So the Draft Lottery just happened.
For the 2nd straight year, the curse of LeBron granted Cleveland good karma once again. Maybe this year they draft someone who doesn’t have the fitness level of a 45 year old man. Maybe they pick someone good enough to prevent “The Decision” part II, this time starring Kyrie Irving.
Milwaukee grabbed the #2 pick, and because they’re basically the toxic wasteland where teams lose and players go to die out, the best player available is the man to take. They should probably start using the owner’s daughter as free agency bait for players to sign because besides her they really have nothing going for her. She’s probably the hottest girl to have anything to do with basketball, and the internet’s new obsession.
Philly put on the best display of tanking ever known to man, and unfortunately they only ended up with #3. Just goes to show you, tanking doesn’t mean instant draft success. The Cavs tried to win and got the #1 pick! Explain that!
Number four is Orlando who is already a ticking bomb of potential and young talent waiting to explode.
Utah got the #5 pick, and could really use all the help they can get. Trey Burke and Hayward are nice. Kanter and Favors had career years. Who’s going to be someone who they can look to build some sort of team with?
Boston at #6, which is really interesting because of all the pieces they have along with Rondo at the helm.
Los Angeles at #7 meaning they probably pull off a trade for Kevin Love but if not they will get someone for the future after Kobe calls it quits.
Sacramento gets 8th, which really means nothing. The NBA shouldn’t even allow the Kings to draft this high. It’s not fair. If Milwaukee is a toxic wasteland, Sacramento is the place for irrelevant basketball. It actually makes me mad. They have to address the growing problem that are the Kings. Besides Cousins and Isaiah Thomas, their team is so out of wack and all over the place. They have no structure. They’re the team you’d never want to hear about if you had OCD.
The Bobcats now known as the Charlotte Hornets stole the 9th pick, effectively kicking the Pistons out of any sort of assisted rebuilding for Stan Van and the Detroit crew.
Philly grabbed the 10 pick, which sort of, kind of, not really makes up for them striking out with the 3rd pick because the 10th pick was expected but 3 and 10 is a nice place to be.
Denver grabbed the 11th pick, which I guess actually means something? They really shouldn’t be in the lottery, with a healthy squad next year they’ll be in that Mavericks, Grizzlies, Suns race for 8th seed. Gallinari will be back. Mozgov got a lot better. Javale Mcgee will be back. They’ll be a full squad.
Orlando grabbed the 12 pick which only adds to the plethora of assets and young talent.
13 goes to Minnesota, which might be the most disappointing part of the draft. They have no chance of keeping Kevin Love now. They’ll need to try pull off a trade to get Los Angeles’ 7th pick.
The Suns got the 14th pick, which is wonderful. Absolutely fantastic. The feel good team of the year, one of the future best backcourts in the game, and now the 14th pick someone else to add to their group of young talent.
So who goes where? Why?
The Cavaliers were a mess this season. Anthony Bennett will go down as one of the biggest flops in NBA history. Anderson Varejao had some injury difficulties once again. Andrew Bynum put bowling over his career and that experiment didn’t work out. Dion Waiters and Irving allegedly clashed and most unfortunate of all Luol Deng doesn’t want any part of Cleveland in the long run. They need a pick this year that can really become a star and flourish alongside Irving. They need Kyrie to want to stay in Cleveland, because he’s the only bright spot and they need another star to start moving Cleveland in the right direction. They’ve been given too many opportunities and it has yet to work out. This year, in a draft full of talent they have to take the right guy. With the 1st pick, that right guy has to be Joel Embiid. He is also apparently at the top of their draft board, and rightfully so. Kyrie needs a big man to play some pick and roll with as well as a reliable starting center to protect the rim. His back may be a problem but standing at 7 feet, with a 7’5 wingspan he is the perfect shot blocker and someone who can make an immediate defensive impact in the NBA. Cleveland’s big men at the moment are both free agents this summer, and while the Cavs would be wise to try bring back Spencer Hawes as a rotational big man to spread the floor, Varejao seems to have hit his peak in 2013. He’s constantly dealing with injuries, missing 16 games this season, and with the upside and potential of Embiid he is a huge upgrade over Varejao, mostly in the length and rim protection department. He’s only been playing since 2011 and already has become a collegiate star and probable #1 pick so just imagine what he can do with more years in the NBA. Offensively, he’s raw, but he’s mobile and can run the floor and with his size and athleticism, his already somewhat developed post game can flourish in the NBA.
