NBA Draft: Revisiting the class of 2013

An entire year late but today we look back at my scouting report from the 2013 NBA draft. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Back in 2013 I was still in the infantile stages of my scouting. I wasn’t watching full games for a lot of players and was scouting by highlight videos. I had found DraftExpress by this time so that was somewhat helpful. I worked to not be convinced by what they were saying completely and judged based on what I was able to glean from their videos.

Even then I seemed to do better with foreign prospects than American. I did watch a lot of college basketball so I was watching games for the American players, just not taking notes as I did like I am now. I wrote notes about 33 players that summer and had some tweets about them as well. It took me forever to find my Giannis tweets because we were using his African last name back then but I found them.

This should be fun.

***Before we begin, please note that I am ignoring the 2018-2019 season since I’m supposed to be basing this on years 1-5.***

The top 10 picks

Best Calls

Lets start this thing off right.

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Otto Porter (#3 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 14.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2 apg, 1.5 stl. 44% from 3 (no awards) 

My 2013 thoughts: I recall Otto being a favorite of my boy Josh’s at the time. I initially didn’t like him but let him grow on me. I wasn’t sure if he was a 3 or 4 at the time and that tweener status is what held me back. I still said he should end up being a solid 3rd guy on a good team.

My current thoughts: I think I made a good call on Porter. He is currently in position to be the guy in Chicago, though that team isn’t expected to be good. It’ll be great to see if he can show some star potential. While he has yet to break 15 ppg on a season, he did average 17.5 per game after landing in Chicago last year.

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Nerlens Noel (#6 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 4.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1 spg. (30 games played/Dallas). 1st Team All-Rookie. Top 13 in Steals per game 14-15 (10th) and 15-16. Top 16 in Blocks per game 14-15 (7th) and 15-16. 

My 2013 thoughts: Overall, I was not as impressed by Noel as many were. I didn’t like his body mostly. He was a great defender for sure but I didn’t see any touch on offense. He also didn’t appear to do much as far as rebounding so, if you know me, you know I was not a fan of that. Overall, I said he was a guy you had to play as a shot blocking power forward at best.

My current thoughts: No matter how many hot dogs he ate, Noel never gained any real weight. He currently serves as Steven Adams’ backup which means he only played about 13 minutes per game. He was one of the most efficient backups last year but I don’t think anyone expects him to ever be a starter anywhere.

Ben McLemore (#7 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg. November 2013 Rookie of the month

My 2013 thoughts: Back in 2013 people were in love with McLemore but I was not. My assessment was that he could be a good spot up shooter/athlete type and I specifically compared him to Brandon Rush.

My current thoughts: I would like to apologize to the great Brandon Rush. No no, all jokes aside I was pretty much spot-on. Considering McLemore is 25 there’s still room for him to improve. I was definitely correct in him not being a start however.

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CJ McCollum (#10 Pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 21.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1 spg. 15-16 Most Improved player. #1 FT% in 15-16. Top 20 scorer in 15-16, 16-17, and 17-18. 

My 2013 thoughts: CJ was the first player I put a star beside with no caveats. What he did to Duke in the tournament likely put it over the top but I really liked his scoring ability and the fact that he was coming from a smaller school. He had that killer mentality and he came from adversity. I said that he looked like a: “more mature Monta Ellis.”

My current thoughts: CJ is one of the most fun guys to listen to and to watch. While the combination of he and Dame isn’t necessarily perfect for postseason success, we’d be lying if we said this past year’s run wasn’t electrifying. CJ would likely be an All-Star candidate if he wasn’t in the West and didn’t share a backcourt with another star guard.

Worst Calls

I wouldn’t be a man of my word if I didn’t call out my L’s as well.

 

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers

Victor Oladipo (#2 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 23 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.4 spg. 2-time Rookie of the month. All Rookie 1st team. 3 player of the week awards. 17-18 Most Improved Player. 2018 All-Star. 17-18 First team All-Defense. 17-18 All NBA 3rd team. 17-18 steals champ. 17-18 #9 in PPG. 

My 2013 thoughts: Look, I was back and forth on Oladipo. At one point during the NCAA tournament I joked that he was the next Jordan. I also tweeted that a board having him #6 was too low. Even on the day I was doing my scouting, I said that I may have slept on him but I still had reservations about his offensive game. Because of his often wild play I said that he reminded me of Tony Allen type player. I had him pegged as a great 6th man at best and a lockdown defender at worst. I did note his athleticism but thought that he was one of those guys that was too athletic for his own good.

My current thoughts: It took him a little while to find his way but when he did, he did so in a big way. He looked like that 6th man/defender type through his time in Orlando and the one year in OKC but Indy took a chance on him and it paid large dividends. He’s now the face of the franchise and should be an All-Star for years to come if he can stay healthy.

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Alex Len (#5 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 8.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.2 apg. Top 18 in Blocks per game 14-15 and 16-17. 

My 2013 thoughts: I really liked Len. He was the first player I put a star beside but I said that he had “Star potential.” I also said that he’d be a starter in 5 years. I liked his size and thought he was aggressive inside on offense. I also thought he had nice touch and should have a solid mid-range game. I added the caveat because I thought that he needed to be coached up… and then he ended up in Phoenix so there went that.

My current thoughts: Len has not looked like a starter for most of his career but has shown flashes. He will never be a star but could be that big body that every team still needs to be able to throw out there from time to time. He started shooting 3’s last year so we’ll see how that develops in what should be a high octane Atlanta offense soon.

The rest of the draft

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Michael Carter-Williams (#11 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.2 apg. 4-time rookie of the month. 1st team All-Rookie, Rookie of the year. 1 time Player of the week Nov 2013. Top 12 Assists per game 13-14 and 14-15. Top 15 Steals per game 13-14 (7th) and 14-15. 

