The 2013 NBA Draft has arrived and with it the hopes and dreams of teams in rebuilding mode of adding those one or two key pieces that will develop into NBA stars or solid role players. This year’s NBA draft is considered one of the more balanced of recent memory with no big stand outs like a LeBron James or John Wall, but plenty of talented players oozing with that word that will come up a lot during the draft proceedings, “potential.”
For the second time in two years, the Cleveland Cavaliers landed the top pick in the NBA Draft and are expected to select center Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky to compliment young star guard Kyrie Irving. There’s also a chance the Cavs could look elsewhere and select Maryland center Alex Len instead. Len and Noel ironically played against one another to open the NCAA basketball season this past year.
With such a balanced draft there’s a decent probability that the top five pick order is completely up for grabs. Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, Georgetown forward Otto Porter, and Kansas guard Ben McLemore are all in the running for a pick anywhere between 1 and 5. Many of the teams choosing at top past the Cavs including the Magic, Wizards, Bobcats and Suns, in that order, could end up selecting the next best talented player based off of whom is selected in front of them.
Health is a major concern heading into the NBA Draft, especially for teams considering one of the two big men projected as top 5 picks. Both Len and Noel are injured; Noel coming off surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Len still walking around wearing a protective boot after ankle surgery. Len expects to be ready for camp while Noel might not see the floor in the NBA until early 2014.
One has to look back no further than the 2007 draft when the Portland Trailblazers chose center Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. Oden quickly sustained a microfracture injury on his right knee during the preseason and his NBA career never got off the ground. Big men health concerns are always a worry in the NBA, so the fact that the top two centers are coming off major injuries could play a role in how the top five shakes out.
The 2013 NBA Draft will hopefully deliver some surprise picks and live up to the building hype that has preceded it. The Draft officially gets underway tonight at 7/6c on ESPN. With the gaining popularity in online streaming, you can now watch a free online stream on ESPN 3 here via your computer, iPad/tablet or mobile phone. The best way to watch the draft remains on ESPN via cable or satellite provider, up on a big screen TV.