Congratulations to UNLV’s Anthony Bennett for Being No. 1 NBA Draft Pick!
This story from espn.com
NEW YORK — Anthony Bennett became the first Canadian to be the No. 1 pick and Nerlens Noel tumbled out of the top five and right into a trade Thursday night, a surprising start to an unsettled 2013 NBA draft.
Considered one of the favorites to be taken first, Noel instead fell to No. 6, where the New Orleans Pelicans took him and then dealt his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package headlined by All-Star guard Jrue Holiday, league sources told ESPN.com.
The Cleveland Cavaliers started things by passing on centers Noel and Alex Len, who went to Phoenix at No. 5, in favor of the UNLV freshman forward who has starred for Canada’s junior national teams and was the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year.
There was suspense right until the end, either because the Cavs were unsure who they wanted or were trying to trade the pick. Most predictions had them taking one of the big men, with Noel largely considered the favorite for the No. 1 choice even after a torn ACL that ended his lone season at Kentucky in February.
David Stern, booed heavily in his final draft as commissioner, added to the surprise of the moment by pausing slightly before announcing the Cavs’ pick, their first at No. 1 since taking All-Star Kyrie Irving in 2011.
“I’m just as surprised as anyone else,” Bennett said.
Ten years after the Cavaliers selected LeBron James to start a draft that would include his future NBA championship teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the top five, this one lacked star power and perhaps even the promise of stardom.
Bennett, Noel and Len are all coming off injuries and couldn’t even work out for teams, but the Cavs decided Bennett’s shoulder surgery wasn’t enough cause for concern.
Len walked up to meet Stern and collect his orange Suns hat, then sat down near the stage to put on the walking boot he needs for the stress fracture of his left ankle that was discovered after Maryland’s season.
Noel finally went to New Orleans with the next pick. He didn’t seem upset at his fall down the draft board, hugging his mother and shaking hands with Wildcats coach John Calipari.
Kansas guard Ben McLemore, another player who was considered a potential top-three pick, also dropped, going seventh to Sacramento.
Headed by a lackluster class, the draft promised confusion and second-guessing, with no consensus No. 1 pick and little agreement among the order of the top five.
The guys coming into the league were glad for the attention they did finally get once their names were called.
“It’s like a weight vest you took off after running five miles,” Oladipo said. “It’s relaxing, man. But at the same time, you know it’s just getting started.”
Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum rounded out the top 10 by going to Portland.
Stern, retiring in February, seemed to play up the boos, which turned to cheers after every pick, fans perhaps as puzzled as some of the players at the names they were hearing.
“I was just kidding my agent because he didn’t bail me out,” Zeller said. “He didn’t tell me. I didn’t know until David Stern announced it. It’s a crazy process not knowing, but I’m definitely excited that I ended up with the Bobcats.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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