Various experts in the NBA realm have been saying, (and other people have been parroting the notion) this 2013 NBA draft is weak. That may be true if we define what they mean by weak. It certainly doesn’t mean that these players won’t have long careers in the league; it seems to mean there isn’t superstar caliber talent in the 2013 NBA draft.
This draft certainly isn’t the 2003 draft that produced multiple MVPs, All-Star appearances and NBA championships between them in Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. That draft class also contained NBA starters like Kirk Hinrich, Luke Ridnour, David West, Kendrick Perkins, and role players like Boris Diaw, Chris Kaman, Nick Collison, Carlos Delfino, and Leandro Barbosa.
It seems this year’s draft is more like the 2006 draft class that had Andrea Bargnani going number one overall with other notables being LeMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, and Rajon Rondo. That’s because the number one pick isn’t all that great, there are some All-Stars, but no MVP’s.
It’s not that this year’s group is not talented, but before we see them at the professional level we just don’t know which ones (if any) are going to pop into super-stardom It seems like a couple players in this draft class may become All-Stars and many will be starters and role players on NBA teams for the next decade. What “weak” may mean concerning this draft class is the inability of a player to immediately change the fortunes of a franchise.
Lebron James was able to do that. Before he arrived, Cleveland had a very young team and the best player might have been a rookie Carlos Boozer. (Can you imagine a young Boozer yelling “and one!”)? That season they went 17-65. The following season, JUST adding a rookie Lebron and some other fringe pieces, they went 35-47; adding 18 wins with one rookie, which is unheard of in the league. In 2004-05 they got over .500, finishing with 42-40 record, and then the next year they went 50-32. All of this was with a mediocre surrounding cast. Eventually, they got to the Finals in 2007, but got swept by the San Antonio Spurs. You can only do so much with less than excellent help, which paved the way for “The Decision” in the summer of 2010.
So assuming this year’s draft class doesn’t have any difference-makers, why are Suns fans excited about their team’s draft position? Phoenix has an 11.9 percent chance at winning the number one pick this off-season, and is all-but-assured of getting a top-five pick. They are OK with getting a role player this year, because this is the perfect time to rebuild.
Next year’s draft is stuffed full of superstars including Canadian Andrew Wiggins, who announced he will play his freshman year of college at Kansas, before being the consensus number one pick in 2014. This summer, the Suns will probably be happy getting: Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, Nerlens Noel, or Anthony Bennett and ridding their roster of almost all veterans to do this rebuild right. That would give them a decent shot at a horrible season in 2013-14 and almost guarantee getting Wiggins next summer. That would give them a solid shot at a very short rebuilding period.
That is why the May 21st Draft lottery is almost an afterthought to Suns management, who in all likelihood have their eyes set on the horizon and the summer of 2014.