These Draft Moves Made The Most Impact


BROOKLYN, N.Y. – These five Draft decisions that will have the greatest impact:

1. Jrue Holiday and a 2013 second-round pick to the Pelicans, Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-rounder to the 76ers

It’s No. 1 by a wide margin, too, swaying the fortunes not only of two teams, but two conferences. Philadelphia is out of the playoff business for a while after finishing all of four games out in 2012-13 despite Andrew Bynum on the sidelines and coach Doug Collins heading for the exit. Instead of an All-Star at point guard and the chance to use the No. 11 pick Thursday night for a big to either replace the unrestricted free-agent Bynum or help at power forward — perhaps by drafting Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk or Lucas Nogueira — the Sixers have Noel as a rookie, who does not expect to play until around Christmas because of a knee injury. The Sixers also have point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who was selected with the 11th pick.

The first-rounder next year, in a draft that projects as much more stacked than the 2013 class without a star presence, is a nice get for the 76ers, though. It is protected, depending on the report, either through three or through five.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, take a significant step forward with the addition of the point guard they had been lacking. Austin Rivers, the 2012 lottery pick, is better suited as a combo guard anyway and now is part of the Holiday-Eric Gordon pairing that will headline one of the best backcourts in the league if Gordon stays healthy. Anthony Davis remains a potential star of the future at power forward.

2. Wizards select Otto Porter at No. 3

It was the predictable call since 15 seconds after the lottery, and it was the right call. It was the call, more specifically, that vaults Washington into playoff mode.

The Wizards were already one of the best teams in the East the second half of last season, once John Wall got healthy and even with an early end to the rookie season of Bradley Beal because of injury. Now, with the position of need addressed Thursday, they have Wall at point guard, Beal at shooting guard, Porter at small forward and Nene and Emeka Okafor at power forward and center. That works.

Porter isn’t the difference maker, but he is the ideal fit in the same way he would have been a reasonable choice for Cleveland at No. 1: he is capable of stepping into the NBA now, he helps the spot the Wizards needed and he’s an ideal complementary player who will make valuable contributions to Wall and Beal’s continued rise. Porter will defend, pass, rebound and shoot with range. The things that get a team to the playoffs.

3. Bucks select Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 15

It’s not that Milwaukee went small forward four days before three guards — Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick (unrestricted) and Brandon Jennings (restricted) — hit free agency. Other teams steered away from Dennis Schroeder, Shane Larkin, Tony Snell and others. And it’s not that Milwaukee saw into the future with a unique opportunity for a 6-foot-9 potential point forward with a good feel for the game despite little experience in Greece and even less against anything close to the equivalent of Division I competition in U.S. colleges.

It’s that the Bucks don’t have what Antetokounmpo needs more than anything: time. He has to get stronger, adjust to the physical nature and speed of the game here and develop a jumper. One scout who saw him, asked how long before Antetokounmpo makes an impact in the NBA, said, “Three, four years. Maybe five.” Others think it’s a lot shorter than that, but that still means two years.

If he contributes in 2013-14, the vast majority of front offices will be surprised. Meanwhile, the Bucks need to stay in the playoff picture, not build something for the future. They are about now and he isn’t.

4. Trail Blazers select C.J. McCollum at 10, Allen Crabbe at 31 and Jeff Withey at 39

This is a consolation prize? Portland missed on the dream Draft-night outcome of trading for a veteran center, yet it still addressed a major needs. With three picks capable of contributing — yes, even the second-rounders — the Blazers made a significant step toward toward erasing their depth issues last season.

McCollum, who has spent the pre-Draft process comparing himself to Damian Lillard as a mid-major product trying to prove he can be a point guard and not just a scorer, now works behind Lillard. And maybe with him — both can play off the ball. Crabbe is a shooting specialist who was getting looks from teams in the teens. Withey is a value find at 39, an experienced shot-blocking center who should be able to play right away and very realistically could have a career as a backup despite being a second-rounder.

5. Mavericks trade down twice

It’s not about what they got. It’s about what they didn’t get. A larger payroll.

Shane Larkin, whom Dallas got in a swap with Atlanta, is as the possible point guard of the future. Possible because there is no such thing as roster certainty heading into this critical free-agent summer.

By starting with the 13th pick and trading with the Celtics to No. 16 and then trading with the Hawks to end up at 18 and taking Larkin, the Mavericks saved $1.09 million in rookie-scale salary. That creates more cap space. Dwight Howard likes cap space.


