NBA Draft 2013 Hangover: My Ridiculously Early Who Hit And Missed Opinion

The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked everyone when they took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett number one overall
The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked everyone when they took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett number one overall

The 2013 NBA Draft may go down as the most confusing draft in quite some time. From the very first pick, when most experts had University of Kentucky center Nerlens Noel going number one, the entire draft was kicked off with surprises.

I’ll start by saying I liked the Anthony Bennett pick at number one. Think of everything that surrounded this pick: Noel (ACL injury), Len (ankle injury), and Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, and C.J. McCollum didn’t have a spot in Cleveland so what are you going to do? You take the guy who, as we talked about in our Locker Talk Podcast, might be one of the safer bets as a number one pick in this draft. An argument can be made for Victor Oladipo or Otto Porter over Bennett (and you wouldn’t have gotten much of an argument from me); but with this pick the Cavaliers got a player who has always reminded me of a Zach Randolph/Larry Johnson type. That is a big get for a team with budding superstar Kyrie Irving at point guard and Dion Waiters coming into his own at shooting guard.

After number one went to Bennett, the camera shots as picks two through six went to everyone but Noel, viewers became very accustomed to this face:

Noel's struggle lasted a few picks longer than he would have liked
Noel’s struggle lasted a few picks longer than he would have liked

Things ended up well for Noel, who will join Michael Carter-Williams in Philadelphia after the Pelicans (right?) traded him for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. I didn’t understand the trade since Holiday, 23, would have been the only known commodity in Philadelphia after Bynum leaves via free agency. I guess they figured if they were going to start over, they needed to do that completely.

Some of the moves I liked were:

  • Otto Porter to the Wizards
  • Steven Adams by Oklahoma City to (hopefully)  replace Kendrick Perkins
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Pistons joining Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight
  • Trey Burke’s trade to the Utah Jazz where he’ll have Gordon Hayward and Al Jefferson in what should be a really exciting Jazz team

Some of the moves I hated inevitably will start with Paul Pierce being traded (along with Kevin Garnett) to Brooklyn for future first-round picks. For starters, I don’t completely understand the logic behind trading away a franchise mainstay like Paul Pierce when it appeared he had so much left in the tank. I’m not a Celtics fan at heart and won’t claim to be, but I understand the emotion behind letting go of franchise cornerstones when they have the opportunity to finish in one uniform (John Smoltz and Tom Glavine come to mind for me). I’m also not ready to consider the Celtics completely ransacked talent wise. Don’t forget they still have Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and Jared Sullinger. With the right coach I would consider this team better than Milwaukee, a team that picked up the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

I’ll take this moment to express my displeasure with the Hawks as they initially chose two point guards in consecutive first-round picks. Then they flipped Shane Larkin (No. 18 first-round) for Lucas Nogueira and all was well. While I’m excited that Al Horford can finally shift over to power forward, I’m still containing my excitement to see what Hawks will do with all the available money they have this offseason with Chris Paul and Dwight Howard now a dream.

Other moves I hated were:

  • C.J. McCollum to Portland (where Damian Lillard has established himself as a rising star)
  • Minnesota trading for Shabazz Muhammad who doesn’t seem to fit what they are (supposedly) trying to do.
  • The same move I liked (Steven Adams to OKC) I disliked because I thought Mason Plumlee would have been better here

What about you, the reader? Moves you liked (or hated) more than others that I may have missed?

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