2013 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

anthony-bennett-nba-draft-1At this point, most NBA executives and coaches don’t see the 2013 NBA Draft as one that will produce lots of future All-Stars and Hall-of-Famers. But this certainly doesn’t mean that the 2013 Draft wasn’t exciting because there were some high-profile trades and surprising picks. That said, let’s talk about who made out with these trades and picks along with which teams/players ended up losers after draft night.

Winner #1: Anthony Bennett

Seeing as how this wasn’t a talent-rich draft, the number one pick was up in the air. Even still, few people saw 6’7″ UNLV forward Anthony Bennett going as the top pick. In unbelievable fashion, the Cleveland Cavaliers took Bennett with the first overall selection and see him as their swingman of the future.

The Mountain West Player of the Year was just as shocked as anybody when David Stern called him up to the podium. “I’m just really as surprised as everyone else,” Bennett said. “I didn’t have any idea who was going No. 1 or who was going No. 2. I heard everything was up for grabs. But I’m just real happy, glad I have this opportunity.”

Loser #1: Nerlens Noel

nerlens-noelRail-thin Kentucky center Nerlens Noel was about as close to a clear-cut number one pick as anybody entering last night’s draft. Not only did the Cavs pass on him, but so did four teams after Cleveland. Noel’s freefall ended when the New Orleans Pelicans chose him with the sixth pick, although it wasn’t for them.

The Pelicans traded Noel along with a first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for point guard Jrue Holiday and second round pick PG Pierre Jackson. The 7-footer probably won’t play until at least November, following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered at Kentucky. And this definitely contributed to his descent on the draft board.

Winner #2: New Orleans

The Pelicans brought in one of the NBA’s most talented point guards to usher in a new era that includes a name change and different look. Holiday averaged 17.7 PPG and 8.0 APG last year on a Philadelphia team that didn’t exactly have many weapons. New Orleans is now hoping he can put up similar or better numbers for them.

The only problem will be deciding what to do with their loaded backcourt, which includes PG Greivis Vasquez and SG Eric Gordon. The latter isn’t happy in the Big Easy right now and could be trade bait this offseason.

Loser #2: Ben McLemore

ben-mclemore-draftMany thought that Kansas guard Ben McLemore was a lock to be selected in the top three. After all, he’s already a great shooter and gifted scorer following one year of college seasoning. However, he ended up going to the Sacramento Kings at pick number 7, which surprised many draft fans.

Scouts saw McLemore as a very good all-around player who can create shots for himself off the dribble. But as the draft drew closer, there were talks of him not being aggressive enough to take over games and justify a top-three pick. Now he’ll spend his rookie campaign on the hapless Kings, who’ve been non-competitive for years.

Winner #3: Boston Celtics

The Celtics’ aging core of coach Doc Rivers, PF Kevin Garnett and SF Paul Pierce clearly wanted out of Boston. Meanwhile, the Celtics, even with a healthy Rajon Rondo, seem like they’re better off rebuilding, rather than taking one or two more hopeless shots at a title.

On draft night, all parties got what they wanted as Pierce and Garnett were shipped off to a better team in New Jersey, while Boston unloaded big salaries and got several draft picks. The Celtics will now have New Jersey’s first round picks in 2014, ’16 and ’18, along with the option to trade picks in ’17. The ’14 pick is key since next year’s draft should be loaded with talent.

Loser #3: Both the Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns

cody-zeller-draftThe Charlotte Bobcats and Phoenix Suns aren’t playoff teams, which would make one think that they’d be gunning for players with tremendous upside. However, both clubs dropped the ball when they passed on Noel and McLemore at the fourth and fifth picks.

The Bobcats took Indiana center Cody Zeller with the fourth selection. And while Zeller is a mobile 7-footer with good all-around skills, he’s hardly the game-changer that Noel or McLemore could be. The same goes for the Suns and picking Alex Lens at the number five slot. On a team that needs so much, opting for a center who figures to have a solid, but unspectacular career isn’t going to get it done.

Winner #4: Victor Oladipo

Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo was projected by many to be a top five pick. However, most of these projections had him at the latter end of this range, and guys like Noel, McLemore and Otto Porter Jr. tabbed in the top three spots. So when Oladipo went number two overall to the Orlando Magic, some analysts were a bit surprised.

However, it’s not so crazy when you consider that he’s extremely athletic, has a great first step, takes high-percentage shots, and above all, plays defense better than any guard in the draft. Sure he’s a little short for a shooting guard (6’4″) and isn’t the greatest passer, but Oladipo should definitely make a big impact in Orlando with his shooting and defense.

