Many critics were quick to dismiss this year’s NBA Draft as a yawner with no marquee talent. Instead, it should have been embraced, because of how refreshing the unpredictability would be – and was.
This year’s draft was as wild as Lucas ‘Bebe’ Nogueira’s hair and as unpredictable as a Gregg Popovich interview response.
But through all the madness, there lies plenty of opinions, including the following predictions as to which critics, teams and players fell short at the 2013 NBA Draft.
KP’s Losers of the 2013 NBA Draft
Target: Charlotte Bobcats
Cody Zeller with the fourth pick was easily the biggest reach in this year’s draft – and it’s not just because Nerlens Noel was still on the board. Sure, Zeller is talented and had some success when playing in the Big Ten. But he was outmatched and outplayed during the March Madness tournament, shooting a combined 7-for-21 (with seven turnovers) from the floor against Temple and Syracuse. He’ll be lucky to match the career that Shawn Bradley had when he was a top five pick in 1993.
Innocent Bystander: Cody Zeller
Prove us wrong, Cody, but you seem like the safest bet, when it comes to critics looking back on this draft and pointing out Charlotte’s misstep with the fourth pick.
Target: Bill Simmons
Bill Simmons knows his basketball, there’s no question about that, but it will never cease to amaze me that ESPN can allow such a homer to be representing them on a NATIONAL network. Sure, the city of Boston loves him, but how does he fare with the rest of the country?
But enough about that, let’s instead discuss how Simmons let his love for Boston get the best of him on draft night. He not only came after Doc Rivers on the broadcast, but also hated the deal where Boston agreed to send Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn. Simmons went on to consistently bring up how absurd it was to take on Gerald Wallace’s hefty contract. While the pieces acquired were not significant, they were likely necessary, and who cares, Bill? Cap space, maybe, but otherwise, It’s not your money.
The fact of the matter is this: The Celtics were not going to win another championship with this aging trio, and to manage to get a combined four – count ‘em, FOUR – first round picks for them and Doc Rivers is an absolute steal.
Innocent Bystander: Boston Celtics
The immediate future of the Celtics doesn’t look bright, but with a young nucleus and a plethora of first round draft picks, this team could bounce back real quick.
Target: Boston Celtics
Yes, it’s Boston again, and here’s why: Kelly Olynyk, while scrappy and clearly a player that Boston will embrace – much like fans did during the Brian Scalabrine era – is a bit of a stretch with the 13th pick.
Via YouTube: One reason why Boston loved Scalabrine
Target: Phoenix Suns
Alex Len was rumored to be an option for the Cavaliers with the first pick and it’s likely that Phoenix didn’t expect to have the option to take either Len or Noel with the fifth pick in the draft. While the Maryland center (from the Ukraine) has the size – 7’1”, 255 pounds – he’s very much an unproven commodity. Phoenix was clearly questioning the health of Noel’s knee.
Still, one can’t help but look at Len’s current track record, especially offensively, where during the 2012-13 season, he had just one game against a ranked team where he scored more than ten points – and that was against Duke on February 16th.
Bigs are important in the NBA, but the Suns had needs at multiple positions and could have nabbed a player with much more value here.
Target: Los Angeles Lakers
One can’t expect much when your team has one pick that’s late in the second round. Some critics applauded the Lakers for taking Ryan Kelly, as he will fit perfectly into a Mike D’Antoni system. But that’s where the question mark comes in. D’Antoni currently has a roster of aging veterans that do not fit his system. With the hype that the Lakers bring, combined with it being the twilight of Kobe’s career, it’s easy to envision D’Antoni being a coach that could be sitting on the hot seat sooner rather than later. So, why draft a question mark that’s a D’Antoni guy?
Target: Toronto Raptors
The Raptors – a team with 34 wins last year – had zero picks in the draft. Therefore, Toronto was unable to add any young talent to its roster.
Small Target: San Antonio Spurs
Livio Jean-Charles could very well pan out down the road, as San Antonio is known for its late draft steals. However, it would have been advised to find a late round steal that could contribute now. After all, the window is closing on the team’s current championship potential. But again, it would come as no surprise if these picks panned out in the future.
This has been Throwing Tomatoes, where the red fruit is as round as the rock itself.