We’re 15 minutes away from the 2013 NBA Draft, otherwise known as the Worst Draft Ever. We’ve been spending weeks trying to convince ourselves that this draft isn’t that bad, and Jay Bilas just put things into perspective: “if this draft started at 5, and the Cavs picked from there, we’d be talking about how deep this draft is.” So that’s where we are. Unfortunately the draft doesn’t start at 5. Heather Cox just interviews Alex Len, quizzing him about how his injury feels and how his rehab process is going, only to close the interview saying “enjoy every minute of tonight,” as if to tell him THIS IS THE PEAK OF YOUR NBA CAREER, IT’S NEVER GONNA GET BETTER THAN THIS. Heather Cox and I agree on that. The camera then cuts to Sergey Karasev, the Russian sweet shooting 6’7 guard, smiling as he’s most likely getting berated by the New York fans. Perhaps the most unbearable recurring theme of this draft, as always, is Fran Fraschilla giving us the low-down on every international prospect in the draft, telling us how each of them would’ve lit up the US and how they’ll all have nice long careers. GOOD GOD why is Shane Battier an ESPN correspondent tonight? Rece Davis just said Battier was taking care of ESPN’s Twitter, calling it “ShaneCenter.” I don’t know who thought this was a good idea.
It’s Draft time. Let’s get this thing under way. Get ready for a roller coaster of a night, folks.
7:30 p.m. ET — ESPN is going with an old-school theme, narrated by Magic Johnson. I kind of dig it, if not for the fact that most of these guys they’re showing probably won’t be in the league in a few years! As always, David Stern is getting booed by everyone in the Barclays Center, and Stern loves it. I can’t wait until he steps down. He took way too much delight saying “the Heat took home the second straight title,” as the fans go nuts.
7:37 — Rece Davis just attributed the Cavs getting the top pick again to the “magic touch” AKA sucking. Who do they take? Jalen says the 206 pound center with a torn ACL, otherwise named Nerlens Noel. And Bilas reminds us that he’s not an offensive player and he’s on crutches. Great! Sounds like a number one pick to me. Bill Simmons bashes Noel for all of the above reasons, while Jalen claims Noel is a very safe pick. Bilas though favors Ben McLemore. Yeah, why not draft the guy compared to Ray Allen? Aren’t we overthinking this? Bilas thinks McLemore is the most talented player in the draft, and would fit in great with Waiters coming in off the bench. When talking of a trade of Noel for Len and another pick, Jalen basically laughed, saying he doesn’t know if Len is a top 5 prospect. That’s his way of saying he wouldn’t touch Len with a 100 foot pole.
7:41 — Aaaaaaaaand the first pick is here. And the Cavs select ANTHONY BENNETT!!!!!!!!!!! Well that came out of nowhere. The Cavs finally made a smart move, taking the highest upside guy in this draft. Hey, he’s 260 pounds and he could eat himself out of the league in a year, or he could be a 20-10 Larry Johnson type. Bill Simmons jumped out of his seat upon hearing Bennett’s name. This sucks. Shane Battier is going to be interviewing all of the prospects? That’s just not right. Battier is secretly telling Bennett “Don’t FUCK with me and try to take my boy LeBron to Cleveland in a year” right after the interview.
7:46 — Bilas likes the pick, but Simmons is stuck on the fact that Bennett is 261 pounds. Good to know Bilas let us know that “Bennett won’t eat himself out of the league.” Well that’s a relief. Aaaaaaaaaaand the second pick is VICTOR OLADIPO. I love this. After every pick, they show Nerlens with his head down. So far, NBA teams are 2 for 2 on smart moves. What’s going on? This is NOT supposed to happen. Let’s just wait until the Wiz and Bobcats pick for the draft to begin to break down. Bilas remarks that Oladipo’s too tough mentally to fail. Oladipo is gonna be a stud, calling the Magic “the program” and telling us he’s going to bring a work-ethic “they’ve never seen before.” Everyone at the table loves the pick.
7:51 — Oh no, my Wizards are up. Don’t mess up. PLEASE. And with the third pick….the Wizards take OTTO PORTER. Otto gets to stay close to home after dominating at Georgetown. I’m not sure Porter ever averages 16 points per game, but he can be a nice role player for the Wizards and you don’t get any higher character than him. Bilas claims he’s the most well-rounded prospect, and Jalen compared him to Bruce Bowen. Couldn’t be any happier for Otto to stay in DC, and while he might not be an all star, the Wizards didn’t pick up any Nick Young or Javale McGhee clowns, so that’s a success. Porter’s father closes the interview mentioning he has one final son, perhaps the greatest of them all!!! The Wiz now have a Wall-Beal-Porter foundation that suddenly looks extremely promising. Two of the top 3 picks in this year’s draft weren’t in the TOP 100 IN THEIR JUNIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL.
