Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 NBA Draft Roundtable

If you're looking for something to keep you from clawing your eyes out as you re-watch highlights of the Pacers blow Game 1 against the Heat, we've got you covered. We give you our takes on the top 5 overall picks in the 2013 NBA Draft and the impact we think they could have.

Pick #1: Cleveland Cavaliers

Jack: Andrew Wiggins. Isn't he the clear #1 overall? The Cavs have long-term answers at PG (Uncle Drew), PF (Thompson), and C (depending on how you view Varejao's health, but he was putting up 14 points and 14 boards a game before getting hurt), and maybe even SG if Waiters continues to improve.  Maybe you prefer Jabari Parker? Either way, this draft is so weak I think we see a high school player go first overall.  (I actually think they should trade this pick, either by trading down or by trying to get a young SF...I'm thinking Kawhi Leonard or Danny Green or Klay Thompson? But if they must pick, they'll probably take Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky because he's the safest bet.)

Paul: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown. Nerlens Noel is probably the top prize in this draft, but the Cavaliers actually have a solid front line with Varejao, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller coming off the bench. On the other hand, they spent the majority of last season with Luke Walton manning the small forward position. Whoops. Porter might be the worst #1 pick since the infamous Kwame Brown, but with no franchise-changing talent at the top, I think the best play is to take Porter and take your chances.

Brian: Trade #1 overall to Wizards for #3 overall and Kevin Seraphin Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky. The Cavs have done a good job drafting for best available instead of team need in recent years (Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters) and that trend won't stop this year. Noel is probably the most NBA-ready of this current draft class, even with one leg. Hey, you know what? An Irving-Waiters-Alonzo Gee-Anderson Varejao-Nerlens Noel starting 5 isn't half bad! Maybe Dan Gilbert will get his revenge on Lebron yet!!!!

Pick #2: Orlando Magic

Jack: We'll assume Nerlens Noel is off the board. Orland was in the bottom group of teams in scoring this year, and by trading Reddick they gave up significant outside shooting. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas is young. He disappeared at times this season. But he can certainly shoot, he'll figure out how to create his own shots, and if he lands in the right spot, he'll develop into a very consistent threat.  And by "lands in the right spot" I mean "if he doesn't end up in Charlotte."

Paul: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan. Similar to the Cavs, the Magic have a young nucleus with potential at every position except PG, where they still start the increasingly potato-shaped Jameer Nelson. It comes down to which of the 3 top PGs they like the best, and for my money, Burke is the choice over CJ McCollum and Michael Carter-Williams. He's the best shooter, a great leader, and an underrated defender who just led his team to the NCAA finals...eerily similar to Jameer Nelson coming out of St. Joe' know what, let's just stop right there.

Brian: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas. The Magic are currently playing DeQuan Jones and Doron Lamb at shooting guard. McLemore provides an immediate upgrade over these jabronis and can probably run some part-time PG duty with a little development. He has good size for a shooting guard, and the thought of him doing chest bumps with Nikola Vucevic tickles my funny bone.

Pick #3: Washington Wizards

Jack: I know Otto Porter is the hometown favorite. And I know he'd bring some youth to a front line that is 30 years old. But the Wiz have a chance to win now - they've done a quality job of building and they can sense that now is the time to strike. Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana is that chance. He's perhaps a slightly undersized SF, but will absolutely score the rock alongside Wall, Beal, Nene, and Okafor.  Plus, there was that time he nearly broke the internet with a dunk. (Oladipo is actually my favorite pick in this draft. I think his up-side is tremendous, with a ceiling perhaps as high as Dwyane Wade. Again, he would need to land in the right spot.)

Paul: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky. Let's be honest: in real life, there is maybe only a 3% chance that neither of the top two teams takes Noel. But if it happens, I don't even think Washington could screw this up. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2014 Eastern Conference 6th seed Washington Wizards!!!

Brian: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown. Take the home town kid! Even the Wiz can't screw this one up (furiously knocking on wood). Porter has good size, defends multiple positions, and has the athleticism and shooting touch to score in the NBA. Did you know the Wiz had the 5th best record in the NBA after John Wall came back this year? A Wall-Bradley Beal-Porter-Nene-Emeka Okafor starting 5 is actually pretty decent! Can you smell the 5th seed too?? FEAR THE WIZ KIDS!!!!

Pick #4: Charlotte Bobcats Hornets

Jack: Oh boy...where dreams go to die.  What do the soon-to-be-Hornets need besides...everything?  If Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown falls this far I think he's the sensible choice. With Trey Burke I think those five guys (Noel, McLemore, Oladipo, Porter, and Burke) are the sensible top 5 choices. And the Hornets probably are committed to the Kemba-Walker-experiment for at least another year (until they can take Marcus Smart with the #2 overall next year). But boy would Porter's dreams die if the Wizards passed him up and he had to move to Charlotte.

Paul: Giannis Antetokounmpo, PG, Greece Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana. And then there are the Bobcats.  On the plus side, they won't be the Bobcats for much longer. On the minus side, they've probably got 3 players at most who would be in a playoff rotation, and are currently spending $12.5 million a year for Ben Gordon to shoot 41% from the field. Average players are not going to help the fate of the franchise, so why not take a risk on the player I think will be - by far - the best player to come out of this class? Victor Oladipo, come on down!

Brian: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana. I just thought it would be really funny for the Bobcats to pick another shoot-first guard to go along with Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, and and Kemba Walker. That would literally shatter the universe. Oladipo wouldn't need a high volume of shots but could make the open looks he got, and he would actually play tough defense, something the Bobcats are sorely lacking. Is anyone else excited for the Bobcats to potentially become the Hornets again? You heard it here first - if that happens, I am ordering a Muggsy Bogues jersey.

Pick #5: Phoenix Suns

Jack: Like I said, I think Trey Burke, PG, Michigan is the best talent still available.  He certainly could go higher - anyone who watched the tournament knows he can shoot and knows he has "it".  His size may be a bit of a red flag, but where would Chris Paul and Steve Nash have ended up if that was a problem.  At least in Phoenix he'll be part of a program that is interested in finding a winning formula, but he won't be under pressure to produce those wins immediately.

Paul: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas. Yep, this class is pretty weak. At least he will be healthy for the next 15 years playing in Phoenix.

Brian: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan. I know the Suns already have Goran Dragic, but Burke could easily transition to a shooting guard role, where he would probably be a more effective scorer. Plus, he could take some PG time away from Kendall "The Tortoise" Marshall, which is a win for everyone. And like Paul said - the Phoenix training staff could keep him healthy for the next 5-35 years.


Jack: OKC Thunder - CJ Leslie, PF, North Carolina State! Is this a joke? Yes. Would this probably ruin the Thunder's track record of making sensible draft selections? Yes. But is there a chance that they could nuture CJ Leslie into a productive wing scorer who could create and score off the bench? About 1.2%. Good enough for me. If it doesn't work out they can just not save and turn the Xbox off and start over.

Paul: Sacramento Kings - Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA. Because they pretty much have to, right?

Brian: Minnesota Timberwolves - Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga. They are already the whitest team ever in the shot clock era - why not go all the way???

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