THE NBA DRAFT REPORT --
Jim Sez for Friday, June 28 …
THE NBA DRAFT REPORT -- WE DOLE OUT COMMENTS ON THE FIRST-ROUND PICKS ALONG WITH THE EVENING’S BIGGEST SPLASH …
PLUS OUR NFL TEAM-BY-TEAM SUMMERTIME COVERAGE BEGINS WITH A LOOK AT THE CHIEFS AND THE SAINTS
Forget – for just a minute – what a really neat moment that was last night at the NBA Draft in Brooklyn when soon-to-be-retired Commissioner David Stern was greeted at the conclusion of Round One by the very first player the commish ever announced way back in 1984.
Two-time league champion Hakeem Olajuwon delighted Stern to no end with his surprise appearance at the Barclays Center – and how about the fact “The Dream” did appear to be wearing the very same tuxedo he wore three decades ago on Draft Night!
It was a turn-back-the-clock moment in what turned out to be a turn-back-the-clock night even if that meant the super trade of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry from Boston to Brooklyn stole the show away from all those teenagers and foreign-born players who otherwise gobbled the Round One attention.
The Nets may be selling their soul to the devil on this one as the former Celtics’ stars jack up the New York Knicks vs. Nets rivalry plus and gives Brooklyn a serious shot to challenge back-to-back champ Miami but our question is do the Nets have any first-round draft picks in “even-numbered” years anymore?
No doubt that was just one of a gazillion trades on NBA Draft Night – and don’t you love all those TV interviews when a guy is wearing one team’s hat and meanwhile he’s already been traded away (see Utah and Minnesota players all night long!).
But toss aside the usual trade bits and there was a puzzling draft night if for no other reason but for the fact the numero uno player picked stunned everyone (and when does that ever happen in either the NFL or NBA Drafts?) and many of the first-round choices overall were absolute head-scratchers as far as we were concerned.
Let’s get to all the NBA Draft Round I picks:
1. Cleveland – Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV – The pre-draft experts claimed he was only the seventh-best player here and so why did the Cavs “reach” right out of the starting gate?
2. Orlando – Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana – Kid will likely make a solid pro providing he comes to play “D” every night but we didn’t expect him to go so soon either.
3. Washington – Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown – Okay, so everyone (except us) had this Hoyas star “staying home” but we thought Magic would snap him up (and should have).
4. Charlotte – Cody Zeller, C, Indiana – Starting to think the Hoosiers and not Louisville should have won national crown what with two IU players tabbed in top four picks.
5. Phoenix – Alex Len, C, Maryland – We went on record a long time ago that we wouldn’t have touched this Terrapin beanpole and fact is Suns should have gone point guard here.
6. Philadelphia (trade with New Orleans) – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky – All along we thought one-and-done Wildcat star would be top pick in this draft and his jaw dropped when he was not. Guess this trade means Andrew Bynum “career” in Philly ended before it began.
7. Sacramento – Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas – Too many NBA teams lost faith in this future star but hats off to Kings for picking him over a less-talented big man.
8. Detroit – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Do you realize that it’s now been 10 years since Pistons GM Joe Dumars selected Darko Milicic with that second overall pick? For his sake, this sharp shooter guard between have a decent rookie season.
9. Utah (trade with Minnesota) – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan – It’s been a long time since Deron Williams left town and now Jazz keeping fingers crossed that this lead-guard is the real deal. Hey, we thought someone would trade up to get ‘em and we were right on that one!
10. Portland – C.J. McCollum, G, Lehigh – Gotta admit that we like the Trail Blazers’ draft picks every year but they never seem to get to the playoffs anymore. Remember last year’s T-Blazer top pick G Damon Lillard won Rookie of the Year in a landslide.
11. Philadelphia – Michael Carter-Williams – So what happened to his rise up the draft boards we all were buying into the past few days?
12. Oklahoma City – Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh – All along we had the Thunder pegged to take Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng but they had “second thoughts” and we can’t give our blessing to OKC’s pick here, sorry!
13. Boston (trade with Dallas) – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga – The Celtics’ major rebuilding job starts right now and all-hustle guy who could have won College Player of the Year will be fan favorite right away.
14. Minnesota (trade with Utah) – Shabazz Muhammad, SG, UCLA – Was this one-and-done Bruins star really late for the draft and thus the post-pick interview about a half-hour later?
15. Milwaukee – Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Greece – Youngest player in the draft won ESPN Fran Fraschilla’s high praise but couldn’t the Bucks have grabbed someone that could have helped right away? Gezz!
16. Atlanta (trade with Boston) – Lucas Nogueira, C, Spain – The Hawks have major remodeling job to do and yet they tabbed a “future” guy here instead of taking a decorated U.S.A. player like Miami PG Shane Larkin or Duke big man Mason Plumlee.
17. Atlanta – Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany – Someone in the Hawks’ scouting department piled up lots of frequent flyer miles but gotta say this kid’s “quicks” on video is John Wall-like, if you would.
