The 2013 NBA Draft is in the books and it’s time to dissect it all. Here’s our look at the best and worst picks from a crazy Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
No. 2: Orlando Magic take Victor Oladipo, guard, Indiana
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love Victor Oladipo. And what’s not to like? The 6-4 guard arrived at Indiana as an afterthought of a recruit whose only attribute was incredible athleticism. Three years of insanely hard work turned him into the 2013 draft’s surest thing.
Not only is Oladipo incredibly fun to watch, but he plays his tail off, defends better than 95 percent of current NBA players and he has barely scratched the surface of his potential offensively. The Magic got a guy who will immediately change the culture in Orlando to one of hard work and toughness. Even if he never becomes and All-Star, Oladipo will have a huge impact on the team. That’s value that can’t be measured and he’s completely worth the No. 2 pick in the draft.
No. 3: Washington Wizards select Otto Porter, forward, Georgetown
This is just a perfect fit for the team. No other player in this draft gave the Wizards what they needed more than Porter. And he’s local, having gone to Georgetown.
Porter was probably the most well-rounded player in the draft. He doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands to be effective, and on a team that already has John Wall, that’s a good thing. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal has the shooting guard spot locked down, so Ben McLemore wouldn’t have made sense here. Porter has an outstanding all-around game, is a great shooter and passer and is extremely unselfish. He’s also an elite defender.
He needs to add bulk to his 6-9 frame, but that will come. A great pick and a perfect fit.
No. 7: Sacramento Kings select Ben McLemore, guard, Kansas
Love this pick. McLemore was one of the top four talents in this draft and the Kings were able to snag him at No. 7. He is an elite athlete who also happened to be one of the best shooters in the draft. He has unlimited range and with some seasoning could become the best player from this draft in the long run.
He has to add strength to his 6-5 frame, and has to get better at creating his own shot, but other than determination to get better, there’s very little that stands in the way of McLemore becoming an elite player.
No. 41: Memphis Grizzlies select Jamaal Franklin, guard, San Diego State
I have no idea how Franklin fell this far. I don’t think anyone can convince me that he wasn’t one of the top 20 players in the draft. He’s a super athletic, 6-5 guard who is an elite rebounder, is incredibly competitive and can defend like a bulldog. He’s tough and it rubs off on his teammates.
At worst, he becomes a top 15 defender in the NBA. Read that again. The Grizzlies, who already have Tony Allen and Marc Gasol (two of the best defenders in the NBA), just got an incredible defender who can help them now at No. 41. That’s an absolute steal. I can’t believe someone didn’t trade up to take Franklin as soon as he dropped out of the first round.
No. 48: Los Angeles Lakers select Ryan Kelly, forward, Duke
It’s not even that I like Kelly, I just think he’s perfect for Mike D’Antoni’s system. If D’Antoni is truly the Lakers coach of the future, they’re going to need guys like Kelly. He’s a 6-11 guy who shoots the three like a guard. He’s a skilled big man with decent ball-handling skills who can also pass. And he has unlimited range on the perimeter.
That said, needs to add bulk to his 228-pound frame, isn’t very athletic and must get better as a rebounder. On any other team, in any other system, I’d hate this pick. But the Lakers will need tall shooters if they’re really going to convert their roster to D’Antoni’s style of play. He should see the floor a lot in Lakerland early.
No. 4: Charlotte Bobcats select Cody Zeller, forward/center, Indiana
My fellow Indiana fans will probably hate me for saying this, but I think No. 4 was way too high for Zeller. I realize the Bobcats were going for a solid player who was going to help them now, but Zeller has a lot of work to do before he’s the kind of guy a young team can rely on in the post consistently. If they had taken him in the nine to 12 range I’d be fine with it, but Zeller a stretch this high.
Cody is the best Zeller and I think he’ll have a long career in the NBA. But a lack of toughness in the post and the fact that he never showed he could consistent finish through contact are major red flags. That, and the fact that he faces a position change (from center to power forward) at the next level make this difficult to swallow.
I love Cody Zeller, but not at this pick for the Bobcats.
No. 5: Phoenix Suns select Alex Len, center, Maryland
I don’t get the fascination with Len. Yes, he’s an athletic 7-footer, with some offensive skills, but he didn’t put up numbers in college and looked soft and out of place in the post. The Suns needed size, but when I see Len I see a weaker version of Enes Kanter, another European player who went to college and had scouts raving about him. How is Kanter doing? Two years after being taken with the third overall pick in the draft, he’s averaging 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 15.4 minutes per game on an awful Utah Jazz team.
Len just seems like a high-risk, high-reward pick in a draft without any great big men. That’s why he went this high. With McLemore still on the board this was an awful pick.
No. 20: Chicago Bulls select Tony Snell, forward, New Mexico
The Bulls were looking for a perimeter guy who could shoot, but there were better options available. Guys like Cal’s Allen Crabbe and North Carolina’s Reggie Bullock were sitting there and they grabbed Snell, a wing who was wildly inconsistent in college.
Snell is long and athletic and has shown flashes of being a catch-and-shoot guy. But he’s also extremely weak at 6-7 and 198 pounds and he’s also a terrible ball handler. Watching tape on him convinced me he must have wowed the Bulls in workouts, because the on-court evidence doesn’t show a first-round type of player.
No. 23: Indiana Pacers select Solomon Hill, forward, Arizona
I have zero idea what the Pacers were thinking with this pick. I viewed Hill as a fringe second rounder without much upside. He played a ton in college, so he’s experienced and mature but I just don’t see what he adds to the team. He’s a 6-7 small forward who doesn’t really bring one great tool to the game. He’s sort of OK at a lot of things.
I haven’t talked to one person who thought Hill was a first-round talent. Then again, we all said the same thing about Miles Plumlee last year…and we were right. The Pacers just think differently on draft night and other than taking Paul George with the 10th pick in 2010, that outside the box thinking hasn’t served them well.
No. 24: New York Knicks select Tim Hardaway Jr., guard, Michigan
Initially this was the kind of pick that made me shrug and say “Eh? I guess it’s OK.” But once I thought about it I really didn’t like it. Hardaway can really do one thing well: shoot. That’s about it. He’s a solid kid with a nice pedigree, but I don’t see him ever being a starter in the NBA. If you have a first round pick you have to be aiming for a potential starter, right?
Getting a guy who might fit in the rotation at 24 is just aiming far too low for me. The Knicks could have done better.