Cue the conspiracy theories. Did David Stern rig the draft lottery so that the Cavaliers could rebuild after being forsaken by LeBron James? Some will undoubtedly say so now that they have both the first and fourth picks in this upcoming draft. The Raptors dropped from third to fifth in tonight’s lottery, which makes it that much more likely that Bryan Colangelo will put that pick on the trading block to see more immediate results. Here is the draft order for the top 14 picks.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Utah Jazz
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Washington Wizards
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
If Colangelo elects to use his pick, here are some brief profiles of the five players most likely to be available at the fifth overall pick. I plan to have more extensive profiles of these prospects as we get closer to Draft Night on June 23 and gather more information.
Enes Kanter, 6’10″, 260 lbs., C
I don’t know if it says more about this draft or about Kanter that a likely top-five pick hasn’t played in a competitive game since April 2010. In contrast to the stereotypical European big man, Kanter loves banging in the post and crashing the boards. His history of knee problems is a blatant red flag for a young big man, and I have to wonder if Colangelo is willing to invest in a prospect who might not be able to make a significant contribution over the next two seasons of Colangelo’s guaranteed contract.
Brandon Knight, 6’3″, 170 lbs., PG
Knight’s most impressive attribute might be that he has NBA point guard skills in a six-foot-three frame. Considering his size, shooting range, and the fact that he won’t turn 19 until December, it baffles me that anyone would consider Kemba Walker to be a better NBA prospect. There might not be a “safe pick” after Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, but Knight strikes me as the prospect most likely to translate well to the NBA at this part of the draft.
Bismack Biyombo, 6’9″, 240 lbs., PF/C
I don’t like to do NBA comparisons with prospects I’ve never seen play live, but the comparison to Serge Ibaka is too obvious to ignore. He’s athletic and aggressive, he has an NBA body, and he seems destined to be a top shot-blocker at this level. The main question with Biyombo is the possibility that he’s not really 18 years old.
Kemba Walker, 6’0″, 180 lbs., PG
Leading the Huskies to the NCAA national championship has obviously helped his stock, but I’m not convinced he’s even starting PG material in the NBA. He’s too small and he’s neither a great shooter nor a great playmaker. I’m not even convinced he has more upside than Jerryd Bayless.
Jan Vesely, 6’11″, 240 lbs., PF
He’s not your typical European white dude — he’s raw, aggressive and loves to dunk on his opponents. As with Kanter, I wonder if Colangelo wants to take a chance on a raw prospect like this when the Raptors have given Colangelo such a short leash with today’s extension.
Understandably, all Raptors fans were praying that the team would luck out and land a top-two pick, but it’s widely regarded that the talent level between the third pick and the eighth or so pick is about the same. This clearly isn’t a night for celebration in Toronto, but I don’t think a mass suicide is in order, either. Maybe this won’t be the worst draft class in the past decade. Yeah, and maybe Andrea Bargnani will be possessed by Ben Wallace’s soul before next season. FML.