Observations from the 2014 NBA Draft
The 2014 NBA Draft is now history.
Sixty players entered the league with great pomp and circumstance — from Cleveland’s selection of Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins first overall to the San Antonio Spurs closing out the festivities by picking Baylor power forward Cory Jefferson.
Here are some things I noticed during this year’s draft.
Canadian invasion – Is anybody else getting a little uneasy about this slow but definite Canadian takeover of the National Basketball Association? For the second straight year, a Canadian player was taken first overall. Last season, the Cavs took Anthony Bennett, a Toronto native, with the number-one pick. This year, it was Ontario’s Wiggins going to Cleveland first overall. Then at No. 8, the Sacramento Kings took Mississauga (love that word) native Nik Stauskas, and our own Phoenix Suns even ventured north of the border to nab Brampton, Ontario point guard Tyler Ennis.
Toronto native Dwight Powell of Stanford went in the second round to the Charlotte Hornets, 45th overall
Seriously, the NHL can’t even claim that their last two top overall picks are from Canada (although that could change Friday.)
I know basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian, so maybe this should be expected.
I wore what? – There are a lot of young men who were drafted Thursday night who will look back on the start of their pro careers in horror. Did you see what some of these guys were wearing?
Wiggins skipped up to meet commissioner Adam Silver wearing what our own Dave Burns described as a ‘Three Amigos’ ensemble. And when you compare what Wiggins rocked to what Lucky Day, Dusty Bottoms and Ned Nederlander sported when trying to topple El Guapo, you’ll see that’s a good comparison.
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) June 27, 2014
Stauskas was accused of stealing a suit from comedian Steve Harvey’s closet. Arizona Sports’ Jarrett Carlen, a bit of a fashionista himself, railed on Adreian Payne’s draft night look on Twitter.
Adreian Payne wearing something from the Willy Wonka collection #NBADraft
— Jarrett Carlen (@JarrettGC) June 27, 2014
Fashion changes all the time, but something tells me these looks won’t ever be remembered fondly.
All class – Commissioner Adam Silver paused the first round of the draft to introduce Baylor’s Isaiah Austin, who withdrew from the draft after being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which causes defects to the heart valves and the aorta. Austin would have been selected and likely in the first round, but Silver wouldn’t let the player’s health issues stop him from taking the stage on draft night.
It was an incredibly touching moment — and another move by Silver that shows even though he’s new to the job, he knows what he’s doing.
In fact, it was refreshing to watch a draft during which the commissioner wasn’t vociferously booed by the crowd in attendance. Just another sign that Silver’s approval rating is skyrocketing.
Adam silver is such a classy man! That's love right there. I'm emotional for him. Damn I love that
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 27, 2014
Happy Isaiah Austin was able to hear his name called at the NBA draft. Very cool to see.
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) June 27, 2014
What is Philly doing? – If I was a 76ers fan living in Philadelphia, right now would be about the time I’d start watching a lot more hockey, baseball and football.
The Sixers raised eyebrows when they selected Joel Embiid of Kansas with the third overall pick. Embiid just underwent foot surgery and will miss four to six months. They also engineered a deal with Orlando to acquire the draft rights Dario Saric, a European player who just signed a three-year deal to play professionally in Turkey.
On the heels of the 2012 free agent signing of the oft-injured Andrew Bynum, who never played a minute in a Philly uniform, and the 2013 draft night acquisition of Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, who didn’t play a minute as a rookie, the 76ers continue their trend of stockpiling assets that don’t actually do anything to improve the team. It’s gonna be another long year in the City of Brotherly Love for hoops fans.
Pac-12, Hoops powerhouse – In 2010, the Pac-12 produced one first-round pick — Washington’s Quincy Pondexter, who went to Oklahoma City at No. 26. It was a low point for the conference, without question.
The 2014 draft was a much different story for the ‘Conference of Champions’. The Pac-12 had six first-round picks (Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, UCLA’s Zach LaVine, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, Washington’s C.J. Wilcox and Stanford’s Josh Huestis) and three more second-round picks (Arizona’s Nick Johnson, Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie and Stanford’s Dwight Powell).
All in all it was a banner night for the conference, which had its best night since 2008 when 12 Pac-12 players were selected.