The Bucks need anything they can get. They lost 67 games without even trying to. That’s an accomplishment. On the bright side, they do have a nice nucleus of young talent. Brandon Knight flew under the radar this season, but is slowly but surely becoming a starting caliber point guard in the NBA at the tender age of 22. He averaged 17 points and 5 assists this year and was one of the only bright spots during a consistently grim season. Larry Sanders is only 23 and only played 23 games this year but he clearly has the potential to be an impactful rim protector for the Bucks. And don’t forget Antetokounmpo; the Greek everybody is waiting on to become a star. But besides those guys who aren’t even anything to buy NBA League Pass to watch, the Bucks have a lot of nothing. They were the worst team this season and they didn’t even try to tank. They’re just bad. They need something special. They were 28th in scoring this year and need the guy with the most upside, they need a franchise player, a superstar they can call their own. That guy should be Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins stands at 6’8 with a 7 foot wingspan and a 44 inch vertical – the highest in the draft. He is a freak of nature and with his length and athleticism he’s proven to be a very good defender on the perimeter. He excels in the open floor and in one on one situations and because he’s so versatile can play multiple positions if needed to. His upside is unlimited and lets close our eyes for a second and imagine Antetokounmpo and Wiggins flying down the wings… Yeah it’s an appealing picture.
The 76ers tanked. They tanked hard. They had absolutely 0 desire to win. In fact, in a complete anomaly the sports world rarely sees, winning was a disappointment for them as an organization. Unfortunately, their efforts clearly weren’t enough as the luck of the draw wasn’t in their favor tonight. However, because of the insane level of talent in this draft they’ll get Jabari Parker, the most ready player in the draft and a guy who’s garnered comparisons to the likes of Grant Hill and Carmelo Anthony. Parker is about 6’9, 240 with an already polished offensive game. He scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds a game in college and because of his size and strength the latter can translate immediately to the NBA. He’ll be able to guard the 3 and the 4 and could become a reliable scorer for the young 76ers as soon as he takes the floor. He also helps them with their lack of shooting.
The Magic have a roster full of young talent – a ticking bomb waiting to explode. Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris, and Arron Afflalo, a core that has yet to fully blossom but one that absolutely will. The position they can improve at is the point guard position. Jameer Nelson is a solid starting point guard, but one who doesn’t bring anything special to the table. With the point guards available in this draft I think it might be time to dethrone Nelson as the starting point guard for this young team. The top two point guards in my eyes are Dante Exum and Marcus Smart. With all the scorers on the team they need a playmaker first and foremost and that comes perfectly in the form of the 6’6 Australian point guard. Playing overseas, he hasn’t had the same type of bright spotlight as the other guys in this draft but his talent and IQ has GM’s turning heads and looking to pick up the Aussie as soon as they can. He could be a Michael Carter Williams type player. One that rebounds well, is long defensively, can make plays, attack the basket, he struggles with his jump-shot consistently but as a playmaker with length and size he should be successful in the NBA and could help the Magic with their rebuilding project that might be catalyzed by his arrival.
The Jazz have really just begun their rebuilding project, their two big men in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter had career years in both the scoring and rebounding department. Trey Burke had a solid rookie season, Gordon Hayward is developing into a constantly reliable two-way player and Alec Burks showed signs of being an explosive 6th man off the bench. They’re missing more of a bench, some more fire power and some more seasons of experience for their young guys before they can make their way over the hump. For the Jazz with the 5th pick, the way to go for the Jazz would be Noah Vonleh. He’s a guy who’s garnered comparisons to Chris Bosh because of his length and ability to spread the floor. The Jazz seem to really trust in their front-court of Favors and Kanter who both had career years in newly starting roles but they lack length, athleticism and shooting in the front court and Vonleh can help with all of those things. Vonleh stands at just under 6’10 but has the whole package physically. He has the largest wingspan in the entire draft with 7’4 inches, he also has a 37 inch vertical. He’s a prolific rebounder and his length will help him defensively in protecting the rim. He’s also strong enough to stand his ground against bigger players in the post.
The Celtics have just begun their rebuilding project and lucky for them they already have some pieces to build with. Rondo is the clear leader of the team and a superstar in his own right as a playmaker and floor general. Jared Sullinger had a solid season in his first year without Garnett ahead of him averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds. Jeff Green was somewhat disappointing in the year that was supposed to be his breakout, but he still averaged 17 points and 5 rebounds a game. The Celtics will also bring back Avery Bradley who was injured for most of the season. What they lack is length in the front-court and some athleticism. Sullinger and Olynk play below the rim and lack athleticism, while Humphries doesn’t have the length to be a real rim protector. Gordon is 6’9, with about a 7 foot wingspan and 39 inch vertical. He is insanely athletic and has the ability to run a nice pick and roll with Rajon Rondo maybe á la Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Celtics might also want to trade this pick for something that can propel them into playoff contention sooner as Danny Ainge and the Celtics are not known for their patience in rebuilding.
Los Angeles Lakers:
If the Lakers don’t include this pick in some sort of trade to become a contender once again before Kobe retires, they might have to pick Randle. While he isn’t an eye popping athlete nor does he possess a crazy upside, he is a double double machine, he is strong and nifty in the paint and has that ability to become a killer on the court when he needs to be. He’s one of the most ready players in the draft and with the Lakers front court completely up in the air this summer as to whether they re-sign Randle could fit in well with Los Angeles.
