Here’s a short video I put together with clips of my experience at the 2013 NBA Draft. This was the first I’ve ever attended, and I gotta say, it was SO much fun. I got good footage considering I filmed the entire thing on my iPhone (Barclays didn’t allow my Flip cam), and even sat down with fellow fans to get their thoughts on who they’d want their teams to draft.
It’s funny; when I first arrived, the first thing I noticed was the ridiculously wide assortment of jerseys in the crowd. Being born and raised in New York, the only fans I’ve come in contact with are Knicks fans, (recently) Nets fans, Laker fans, and fans of whatever team LeBron is on at the moment. But here there were Blazer fans, Mavs fans, Sixers fans, Cavs fans, Pistons fans; I even ran into a faithful Bobcats fan. I actually compared it to the UN Peace Summit in the way it brings fans of the NBA together. As much as we hate each-other when the ball is in play, at the end of the day we’re all fans of the game, and today was a great reminder.
Going into last Thursday, many expected C.J. Leslie to be among the select few to hear their name called on draft night. The wiry combo forward’s basketball skill was still deemed raw by NBA scouts after a disappointing year for NC State, but Leslie’s physical tools were impossible to ignore. Besides, after supposedly receiving a promise from a team in the second round, he seemed a lock to be chosen. Either way, when Latvia’s Janis Timma came off the board to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th and final pick to conclude the event, Leslie found himself as a man without a team; probably near a silent phone and pondering life as an undrafted rookie in the NBA.
Prior to draft night, the Knicks, who selected Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick, were reportedly looking into making a deal for a second round pick. In a draft where talents such as Jeff Withey, Nate Wolters, and Tony Mitchell slid out of the first round, a second rounder would have been percious, but GM Glen Grunwald couldn’t get anyone to bite. Still in need of help at the forward position, Grunwald extended his hand to Leslie, signing him to the team and adding him to this year’s Summer League roster.
At 6-9, 209 pounds, the first thing you notice about Leslie is his athleticism. His 7′ 2.25″ wingspan is an awesome tool, and in combination with his explosive leaping ability, recorded a 12′ 1″ max reach vertical; the highest of any participant in 2013 Pre-Draft Combine. To put that in perspective, he can essentially reach the space in-between the white rectangle behind the rim and the top of the backboard. He’s also remarkably fast, as he completed the Combine agility drill in 10.19 seconds, also the best of the event. He even finished second in the three-quarter sprint with a time of 3.10 seconds, just behind Shane Larkin’s 3.08 seconds. More
Today’s featured draft profile will be on German point guard, Dennis Schroeder. A literal unknown several months ago, Schroeder began soaring up draft boards after a strong performance in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit in April, leading the World Team to a decisive 112-98 victory over the U.S. Junior Select Team. Schroeder took on a leadership role for a young World Team roster, contributing 18 points, 6 assists, and 2 rebounds to grab the attention of the numerous NBA scouts in attendance. Fast and intelligent, Schroeder’s talent is already remarkable, and at the young age of 19, his potential for growth has many labeling him as not just one of the best international point guards of this year’s draft, but one of the best available period.
Birthday: 9/15/93 – Projected NBA Position: Point Guard – Class: International – Ht: 6-2 – Wt: 168 – Team: New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig – Hometown: Braunschweig, Germany
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of Cal’s 3-point specialist, Allen Crabbe. Arguably the best pure shooter in this year’s class, the 2013 PAC-12 Player of The Year is best known for his seemingly unlimited range and easy-going attitude on the court. At 6’6 with good length, he has the frame of a prototypical shooting guard, and possesses a solid skill-set that could fill a need on just about any team in the NBA. Labeled as a late first round pick when he initially declared, it appears that an impressive performance at the pre-draft combine has upped Crabbe’s value, as some mocks have him going in the teens. The Knicks will be bringing in another group of possible picks for workouts on Monday, and Crabbe will be one of the prospects in attendance.
Birthday: 4/4/92 – Projected NBA Position: Shooting Guard – Class: Junior – Ht: 6-6 – Wt: 197 – Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the South Dakota State University’s floor general, Nate Wolters. A skilled scorer and passer with a solid understanding of the game, at 6’4, Wolters appears to have all tools necessary to run the point guard position off the bench for an NBA team. But questions regarding his athleticism and the quality of competition he faced in his four years in The Summit League have hindered his stock. He is currently pegged as an early second rounder in most mock drafts, but I believe there is a possibility of him sneaking into the tail-end of the first.
Birthday: 5/15/91 – Projected NBA Position: Point Guard – Class: Senior – Ht: 6-5 – Wt: 196 – Hometown: St. Cloud, MN
Today’s featured draft profile will be on European phenom, Dario Saric. The 19-year-old forward is believed by many to be the best international player available in this year’s draft, and his uncanny passing ability in combination with his size has led to his fans labeling him as “The European Magic Johnson”. While I wouldn’t go that far, it isn’t hard to look at Saric and notice the immense potential he possesses when he’s on the court. After winning the gold medal with Croatia in the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, where Saric was unanimously voted tournament MVP by averaging 25.6 points per game (1st) and 10.1 rebounds per game (2nd), he was pegged as a lottery pick by many scouts, but his stock has begun to sink due to his sub-par performances this year with his new club, and there is a possibility he makes it into the late 1st round.
Birthday: 4/8/94 -Projected NBA Position(s): Small Forward/Power Forward – Class: International – Ht: 6-10 – Wt: 225 – Team: Cibona Zagreb – Hometown: Sibenik, Croatia
Today’s featured draft profile will be on University of North Carolina swingman, Reggie Bullock. I love hard-working, 100% effort guys, and if you were to study Bullock’s game as I’ve been doing over the past few days, you’d see just that. Bullock leaves it on the court every night and finds ways besides scoring to contribute to the win. A scrappy defender and dependable 3-point shooter, I’d go as far to say that Bullock reminds me of another former Tarheel: Danny Green.
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of North Texas wing, Tony Mitchell. A player with the ability to operate at small forward or power forward, Mitchell is an outstanding athlete, possessing all the physical tools to make an impact at the pro-level. Viewed as a potential lottery pick after his standout freshman year at North Texas, a disappointing sophomore campaign marred with character concerns caused his stock to dive, as many scouts are now placing Mitchell in the 20′s of the first round. The Knicks may be looking at a bargain should Mitchell slide to #24.
Today’s featured draft profile will be on the University of New Mexico’s mellow sharpshooter, Tony Snell. Nicknamed the “Silent Assassin” by the Lobos faithful, Snell prefers to let his game do the talking, enforcing that reputation with his impressive showing last season against George Mason where he ignited for 27 points on only 12 shots; including the game winning 3-pointer with 01.2 left in the game. What did Snell do after? Get right back on defense.
Today’s featured profile will be on Michigan shooting guard, Tim Hardaway Jr. Yes, THAT Hardaway. The son of the UTEP alum, who gave the Knicks fits in the 90′s, as a member of the Miami Heat, with his scoring ability and signature crossover, has declared for the draft after a strong Junior year. One of my top 5 players at the shooting guard position in this year’s draft, Hardaway has matured from a wiry spot-up shooter at Miami Palmetto Senior High School into one of the most polished and NBA-ready prospects available.