The 2013 NBA draft tipped off on Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, complete with its fair share of surprises and no-brainers.
As always, a few teams' selections boggled the mind, while others watched diamonds fall into their hands from the heavens.
Did the Cleveland Cavaliers go with the Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel at No. 1 overall? Did trades shake up the draft? Did some teams reach for needs?
It's all here, complete with draft grades. Read on, fellow basketball fans.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV
This wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for Tristan Thompson, if you catch my drift. One possibility is that the Cavaliers see Anthony Bennett as a small forward, although that would be somewhat of a stretch. All told, I had Anthony Bennett as one of my top prospects coming into the draft and I believe he can become an All-Star. But, right now, I don't see how he fits in Cleveland.
2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
This was the right pick for the Magic. I like Oladipo over Kansas' Ben McLemore primarily because I think his work ethic and character stand out. He should be a high-impact defender right away, and his spike in shooting percentage last season at Indiana showed his offensive game is coming around.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
This was a no-brainer for the Wizards. With a promising backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal, Otto Porter should fit seamlessly given his all-around game and ability to play off the ball. He's also a strong defender. Great pick for Washington that fills a need.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
Cody Zeller does have a wide range of skills in the post, but when your size and toughness is questioned as a big man, that's certainly concerning. I don't like this pick, particularly at No. 4 overall, and—in terms of draft position—I wouldn't be surprised if Zeller is labeled a bust down the road.
5. Phoenix Suns: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Suns needed a young difference-maker in the post. With Marcin Gortat 29 years old and Luis Scola 33 years old, this pick makes sense. Alex Len may not have the defensive potential of Kentucky's Nerlens Noel, but he's an all-around player who can make an impact on both sides of the floor. He's also still relatively young at 20 years of age.
6. New Orleans Pelicans (traded to 76ers): Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The 76ers traded Jrue Holiday and No. 42 overall for Noel and a 2014 first-round pick. While Holiday was an All-Star last season, the 76ers desperately needed a difference-maker in the post after the Andrew Bynum fiasco in 2012-13. Noel—whom many projected to be the No. 1 overall pick—has the potential to be a game-changer on the defensive side of the ball.
7. Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
I understand Ben McLemore has a lot of potential offensively, but, the fact of the matter is, the Kings didn't need another shoot-first guard—they have plenty of those. They needed a pure point guard, and they had a choice between Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams here to fill that need. On top of that, McLemore's inconsistency at Kansas was troubling, and some wonder if he will ever be able to turn his potential into production in the pros.
8. Detroit Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Pistons needed to address their shooting woes. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope certainly can do that for them. Caldwell-Pope shot 37 percent from beyond the arc last season at Georgia. Beyond that, he's an athlete, averaging 7.1 rebounds with the Bulldogs.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Jazz): Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
While the Jazz would have had a shot at Miami's Shane Larkin or Germany's Dennis Schroeder at No. 14 overall, you can't blame them for trading No. 14 and No. 21 to the Timberwolves for Trey Burke. Burke is my top point guard in the draft, flashing the scoring ability and passing skills to be an all-around player for Utah.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
The Trail Blazers need shooters off the bench. C.J. McCollum shot 52 percent from beyond the arc last season at Lehigh. Combined with his ability to rise to the occasion on the big stage (see: 2012 NCAA tournament), this pick makes a lot of sense for Portland.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Wow. What an ideal scenario for the 76ers. They trade their top point guard for a much-needed center, then turn around and draft the second-best pure point guard in the 2013 class. I couldn't give them an A after their trade, but after replacing Jrue Holiday to an extent, I am giving them an A now.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams is a tough shot-blocker and rebounder. That is what the Thunder need as Kendrick Perkins has fallen off a cliff. Adams should help Oklahoma City's defense down the road.
13. Dallas Mavericks (traded to Celtics): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
With Kevin Garnett potentially on his way out of Boston, it makes sense that the Celtics would trade No. 16 overall and two future second-rounders to acquire a big man. What I question is them giving up that much to acquire Kelly Olynyk. To be clear, I'm not the biggest fan of Olynyk. He has a nice inside-outside game, but his toughness, rebounding and shot-blocking are average.
14. Utah Jazz (traded to Timberwolves): Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Timberwolves need help at a variety of positions. Shabazz Muhammad's jump shot needs considerable work, but his explosiveness, athleticism and finishing ability stand out. Plus, his work ethic is outstanding, which could see him rise past expectations in the NBA.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
With several wing players hitting free agency this summer, the Bucks needed help at shooting guard and small forward. While Giannis Antetokounmpo isn't going to help Milwaukee right away, I'm a big believer in this kid. He's been compared to Scottie Pippen in terms of his fluidity, vision and passing skills. Bucks fans may be a bit disappointed right now, but I think this pick is going to pay off for Milwaukee in the long run.
