Redrafting the 2013 NBA Draft
If we had known then what we know now, the 2013 NBA draft would have been an altogether different beast.
That's part of what makes drafts so thrilling. They're unpredictable. They're risky. And they hold worlds of potential for the participating teams. Now that we've had the opportunity to see some of that potential play out in real time, we can approach last summer's event with 20/20 hindsight.
If not Anthony Bennett, who really should have gone No. 1? With steals like Tim Hardaway Jr. already off the board in a perfect draft, who do the New York Knicks take instead? Who falls out of the lottery this time around?
These questions (and more) deserve answers, and that's exactly what this redraft hopes to provide. It's an alternative universe, yes. But it's also one heck of a conversation starter.
Here's a look at what should have gone down in the 2013 draft.
1. Nerlens Noel to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Pick: Anthony Bennett
This might seem like an odd choice given that Noel sat out the entire 2013-14 campaign, but hear me out.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were set in the backcourt. They needed a big man to build around for the future, and who better than an athletic defender in the mold of Anthony Davis? Had the Cavs taken Noel, there would be far less pressure to draft Joel Embiid this time around. The team could turn its attention to Andrew Wiggins or perhaps even trade the pick.
Granted, that's all 20-20 hindsight.
But here's what we know about Noel so far.
Per the South Jersey Times' Rob Edwards, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown had some pretty positive things to say about the prospect:
The first thing that I’ve fallen in love with is that he’s beyond competitive. There’s a dog in there, a lot of toughness. I misjudged him, looking at him with his big eyes and he’s 19 years old, there’s a naivety with him as there should be. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s a fantastic listener. He’s a fierce competitor.
So the intangibles are all there. By Brown's account, the on-court ability is, too (again, according to Edwards):
He can jump. He can miss a blocked shot, hit the floor and get back up. That’s special. I think the growth of his foul shot will carry into his real shot. We won’t wrap him up in cotton (during summer league), but we won’t make him play 38 minutes. I think it will be more of a gut thing, but we won’t be shy, we’ll just be smart.
Maybe his own coach is a little biased, but keep in mind that Brown really has no incentive to put unnecessary pressure on Noel. The praise should probably be taken at face value.
No one wants to draft an injured player, but imagine the position Cleveland would be in at the moment. Last season was a lost one anyway. This team has the future to think about, and that future would look a whole lot brighter with Noel in the fold.
2. Michael Carter-Williams to the Orlando Magic
Actual Pick: Victor Oladipo
Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams wasn't taken until the No. 11 overall selection. In retrospect, that's a bit hard to believe. Good as Oladipo was for the Orlando Magic, you have to appreciate Carter-Williams' versatility.
The dynamic floor general could probably play both guard positions with relative ease. That would have ensured point guard Jameer Nelson continued to get his minutes, and—more importantly—it would have ensured an heir to Nelson, someone who could take over for the 32-year-old in short order.
This is an important position we're talking about, and players like Carter-Williams don't come around very often.
He filled up the stat sheet this season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists and 6.2 rebounds. Even on the talent-short Philadelphia 76ers, those are impressive numbers.
Granted, Carter-Williams isn't a very good shooter just yet. But that's the kind of thing that can change in time.
It's much harder to teach a 6'6" physical specimen to handle the ball and make plays—two things Carter-Williams is already well-equipped to do.
3. Victor Oladipo to the Washington Wizards
Actual Pick: Otto Porter
A couple of caveats before digging into Victor Oladipo's merits.
First, Porter could very well turn into a great pick for the Wizards. It's just too soon to tell, especially after a season in which he played just 8.6 minutes per contest in 37 games. We simply don't have a robust body of work by which to evaluate Porter.
Second, yes, Oladipo would have to serve sixth-man duty for a club that already boasts John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt. But imagine if the Washington Wizards had actually had a reliable sixth man in those playoffs. It's how James Harden originally made his name, and the role would have fit Oladipo well, too.
As it was, the combo guard was extremely successful with the Orlando Magic this season.
He averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Even better, the energetic defender added 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per contest. Those numbers weren't quite good enough to edge out Michael Carter-Williams for Rookie of the Year honors, but they're still plenty respectable.
