NBA Draft Analysis

By: Jon (odd picks) and Evan (even picks)

1.) Cleveland Cavaliers- Anthony Bennett UNLV

Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett

I said previously that Anthony Bennett was the most talented and best player in this draft. The Cavs clearly agreed with me and took Bennett off the board. The Cavs now have a strong player who can pick and pop with Kyrie Irving. The Cavs are definetely on the rise and have one of the best young lineups in the league.

2.) Orlando Magic- Victor Oladipo Indiana

Victor Olidipo
Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo is probably the safest pick in the draft this year and will immediately change the culture of the Orlando Magic. While Oladipo’s offensive game needs improvement there is no doubt he can become one of the elite defenders in the league. The Magic still other significant help but Oladipo is a great start.

3.) Washington Wizards- Otto Porter Georgetown

Otto Porter
Otto Porter

Well Otto Porter doesn’t have to move anything from his Georgetown dorm as he is staying the DC area. Otto is another complete player in this draft with no real glaring weakness but could improve in all areas. The Wizards now have a wing player who can help guard Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Paul George. The Wizards are on the rise but still will probably land in the lottery again next year.

4.) Charlotte Bobcats- Cody Zeller Indiana

Cody Zeller
Cody Zeller

Jordan has done it again…but it is not winning world championship. This comes as a big surprise from MJ’s Bobcats as they have many holes to fill. While Zeller tested off the charts at the combine, he needs to get bigger to defend the elite power forwards and centers. Zeller can run the floor well and with Kemba Walker they could be one of the fastest combos in the NBA. The Bobcats are still a strong a contender for the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes in 2014.

5.) Phoenix Suns- Alex Len Mayland

Alex Len
Alex Len

Alex Len is one of the most interesting rookies in the league because of his size and potential. In college, Len was not a dominant player averaging only 12 ppg, 8 rpg, and 2 blk. Len has the ability to block a lot of shots, but does not play good overall defense. He has bad footwork, which prohibit him from using his offensive skills and physical gifts. However, if the Suns can teach Len the correct footwork and gives him the right amount of play time, Len could turn into the star that the Suns desperately need. They are in one of the worst positions in the league because they do not have a young star or experienced veterans.

6.) New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Philadelphia 76ers) – Nerlens Noel Kentucky

Nerleons Noel
Nerleons Noel

Nerlens and a 2014 protected first round pick (1-5) were traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday. By trading the Jrue Holliday, the Sixers have clearly gone into rebuild mode and also have put themselves squarely in the competition for Andrew Wiggins next year. Nerlens Noel will help the Sixer fans get over the huge disappointment of Andrew Bynum and will also provide energy and hustle to a very mediocre squad. Nerlens still needs to improve his offense and his post game but should develop into a solid starting center with a high motor.

7.) Sacramento Kings – Ben McLemore Kansas

Ben McLemore
Ben McLemore

The Kings got the steal of the draft when they drafted Ben McLemore with the 7th overall pick. Many people believed that Ben would be the number one pick overall or at least a top three pick. Unfortunately for Ben, he will end up with the Kings, one of the worst organizations in the league. McLemore is the most talented player in the draft because of his incredible athleticism and scoring potential. Last year, Ben scored 16 ppg, grabbed 5 rpg, and dished 2 apg. Ben has the best shooting stroke in the draft, which led people to believe that he could be like Ray Allen. Ben McLemore will never be a great scorer because he cannot create his own shot because of his poor ball handling.

8.) Detroit Pistons – Kentavious Caldwell Pope Georgia

Kentavious Caldwell Pope
Kentavious Caldwell Pope

KCP is a great pick for the Pistons because he has the range that makes for great shooters. At Georgia, he was forced to score and now in the NBA he won’t have that same pressure. This pick also confirms the Pistons’ plan to keep Brandon Knight as their future point guard. KCP also has the quickness to create off the dribble and use his 6’6 frame to elevate over defenders. I like this pick and I also believe KCP could be a surprise ROY.

9.) Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to the Utah Jazz) – Trey Burke Michigan

Trey Burke
Trey Burke

The 2013 player of the year in college was the best point guard in this year’s draft. The leader of the Michigan Wolverines averaged 18.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Burke was lucky to be traded to the Jazz because the Wolves have too many point guards and the Jazz have a few nice big men that can help Burke grow. Burke will succeed  because of his ability to run the pick and roll with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Burke is a good defender and shooter as seen from his epic performances in the NCAA tournament. Burke may run into problems because he is only 6 foot and does not have a great shot selection. Over time, his selection will improve and he may become an All-Star in the future.

