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2013 NBA Draft Re-grade: Western Conference

by Josh Mullenix | @TheJMULL_

The 2013 NBA Draft covers all ends of the spectrum. Anthony Bennett was taken No. 1 overall and is easily the worst first overall pick of the last 10 drafts. On the other hand, Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted 15th and is now one of the three best players in the NBA.

The Greek Freak, CJ McCollum and Victor Oladipo headline this draft with Rudy Gobert close behind, but the talent in this draft quickly falls off to the tune of Alex Len and Ben McLemore both going in the top seven of this draft.

As the 110 Sports NBA Draft re-grade series rolls on, it’s time to critique the Western Conference selections in the 2013 NBA Draft. 

Phoenix Suns

Pick (Pick No.): Alex Len (No. 5), Nemanja Nedovic (No. 30), Alex Oriakhi (No. 57)

On July 11, 2012, the Suns traded Steve Nash to the Lakers for a package of picks, two of them coming in the 2013 draft. They did absolutely nothing with them. Nedovic and Orakhi, the personification of those picks, combined for 24 games and 142 minutes of NBA basketball. The best way to slow down a rebuild? Getting nothing out of a pair of picks for your all-star point guard.

Len, unfortunately, wasn’t what the Suns were hoping to get out of their top five pick. The 7-foot center out of Maryland has averaged double figures just once in his NBA career and never more than seven rebounds. To his credit, he has tried to work a 3-point shot into his game, but the NBA, for the most part, has left Len’s skillset in the past. Ultimately, a very disappointing draft for Phoenix.

Grade: D+ | Len was just not the right pick at No. 5 and the other two picks didn’t exactly make up for that mistake. 

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New Orleans Hornets

Picks: Nerlens Noel (No. 6)

Noel is next in the group of players that didn’t live up to their pick in the draft. Since being drafted, Noel has played more than 60 games three times and averaged double figures just once during the 2015-16 season. The pick itself wasn’t great, but the Pelicans then quickly traded him to the 76ers in a trade that sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. Holiday has been far better than Noel since the trade and was clearly the right move. 

Grade: C+ | This is a weird situation where New Orleans clearly didn’t pick the right guy at No. 6 but turned him into a player who has been very productive for the franchise over the last half decade. 

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Sacramento Kings

Picks: Ben McLemore (No. 7), Ray McCallum (No. 36)

McLemore’s ability to stay on an NBA roster despite being almost useless is really remarkable. Standing at 6’3, 195 lbs, McLemore looks like an NBA player but has failed to prove he can be reliable at this level. After averaging 12.1 points per game in his second season, he’s hovered around eight points on 41% shooting. The consensus all-american at Kansas has not turned into much of anything in the NBA, coming in at 14th in both points and minutes played out of this draft class. 

McCallum had a short NBA career, playing in just 154 games over three seasons. He’s certainly not the biggest letdown of this draft, and compared to other 35th picks of this decade, he had an average career. 

Grade: D+ | McLemore might be the worst No. 7 pick of the decade. Ultimately, he’s a low-efficiency bench player who has very little to offer on either end of the floor. 

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Minnesota Timberwolves

Picks: Trey Burke (No. 9), Andre Roberson (No. 26), Lorenzo Brown (No. 52), Bojan Dubljevic (No. 59)

All things considered, Burke, the 2012-13 AP Player of the Year, has turned out to be a respectable bench player in the NBA. Utah traded up to get him on draft night moving from the No. 14 pick to the ninth. In return, Minnesota got Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad. Muhammad had some solid years out of the gate in Minnesota, but was out of the league by the end of the 2017-18 season. Roberson was traded to Golden State and eventually made his way to Oklahoma City where he was a big part of that team until a knee injury in 2018 stopped him in his tracks and still affects him to this day.

The first round was productive for Minnesota and they even drafted Brown 52nd who went on to play in five different NBA seasons and got a ring with Toronto in 2018-19. Dublijevic, like most No. 59 picks, never saw an NBA floor. 

Grade: B- | The picks are better than a B-, but the moves on draft night left them with less impactful players, thus dropping the grade a little bit. 

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Portland Trail Blazers

Picks: CJ McCollum (No. 10), Jeff Withey (No. 39), Grant Jerrett (No. 40), Marko Todorovic (No. 45)

Draft night in 2013 was action packed in Portland. But the only thing that really matters still in 2020 is that Portland drafted McCollum. They didn’t know it at the time, but they were drafting the second half of their backcourt that would still be playing together seven years later. McCollum is second in points by a wide margin, second in points per game and fifth in assists. If this class was re-drafted, McCollum would go third at the absolute worst and there is no doubt about it. Though he’s never made an all-star team, he has defined Portland’s backcourt along with Damian Lillard since he arrived in Oregon. 

Grade: A+ | Drafting a top three player in the draft that would help define your franchise for the remainder of the decade adds up to an A+ no matter how you look at it. 