The Wizards have some fine veterans roaming the bench, but they could have used the backcourt depth. The occasional three-guard lineup could have ensured everyone got his fill of minutes, and Washington wouldn't have to worry about overplaying Wall and Beal.
Instead, the Wizards will wait on Porter. And who knows, maybe they'll get the last laugh in the process.
4. Ben McLemore to the Charlotte Hornets
Actual Pick: Cody Zeller
Zeller played a fine rookie season, but in the final analysis his skills are just too redundant with Al Jefferson's.
The Bobcats needed a shooting guard with some range, and they still need one. Gerald Henderson shies away from the three-point shot altogether, averaging just 1.5 attempts per contest this season. You can't say the same of McLemore.
A future backcourt of McLemore and Kemba Walker is something to get excited about.
McLemore's minutes were uneven in Sacramento, but he still managed to contribute 8.8 points per game. As he grows more comfortable with the NBA game, his efficiency should improve dramatically—and those numbers along with it.
It's hard to get too carried away about a guy who made just 32 percent of his three-point attempts this season, but the real story here is upside. McLemore still has bunches of it.
Unless you believe Henderson is the shooting guard of the future in Charlotte, rolling the dice on that upside would have probably made some sense.
5. Trey Burke to the Phoenix Suns
Actual Pick: Alex Len
Another point guard for a team that already essentially has two starters at the position? Sounds crazy, yes.
But think about it.
First, the Suns aren't good enough to draft positions of need. They should have taken the best available talent, whether that was Burke or otherwise. While the team does need a center, it's still in rebuilding mode. Rebuilding teams can't afford to be picky.
And here's why.
The Suns' roster is hardly set in stone. This is still a team that could be engaged in trade talks. It has to decide whether to pay Eric Bledsoe the big bucks this summer. It has some rotation holes to fill. We are not looking at a finished product.
So maybe Burke doesn't make a massive immediate impact, but perhaps he serves as a trade asset instead. Perhaps he affords Phoenix the flexibility to instead use Bledsoe or Goran Dragic as trade assets. The bottom line is that he would have given the organization options.
Alex Len may give them the same in time, but the jury is still out.
For the record, Burke averaged 12.8 points and 5.7 assists this season. Not bad for a rookie point guard without a lot of offensive weapons with which to work.
6. Anthony Bennett to the New Orleans Pelicans
Actual Pick: Nerlens Noel (trade to Philadelphia)
Anthony Bennett had a rough rookie campaign. The pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick probably didn't help. Nor did the Cleveland Cavaliers' crowded frontcourt rotation.
The Pelicans essentially wound up with Jrue Holiday on account of this pick, and there's nothing wrong with that. But for the sake of our hypothetical discussion here, let's assume this pick doesn't get traded. Let's assume New Orleans is drafting someone it wants to keep.
In that event, Bennett actually makes a lot of sense.
He can play both forward positions, potentially starting at the 3-spot and/or providing some relief behind Anthony Davis.
The Pelicans need some depth along their front line, and Bennett's versatility would be useful. He still has some growing to do. He still has to get in better shape. He still has to work on that perimeter shot.
But let's get one thing straight about the sample size we're evaluating. Bennett played just 12.8 minutes per contest this season and in only 52 games. That's hardly enough work for anyone to properly judge him, especially when it comes to assessing his future trajectory.
Maybe he shouldn't have been the No. 1 overall pick. But he'd have been a solid one for the Pelicans.
7. Gorgui Dieng to the Sacramento Kings
Actual Pick: Ben McLemore
This may come as a surprise, especially if you snoozed on the Minnesota Timberwolves during the latter half of the season.
But Dieng may have established himself as 2013's best defensive prospect outside of Nerlens Noel, and he did it in the last two months of the season.
In March, Dieng averaged 8.6 points and 8.3 rebounds. In April, he upped that to 11.9 points and 10.7 rebounds, to go along with two blocks per contest. With playing time came great things for the 24-year-old.
The Kings could have used that kind of complement to the more offensively minded DeMarcus Cousins. They could have used a long rebounder who could play the 4 or the 5. They could have used a rim protector to help shore up one of the league's worst defenses.
