NBA Draft Notes: Pistons Makes Bold Move Bypassing Local Hero Trey Burke for KCP
In Detroit, Bob Wojnowski writes it is "wise at times to disregard public clamor," but the Pistons not selecting Michigan G Trey Burke with the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft "looks crazy and amazingly risky." The team instead selected Georgia G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars "didn't make a move to please or appease Thursday night." Dumars may have "lost some luster in the final year of his contract, but he doesn't appear to have lost power under" Owner Tom Gores. He "made the pick he wanted to fit his team, not the pick fans may have craved" (DETROIT NEWS, 6/28). Also in Detroit, Drew Sharp writes the "easy decision" would have been Burke. He would "sell tickets, lessening the cricket chirping heard on far too many nights at the Palace last season." Fans would have patted Dumars "on the back for taking whom they wanted." But the Pistons "wouldn't have been any better" for it (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 6/28).
ON THE RIGHT TRACK: In New Jersey, Jordan Raanan writes the 76ers in one night "went from being a laughingstock to becoming relevant and respected, even though the expectation is that they're going to lose a lot of games this upcoming season." They made "bold moves that better positioned them for the future." The team traded G Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for the rights to Kentucky C Nerlens Noel and a '14 first-round pick. The 76ers "were going to be bad with Holiday," and now they are "just going to be a tad bit worse." But at this point, their record in '13-14 "is irrelevant." The team is rebuilding, and what "better to restock the cupboard than to trade our best asset when his value is at its highest?" (NJ.com, 6/28). ESPN's Bill Simmons said the 76ers were his "big winner" from the Draft, as they got Noel and a draft pick "that's pretty lightly protected from New Orleans next year" ("2013 NBA Draft, ESPN, 6/27).
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: In Sacramento, Joe Davidson writes the Kings' Draft party inside Sleep Train Arena was "a stark contrast to the morbid feeling during the April 17 season finale" against the Clippers. This setting featured "fans decked in Kings garb, munching popcorn, cheering every time NBA Commissioner David Stern announced a pick." They "erupted" when the Kings selected Kansas G Ben McLemore with the No. 7 pick, despite the fact that "many of the estimated 2,300 on hand" were unfamiliar with McLemore. The "loudest ovation" Thursday night was for new Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/28).
FLIPPING OUT: In St. Paul, Tom Powers writes under the header, "At First Whiff, Flip Saunders' Draft Debut Stinks." As part of a trade, the T'Wolves had the Jazz select UCLA F Shabazz Muhammad with the No. 14 pick, and Powers writes this is a selection that will "be roundly panned." Even if he "had a first-class temperament and a perfect attitude, which he reportedly doesn't, Muhammad would remain a limited player -- one dimensional, not particularly athletic, poorly suited to a team game." Saunders later Thursday evening said, "It's not a popular pick." Powers writes this was "supposed to be a fresh start" and Saunders was "going to lift the Timberwolves out of their draft malaise." But "nothing good happened" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/28).