Brooklyn, NY – The Cleveland Cavaliers made UNLV forward Anthony Bennett with the top overall pick in a 2013 NBA Draft that had its share of shocking moments.
The 6-foot-7 Bennett, the highest drafted Canadian ever, averaged a team- leading 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while being named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year last season.
Victor Oladipo, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Indiana, was taken by Orlando at No. 2. The Washington Wizards chose a hometown product in Georgetown small forward Otto Porter Jr. at No. 3, while Indiana forward Cody Zeller was chosen fourth by Charlotte. Maryland center Alex Len went at No. 5 to the Phoenix Suns.
The selection of Bennett comes as a bit of a shock, as Kentucky's Nerlens Noel was considered the front-runner to be No. 1 pick when the draft began Thursday night at the Barclays Center. Instead, Noel was taken at No. 6 by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Reports indicate that Noel will be on the move to Philadelphia, however, in exchange for All-Star guard Jrue Holiday. The Sixers will reportedly get a 2014 first-round pick while giving the No. 42 overall choice in this draft to New Orleans. The 42nd pick was Baylor guard Pierre Jackson.
Bennett, who was born in Toronto, is the second UNLV player to be chosen No. 1, with the Charlotte Hornets taking Larry Johnson first overall in 1991. His weight reportedly ballooned to 261 pounds due to a shoulder injury.
"I'm just as surprised as everybody else," Bennett said. "I didn't really have any idea who's going No. 1 or who was going No. 2. I heard everything was up for grabs. But I'm just real happy, glad that I have this opportunity."
This is the second time in three years the Cavs have had the top pick. In 2011 they took Duke's Kyrie Irving, who became the NBA's Rookie of the Year.
Bennett will try to help the Cavaliers get back to their winning ways for the first time since LeBron James left the franchise and went to the Miami Heat following the 2010 season. The Cavs were a playoff team for six straight years with James, but have missed the postseason the last three.
Last season, the Cavs went 24-58 and fired head coach Byron Scott, then hired back Mike Brown, who previously served as the team's head coach from 2005-10.
Oladipo, who has great defensive skills, is also an above-average 3-point shooter, as evidenced by his 44.1 percent clip from beyond the arc in his junior season. That's a huge improvement from the 20.8 percent mark during his sophomore year.
The Magic finished with the worst record in the NBA at 20-62 one year after trading Dwight Howard.
"I'm really looking forward to it. They're in a rebuilding process," Oladipo said of the Magic. "I'm just glad they chose me so I could be a part of that. In Indiana we had a huge rebuilding process, so I know what it takes."
The 6-foot-9 Porter left the Hoyas after his sophomore year. He was the Big East Conference Player of the Year last season after averaging 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 42.2 percent from 3-point range.
"I feel like I can contribute on the defensive side immediately, being that next guy to rotate around, that next guy to defend and get rebounds to lead to our offense and open up the court," said Porter, who will get a chance to play with 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick John Wall.
Zeller joins his brother, former North Carolina standout and current Cleveland Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller, in the NBA. Another brother, Luke, played part of last season for the Phoenix Suns.
Cody Zeller left Indiana after his sophomore season. He earned a spot on the 2013 All-Big Ten first team after posting 17.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per tilt on 53.6 percent shooting from the floor.
"It's one of my top choices, just because it's a young group of guys with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist especially," Cody Zeller said of his new teammates. "Guys with good motors that play the right way. They get up and run."
The 7-foot-1 Len, a native of Ukraine, placed second on the Terrapins last season in scoring at 11.9 points per game and was fifth in the ACC in rebounding (7.8 rpg). He started half of the 22 games in which he appeared as a freshman, shooting 55.3 percent from the field.
The Sixers are taking a big chance in dealing Holiday for the 6-foot-10 Noel, whose only season at Kentucky was cut short by a torn ACL in his left knee. He played 24 games before suffering the injury in February against Florida.
Noel had surgery a month later, once swelling subsided, but his recovery was expected to take between 6-8 months.