Loser #4: Shabazz Muhammad

shabazz-muhammadLast year many people saw Shabazz Muhammad as a potential number one pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. And why not since he’s a 6’6″ shooting guard with a 6’11” wingspan, a good three-point shooter, and a player who’s already got the strength to compete with veterans.

However, none of this was enough to overshadow Muhammad’s subpar defense, character questions and lack of an all-around game. He was still a lottery pick, but just barely as the Utah Jazz picked him at number 14, then traded his rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

College Basketball Power Rankings for February 18th, 2013

durand-scott-miamiIf anything is clear thus far into the 2012-2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, it’s this: there is no clear number one team right now. First place votes are spread across five different teams, including Duke (18 votes), Indiana (6), Gonzaga (1), Miami (5) and Michigan (1). Out of these teams, both Miami and Gonzaga are nice surprises because neither club was expected to contend for the number one ranking. So which of these teams do we think is number one? You can check out the answer below.

1. Miami Hurricanes (19-3) – As mentioned in the introduction, nobody expected Miami to be this good – especially when they lost to Florida Gulf Coast and Indiana State earlier in the season. Butt the Hurricanes quickly put these losses behind them after demolishing Duke by 27 points a few weeks ago. Now they’re sitting at 12-0 in the ACC and have NBA stars like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade showing up to their games. This has really been a team effort with Durand Scott (14.0 PPG), Shane Larkin (13.4 PPG), Kenny Kadji (13.1 PPG) and Reggie Johnson (10.0 PPG, 8.7 RPG) all making big contributions.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (21-3) – The Hoosiers have rebounded nicely after a narrow February 7th loss to Illinois. They’ve now won three straight games (Ohio State, Nebraska and Purdue) and are looking very good going into a road matchup with eighth-ranked Michigan State. This is an extremely efficient offensive team with Cody Zeller (16.8 PPG, 59.8% shooting) and Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG, 63.9% shooting) leading the way.

3. Michigan State Spartans (20-4) – Michigan State makes a big jump from last week after beating in-state rival Michigan by 23 points. This hasn’t been their only impressive victory either because the Spartans also have recent wins against Illinois and Minnesota. Tuesday night they’ll be facing off against Indiana in a highly-anticipated matchup. Things don’t get any easier because they face Ohio State, Michigan (again) and Wisconsin immediately after this.

Duke v Miami4. Duke Blue Devils (22-3) – Duke’s road woes continued this season after losing at Maryland by 22 points a couple of nights ago. Of course, there’s no reason to panic because the Blue Devils did win six straight games in one of the nation’s toughest conferences before this. Mason Plumlee continues to be a do-it-all player for Duke with 17.6 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.6 BPG and 1.0 SPG.

5. Florida Gators (21-3) – After being beaten by Arkansas on February 5th, Florida has came back strong by winning three straight contests against Mississippi State, Kentucky and Auburn. This is a veteran team that’s led by seniors Kenny Boynton (13.0 PPG), Mike Rosario (12.9 PPG) and Erick Murphy (12.7 PPG) as well as junior Patric Young (10.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.8 BPG). That said, we like the Gators’ chances when March Madness rolls around.

6. Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2) – We’re aware that Gonzaga has a great team and even gained a first place vote. However, their weak conference schedule makes it hard to put the Bulldogs much higher than where we have them now. This certainly isn’t to say they haven’t beaten anybody though because the Zags have defeated Oklahoma, Davidson, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and BYU throughout the season. Assuming Gonzaga keeps winning, they have a good shot at a number one NCAA tournament seed.

tim-hardaway-jr7. Michigan Wolverines (22-4) – Michigan has had some rough matchups this month and has lost three out of the last five contests. If there’s anything good to be said of these losses, at least they were to ranked teams on the road (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan State). They’ll be seeing both Indiana and MSU against at home, so this will provide a chance to get some revenge. We like their chances of winning at least one of these two games because the Wolverines have an excellent core croup in Trey Burke (18.2 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.5 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.0 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (10.9 PPG).

8. Syracuse Orange (21-4) – Big East play has proven pretty tough for Syracuse since they’ve lost three out of the last six games. Don’t expect the Orange to go undefeated the rest of the way since they face Georgetown (twice), 18th-ranked Marquette and 12th-ranked Louisville over the coming weeks. C.J. Fair continues to have an outstanding junior year since he’s averaging 14.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG and shooting 41.2% from three-point territory.