10.) Portland Trail Blazers – C.J. McCollum Lehigh

CJ McCollum
CJ McCollum

McCollum should be a great addition to the Portland backcourt with fellow mid-major draft pick Damian Lillard. CJ has the ability to create for himself and also distribute for others using his great court vision. Similarly to KCP, CJ had to carry his team by scoring points and now he has the opportunity to balance his play more as he plays with better teammates. This is another solid pick from the Blazers and the Damian/CJ backcourt is going to be deadly from 3 point range.

11.) Philadelphia 76ers – Michael Carter-Williams Syracuse

Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams

After trading away their All-Star point guard, Jrue Holiday, for Nerlens Noel and next year’s first round pick, the 76ers needed a point guard of the future. They hope that Williams will be an All-Star like Jrue Holiday. Williams is tall for a point guard, 6’5″, which allows him to see over the defense and set up his teammates. However, Michael is an inconsistent shooter, who needs to improve his offensive game if he wants to match Holiday. Many scouts are wondering if Williams can translate his skills to the next level. At Syracuse, Williams averaged 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists. Many Syracuse point guards, Wesley Johnson and Johnny Flynn, have been unable to succeed at the next level, even though they have the physical attributes and succeeded in college.

12.) Oklahoma City Thunder – Steven Adams Pittsburgh

Steven Adams
Steven Adams

The Thunder made a solid pick here with Adams. He has the ability to defend and rebound on both the offensive and defensive glass. While he needs to improve his offensive game some as well as his free throw percentage, he is still a better option then Kendrick Perkins and could compete for the starting job. The Thunder filled a significant role and in a few years Adams could develop into a solid center.

13.) Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston Celtics) – Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga

Kelly Olynyk
Kelly Olynyk

Olynyk plays like small forward with the size of a center. The 7 footer has the ability to handle the ball and a consistent jump shot. However, Olynyk is one of the least athletic players in the draft, who may have trouble in the NBA. Kelly was an efficient player for Gonzaga averaging 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 block. Kelly will likely play small forward because of his shooting ability. In Boston, he will have the chance to play major minutes and improve his game. Kelly is not a good rebounder and will have trouble inside against the strong and more physical players.

14.) Utah Jazz (traded to Minnesota) – Shabazz Muhammad UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad
Shabazz Muhammad

I believe the Minnesota Timberwolves found their future SF and possibly the steal of the draft. Shabazz can score which is what the TWolves need desperately. Coach Flip Saunders has already been quoted saying Shabazz will start on the bench but I firmly believe he will rise into the starting lineup. Shabazz needs to improve defensively and also learn how to differentiate good shots from bad shots. Playing with Ricky Rubio will help Shabazz score and quite possibly develop into an all-star in a few years time.

15.) Milwaukee Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo Greece

 Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 6’10” small forward from Greece was the first foreign player off the board. Giannis looks and hopes to be the like Kevin Durant. The Bucks also hopes he will end up like Kevin Durant. Although the eighteen year old wants to come to the NBA immediately, he will probably have to return to Greece so he can improve his game and mature physically and mentally. Giannis will have to improve his jumper and ball handling ability because he is not an explosive athlete. Giannis has great length, which will make him a good defensive ball player.

16.) Boston Celtics (traded to Atlanta) – Lucas Nogueria Brazil

Lucas Nogueria
Lucas Nogueria

If the Hawks do not get their man this offseason, D12, they will need a replacement for Josh Smith. Although Lucas does not have the offensive ability of Smith. Lucas has the defensive and athleticism to replace Josh. I see Noguiera as a Javale McGee type minus the bonehead plays. With some time to develop Noguiera could turn into a defensive force.

17.) Atlanta Hawks – Dennis Schroeder Germany

Dennis Schroeder
Dennis Schroeder

Many people believe that Dennis will be a poor man’s Rajon Rondo because of his build and style. Like Rondo, he is a pass first point guard, who has a great handle of the ball. Dennis may be a better scorer than Rondo because his jumper is better than Rondo’s jumper. Since Schroeder is a young player, he makes poor decisions and throws away the ball too often. Dennis is going to be a solid defender in the league because of his lateral quickness and length. Dennis could replace Jeff Teague if they decide to let him leave during free agency.

18.) Atlanta Hawks (traded to Dallas) – Shane Larkin Miami

Shane Larkin
Shane Larkin

The Dallas are another team that is on the verge of rebuilding mode with Josh Smith as a UFA and Jeff Teague is a RFA who might not get his desired contract extension. Larkin is solid pick who can play the pick and roll and create his own shot using various step-back moves. He needs to get stronger to be able to defend the elite point guards but with time he could be a Kyle Lowry type of guard.