McLemore will be a fine addition for the Kings, but I have him going even higher in this redraft.
To be sure, shooting guard would remain an area of need for Sacramento in the event they took someone like Dieng. So someone like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be another attractive solution at this spot.
But the bottom line here is the need for interior defense. The Kings have some undersized power forwards in Derrick Williams and Carl Landry. They have another offensively minded big in Jason Thompson. They do not have what they need, though—and that's a legitimate shot-blocker.
8. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Detroit Pistons
Actual Pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
It looks like the Detroit Pistons actually got it right here, though you really wouldn't be able to tell it from Caldwell-Pope's rookie campaign. He averaged just 5.9 points in 19.8 minutes per game, but part of that can be attributed to Detroit being a mess.
The rest of it can be rightly attributed to the fact that Caldwell-Pope just didn't shoot the ball particularly well, cashing in on just 31.9 percent of his three-point attempts.
That will get better. So will the rest of this guy's game. He's got a nice looking stroke, so it's only a matter of time before he finds his NBA rhythm. He also has a prototypical shooting guard's body and solid athletic ability.
At the very worst, he turns into an exceptional role player like Danny Green. At best, he could become one of Detroit's principal contributors going forward.
Be patient with the Georgia product. By the time the Pistons get their act together, chances are Caldwell-Pope will, too.
9. Otto Porter Jr. to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Actual Pick: Trey Burke (traded to Utah)
Blame the Washington Wizards for Porter falling so far in this redraft. After playing the 21-year-old 8.6 minutes a game in just 37 contests, there's really no telling how NBA-ready he is. If head coach Randy Wittman's decision is any indication, Porter has some work to do.
That might have kept him out of Minnesota's rotation, too, but the Timberwolves have a pretty desperate need at the small forward spot—more so than Washington, which had Trevor Ariza on which to lean.
The Timberwolves could certainly have used a young complement to Corey Brewer at the 3. They could have used another building block to try to convince Kevin Love that the future will be a bright one.
Of course, in reality, Porter was already taken when the Timberwolves made their selection.
But I have him falling in the redraft. Knowing what we know now, he simply isn't yet a proven commodity. He is, however, precisely the kind of commodity that a team like Minnesota could have used. Much as the Timberwolves would like to think they're on the very edge of making the playoffs, this is still a team that's trying to find its way.
And with Love almost certainly on his way out, drafting someone on the basis of upside wouldn't be the worst idea ever. Minnesota needs to start thinking about the long term.
10. Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Portland Trail Blazers
Giannis Antetokounmpo is an athletic specimen. He would give Portland some much-needed bench versatility thanks to his ability to rebound, run the floor in transition and make plays for others. Without much in the way of backups behind Nic Batum and Wesley Matthews, Portland would have benefited from adding to their wing.
McCollum was a solid pick and should pay dividends in time. Some of his limitations were simply due to veteran Mo Williams getting most of those backcourt sixth-man minutes. They'll belong to McCollum when the time is right.
All the same, the Bucks may have gotten a steal taking Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 overall pick.
The Greek 19-year-old averaged 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for Milwaukee this season. He does a little bit of everything, and once his game is more polished he could do a lot of everything.
To give you some idea of how dynamic this guy is, he's listed as a 6'9" shooting guard. He even made 34.7 percent of his three-point attempts this season. As his offensive game improves, he could look a lot like Batum.
The Trail Blazers needed depth, and this guy could have provided some right away—to say nothing of how good he could be in time.
11. Cody Zeller to the Philadelphia 76ers
Actual Pick: Michael Carter-Williams
So remember a couple of things about our fantasy coulda-shoulda-woulda universe.
First, Nerlens Noel doesn't necessarily get traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving them with an appreciable need for a big man. Cody Zeller fit into that role perfectly.
Second, I have Carter-Williams going much higher in this draft, robbing the Sixers of the opportunity to take him at No. 11. If he were still around, there's no doubt Philly should pick him up. But alas, in this redraft, he's definitely not still around.
