Leroux's 2013 NBA Draft Review
Adrian Wojnarowski is good at his job. Really, really, disturbingly good at his job. As an NBA writer, this is an overwhelmingly good thing. However, there has become one time in the basketball year where “Woj Bombs” make my life less enjoyable: draft day.
As a longtime draftnik, part of the fun of draft day has always been the chaos and uncertainty. Surprising picks and trades make drafts exciting and memorable from the Timberwolves drafting Jonny Flynn immediately after Ricky Rubio to the Kevin Love for O.J. Mayo deal between the Wolves and Grizzlies.
Over the past few years, Wojnarowski's excellent reporting has taken most of that surprise away. Tweeting picks and trades ahead of when they are announced means he is doing his job well, but it also changes the dynamics of how fans experience the Draft.
This even ended up being the case covering the 2012 Draft last year- being in the building heavily amplified that process since whoever saw the news break first spread it throughout press row. Heck, most of the fans had smart phones and expected the surprises before they were announced at the Prudential Center.
In an effort to bring the magic of the experience back, I watched the 2013 NBA Draft in a pre-Woj environment. No Twitter, no front page of the major sports sites, hopefully no texts on point from friends and media colleagues. It was a nice experiment to determine what part of the draft experience are necessary and whether it is even possible in today’s social media landscape. It will be fun to see if avoiding Twitter and the big sites will make my analysis look different from the rest of the pack.
2013 Draft Review
Similar to year's past, I grade drafts on a curve based on the opportunities available to that management team on draft night and a short time before it. A team hampered by a years-old trade or previous mistake do not get further penalized for it while teams that squandered resources now absolutely do.
76ers: The trade for Philadelphia is an absolute slam dunk. Noel is the best player in the draft and getting a pick eventually from the Pelicans should work out nicely. I like Michael Carter-Williams with both Noel and they can work on getting perimeter scoring from the other two spots. I am not as high on Nate Wolters as the stats community, but taking a guy in the early second makes it a risk worth taking. Picking up Arsalan Kazemi in the late second makes a ton of sense as well. Beautifully done.
Hawks: I really, really like the pick of Lucas Nogueria for this franchise. His size, athleticism and energy allows the Hawks to do some different things with Al Horford at PF and C and could make Atlanta a dangerous team on defense. Adding Dennis Schroeder was just icing on the cake- I love his potential in the NBA. Raul Neto is fine as a flier, especially playing with fellow Brazilian Bebe.
Mavericks: After my mistake reading the CBA was corrected, it seemed like the two most logical moves for Dallas would be to use the pick to unload Shawn Marion’s deal or draft a player willing to stay in Europe for next season. Instead they did neither, but got a guy in Shane Larkin who they should be very happy with. At the worst, Larkin should be a valuable rotation player off the bench and has the potential to be more than that with time. Adding two seconds from Boston to move down and get a better player was nice. Ricky Ledo was a strong value in the second round and could end up being a meaningful contributor for them down the road.
Heat: Did not have a first round pick but did well picking up James Ennis in the second round.
Thunder: I am a big fan of the potential for Steven Adams. After all, he was No. 3 on my last published draft board. Andre Roberson can contribute with defense and rebounding out of the gate and could potentially get coached into even more than that. While there were better players on the board at 26, moving up just with cash was inspired. I like Alex Abrines as well and they needed a draft and stash guy considering how many players they already have on roster.
Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum can be a nice player for the Blazers off the bench and to be a key spark plug on a team that needed bench depth in the worst way last season. Hopefully they can get the depth they need at center and pure SG in other ways because this team can make the playoffs as long as they keep their core together. Allen Crabbe will be another guy who makes them better even though I still believe in Will Barton. Like Crabbe, Jeff Withey was a solid value where he was taken and should contribute as a shot blocker very quickly. Grant Jerrett in the second round works as a low risk flier even though there were better players available. Could learn from LaMarcus Aldridge if he is still on the team then.
Jazz: They gave up a two nice assets to get a PG who is undersized without the speed to make opponents play on their heels. After all, the Jazz have plenty of holes to fill and there were still a few PG’s on the board with only a few spots left to go. That said, I love Rudy Gobert’s potential and they got him for such a small price that it makes their overall haul a good one. Very inspired draft.
Bucks: Aim high! Picking at 15 overall, the Bucks took a guy with insanely high potential based on his physical profile in Giannis Adetokunbo. A huge risk but they have the time to develop him. While it would have been great to see Ricky Ledo on the Bucks, Mike Muscala can fit in as a rotation player behind LARRY SANDERS! as a part of a now-deeper Milwaukee big man rotation.
Warriors: Getting into the first round? Excellent moving down and ending up with Nemanja Nedovic? Less great since Rudy Gobert (one of my absolute favorites) was on the board at 26 and gone by 30. I do like Nedovic as an athletic combo guard for a team that needs some of that on the perimeter to go with their shooting guys. Picking up a useful depth piece in Malcolm Lee and moving him to Phoenix in that deal just hurts me as a UCLA alum and fan of his game.
Magic: Without a clear-cut lead scorer in this draft, Orlando can justify taking a defensive player like Oladipo when Nikola Vucevic did a nice job last season.