19.) Cleveland Cavaliers – Sergey Karasev Russia

Sergey Karasev
Sergey Karasev

Sergey, the fourth foreign player taken off the board, is a proven scorer that could provide a boost off the bench for the Cavs. Sergey wants to come to the Cavs immediately and be like his hero, Andrei Kirilenko. Sergey has a high offensive IQ that allows him to score anywhere on the court. Karasev can score by attacking the rim and shooting from the outside. However, Karasev is a subpar defender and athlete. The lack of quickness and athleticism could give Sergey problems in the NBA. If Sergey comes to the Cavs immediately, he will probably not get a lot of minutes. He will be an offensive spark off the bench.

20.) Chicago Bulls – Tony Snell New Mexico

Tony Snell
Tony Snell

While there were better 3 point shooters still available the Bulls made a nice choice in Snell. Tony was teammates with Kawhi Leonard in High School and both play similar styles. Snell can knock down the open 3 and plays lockdown defense which is key to the Tom Thibodeau system in Chicago. While I would have liked to see the Bulls draft a better shooter this is still a solid pick.

21.) Utah Jazz – Gorgui Dieng Louisville

Gorgui Dieng
Gorgui Dieng

Dieng was a major reason why the Louisville Cardinal won the 2013 NCAAB championship. Dieng was traded, along with Shabazz Muhammad, to the Minnesota for Trey Burke. He was a solid producer, 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks. Dieng is a great shot blocker, who can also hit a mid range jumper. Dieng may end being like Serge Ibaka because of his ability to alter shots and shoot. Dieng will be able to start for Minnesota if Pekovic leaves for free agency. Dieng will be a solid player for years to come and I wish he stayed for one for pick so the Nets could grab him.

22.) Brooklyn Nets – Mason Plumlee Duke

Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee

Instant reaction: Nooooooooo. I do not know why the Nets went after Plumlee. The Nets currently have Reggie Evans, who does the same things as Plumlee. I hope this does not prevent the Nets from signing Andray Blatche. Blatche can be a key contributor to the team. Although Mason may be a better defensive and offensive player, the Nets needed a backup point guard or small forward. The Nets should have selected Tim Hardaway Jr or Tony Mitchell. Tony Mitchell would be the ideal candidate because he is a solid defender and can shoot the three. The players who broke out this post-season, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George, all have a similar body type and attributes to Mitchell. The Nets will need a backup for Pierce since he is too old to play major minutes.

23.) Indiana Pacers – Solomon Hill Arizona

Solomon Hill
Solomon Hill

Solomon Hill is a 6’7″ small forward that will be like the Warriors Draymond Green. Hill was successful in Arizona averaging 13.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Hill will play behind George or Granger. He will be a solid back up that can do anything when he is on the court.

24.) New York Knicks – Tim Hardaway Jr. Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr.

No. Tim Hardaway Jr is not as good as his dad but could be a very valuable pick for the Knicks. Hardaway can knock down 3s with relative ease but still needs to improve on the dribble drive aspect of his game as well as his defensive mentality. Since JR Smith is a free agent this year it seems like Hardaway Jr could fill JR’s role on the team. This is a solid pick for the Knicks filling a critical scoring need off the bench.

25.) Los Angeles Clippers – Reggie Bullock UNC

Reggie Bullock
Reggie Bullock

Bullock will be a solid role player for the Clippers. He is a good three point shooter that can spread the floor. As seen in the finals, three point specialists are in high demand and can alter an entire series. Last year, he shot 44 percent from three. Bullock is 6’7″, which means that he will be able to get his shoot off easier than other smaller players. Bullock is an okay defender who tries hard. Reggie will fit with the Clippers because they need youth and energy on their bench, which he can provide. Bullock will probably end up being like a Shane Battier in the latter stages of his career.

26.) Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to OKC) – Andre Roberson

Andre Roberson
Andre Roberson

Roberson is small for a PF but has a niche that will suit him well in the NBA, rebounding. As Pat Riley once said “No rebounds, No Rings” and Roberson could be a key to a OKC  title run. While Roberson is limited offensively, he stays in his lane and does his job well. I see him having a Reggie Evans type career, which on the right team is very important.

27.) Denver Nuggets (traded to Jazz) – Rudy Gobert France

Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert

In one of the worst trades of the night, Rudy Gobert end up in Utah for practically nothing. The center from France has the longest reach of any player who went to he NBA draft combine. Rudy’s standing reach is 9’7″. To put in perspective, the rim is 10′ off of the ground… Due to his great size and hands, he is great at protecting the rim, alley-oops, and tapping the ball into the basket. He is a solid defender who can block shots as well as guard the pick and roll effectively. Rudy needs to put more go to the workout room and gain more strength. He is constantly pushed around because of his light frame. He needs a few years to develop, but Rudy could one day be the defensive player of the year.

