June 27, 2013

NBA Draft Survival Guide

The 2013 NBA draft contains one of the more interesting draft classes we have seen in some time. With no clear cut number 1 pick to spearhead this years class some people may view this class as weak. This is false. I believe that it shows the depth and and versatility of this class. Lets be real, number 1 picks don't always turn into hall of famers, all stars, or even solid role players in some cases. With names like Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown, Joe Smith and Greg Oden leaving their teams respective GM's unemployed for setting their franchises back with these awful picks, a clear cut number 1 pick DOES NOT indicate a strong draft class.

The 2013 draft class does have some potential star power and it certainly has players that will and can help a team get better. Maybe not right away like most teams and fans would like to see. But down the road I believe this can be a very good class. Let's get into it.

#1 Pick Clevland Cavaliers- The Cavs are desperately trying to find an all star quality big man. They have been shopping their #1 pick to acquire a premier power forward such as Lamarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love. Having the first pick in the draft comes with tremendous pressure on the player selected and the franchise as well. Nerlens Noel has been the front runner for some time which is unreal to me. I think he is immensely talented. I love his motor along with hia shot blocking ability and defensive awareness. But at 206 pounds he will get man handled by EVERY NBA center. He is simply not a number 1 pick in my eyes for this very reason. So if I'm the GM of the Cavs and I am looking for a solid 5 man I would go with Alex Len out of Maryland. Len is a legit 7 footer with a polished skill set. He can face up. He can play with his back to the basket. He can rebound and he can pass out of the post. To me he makes more sense then Nerlens Noel. Is he the best player in the draft? At this point, I don't think so. But with his size and skill set and what the Cavs are looking for I believe he makes the most sense.

#2 Pick Orlando Magic- Orlando needs help at every position. This team and franchise are in a rebuilding process and their is no light at the end of the tunnel right now. So this draft in particular can have long term implications for the Magic. Victor Oladipo is the name that comes to mind with this pick. He plays hard. He defends. He is an elite level athlete and with some work I believe he can be an above average NBA player. With needs at practically every position it is unclear what the Magic can and will do with their #2 pick. Ben Mclemore the 6'5 two guard out of Kansas is also a viable prospect but I feel like he is unproven. Victor Oladipo is someone that can be piece to the puzzle that may not be able to help you get to the playoffs right away. But I think down the road he can be a solid all around player at either the point guard spot or the off guard spot.

3rd Pick Washington Wizards- It seems like over the past 5 years the Wizards have had a top 5 pick and haven't found the guy they were looking for. This team is very young and talented but they don't have the pieces to get them over the hump. Otto Porter out of Georgetown is a player that can help them instantly. He's 6'8, shoots the ball well from 3 and mid range. Solid off the dribble. A willing passer and someone who I believe can be an elite defender at his size. Not only can he defend his postion but with some more size he will be able to defend 1-4. I think you can make an argument for Porter as the #1 and certainly the #2 pick. Otto Porter will be in the league for a long time. He's a winner and a guy you want to go to battle with every night.

4th Pick Charlotte Bobcats- Charlotte... Charlotte... Charlotte. What can I say about the Bobcats that hasn't already been said about Iraq. They look bombed out and depleted. A franchise in dire need of a spark can not go wrong in this draft. This draft means more to the Bobcats then any other team in the draft, no question. I think Charlotte has to go with Ben Mclemore out of Kansas if he is available. If anything Mclemore gives them someone for the fans to be excited about which hasn't happened... Ever. Like I said before I'm not high on Ben Mclemore but I believe his ceiling is fairly high and Charlotte needs a scorer desperately. If Nerlens Noel is available here I think he could be their guy but I'm not sure if Charlotte can afford to bring in another project.

5th Pick Phoenix Suns- Phoenix needs help all of over the place. I think Nerlens Noel can fit into their system with time. He is athletic and with Gortat and Scola in Phoenix I think that would allow Noel to play the 4 spot which is where I think he should be. This is where I think he should go as far as his draft position but I wouldn't be surprised and I'm actually expecting, he and Ben Mclemore will flip flop at the 4 and 5 position.

6th Pick New Orleans Pelicans- aside from the stupid name the Pelicans are in position to continue to build towards the future. They have young talent and some very good role players and a terrific young coach. I think last years player of the year Trey Burke out of Michigan is their guy. With Anthony Davis steadily improving. I think Burke can be a guy to help this team go. No brainer for me here at 6. If Burke is available they need to take him.

7th Pick Sacramento Kings- if I was the GM of the Cavs the guy I would take at #1 is the guy who I believe Sacramento will take with their 7th pick and that's Sir Anthony Bennett. Young Charles Barkley. Larry Johnson 2.0. This kid can do it all at the 4 spot. He is only 6'7 so he is a bit undersized and I believe that's the only thing keeping him from being a top 3 pick. But he is absolutely tremendous. He shoots the 3. He can put it on the floor. Too strong for wing players to guard. To quick for 4's or 5's to stay in front off. If this kid can get himself into NBA playing shape and continues to work he will be an absolute steal at 7. By steal I mean the best player in the draft.

8th Pick Detroit Pistons- CJ McCollum is a 6'3 combo guard out of Lehigh who I believe can be the next George Hill, possibly better. Not because they both went to small schools, that's beside the point. He can score, he can pass and with his length he will be able to defend multiple positions. I love the fact that he is a senior and I think out of all the guards in the draft he might be the most NBA ready right now. Look out for him next season. Rookie of the Year sleeper pick.

9th Pick Minnesota Timberwolves- The Wolves are an average team right now. Aside from Kevin Love everyone else on their roster is fairly average. Including Ricky Rubio. I think Minnesota is looking for a wing player with size and athleticism and I believe Kentavious Caldwell-Pope out of Georgia is the type of player they are looking for. Athletic wings who can shoot the 3 and have size are in abundance in this draft but I believe KCP can be the best of the group. He shot 40+ percent from three last year and he is an underrated athlete. I kept my eye on him during the draft combine and he has all of the tools. I think he would make sense for Minnesota.

10th Pick Portland Trailblazers- Portland has a point guard. They have a 4 man. I think they need to get a solid wing player but I believe they will go with Cody Zeller out of Indiana. He is certainly an
underrated athlete and I saw that during the combine. He has a very good 15 foot jumper. Some back to the basket moves and a high level motor. The kid runs the floor every possession. Could really be another good young piece to an up and coming team in Portland.

After the draft I will post some reactions but I have to make this very clear. The strength of this draft class is its depth at every position. The best players in this draft can very well be taken in the late first and second rounds. Guys like Michael Carter-Williams, Shane Larken, Isiah Cannon, Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Snell (Kawai Lenord 2.0) and Tim Hardaway Jr have the potential to be very good pros and late round steals. This will turn out to be a very solid class. It will ultimately come down to what system these players will be apart of and if they can adjust and excel in those systems. All we can do as of right now is speculate. But mark my words, the 2013 draft class will make its mark on the NBA over the next 1o years. Do not be surprised if things get a little crazy tonight. Enjoy the draft!

Jason R
"The Don"

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