Some NBA draft picks are in a better position to make noise in the NBA than their peers.
Anthony Bennett’s selection as the top pick in the 2013 draft may have been unexpected, it may have even shocked us all, but that isn’t because he’s a bad basketball player.
Conversely, Ben McLemore’s slide to the seventh-overall pick isn’t a death sentence for the sharp-shooting Sacramento Kings guard.
Trey Burke, another player passed over several times, also has found himself in a favorable situation that will help foster his development at the next level.
All three of these rookies had tremendous upside coming into the draft and landed in ideal situations. If they stay on track and are properly groomed, there is no reason to think any of them will not be NBA All-Stars in the not-so-distant future.
Anthony Bennett, No. 1 Pick, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers used their third No. 1 pick in the past decade on a player they hope can be an explosive wing-scorer in the NBA.
No one is going to confuse Anthony Bennett’s game with a perennial NBA All-Star, at least not yet. He needs significant work on the defensive side of the floor in order to stay on the court and fully realize his potential.
However, the big man has an excellent perimeter game and has the athleticism needed to get to the basket and finish on fast breaks and off of pick-and-rolls.
He’s also a strong bodied and relentless worker, at least offensively. That dire didn’t seem to translate to the other end of the court but could be instilled in him by defensive-minded head coach Mike Brown.
Early playing time should also be a plus as the Cavs are aching for a wing-scorer who can team up with Kyrie Irving to keep defenses off-balance.
Ben McLemore, No. 7 Pick, Sacramento Kings
Is it possible Ben McLemore’s perceived lack of confidence has been a tad overblown? Not every successful athlete fosters an alpha-male persona and oozes charisma.
McLemore won’t be the type of player who revels in the limelight and talks himself up in the media, but he can be the guy who comes in off of the bench and nails a dagger to put his team ahead.
The Sacramento Kings boast an already talented and young roster that predicates its success off of penetration and ball movement. Sounds cliché, but it’s a reality for the Kings.
With McLemore on the floor, the Kings will have multiple options that defenses will have to account for, opening up things in the paint for DeMarcus Cousins. In turn, crafty ball movement should be able to help the team find the pinpoint shooter enough times each game to allow him to build up his confidence and become a household name in the NBA.
Trey Burke, No. 9 Pick, Traded to Utah Jazz for Pick Nos. 14 and 21
Minnesota originally selected former Michigan standout point guard Trey Burke, prompting immediate concerns he would be buried on the deep Timberwolves backcourt depth chart.
However, the AP Player of the Year and Naismith Award winner found himself suddenly in a position to make an immediate impact at the next level. Utah has been yearning for a premier point guard since Derron Williams skipped town, and they surrendered both of their first-round picks in order to make it happen.
Burke is an electrifying prospect who has the playmaking skills teams need out of their floor general. He doesn’t shy away from taking the big shot too, if his coach calls on him.
As a ball-handler he feeds off of the pick-and-roll and makes defenders pay for giving him even a step off of screens. Finding teammates isn’t a problem for him either and he’ll have the benefit of running an offense with several young and promising talents like Enes Kanter, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward to dish to.
Add in his excellent length for a player that stands at just 6’1” and Burke doesn’t seem to have anything preventing him from becoming a star in the NBA.
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