Kings: Ben McLemore is a fine player for the Kings but they need so much that it is hard to visualize it all the way. Hard to know right now what options to trade down were on the table. Even though Sacramento is flush with Point Guards at the moment, I am a big fan of Ray McCallum and he should be able to make their team and stick for a while.
Pistons: Without a real home run on the board, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will have about as much help on the perimeter (comparatively) as he did at Georgia. Fortunately, the Pistons will have the chance to improve that over the next few seasons. Grabbing Tony Mitchell in the second round may end up being the best selection in the entire draft- he can be that good. Peyton Siva may end up making their team and would be a great guy to have in practice to toughen up Brandon Knight and the rest of the guards.
Rockets: Incomplete because their best draft pick in 2013 was part of the James Harden trade. Well done. Drafting Isaiah Canaan in the second makes him a solid value and he makes a ton of sense for what that team does.
Clippers: Reggie Bullock can contribute to the Clippers as presently constituted. If acting General Manager Chris Paul wanted him, Bullock could actually get minutes at a SG spot that only has Jamal Crawford, at least for now.
Wizards: Otto Porter Jr gives Washington an interesting 1-2-3 combo and could help sell some tickets at the Verizon Center. The problem here is that they committed to a PG, SG and SF without a clear-cut No. 1 scorer which could limit their long-term potential as a team. Glen Rice Jr makes sense as a second round pick since the commitment to him is pretty minimal and Washington needs some shooting badly.
Knicks: Even though there were better players on the board, Tim Hardaway Jr should be a really nice fit for the team, system and atmosphere of the Knicks.
Grizzlies: Incomplete since their pick was used by the Timberwolves after a few trades. That said, they got a perfect fit for their mentality with Jamaal Franklin even though he has the same weakness (shooting) as so many other Grizzlies perimeter players.
Suns: I do like the fit of Alex Len with Phoenix’s medical staff, but it will be a risk to put him on a team that needs to much more talent. The Suns better have faith in their player development system with Archie Goodwin since he will need a ton of work to reach his potential. They acquired another 2-guard in Malcolm Lee as a part of the deal to move up to 29, which I like on a team that needs depth in the worst way.
Cavaliers: Taking Anthony Bennett is shocking because he does not play a premium position and will have to develop a ton to be a difference-maker like Nerlens Noel. That said, he would be a very interesting power forward next to LeBron James down the road. Strangely enough, Sergey Karasev would be a nice small forward when LeBron plays the four because of his shooting and playmaking. Carrick Felix makes more sense on a competitive team since he needs tons of talent around him to be an NBA player.
Timberwolves: The Wolves did a nice job moving down and getting who the wanted but the player they targeted was not the right one for them. Shabazz Muhammad does not shoot well enough to fit perfectly next to Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love. Plus, we know Muhammad will not be getting the last shot too often with a legit All-Star on roster. Gorgui Dieng can contribute quickly and better considering he will come off his four-year rookie deal when he is 27 years old. I dig Lorenzo Brown as a flier PG though Minnesota still has plenty of point guards on roster. Nice job taking Euro Bojan Dubljevic from Montenegro super late in the second round.
Bulls: Tony Snell is a fine pick though I would have loved for them to grab Joakim Noah’s countrymen Rudy Gobert to back him up. That said, the Bulls have a clear need for shooting on the wing and a justifiable need to win sooner rather than later. I like Erik Murphy as a floor stretching four for them.
Lakers: Incomplete. Ryan Kelly makes a ton of sense as a Mike D’Antoni stretch four.
Spurs: Livio Jean-Charles was not the highest player on my board but I give RC Buford the benefit of the doubt at all times and he should be a difference-maker on the defensive end.
Nets: Mason Plumlee does not make a ton of sense with this Nets team unless they make even bigger changes than the ones rumored. He will not have a ton of time to play on the post with Brook Lopez on the team and will need a ton of development to guard NBA power forwards and does not have any range on his jumper.
Celtics: I have no idea why the Celtics responded to a likely rebuild by drafting Kelly Olynyk. He does not make sense with their roster since they can now be patient with a high upside player rather than a more polished commodity like Olynyk. I also do not understand how he fits with Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green and the rest of the frontcourt. Getting Colton Iverson for cash was a nice move.
Pacers: One year after taking Miles Plumlee in the first round, they take Solomon Hill who was 79th on my draft board with the 23rd pick. At least they did not have to pass on Nerlens Noel to take him.
Pelicans: I like Jrue Holiday as much or more than most, but they blew the best young frontcourt in the league (Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel and Ryan Anderson sharing time at PF and C). Holiday is much more expensive and I doubt they are making the playoffs so some of the sting of trading that pick gets removed.
Nuggets: Drafting Rudy Gobert and then trading him to the Utah Jazz was maybe the most depressing thing of the Draft. I do not see too much of a future for a tweener guard like Erick Green when Ty Lawson is already on roster. We’ll have to see how it turns out.
Bobcats: Taking Cody Zeller with so many good players on the board (especially Nerlens Noel) makes less than zero sense. Drafting a guy who has never played his NBA position and will need to defend a totally different athlete at the next level. Charlotte took D.J. Augustin over Brook Lopez- this might end up being that bad.