  1. Miami Heat BIG fan says:

    NERLENS NOEL- If only he is acquired by the Miami Heat in exchange for Mike Miller(rather than using an amnesty clause in which rumours say) plus a future first round draft pick, he’ll be the BIG answer in the team’s lack of size and interior defense. Chris Bosh will then be moved back to Power Forward position, yey!

    Then the line-ups will be exciting:
    Starting line-up: Chalmers, Wade, James, Bosh, Noel
    Bench line-up: Cole, Allen(if he stays), Battier, Haslem, Andersen(hope he’ll be resigned)

    As for the young team(either the Pelicans or the76ers who has Noel) that will receive Miller, he can be their young team’s mentor plus his deadly 3-point shooting. The team can also have more opportunities in terms of rebuilding if they do take advantage of the future draft pick they received and by using it WISELY for the team’s future.

    • dada says:

      … no…

    • Blake says:

      Not even NBA2k would allow that trade..

      Noel a potential star traded for a guy who can only play limited minutes cant create his own shots and cant really play a strong D with a future first round pick?

      Your name says it all,..

  2. J says:

    mistake to trade jrue i’m not happy 76ers 😡

  3. J says:

    mistake to trade jrue i’m not happer 76ers 😡

  4. tropa says:

    not a good trade for 76ers! ! ! if they need a big man, DRAFT rather than trading a all star in the making in JRUE holiday!!!! or take a risk to sign bynum!!!

  5. RCue says:

    Suns just drafted Len and I think the Pelicans are tired if Gordon’s antics. They will play Holiday and Vazquez as their back court trade Gordon for Gortat and a SF which would be Beasley or Wesley Johnson plus draft picks.

  6. Bucks 4 Life says:

    Howard-Cooper: Thanks for the mention on Giannis. We swung for the fences with this pick. The Bucks are young and they got swept out of the first round by the defending Champs. I for one would not mind seeing a tank job by my team to get the best player possible come next year. Honestly we’re two or three years from thinking of contending (top 3 team in the East) but we got to start somewhere.

  7. Letters: jkfldsankvczx says:

    How are the Utah Jazz not on here? They got the best PG in the draft by giving away the last lottery pick and the 21st pick. and got Gobert with cash and a 2nd round pick;

  8. yes howard must go heading to a different team…the best move for laker this coming season

  9. D Smith says:

    I think that Minnesota did a good job as well. They picked up a starter in Shabazz Muhammed and a future starter and rotation player in Gorgui Dieng.

  10. CDs1 says:

    Jazz clear winners of this draft. Pretty amazing what they pulled off last night

  11. john okland says:

    pelicans are dumb kmb

  12. Dan says:

    Most impactful move was easily kg and pierce to brooklyn, where is that on this list? heat better watch out

    • Mijisu says:

      It most impactful “move”… the NETS and CELTICS are still in “talk”

      • aaaaaa says:

        No the deal is done, it just can’t legally be finalized until July 10th when the moratorium on free agency is lifted.

  13. j says:

    Rip city!

  14. Charlie says:

    Kit…you are right the JAZZ hit a grand slam!

  15. Kit says:

    What about the Jazz trading picks to get Trey Burke? A difference-making point guard, paired with a young, talented core of Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter. That’s a good-looking team for years to come.

  16. SKYRUNNERS says:

    How could you leave Ben McLemore to the Kings!? That’s easily the best pick in this draft!

    • aaaaaa says:

      I disagree. Marcus Thorton and Tyreke Evans both play at the 2, what Sacramento needed was a point guard. Personally I like Isaiah Thomas, but I think he fits more as a backup point guard, like Nate Robinson.

  17. Mark says:

    Didn’t the Sixers get the pick? Not the Pelicans?

  18. KevinJ says:

    Dwight Howard does not scare anyone. Put him with Nowidski and you have the disfunctional Lakers without Kobe Bryant. They will be the #3 team in Southwest at best trying to get into the 7th/8th spot

  19. lee lovitt says:

    it really surprises me that the 76ers gave up holiday that cheap i actually like noel with the pelicans him and anthony davis together just seemed right and the pg the had last year done really well the need to trade eric gorden for a player who can contribute more then 10 games a year

  20. dirk45 says:

    If Howard really lands in DAL and they are able to keep Matrix, you might have to rewrite the order.