I think Embiid went in the right spot. Having Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker selected ahead of him is explainable. If anyone else was, it would seem foolish to me. It is also nice that he seems to have been taken by a team with a very specific plan in place. The Philadelphia 76ers are collecting assets for the future and don’t give two F’s whether they lose 75 games next year or not. They drafted Embiid, knowing he may miss the whole season, after drafting Nerlens Noel last year, knowing he would probably miss the whole season (which he did).
To top it all off, they then traded for Dario Saric later in round one, collected a future first and future second in the process, knowing Saric is under contract to play in Europe for TWO more years! Philadelphia just had two lottery picks in the 2014 draft, and it seems like they were selected for the 2017 76ers. But at least they have a plan.
That’s more than can be said for a number of these other franchises. Numerous teams that desperately needed outside shooting late in round one passed on Rodney Hood. Everyone passed on Cleanthony Early at least once as he fell into round two. Teams that needed bigs, like the Clips, drafted small. Teams that needed spot-up shooters, like Memphis, took driving guards. Teams that are the Toronto Raptors and may be one piece away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals took something named Bruno Caboclo who, according to international prospect expert Fran Fraschilla, is “two years away from being two years away.”
And the Miami Heat seemingly made themselves dead set on acquiring Shabazz Napier, so much so that they traded up to get him, based off a LeBron James tweet from a couple of months ago about liking Napier. How can you leave now LeBron? They drafted an undersized point guard for you to play with!
You managed to put into words the empty feeling of misunderstanding that washed over me as I digested the first round selections from last night’s NBA draft. I know the draft is infinitely younger than its ever been, draft picks are being made to appease current star players (LeBron or Chris Paul or Kobe), and not everyone knows what the heck they are doing. But why would you EVER pick a player outside the top ten that did not meet a current team need?
The 76ers ‘plan’ feels a bit misguided, but I have no choice but to agree. At least they have a plan. The majority of first round selections look aimless. I’m going to pick on the Los Angeles Clippers for a minute here. What the heck are you doing drafting a shooting guard? The team’s most obvious flaw and biggest weakness is the inability of its center to shoot free throws in crunch time. They’ve been unable to play DeAndre Jordan at the end of games for a couple of years now because teams would employ hack a ‘Shaq.’ He’s completely ineffective for this reason, one he’s been unable to correct. Maybe its just too obvious for them to attempt to improve in this area of weakness.
On a more fun note, have the Celtics and Lakers ever picked back to back in a draft? It’s definitely been quite some time and they picked sixth and seventh respectively last night. I don’t love either pick, but they are solid top ten selections.
The NBA Draft had some buzz this past week, but less than a day after round one there’s very little to debate. It was another top-heavy draft that has eyes towards future seasons that don’t include the upcoming 2014/2015 affair. Its feeling more and more like the MLB draft as players are picked, but won’t make an impression for at least a year.
Sure, there were rookies this past season that did quite well. But its the sophomore and junior seasons where players truly break out. And with red shirt freshman now in the mix, like Embiid, it’s no wonder NBA free agency is infinitely bigger than the draft. Have you decided yet LeBron which rookie you want to mentor?