7:57 — Time for MJ to fuck up the draft again. Aaaaaand WHAT?!?! MJ DOES IT AGAIN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Zeller could be a good pro, but he wasn’t projected to go in the top 10, and MJ just took him fourth. Well folks, it looks like the ‘Cats are gunning for Andrew Wiggins next year. Zeller projects to be a stretch four in the pros, which I guess is what you want with the fourth pick? But not really? Quietly, the subplot for tonight is going to be how much does Nerlens slip? McLemore is still available too. So three of the top rated prospects Noel, Len, and McLemore are still available.
8:04 — Phoenix is up now. They need everything. McLemore is the most talented player available, but they need a big man to guard the rim. Noel has to be their guy right here. And with the fifth pick, the Suns take ALEX LEN. WOW this is the story of the draft. Nerlens Noel is slipping to the point that whoever drafts him will get a great bargain. If the Pelicans take him sixth, they will have an absolutely ridiculous frontcourt for the future. Two twigs who are insane shot blockers. The Pelicans could be the ultimate NBA 2K team next year if they take Nerlens.
8:10 — The Pelicans have the chance to pair the two Kentucky centers Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel here. But they could also use Ben McLemore too. Bilas wants them to go with McLemore here. With the 6th pick, the Pelicans take NERLENS NOEL. They now have the twin towers down low for the future. McLemore is sliding tonight, and whoever gets him is going to be getting the best shooter in the draft. Let’s all really hope that McLemore doesn’t go to the Kings because that’s the most unstable team in the league.
8:16 — With the 7th pick, the Kings go with Ben Mclemore. FINALLY. This will be one of the toughest situations he could’ve entered, but Bilas claims he has the “highest ceiling” and is the most likely to make an all star game. Bilas is worried that there is no one in the locker room who will mentor McLemore. Yes, any locker room with Demarcus Cousins in it is basically a war zone. Every man for himself!
8:23 — Andy Katz’s first cameo tonight revelas that Noel is on the move, as he’s going to be traded to the Sixers. Going from Bynum’s knee issue to Noel’s knee issue. Detroit goes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at 8. KCP is going to be a stud in a few years. He’s from Georgia so basically no one knows a thing about him, except that he’s the perfect size for a shooting guard at 6’6 and is a knockdown shooter. KCP is totally unfazed in his interview with Battier, and looks like he’ll be a good pro for a long time.
8:27 — The next three guys on the board are Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke, and C.J. McCollum, but the next few teams have teams with established point guards. The trade is NERLENS NOEL for JRUE HOLIDAY and a future first rounder. WOW! Bill Simmons just lost it. “I NEED ASPIRIN.” The Sixers are starting from scratch. And the Wolves select Trey Burke, who has to be traded unless he’s going to be the backup for Rubio. A flurry of trades should take place pretty soon, unless David Kahn took over Flip Saunders’ body for the draft. Sounds like Burke will be flipped to Utah, but it’s not clear for who.
8:32 — Portland is on the clock with the chance to pair up Lillard with another small college guard in McCollum. Aaaaaand THEY DO IT. A great pairing for the Blazers, who get one of the best guards in this draft. McCollum could easily be one of the best players in this draft. He’s one of the best shooters in this draft and has been compared to Steph Curry. A backcourt of Lillard and McCollum sets up the Blazers nicely for the future. McCollum let us know he really did come from the bottom and now he’s here, a la Drake. This guy will be good. When compared to Lillard, McCollum’s a much better player but he has a 21% turnover percentage, compared to Lillard’s 7%.
8:42 — The Sixers are up here 11th, as numerous trades are being finalized. Burke going to Utah. Holiday going to New Orleans. Picks being exchanged everywhere. This is way too confusing. The Sixers though will build around Noel and they’re up again right now. They take Michael Carter-Williams 11th to pair with Noel. MCW is big for a point guard, but he can’t shoot at all. Bilas tells us a story of how MCW was told at a camp that he was a Division III player, but he overcame and became a lottery pick. This is one weird draft, full of guys who no one wanted as 16 year olds, but are now lottery guys. The Thunder are up next and have a chance to somewhat redeem themselves from that blown Harden trade. I’d take Shabazz here, a lame version of Harden. He’s lefty like Harden and can score, but he’s not nearly as good as Harden.
