Top 5 Love/Hates: NBA Draft 2014

     The NBA Draft was a few days ago, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  Instead of doing a recap I decided to do something new and give my opinions on 5 things I loved and 5 things I hated from Thursday’s draft.

     LOVE: Isaiah Austin Drafted: It was shocking news when Baylor center Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with a disease that basically ended his professional basketball career.  Even if the news would’ve come a few weeks later he would’ve at least signed a contract in the NBA.  It was a classy move by commissioner Silver who I thing is doing a really great job as commissioner so far to have the NBA draft Austin.  Even if he never plays basketball again, Austin will always have that moment.

     HATE: Julius Randle: When the Kentucky big man was drafted with the seventh pick in the draft, he was asked whether or not he thought he deserved to be drafted higher.  Randle responded, “definitely”.  To me that’s a sign of a guy who has a little too big an ego for a guy entering the NBA on the bottom of the totem pole.  An appropriate answer for me would be something like, “maybe, but I’m just happy to get a chance to play in this league”.

     LOVE: The Bulls’ McDermott Trade: Denver took Doug McDermott of Creighton with the 11th pick in the draft, but then the Bulls traded their 16th and 19th picks for McDermott.  The Bulls have struggled with offense, but they will hope to fix that with Derrick Rose and McDermott, the NCAA’s 5th leading scorer all-time.  Now the Bulls could have a starting five that looks like Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, McDermott, Carmelo Anthony, and Joakim Noah.  Best of all is they would avoid being called a manufactured team since Carmelo would be the only one not to start his career in Chicago.

     HATE:  International Players with Overseas Contracts:  These players are always big no-nos for me.  They aren’t playing with NBA competition, they might never come over, and even if they do the NBA is a big transition and they’ll probably need more time to adjust.  I think these players are traps and statistics have proven that they don’t perform as good as players who attended a U.S. college.

     LOVE: Joel Embiid’s TV:  The Cameroonian big man created a stir when cameras of him after he was drafted showed a blank, bored expression on his face.  This was shocking and confused everyone at the time.  However, it was revealed that he was watching the broadcast on a delay, so he celebrated when his TV showed him getting drafted.  It was a funny moment for everyone.

     HATE: The Magic’s Trade for Elfrid Payton:  First of all, until two days before draft night I hadn’t even heard of Elfrid Payton.  All of a sudden he climbed the draft boards, and the Sixers took him 10th.  Later, the Magic traded their 12th pick (Dario Saric), their 2015 2nd round pick, and a potential 1st round pick in 2017.  They took a bargain on a mystery player who went up against bad competition in college and racked up the most turnovers in the NCAA last year.  He is a good defender and average 19 points a game last year, but still, the fact that the Sixers essentially got two first round picks for one and another additional pick means the Magic were ripped off.

     LOVE:  The “International” League:  21 of the 60 players drafted were originally from a country that isn’t the U.S.  Four of these players went in the top 10 in Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, and Nik Stauskas.  I love seeing guys from around the world play the game as they have their own distinct play styles and abilities.  It can only be good for the league to get this worldwide exposure.

     HATE:  The Dante Exum Commercials:  I believe four new commercials aired during the draft.  Four extremely simple, dumb, and poorly acted spots revolving around Australian hoops sensation Dante Exum.  I know the kid’s got immense talent, but this was a little overboard.  Maybe these thirty second slots wouldn’t’ve bothered me if any one of the four qualified as a good ad.

     LOVE:  Bill Simmons:  After the Celtics drafted James Young, analyst Bill Simmons was caught on camera celebrating the pick.  He quickly noticed he was being filmed and abruptly stopped, began to laugh, and said that he’d be on Youtube.  Sure enough he was.  Most of the time we see these personalities as all-knowing, perfect, and unbiased personalities, so it’s great once in a while to see someone really rooting for their own team.

     HATE:  “Works in Progress”:  That is a very dangerous term.  “Works in progress” aren’t good now, and might still be two years away from being good two years from now.  (That was a draft reference, props if you caught it).  Yes, they are usually great athletes, physical specimen, and have high ceilings, but there’s always a risk that they will be huge busts, so I like to stay away from these players if at all possible.

     I hope you enjoyed what I think was a fun, less serious recap of the draft.  In a few months we’ll get to see which of the players who are new to the league are here to stay and become household names, and which guys won’t be making a living out of basketball for very long.

Thanks for reading,
Connor

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