We may not be a NBA website but the NBA draft involves college kids and it is too interesting a subject not to talk about.We will have an in-depth look at the night’s proceedings tomorrow but here are my rapid reactions.
Jeff Withey to the Portland Trailblazers at 39. He is a tremendous shot blocker that should be able to play whatever minutes he is given and defend the paint really well. Portland had a really thin bench last year and needed help in the front court, Withey will come in and do just that for the Blazers. I can’t believe he slipped as low as he did, he was projected as a late first rounder. It seems like teams ignored his defensive abilities because he isn’t much of a scorer, a decision some teams may learn to regret.
Allen Crabbe to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 1st pick of the second round, which was later traded to Portland. Crabbe is not a play maker and he is not a fantastic defender but he can score in bunches and again, the Blazers need help from their bench. Crabbe is the type of guy who can come in, catch on fire and score 15 points in a matter of minutes. He will never be a star but he will definitely play in the NBA and contribute spot minutes to help Lillard rest.
Nerlens Noel who went 6th to the New Orleans Pelicans and was subsequently traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. There might have been hesitation to draft Noel because of his ACL injury but he is far and away the best defensive prospect in the 2013 draft. His potential is unlimited as he is athletic, quick and an amazing passer for his height.
Jamaal Franklin drafted with the 11th pick of the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies. He is an athletic shooting guard who averaged almost double digit rebounding playing the 2 last year. He isn’t a fantastic scorer but he is a great energy player who will add a boost to any bench, particularly one like the Grizzlies that already has an excellent roster.
Shabazz Muhammad going 14th overall to the Utah Jazz. This is a wonderful spot for Muhammad to be picked. If Zeller had switched spots with Muhammad, they would flip places on my lists too. At this spot, Muhammad can focus on doing what he does best, scoring, and try to prove his doubters wrong. Utah needs help at the wings in terms of offense and Muhammad will be able to provide a nice spark. If he can become a lesser Rudy Gay, this will be an amazing value pick for the Jazz.
Cody Zeller going 4th to the Charlotte Bobcats. No offense to Zeller, but this pick is ridiculous. He went before Noel and Alex Len both of whom are far better defenders and have much more potential. By picking him this low, they are essentially saying that they need him to step in right away and play like a legitimate NBA starter which Zeller will not be able to do. He will be considered the biggest bust in this draft. Had he gone 10 spots lower, he would have been considered one of the steals.
Anthony Bennett going first overall to Cleveland. This one was a shocker to everyone, including Bill Simmons. It hurts me to say this as a proud Canadian but Bennett does not have the portfolio of a guy going first overall. He might become a great player but the odds have been placed so much more against him with this massive pick. Not only does it seem like a reach, he is now placed in the history of the game as the first Canadian to go first overall, adding even more pressure on his back. Bennett will be a good starter but I don’t see the all star potential in him like one could see in Lebron James or Dwight Howard.
CJ McCollum going 10th to Portland. It’s not that I don’t like McCollum as a player because I do. That being said it seems like a funny pick because the Blazers already have Lillard to dominate the ball in the back court and do most of their scoring. McCollum plays exactly the same way but has had less success so it seems like they will be hard set to play together and mesh well.