Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Roundtable: Biggest Steals And Surprises From The NBA Draft

The surprises started early as Cleveland selected Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. (

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: What were the biggest steals and biggest surprises of Thursday's NBA Draft?

The first surprise came early as the Cavs took Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall, but the biggest surprise was Philadelphia delving head first into rebuilding mode. Adding a second injured center to their roster in Nerlens Noel, the 76ers all but closed the book on their Andrew Bynum experiment and took things a step further by agreeing to trade Jrue Holiday, fresh off his first All-Star appearance and just starting to hit his stride, to the New Orleans Pelicans (who actually look appealing on paper now) in time to hand the franchise keys to Michael Carter-Williams. While MCW has upside to spare, he'll be learning the ropes on a bottom-feeding team that may be making an early play to get Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 draft.

As for biggest steal, I'd look to Detroit. The Pistons selected Petting Siva in the latter half of the second round, but after his career at Louisville, Siva looks like a player who can will his way into making anything happen. I wrote a piece elsewhere in which I borderline-gushed about him this week, hoping to see him paired with a talented big man and provide energy off the bench, if not as a starter. Brandon Knight should be save atop the Pistons' depth chart at point guard, but watching an undersized, athletic player with the speed of Siva work with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is going to be a thing of beauty.

If you're looking for surprises, the No. 1 pick is a good place to start. Anthony Bennett was thought to go anywhere from No. 1 to No. 8, and coming off an injury with weight problems seemed to be a concern for teams coming in. Apparently not. Cleveland liked him enough to not only draft him, but also keep the pick, as they had earlier mentioned interest in trading the first pick. And it really shouldn't be a surprise, but Charlotte again drew raised eyebrows by drafting Cody Zeller ahead of Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and Alex Len.

As for steals, Sacramento has to be thrilled that Ben McLemore, who was in the top three of many people's mock drafts, fell to them at No. 7. McLemore should be an athletic, scoring wing player alongside Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans. I also like Portland getting C.J. McCollum to play alongside Damian Lillard in the backcourt. Finally, (I know Alex will agree with me on this) I like Dallas getting Shane Larkin from Atlanta with the No. 18 pick. Dallas wasn't able to get Deron Williams to come back to his hometown last year, and with Darren Collison about to head into free agency, Larkin could be a good scoring point guard for the Mavericks who will need a point guard of the future, especially while trying to land Dwight Howard.

We knew this would be an unpredictable draft coming in, and that theme was carried out throughout the night.

The 2013 NBA Draft went how nobody predicted it to go; haywire.  Not a single person correctly predicted the order in which the top 10, not even the top five, selections in the order of which they left the board.  In a time where players like LeBron James, Carmello Anthony and Kyrie Irving appear in the limelight at age 16, yesterday's draft reminded us that even the most elite members of sports journalism and media could indeed, be wrong. 

To me, the whole draft was shocking and surprising.  I'm not an avid college basketball spectator, so my insight came from the great writers here at BDD and other elite basketball minds' predictions and mock-drafts. Nobody saw Anthony Bennett as the No. 1 pick coming. The Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the odds, selecting the former UNLV Runnin' Rebel No. 1 overall, to everyone's surprise. 

Cody Zeller seems to be the jaw-dropping, "what the hell are you thinking," pick of this years crop. CBSSports Draft Tracker labeled the Charlotte Bobcats fourth overall pick a D+. I don't mind the pick. I believe Zeller will give the Bobcats consistency at the low-post position until Michael Jordan and staff finds the other variables for a winning equation.  Zeller can shoot the ball well from both away from the basket, and at the free-throw stripe.  He can also get up the floor and score in transition, which makes up for some liabilities on the defensive end.  If Zeller can beef up and get back to the fundamentals in the low-post, both scoring and rebounding, his game could eventually look similar to a Kevin Love type stretch four.

Ben McLemore, who according to ESPN's Jay Bilas was the best player available, was selected at No. 7 to the Sacramento Kings.  Sacramento brings in a versatile scoring threat sure to put fans in the seats, which is something the Kings organization must do after fighting so hard to keep the team in the state capital and new owner Vivek Ranadive feels good about the pick. 

"Basketball Never Stops," is the phrase coined by somebody who understands the NBA.  Just shortly after crowning a Champion, fans of the league were truly spoiled with entertainment last night.  The 2013 NBA Draft may not be remembered by the collection of talent, but, it is certainly a draft that I will never forget. 

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