The 2013 NBA Draft was one of many story lines. It was commissioner David Stern’s last NBA draft as he is set to retire this upcoming February. The consensus projected number one pick, Nerlens Noel, fell all the way to the New Orleans Pelicans at number 6 only to be traded to the 76ers along with a first round pick in next years draft for Jrue Holiday. There were trades a plenty including a massive blockbuster that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets for three future first round picks along with Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries. Trades! Trades! Trades! Nothing makes a draft more exciting than trades.
The two biggest pieces of news for our beloved Ducks involved the biggest surprise of the entire draft and the first ever Iranian basketball player to be drafted. I have previously written “quick hit” articles about just how good Anthony Bennett can be and how much better he would have made the Ducks had he chose to sign with us instead of UNLV last year (oh how close we were to getting him). Although I believe Anthony Bennett has the makings of a successful NBA player, I was just as surprised as everyone to hear “With the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Anthony Bennett (Forward from UNLV).” It was the shock of the night and the shake up in the top ten and bevy of surprise picks more than made up for the dud that was the 2012 NBA Draft. While Anthony Bennett has a ton of upside, he is considered a bit of a tweener because of his size. He measured in at just under six foot eight inches and weighed over 260 pounds. He isn’t a guy who is in great shape, but definitely has the work ethic to get slimmer and hopefully even quicker. He is certainly strong enough to defend NBA power forwards, but doesn’t necessarily have the length. If he can shed some weight and work on his agility, he has the ability to be one of the best 3/4’s in the NBA.
With the 54th selection in the draft the Wizards selected our bruising Iranian, Arsalan Kazemi. However, he wouldn’t remain with the Wizards for long. ”The 76ers took small forward Glen Rice Jr. with the 35th overall pick, then shipped his rights to the Washington Wizards for the 38th (Nat Wolters, South Dakota State point guard) and 54th (Arsalan Kazemi, Oregon forward) picks.” So when it was all said and done, Arsalan Kazemi’s dream became a reality. He was the first Iranian born man to play in NCAA basketball and now is the first Iranian born player to be selected in the NBA Draft. He will start his career alongside the ultra-hyped Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams as rookies for a young rebuilding 76er squad that may not bring back Andrew Bynum.
For Kazemi, this is the perfect situation to come into. With the 76ers now likely to let Bynum walk, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young are the only two experienced low post players on their roster. That opens up a lot of playing time down low for the consensus number 1 pick Nerlens Noel and our beloved Kazemi. Furthermore, Noel’s knee could keep him out until December which will make Kazemi’s presence even that much more important to a team that blew up it’s nucleus up on draft day. All in all though it is a great spot for Kazemi to land.
I speak for many when I say that the 2013 NBA Draft was the most entertaining draft in as long as one can remember. From David Stern playing up the Brooklyn boos, the surprise picks, the bevy of trades, and overall fun atmosphere, the draft surely didn’t lack for excitement. The 2013 NBA Draft was considered to be a weak draft class, however, it was the most fun the NBA incorporated into an event in perhaps David Stern’s entire 30 year tenure.