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
Anthony Bennett was overjoyed when he went No. 1 to the Cavaliers.

Anthony Bennett was overjoyed when he went No. 1 to the Cavaliers. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)

A wild, surprise-filled NBA draft is officially in the books. Who won? Who lost? Let’s take a look.

Winners

Canadian basketball. Any time history is made, that’s a good place to start. When the Cavaliers shocked the basketball world by drafting UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, our neighbors to the north registered their first No. 1 pick. Canada’s program has been on the rise for a number of years, highlighted by the first-round selections of Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph in 2011. Joining Bennett in the lottery was Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk, who was born in Toronto and raised in Kamloops.

This growing youth movement could well pay off in full if Andrew Wiggins, arguably the best wing prospect since Kevin Durant, is selected first in the 2014 draft, as expected. Imagine if someone had told you as recently as 2010 that Canadians would go No. 1 back-to-back in 2013 and 2014. Kaboom — mind blown.

The only disappointment for Canada? Texas’ Myck Kabongo, a high school teammate of Thompson’s, went undrafted.

Anthony Bennett. There will be plenty of time for the pressure and expectations to sink in and the doubters to crow at full volume. In this moment, it surely must be an amazing feeling to have shocked the world.

“I’m just as surprised as everybody else,” Bennett admitted.

It’s not yet clear how he will function in the same frontcourt as Thompson or if the roster will get a freshening up now that Mike Brown is back in the saddle. Before worrying about those questions, Bennett need only concern himself with savoring the most pleasant of surprises before getting himself 100 percent healthy.

SI.com goes behind the scenes at the draft

Kings fans. It’s hard to imagine a greater joy than the one Sacramento’s diehards felt when the Kings were saved from relocation, seemingly at the last possible moment. Getting a top-three talent and a possible future All-Star in Ben McLemore at No. 7 should rank right up there, too.

Dispose of any concerns about positional logjams. Changes in ownership, management and a new coach will always bring new ideas to a roster. With McLemore, the new Kings’ brain trust gets a scoring guard with traditional size and significant upside. This train is no longer veering off the rails and McLemore could become the type of player whose talent can carry an organization in the right direction.

Steven Adams. There are plenty of reasons to be cautious — or even skeptical — about the Kiwi teen’s ability to develop into an impact player. But if, before the draft, you had to imagine the single best situation for him in the NBA, wouldn’t you have circled Oklahoma City? Playing for a perennial contender is a solid perk in and of itself, but the Thunder, thanks to the depth and untapped youth already on hand, have the ability to be patient with Adams and diligent in massaging his development. Being thrown into a major role on a bad team could have had crippling consequences; in Oklahoma City, Adams gets exactly the opposite. The hit rate on big-men projects is never great, but this looks like a pairing that will maximize the odds for success.

Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards. As chaos broke out above them on the draft board, the Magic and Wizards did what smart teams should do: They stuck to their plans. Both teams had been linked repeatedly in rumors to their eventual picks — Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter, respectively — and both went ahead despite the availability of Nerlens Noel and Alex Len. Although McLemore also seemed like a viable option for Orlando at No. 2, the Magic get more of a “sure thing” and an insane workaholic who can contribute to the rebuilding plan immediately. As for the Wizards, Porter’s fit alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal is so logical it barely warrants further comment. Washington is essentially set at the 1-2-3 positions going forward and ready to proceed with its goal of making the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

C.J. McCollum. You couldn’t miss the Lehigh guard’s busting a move at his draft table once he realized he was headed to Portland. His relationship with Damian Lillard was likely the key driver behind his excitement. A friendship off the court doesn’t have all that much lasting value in and of itself, though, and it’s really McCollum’s projected role with the Blazers that will have him headed cross-country feeling like a happy camper.

This is just a logical fit: The Blazers need a lead guard off the bench who can handle the ball, create a shot and attract enough attention to find open shooters. They also need a player who can help take a little pressure off the reigning Rookie of the Year when they opt to go to a lineup with two point guards. McCollum is well-equipped to handle all of those responsibilities, and he doesn’t have to bear the “face of the franchise” pressures that are on Lillard’s shoulders. If he emerges as a solid sixth or seventh man for coach Terry Stotts, that will do just fine.

New Orleans Pelicans: One of the major talking points entering Thursday was how many — if any — of this year’s prospects had the potential to develop into All-Stars. While everyone else waits a few years to find out the answer to that question, the Pelicans landed a franchise point guard in Jrue Holiday who, at just 23, is already a certified All-Star. He will have a harder time getting back to the midseason classic now that he’s in the Western Conference, but Holiday took a major step forward last season, posting career highs across the board and carrying an otherwise sad-sack Sixers team as far as he could.

The sweet part about acquiring Holiday, though, is his contract. Signed to a four-year, $41 million rookie extension last fall, it’s important to remember that the clock on that deal starts ticking in 2013-14. In other words, he’s locked in for four full seasons at a very reasonable rate. Holiday, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon (if he’s ever healthy) provide a very nice talent base. Even better, the Pelicans reportedly assured top-five protection on the 2014 first-round pick they sent to the Sixers, meaning they can still win big in a loaded lottery if things don’t pan out immediately.

Last note: Thanks to Davis, New Orleans needed Noel less than just about everyone else in the draft. This was an excellent way to cash out on Noel as an asset that had greater external than internal value.

Trey Burke: All a young point guard can ask for is an opportunity and a solid group of talent around him. Michigan’s Burke seems to get both in Utah after the Jazz traded up to acquire his rights from the Timberwolves. Whether the Jazz decide to give him the car keys from Day 1 or opt to ease him into a starting role by re-signing or acquiring a veteran presence, Burke will grow into his pro career with the likes of Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. That’s a well-balanced core that could make some noise in a few years.

Ben McLemore’s jacket. Unbelievably awesome. Hat tip: Ball Don’t Lie.

Ben McLemore with a jacket you won't find on the rack at Macy's.

Ben McLemore with a jacket you won’t find on the rack at Macy’s. (David Dow/Getty Images)

San Antonio — East. So, the Hawks drafted not one, but two foreign players in the first round? We all should have seen this coming, right? GM Danny Ferry and new coach Mike Budenholzer are clearly wasting no time putting their Spurs training to full use. Atlanta landed the ultimate “if he pans out, holy cow” big in Lucas “Bebe” Nogueira and a solid point guard in Dennis Schroeder. That pair offers a nice combination of intrigue and impact.

Click through for the losers.

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.