03/07/2014
David Hein's Eye on the Future

2014 NBA Draft - Smiling Canadians, patient 76ers fans and when will Dangubic become next one

REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - The 2014 NBA Draft is history. Here are my biggest take-aways from draft number one of the Adam Silver era: the Cleveland Cavaliers kept their pick, Canadian basketball leaders can't stop smiling, Philadelphia 76ers fans will have an interesting next three years, the Orlando Magic really wanted Elfrid Payton and watch out in the future for Nemanja Dangubic.

First off, let's start with Adam Silver. The 2014 NBA Draft had a new man in charge and the biggest difference seen between Silver and his predecessor David Stern is … that Silver is a lot taller. While the players whose names he was reading always towered over the 1.70m Stern, they looked a lot less dominating next to the 1.90m Silver.

As for the selection of the players itself, the Cavs obviously won the lottery and decided to keep the No. 1 pick and drafted Andrew Wiggins from the University of Kansas. He was the second top overall pick from Kansas after Danny Manning was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1988 and he was the second straight Canadian to be selected with the first pick following Anthony Bennett last year - also by Cleveland.

It was a good night for Cleveland and it was the start of a very pleasing night for those connected to Canada Basketball.

Following Wiggins to Cleveland, the next two picks weren’t a surprise with Jabari Parker going to Milwaukee and Joel Embiid to Philadelphia.

But Aaron Gordon being picked fourth by Orlando was a bit of a surprise, given that most people thought the Magic would go with Australian guard Dante Exum - who went to the Utah Jazz a pick later.

Sixth and seventh picks Marcus Smart and Julius Randle will have the luxury of playing for storied NBA franchises right away with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.

Then at number eight for the Sacramento Kings came Canadian number two - Nik Stauskas with his great handshake with his father - go Youtube it.

Wiggins and Stauskas became the first pair of Canadian top 10 picks and the second pair of Canadian lottery selections.

Add number 18 Tyler Ennis to the Phoenix Suns and they are the first trio of top 20 Canadians picked.  And a fourth Canadian was grabbed in the second round - Dwight Powell by the Charlotte Hornets, ending a very good night for Canadian hoops fans.

Payton going number 10 overall to Philadelphia eventually turned into a trade showing just how much the Magic were into Payton, whose stock began to really rise after winning the title with the United States at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Orlando picked Croatian sensation Dario Saric at No. 12 and then swapped him as well as a 2015 second round pick and a future first round pick for the rights to Payton - quite a nice haul by Philly to make a pick for the Magic.

Sixers fans definitely have a lot to consider after the 2014 draft. Besides getting Embiid at number three and then Saric, the Sixers selected KJ Daniels, Jerami Grant, Russ Smith, Vasilije Micic and Dangubic in the second round.

But there was plenty of wheeling and dealing left to be done as Philly moved Smith for the rights to Pierre Jackson and traded Dangubic to the San Antonio Spurs for the rights to second round picks Jordan McRae and Cory Jefferson, the latter of which who was then moved to the Brooklyn Nets for cash considerations.

This provides for a pretty interesting next couple of years for Philly fans. So they will have four draft picks in camp - Saric and Micic will be back in Europe this season.

Back in the mix for what is essentially his rookie season is last spring's sixth overall pick Nerlens Noel, who did not play at all last season for Philadelphia after knee surgery.

Some believe Embiid cannot really be counted on to contribute until next the 2015-16 season at the earliest. And then the dynamic Saric isn't expected to play in the NBA until the following season (2016-17).

And who knows, maybe the magnificent Micic joins him in the NBA that season.

So, without a doubt, Philadelphia fans have had a lot to digest in the past week.

The 2014 NBA Draft was also the first to see a NBA Development League player get picked in the first round - PJ Hairston by the Miami Heat at number 26, landing eventually with Charlotte.

And Thanasis Antetokounmpo was also a D-League product, getting chosen by the New York Knicks at number 51.

The draft also included the first Cape Verdean player to be picked – Walter Tavares by the Atlanta Hawks at number 43.

A couple other notes were Chicago getting a nice haul in ending up with Doug McDermott and Australian Cameron Bairstow while the Minnesota Timberwolves added another international player to their ranks (JJ Barea, Gorgui Dieng, Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved and Ronny Turiaf) with the selection of Italian international Alessandro Gentile in the second round.

And the Serbian club Mega Vizura raised some eyebrows by having three of their players selected in the second round - Nikola Jokic (41, Denver), Micic (52, Philadelphia) and Dangubic (Philadelphia/Spurs).

Let's end on Dangubic.

While Kyle Anderson was selected by San Antonio with the final pick of the first round, the 21-year-old shooting guard from Pancevo, Serbia is the answer to one of the biggest question for many NBA fans about the draft: which international guy nobody has heard about did the Spurs pick and will be a star in a few years?

Going down the list of past San Antonio picks, Dangubic is now part of some pretty darn good company.

Here is a sampling: Manu Ginobili (second round, 1999), Tony Parker (first round, 2001), Robertas Javtokas (2nd, 2001), Luis Scola (2nd, 2002), Leandro Barbosa (1st, 2003), Beno Udrih (1st, 2004), Romain Sato (2nd, 2004), Ian Mahinmi (1st, 2005), Giorgos Printezis (2nd, 2007), Tiago Splitter (1st, 2007), Goran Dragic (2nd, 2008), Nando De Colo (2nd, 2009), Ryan Richards (2nd, 2010), Adam Hanga (2nd, 2011) and Livio Jean-Charles (2nd, 2013).

Welcome to the club Nemanja.

David Hein

FIBA

FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

FIBA takes no responsibility and gives no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of the content and opinion expressed in the above article.

David Hein

David Hein

Walk into the media tribune of any major basketball event and there's a good chance you will come across David Hein. Having covered dozens of FIBA events, including numerous women's and youth events, there are few players Dave doesn't know about, and few players who don't know him. His sporting curiosity means he is always looking to unearth something new and a little bit special. David Hein's Eye on the Future is a weekly column digging out the freshest basketball talent worldwide and assessing what the basketball landscape will look like a couple of years down the line.

COMMENTS