Originally written on In The Neutral Zone  |  Last updated 6/28/13
I just love surprises don’t you? Nerlens Noel was considered by most to be the best player in this years NBA Draft, and was projected to be the #1 overall pick. Boy was everybody wrong. Noel fell all the way to the 6th pick as his flat top surely shrunk as he waited to hear his name called. Upon his selection to the New Orleans Pelicans, he immediately got shipped off to Philadelphia. The 76ers did what everybody does and made a trade based on money and money alone. No one in their right mind can tell me that Nerlens Noel (a virtual unknown coming off major surgery) is worth up and coming superstar Jrue Holliday AND a future 1st round pick. The only positive for the 76ers here is that they cleared $41 million in cap space for the future, but in the process they lose one of the best young talents in the NBA. Yeah that decision shouldn’t haunt you for the rest of your life. Now, back to the task at hand: Who was the first overall pick in the draft you ask? The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Anthony Bennett of UNLV to play alongside the über talented Kyrie Irving. Cleveland management clearly wants to win now as Bennett is regarded as the most NBA ready player of anyone in this years draft (I have to respectfully disagree with that). From there the shocks and surprises kept on coming. I believe there were two picks in the top 10 that stood out. Cody Zeller going 4th overall is egregious. I’m starting to figure out why Michael Jordan is not a good executive and should never be allowed to make decisions for his team ever again. If you think Cody Zeller is going to live up to his draft position, then you must be sipping on the same stuff MJ is. On the other hand, the best value pick has to be Ben McClemore as the 7th overall pick. McClemore is probably the most talented player in the entire draft, and I think between he and Victor Oladipo, they will be duking it out for Rookie of the Year honors next season. Overall it was a very active day in the NBA, and I will break down all the important moves right here. Thursday’s NBA Draft represented David Stern’s 30th and final draft. Over those 30 years he has stood on that stage with some of the NBA’s greatest players of all-time. As most of you know, Stern will be stepping down as commissioner in February making way for a new era in the NBA. This years draft, while not as deep in terms of obvious talent, certainly did not disappoint. It was a wild night as 11 of the first 30 picks were traded, and the host site of the draft made the biggest splash of all. The Brooklyn Nets have brought new meaning to the term win now as they traded away 5 players and 3 future draft picks to the Boston Celtics. Here is how the trade breaks down: The Nets get: Paul Pierce Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry The Celtics get: Gerald Wallace Reggie Evans Kris Humphries Keith Bogans Tornike Shengelia and 1st round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018 The Nets starting lineup instantly gets better, and this makes them a top 3 team in the NBA on paper. However, as we all know, a bunch of names thrown together doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work (especially with a rookie head coach in Jason Kidd). The way I see it, the Nets have to win the championship this year, or this will be considered a failure. Forget who they traded, they traded away 3 1st round picks. If this doesn’t work out then they’ll be in the proverbial hurt locker for some time now. What I see happening is they will finish with a solid record (probably 50 wins), but come playoff time they will meet their match against the Heat. As for the Boston Celtics, this is simply the final move to having a clean slate to rebuild on. It’ll be years before Boston competes again in the East, so get comfy. If you take a quick glance at the Eastern Conference, it is strong. For the Knicks to be the 5th best team in the Conference, you know the East is ready to dominate the NBA yet again. Speaking of the Knicks, I did like their draft pick from last night. They chose Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th overall pick. If your team likes to shoot then draft a shooter. All in all it was a crazy night in the NBA. We saw a shocker at #1, we saw a blockbuster trade, and we saw a staple in the NBA conduct his final draft as commissioner. Now all that’s left to do is find out where Dwight Howard will suit up next year, and we’ll be ready for another action packed NBA season. What team do you think had the best draft? Who had the worst draft? Leave me your answers and comments below.
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