The 19-year-old averaged 10.5 points for the Wildcats and led the SEC in rebounding at 9.5 per game while topping the nation in blocked shots at 4.4 per outing.
"I definitely feel that's part of my game where I can be able to contribute right away," Noel said of his defense. "I mean, just being a good interior defender and definitely bringing my offensive part of my game along. I think I'll be able to make an instant impact."
Kansas guard Ben McLemore went at No. 7 to the Sacramento Kings. Detroit chose Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope eighth, Michigan point guard Trey Burke went next to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lehigh shooting guard C.J. McCollum was taken by Portland at No. 10.
Burke was then traded to Utah for the Jazz's 14th and 21st overall picks. The Jazz took UCLA guard Shabazz Muhammad at No. 14 and Louisville center Gorgui Dieng 21st.
The 6-foot-5 McLemore led the Jayhawks in scoring at 15.9 points and also had 5.2 rebounds per game as a freshman last season. He shot 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Pope was named the 2013 SEC Player of the Year by the coaches after posting 18 points per game to go with 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals.
Burke swept the major National Player of the Year awards as a sophomore after leading Michigan to the NCAA championship game.
McCollum missed the bulk of the 2013 season after breaking his left foot in early January. He still averaged 23.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in 12 outings this past season.
Philadelphia took Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams with the 11th pick. Oklahoma City grabbed Pittsburgh center Steven Adams at No. 12.
Dallas got Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk at 13th, but he was traded to Boston for three draft picks. That included the 16th overall selection on Thursday night, which was 7-foot Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira. The Mavs also got a pair of future second-round selections.
The Mavericks moved Nogueira to Atlanta in exchange for the Hawks' pick at No. 18, which turned out to be Miami-Florida point guard Shane Larkin, the son of Baseball Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin.
Olynyk goes to a Celtics team that has reportedly agreed to trade two of its biggest stars in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the draft host Brooklyn Nets along with veteran guard Jason Terry. ESPN reports that Garnett will waive his no-trade clause to allow the deal, which involves the Nets shipping several players along with three future first-round picks to Boston, to take place once trades can become official on July 10.
Giannis Adetokunbo, a forward from Greece, was taken 15th by Milwaukee, with Atlanta selecting German guard Dennis Schroeder at No. 17. Cleveland grabbed Russian forward Sergey Karasev with the 19th pick and the Chicago Bulls drafted New Mexico guard Tony Snell at No. 20.
Duke center Mason Plumlee was selected 22nd by the Nets to play under new head coach Jason Kidd.
Arizona forward Solomon Hill went to the Pacers at No. 23, followed by the Knicks taking Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr., the Clippers selecting North Carolina forward Reggie Bullock and Oklahoma City grabbing Colorado forward Andre Roberson in a trade with Minnesota and Golden State. French center Rudy Gobert went to Denver at No. 27, but was dealt to Utah for the 46th pick (Erick Green) and cash.
French forward Livio Jean-Charles was taken by San Antonio in the 28th spot. Golden State got Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin in the second-to-last pick of the opening round.
This marked the 30th and last time David Stern announcing the top overall pick. He will step down as commissioner Feb. 1 and will be replaced by Adam Silver.
Stern received boos nearly every time he arrived at the podium during the opening round.
"We've had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect," Stern said before introducing Dieng.
Stern received a standing ovation before announcing Lithuanian point guard Nemanja Nedovic as the final pick of round one by the Phoenix Suns, who was traded to the Warriors for Goodwin in a swap of spots 29 and 30.
"Stop it you're ruining all the fun," Stern said prior to announcing the pick.
Silver then came on stage to introduce a tuxedo-wearing Hakeem Olajuwon, Stern's first No. 1 pick in 1984.
"He still fits into the same tuxedo he wore in 1984," Stern joked.
"I wanted to be here to honor the commissioner," Olajuwon said before giving Stern a handshake and hug. The three men then walked off stage.