Zeller's debut was slowed in part by the presence of Al Jefferson. Even so, he had a solid rookie year, averaging six points and 4.3 rebounds in just 17.3 points per game. He was highly efficient for a 21-year-old, making his impact felt despite the limited playing time.
He made only 42.6 percent of his field-goal attempts, in part because he actually has the range to take some shots outside of the paint. Those numbers will improve, and Zeller could very well become the kind of low-post threat a team can build around.
He's skilled and knows how to play the game, even when it comes to passing the ball. While the Sixers certainly found a way to maximize their returns from this draft, Zeller wouldn't have been a bad option had the chips not fallen so perfectly into place.
12. Steven Adams to the Oklahoma City Thunder
Actual Pick: Steven Adams
If you have any doubts about the Thunder's decision to draft Steven Adams, you probably weren't paying much attention to the playoffs. It became clear before long that he was in fact more effective than starter Kendrick Perkins in a number of respects.
Adams is physical and energetic, the kind of guy who does the little things that often translate into victories. He rebounds well (4.1 per game) and—despite not putting up big numbers on the offensive end—has a pretty nice touch around the basket.
Adams also averaged 1.3 blocks per game during the playoffs, showing off flashes of defensive ability that will soon pair dangerously with Serge Ibaka on a more consistent basis.
The 20-year-old even had a double-double in Game 6 of the conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Those playoff numbers are telling. They speak to Adam's ability to rise to the occasion, his tenacity and fearlessness. This guy has all the intangibles you'd like to see from a 7-footer.
We probably shouldn't be too surprised general manager Sam Presti found the New Zealander. He's had a way with draft picks and appears to have gotten it right again.
13. Mason Plumlee to the Dallas Mavericks
Actual Pick: Kelly Olynyk (traded to Boston)
Mason Plumlee had a fantastic rookie year. In 18.2 minutes per game, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. It all resulted in an especially impressive 19.09 player efficiency rating.
The Brooklyn Nets got a steal with the No. 22 overall pick, especially with the number of big men who went ahead of Plumlee.
The Mavericks could use a guy like Plumlee alongside Dirk Nowitzki. The 24-year-old isn't afraid to mix it up inside and attack the offensive glass. He's explosive and energetic, the perfect complement to a spread-4 like Nowitzki.
Dallas ended up trading its pick (Kelly Olynyk) and hasn't exactly been trying to get younger at the moment. But Plumlee could have contributed right away. The Duke product is more polished than most and clearly hasn't required a protracted developmental process.
14. C.J. McCollum to the Utah Jazz
Actual Pick: Shabazz Muhammad (traded to Minnesota)
In real life, Utah managed to trade its way to Trey Burke, and everyone lived happily ever after. But I have Burke being taken in the redraft long before the Timberwolves (Utah's trade partner) could get their hands on him.
So that still leaves the Jazz with a vital need at the point guard spot.
Fortunately for them, C.J. McCollum has fallen a few spots in the redraft. It's not so much that McCollum was a disappointment. He wasn't. It's that a few others should have probably gone a bit higher in retrospect.
McCollum was the victim of limited playing time in 2013-14. He played just 12.5 minutes per game through only 38 contests. But we know this much—the 22-year-old Lehigh product can score, and he can score from virtually anywhere.
The Jazz certainly ended up making off better with Burke, but assuming Burke wasn't available, McCollum is the next best bet.
15. Alex Len to the Milwaukee Bucks
Actual Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Antetokounmpo was a fantastic pick for the Milwaukee Bucks, but I actually have him going even higher in this redraft.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alex Len has endured quite the slide this time around. Len probably wasn't a bad pick for the Suns, but he's not NBA-ready. Another offseason should help. He got off to a slow start in Phoenix by no fault of his own.
AZCental's Paul Coro notes that, "Len’s rookie year has been less than ideal, starting with two ankle surgeries that kept him on crutches all summer and in-season setbacks with his ankles."
By season's end, Len had played in just 42 games, averaging 8.6 minutes in the process.
One concern is that the injury problems don't go away for Len. Some big men are more susceptible than others, and that's a risk that can (and probably should) hurt someone's draft stock from time to time. It certainly had that effect here.
16. Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Boston Celtics
Actual Pick: Lucas Nogueira (traded to Atlanta via Dallas)
Though Tim Hardaway Jr. actually went No. 24 in the 2013 draft, you could make an argument that he should go even higher than this based on his rookie campaign. The 22-year-old averaged 10.2 points per game for the New York Knicks and proved to be one of the better long-range shooters on the roster.
The Boston Celtics could have certainly used such a shooter. They could also use the help on the wing, where the undersized Avery Bradley takes on most of the minutes at the shooting guard position.
Hardaway remains somewhat one-dimensional, but his offensive game could diversify in time. Even so, his immediate contributions were superior to the vast majority of rookies in this class. He's NBA-ready, and the rest of the NBA took notice.
In addition to being named to the All-Rookie first team, Hardaway was apparently the subject of trade inquiries, according to ESPNNewYork's Ian Begley: "Several teams tried to procure Hardaway Jr. from the Knicks during the trade deadline, but he was deemed untouchable by the team’s front office. So it’s fair to assume he has a secure, bright future with the team."
Per Begley, "He is one of the Knicks who impressed Phil Jackson while Jackson was studying the team and mulling over the job as team president, according to a source."
At the very least, Hardaway would have become a valuable asset for Boston. Given general manager Danny Ainge's desire to make big strides fast, he needs all the assets he can get.
17. Kelly Olynyk to the Atlanta Hawks
Actual Pick: Dennis Schroeder
Paul Millsap aside, the Atlanta Hawks could use another versatile big man who can space the floor a little bit. That's Kelly Olynyk's game. He had a strong rookie year with the Boston Celtics, averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 minutes per contest.
He doesn't fall in this redraft on account of falling short of expectations. It just so happens that a couple of other prospects moved ahead of him.
For his part, Olynyk made the most of his ample playing time, making C's general manager Danny Ainge look pretty good in the process. For his efforts, Olynyk was named to the league's All-Rookie second team in May.
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer is a product of the San Antonio Spurs system, so you have some inkling as to how much he cherishes floor spacing. Guys like Olynyk can make all the difference, ensuring that the paint isn't clogged with big men and opening lanes for Jeff Teague's penetration.
18. Dennis Schroeder to the Atlanta Hawks
Actual Pick: Shane Larkin (traded to Dallas)
Taking Schroeder made a good bit of sense for the Hawks, enough that it survives the test of the time in this redraft—albeit one pick later.
Schroeder didn't have much of an opportunity to show his stuff with the Atlanta Hawks this season, but that should change soon enough. He averaged just 13.1 minutes per contest in 49 games for the Hawks, putting up 3.7 points and 1.9 assists per contest.
Nevertheless, the eye test leads to some strong first impressions of the 20-year-old.
The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn notes, "He has been hearing the comparisons to Rajon Rondo since he was a young teenager playing in Germany. The long arms, gangly frame, flashy style, and passing ability were present in Dennis Schroder, the way they were in Rondo eight years ago."
This season, Schroeder fell behind the more veteran Shelvin Mack in the rotation, but he's well-positioned to become Jeff Teague's primary backup next season.
19. Tony Snell to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Actual Pick: Sergey Karasev
With their backcourt set, Cleveland's biggest area of need may be at the small forward spot.
My vote goes to Tony Snell, a strong defender on the wing who even managed to crack Tom Thibodeau's rotation with the Chicago Bulls this season. We're talking about a coach who doesn't trust rookies quickly, so that's an accomplishment in its own right.
Snell hasn't impressed enough to justify a redraft lottery selection, but he's proven to be solid enough to hover in the range in which he was actually taken. There are certainly different opinions of how successful Snell was during his rookie campaign.
The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson (subscription required) writes, "As for Snell, he had a fairly typical rookie season -- some ups, some downs. I’m not sold on him as a rotation player, but management is. They think he will become an excellent shooter and strong defender. He has the length for the latter."
What do the numbers say?
The 22-year-old averaged just 4.5 points and 1.6 rebounds in 16 minutes per game for the Bulls. The real problem was that he never found a consistent shooting rhythm, making just 38.4 percent of his field-goal attempts on the season.
But thanks to his physical attributes, Snell is still worth a mid-first-round pick. Given the Cavs' needs on the wing, this is a match that could have worked.
