Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
The day after Christmas is always a little disappointing isn't it?
The presents are all unwrapped and the anticipation is gone. You have a million thank you cards to write but all you want to do is sit back and watch Home Alone for the 4,000th time. And if you're over 25, there's a good chance you have work tomorrow. Plus Christmas, your favorite day of the year, is now a whopping 364 days away. It's almost unbearable!
The sports equivalent of this has to be the day after the NBA Draft.
The draft has come and gone and so has all the suspense. But just like after a hearty Christmas dinner, there are always plenty of leftovers. Because all good things come in 12 (like the 12 Days of Christmas, for instance), here are a dozen picks that caught my attention. Grab a fork and let's dig in.
PICKS I LIKE
Jabari Parker, F, Milwaukee Bucks (2nd overall)
All that tanking finally paid off. Taking Parker (19.1 ppg at Duke last season) at No. 2 was an absolute no-brainer. He's strong, tough, a natural born scorer and probably the most NBA-ready prospect in this year's draft. He's like Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony in one beautifully wrapped package. And the crazy thing is, it actually seemed like he WANTED to get picked by Milwaukee. Weird, right? Personally, I'm just happy he's not around to torment Syracuse anymore (Go Orange!).
Shabazz Napier, G, Miami Heat (24th overall)
Miami needed a point guard. At pick No. 24, they couldn't have done much better than this. Napier (17.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.9 apg as a senior) was an assassin at UConn, leading the seventh-seeded Huskies to an improbable title run in April. The Kemba clone should be a huge upgrade over Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Plus, we already know LeBron's a fan of his and that should help when The King makes his "decision" in a few weeks.
Cleanthony Early, F, New York Knicks (34th overall)
Say what you want about the Knicks but they know how to draft. Tim Hardaway Jr. was an absolute steal at No. 24 last year and Early could be an even bigger coup this year. Early led the appropriately named Wichita State Shockers to a 35-1 record last season, saving the best for last in a 31-point explosion against the eventual national runner-up Kentucky Wildcats. With Carmelo Anthony a lock to leave in free agency, Early could open the year as New York's starting small forward. Sleeper alert.
PICKS I'M NOT CRAZY ABOUT
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers (3rd overall)
We all know Embiid is a force of nature when he's healthy. Hakeem 2.0, a taller Serge Ibaka, whatever you want to call him, the guy can ball. But the Sixers already have an injury-prone center in Nerlens Noel. And now instead of 4-to-6 months, we're hearing Embiid could need 5-to-8 months to fully recover from offseason foot surgery. Seems a little Oden-esque, doesn't it?
Doug McDermott, F, Chicago Bulls (11th overall)
Truth be told, I'm a big fan of Dougie McBuckets. He shot the lights out at Creighton last year. And No. 11 seems like the right place to take him. But I don't like what the Bulls gave up to get him. Chicago had picks 16 and 19 but gave those to Denver for McDermott and perennial non-factor Anthony Randolph (4.8 ppg last season). In a draft this talented, you never want to give up two first-rounders, especially with James Young and Gary Harris still on the board at 16.
Tyler Ennis, G, Phoenix Suns (18th overall)
Ennis is my guy. But Phoenix? The Suns already have two great point guards in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic. Plus the Suns operate one of the fastest offenses in basketball and Ennis, though a strong floor general with excellent court vision, isn't going to beat many guys in a foot race. I can't help but think he would have been a better fit in Toronto, especially with Kyle Lowry about to leave in free agency.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!!
Bruno Caboclo, F, Toronto Raptors (20th overall)
Good grief. Thinking outside the box is one thing but this is just silly. Fran Fraschilla, a guy who knows a thing or two about hoops, says the 18-year-old from Brazil is "two years away from being two years away." If you want to take on a project do it in the second round, not at 20 overall. Shabazz Napier, Rodney Hood, P.J. Hairston and Jordan Adams all would have been better picks. Actually, almost anyone would have been a better pick.
Mitch McGary, F, Oklahoma City Thunder (21st overall)
Well that's a head scratcher. McGary's fine but he doesn't fill a need for the Thunder. This is a team that trotted out Thabo Sefolosha and Derek Fisher at shooting guard last season. And it's not like OKC didn't have options. Rodney Hood and P.J. Hairston were both still available. That's unacceptable.
C.J. Wilcox, G, Los Angeles Clippers (28th overall)
Come on, Doc. You're better than this. The Clippers already have a MILLION guards. Let's name some of them.
Hey Doc, you know there are other positions right? At least the Clippers didn't take a guard with their second pick. That's because they didn't have a second pick.
ASK ME IN A YEAR
Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando Magic (4th overall)
Maybe I'm just bitter because I wanted him for the Celtics at No. 6 but think about it. Jameer Nelson is in the last year of his contract and Victor Oladipo is a much better fit at the two than he is at point guard. I think you have to consider Dante Exum here. Sure Australia isn't the United States but you can't teach size. Michael Carter-Williams just won Rookie of the Year as a 6-foot-6 point guard and Exum could be poised to do the same. Only he'll be doing it for Utah instead of Orlando. Nothing against Gordon but I think Exum would have been the safer pick.
Marcus Smart, G, Boston Celtics (6th overall)
Taking Smart here has to be a sign that Rajon Rondo's days in Boston are numbered. I still think the Celtics can build around Rondo but if he wants out, I guess there's not much they can do. If that's the case, Smart (17.8 ppg at Oklahoma State last season) was probably the best replacement they could have gotten for where they picked in the draft.
Dario Saric, F, Philadelphia 76ers (12th overall)
Here's the sitch. The Sixers have two injured centers, a point guard they thought about trading last night and a bunch of D-League-looking guys. Saric sounds like the real deal but he won't be allowed to play in the NBA for two years after signing on with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish League. I know rebuilding takes time but how long are Sixers fans supposed to wait? Two years, I guess.
Anyone want to help me get rid of my Draftmas tree?
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