Expect The Unexpected – Normally this phrase is saved for Big Brother, but last night it summed up the NBA Draft beautifully.
We were told that this years NBA Draft was going to be unpredictable. Well, it was. And I am still shocked by the events that transpired at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, as well as the thirty draft rooms around the league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won the draft lottery thanks to the luck of Nick Gilbert and the atrocity of their team during the regular season. So, who would they pick? Their previous #1 picks turned into LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. That’s probably as good as it gets. But, who would it be this year? Let’s look at some candidates.
Nerlens Noel? – First off, he’s living in the past. He has stolen Will Smith’s haircut from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Or did he steal it from Norris Cole? Or Iman Shumpert? In all seriousness, he’s a centre who can protect the basket. He averaged close to a double-double in college with 4.4 blocks per game. That’s impressive. Cleveland can use a centre that can stay healthy. OH WAIT, Noel isn’t even healthy himself. He doesn’t have much of an offensive game and needs to put on more weight, especially if he wants to have that haircut and be taken seriously. He reminds me to0 much of Hasheem Thabeet. But what do I know. Was he picked 1st? NOPE.
Alex Len? – Came over from Ukraine two years ago. Big centre. The Cavs needs a centre that isn’t injured. OH WAIT, Len is injured too. Seems gifted offensively and can block some shots, but not quite like Noel can. Was he picked 1st? NOPE.
Ben McLemore? – A guard from Kansas. The Cavs already have Irving and Waiters, but when you’re picking first overall, position never matters, just talent. Would these three work well together? Sure. I haven’t heard of three talented individuals never being able to work together. OH WAIT, LA Lakers 2012-2013. McLemore was at the top of mock drafts for most of the season. Some have said he is the most likely to be an All-Star. However, Jay Bilas kept questioning his assertiveness and whether or not he is able to lead. Of course he’s not able to lead. He’s only one year removed from high school. Give him time and some NBA voices in his head and things can change. Was he picked 1st? NOPE.
Other candidates were Victor Oladipo and Otto Porter, but none seemed to really catch the eye of the Cavs to go first overall. So, David Stern, who did the Cleveland Cavaliers pick?
“With the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select…………………Anthony Bennett from Toronto, Canada.”
WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY MR. COMMISSIONER?
At this point, I was semi-convinced that David Stern was pulling a prank in his last draft of his career. I could not believe it. I am still shocked. Not because Bennett is a bad player. In fact, some analysts say he has the most upside. And because of that, I applaud the Cavaliers for taking the guy they think will be the best in the future, not who has all the hype around them now. In the past, teams have been afraid to go off what is expected, especially with top picks. (That’s right, I’m looking at you Miami Heat. You took Michael Beasley 2nd overall when you really wanted Russell Westbrook, but you didn’t want to make a bold move or ruffle feathers.)
BUT ANTHONY BENNETT? HE’S FROM CANADA! EH! THAT’S WHERE I LIVE!
I’ll be honest, no one in Canada was expecting this moment until next year when Andrew Wiggins would be selected first. To steal a wrestling term, Canada was marking out when this happened. I’m pretty sure every major newspaper in the country made the split-second decision to have Bennett’s face above the fold in their Friday edition.
Bennett is listed as 6’8, 240 lbs. He played for the UNLV Rebels in college and likes maple syrup on his pancakes. Is he a Small Forward or is he a Power Forward? Well, the Cavs already have Tristan Thompson starting at PF, which leads me to assume that Bennett might be a SF with the Cavs. However, going back to what I said earlier, he was picked for talent, not positional need.
Regardless of what position he plays at, he will be playing alongside Tristan Thompson, a fellow Canadian. To me, there are pros and cons to this. The positive is that these two individuals get to practice with each other every day, which is a huge bonus for when they represent their National team. They will already be comfortable playing with one another. A negative? They will be the nicest front court in the NBA. They’re Canadian, they can’t help it.
All the best to Anthony Bennett – this is a major stride for basketball in Canada. By the way, Vince Carter deserves some credit for the recent emergence of Canadian talent. While he was doing dunks between his legs and wincing in agony on the court at the ACC, young Canadian kids were inspired. Thank you, Vince.
Now to some other things that shocked me last night:
– Cody Zeller taken 4th by the Charlotte Bobcats. A pick that Michael Jordan made. Mr. Jordan, please stop making draft picks. You are not good at it. You were a good basketball player. A bad baseball player. A good actor in Space Jam. And now a bad GM/Owner/decision maker. Just stop. Zeller may end up being a good player but at #4? Wayne Gretzky knew when it was time to walk away from the bench. It’s time you did the same with the front office. Go golf, actually don’t – you might get pulled into the hole again by Looney Tunes.
– Nerlens Noel fell to 6th overall. Were people that scared of his injury? If that is the case, Greg Oden has ruined the draft forever for big men who have injuries.
– The New Orleans Pelicans traded Nerlens Noel and a 1st round pick in 2014 to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday. WHAT IN THE WORLD DID PHILADELPHIA JUST DO? So the 76ers just got through a year of an injured Andrew Bynum, who did nothing in Philly but go bowling and grow his hair. Now it all makes sense. Noel grows his hair….and he’s injured. I’m sure teaching him how to bowl won’t be too difficult! I am still baffled, though. BAFFLED. Jrue Holiday was an All-Star point guard last season. His numbers were terrific. He was well on his was to becoming a superstar at his position. He was one of the lone bright spots on the team last year. And now he’s gone. Who’s going to play point guard? Seriously. Evan Turner rebounds to well, shoots too poorly, and turns the ball over way too much to be considered as a full-time point guard. This trade screams of TANKING. If it is, I understand. Philadelphia traded away Iguodala last year and got Bynum’s afro in return. For their sake, I hope they gat Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker next year. As a fan of the Raptors, I wish them the worst luck possible in the draft lottery. By the way, the way the Pelicans’ roster is looking, that 1st round pick next year might not even be in the top 10.
– Speaking of teams that are tanking…the Boston Celtics. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry are on there way to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for 3 future 1st round picks, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries Kardashian, and an old loaf of bread. Are the Nets a better team after this trade? Absolutely. However, it doesn’t mean anything, yet. Let’s see this team stay healthy. Let’s see this team form a chemistry. Let’s see this team be lead by Jason Kidd. Let’s see how they perform during the season before declaring them contenders. They might be, but people expected the LA Lakers to lose less than 10 games last year and we all know how that worked out.
On a final note: this was David Stern’s final draft as Commissioner. I like David Stern. He looks like someone I’d want to be friends with. He’ll be missed. I’m just glad the crowd in attendance gave him a stand ovation at the end of the night.
Oh, I almost forgot, THE NEW YORK KNICKS CROWD ACTUALLY CHEERED FOR THEIR DRAFT PICK, TIM HARDAWAY JR. They boo everyone relentlessly every year. Kudos to you, Spike Lee.
NHL Draft, you are now on the clock…good luck.