28.) San Antonio Spurs – Livio Jean-Charles French Guinea

Livio Jean-Charles
Livio Jean-Charles

Livio Jean-Charles might be a typical European-stash pick who could come to the NBA in a couple of years. The Spurs have had great success with international players and maybe Jean-Charles could be the same. He needs to improve his long range shooting to stay in the league but seems to have the fundamentals that Coach Pop loves in his players. A solid late round pick for the Spurs.

29.) Oklahoma City Thunder (traded to Suns) – Archie Goodwin Kentucky

Archie Goodwin
Archie Goodwin

Archie Goodwin was the star of a poor Kentucky basketball team, averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds. Archie Goodwin was once believed to be a top ten pick at the beginning of the year. Goodwin is an outstanding athlete that can attack the basket at will. Goodwin needs to improve his decision making and jumper if he wants to be a solid contributor in the league. The Suns need more talent and Goodwin can fill their needs. Goodwin will be a good defender because of his athleticism and length. Also he is a solid rebounder. He will form a good tandem with Len.

30.) Phoenix Suns (traded to Warriors) – Nemanja Nedovic Serbia

Nemanja Nedovic
Nemanja Nedovic

Fran Fraschilla, an ESPN analyst on international players said Nedovic is a “European Derrick Rose”. While I find that comparison outrageous, Nemanja does have some athletic ability. With Jarret Jack approaching free agency, the Warriors need a sure backup PG and Nedovic fits. He will never be Derrick Rose but he could be a solid backup for his career. This is a good pick for a Warrior team that is on the rise.

Stats from ESPN.com

The Landscape of the Atlantic Division

By: Prad

Mikhail Prokhorov certainly likes to make things exciting. He doesn’t seem to care about money being wasted by the luxury tax line, which comes with having a team payroll $10 million shy of $100 million. He is one of the 100 richest men in the world, so he can spare a luxury tax of $60 million. After the mega trade that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Nets, their new starting lineup could consist of five All-Star caliber players given that Pierce and Garnett start. Though, both are way past their primes, they can still contribute with 28-33 minutes a game. The Boston Celtics are going to get much younger with this trade. Although an infusion of young talent might not have an immediate impact in the next couple of years, it’s a good trade for both teams in the foreseeable future.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce
Courtesy of NY Daily News

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics will definitely hit a lull next season without any of the Big Three remaining or their coach that led them to two NBA finals. They will not be a threat in the Atlantic Division next season despite having a top three point guard in Rajon Rondo. It’s obvious to everybody that Danny Ainge is attempting a complete overhaul process and the Celtics will get younger with the three first round picks attained in the deal along with more financial flexibility. Maybe the three first round picks and a bad record next season will come in handy for the team. The 2014 NBA Draft is considered to be loaded with future stars. Perhaps, another Paul Pierce, a great scorer, is in store for Boston. Doc Rivers and KG and Pierce didn’t want to stay for a rebuilding process though. They didn’t abandon their team. They did what was good for their career at the moment. Pierce, 35 and Garnett, 37 don’t have that many years remaining in their career and they want to go to an environment where they can legitimately compete. These rebuilding processes can take time. Let’s not forget that the storied Celtics franchise didn’t win a championship from 1986 until 2008. Boston fans are passionate about their sports. I understand why fans in Beantown are furious, but the media is just fueling that anger. Ray Allen, the first to depart the Big Three, left Boston a year ago and was able to win a ring with the Heat because he didn’t fall into the media’s pressure, who labeled him a “traitor” to the Celtics. I’m still a bit surprised at Pierce’s decision considering he got drafted by Boston in ’98 and has stuck with the team for 15 years. For ten tough years, Pierce had to endure the feeling of not winning that elusive ring in Boston. I thought he wanted to a retire a Celtic, but I can’t blame him for his decision. These players are making calculated decisions for their career, not betraying their fan base.