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Oklahoma City Thunder

Picks: Steven Adams (No. 12), Archie Goodwin (No. 29), Alex Abrines (No. 32)

With the 12th pick, Oklahoma City drafted their center for the rest of the decade who is eighth in points and third in rebounds in this draft class. Adams is also top four in games and minutes played having played less than 70 games every year of his career up until 2019-20, where there haven’t yet been 70 games played. He’s a workhorse who defined the Thunder interior during a time when the Thunder were consistently a top four team in the Western Conference.

Goodwin and Abrines both had brief stints in the NBA but neither played more than 175 games, finishing 32nd and 33rd in that category in this draft class. 

Grade: A- | Adams alone is an A, but drafting two other players in the top 32 that combined for just seven seasons total drops them down ever so slightly. 

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Dallas Mavericks

Picks: Kelly Olynyk (No. 13), Mike Muscala (No. 44)

Neither player technically drafted by the Mavericks actually played in Dallas. Boston traded up to draft Olynyk at No. 13 and Muscala began his career in Atlanta in return for Shane Larkin. Olynyk and Muscala have both played every season since being drafted, something that can’t be said about the players Dallas actually walked away with on draft night.

Grade: C | The appropriate grade feels like it should be “incomplete” but the team that traded away to solid NBA players can’t get higher than a C.

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Utah Jazz

Picks: Shabazz Muhammad (No. 14), Gorgui Dieng (No. 21), Erick Green (No. 46)

The Jazz traded the No. 14 and No. 21 picks to move up to No. 9 where they drafted Trey Burke. The Michigan product got out of the gates fastest, but Dieng has had the best body of work in the NBA and it wasn’t the right decision with hindsight being 20/20. Green played 52 games over two seasons, but that’s to be expected from most players drafted 46th overall.

The most important thing to happen on draft night was Utah trading for Rudy Gobert and only having to part ways with Green and some cash. Gobert is an elite defensive big in 2020 and would easily go in the top five if this draft were re-done.

Grade: A | The sum of Muhammad and Dieng is definitely greater than the value of Burke. However, the complete opposite is true when comparing Gobert and Green. 

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Los Angeles Clippers

Picks: Reggie Bullock (No. 25) 

Though he’s never played more than 63 games in a season, Bullock, by all accounts, has the value of the 25th pick in this draft class in points, rebounds and assists. He’s played for five different NBA teams, never for a particularly good one, and has averaged 6.9 points for his career.

Grade: B | Bullock is not inspiring, but an average value for the spot in which he was drafted.

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Denver Nuggets

Picks: Rudy Gobert (No. 27)

Perhaps no one is more upset by what could have been on draft night in 2013 than the Nuggets. Gobert would be drafted in the top five if this class were reselected but Denver gave him up for Erick Green and some cash. That’s tough. Nowadays, it’s not a big deal, considering what Nikola Jokic has turned into, but it’s one of the bigger “oofs” of the 2013 draft.

Grade: C | Drafting Gobert at 27th is an A+. Getting rid of him? Not so much.

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San Antonio Spurs

Picks: Livio Jean-Charles (No. 28), Deshaun Thomas (No. 58)

Oh, no. Jean-Charles and Thomas, the standout at Ohio State, played a grand total of zero minutes in zero games and tallied zero points, rebounds and assists combined. In other words, the Spurs drafted two players in 2013 and neither of them saw an NBA floor. That’s not uncommon for a player drafted as low at 58th, but missing that badly with a first round pick is rare.

Grade: F | I’m not defending this anymore.

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Houston Rockets

Picks: Isaiah Canaan (No. 34)

Canaan played for six NBA teams over six seasons, but wasn’t in the league in 2019-20. Statistically speaking, he’s slightly better than the 34th best player out of this class, but that’s not exactly saying much. 

Grade: B- | Not an awful player, not a good player. A B- isn’t an awful grade, but it’s not a good one. 

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Memphis Grizzlies

Picks: Jamaal Franklin (No. 41), Joffrey Lauvergne (No. 55), Janis Timma (No. 60)

The Grizzlies struggled with making good selections with high draft picks under Chris Wallace. It’s no surprise they didn’t find impactful talent with mid to late second round picks. These three players played a combined total of six seasons and Lauvergne played 184 more games than Franklin, who was picked 14 spots higher. The most important thing to happen on the Grizzlies on draft night in 2013 was the hiring of Dave Joerger as head coach.

Grade: C+ | Memphis had just gone to the Western Conference Finals so the swings and misses in this draft aren’t nearly as big of a deal as some other years.

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Los Angeles Lakers

Picks: Ryan Kelly (No. 48)

Kelly’s best two seasons were his first two. He averaged eight points in his rookie season along with 3.7 boards. However, his inability to guard multiple positions and lack of athleticism kept him from sticking around for too long. He’s currently playing for the Sun Rockers in Japan. While some 48th picks later in the decade might surpass him eventually, Kelly is currently the most productive 48th pick of the last decade.

Grade: B | The 48th pick is a little like a shot in the dark. The Lakers’ shot was a little more accurate than most this decade.

Photo by: All-Pro Reels / Flickr

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