9. Louisville Cardinals (21-5) – Louisville lost favor with the pollsters after losing three straight Big East games in late January. But they’ve been doing pretty solid this year after winning five out of their past six games. The lone loss was an overtime game to Notre Dame in South Bend. Quality wins during this period include beating Marquette and Pittsburgh. Gorgiu Dieng has been a great all-around player for the Cardinals with 9.4 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 2.6 BPG.

10. Georgetown Hoyas (19-4) – The Hoyas make their first appearance in our power rankings after rattling off seven straight Big East victories. And some of these wins weren’t easy to come by since Georgetown faced Notre Dame, Louisville, Marquette and Cincinnati during this stretch. Sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. is the star of this team and his contributes 15.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 1.0 BPG.

College Basketball Power Rankings for January 29th, 2013

The last time that we ran our college basketball power rankings, the Louisville Cardinals were on top with a 15-1 record. Boy how things change since Louisville isn’t even in our top 10 following three straight losses at the hands of Syracuse, Villanova and Georgetown. The Cardinals finally stopped the bleeding with a victory over Pittsburgh, but it’s a little too late now. As for who’s number one in this week’s edition of the GTbets NCAA basketball power rankings, you can see the answer below.

1. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1) – Since losing their second game of the season to Michigan State, all Kansas has done is win. Just last week they won on the road against 11-ranked Kansas State, and they also have recent victories over Texas (road), Oklahoma and West Virginia (road). Super-frosh Ben McLemore (16.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG) might be the top pick in the NBA Draft if he decides to leave. But for now, he’s busy trying to lead the Jayhawks to a national title.

2. Michigan Wolverines (19-1) – A couple of weeks ago, Michigan was dealt their first loss on the road against Ohio State. However, they came back strong by winning at 9th-ranked Minnesota, against Purdue and at Illinois. This team features a very strong lineup that includes Trey Burke (17.4 PPG), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.9 PPG), Nik Stauskas (12.7 PPG) and Glenn Robinson III (12.1 PPG).

3. Indiana Hoosiers (18-2) – Indiana has hovered around this spot in our power rankings for a while. They fail to move up because of a recent loss to Wisconsin; but a victory over Michigan State in their last game keeps the Hoosiers from falling back. Victor Oladipo (13.9 PPG) continues to shoot lights-out from three-point territory (54.8%), while Cody Zeller is taking care of the inside (16.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG).

4. Syracuse Orange (18-2) – Villanova knocked off yet another powerhouse team when they grabbed a 75-71 OT victory over Syracuse. However, that doesn’t drop the Orange much in our eyes since they beat Villanova earlier in the year and have recent wins over Cincinnati and Louisville. Nobody scores a ton of points for Syracuse – Brandon Triche leads the team with 14.9 PPG – but they have a nice balanced approach that sees four players average at least 12.6 PPG.

5. Florida Gators (16-2) – Since dropping a home game against Kansas State on December 22nd, Florida has now won eight straight contests. The most impressive victory during this stretch was a 31-point drubbing of Missouri. Based on the way that they’ve been playing, we don’t think the Gators will have any difficulty winning the SEC. It helps that they only play 16-ranked Ole Miss once this year too.

6. Duke Blue Devils (17-2) – The Blue Devils impressed everybody early on with quick victories over Louisville, Ohio State, Minnesota and Kentucky. However, they’ve since been exposed after an 8-point loss at NC State and a 27-point beating at Miami. Duke will no doubt be looking forward to a rematch when 19th-ranked NC State comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

7. Butler Bulldogs (17-3) – The Bulldogs are leading the mid-majors charge in our eyes after a thrilling one-point win over 8th-ranked Gonzaga. Unfortunately, they had a letdown the next game and lost by one point at LaSalle. But this certainly doesn’t erase impressive victories over North Carolina, Marquette and Indiana. Expect Butler to have at least a three seed when the NCAA tournament begins in March.

8. Oregon Ducks (18-2) – Oregon makes an appearance in our power rankings for the first time this season. They’ve beaten some quality opponents during this stretch too, including Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State. The Ducks make sure that everybody gets the ball as six players are averaging 8.9 PPG or more. Freshman Damyean Dotson leads the scoring attack (11.7 PPG), while Arsalan Kazemi has been a monster on the boards (9.6 RPG).