My 2013 thoughts: I stopped short of calling MCW a star but said that he’d be a starter in this league. I thought he’d be the type of point guard that would run the offense and lock down the other team’s point guard. I didn’t think he would be able to score enough to be a star.

My current thoughts: MCW started off blazing hot. He looked to be well on his way. In year two he got traded to the Bucks after starting the year averaging 15, 7, and 6. It was a downward slide from there. He’s dealt with injuries and has struggled to find a home. He’s older than everyone else we’ve looked at thus far and thus should be entering his best years already. We’ll see if he can bounce back and be serviceable at any point.

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Shane Larkin (#18 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 4.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.8 apg. 2 Time Spanish ACB league player of the week 16-17. Spanish League Player of the month February 16-17. 

My 2013 thoughts: This is a fun one. The guy the Mavs ended up with because Mark Cuban wasn’t sold on Giannis. At the time of the draft I didn’t love Shane Larkin, and I also wanted Giannis, but I understood why the Mavs drafted him. It was a shortsighted move, one of many we made in the years post-title. I wrote that I thought he’d be a solid backup within 5 years.

My current thoughts: Larkin only spent 4 of his first 5 years after the draft in the NBA. Each one with a different team. He’s found success now in Europe but the likelihood of him coming back stateside and settling in with a team is slim. It could be worse.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo (#15 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 26.9 ppg, 10 rpg, 4.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.4 bpg. All-Rookie 2nd Team. 3-Time Player of the week. March 2017 Player of the Month. Most Improved Player 16-17. All Defensive 2nd Team 16-17. All-NBA 2nd team 16-17 and 17-18.  2 Time All-Star. 5th in Points per game 17-18. Top 16 Rebounds per game 16-17 and 17-18. 11th Steals per game 16-17. Top 10 Blocks per game 16-17 and 17-18. 

My 2013 thoughts: 

As I mentioned we were still using the African spelling of his name back then. Giannis was the first player I watched that year and got super excited about. I saw how raw he was but I also saw how hungry he was and his personality is what really won me over.

My current thoughts: I had two really big calls about him. On one hand I said that he would keep growing. He was listed at 6’9″ at the time and is now a smooth 7’0″ even (we’ll see for sure when the measurements come out.) I also said that he would need 3 years to develop. He made his first All-Star game in his 4th season and won Most Improved that year. He’s my favorite player now that Dirk has retired and the next thing for him to do is win a championship. I may never have a better call than this one.

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Tim Hardaway, Jr. (#24 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 17.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.1 spg. All Rookie First team.

My 2013 thoughts: Tim Hardaway had some scoring ability but there was not a lot else there. I thought he could be a good spark plug off the bench long term.

My current thoughts: Hardaway signed a huge deal and had his opportunity to be a key starter in New York and it didn’t go great. His scoring numbers look strong but his defensive struggles and lack of production anywhere else are why he was able to be thrown into the Porzingis deal. There are some in Dallas who are true believers but hopefully they’ll come to accept that Hardaway is best as a guy you put in off the bench to spark a run and yank as soon as he starts clanking shots.

Let me set the table for these last two.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert (#27 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: 13.5 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.3 bpg. Top 14 in rebounds 14-15, 15-16 (7th), 16-17 (4th.) Top 3 in Blocks per game 14-15, 15-16, and 16-17. Block champion 16-17.  2-time 1st team All-Defense. 2nd team All-NBA 16-17. Defensive Player of the Year 17-18

My 2013 thoughts: The first thing I fell in love with Gobert for was his length. You can’t teach length like that. He was raw, he had no post game, and he was skinny but his frame looked solid. I thought he’d fill out but would need time to do so. I liked his aggressiveness on the offensive glass and his rim protector instincts. He was another player I said had star potential. I thought he could become a top 5 center in the league and a defensive anchor.

My current thoughts: Gobert might have been my second best call ever. He and Giannis are now my top two favorite players because I was a fan when they were still raw foreign players that nobody knew. They’ll help fill the Dirk-sized hole in my heart. Rudy still hasn’t made an All-Star game but this year is as good a year as any.

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Jamaal Franklin (#41 pick)

2017-18 stats/accolades: Out of the NBA. 31.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 5.2 apg, 2.3 spg, 1.6 bpg. (In the Chinese CBA.) Asiabasket.com All Chinese CBA Honorable mention 2015 and 2016. 4-time Chinese CBA Player of the week 2017. Asiabasket.com player of the week 1 time in 2018. Asiabasket.com All Chinese 3rd-team 2017. 

 

My 2013 thoughts: Man look. Go find some Jamaal Franklin college highlights. He attacked the basket aggressively and was a tenacious defender. I thought he was a sleeper and just needed the right opportunity. I specifically, as you can see, compared him to Dwyane Wade.

My current thoughts: 24 games and 174 minutes in the NBA. Unfortunately he went to Memphis and it was not a good fit. He came over to play Summer League this year but he’s remaining in China. He’ll likely never get his redemption tour back to the states but he’s killing it in China. Nobody’s perfect.

Quick notes

There were 5 players I said had star potential in this draft. Len, McCollum, Giannis, Gobert, and Jamaal Franklin. 3/5 have become those stars, Giannis is arguably the best player in the league, and the other two never sniffed stardom.

Oladipo is the only player I didn’t think had star potential who became one and I had been high on him previously. Overall, 2013 was a good draft for me and is one of the drafts that keeps me going year-by-year in this game.

If there are any players not mentioned that you’re curious about let me know. There are 21 players I took notes on that weren’t included in this piece!

-Bibs

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