Posted June 28, 2013

NBA draft 2013: Winners and losers

2013 NBA draft, Anthony Bennett, Ben Golliver, C.J. McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, Steven Adams, Washington Wizards

Losers

David Stern. The booing was merciless. Nobody, not even someone as self-assured as Stern, could possibly enjoy such treatment, especially during his grand exit after 30 years leading the NBA. He completed the first round on a slightly higher note, and he got in his share of wisecracks, but the extended chorus of jeers at the beginning left its mark.

Nerlens Noel. We’ve seen prospects in both the NBA and NFL agonize in the green room as their stock unexpectedly dropped. But the fall from No. 1, where most expected Noel to go, to No. 6, where he finally landed, felt like a marathon. The incessant camera shots of a stunned Noel only drove home the pain. Impossible not to feel for him.

By the way, we haven’t even mentioned the fact that he’s heading to Philadelphia, which just suffered through a season of knee injury updates and disappointment from its supposed franchise center. Noel’s post-selection interview included a number of questions about the Sixers, and he kept referring back to Holiday’s adding an All-Star presence. Of course, Holiday was traded for Noel, leaving Philadelphia’s top shelves stocked with the lesser likes of Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young. Perhaps we’re only seeing the first stages of a larger sell-off under new general manager Sam Hinkie.

Nerlens Noel had to wait to hear his name called on draft night.

Nerlens Noel endured an agonizing wait. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images Sport)

Charlotte Bobcats. Holding the No. 1 spot in the Desperate Franchise Power Rankings, the Bobcats passed on arguably the two players with the biggest upside, Noel and McLemore, to select Cody Zeller. The Indiana product should be ready to fill minutes as soon as training camp opens, but he hardly appears to have franchise-changing potential. On the bright side, he did drop a fantastic pre-draft Twitter wisecrack: “I was going to shave to get ready for tonight, but then I remembered that I don’t have the ability to grow facial hair.” (Insert Michael Jordan’s ownership skills joke here.)

Phoenix Suns: For almost exactly the same reasons as the Bobcats above. McLemore, in particular, seemed like a no-brainer. Instead, Phoenix opted for Len over McLemore and Noel. The Maryland center should be a solid pro, but the rest of the Suns’ roster is so terrible that they could have used an injection of upside. This wasn’t a total loss. Disgruntled center Marcin Gortat is now available for trade offers and the tank is on for 2014.

Celtics fans. Few things are as painful as trading a franchise icon. Now multiply that feeling by two. No, Kevin Garnett didn’t spend 15 years in Beantown like Paul Pierce did, but his impact on the Celtics, not to mention the 2008 title, won’t soon be forgotten. The return haul — particularly the three future first-round picks — represents legitimate hope. That’s all well and good, but Celtics fans are still waking up Friday morning with Kelly Olynyk, Gerald Wallace (and his three-year contract) and Kris Humphries as the new kids on the block. Just writing that sentence requires a stiff drink. At least the waiting game is over and the new course has been charted.

THOMSEN: End of an era in Boston

Minnesota Timberwolves. Credit the Timberwolves for making the most of their lot in life. Turning the No. 9 pick into Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14 and Gorgui Dieng at No. 21 — both nice value plays that fill clear needs — prevented Flip Saunders’ first draft from being the type of mess we were accustomed to seeing with David Kahn.

Even after the trade and the selections, though, the lingering feeling is that they just barely missed out on the guy who was seemingly the perfect fit, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Georgia guard went to the Pistons at No. 8 — just one spot above Minnesota — going off the board at what I felt was his absolute ceiling. Now the finger-crossing over Muhammad’s ability to overcome his red-flag label begins in earnest.

Ricky Ledo. The latest cautionary tale. A top-25 player in his high school class and a McDonald’s All-American, Ledo never got eligible during his one year at Providence and failed to wow anyone during his pre-draft workouts.  He plummeted to No. 43 and now must fight his way into a contract.

Jamaal Franklin. The San Diego State guard might have been the draft’s biggest slider. Forecast as a clear first-round pick, he dropped to the Grizzlies at No. 41.

