Last night’s NBA Draft proved to not be without controversy and some surprises, but also a few genuine moments from players and one special moment for the NBA.
Starting with the first picks, the Cleveland Cavaliers are apparently looking to become the Canadian Cavaliers, after drafting a Canadian player first overall for the second year in a row. The Cavs chose Andrew Wiggins out of the University of Kansas, pairing him with Anthony Bennett from last year, who has yet to make the impact they organization was hoping he would.
Second overall was Jabari Parker, a freshman forward out of Duke who landed a spot with the Milwaukee Bucks. Parker is widely considered the most NBA-ready player in the draft and will get a chance to play close to his hometown of Chicago.
Wiggins’ KU teammate Joel Embiid, whom until a few weeks ago, many thought would be the first overall pick, was then selected third by the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid hails from Cameroon and has only been playing ball for three years. However, it has also been riddled with injuries. He has had two back strains and had surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right food and could miss up to a full season depending on how his rehabilitation goes.
OKC Thunder choose role players with two first-round picks For the Thunder, the draft involved only two picks, both in the first round.
At No. 21, Oklahoma City chose forward Mitch McGary out of Michigan who sat out eight games last season due to a back injury. But he was a key player at 6’ 10”, 255 pounds, in helping Michigan get to a National Title in 2013. His specialty is working inside, rebounding well and throwing his weight around in the paint on both ends of the court. But McGary also has an outside shooting game and could fill a much-needed role spot in the Thunder roster.
Then, at No. 29, the Thunder chose Josh Huestis out of Stanford, who was widely compared to Thabo Sefalosha with his defensive game. Many thought that Huestis would be a second-round pick, but if the Thunder really wanted him, this was their last opportunity to pick him up.
The 6’ 7”, 213-pound small forward boosted his stock in recent months with his workouts and his game isn’t polished by any means. But his hustle, length and athleticism, plus the potential for a promising outside jump shot make him a potential weapon coming off the bench.
Austin becomes member of NBA with honorary draft pick
But the moment that outshown every pick during last night’s draft was a class-act move made by the NBA and Adam Silver, when they drafted Baylor star Isaiah Austin as an honorary member of the NBA.
Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome last week, which forced him to prematurely give up his dream of playing professional basketball. But the NBA still invited him to Draft night and made him an honorary member of the organization.
Sources close to Austin say he has been offered coaching position with Baylor and Silver offered Austin a job with the NBA once he completes his degree.