NBA Draft 2013: Most Surprising Selections in This Year's Draft

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2013

The Cavs surprised everyone by taking Anthony Bennett with the first pick.
The Cavs surprised everyone by taking Anthony Bennett with the first pick.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA draft was filled with intrigue, and there were many surprising picks made at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night.

Like many predicted, this year's draft was unpredictable. It was arguably the craziest draft in NBA history, and teams were making trades frequently.

Injuries played a big role in some of the team's decisions, which led to the fall of many top prospects like Nerlens Noels. A full recap of each pick can be found on the NBA's official website.

Surprising picks usually occur in the first round. A prospect slipping to the second round may be a surprise, but there's rarely a shocking pick in the second round.

With so many surprises, here's a look at the most shocking picks of the draft. 


No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Bennett, PF

Surprises started early and never stopped. The Cavs were linked to Nerlens Noel and Alex Len in the days leading up to the draft, but Anthony Bennett's name was never mentioned.

The Cavs have an All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving, to build around. Dion Waters is expected to play a big role next season, and Tristan Thompson has shown some promise in his young career.

All three of those players were top-four picks in the last two years, and now Bennett becomes the fourth top-four pick in three years to join the roster. The future should be bright in Cleveland, but this pick is still shocking.

Anderson Varejao is an excellent center—when healthy. He hasn't played in more than 31 games since the 2009-2010 season and has played in more than 54 games only three times in his eight-year career.

With his injury history, it's a mystery as to why the Cavaliers didn't draft a center. Last year's first-round pick Tyler Zeller is listed as a center, but he struggled in his first season.

Thompson, a 2011 draftee, is also a power forward. Thompson has looked better than Zeller, so adding a center seemed like a bigger need than power forward.

It'll be interesting to see if the Cavs hold onto both Thompson and Bennett, but this pick was surprising either way.


No. 4 Charlotte Bobcats: Cody Zeller, C

The only pick in the draft that was as shocking as the top pick was Cody Zeller going at No. 4 to Charlotte. Not many people had Zeller going in the first 10 picks, but he wound up being the second big man off the board.

He was originally thought to be a potential No. 1 pick entering his sophomore season, but his stock fell during Indiana's season. 

Jacob Feldman of the Charlotte Observer reported that most fans of the team were stunned by the pick. Michael Jordan doesn't have a good history of drafting, but this pick was the most shocking one he has made in years.

This looked like a landing spot for either Ben McLemore or Nerlens Noel, but Jordan went with Zeller. The former Hoosier doesn't have any character or injury concerns, so this may be seen as a safe pick.

Noel could suffer setbacks and miss the start of the season. The Bobcats were looking for someone who doesn't have to worry about rehabbing and should be ready to go from the start of the season. 

Zeller has two brothers, Luke of the Phoenix Suns and Tyler of the Cavs, in the NBA. Tyler was expected to be a solid player in the league but struggled as a rookie. Cody and Tyler were both dominant players in college, but Cody will need to show that he is better than his brother now that both are in the NBA.

With so many top prospects available, the Bobcats shocked everyone by choosing Zeller.


No. 8 Detroit Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG

This was surprising for a few reasons. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an athletic guard and a good shooter. The rest of his game, however, needs some work.

It fit the need of the Pistons, but with a couple of other prospects still available, Detroit made a surprising pick of Caldwell-Pope. Michigan's Trey Burke and Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams were both still on the board at No. 8.

With a local kid available, it looked like the Pistons would follow the Washington Wizards' strategy. The Wizards took Georgetown's Otto Porter, and the Pistons had the chance to take Burke.

Drafting a player just because he's from a local university isn't a good strategy, but it is smart for the team if the local kid has talent. Burke did win the Naismith Award last season and showed that he can be explosive. 

Burke has great range and can get up the floor to create plays for his teammates. He is also a solid defender. Caldwell-Pope is a good shooter, but there's not much else to his game right now.

The Pistons had a chance to take someone from Ann Arbor but passed. Burke was a higher prospect, but Detroit now has to live with its decision.


*All stats are courtesy of