The 2013 NBA Draft held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York delivered many surprising picks and trades. The day started with rumors of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce heading from the Celtics to the Nets for three future first round picks. All it needed was Garnett to void his no-trade clause, which he did later that night. The Nets are now major contenders for the NBA Championship next season. The Cleveland Cavaliers led off the draft by taking UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett. It was a move that shocked almost everyone. The rest of the draft was wild.
When Anthony Bennett heard his name called he got up and celebrated. Nerlens Noel of Kentucky couldn’t believe it. Noel had to wait until the sixth pick to hear his name called. Every pick that went through before six ended with Noel looking mad. Noel vowed to make every team pay that passed on him. He was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans and almost immediately traded to Philadelphia along with a 2014 first round pick (Top three protected) for All Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the 42nd overall pick in this year’s draft.
With the second pick The Orlando Magic took shooting guard Victor Oladipo from Indiana, who Magic Johnson compared to six time NBA Champion Michael Jordan. Oladipo is ready for the challenge. I think that this is the best pick in the draft. Oladipo can get to the basket better than anyone in this draft and he can finish with authority. His college teammate Cody Zeller was drafted fourth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats. Michael Jordan runs the Bobcats and every time they draft I always wonder what Jordan is thinking. Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have all been top ten picks. Success normally comes when you stack your lineup with that many top picks.
Ben McLemore, the 7th pick to Sacramento, could be very good. Hes a very athletic shooting guard who could score at will at Kansas last year as a freshman. If Demarcus Cousins can have an All Star season next year then the Kings could have a bright future. Sacramento has been a doomed franchise the past few years. McLemore is the guy who could change it.
The Pistons took Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the eighth pick. At Georgia, Caldwell-Pope won SEC player of the year, which had been won by Anthony Davis and John Wall in the past. I really like this pick, it could make the Pistons deep playoff contenders as soon as next season. They now have Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond who were all top ten picks. To add to that they drafted Tony Mitchell with the 37th pick. Mitchell is a small forward who was a very good high school player but he had to go to North Texas. If Mitchell didn’t have any issues he would have been one of the better McDonald’s All Americans in his class. In the NBA he should be able to solidly contribute. The Pistons should be very good for years to come.
Utah traded Shabazz Muhammad (14th) and Gorgui Dieng (21st) for ninth overall pick Trey Burke. Burke could be the last piece of the puzzle that Utah needs. Along with Gordan Heyward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter (all three were past top ten picks) the Jazz will look to make the playoffs next year and then start thinking about the NBA Finals. They are my sleeper pick. I think they will surprise everyone and make the Western Conference Finals next season.
The Cavs took Anthony Bennett with the first pick. This was a surprise pick, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Bennett is a very good shooter and a smart inside player. With a lineup of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, the potential in Cleveland is endless.
Philadelphia made the biggest trade of the night that involved first round picks from this season. They traded Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick to New Orleans, which turned out to be Pierre Jackson, for sixth overall pick Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans 2014 first round draft pick. The 76ers will pair Noel with 11th overall pick Michael Carter-Williams, point guard, from Syracuse. Carter-Williams had a great career at Syracuse as he led them to the Final Four last season. The 76ers may not win a whole lot of games this year, but next year, when they have two first round picks they should be able to add either role players or starters. Even then, they may not be good, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the young guys get experience.
The biggest trade was between the Nets and the Celtics. The Nets received Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry while the Celtics received Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans and the Nets 2014, 2016 and 2018 unprotected first round picks. I think that is a great trade for both teams. The Nets will be able to compete for a championship next season with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez already there. The Celtics on the other hand probably won’t be able to. But they get to reload for the future and also get rid of the huge contracts that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are currently owed. The Celtics traded their coach earlier this week to the Clippers for their 2015 first round pick. The Celtics now hold an extra first round pick the next three years plus 2018.
The NBA Draft was very exciting with many surprises. Some of these players could be the future of the NBA. I think that Victor Oladipo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Len (Phoenix), Anthony Bennett and Trey Burke will be named First Team All-Rookie with Victor Oladipo winning Rookie of the Year.
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