8:49 — The Thunder take Steven Adams 12th, in the first predictable pick of the draft. Finally, something going according to the mock drafts. Adams is freak athlete who isn’t good at basketball yet. Tell me if that sounds like a lottery pick. Oh and he’s one of 18 kids, and the average height of the boys is 6’9. He has a good touch, but shoots 44% from the line because he doesn’t play enough. What does that mean?
8:54 — Dallas is up and we know they want to shed salary so we’re expecting an international guy here, or a trade. With the 13th pick, Dallas selects Kelly Olynyck, an extremely lame poor man’s version of Dirk. And he’s going to be traded to the Celtics for the 16th pick and some future second rounders. Boston is on the humbling rebuilding road, where you take large lumbering white guys and hope for the best.
9:03 — The Wolves are getting the first of their two picks in exchange for Trey Burke here. And Shabazz Muhammad doesn’t slip nearly as far as people thought he would tonight. The Wolves finally get a scoring wing to help out Kevin Love. Muhammad might have some personality issues, but he should be a solid rotation player and Jalen mentions that with Rubio feeding him the ball, he’ll get plenty of chances to score. Muhammad’s age isn’t a big deal according to Bilas…it’s not like his ID says McLovin.
9:08 — The Bucks have a chance to start over after the Jennings/Ellis/Redick trio failed miserably right here. And they select the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, a 6’9 point forward. Fran Fraschilla calls him a “McDonalds All American” who “probably can’t be put in an NBA game right now,” but that he has one of the highest upsides of anyone in the draft. I can live with that if I’m the Bucks. They’re in no rush. Boston is selecting now for the Hawks, we think? These trades are absurdly difficult to keep up with, but we think the Hawks have the next three picks. The 16th pick is the Brazilian Lucas Lucas Nogueira, who undoubtedly has the best hair in the draft and managed to balance the cap on his afro. He did play in the second best league in the world, but Fran tells us he may have peaked already. Great!
9:22 — The Hawks now have back-to-back picks in the first round. First, they select Dennis Schroeder, my favorite prospect in this draft. He’s been compared to Rondo as Fran reminds us. He’s ultra athletic and was an all star in the German league. Unlike Rondo, Schroeder can light it up from the perimeter. Tom Penn tells us he could be “the star of the draft in five years.” Now the Hawks are on the clock again. AND THEY GO WITH ANOTHER POINT GUARD IN SHANE LARKIN. There must be a trade here and Andy Katz tells us Larkin is headed to Dallas.
9:35 — The Cavs are back on the clock again after taking Anthony Bennett first. They ought to take Sergey Karasev and sticking him overseas for a year AND YES THEY DO IT. Karasev has been a popular pick with the scouts. Karasev is slated to come over and play this season, rather than stay overseas. Karasev is definitely NOT speaking any English right now, and Battier responds with a classic “well that’s a great” after clearly not understanding a word from Karasev’s mouth.
9:44 — The Bulls take Tony Snell 20th to give Rose some help. Snell is a good shooter and defender and the Bulls have been looking for a shooting guard for a long time, so this is a good pick for them. And then Shabazz Muhammad showed up in one the most bizarre moment of the draft, a la Brandon Jennings. And is there any question that Shane Battier is the worst in-draft commentator ever? Talk about awkward. I feel for the prospects confronted by him in the greatest day of their lives.
9:50 — A great pick for the Wolves in Gorgui Dieng. Dieng will contribute right away and give some insurance to the Wolves down low with Pekovic. He can be an NBA starter in his rookie year and I’d takehim in the short term over Noel and Len without a doubt. In Jason Kidd’s first draft as a head coach, the Nets take Mason Plumlee, who Jay calls superathletic and the best player available. I’ll tell you what, when Mason Plumlee is the best player available, that is NOT a good sign. Bill Simmons put him on the frying pan, calling him a “Rich Man’s Greg Stiemsma,” a very fitting comparison. Also, how weird is it to see Jason Kidd as a coach? Who are the next player-turned coaches around the league? Grant Hill? Kevin Garnett?
