NBA Draft Surprises, Trades, and the Iranian Connection

Alex Hausman FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

The 2013 NBA Draft had 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 six 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.

Kazemi talks to the Matt Court crowd on senior night
Cline Photography

The Surprise for our beloved Ducks involved the first ever Iranian basketball player to be drafted.

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 (Nate 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 NCAA basketball and now he 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.


Draft of Kazemi a First for Iran

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 one 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 its nucleus up on draft day.  All in all, 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.



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