It’s been a wild,team transforming night in Brooklyn with the 2013 NBA Draft. Like last June’s draft I took the opportunity to write down some of my thoughts during the evening that I would like to share. I’ll have more on the draft and this blockbuster deal later on, but feel free to take a look at my initial thoughts on this wild night.
7:33 PM — “Good evening and thank you for that enthusiastic Brooklyn welcome….”. Translation: Thank God this is the last time they can boo me on this stage. David Stern has now been the first handshake for 30 years worth of NBA prospects, does that make you feel as old as it does to me?
735—The Cleveland Cavaliers on the clock. Biggest question in the draft is will the Cavs pull off a trade to move out of the #1 spot in this draft with no instant superstars.
740 – Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, someone else?? With the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft the Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett, freshman forward from UNLV. Bennett is a stud power-forward athlete built very similar to LeBron James (6’8”, 250+ lbs) who may very well become a perennial All-Star but it is still very surprising to see him go #1 overall as his agent projected him to go somewhere between 8-10 overall.
747 — With the second pick in the 2013 NBA Draft the Orlando Magic select Victor Oladipo, SG from Indiana. This is a fantastic pick for the Magic, as I feel Oladipo is the most NBA “ready” player in this draft. The guy does it all on the court and from all accounts has a relentless work ethic. As sickening as it was to see Shane Battier interview Oladipo after the selection, a fair comparison for Victor may be one of Battier’s teammates, Dwyane Wade.
752 — The Washington Wizards make Otto Porter Jr. the third selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. The Wiz stayed close to home in selecting Otto Porter out of Georgetown. Porter is a good jump shooter and a versatile defender, but Washington is way higher on Porter than I am. Guess it’s good that it’s THEIR pick.
758 — The Charlotte Bobcats take Cody Zeller off the board at number 4. The second Indiana Hoosier taken tonight, Zeller brings a ton of athleticism from the center position (35.5” standing vertical at the combine). Cody makes the third Zeller brother to play in the NBA (Luke and Tyler also) and his top 5 selection re-affirms my beliefs that he’s got some Illuminati type connections in the basketball world. The Bobcats got a great big man in Zeller and they are also hoping that he can evolve into a face-up power forward one day.
806 — Another center selected as the Phoenix Suns select Alex Len from Maryland. The 7’1” Ukrainian was rumored as a potential option for the Cleveland Cavaliers at #1 but this “fall” to #5 overall is a lot more like most analysts predicted. Len says he is excited to play against Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, and I for one am excited to see how Len fairs against these established veterans after having some struggles with the more physically dominating big men in the ACC last season.
811 — The New Orleans Pelicans make their first pick in re-branded franchise history. One year after selecting Anthony Davis with the top pick the Hornets/Pelicans take another skinny young center from Kentucky with the selection of Nerlens Noel at #6. Noel is an elite defender who will definitely need to add some weight to his 7 foot- 206 pound frame, but it’s looking like the Pelicans have their “Twin Towers” of the future.
815 — David Stern is now enjoying the boos, even egging on the crowd in his own smug way before introducing Ben McLemore with the 7th selection to the Sacramento Kings. McLemore, shooting guard out of Kansas, may be the most efficient shooter in this draft and may have one of the biggest upsides of any player selected tonight as well. I love this selection for the Kings.
822 – Forget what I just wrote about Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans. He now appears to be Philadelphia bound after an apparent trade with the Philadelphia Sixers.
823 — With the eighth pick the Pistons select Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the University of Georgia. Caldwell-Pope becomes the highest rate UGA selection since Dominique Wilkins in 1982 and his 22 letter name is the longest that David Stern has ever announced at the draft. So there’s that.
830 — The Minnesota T-Wolves take Trey Burke with the ninth overall pick. An outstanding March helped propel Burke into the top 10 tonight and Burke adds additional point guard help for a team who doesn’t really need in Minnesota. Rumors already swirling that he’ll be traded to Utah, so keep an eye out for that development this evening.
836 – After an hour in this draft we close out the top ten with the Portland Trailblazers selecting C.J. McCollum from Lehigh and the Patriot League. The Blazers are hoping that they can pull the same type of magic that they did last year in drafting Damian Lillard, and the addition of McCollum adds a second shoot-first point-guard to the Blazers roster. Portland may even mess around and play McCollum in the same back-court as Lillard, making the Blazer an even more exciting team to watch in 2013.
841 — The 76ers select Michael Carter-Williams, point guard from Syracuse, with the 11th pick. Carter-Williams is my personal favorite point guard in this draft and he should be a player that the Sixers build around for the future. At 6’6”, 184 pounds I would still like to see him put on a little bit of weight and add some durability to his frame, but the kid can flat out ball.
850 — We have the first wicked surprising pick of the draft. With the 12th pick the Oklahoma City Thunder select Steven Adams, center from Pittsburgh. This is a guy who only played 23 minutes per game for Jamie Dixon’s Panthers last winter but he does show some promise if the Thunder (or any other team) can show the patience to watch him develop. And at a legit 7’, 250 lbs he’s yet another example of how “you can’t teach height”.
855 — Another surprising pick, but we have a reason. With the 13th overall selection the Dallas Mavericks select Kelly Olynyk, center from Gonzaga. Olynyk will not be headed to Dallas though, as it is being reported that he has been traded to the Boston Celtics for the number 16 pick and two second rounders. As a Celtics fan I do like this pick as Olynyk is a baller and having an Irish name in Boston just might work out for the young fella.
