The stage was set for the 2013 NBA Draft to be one of the most unpredictable in recent years and certainly lived up to the hype.
Many people’s mock drafts were left in tatters as consensus first overall pick, Nerlens Noel, fell down the board, and several teams surprised punters with some off the cuff choices.
The occasion also marked the final draft to be conducted by Commissioner, David Stern during his 30-year tenure with the league.
The Cleveland Cavaliers wasted no time shaking up the draft as they shocked the Barclays Arena by choosing UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick.
The pick came out of left field as many expected Cleveland to take a big man, such as Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel or Maryland’s Alex Len, number one.
Bennett becomes Cleveland’s second number one pick in three years.
The Orlando Magic selected Victor Oladipo from Indiana with the second pick.
Oladipo was highly touted coming into the draft with many scouts captivated by his athleticism and defensive prowess.
Choosing Oladipo was a low risk-high reward pick. At worst he is a Tony Allen type lockdown defender, but if he can max out his potential and become a two-way player, some have compared him to Dwyane Wade.
In one of the few predictable picks in the draft, Washington selected Otto Porter Jr from Georgetown third overall.
The Wizards hope to make the playoffs this seasons, and Porter gives them a solid NBA-ready forward to run with John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Before anyone had a chance to process the shock of Bennett going number one, the Charlotte Bobcats provided the second surprise of the draft at pick four, selecting Cody Zeller out of Indiana.
Despite being a projected top 10 pick in 2012, “The Big Handsome” decided to return to Indiana for his Sophomore season. Entering the season Zeller was projected as a top 3 pick, but saw his stock fall after an indifferent season.
Many expected Charlotte to take Nerlens Noel or Kanas’s Ben McLemore.
Similarly it seemed the Phoenix Suns looked to have 2 projected top 3 picks fall into their lap at pick 5.
However, Noel and McLemore were again ignored as the Suns elected to draft Len instead.
Several mock drafts had Len going as high as one so he could prove to be one of the steals of the draft.
In a draft with no standout superstar the top 7 picks were essentially interchangeable. However, many still believed Nerlens Noel would go number one, and at worst would still be a top 3 pick.
Noel suffered a season ending ACL injury he suffered in February, which will keep him off the court until at least Christmas.
The injury clearly effected teams willingness to draft him, as he slid all the way to sixth.
Adding to the drama, as soon as Noel was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for all-star Jrue Holiday.
Rounding out the top 10: Sacramento snatched up sharp shooter, Ben McLemore at 7, Detroit selected Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 8th, while Naismith college player of the year, Trey Burke, and CJ McCollum were taken by Minnesota and Portland respectively.
Other notable selections included UCLA forward Shabazz Muhammad at 14th to the Jazz, and Tim Hardaway Jr being drafted by the team his father used to torment, the New York Knicks.