16. Dallas Mavericks (traded to Hawks): Lucas Nogueira, PF/C, Brazil
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, after the Mavericks made the trade with Boston, they turned around and traded No. 16 overall, No. 44 overall and Jared Cunningham to the Atlanta Hawks for No. 18 overall. In turn, the Hawks landed a center in Lucas Nogueira with plenty of potential defensively. Nogueira has been called the Brazilian Nerlens Noel—high praise. In a rebuilding stage, it makes sense for the Hawks.
17. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
So much for Jeff Teague's improvement, eh? This is a rather odd selection in my opinion. Teague averaged 14.6 points, 7.2 assists and 1.5 steals last season. Dennis Schroeder certainly has potential in terms of his quickness and passing skills, but the Hawks had more pressing needs to address here and players available to do so. Perhaps they are thinking about letting Teague—a restricted free agent this summer—walk, but you would have thought they'd make it a priority for Teague to stay.
18. Atlanta Hawks (traded to Mavericks): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami (Fla.)
The Mavericks get one of my favorite players in the draft in Shane Larkin. Not only do they need help at point guard, Larkin has it all: passing skills, vision, deep range and leadership qualities. I'm not concerned about him being under 6'0" tall because I think everything else will outweigh it.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
The Cavaliers needed perimeter shooting. Landing Sergey Karasev—one of the top shooters in the class—at No. 19 overall has to be seen as a win for the organization. A great value pick for Cleveland.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tony Snell, SG/SF, New Mexico
Tony Snell is not only athletic, he's a big-time shooter, knocking down 39 percent of his three-point attempts last season at New Mexico. His length also makes him disruptive on defense. Sounds like a fit in Chicago to me.
21. Utah Jazz (traded to Timberwolves): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
Given center Nikola Pekovic is a restricted free agent this summer, it makes sense that the Timberwolves would add some insurance with Louisville center Gorgui Dieng, a paint protector who improved his mid-range game last season with the Cardinals. I think Dieng will surprise in the pros.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
The Nets could use some depth in the frontcourt, especially with Andray Blatche set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. I'm a big fan of Mason Plumlee. You look at him and there isn't anything he can't do. People are concerned that this may be his ceiling at 23 years of age, but he ascended tremendously last season at Duke. I think he still has room to grow.
23. Indiana Pacers: Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona
The Pacers added a wing player in Solomon Hill on Thursday. Hill is a well-rounded player who was an efficient scorer in his last two seasons at Arizona. He's a winner, which fits into Indiana's rising squad.
24. New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
With J.R. Smith being an unrestricted free agent this summer, it makes sense that the Knicks would add a perimeter shooter in Tim Hardaway Jr. He shot 37 percent from beyond the arc last season at Michigan and possesses great range.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock, SG/SF, North Carolina
Adding more perimeter shooting is never a bad idea. Reggie Bullock is one of the best shooters in this draft class. He will help space the floor alongside Chris Paul in Los Angeles.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Thunder): Andre Roberson, SF, Colorado
After a whirlwind of trades started by the Golden State Warriors, the Thunder ended up with Andre Roberson. He has the potential to be a dynamic disruptive defender and there is no question he's an excellent rebounder. His offensive skills are severely lacking, but if you are looking for help defensively, Roberson can certainly help you.
27. Denver Nuggets (traded to Jazz): Rudy Gobert, PF/C, France
The Jazz did well to grab Rudy Gobert for No. 46 overall and cash. Gobert is raw and needs time to develop, but his quickness, rebounding ability and length project him to be a disruptive defender who can also run the break and finish.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Livio Jean-Charles, PF, France
Surprise, surprise: the Spurs drafted another international player—another Frenchman, at that. Jean-Charles is only 19 years old right now, but his athleticism, length and ability to run the floor are intriguing. Time will only tell if the Spurs can develop him into another impact player.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (traded to Suns): Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The Suns needed a talented scorer at shooting guard, especially after drafting Len at No. 5 overall. Archie Goodwin is raw, but he has a wide array of offensive skills that could make him a strong player with some work on his consistency.
30. Phoenix Suns (traded to Warriors): Nemanja Nedovic, SG, Serbia
With Jarrett Jack set to be an unrestricted free agent, it makes sense that the Warriors would draft an athletic, explosive combo guard with passing skills. Nemanja Nedovic could be a solid backup for Golden State down the line.