20. Shabazz Muhammad to the Chicago Bulls
Actual Pick: Tony Snell
Shabazz Muhammad needs some additional time to develop. The Chicago Bulls could have afforded to give him that time.
Muhammad needs a coach who will ride him and develop him into a two-way player. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau could have done the job.
Meanwhile, the Bulls need some scorers for the future, and that's what makes this such a compelling match. Muhammad may not have gotten many minutes with the Bulls from Day 1, but there's no better program in which to evolve.
As it was with the Timberwolves, Muhammad played in just 37 games—bouncing back and forth from the Development League and failing to make a sustained impact at the pro level. And that's fine. He could still have an exceptional career ahead of him.
But as much as any player in this draft, his upside is unclear. You probably don't want to risk a lottery pick on Muhammad, even if he has the outside potential to be a star. If you're the Chicago Bulls and picking 20th, however, a little gambling isn't out of the question.
21. Sergey Karasev to the Utah Jazz
Actual Pick: Gorgui Dieng (traded to Minnesota)
Given Dieng's late-season emergence, I have him going quite a bit higher in the redraft. The Utah Jazz had him going to the Minnesota Timberwolves anyway.
So the nod goes to Karasev.
The Jazz were already aging on the wing, and Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams are both unrestricted free agents as of this summer. Thinking ahead, it might have been nice to bring another swingman into the fold ahead of time. Even if he didn't play much in 2013-14, Karasev could have had his opportunity soon enough.
As it was, he went to the Cleveland Cavaliers instead at No. 19.
And he didn't see much action while there. The 20-year-old played in just 22 games, averaging 7.1 minutes and barely making a dent in the scoring column. Still, there's some potential here. Back in 2013, DraftExpress.com's Matt Kamalsky had this to say about the Russian:
Playing against some of the top teams in Europe in the VTB United league and EuroCup, Karasev led Triumph in scoring many nights, and while his efficiency in any single playtype does not stand out, his extensive usage is a reminder that he was a go-to scorer in some of the top Leagues outside of the NBA at the tender age of 19, which is incredibly rare.
Knocking down just 31.1% of his jump shots last season, Karasev's numbers seems to belie his shooting ability, as he regularly impressed scouts with his range and consistency over the course of the week at the Nike Hoop Summit, but struggled to find consistency through much of the season.
So Karasev still has some work to do when it comes to translating his skills into game-time production, but the fundamentals seem to be there. Utah is a young enough team that it could afford to wait on Karasev to develop.
22. Lucas Nogueira to the Brooklyn Nets
Actual Pick: Mason Plumlee
It's a little hard to place Nogueira given that he spent the season in Spain. We know this much about his upside, though: He has the potential to be an extremely effective rim protector and rebounder, the perfect candidate to stash away until the time is right.
You could make a strong argument that he should go higher in this redraft, but teams like Brooklyn are the ones who can really afford to wait on talent to develop. With its rotation already set, Brooklyn could have easily given Mason Plumlee's minutes to Andray Blatche and waited another season for Nogueira to make his way to the States.
Plumlee certainly worked out for the Nets, but he worked out so well that I have him going higher in this redraft.
If you're wondering what Nogueira could soon bring to the table, SBNation's Kris Willis offers another rookie parallel:
Dieng is an interesting comparison. He averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds as a rookie for the Timberwolves this season. He was little more than an afterthought for much of the season but saw his role increase at the end and averaged a double-double with 11.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in April. The biggest difference is Dieng is already 24 years old and played in the U.S. in college at Louisville. Nogueira will be 22 in July and has played abroad in his brief career.
Plumlee will probably be a staple in Brooklyn's lineup for years to come, but Nogueira would have been a very solid Plan B.
23. Reggie Bullock to the Indiana Pacers
Actual Pick: Solomon Hill
At the end of the day, there probably isn't much difference between Solomon Hill and Reggie Bullock. They're both relatively raw. They both play on the wing. They were both bound to be picked by a good team that didn't have immediate use for a rookie.
That was certainly the case with both the Indiana Pacers (who took Hill) and the Los Angeles Clippers (who took Bullock).
