2013 NBA Draft Recap — Cleveland Takes Anthony Bennett First On Wild Draft Night
The 2013 NBA Draft will be remembered for its unpredictability, with a night of surprises right from the get-go. Here’s a recap from Thursday night’s event:
Player Who Rose: Anthony Bennett
Most pundits had the Cleveland Cavaliers selecting Nerlens Noel or Alex Len with the first overall pick, but the Cavs went against conventional wisdom and chose UNLV forward Anthony Bennett. At 6’8″ and 240 pounds, Bennett gives Cleveland a front court player it hasn’t had since the departure of LeBron James.
Player Who Fell: Nerlens Noel
It must have been a strange night for Nerlens Noel. The talented center from the University of Kentucky fell to the New Orleans Pelicans at the no. 6 pick, but he was then shipped to Philadelphia in a trade that included all-star guard Jrue Holiday. Noel was coming off a season-ending knee injury which may have dissuaded Cleveland from choosing him with the top pick. Noel will team with first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams and a slew of swingmen to give the Sixers an athletic look in 2013-14.
Best Pick: Ben McLemore
Kansas guard Ben McLemore was perhaps the best shooter in the 2013 NBA Draft, yet he was still available when the Sacramento Kings scooped him up with the seventh pick. The 6’5″ McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and shot 49.5 percent in 37 games for the Jayhawks. The bet is that he’ll fill up the stat sheet for the Kings, too.
Worst Pick: Cody Zeller
Pundits were shocked when the Charlotte Bobcats chose Indiana big man Cody Zeller (below, with NBA commissioner David Stern) with the fourth pick. The former Hoosier was expected to go in the middle of the first round. While Zeller had a productive college career in the Big 10, he sometimes exhibited a lack of aggressiveness and strength that could hold him back at the NBA level.
Teams That Won: New Orleans and Portland
The Pelicans landed a proven all-star guard in the trade for Jrue Holiday. He’ll fit in well with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. The Trail Blazers chose C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh, who was one of the best overall players in the draft. He’ll pair with Damian Lillard to give Portland an exciting young team.
Teams That Lost: Charlotte and Indiana
Charlotte had better options than Cody Zeller with the fourth pick. The Bobcats needed a lot of help and didn’t land enough of it. Indiana won’t get back to the Eastern Conference finals if it keeps making picks like Arizona swingman Solomon Hill in the first round. The Pacers probably could have gotten him in the second round.
Biggest Trade: Nets Get KG and Paul Pierce
While the Sixers-Pelicans deal involving Jrue Holiday and Nerlens Noel and the Timberwolves-Jazz trade that sent Trey Burke from Minnesota to Utah were both significant, the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets pulled off the most surprising swap of the day. The Nets allegedly obtained Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from the Celtics for Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, Kris Humphries, three future first-round picks (2014, ’16 and ’18) and more. The move could make Brooklyn a force in the East in 2013-14.
Coolest Look: Lucas Nogueira
The Atlanta Hawks chose Brazilian big man Lucas Nogueira, who immediately became a social media sensation because of his mile-high hair. Nogueira is a bit raw, but as long as he stays away from over-zealous barbers, he will remain one of the most recognizable players of the 2013 NBA Draft. See for yourself below: