NBA fans will remember the 2013 Draft for a few things: Anthony Bennett being perhaps the worst No. 1 pick in league history, future all-time great Giannis Antetokounmpo going to the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 15 and the class being low in overall quality.
A lot of the best players from this draft were selected later on, while many of the earlier picks didn’t become stars or even serviceable starting-caliber players.
How would the 2013 draft go if the teams were to do it over again? Let’s check it out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers select F Giannis Antetokounmpo
Original pick: F Anthony Bennett
The Cavs are massive winners in this redraft. Cleveland originally selected UNLV’s Anthony Bennett, who was a questionable choice at the time and a downright laughable one now that we know that he never made any sort of positive impact in the NBA.
Instead, the Cavs get Antetokounmpo, who originally went 15th to the Bucks as an unknown prospect from Greece. Cleveland gets to pair Antetokounmpo’s unbelievable length, athleticism and basketball instincts on both ends of the floor with the jaw-dropping offensive skills of Kyrie Irving.
The hypotheticals of this situation for the Cavs are extremely tantalizing. What would have happened if LeBron James joined a young core of Antetokounmpo and Irving in the summer of 2014?
2. Orlando Magic select C Rudy Gobert
Original pick: G Victor Oladipo
The Magic badly needed a really good player to build around in 2013. Just one year before, they had traded Dwight Howard to the Lakers in a huge deal that landed them several players and some picks, but there was still no key building block.
In Gobert, the original No. 27 pick, the Magic can get that guy in this hypothetical scenario. The Stifle Tower isn’t a superstar, but he is a guy a title contender can be comfortable with as its second-best player. Gobert has won the last two Defensive Player of the Year awards and is efficient, if not super skilled, on offense.
Gobert wouldn’t mesh well with up-and-coming center Nikola Vucevic, but he is too much better of a player than the rest of this draft class for the Magic to think twice about taking him.
3. Washington Wizards select C Steven Adams
Original pick: F Otto Porter
Porter wasn’t a bad pick for the Wizards, but he ended up plateauing at a level that just wasn’t good enough to be the championship-level third option Washington thought he could be next to John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Instead, Washington picks up a low-maintenance, bruising big man here in Steven Adams. Adams is one of the best screen-setters and also one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA. He would help make Wall and Beal look very good on offense and provide above-average interior defense, as well.
4. Charlotte Bobcats select G Victor Oladipo
Original pick: F/C Cody Zeller
The Bobcats of 2013 were still in a rough place as a franchise. They had Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo as key young pieces, but Kidd-Gilchrist and Biyombo were starting to show that they just wouldn’t be very helpful on offense.
Charlotte needs some offensive punch here and Oladipo can provide that at the shooting guard position. He is the right choice here over fellow 2-guard McCollum, who’s a little better on offense but also a lot less effective on defense.
5. Phoenix Suns select F Otto Porter
Original pick: C Alex Len
At the time of the 2013 draft, the Suns were just about to make a trade to add Eric Bledsoe to their roster. Bledsoe and Goran Dragic would end up being a strong starting backcourt during the following season.
With that in mind, it doesn’t make much sense for the Suns to grab an undersized shooting guard like McCollum, even though he is the best player left on the board. Instead, Phoenix gets some nice versatility at the small forward position by selecting Porter to help make up for a smaller, albeit talented, backcourt.
6. New Orleans Pelicans select G CJ McCollum
Original pick: F/C Nerlens Noel (traded to Philadelphia 76ers)
In the 2012 redraft, I had the Pelicans draft a floor spacer for Anthony Davis in sharpshooter Evan Fournier. In real life, though, New Orleans went with Austin Rivers, who struggled mightily in all areas of the game during his two and a half years with the franchise.
Since Fournier didn’t get to join the Pelicans in this scenario, shooting is still a need for the Pels. McCollum is a deadeye marksman with his picture-perfect shooting technique. He would combine with Davis to form a deadly outside-inside duo.
7. Sacramento Kings select F Robert Covington
Original pick: G Ben McLemore
Covington originally went undrafted but he has proven to be a valuable role player for three different franchises since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
The 6’7” forward lacks the ball-handling and finishing abilities that you would expect from players his size, but he is an above-average three-point shooter with amazing defensive instincts. He also is very aware of his limitations, which is a skill in itself.
In 2013, Sacramento was just about to start a season where it had three 20-point-per-game scorers (DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas) but won just 28 games. The Kings could have definitely used a versatile, defense-first forward who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective.
8. Detroit Pistons select G Dennis Schroder
Original pick: G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
This was a tough choice between Schroder and Caldwell-Pope, the team’s original pick. Detroit was in the midst of a major rebuild and needed help at all the perimeter positions in 2013.
I ended up picking Schroder as he is more of a playmaker and facilitator. Caldwell-Pope, who’s a better defender and shooter, is a better fit on a team that already has very good players to build around, but the Pistons didn’t have those guys in 2013.
The Pistons drafting Schroder as their point guard of the future may have prevented them from making their ill-advised sign-and-trade in the summer of 2013 to acquire point guard Brandon Jennings that also sent away Brandon Knight and future All-Star Khris Middleton.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves select G/F Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Original pick: G Trey Burke (traded to Utah Jazz)
The Timberwolves’ original draft night in 2013 consisted of a trade back to picks Nos. 14 and 21 in exchange for pick No. 9. However, in this redraft, we’re assuming that every team sticks with its original pick.
In 2013, Minnesota seemed to have a nice one-two punch to build upon for the future in big man Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio. However, their two key wings the following season were Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin. Brewer could defend, but he couldn’t shoot. Martin could shoot, but he couldn’t defend.
Though he is not elite in either category, KCP has been a guy throughout his career that has provided both three-point shooting and defense.
10. Portland Trail Blazers select C Mason Plumlee
Original pick: G CJ McCollum
Unlike the rest of the teams on this list, the Trail Blazers were on the verge of being a very good playoff team at the time of the draft. They were about to trade for center Robin Lopez, which would complete their excellent starting lineup of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Lopez.
Portland didn’t have any major needs at the time of this draft, so it made sense to go with the available player who could best make an impact for the team immediately. Plumlee led all rookies in win shares during the 2013-14 season, making a nice impact as an efficient backup center for a solid Brooklyn Nets squad.
Plumlee could have spelled Lopez off the bench and given the contending Blazers a noticeable lift in his rookie year and beyond.