Bill Simmons. Overall, I’m a fan of what Simmons brings to ESPN’s televised NBA coverage, and he supplied good energy and genuine reactions during a wild night. But the constant use of “We” when referring to colleague Jalen Rose was just too much. Within 30 minutes, it sounded like the two were Siamese twins. There was just no need to force a consensus opinion on player after player. Fully independent perspectives are more entertaining and informative.

Rivers slams Simmons in dispute over Boston departure

Snapback hats. The whole concept is one size fits all, right? Try again. And again. Keep trying!

Lucas Nogueira carefully balanced a hat on top of his head.

Lucas Nogueira carefully balanced a hat on top of his head. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)


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27 comments
CLECavsOutsider
CLECavsOutsider

I remember when Buster Douglas shocked the world... once.... This is not a knock against Anthony Bennett, but Otto Porter Jr should have been the choice of the Cavaliers, IMO

Mike161
Mike161

I am and always have been a true diehard NBA fan, HOWEVER I think we all need to boycott the NBA until they start calling the Stop And Hop for what it is; a blatant, 100%, no doubt about it; TRAVEL.

frankelee
frankelee

Potshot at ESPN's man! Nice try to slip it in, uh-uh. Also all those boos on David Stern? Way to reveal you don't know what's up at the NBA draft.

KC159
KC159

Raptors fans are definite losers in this draft.  We got no playoff andtThanks to Colangelo trading our picks away, we don't even get the fun of following our team in the draft!

DjangoZ
DjangoZ

Shabazz was an atrocious pick! Kevin Pelton rated him as the worst forst round pick and one of the worst players drafted in either rounds.

A source inside the T-Wolves said  that Shabazz was "red-lined" because of his attitude and professionalism. That they were not going to draft him in any situation. And he is the anti-thesis of the kind of player that Adelman would want.

This was a Grade A FUBAR by Flip in his first draft. Equal to Kahn in his drafts. Until Taylor sells the Wolves it's really hard to support the team.

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

"Nobody, not even someone as self-assured as Stern, could possibly enjoy such treatment, especially during his grand exit after 30 years leading the NBA."

Were we watching the same draft? He loved it. It's a persona and he relishes it.

6marK6
6marK6

Is there anybody in the world that thinks espn does half as good a job as TNT does? Give me Ernie, Charles and Kenny any day of the week. espn truly sucks at everything, except Atlas doing boxing.

SteveRowFla
SteveRowFla

Nerlens should have spent less time worrying about what suit to wear and more time persuading NBA teams to invest millions in him.

abrahamrowe
abrahamrowe

Draft loosers...all of the nba sports writers who apparently suffer from GroupThink!  


Kpath
Kpath

What an awful broadcast! Granted, this was the first NBA draft that I watched any part of, but Simmons ruined any chemistry that there ever was between the rest of the guys up there. There were so many awkward moments and silences it was embarrassing. I felt sorry for Reese Davis, trying to hold the thing today. Jay Bilas knows his stuff, and I don't mind Jalen Rose too much, though he's not a star. This was a train wreck.

Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb
Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb

What a great day to be a Canadian basketball fan.  I was 7 when the Raptors showed up, and made me (and so many other youngsters in Toronto) basketball fans.  Now we're seeing the true effects of the 1995 expansion to Toronto and Vancouver and the generation of Canadians who grew up with Vince Carter leading the way -- not to mention everything that Steve Nash, perhaps our greatest athlete of the last 50 years, has done for the sport here.  It's a very interesting parallel to the rise of the US hockey program, which is finally seeing the generation of Americans who found the game after Gretzky was traded to Los Angeles get drafted and developed into NHL and international hockey stars.  Wiggins going first overall next year will be the icing on the cake.  This is the beginning of a golden era in Canadian basketball, and our national team is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.  I couldn't be prouder to be a Canadian and a Canadian basketball fan this morning!

Now let's hope the Raptors hear the masses and take a shot at Kabongo as an undrafted free agent.  Even if he doesn't pan out just getting him onto their summer league squad would be a massive PR coup for a team that desperately needs it.  Of course, this being the Raptors they'll probably screw it up anyway.