9. Michigan State Spartans (17-4) – Like Oregon, MSU is making their first appearance in our power rankings. We don’t know if they’ll stay long because the Big 10 is extremely brutal this year. However, they’ve certainly done enough to impressive the college hoops world with recent wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State. And we won’t fault them for a close loss at Indiana in the past game.

10. Arizona Wildcats (17-2) – Pac-10 play has been hard on the Wildcats since they’ve lost to UCLA and Oregon in January. And although it’ll be hard for Arizona to win the Pac-10 now, they are still one of the best teams in the nation. We fully expect them to do well come March Madness because they’ve been getting very strong guard play from Mark Lyons (14.9 PPG, 3.1 APG) and Solomon Hill (13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG).

College Basketball Power Rankings for Jan. 14th, 2013

Now that conference play has opened up throughout college basketball, many of the top teams have found the competition a little tougher. In fact, there are no longer any unbeaten teams left following Duke’s upset loss to NC State. And the Blue Devils weren’t the only high-ranked team to lose recently since a few other clubs were dealt their first loss as well. Following the recent shakeup, here’s a look at who’s sitting where in our power rankings.

1. Louisville Cardinals (15-1) – Louisville was ranked number four in our last power rankings, but they move up to the top spot following losses by three teams ahead of them. Junior guard Russ Smith (18.9 PPG) has led this club to recent victories over Kentucky, Providence, Seton Hall and South Florida. A couple of tough games loom ahead with Connecticut on the road and Syracuse at home.

2. Duke Blue Devils (15-1) – Following 15 wins to open the regular season, Duke finally dropped a road game against NC State. However, this eight point loss certainly doesn’t erase previous wins over Louisville, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Ohio State. Five Blue Devils are averaging double digits right now, led by senior Mason Plumlee (17.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG).

3. Indiana Hoosiers (15-1) – The Hoosiers continue to play well after a loss to in-state rival Butler last month. Their most recent conquest includes hanging the first loss on eighth-ranked Minnesota. Plenty of landmines await in the Big Ten schedule, but the prospects look good for Indiana to win their conference. G Victor Oladipo (13.8 PPG) continues to be lights out from the perimeter for Indiana (68.3 2P%, 48.0 3P%).

4. Kansas Jayhawks (14-1) – A three-point loss to Michigan State on November 13th represents the lone blemish on Kansas’ schedule. The only thing holding the Jayhawks back from a better ranking is that their lone impressive win remains beating Ohio State. Freshman G Ben McLemore has stepped up to lead this team with 16.4 PPG.

5. Michigan Wolverines (16-1) – After opening Big Ten play up with three wins, Michigan dropped a road game against Ohio State. Unfortunately, things won’t get any easier as the Wolverines travel to Minnesota this Thursday. Both Trey Burke (18 PPG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (16.1 PPG) had off games against OSU, and they’ll look to get back on track against the Gophers.

6. Arizona Wildcats (15-1) – Arizona represents yet another top team that received its first loss in January. They dropped a four-point game on the road to a respectable 14-2 Oregon ball club. The Wildcats have another difficult upcoming game as they travel to face in-state rival Arizona State (14-3). This team does have the advantage of a hot Mark Lyons though (18.3 PPG over past four games).

7. Syracuse Orange (16-1) – While the Orange sit seventh in our power rankings now, they have an excellent chance to move up with a win at number one Louisville. Sophomore G Michael Carter-Williams had done a great job of finding teammates all season (9.4 APG), and he’ll look to tally plenty more assists against the Cardinals this Saturday.

8. Gonzaga Bulldogs (16-1) – Since losing to Illinois on December 8th, the Bulldogs have now rattled off seven straight wins – including a road victory over former #22 Oklahoma State. Looking ahead, the Zags have a very intriguing road game against 13th-ranked Butler this Saturday. Junior C Kelly Olynyk (18.7 PPG) is a huge reason why Gonzaga should win this tough contest.

9. Creighton Bluejays (16-1) – Looking at Creighton’s remaining schedule, it’s certainly not improbable that they could finish as a one-loss team heading into March Madness. Of course, going undefeated in conference play is a tall order for any club. Some of the quality victories for this team include wins over Wisconsin, Arizona State, Nebraska and California. Junior F Doug McDermott (23.6 PPG) is a strong favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year award.

10. Minnesota Golden Gophers (15-2) – While Minnesota may have two losses on the year, dropping games to Duke and Indiana are nothing to be ashamed of. And so far, the Golden Gophers have tallied victories against Memphis, USC, Michigan State and Illinois. G Andre Hollins has really stepped up in his second year to lead this team with 14.4 PPG.