The 2013 NBA Draft began Thursday evening (June 27), and it was the Cleveland Cavaliers who kicked things off by choosing UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett with the #1 overall pick.
It was a surprise to analysts, many of which expected center Nerlens Noel to go first.
Bennett became the first Canadian #1 overall pick in the league’s history, while Noel fell to #6 where the New Orleans Pelicans picked him up and dealt his rights to the Philadelphia 76ers for a package headlined by All-Star guard Jrue Holiday.
The Cavs’ new rookie was a star on Canada’s junior national teams, was the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year, and led a record 12 international players, who were taken in the first round.
“I’m just as surprised as anyone else,” Bennett said.
“I thought everything was in the air, so I wasn’t thinking I was the No. 1 pick,” Noel also said.
With the #2 pick, Orlando also passed on big men, choosing Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo, while the Washington Wizards took Otto Porter Jr. at #3.
The Bobcats chose forward Cody Zeller at #4, and Phoenix took center Alex Len with the #5 film.
Other notables included: Kansas guard Ben McLemore, another player who was considered a potential top-three pick, going seventh to Sacramento; and the New York Knicks grabbed Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. two picks later.
For further coverage, visit NBA.com/Draft.