6marK6
6marK6

The winners are NBA fans that will soon not have to put up with David Stern anymore. His constant grabs for attention last night irritated the heck out of me. Hey David, the fans weren't joking, they really do hate you, Oh but that is right, you made the NBA and the game is popular solely because of you.

jsteppling
jsteppling

simmons is awful.  I think OKC and atlanta had terrific drafts. And the spurs stole a kid few even knew about. GS snatched another kid with huge upside in Nedovic.....Ive seen him play in europe and he's the real deal. Utah were dumb.......and I have no problem with the suns taking Len. He's as much a potential impact player as McLemore.....who has been wildly overrated (remember the NCAA tourny?!!)........and len is 7 1 and still growing. He is a massive kid, still young, who can run. Why is that not better than a 6 5 two guard with a low revving motor who came in to work outs out of shape? Biggest steal Jeff Withey in the mid second.

gregatacd
gregatacd

FYI, Olynyk is from Kamloops, BC; only 3000 miles from Toronto. But close, though... ;)

UnderDog
UnderDog

I think Suns snapped up the best player in the draft with Len.


jojustinoxford
jojustinoxford

Cleveland will draft the #1 pick for the next several years.  Dan Gilbert needs to relinquish control, and focus on his fathead.

metalhead65
metalhead65

I guess turning around a program that was as down as you can get before he got there doesn't show Zeller does not have any potential to do anything but take up minutes? and make no mistake he was the big reason the program turned around as fast as it did. I think he will prove you and all the other "experts" wrong. I love all the hate given to a player and a team who does not follow your plan for them. there is a reason why you people only write about talent instead of actually working for a team.

Twen15
Twen15

@DjangoZ I disagree. Shabazz landed in a good situation that fits his skills. I think his rookie year plays out in the manner of Harrison Barnes last year--top player slips 5-6 spots but lands up on a team with a gaping hole at his position and serves as a valuable under the radar contributor to a 5-8 seeded playoff team, demonstrates potential for more.

doghockey
doghockey

@abrahamrowe And loud mouth posters who like to call others losers when they themselves cannot spell loser even when the word loser is in the headline of the article in big, fat letters.

Braktooth
Braktooth

@Kpath I have no idea why anybody would want those guys doing anything as opposed to the TNT crew.

gregatacd
gregatacd

@Kpath Agreed. I like Simmons articles and podcasts, but as a live color commentator... he's got some learnin' to do.

RaptorFan
RaptorFan

@gregatacd Toronto is apparently the only city Americans know of. Best hide the rest of them away from them ;)

Sulkaman
Sulkaman

@metalhead65 100% agree. Bennett was an outstanding choice.  He will be a beast in the NBA.  I love our bigs and I love our guards. They have loads of money under the cap. Go get your SF through FA or a trade and play the Russian kid at small forward as well.  Young and awesome. A tremendous foundation is being built.

DjangoZ
DjangoZ

@Twen15 Shabazz had unusually low assists, steals, blocks and rebounds in college and is not a great defender. Jump shots aren't enough in the NBA to be anything more than a fringe contributor.

gregatacd
gregatacd

@kevin @gregatacd Ya point taken. He's born in TO, then moved to Kamloops in grade 7 where he played his High School ball. So, where does he 'hail' from? For the purposes of basketball (context for this discussion), I'd say Kamloops, but could see the argument the other way (just not agree with it).

Twen15
Twen15

@Sulkaman I think the similarities between Bennett and Derrick Williams have to be frightening. Williams had a much better college career (I know, I know, he went for 2 years so he had time to improve) and is a tad bigger and more athletic than Bennett. The same problems will exist; deeper 3-point line, inability to put the ball on the floor against SF's, and inability to post up NBA sized PF's, and that doesn't take into account the defensive problems of tweeners. He's going to have to play the 3 with TT at the 4 so I just don't see how he is in a position to be successful. He's also 18 pounds overweight and asthmatic so there's that too.