NBA Draft filled with stunning moves
We were told to expect the unexpected.
REGIONAL DRAFT REPORTS
- Bobcats: Fans not pleased by pick
- Bucks: Young player has potential
- Cavs: Bennett their top choice?
- Clippers: Snagging a shooter
- Grizz: Franklin steal of draft?
- Hawks: Master plan becomes clear
- Heat: Swing a deal for Ennis
- Lakers: Kelly best player left
- Magic: Oladipo will help defense
- Mavs: Get Larkin but want Howard
- Pistons: Passing on local favorite
- Suns: Len a 'no-brainer' pick
- Thunder: One safe pick, one reach
- Wolves: Muhammad in good situation
What we got Thursday night exceeded all expectations.
And we're not talking exclusively about the NBA Draft.
The Boston Celtics completed the deconstruction of their Big 3, reportedly trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce along with Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Kris Joseph and three future first-round picks.
This deal comes on the heels of Doc Rivers' departure to the Clippers, leaving Boston with little remnants of its 2008 championship team. With Rajon Rondo coming off knee surgery, it could be a very long season in Beantown as the team continues to stockpile future draft picks.
These moves didn't sit well with ESPN's Bill Simmons, who has made it painfully clear that he is a fan of all things Boston. Simmons seemed to take out his frustrations on Rivers, saying that the former Celtics coach "quit" on the team while still manning the sidelines.
When informed of this, Rivers said he would like to call Simmons an idiot but is too classy to do something like that. Ouch.
Just to recap, here's what we expect the Celtics' starting lineup to look like if the season started today: Avery Bradley (remember, Rondo won't be ready to start the season), Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox.
But the draft itself provided its own dramatic moments.
Let’s start at the beginning.
No. 1 stunner: The Cavs, who have a history of making some unusual picks (Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters each picked fourth), took UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick. So what happened to all the talk about Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len and Ben McLemore going No. 1? Must have been a smokescreen.
The Cavs must have fallen in love with Bennett’s ability to put the ball on the floor, post up and play both forward positions. It’s a risk, but the Cavs have shown they’re willing to roll the dice.
Magic touch: After we caught our breath, the Magic stepped in and scooped up the Hoosiers' Oladipo, giving Orlando a wing defender who is explosive around the rim and can take his man off the dribble. Pairing him with Jameer Nelson and emerging big man Nikola Vucevic should give the Magic a solid foundation.
Capitol gain: The one known in this draft went according to plan — Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. going to the Wizards. Porter Jr. can do a little bit of everything, giving the Wizards a player who should fit in quite well with the backcourt tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Porter’s ability to defend multiple positions should also be a welcome addition.
Big-man shocker: The Bobcats then threw one of the biggest curveballs of the night. A team in desperate need for a perimeter scoring option decided to go with Indiana big man Cody Zeller. With Kansas shooting guard McLemore and Lehigh’s explosive C.J. McCollum both still on the board, this pick was definitely a head-scratcher. But what else do you expect from his Airness?
Offense vs. defense: With two injured big men to pick from — Noel (knee) and Len (foot) — the Suns handed in their selection. And to the surprise of many, Noel was not the pick. Maryland’s Len started moving up the charts as the draft approached, but few thought that Len would be picked ahead of Noel. Len is a more polished offensive player than Noel, so that might have been the deciding factor.
Wheeling and dealing: Noel’s wait finally came to an end when the newly named New Orleans Pelicans plucked the Kentucky big man with the No. 6 pick. It all made sense, pairing Noel with last year’s No. 1 pick and former Wildcat Anthony Davis to create a formidable defensive front court. But just when it all started to feel like we’ve found some normalcy, the Pelicans followed the script and pulled off a stunner. New Orleans shipped Noel to the 76ers for dynamic point guard Jrue Holiday and a protected 2014 first-round pick. The Sixers, who are expected to rid themselves of injury-plagued big man Andrew Bynum, are bringing in another big man who is coming off a knee injury. The Pelicans, who were led by point guard and Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Greivis Vazquez, must be looking to move Vazquez after this stunner.