18. Dallas (trade with Atlanta) – Shane Larkin, PG, Miami – Son of Baseball Hall of Fame SS Barry Larkin was a make-it-happen guy for the ‘Canes last year but now his job is to make it happen for Dirk Nowitzki.
19. Cleveland – Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia – His dad played hoops and was smooth operator and now this lefty has game who might wind up being best post-lottery player out there.
20. Chicago – Tony Snell, SG, New Mexico – If this former Lobos star works out as planned than maybe Derrick Rose/Snell backcourt is what will give the mighty Heat their most woes in 2013-14 and beyond.
21. Minnesota (trade with Utah) – Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville – When big men with passing skills/nice touches drop this low than that means some NBA teams made mistakes as he should have been snatched up in top 12 … ‘nuff said!
22. Brooklyn – Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke – Kid was jacked up to be cheered by the draft host crowd last night and now he’ll be major energy guy off the bench for Nets team that will be 10-deep come October.
23. Indiana – Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona – Surprising choice considering the Pacers needed a point guard who values the ball but this leads us to thinking that maybe Danny Granger might be traded for said one-guard … stay tuned.
24. New York – Tim Hardaway, Jr., SG, Michigan – Let’s just say the Knicks have not enjoyed a recent great draft history and while “Junior” played mucho big-time games his shot selection leaves a lot to be desired. Now don’t fight Carmelo Anthony for most shots on this team!
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina -- Simple advice for this former Tar Heels star: Find a comfort zone and let PG Chris Paul feed you for 12-to-15 shots a night. Got it, rook?
26. Oklahoma City (trade with Golden State/trade with Minnesota) – Andre Roberson, SF, Colorado – Great rebounder who can take over games for minutes at a time, just not quite like Kevin Durant does.
27. Utah (trade with Denver) – Rudy Gobert, PF, France – You can tell that the Jazz want to tear things down and build it back up after another non-playoff season.
28. San Antonio – Livio Jean-Charles, F, France – Funny thing is the Spurs’ second –round choice of Ohio State shooter Deshaun Thomas would have pleased us if made in Round I.
29. Golden State (trade with Oklahoma City) – Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky – Does he pick up the crumbs from what’s not shot by Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson backcourt?
30. Phoenix – Nemanja Nedovic, PG, Lithuania – Good for Commissioner Stern for nailing this tongue-twister name on his final draft announcement but couldn’t the Suns have tabbed a top-quality PG (instead of Len) and then drafted for size here?
Extra, extra …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Major-League Baseball Winners all summer long and so check with us right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.
Plus, the Football Season isn’t that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear in early August – can’t wait! So, pile up the greenbacks while you’re kicking back this summer of 2013!
NFL NEWS & NOTES –
Today we begin our annual summertime NFL Team-by-Team looks of all 32 clubs. We’ll concentrate on two or three teams per Jim Sez column, so there’s plenty of football straight ahead.
Take note that we list the overall team records (including post-season play) next to the team names below:
KANSAS CITY (2-14) – The Chiefs finished 32nd and thus dead-last in the NFL in passing last year (averaged 169.6 yards per game) but that’s bound to change with the arrival of head coach Andy Reid. Still, it could be that RB Jamaal Charleswill benefit most from the newfound passing game.
Charles – who registered 35 receptions last year and a career-best 45 grabs in 2010 – could be eyeballing 60-or-more catches in 2013 while also running it plenty one year after he scampered loose for 1,509 yards rushing.
But the biggest summertime news could come in the next few days as talk’s heating up that Chiefs TE Tony Moeaki could be dealt to the New England Patriots in the aftermath of the Aaron Hernandez fiasco. Moeaki currently is rehabbing from a back injury that likely will keep him out of summer camp for a while but it’s possible that we could have a “match” here with the Pats dealing off a wide receiver to KC for Moeaki who is now entering the final year of his rookie deal.
NEW ORLEANS (7-9) – No surprise that the Saints’ three-year post-season run ended last year in the wake of head coach Sean Payton’s year-long suspension but will the re-born boss man have the answers for a N’Orleans defense that last year finished next-to-last in rushing defense (yielded 146.6 ypg) and also 31st in the league in passing defense (allowed 292.6 ypg)?
Meanwhile, training camps have not yet started and already the Saints have announced that LB Victor Butler (knee) will miss the upcoming campaign. The outside ‘backer registered only 25 tackles a year ago but New Orleans needs veteran bodies on “D” to stop the bleeding and he’s already down for the count.
The Saints are hoping OLB Junior Galette will be a premier pass-rusher this season. In case you were wondering, last year’s Saints team produced 30 sacks with DE Cameron Jordan (eight) topping the team charts.
NOTE: Catch our weekend edition of Jim Sez next with more NFL Team-by-Team coverage plus MLB and NBA Draft stuff too!
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