegan: A 10-year look back at 2008 NBA draft

Kansas' Darrell Arthur plays with a basketball at his table in the green room before the start of the first round of the NBA Draft. Arthur fell to the 27th pick of the first round and was traded three times before the night ended but said he was happy he landed in Memphis.

Even 10 years later, looking at who should have gone where in the 2008 NBA draft has a subjective element to it.

Still, in order to look at it, it helps to find an objective measure that best tells the story of a player’s career.

Obviously, rebounds would not be a fair measure, because big men are asked to get more of those than perimeter players, just as guards will get more assists.

Points isn’t bad, but again, scoring is what some players do best and others are counted on for defense and either rebounding or playmaking.

So I have chosen minutes played as the best objective measure of a player’s value to a team. A coach tends to keep on the floor the longest the guys who will win him the game and save his job.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at the 60 players taken in the 2008 NBA draft in the wake of the University of Kansas’ third NCAA tournament title and rank them in order of career finish.

KU’s Darrell “Slim Shady” Arthur, who totaled 20 points and 10 rebounds in the overtime national-title victory against Memphis, became the top news item in that draft. Projected to go in the lottery, Arthur slipped all the way to 27th.

“If you remember that day, there was a rumor that was spread that he had potential kidney issues,” Kansas coach Bill Self said, looking back 10 years. “The draft is going on and I had teams calling me, ‘Bill, what is going on? Why is he falling?’ Apparently, there was a test out there that when he tested something, something showed up because of medicine he was taking or something like that, and it was a potential red flag. Here’s a top 15 pick that fell to 27. So that was bad for Shady, but he weathered the storm and is still in the league.”

He seemed like far too talented a prospect to drop that far, but in truth, his career hasn’t matched that of most lottery picks and he was drafted in about the right place. Among the 60 players selected that year, Arthur ranks 29th with 8,945 career minutes.

Three players chosen ahead of him in the draft played fewer NBA minutes: No. 8 pick Joe Alexander (West Virginia), 745 minutes; No. 14 Anthony Randolph (LSU), 3,841; No. 20 Alex Ajinca (international pick), 3,905.

Three players chosen behind Arthur have played more NBA minutes: No. 35 DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M), 21,045; No. 45 Goran Gragic (international), 20,245; No. 34 Mario Chalmers (KU), 17,245; No. 37 Luc Mbah a Moute (UCLA), 15,592; No. 36 Omer Asik (international), 9,216.

Other KU players drafted that year included Brandon Rush at No. 13 (ranks 26th with 10,564 minutes), Darnell Jackson at No. 52 (40th with 1,039 minutes) and Sasha Kaun (48th with 95 minutes).

Chalmers has played more NBA minutes than any of the top three picks: Derrick Rose (11th with 16,712), Michael Beasley (20th with 13,626) and O.J. Mayo (13th with 16,919).

The five leaders in NBA minutes among players from the 2007-08 draft: No. 4 pick Russell Westbrook (25,720); No. 25 Nicolas Batum (21,874); No. 22 Courtney Lee (21,165); No. 35 DeAndre Jordan (21,045) and No. 5 Kevin Love (20,425).

Busts and steals are part of every draft. Trying to predict which players fall into which categories makes the NBA draft well worth watching.


Danny Hernandez

for some reason, the writer of this article omits the fact that Arthur has been hit with the injury bug costing him valuable minutes.

Thank You for playing

8 months ago


Jacob Zutterman

Um, so has Derrick Rose lol

8 months ago


Jonathan Allison

and Russell Westbrook

8 months ago


Steve Corder

Best measure of a pro player's career is $$$ earned. Money is the ultimate measure as it represents what an organization really thinks of a player.

However, minutes played is not a bad measuring stick.

I recall a conversation with Darrell Porter (major league catcher in the 70s & 80s) many years ago. He was a back-up at the time with Milwaukee, and his proudest moment was qualifying/vested for the MLB pension not his playing time (although important).

8 months ago


Marius Rowlanski

For many, yes but there are other players who are willing to make less money for a shot at a championship.

If someone is making more money than Brady at ANY position then your premise falls apart.

8 months ago


Len Shaffer

"Three players chosen behind Arthur have played more NBA minutes: No. 35 DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M), 21,045; No. 45 Goran Gragic (international), 20,245; No. 34 Mario Chalmers (KU), 17,245; No. 37 Luc Mbah a Moute (UCLA), 15,592; No. 36 Omer Asik (international), 9,216."

My math skills may have eroded over the years, but I think that's five players, not three ...

Danny, et al. make good points about injuries, so perhaps minutes per game would also have been a good measuring stick. Also, Sasha spent a few years in Russia so he shouldn't be penalized for that. (And you also left off his draft position, which I believe was 54.)

8 months ago


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