I have Bullock going higher this time on account of the promise he flashed early in the season, as documented by SBNation's Steve Perrin:
So there wasn't much of a role for Bullock this season. Early in the season when Barnes was injured and Dudley was limited by tendinitis, Bullock got his most sustained action, logging double figure minutes in nine consecutive games from late November to early December. He scored a season high 14 points in 26 minutes against Cleveland in mid-March. In short, he showed plenty of promise in the limited opportunities he received, but those opportunities became fewer and fewer as the team got healthy and added other vets capable of player the three (like Hedo Turkoglu and Danny Granger).
Hill had even fewer opportunities with the Pacers, so Bullock gets the nod here. He's a more known quantity at this point, and that helps his stock just enough.
When it was all said and done, Bullock averaged just 2.7 points in 9.2 minutes per contest. He played in 43 games.
24. Shane Larkin to the New York Knicks
Actual Pick: Tim Hardaway Jr.
The New York Knicks aren't getting quite so lucky this time around. I have Hardaway Jr. going higher in the redraft, as you might have guessed.
Larkin isn't a bad consolation prize, though—especially for a team whose starting point guard is Raymond Felton. By the numbers, he averaged only 2.8 points and 1.5 assists in 10.2 minutes per game with the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs, of course, have a solid starting point guard in Jose Calderon and a decent backup in Devin Harris.
That limited Larkin's opportunity to show what he can do.
He might have had better luck with the Knicks. Felton and backup point guard Pablo Prigioni could have probably used the help. The former averaged just 9.7 points and made 39.5 percent of his field-goal attempts. The latter was more efficient but turned 37 in March and doesn't look to score the ball much.
The Knicks got a steal in Hardaway, but if weren't around, a point guard is the next order of business.
25. Andre Roberson to the Los Angeles Clippers
Actual Pick: Reggie Bullock
I have Reggie Bullock going a bit higher in this redraft, but the principle here remains the same. The Clippers get their swingman one way or the other. In Roberson, they get a good, long defender who might even remind them a little bit of a young Danny Granger.
Time will tell if Roberson's offensive game ever measures up to those standards, but he's already good enough to play a role in the rotation—at the very least as an insurance policy should guys like Matt Barnes or Jared Dudley succumb to injury.
Roberson actually wound up with the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade, which is your first clue that he probably should have gone a spot or two higher than he did. Put simply, the Thunder organization has good taste when it comes to prospects.
The 22-year-old played in only 40 games this season, but he started 16 of them with the rest of the roster battling injuries.
Thunder basketball writer Nick Gallo described him as a "defensive sparkplug whose instincts and athleticism allow him to be a high level rebounder."
Roberson is still working on his jumper, but the Clippers have enough offense to get by for now. They could have used a future stopper like Roberson.
26. Archie Goodwin to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Actual Pick: Andre Roberson (traded to Oklahoma City via Golden State)
Archie Goodwin is all about upside at this stage. The 19-year-old is very raw, but he's also got the athletic makeup to become a pretty dynamic swingman.
He just hasn't had much of an opportunity to prove it yet. The Kentucky product averaged just 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds this season with the Phoenix Suns. Even on a pretty young club, he was unable to break into the rotation in any meaningful sense, averaging just 10.3 minutes in 52 games.
This late in the draft, however, taking someone on the basis of potential isn't such a bad thing.
Count this as one of those picks that just might have made Kevin Love think twice about his desire to leave for greener pastures. Goodwin may not be able to contribute much now, but he could be a solid rotation player down the road.
27. Alex Abrines to the Denver Nuggets
Actual Pick: Rudy Gobert (traded to Utah)
Given that the Nuggets ultimately traded this selection to Utah, we can deduce this much about the organization's mind-set: Denver wasn't looking to get any younger at the moment.
That's why someone like Abrines makes a lot of sense. The Spaniard was ultimately drafted in the second round by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 32 overall pick. So the first giveaway that this could be someone special is that general manager Sam Presti drafted him.
That probably means he's worth a first-round gamble, especially for a team that's willing to wait another year or two for the talent to actually materialize.