KG and Pierce ar being added to the already dynamic trio of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez
KG and Pierce are being added to the already dynamic trio of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, and Brook Lopez
Courtesy of The Brooklyn Game

Brooklyn Nets

As stated before, the Nets will have a fantastic lineup to go along with Jason Terry, who’s a great shooter and bench player. The Truth and Garnett might be aging but still have enough to go for a championship as long as they aren’t the main figures behind the run. These two led their team to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat two years ago. I wouldn’t be shocked if Jason Kidd uses both of these players in a limited capacity during the regular season, so they’re healthy for the playoffs. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez almost brought the Nets to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Lopez and KG are going to make for a scary front court duo that could hold an advantage over any team in the East except the Pacers. Paul Pierce adds a strong scoring option that Gerald Wallace never filled in the three spot last year. And Williams will stick to his distributor/scoring role which has been successful for the team in the past couple seasons. Last year, they split the season series, two games a piece with the Knicks, the Atlantic Division champs. They ended the season #2 in the Atlantic and #4 in the Eastern Conference. Despite me being a Knicks fan, I look to them winning the Atlantic and coming in third in the Eastern Conference behind Miami and Indiana. They obviously have intimidating big men to go along with multiple veteran perimeter shooters who have experience in the postseason. The Nets have the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs next season with the possibility of knocking off the Pacers, but I don’t see them beating the Heat who have won back to back championships and who have essentially all of their players coming back.

Last Season's Standings
Last Season’s Standings

I predict for these two teams to be on opposite sides of the division next year. The Nets will move up one spot from this season and the Celtics will move down one or two spots next season. But, this trade will be good for the future of both franchises as one team badly needed to get younger and the other hasn’t been to the NBA Finals in more than a decade since their new coach led them there back in 2002 and 2003.

Atlantic Division Prediction (2013/2014 Season)

1) Brooklyn Nets

2) New York Knicks

3) Toronto Raptors

4) Boston Celtics

5) Philadelphia 76ers

Top Third Baseman and Future Star

By: Jon

1) Miguel Cabrera – Tigers

Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera, the reining MVP and Triple Crown winner, is having another sensational season, in an attempt to be the first player ever to win the triple crown in two consecutive years. If it was not for Yankees’ pitching to Chris Davis, Cabrera would be leading in the 3 major categories once again. Cabrera’s numbers in the first half make the reader look twice on the screen. Cabrera is batting .373 with 25 HR and 82 RBI. Cabrera is catching up to Davis in the HR department, after a ridiculous week. Cabrera will be a sure fire Hall of Famer and be known as one of the best right handed bats in MLB history.  Cabrera career line is .325/346HR/1205RBI. All of his career numbers will improve as he is still in the prime of his career. Although Cabrera is not a great defensive ball player, his bat makes up for any of the defensive problems.

2) Adrian Beltre – Rangers

Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre

Slowly Beltre is building a Hall a Fame calibar career at third base for the Texas Rangers. Beltre has been an All-Star caliber player since he left the Seattle Mariners in 2009. If Beltre never played for Seattle, he would have even better career numbers. For the past three straight seasons, Adrian has batted over .295, 28 HR, and 102 RBI. Beltre is on pace to match those numbers once again, while playing incredible defense. Adrian is the best defensive third baseman in the league. He has won two consecutive Gold Gloves and four of the last six. Although Texas has lost many All-Star players over the last few years, Texas has been able to maintain their success because of the leadership and play of Adrian Beltre.

3) Evan Longoria – Rays

Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria

When on the field, Evan Longoria is one of the best two way players in baseball. Similar to Beltre, Longoria has the ability to hit .290 with 30 HR and 100 RBI. Although he is only 27, Longoria is already a superstar and a very clutch player. The former Rookie of the Year is having a career year. Longo is batting .298 with 17 homers and 47 RBI. Longora will be the leader of the Rays offense for many years to come. Along with exceptional hitting, Longoria is a great defensive player who can compare to Adrian Beltre. Longoria has already won two Gold Gloves and many more are in his future. The only negative about Longo is that he is consistently injured. Last year Longoria was having a career year until he pulled his hamstring and missed a considerable amount of time.

Future star: Manny Machado

Manny Machado
Manny Machado

Manny Machado could be the next big thing in baseball. After watching him play this weekend against the Yankees, I guarantee that he will be the best baseball player in the game at one point in his career, better than Trout and Harper. Machado is a great offensive third baseman that can hit for power and average. Currently, Machado is mostly a doubles hitter, most doubles in the league. Machado is batting .321 with 6 HR, but that will rise as he becomes stronger. Machado is lucky because he has a lot of protection in the Orioles lineup and is not relied on to care the whole offense, like Evan Longoria. Machado is a slick fielder as well as a great hitter. Originally destined to be a shortstop, Machado switched to third because of JJ Hardy, who is a great defender in his own right. Machado has a strong arm, good hands, and quick reactions, which allows him to excel at any position on the left side of the infield

 

 

Stats from Baseball Reference Pics from ESPN.com