2013 NBA Draft: Grading Teams That Traded Up in First Round
The 2013 NBA draft is officially in the record books, and if there's one word to know about it, that would be trade. From start to finish, there were deals that shaped—and re-shaped—the draft in ways beyond one's imagination.
The question is, how did the teams who traded up in the first round fare?
Multiple squads looked to trade down, thus saving cap space or maximizing the value of their selections. With that being said, certain teams chose to move up draft boards, thus locking up players they believe can shape the direction of their respective franchises.
One way or another, trades made this draft one of the most unpredictable events in recent NBA history.
Philadelphia 76ers: B+
Partner: New Orleans Pelicans
Acquire: Nerlens Noel, F/C, Kentucky & 2014 First Round Draft Pick (Top 5 Protected)
Deal: Jrue Holiday, PG & No. 42 Pick
Technically speaking, the Philadelphia 76ers didn't trade up in the 2013 NBA draft. Instead, they dealt All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday and the No. 42 pick for the already drafted Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft choice.
Sounds like the Andrew Bynum era is over before it began.
The Sixers took a major gamble by trading Holiday, as the 23-year-old was an All-Star in 2013. Based off of his career arc, it appeared as if Holiday was on pace to become one of the top 25 players in the NBA in the next year or two.
A case could be made that he already is.
With that being said, the Sixers added an elite shot blocker in Noel and a first-round draft choice in one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. While the Pelicans' pick is top-five protected, the class is deep enough to cause intrigue.
The two keys here? The Sixers also drafted Michael Carter-Williams but may be out of luck if the Pelicans pick inside of the top five.
Suddenly, Holiday will have been replaced by two prospects with question marks and a selection in a less certain 2015 class—a major gamble.
Utah Jazz: A
Partner: Minnesota Timberwolves
Acquire: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan Wolverines
Deal: No. 14 & No. 21 Picks
The Utah Jazz needed a franchise point guard, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have more holes than they'd like to admit. Together, the two sides managed to pull off a trade that placated both sides and thus shaped the rest of the draft.
A monumental move that Utah can't help but feel good about.
Trey Burke is the top point guard in this year's draft class, overcoming an absence of elite athleticism with a well-rounded skill set and the rare clutch gene. As a respected leader, Burke adds the mental power to the abilities that made him the consensus national Player of the Year.
All in all, this was a coup for the Jazz.
With the No. 14 and No. 21 selections, the Timberwolves added Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Both are ideal fits in Minnesota, but neither would have provided Utah with the value that Burke projects.
A very savvy trade by the Jazz that will shape their franchise for years to come.
Boston Celtics: B+
Partner: Dallas Mavericks
Acquire: Kelly Olynyk
Deal: No. 16 Pick & 2 2014 Second-Round Picks
The Boston Celtics swapped the No. 16 pick, Lucas Nogueira, for the No. 13 selection, Kelly Olynyk. With Nogueira, Boston sent two second round picks from the 2014 NBA draft.
A steep price for, arguably, the most skilled big man in this draft class.
Olynyk has elite offensive potential, pairing a smooth mid-range game with an emerging back-to-the-basket attack. Paired with the only motor that rivals Victor Oladipo's and rapid improvement across the board—the comparison between 2011-12 to 2012-13 is night and day—this is a wise pick.
The question is, did Boston give up too much?
The 2014 NBA draft is deep, but we'd be foolish to attempt to guarantee a star will be present in the second round. In fact, more often than not, second-round selections are non-guarantees when it comes to making the main roster.
If Olynyk pans out as he's projected, this will be a pick that Celtics fans learn to love.
Atlanta Hawks: A
Partner: Dallas Mavericks
Acquire: Lucas Nogueira, C; Mike Muscala, C; Jared Cunningham, G
Deal: No. 18 Pick
The Atlanta Hawks essentially flipped the No. 18 pick, Shane Larkin, for two of the top centers in this draft class and a first-round pick from 2012. I repeat, they turned the No. 18 pick into two actual first-round picks and another first-round prospect.
That's what you call a great trade.
Lucas Nogueira has similar upside to Nerlens Noel, standing at 7'0" with a 7'6" wingspan and owning experience in the elite Liga ACB in Spain. While he may take time to develop into the player expected of him, youth is on his side at 20.