10:01 — Here we go with the interesting picks. This is where the the playoff teams find role players. SOLOMON HILL? Chad Ford had him in the last few picks of the draft. Bilas compares him to Draymond Green, which would be a steal if that turns out to be accurate. Hill is a tweener, but the Pacers need him to be a rotation guy. The Pacers can’t miss on back-to-back first rounders after drafting Miles Plumlee last year. The Knicks are up here. PLEASE DON’T TAKE TONY MITCHELL. If Mitchell goes to New York, he’ll flame out quickly, but if he ends up on the Spurs, I like him having an 8+ year career.
10:10 — Get ready for Knicks fans to lose it. Great pick by the Knicks with Tim Hardaway Jr, who’ll be a ‘3 and D’ guy for them and gives the Knicks the chance to lose J.R. Smith in free agency. The Knicks need more shooters and Hardaway fits the bill. He could be just as good as most of the players drafted ahead of him. For once, the Knicks make the right call! He should have an impact for the Knicks immediately. Spike Lee tells Heather Cox the Knicks need to get younger, bigger, and smarter. AKA, they need to get rid of J.R. Smith and some of the dinosaurs.
10:14 — Jalen Rose lets us know the Knicks have THE MOST EXPENSIVE FRONTCOURT IN NBA HISTORY!! In Doc Rivers’ first draft, the Clippers take Reggie Bullock out of UNC. I thought they might take the local guy Allen Crabbe from Cal, who does the same thing as Bullock. Both guys are knockdown shooters, but Bullock is a much better defender than Crabbe. Bullock can take some time from Willie Green at shooting guard, and split with Jamal Crawford.
10:20 — Andy tells us the Warriors are getting this 26th pick form the Wolves, and they still don’t even know who to take. Last year they made a nice late round selection getting Draymond Green. Can they do it again? They selet Andre Roberson, who is virtually unknown in the draft, but according to Kevin Pelton over at ESPN, he projects as a second round steal and a poor man’s Kenneth Faried. My second favorite prospect along with Schroeder, Tony Mitchell, is still on the board and I’m praying the Spurs snatch him up. He would be excel in their system and Popovich would make sure Mitchell didn’t flame out. The Nuggets take giant freak of nature Rudy Golbert at 27. He has a 7’9 wingspan and looks like absolutely unnatural. It’s to be determined whether he can walk and chew gum at the same time.
10:29 — The Spurs are up now and they have a chance to get Tony Mitchell, a cross between Shawn Marion, Kenneth Faried, and every NBA flameout. No one has any idea how his career will go, but the Spurs develop players better than any other team in the league. DAVID STERN HAS 3 SELECTIONS LEFT IN HIS CAREER AS NBA COMMISSIONER!!!! The Spurs select a human I have never heard of in my life, and in the reddest flag of all time, EVEN FRAN IS SURPRISED HE WENT THIS HIGH. The Spurs needed a player who could help them in the short-term here, not a draft and stash guy.
10:39 — OKC is picking here for Phoenix and they select Archie Goodwin, the youngest guy in the draft, who was also compared to Russell Westbrook out of high school. Phoenix is extremely high upside and should be stashed in the D-League for a few years while he develops. As Bilas notes, he was projected to be a top 10 pick before the season, so he’s very high value at this point in the draft.
10:45 — David Stern is making the last pick in his career as NBA Commissioner here. Let’s hope it’s an international player whose name he can’t pronounce. I’m disappointed in ESPN’s run down memory lane of all of Stern’s most memorable selections they didn’t include the all-time busts like Kwame Brown and Darko. In David Stern’s final pick, the Suns select Nemanja Nedovic! Perfect, just as we all wanted– a random international guy no one’s ever heard of. In a bizarre turn of events, Hakeem Olajuwon, Stern’s first ever pick shows up to embrace Stern and thank him for the last 30 years. A great moment to end Stern’s career.
10:58 — To end the first round, the Celtics-Nets blockbuster deal is done. The Celtics are sending KG, Pierce, and Terry to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, and three first rounders. Not a bad deal for a bunch of dinosaurs from the Celtics’ perspective. Bill Simmons is livid that the Celtics have to take on the Wallace contract, and that Pierce won’t retire a Celtic. The Nets now have a legitimate team to compete with the Heat, after Jalen mentions that Brook Lopez plays “like there’s an electronic fence around the paint.”
With the conclusion of the first round, we’ll wrap up the the first ever Draft Diary. This may not be a draft with any true superstars, but there’s a good chance we’ll look back on this draft as when the Cavs really began sowing the seeds for the return of LeBron. There will be good players in this draft–we’re just not exactly sure who yet. In five years, we will look at a few guys who were drafted out of the lottery that end up being the best guys in this draft.