The day after the NBA Draft is far too early to evaluate who did well and who will rue their choices sometime down the line. It usually takes years to effectively break down a draft, but that won’t stop us from making a few calls regardless:
WHO DID WELL
- The New Orleans Hornets ended up with the best player in the draft and a guy that is going to anchor their defence for years to come in Anthony Davis. Landing Austin Rivers, a guy they were quite high on and believe will be a dynamic scorer and leader also was a good move, but he’s not a point guard so that remains a glaring hole.
- John Calipari saw four of his guys drafted and is the first coach to have his players go 1-2. Marquis Teague also landed in Chicago, a great fit, since he will backup another great Calipari product, Derrick Rose. How can a top prospect say no to Calipari when he can point to this draft, as well as Rose and John Wall going No. 1 overall in the past.
- The Milwaukee Bucks got Samuel Dalembert to man the middle earlier in the week but had to move down two spots to do so. Still, the guy the team loved – John Henson – was still on the board at 14 and they eagerly snapped him up. He’ll be a nice fit.
- The Sacramento Kings had a dream scenario: Thomas Robinson would be available at five. Few thought it would come to pass, but there the Kansas big man was. Now, the Kings boast an enviable frontcourt of Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins that will cause major problems for the rest of the league for years to come.
- Dion Waiters and his agent Rob Pelinka had better nights than almost anyone. Pelinka told his client to shut down workouts, leading to lots of head-scratching, but in the end, Waiters leapt to fourth overall. A big gamble for Cleveland, who became only the second team to pick a player in the lottery who didn’t start for his college team.
- It was also a great night for Canada, specifically Andrew Nicholson, who went at No. 19 to Orlando, Kris Joseph (51 to Boston) and Robert Sacre (60th to Los Angeles). Seems like good landing spots for all and that makes five Canadians picked in the past two years, three in the first round.
- The Syracuse Orange cleaned up with Waiters going fourth, Fab Melo also being picked in the first round (the first time Syracuse has had two first-rounders since 1991) and Joseph went later.
- Bernard James will be a 27-year-old rookie. He spent years in the military before achieving his dream. The crowd in Newark, recognizing his sacrifices, serenaded him with USA, USA chants after he was drafted, leading to a tip of the cap from James.
n Not only did Portland get the guy it wanted – point guard Damian Lillard — but the team also got an athletic 7-footer in Meyers Leonard to replace unathletic 7-footer Joel Przybilla.
- Golden State has been trying to trade for a small forward for ages, but instead of committing to a high salary guy, they got Harrison Barnes, who could be an all-star, for the relative peanuts a No. 7 overall selection makes.
- Oklahoma City lost in the final but seems on the verge of great things. Adding Perry Jones, considered a top 10 pick for the past two years, at the end of the first round could be a coup for a franchise that already got Serge Ibaka late once.
- International scouts: This was a down year for international talent. A year after four of the first seven picks of the draft were from outside of the U.S. (including Tristan Thompson), Nicholson and French guard Evan Fournier a pick later were the first non-Americans to come off of the board.
- David Stern was booed so loudly that we couldn’t even hear him. He took it well, even doing a Hulk Hogan hands to the ear motion at one point, but you know it bothers him. Especially since deputy and successor-in-waiting Adam Silver was once again given a hero’s welcome upon taking over to announce the second-round selections.
- NBA fans looking for drama must have been disappointed with the lack of bold moves. It certainly was without some of the fireworks we have seen in previous years.
- Detroit – maybe. Connected to John Henson throughout the process, a workout wonder who looks like Anthony Davis-lite, the Pistons couldn’t pass up on Anthony Drummond when he was there for the taking at nine. This could turn out fabulously for Joe Dumars and the Pistons, or they might rue the day they didn’t go for the far surer thing.
Detroit also might regret trading a first-round pick to get rid of Ben Gordon, one of the best three-point shooters in the league, albeit a guy with a bad contract.
- Raptor pick Quincy Acy was a winner, but his Baylor teammates Jones and Quincy Miller were at the other end of the spectrum. Both have the talent of lottery picks, but fell due to injury and/or makeup concerns.