The 2013 draft was full of surprises. Given a second chance, what would these GM's change? For the purposes of this post, let's just pretend that sometime after the 2014 draft, all of the GM's in last year's lottery were able to go back in time and pick again with the knowledge that they have today. How could they possibly make an informed decision? In this alternate universe, maybe Joel Embiid chooses a different breakfast and doesn't get injured before the draft. How do you account for that? Will this new draft cause a shift in the outcome of the NBA finals? Do the Cavs luck out and win the lottery again? Does this mean that the GM's have to take out their former selves?!? Well, don't think too much into it...
When Cleveland took Anthony Bennett with the #1 pick, they shocked the basketball world. Bennett was predicted to go in the 5-10 range, so it was definitely a reach to take him #1 overall. I think they would go for another shocker here. With no "can't miss" prospects, it was clear that Cleveland was willing to swing for the fences. Anthony Bennett had and still has plenty of upside. However, they chose the wrong guy, as they probably could have traded down and still nabbed Bennett.
In this year's draft, the Cavaliers would almost certainly have selected Joel Embiid had he stayed healthy. That is why Alex Len makes perfect sense for them. Len has arguably the highest upside of any player in this class, and there were rumors that he was favored by the Cavs front office over Noel. With the Cavs passing on Embiid in favor of Wiggins, Len could potentially be their two way franchise center. There is definitely bust potential with Len, but probably less than there is with Bennett, and we now know that Len was cleared by the Suns medical staff. He is definitely a project center, but the upside is worth it. This is certainly a risky pick, but I don't think anyone from this draft would ever make them regret it too much.
Oladipo was lauded as the most sure-fire and ready to contribute rookie of his class, and those sentiments still ring true. Oladipo wasn't a reach at #2, but the Magic should have had their sights set higher. After Len, Nerlens Noel has the highest ceiling, and with the knowledge that he successfully recovered from his injury without any setbacks, this decision is an easy one. Oladipo does fill a back court need, but the Magic could use a defensive minded big even more. Overall, Noel might be a riskier choice, but his upside is higher than Oladipo's.
Otto Porter was supposed to be ready to contribute from day one, but an injury got his rookie season off to a slow start and he was never able to get back on track. Now that we know that the Greek Freak is the real deal, he is the perfect prospect for the Wizards. He not only fills a hole on the wing, but offers some of the highest upside of the entire draft class. Just imagine John Wall and Giannis on the fast break together.
The Hornets could definitely use more guard depth, and Oladipo would be excellent to pair up next to Kemba Walker. He is perfect for them since he plays great defense and is a lousy three point shooter. But seriously, with a little bit of polishing, that could be a deadly back court for years.
5. The Phoenix Suns- Michael Carter-Williams. Original pick: Alex Len
Regardless of fan's opinions, McD and Co. were thrilled to draft Len with the 5th pick. McD thought Len would be gone, and it was clear that he was one of their highest ranked, if not the highest ranked player on their board. Well the Suns get excellent value with Carter-Williams at 5, but this time, I think they would feel just a tinge of disappointment about missing out on Len.
This pick would have crazy repercussions. Carter-Williams would have a hard time winning the back up role over Ish Smith. Woah. He would likely warm the bench and would come no where close to sniffing rookie of the year, even if he was the backup PG. Fans would likely be disappointed, having no idea of the kind of upside he could flash on a lousy team.
I'm willing to bet that with a second chance, the Pelicans decide to keep their picks and draft Trey Burke. The Pelicans were foolish to gamble away their future at a shot of making the playoffs, and it backfired horribly with Jrue Holiday missing a ton of time. Holiday may have been fresh off an All-star appearance then, but he is no All-star in the stacked West. Trey Burke gives them a promising young PG who will require less touches, allowing Evans and Gordon to thrive. More importantly, it allows them to keep their 2014 pick, which turned into the 10th and Elfrid Payton.
7. The Sacramento Kings- Ben Mclemore. Original pick: Ben Mclemore
My gut tells me that the King's GM, Pete D'Alessandro, wants to take Archie Goodwin here. He was frustrated with Mclemore's inconsistent 3 point shot, and his inability to do much else. He isn't convinced that Isiah Thomas is tall enough to be a franchise point guard. He knows that Goodwin is really raw, and would be considered a huge reach. He comes through the time portal with only an hour before the draft . He tries to convince his assistants that they should go with this Goodwin kid who they hardly paid any attention to, and ultimately, he leaves them doubtful. The time comes and his gut tells him to make a splash, but his assistants are telling him that Mclemore has fallen into their hands. He takes the safe route with Mclemore. After all, this kid is athletic and can shoot the ball right? He convinces himself it was destiny, but flashbacks of Goodwin posterizing Mclemore haunt his dreams for weeks...
That's part one! What do you think? Think Alex Len is a total scrub? Have a crazy back in time draft day trade proposal? Let me know in the comments!