And to kick it off, let's talk about the first pick in the draft, Anthony Bennett. I'm with you Bill Simmons. He later went on to say that the Cavs should have taken Victor Oladipo over Bennett if they were going that route. The reason isn't exactly because Oladipo is necessarily a better player, it's because of the way the Cavaliers are currently constructed. Bennett is known as a lazy defensive player, while Oladipo is easily one of the best wing defenders in the draft. Now in Cleveland, they have Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett to play important minutes for them, three guys who don't play defense. That's a very worrisome sign. It's also weird in terms of roster construction unless they plan on moving Bennett to small forward. While he does have the athleticism, that's a lot to ask of a guy who is 18 pounds overweight. Bennett has a ton of upside, but on a team of young guys who don't play much defense, I'd much rather have Oladipo, who at the very worst is a sure thing on defense and could be lethal attacking the rim.
So as you can tell, I think the Magic got a steal at number two.
I hate what the Bobcats did, taking Cody Zeller over not only Noel, but Alex Len.
*Doing some research*
So Zeller is an offensive threat, at from scouting reports he's not awful at defense. Alex Len is just a seven footer. That's about it. The problem with Noel is that some people see his as simply a shot blocker, which, if it's true is not what a team should look for that high in the draft, especially when they already have a shot blocker in Bismack Biyombo. A talented offensive center is hard to come by in the NBA, so bravo to the Bobcats.
That also illustrates how little I care about college sports until around the draft for each league.
That flows perfectly into my next little rant, about the Philadelpia 76ers. Ahh, this was the first of many trades last night--15 in total, not including the "unofficial" Nets/Celtics deal, I'll get to that in another post--and boy was it horrible. The Sixers gave up a 23 year old All-Star, Jrue Holiday, for Noel and a first-round pick. Now I'll admit that the draft pick makes this deal a whole lot better, but they decided to build around a guy who has been called a glorified shot blocker. Later in the first round Philly took Michael Carter-Williams to replace Holiday, which makes the deal a little bit easier to swallow, but not much. I don't know what to expect from him, while Holiday is an established player whose ceiling is actually higher than that of Carter-Williams. Noel is also an unknown commodity. The draft pick that the Hornets gave up is top three-protected, so this deal could be horribly wrong for Philadelphia if a ping pong ball bounces the wrong way next May. Not to mention that Philly has recently had no success when they acquire a 7 foot center who is already injured. Yeah, that didn't turn out too well. The biggest issue I have here is that due to this trade, we lost the opportunity to get Nerlens in N'awlins.
Let's speak about the other side of the trade now. I absolutely love this for the Pelicans. There's still a lot for them to figure out as a team, but I like the core that they now have.
Watch out for the Hornets. They now have a lineup of:
PG Austin Rivers/Eric Gordon (it depends which will play the point and the shooting guard position, but this is definitely their backcourt because Jarrett Jack is not better than either).
SF Al-Farouq Aminu (who isn't terrible)
PF Anthony Davis (major defensive presence, "wingspan wingspan wingspan"- Jay Bilas)
C Chris Kaman (they could re-sign him, but if not, they'll throw in Gustavo Ayon)
Obviously it's too early to expect much from them right now, but once they upgrade at the center position, they will be legitimate contenders. They have two young studs who will carry the franchise for years to come. Davis is expected to be a Kevin Garnett/Tim Duncan-like player, and Rivers can really create his own shot and get to the basket with ease. If they solidify the pieces around these two cornerstones, I see bright things in their future.
It turns out that Rivers can't play basketball, and they are in real need of a center. Gordon needs to step it up and stay on the floor. Even so, I like the Holiday/Davis core.
Yikes, it looks like I've got to go. I'll update this later but for now I'm ending it.