The 2013 NBA Draft, which took place Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was a rare draft in terms of the first pick being unknown until it was actually announced. When the name of UNLV’s Anthony Bennett was called, the camera actually showed Nerlens Noel from the University of Kentucky, who was rumored by many to be the first overall pick. This began an evening that would see numerous trades, and one huge announcement by the team that calls Barclays Center home, the Brooklyn Nets.
Bennett talked about not knowing he would be selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the first overall pick. “I’m just as surprised as everyone else. I didn’t really have any idea who’s going #1 or who was going #2. I heard everything was up for grabs, but I’m just real happy, glad that I have this opportunity.” Bennett, whose game has been compared to UNLV alum and former New York Knick forward Larry Johnson, made history by becoming the first Canadian selected with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. Next year it could happen again, as Andrew Wiggins is widely expected to be the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft after playing a season with the Kansas Jayhawks.
Noel slipped all the way to the sixth pick, being selected by the New Orleans Pelicans, and then he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for point guard Jrue Holiday. Noel was asked how it felt to be traded for a 2013 NBA All-Star. “It shows how much confidence they have in me. I’m just really staying positive through this and looking to get down there and work hard.”
The Brooklyn Nets selected Mason Plumlee from Duke University, who was on hand to speak to the media in the building that will be his home. “Very excited about the Nets…who wouldn’t want to play here? The buzz they have going here, the veterans,” Plumlee said, referring to the trade that will bring future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.
The New York Knicks selected Tim Hardaway, Jr, from the University of Michigan, and if that name sounds familiar, you are not mistaken. He is the son of Tim Hardaway, former NBA player who was a member of the Miami Heat when their rivalry with the Knicks was white hot in the 1990s. He was not on hand at the draft, something he may regret, having been selected by a local team. The crowd exploded when he was selected, as there were many Knicks fans in attendance.
Other notable picks in the 2013 NBA Draft were Victor Oladipo, selected second by the Orlando Magic, his Indiana teammate Cody Zeller, picked fourth by the Charlotte Bobcats, and Georgetown product Otto Porter, who will play in the same arena for the Washington Wizards that he called home with the Hoyas. Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, and will team with fellow rookie Noel.
The 2013 NBA Draft was unique in its lack of structure in terms of knowing who would get picked and where. It made for an entertaining night of genuine, emotional reactions by young men whose lives were changed in an instant.