A Draft Night Unlike Any Other

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NEW YORK – We need to wait for the Earth to stop spinning three times the speed of light for the official analysis. But for now, there is the detailed breakdown of the draft in technical terms:

Wow.

Everyone knew going in the only predictable part about Thursday night at Barclays Center would be the unpredictability, and still it was a jolt. It was so swirling that the player the NBA previously referred to as Giannis Adetokunbo became Giannis Antetokounmpo by the time he, Giannis A., went to the Bucks at No. 15. It was so upside down that Hakeem Olajuwon, the first player announced by new commissioner David Stern in 1984, was back on stage — famous red bow tie and all — either as the full-circle sendoff to Stern’s final draft or because Olajuwon could still get backup minutes for about 60 percent of the teams.

There has never been a hectic draft like it. The line of possibilities for Cleveland, with the wide-open first pick, were long in a year with no obvious choice — which is a kind way of saying no one deserved it. Then, when his name was called, Anthony Bennett was taken aback anyway.

“I’m just as surprised as everyone else,” said the UNLV power forward with the versatile offensive game. “I didn’t really have any idea who’s going No. 1 or who was going No. 2. I heard everything was up for grabs. But I’m just real happy, glad that I have this opportunity, and I just got to thank God for everything.”

It was a surprise because most other front offices had it down to a race among Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore and Alex Len, but hardly a reach. Bennett was the third-best prospect on the board in the estimation of some teams, and the Cavaliers do have a history of making the bold move, as in Tristan Thompson at No. 4 in 2011. Now, Bennett and Thompson will be competing for at least a portion of the minutes.

There were the trades. Dallas, trying to shave as much money as possible to build the war chest for free agency, moved from 13 to 16 and then from 16 to 18 before keeping Shane Larkin. How very NFL draft of them. Golden State went from not having any picks to buying No. 26, trading back to 29 and then trading back to 30 and taking Nemanja Nedoovic.

Then there were the surprises. No one could have imagined the Bobcats spending No. 4 on Cody Zeller until word of the possibility leaked earlier in the day. Noel, arguably the best prospect of all, lasting until the Pelicans at No. 6. McLemore, ditto, lasting until the Kings at No. 7.

There was also the really big surprise. Noel to the 76ers for Jrue Holiday as the point-guard solution in New Orleans and a pick in the loaded 2014 draft that is only top-three protected. Nice work by the Pelicans.

Hectic? On what would have been one of the busiest nights for the league anyway, the seismic shift of the Celtics continued with reports of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry being traded to the Nets, who play in the arena where the draft was being held. Two future Hall of Famers and Brooklyn redoubling efforts to make a push in the Eastern Conference, that’s all.

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Meanwhile, out on the main stage, Trey Burke had been taken ninth by the Timberwolves. Unexpected, number one. And traded to the Jazz? Unexpected part two.

“Well,” he said, “it was kind of a shocker that the Timberwolves selected me. So I was kind of thrown off a little bit. I was happy at the same time. I was excited. I got to walk across the stage that I’ve been watching since I was a little kid. Once I found out I was getting traded, it was kind of like, ‘What do I do?’ I had the hat on and everything. So I really didn’t know what to do. They told me to sit in the back room until it was confirmed. Now that it’s confirmed, I’m happy to be in Utah.”

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Being settled is a good thing, too. Especially on this night.

24 Comments

  1. tanibanana says:

    How can anybody pick Bennett over the likes of Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore.

  2. Rosesrred says:

    Trey Burke reminds me a lot of Derrick Rose. I think Utah just hit the jackpot. this kid should have gone first or second. Makes you wonder what the scouts were thinking.

  3. B Radd says:

    Dude!!! Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt! Does anyone remember how exciting the Hornets were when Baron Davis and David Wesley used to turn it on way back when. In my opinion, the Hornets got something special in both guard positions that will lift the Hornets to the playoffs. Anthony Davis at PF, and look to sign free agents Danny Granger and Al Jefferson at Center and Small Forward would be a guaranteed Playoff contender.

    • Game Time says:

      They’re Pelicans now.

      • B Radd says:

        Just don’t sound right. Only team I can think of that could use a name change are the Pacers, I really see them upping the tempo with George there. How about the Indiana Knights, Get it?

  4. Pacquiaoverrated says:

    cavs lol thats it.

  5. Canadian Cavs Fan says:

    Nobody who saw The Dream play in Toronto would ever say he can still get back up minutes for 60% of teams lol

    • SmoothMM says:

      Then again, the Dream may have just needed some rest. Continuous play wears you down, but taking a year or two years off could do the body just right. However, taking 12 years off is a big stretch…

  6. Carlos says:

    Nice work by the Pelicans?? That trade was awful. Look no further than these pictures:

    http://carlosrossgo.blogspot.com/2013/06/really-new-orleans.html

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  8. Alex says:

    I don’t care the cavs got Bennet. The cavs have done that the past 3 seasons, and we got 3 beasts. Lets go cavs!

  9. uhm…idk why houston pick a PG they have lin beverly and brooks they should have pick a back up SG or PF, i think they have a bad pick even canaan is a good player (in my opinion)

  10. natan says:

    true but bennet still has talent

  11. Mantas says:

    i am really shocked… Noel is traded to the Sixers for their BEST ALLSTAR player? Wasn’t enough with Bynum? Wow!!!! Cavs… that was a STUNNER… Cavs are biggest losers in this draft… If you have first pick, go with the best… Bennett not even in the top 5 prospect list

    • evang says:

      Cavs biggest losers in the draft? They could not of made a better pick at number 1. This young man has the strngth of a power forward and he can still hit the 3. He will make defenses have to work harder. LIke the Spurs K. Leonard he will eventually be able to guard players like L. James keeping the guards fresh (did anyone watch the finals?) Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Cavs fan, I’m a sixers fan (we’ll miss you jrue) and even though I’m worried about the picks I am glad to see the new gm seems to be thinking about defense. Now if only Jordan can make a pair of kicks big enough to fit a boot for Nerlens (i dont think i’ll ever get use to saying that name) then maybe we’ll be ok. M. Carter-Williams welcome aboard!!! Now let’s burn this mother “F” er down ( no offense ).

  12. KP3 says:

    wow!! c’mon bobcats, i respect the team.. i love catz, but is this really the best pick?? never learn from previous picks,.. disappointed men, i hope zeller meet your expectation, unlike morison (third overall) ..Len, Mc Clemore, Noel (P. Ewing is in the house, He can be a mentor to Noel, like D12).. I dont know you think but G’Luck Guys.. MJ team 4ever.,.

  13. J says:

    shockers all round
    bennet at 1 ?!?!?!? wow
    i understand noel at 6 but why the trade for holiday u could have had a shot blocking force in new orleans and they already have vasques
    zeller over len?!?!?!?!?
    mclemore at 7?!?!?!?!?!?
    cavs made a bad decision they had plenty of options and they need a SF should have taken oladipo and played him at SF
    and im not say bennet is bad im just saying its a questionable desision seeing as they have thompson unless they trade thompson for a C or depth

    wierd draft for sure

  14. Gillsy says:

    Is it just me but does Trey Burke sound like one of the most mature rookies in a long time. Don’t worry Trey you will get minutes in Utah. What about the Pelicans their line up just sounded so much better and looks like they are finally building a creditable team.

  15. allaroundballer says:

    Since no top rookie , the player trade will be much more interesting

    • The Truth says:

      On Bennett’s Need to Improve category, they listed “undersized for position”?

      What do they want him to do? Learn height?