The 2013 NBA Draft occurred on Thursday June 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Cleveland Cavaliers shocked the world by picking UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the first pick, and the draft went wild after that with surprise picks and trades. Here are the best and worst of the day.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Anthony Bennett, UNLV
-No one quite knew who the Cavaliers were going to pick with the top pick until David Stern announced Anthony Bennett’s name. I personally was not a big fan of Bennett, and I certainly did not think he was worth the top pick. My biggest question is that Bennett is a tweener. No one quite knows what position Bennett will play in the NBA between the 3 and 4, and that is usually a recipe for disaster.
To an extent, it felt like the Cavs were trying to find a player with star potential in this draft, and I don’t think there was a player worth that. If Bennett can add about ten pounds and be a real bruiser in the post, maybe he can make a place in the league as a power forward, but I struggle to see him being a star in this league like the Cavs seem to think.
Charlotte Bobcats – Cody Zeller, Indiana
-Perhaps no team in the NBA needs a sense of direction more than the Charlotte Bobcats. The way the roster stands now, there’s an argument that they could use a new player at every position on the floor. Because of that, they should have picked the best player available. Cody Zeller was not the best player available.
Perhaps someday, Zeller can be a decent starting power forward, but I believe that is his ceiling. Zeller is what you may call a jack of all trades but a master of none of them. He has a decent post game, he has a decent jump shot, he’s got good athleticism, but none of these things are really at any sort of special level. It’s only a matter of time before the Bobcats regret picking Zeller over Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and a whole variety of other players. Zeller won’t be a bust, but are you really excited about picking the second coming of Ed Davis with the fourth pick?
Washington Wizards – Otto Porter, Georgetown
-The Wizards have had some bad luck drafting small forwards (Jan Vesely anyone?), but I believe this ends with Porter. Porter is a super-long guy who can step in and contribute on both ends of the court right away. He has some ability to score on his own, but he also thrives without the ball.
The Wizards have awesome scorers at the point guard and shooting guard, and could use a defensive small forward to complement the rest of the roster. I thought he was a perfect fit next to Kyrie Irving with the first pick, and I think the fit is just as good next to John Wall. The Wall-Beal-Porter combination should be the best wing combination in the league for the next decade.
Utah Jazz (from Minnesota) – Trey Burke, Michigan
-Last season, Mo Williams was the opening day starting point guard for the Utah Jazz. When Williams went out in December with a thumb injury, Jamaal Tinsley was thrust into the starting role, and averaged under five points a game. Perhaps no team could use help at any position more than Utah could use a point guard. They managed to get the best point guard in the draft in Trey Burke.
Many draft experts had Burke in the top five, and there is reason for that. Burke was arguably the best player in college basketball last year, and he can be both a dynamic perimeter scorer and a creator for whichever big men end up on the Jazz’s roster next season. Burke could potentially be one of the few All-Stars in this draft class.