While it was a big night for Anthony Bennett, it was a confusing and somewhat strenuous one for other incoming NBA players as the 2013 draft unfolded Thursday night.
Regardless of where they end up, everybody taken in the draft is excited to be playing NBA basketball, but whether or not some of these players should be excited is another matter all together. Getting into the right team and finding your way into the starting lineup is matter of luck as much as it is a symbol of your on court brilliance sometimes, so every draft has a few winners and losers when it comes to where they end up. Let’s take a look at how some of this year’s big name picks faired.
Taken second overall by the Orlando Magic, Oladipo is widely considered the safest and possibly most NBA ready player to come out of this draft. He has a ton of athleticism and defensive skill, he just has to polish his jump shot a bit. Luckily for him, he’s in a good place to do that playing under coach Jacque Vaughn who has the ability develop young talent as he’s shown over the last year with guys like Maurice Harkless and Nikola Vucevic.
Oladipo will face stiff competition from Aaron Afflalo for playing time should the veteran guard still be in Orlando come next season. In the days leading up to the draft, there were rumors of a trade involving Afflalo going to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe. While that deal has fallen through, it shows that the Magic may be willing to deal Afflalo. With the pick of Oladipo and the fact that they already have E’Twaun Moore, any trade would likely involve a point guard in exchange for Affalo. In any case, a move would clear the path for Oladipo to start and develop quickly under a coach who shown he can do that.
OTTO PORTER JR.- Winner
Going No. 3 in the NBA Draft you expect to get drafted on to a terrible team, but the Wizards showed last season that they with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the lineup together, they are at least a .500 team with a real shot at playoff basketball in the Eastern Conference.
Porter now comes in with the potential to be the missing link they need. The Wizards have a ton of experience in their front court between Nene and Emeka Okafor and with the young guys they have been able to collect in Wall, Beal and Porter, they now enter the realm of being able to climb as high as a No. 6 seed. With Beal and Porter’s perimeter skill and Wall’s ability to drive to the rim, Washington is going to be a tough team to face next season.
Essentially a younger Byron Mullens, Zeller walks into a no win situation in Charlotte where he’ll most likely fill their vacant power forward spot. He is a big man who can shoot, so he and Kemba Walker could form a decent pick and pop partnership, but he lacks the toughness and overall defensive playmaking ability to be the guy that is going to help the Bobcats turn things around.
Heading somewhere like Portland or Oklahoma City could have been a better fit for Zeller, but he was never going to slip that far in the draft. The player was making bold statements that at Indiana he wasn’t able to really show what he can do because he was playing a role and often had to defer to other players. Well, he’ll have to prove it now if Charlotte is going to improve. On the upside, they will likely be in a position again to have a shot at a No.1 pick, which next year is looking like Andrew Wiggins.
Projected to go as high as No. 1, McLemore slipped all the way to seven where he’ll join the Sacramento Kings. He joins a team in dysfunction under new ownership that hasn’t had a winning season for some time. On top of that, McLemore is not as NBA ready as some might think in my opinion and he goes to a team that hasn’t shown a great deal of pedigree developing guys.
The Sacramento back court is somewhat crowded at the moment with players like Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Toney Douglas and Jimmer Fredette. Where McLemore fits in to all this is unknown, so his road ahead may be as rocky and arduous as any pick in the draft.
It’s not that Philadelphia isn’t a good place to be, it’s just that when the team trades away it’s star guard in order to get a big man and then selects you to fill his spot, the pressure to live up to your predecessor is significant to say the least. Carter-Williams is a good defensive player and at 6-foot-6 he has the potential to guard twos and show some versatility.
Unless Philadelphia lands a big free agent, it looks like a year chalked up to rebuilding and an attempt to get into the lottery again for next year’s draft. For at least a year, MCW will have to face some pretty tough basketball times ahead. At this point, he hasn’t met his coach of the future in Brett Brown. Whether or not he can really blossom into an impactful NBA player is tough to say, but he’s going to find out pretty quick as there won’t be many limits to his playing time.