As for Mike Muscala, he's arguably the most skilled big man in this draft class—the NBA potential is real there.
Losing Shane Larkin would likely hurt the average squad, but the Hawks had already drafted Dennis Schroeder, and Jeff Teague is a restricted free agent. Selecting Larkin was thus likely for the purposes of this trade, resulting in Atlanta orchestrating what was all but a robbery.
It never ceases to amaze what a franchise looking to clear cap space is willing to do.
Oklahoma City Thunder: B+
Partner: Golden State Warriors & Minnesota Timberwolves
Acquire: Andre Roberson, F, Colorado Buffaloes
Deal: No. 29 Pick
The Oklahoma City Thunder landed a potential center of the future at No. 12 with Pittsburgh Panthers big man Steven Adams. Rather than wait until No. 29 for their second first-rounder, OKC decided to move the pick to a more desperate party in exchange for a player they were interested in.
That player ended up being 2013 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award winner Andre Roberson out of Colorado.
That award displays just how much upside Roberson displays, as he's an elite athlete and, arguably, the best inch-for-inch rebounder in the draft. For proof, note that the 6'7" small forward used his 6'11" wingspan to average double-digit rebounds.
To be precise, Roberson put up 10.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game during his award-winning season.
The Thunder gave up a draft choice to facilitate a separate deal to get his deal done, which suggests that there was little risk here. While Roberson may not start over Serge Ibaka, his defensive ability is undeniably valuable.
One of the first rules of running a basketball team is that you can never have too many great rebounders.
Golden State Warriors: B
Partner: Minnesota Timberwolves & Oklahoma City Thunder
Acquire: Nemanja Nedovic & Malcolm Lee, SG
Deal: 2014 Second-Round Pick & Cash
The Golden State Warriors are a young team with high-quality players at virtually every position. Entering the 2013 NBA draft, however, Golden State was without a first-round draft choice.
They changed that by dealing a second-round draft choice and cash to acquire the No. 29 pick—not such a bad deal, is it?
The Warriors would later deal Malcolm Lee to the Phoenix Suns, but the focus here is their acquisition of the No. 29 selection. With that pick, the Warriors selected Nemanja Nedovic out of Croatia.
An athletic shooting guard who has drawn comparisons to Derrick Rose, whether fair or foul.
Nedovic handles the ball well and displays a strong shooter's touch, but it's his ability to attack off of the bounce that offers intrigue. While the Warriors may live by the three, the addition of a slasher could open this offense up even more.
How scary a thought is that?
Utah Jazz: A
Partner: Denver Nuggets
Acquire: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
Deal: No. 46 Pick & Cash
The Utah Jazz traded up in the draft to select one of the most physically impressive players in NBA history. That's far from hyperbole, as French power forward Rudy Gobert is as imposing as any player we've ever seen.
Go ahead, count how many players have ever stood at 7'2" with a 7'9" wingspan.
That length had some believing Gobert could be a lottery pick, although his draft stock has steadily declined since the scouting combine. With that being said, his status as a first-round draft pick was never in doubt.
Somehow, the Jazz managed to add him to their roster for the price of a second-round draft choice and cash.
The Jazz effectively selected an upside-ridden draft-and-stash player in the second round, if we get technical about things. That's quite the investment for a team that already has Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter down low.
There really isn't much to do here but marvel at how Utah managed to swing this one, regardless of whether or not you believe in Gobert's NBA future.
Phoenix Suns: B
Partner: Golden State Warriors
Acquire: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky Wildcats & Malcolm Lee, G
Deal: Nemanja Nedovic, SG, Croatia
This deal was rather confusing, as the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns swapped the No. 29 and No. 30 draft choices. Once it became known that guard Malcolm Lee was involved in the deal, however, things became more clear.
It appears as if the 23-year-old has value to general manager Ryan McDonough if he was traded twice in one night just to get to Phoenix.
The Suns didn't give much up to get this deal done, as they simply swapped the No. 30 pick for a player they likely could have selected one pick earlier and a quality reserve. For that reason, it's hard to look at this in a negative light.
Archie Goodwin is an intriguing shooting guard that displays promise as a slasher, and Lee is a high-quality defender. Keep in mind, both players have massive wingspans and project well defensively.
They can also handle the ball, have great size and excel in transition—a pair of two-way players to begin the overhaul at Phoenix's guard slots.
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