All signs point to the Kings not bringing Isaiah Thomas back as a restricted free agent. He’s a great scorer but they need a playmaker and someone more reliable defensively. That’s where Marcus Smart comes in. He has an NBA body standing at 6’4, 227 pounds – Marcus Smart is essentially the polar opposite of Thomas at the point guard position. He can make plays and change the game defensively with his effort but he also has that X-factor in terms of aggression and with his competitive edge he’s someone who the Kings can expect to make a quick transition to the NBA.
The Hornets shot 35% from three last year, and really struggle with spreading the floor. They also don’t really have a reliable power forward. This is where Doug McDermott comes in. He’s a proven scorer, someone who averaged over 22 points a game in all four of his years at Creighton. He’s strong and underratedly athletic, surprising everybody with a 36.5 inch vertical. He can stretch the floor for the Hornets, which also gives room to Al Jefferson to do what he needs to do in the post. The Bobcats were very good defensively this year but they struggled offensively especially in the playoffs when the Heat defense was able to pack in the paint because of their lack of shooting. Doug knows how to score and can do it in the post because of his wide frame and lower body strength. I see him becoming a Ryan Anderson type player.
If the 76ers take Parker with the 3rd pick, they’ll probably want to address the shooting issue they’ll still have on their team. They also don’t really have a shooting guard to partner with Michael Carter-Williams in the backcourt who really doesn’t have range shooting the ball. This problem can be addressed by Nick Stauskas the sharp shooting guard from Michigan. He averaged 17 points and shot 44% from deep last season. He has good size for his position at around 6’6. He’ll be able to spread the floor for Philly and has the potential to become a sort of J.J Reddick type of player. He’s been deep in the final four twice and as a result is used to playing in big games, he’s mature and for the 76ers will be a great fit.
The Nuggets had a partnership of Foye and Fournier at the 2 guard this season, but they can easily be upgraded with a young guard with more upside. Denver loves to get up and down, get out in transition and shoot threes and I think the guy who can do all of that for them and more is Gary Harris. Gary Harris was the man on Michigan State this season and averaged 17 points on 35% shooting from deep. The Nuggets love to shoot the three and Harris can come in and be someone who can fit their system. He’s a versatile shooter and someone who can score in a plethora of different ways. He is a great defender, someone who has been taught proper defensive principles by Tom Izzo at Michigan State. With his strength and frame he makes up for his lack of athleticism on defense with fundamentals and strength. For the Nuggets, Harris is a mature player with a high IQ and should fit in well with Denver, who will have a full healthy squad next season with Nate Robinson, Javale Mcgee and Gallinari coming back.
James Young is athletic enough to play the 2 or the 3 in the NBA and at about 6’7, 213 pounds he has the size to guard either position as well. He is someone who can run up and down the wings with the Magic, but he can also shoot the ball consistently from deep. For most of Kentucky’s run, James Young was the best player on the court for the Wildcats and he really showed up in the championship game against UCONN which showed a lot about his maturity as a player and his ability to play in big situations. For the Magic, he should fit perfectly and has more upside than most of the other guards in this draft. Oladipo and Exum are the backcourt of the future but the 3 is a position that needs to be filled. Afflalo is undersized at that position and if they draft Young they’ll likely be able to trade Afflalo for some veterans or future draft picks.
The Timberwolves really needed a higher pick, or a higher pick from a possible suitor for Kevin Love. The 13th pick isn’t going to keep Love around so the Wolves need to get whatever they can from it. Hopefully they pick up a high lottery pick for Love in a pre-draft trade, which turns their luck around. However, for the meantime we can only speculate, and I speculate, if the pick stays in their irresponsible and historically stupid draft hands they pick Rodney Hood, their first good pick in a while. Hood, who at some points during the regular season played better than Jabari Parker stands at 6’8, 208 pounds. He was an aggressive scorer in college both on the perimeter and in the paint, and the Timberwolves have been searching for years for someone to fill the small forward position. With his size and quickness Hood can be a versatile and talented defender from the get-go. He also provides Minnesota with much needed 3 point shooting as the Timberwolves shot a 26th worst 34% last season. Hood shot 42% from beyond the arc and could help the Timberwolves in a plethora of ways.
The Phoenix Suns thrive off running up and down, shooting the ball, moving the ball and playing fun. They have versatile big men and quick guards but the area they could improve in is their possession of true big men. Miles Plumlee is about to as close as they come. They could really use some more size down there. Luckily for them they can pick up big man Dario Saric. The versatile 6’10 forward averaged a near double double in Serbia and like most international studs he is very skilled with a high IQ. He fits the mold of the type of big man Jeff Hornacek likes, he can shoot the ball, he can handle it, he’s coordinated, athletic, fluid, the list goes on and on. For the Suns he’ll be a nice piece to add to their already full roster of young versatile talent.