905 — Shabazz Muhammad closes out the draft lottery, selected #14 to the Utah Jazz. At times last year Shabazz was projected as a #1 pick, but when it’s all said and done he’ll be headed Minnesota to learn under Ricky Rubio’s wing.
910 — The Milwaukee Bucks take the first international player Giannis Adetokubo out of Greece. For a player who ESPN reported traveled outside his home country for the first time in his life just three weeks ago for a tournament in Italy it is pretty incredible to be a first round pick in the National Basketball Association.
915 — The Celtics are on the clock. This pick will be traded and the C’s waited all five minutes to hear who they should select with the pick. Lucas Nogueira out of Brazil is the name and he’s on his way to Dallas. All apologies to Kelly Olynyk, but Nogueira has the best hair in this draft…somebody get this man a larger hat!
923 — The run on international players continue as the Atlanta Hawks grab Dennis Schroeder, point guard from Germany. The dude is already garnering Rajon Rondo comparisons and may be the player to run Marquis Teague out of Atlanta. As an American basketball fan we were robbed of a chance to see this kid grow up in the American AAU system and at least play one year of NCAA ball, but it’s probably all the better for Schroeder as he’s already been playing against professionals in Germany.
9-29 — Back-to-back point guards selected by the Hawks as they pickup Shane Larkin, Miami, with the 18th selection of the evening. The son of the great Barry Larkin, Shane really stepped it up last year at UM and earned his way into the first round of this draft, but something has to be up with the Hawks.
937— Cavs select Sergey Karasev, small forward from Russia. I honestly have no idea of the plan for him.
944 – The Chicago Bulls take Tony Snell, small forward from New Mexico, with the 20th overall pick. He is not at the draft but Shabazz Muhammad is, so Shabazz gets his face time with Shane Battier. Getting back to Snell, the talk is now about Luol Deng’s contract situation, so it appears the pick of Snell may need to be one of instant gratification for Chicago.
951 – Gorgui Dieng from the 2013 NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals is the pick at #21 for the Utah Jazz. He will be sent to the Minnesota T-Wolves as part of the trade for Trey Burke and will provide the Wolves with additional interior presence as a shot-blocker. Originally from Senegal, Dieng has only been playing basketball for a few years and has improved tremendously already. He is also reportedly gaining weight at a healthy level and he will need to continue bulking up in order to handle the bump-and-grind of an 82 game season as a big man in the NBA.
958 – The Brooklyn Nets, host of this draft, select Mason Plumlee, center from Duke, with the 23rd overall selection of 2013. Plumlee has some ungodly athleticism for a man of his size and is a good fit for the Nets as he will be able to learn under Brook Lopez.
1003 – Coach Jason Kidd. Sorry, this will take some getting used to.
1004 – With Larry Bird back as President of Basketball Operations the Indiana Pacers nab Solomon Hill, a four year wing out of Arizona. Hill will most likely never be more than a role-player, but with his game and potential there is probably not a better fit than in the team-oriented Pacers organization.
1009 – With the 24th pick the Knicks select Tim Hardaway Jr. from the University of Michigan. The son of the 5-time former All-Star, Hardaway brings his athleticism and confidence to New York. He may have the job of replacing J.R. Smith before it is all said and done, which would be no easy task.
1015 – At 25, the Los Angeles Clippers select Reggie Bullock from UNC. Bullock has drawn the easy comparisons to Danny Green (especially after Danny’s incredible postseason run), but the 6’7” small forward takes a different approach to the game than Green does. New Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers should have some fun coaching Bullock, who is an excellent shooter who also plays tough defense.
1020 – TheT-Wolves hold the 26th pick, who they will reportedly be selecting for the Golden State Warriors. Before announcing this pick David Stern makes the Celtics-Mavericks trade official (Nogueira and two future second-round picks for Kelly Olynyk). California’s Allen Crabbe is the pick at 26 and he will be on his way to the Golden State Warriors via trades with OKC and Minnesota.
1027 – Rudy Gobert to the Nuggets at 27. This pick is eerily similar to the selection of Evan Fournier…
1033- Spurs select Livio Jean-Charles from France. No chance they would take an American player, and they are hoping to stash him Jean-Charles in Europe for at least a couple years to continue his development without limiting the Spurs financially.
1038 – Archie Goodwin, SG from Kentucky, is the pick at 29 to OKC. Goodwin did not “WOW” me last season but he’ll have his chance with the Suns who acquired him in a trade.
1045 – The Phoenix Suns round out the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft with the selection of Nemanja Nedovic from Serbia. A lot of YouTube sensations now have their opportunity to prove their worth to the NBA teams that drafted them, but I suspect it will take some time for Nedovic to arrive on the scene (if he does at all).
1050 — Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon brought out as a surprise to the departing David Stern. Olajuwon was Stern’s first ever draft pick while Commissioner of the NBA. Great moment.
1057 –There it is! Celtics and Nets have made a blockbuster trade (in principle). Nothing official will be done until July 10th but Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are on their way out and Gerald Wallace and some draft picks will be coming to Boston. There are too many conflicting reports to know the aftermath of this deal at the moment but the landscape has certainly changed on Causeway Street and across the NBA’s Eastern Conference.