The 2013 NBA draft Thursday night ended in disappointment for some players and surprises for others, with the Cleveland Cavaliers unexpectedly choosing Anthony Bennett first and Nerlens Noel going to the New Orleans Pelicans, who promptly traded him to Philadelphia.
Noel was frustrated after five teams passed him up:
In every draft, there’s a guy who sits and waits for his name to be called, growing more anguished with every pick on which he is passed up.
At the NBA Draft on Thursday night, that guy was Nerlens Noel, the Kentucky big man whose college season was cut short by a torn anterior cruciate ligament in mid-February. Noel looked increasingly disappointed as the first five teams passed on the chance to draft him. Finally, with the sixth pick, the New Orleans Pelicans rescued him. Nerlins didn’t last long with N’Orleans, though. The Pelicans quickly traded him and a first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday and the 42nd pick.
Noel promised not to forget the night’s slights.
“Oh yeah, I’m going to make them pay,” Noel told USA Today’s Scott Gleeson.
Bennett, who played at the University of Nevada, Los Angeles, is the first Canadian ever to be a top pick in the NBA draft:
The 6-foot-7 Bennett, who played one season for the Running Rebels, has been sidelined for the past six weeks after having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He recently removed the protective sling and began lifting weights but won’t be able to start participating in basketball-related activities until the first week of August.
After the Cavaliers drafted Bennett, the Orlando Magic choose Indiana’s Victor Oladipo with their No. 2 pick:
The Magic went small with the second overall selection, taking the Indiana guard who measured just over 6-foot-3 at the draft combine. Oladipo was a first-team Associated Press All-American after averaging 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a junior, leading the Hoosiers to their first outright Big Ten regular-season championship in 20 years.
“Surreal feeling, man,” Oladipo said. “I’ve been watching this draft pretty much all my life, and to actually be a part of it and to actually be the No. 2 pick in this draft is truly a blessing from God. Just going to continue to keep working hard. I’m just getting started.”
He set an Indiana record for single-season steals with 78, earning the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award in a season where he shot a conference-best 60 percent.
“My defense is everything,” Oladipo said. “It’s the reason why I got here, and it’s the reason I’m at the point that I am now, and why it’s going to help me separate myself in the future. I’m going to keep growing in that area as well. I feel like I can grow in different aspects of my defense, too, so I’m going to definitely bring that to the Orlando Magic.”
The Washington Wizards, with the third pick, chose Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. Columnist Jason Reid writes that drafting Porter was the right decision for the team:
No more talk about potential and building for the future. After five consecutive losing seasons and the addition of three top-three NBA draft picks, the Washington Wizards should return to the playoffs next season. Finally, they’re equipped to get there. . .
The moment he declared for the draft in April, Porter became the top player on the Wizards’ draft board, as much for his dependability off the court as his production on it. During the past two seasons, the Wizards have made great strides in improving the professionalism in their locker room. In adding one of the most mature 20-year-old college stars you’ll ever meet, the Wizards chose someone who’s a great fit for their solid group. Porter will strengthen it.
“He has the total package,” Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld said. “He has good work ethic; he’s a team player [and] he can do multiple things out on the floor.”
Georgetown fans saw it all. Hoyas Coach John Thompson III isn’t prone to exaggeration and doesn’t offer unwarranted praise. So when Thompson said that Porter “isn’t low maintenance; he’s no maintenance,” well, that was all I needed to hear.
By all indications, the Wizards drafted a player who will be among the first to show up for practice and among the last to leave. Wizards fans can count on Porter to give everything he has during games. That’s the way the kid is wired.
“He’s going to make different players better,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “That’s a huge asset for us.”
“Seven is my lucky number,” new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said. “When I was at the Warriors we got (Stephen) Curry, (Harrison) Barnes at seven, my birthday is on the seventh, the Mayor (Kevin Johnson) was picked seventh, he wore the number seven and we got the best player in the (draft) at seven.”
New general manager Pete D’Alessandro hopes McLemore pans out better than predecessor Geoff Petrie’s previous pick that entered the league with a similar background and expectations. The Kings took [Thomas] Robinson fifth last June, but he struggled from the start and was traded to Houston in February. . .
The 6-foot-5, 195-pound McLemore gives the Kings an elite shooter and gifted athlete with tremendous upside, though one whose ball-handling skills and ability to create his own shot have been questioned.
The second-team All-American broke Danny Manning’s freshman scoring record at Kansas while shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3-point range. McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and two assists on a team that went 31-6 and won a share of its ninth straight Big 12 title.
The Chicago Bulls drafted New Mexico’s Tony Snell, a perimeter player, with the 20th pick:
It’s not hard to see why the Bulls looked to beef up their outside shooting. Just look at the NBA finals.
Whether it was Danny Green delivering a series-record 27 3-pointers for San Antonio, Ray Allen making a season-saving 3 for Miami or Shane Battier nailing six from long range for the Heat in Game 7, the value of outside shooting was there for everyone to see on the biggest stage.
“It was crazy knowing I went to the Bulls,” said Snell, who could have a role behind Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler. “I watched (Michael) Jordan play my whole life. I watched Derrick Rose. He’s a really great player. I can’t wait to work with him and help the team win.”
Snell converted 39 percent of his 3-pointers while averaging 12.5 points as a junior for the Lobos last season and helps fill a big need on the outside for Chicago. He is considered a solid defender who can guard multiple positions, which had to please coach Tom Thibodeau.
President Obama, speaking during a diplomatic visit, had said he hoped Chicago would pick Senegal’s Gorgui Dieng, who was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Watch his remarks below: