The 2013 NBA draft was a truly bizarre event filled with non-stop surprises and some head-scratching decisions made by many teams. Now that all the chaos has come to an end and there’s been some time to comprehend it all, it’s time to see how the event will impact the league’s future.
It seems that only a handful of prospects actually landed in a position to succeed immediately, although anything could happen by the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Initially, it appears that these three young men will have the easiest time adjusting to life in the NBA and should be candidates to start as early as the opening tip of the upcoming season.
Let’s take a closer look.
Otto Porter, SF, Washington Wizards
The Wizards had a number of options on the table when they selected at No. 3 overall last Thursday evening, but decided to stick to their guns and take the player that best fits their roster and rebuilding effort.
While the Georgetown product may not end up having a better career than some of the super high-upside prospects that went after him—such as Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore—he does represent a perfect piece to fill the gaping hole on the wing in D.C.
Porter is a versatile swingman that can do most everything at a high level, including—but not limited to—rebounding on both ends, defending opposition’s top perimeter option, knocking down open shots out to the three-point line and more.
The only thing he isn’t great at is creating off the bounce and shouldering the scoring load, but that shouldn’t be an issue with John Wall and Bradley Beal in Washington’s backcourt.
Expect Porter to come in and compete for the starting gig at the 3 right away and help this up-and-coming team take a step forward next season.
Trey Burke, PG, Utah Jazz
The Jazz were devoid of an elite point guard last season and it clearly hurt them down the stretch last season, as the team faded from playoff contention with a late slide.
Burke now has a chance to come in and change all that, as he’s arguably the top facilitator on the roster now.
With a complete overhaul likely to come in the frontcourt—both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap could move on in free agency—the club needs someone to step up and feed their young bigs the rock.
Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors are ready to make the leap and will struggle if Burke fails to set them up in scoring position on a consistent basis.
Fortunately, after the Michigan product’s epic run through the 2012-13 college season and through March Madness, Utah seems to be in good hands and should immediately hand Burke the keys to the offense.
Shabazz Muhammad, SF, Minnesota Timberwolves
Muhammad slipped quite a bit from his initial projections, but it will be a blessing in disguise for this left-handed swingman.
Going into the draft, the Timberwolves needed a scorer on the perimeter and a big wing player to compliment Ricky Rubio in the backcourt and Kevin Love down low. They nabbed one in Muhammad, as the UCLA product is more than capable of putting the ball in the basket in a variety of ways.
Whether he is spotting up to knock down shots beyond the arc or leaking out on the break to slam home an easy dunk in transition, this kid is always looking to put points on the board.
He’s going to benefit greatly from having a top-tier playmaker on his side and his offensive rebounding skills will also be an asset in Minnesota.
As long as this squad can remain healthy and find a way to get consistent minutes for Muhammad—as a starter or sixth man—it will be in good shape to make a playoff run in 2014.