1. The Cavs’ will be kicking themselves in 6 months for picking Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett is a huge risk/reward pick for the Cavaliers because of who they didn’t pick. By picking Bennett, they passed on the ‘sure thing’ in Victor Oladipo (who went #2 to Orlando), Otto Porter, and also passed on the consensus #1 talent in this draft, Nerlens Noel. Bennett has the ability to be the best player from this draft class in 5 years, but I’d put his odds at 11:1, whereas I’d put Oladipo at 9:1, Porter at 7:1 and Noel at 5:1. Bennett’s upside potential is there, but the Cavs’ definitely took a risk in picking him number one.
That being said, he has three very impressive skills. He can really handle the ball for a guy his size. There’s a play in the scouting video (Anthony Bennett Scouting Video) that starts at 3:58 that had me in awe. He crosses up James Michael-McAdoo (a consensus lottery pick in 2014 from UNC), and takes it to the bucket, and finishes strong. Secondly, he can dunk really easily for someone who’s 6’7” mostly due to his his 7’1” wingspan, a physical trait that allows him to play bigger than he is – on offense at least. His third best trait is his soft shooting touch. Although he has a mechanical kink in his shot, where he jumps forward instead of straight up and down, he shots the ball effortlessly, and with very good form. This should help him transition to more of a 3 than a 4.
On the defensive end, Bennett either doesn’t have a basic understanding of defensive positioning or just doesn’t try. Positioning is something that can be taught, but only if the subject is willing to learn. His post defense is also pretty soft, and he doesn’t use his hands to feel his defender making him easy to bully in the post. Overall, he’s probably better off dropping 10 pounds, learning to defend the 3 position, and trying to take Alonzo Gee’s minutes. The draft is 50% scouting, and 50% gambling – only time will tell if this will work out for the Cavs’.
2. The most underrated player in this draft was picked in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs, obviously
I am pretty sure that being picked in the second round by the Spurs, and succeeding in the NBA is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Manu Ginobili (59th overall), Luis Scola (55th overall), Goran Dragic (45th overall) are three players that come to mind when thinking about the Spurs eye for second round talent. Deshaun Thomas has a chance to be yet another successful NBA player taken in the second round by the Spurs. He looked noticeably fit in his recent workout video, and had an extra bounce in his step. He has a quick release on his jumper, and should be a very good mid-range guy coming off screens, and slashing to the hoop. He scored 19.8 ppg while playing in arguably the best defensive conference, and possibly best overall conference in the country, and shot close to 50% from the field. This guy can score in a lot of different ways, and it’s pretty absurd that he slipped to the 58th pick in this draft behind a lot of draft-and-stash guys, and other less skilled college players.
3. These three players will make an immediate impact for their teams and contend for the ROY award
Otto Porter – Porter will fit in really well on the Wizards, and should be playing serious minutes by opening night. They have a solid core led by Wall/Beal/Nene, and by adding Porter to the mix, the Wiz’ have a real shot to make the playoffs next season. Porter’s my favorite for rookie of the year, and should have a good shot at it given that he may start on opening night.
Victor Oladipo – An obvious choice for this list due to the lack of talent on the Magic roster, and the natural fit of Oladipo on just about any roster. He’s going to defend the other teams’ top scorer, and he’ll definitely get some shots on offense. He and Afflalo will make for a nice 1-2 punch, and could be on the court at the same time in small lineup situations.
Trey Burke – Utah traded up to the number 9 pick to snag Burke, who should be a great fit for the young, big and athletic Utah squad. He’s great on the fast break, shot 38.4% from three-point land, and averaged almost 7 assists per game. His turnover numbers should go down as he won’t need to be “the man” in Utah just yet, but I think he’ll be in the rookie of the year conversation in 2013-2014 as well as the other two I listed above.