5 questionable picks from the 2013 NBA Draft
SF/PF Anthony Bennett (1st overall, Cleveland Cavaliers): According to several reports, the stock of Bennett was actually dropping pretty steadily on draft day. Though he has a phenomenal offensive skill set, teams were said to be wary of his far-from-ideal size. Bennett is listed at 6'8'' on NBA.com (though many other sources have him at 6'7'') which leaves some serious questions regarding whether or not he can play power forward at the NBA level. With youngster Tristan Thompson looking like a promising PF in Cleveland, it appears the Cavaliers have plans for Bennett at small forward.
Bennett's quickness is not on par with many of the small forwards in the NBA, and he may be a serious liability on the defensive end, simply due to the athletic disadvantage. He is the definition of a "tweener," with a body type and playing style that don't fit well with one particular position. He reminds me a lot of Draymond Green, whose draft stock took a huge hit because of questions regarding what position he would (or could) play.
As far as basketball skills, Bennett certainly has all the tools to become a productive NBA player. However, his size makes him a very risky pick at the top of the draft. In all my time watching basketball, I have never seen a tweener selected first overall. If the Cavaliers were going to go out on a limb, I think they may have been better suited to lock up the center spot with Alex Len, fill their small forward need with Otto Porter (a definite small forward at the next level), or even go after an elite wing defender in Victor Oladipo.
PF/C Cody Zeller (4th overall, Charlotte Bobcats): The Bobcats have the worst frontcourt in the NBA, so when Nerlens Noel and Alex Len both fell to them at fourth overall, most of us were wondering which they would select. They thought very much outside the box, selecting neither and instead opting for Zeller. While I certainly like Zeller as a player, he was exposed during the NCAA Tournament as a player whose offensive moves were predictable, and he was somewhat one dimensional.
Len offers similar offensive upside in the half-court set, as he has shown signs of becoming a skilled scorer in the post. He also has the advantage on the defensive end. I can understand, however, if the Bobcats are thinking they want to be a full-court, running team, for which Zeller is a much better fit offensively.
However, Noel offers that same super athletic upside in transition, and is also the far superior defender. A strong defensive paint presence has become such an important asset in the game, and Noel could have brought that to the worst frontcourt in basketball. Perhaps the Bobcats are planning on Bismack Biyombo - who blocked 1.8 shots per game last season - being their center of the future, with Zeller complimenting him as the offensive big man.
Though this pick caught me way off guard, I still see where the Bobcats are coming from. However, I'm still forced to question the pick, as they had two of the draft's top prospects available to fill a position need.