Abrines hasn't gotten much playing time overseas, because he plays for one of the best foreign teams in the world.
Nevertheless, The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater notes that Abrines "had some big performances, including a 21-point breakout against Macabbi Tel Aviv, and gained useful experience playing deep into the playoffs for a team that has reached the Spanish ACB League Finals seven straight seasons."
Rather than trade a pick away, the Nuggets should have started thinking about the future and taken a shooter who could one day man the wing with lethal accuracy.
28. Livio Jean-Charles to the San Antonio Spurs
Actual Pick: Livio Jean-Charles
By now we should have learned an important lesson from general manager R.C. Buford and his draft apparatus. They should be trusted at all costs.
Like so many picks this organization has made over the years, Jean-Charles made a lot of sense. The Spurs can afford to let him develop overseas, and by all accounts that's exactly what he's been doing thus far.
Per NBA.com, international coach and scout Luka Bassin profiled the forward going into the 2013 draft:
Livio made great development the last three seasons even though he didn't play at an elite European level and is a long-term NBA project...He is a rebounding machine with great physical tools. He developed his body and shooting technique but his biggest difficulty (or an advantage?) is still the question of whether he is a small or power forward. Defensively he could guard small forwards but his offensive game is more of a big man's game.
Sports Illustrated's Rob Mahoney noted that, "Jean-Charles was one of the standouts at this year’s Nike Hoops Summit, and in that game showed some of the skills that San Antonio will eventually look to capitalize on: running the floor in transition, staying active as a screener and cutter and making great use of his standout athleticism on defense."
So even though you may not be familiar with the Frenchman just yet, stay tuned. Like so many other low-risk gambles this franchise has made, Jean-Charles could pay off in a big way down the road—which is exactly when the Spurs will need him.
29. Rudy Gobert to the Oklahoma City Thunder
Actual Pick: Archie Goodwin (traded to Phoenix via Golden State)
The Thunder ultimately traded their pick, because at some point there just aren't enough roster spots to go around. But there's also a case to be made that you can never stockpile too many big men.
With Perry Jones' future unclear, Gobert would have given OKC another potential replacement for Kendrick Perkins—and a big body with all sorts of NBA potential.
Athletically, Gobert is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment. DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony wrote in 2013:
Gobert is a relatively mobile big man, quick off his feet, and exceptionally long. His 7-8 ½ wingspan is one of the longest ever measured in our extensive database, as is his outrageous 9-7 standing reach. He's not an off the charts athlete, though, as he looks somewhat heavy running the floor at times and is not terribly explosive in terms of his sheer leaping ability.
Givony also noted that Gobert needed to continue strengthening his frame. So he's probably another year or two away from being NBA-ready. The good news is OKC could have afforded to wait, even stashing Gobert away overseas or in the D-League in the meantime.
30. Solomon Hill to the Phoenix Suns
Actual Pick: Nemanja Nedovic (traded to Golden State)
Solomon Hill didn't do very much this season, and that's OK. He wound up drafted by the Indiana Pacers, so he was destined to see fairly little playing time.
So it's far too soon to issue any final verdicts.
As IndyStar's Matthew Glenesk points out, "It's unfair to label Hill a bust or disappointment yet, though he has seemed overwhelmed at times in his limited action. But Hill was drafted with the 23rd pick, it wasn't expected for him to make an immediate impact on a title contender."
Nor is there an expectation that Hill will become a star. But look closely, and you'll find the makeup of a guy who should be able to contribute to a rotation before long.
Writing in 2013, DraftExpress' Matt Kamalsky described Hill's evolution at Arizona:
Standing 6'6 with a strong, 220-pound frame, Hill worked diligently in the summer to improve his body, and has reaped the benefits this season. Coming into the season in the best shape of his career, Hill looks quicker and leaner than he did as an underclassman. The California native still lacks elite athleticism, but when you couple his improved physique with the development of his offensive game, it is fair to say that Hill has made considerable headway in removing the tweener label he earned earlier in his career.
Take him for what he is. The upside isn't elite, but the Suns could have used a little extra depth on the wing. With Archie Goodwin going elsewhere in this re-draft, Phoenix winds up with Hill instead.
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