Elhassan: Picks I like, don't like

Insider's expert weighs in on good ones, questionable ones from the draft

Updated: June 27, 2014, 12:47 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

Marcus Smart, Adam SilverAP Photo/Jason DeCrowMarcus Smart, who went No. 6 to Boston, won't have many size or strength advantages in the NBA.

The 2014 NBA draft is over, so it's time for the best part of the process: playing Friday morning GM and judging the picks! This draft class has been written about, fawned over and anticipated for more than two years. Now these star prospects are finally NBA-bound.

So which teams or players did well Thursday night? Here's my take on five teams and/or players that did well for themselves (picks I like) on draft night, and five that had less-than-stellar drafts (picks I don't like).


Picks I like


Joel Embiid | No. 3 | Philadelphia 76ers

Even with the back injury, he sat atop the draft board for months until suffering the broken bone in his foot barely a week before draft day. Embiid has the highest ceiling in this draft, and talent-wise has all the makings of superstardom, but Cleveland and Milwaukee were scared away by the lack of ability to immediately step in and contribute. Their reticence might be Philadelphia's gain, as the Sixers have no qualms about openly admitting they'll be terrible this season, making Embiid's availability irrelevant.


Aaron Gordon | No. 4 | Orlando Magic
Elfrid Payton | No. 10 | Orlando (via Philadelphia)

I combined the players here because they both fit into a singular vision: setting the table for Orlando to be a dominant defensive team for the next decade. Gordon has drawn comparisons to Shawn Marion and Andrei Kirilenko for his ability to defend multiple positions and make game-changing plays on the defensive end with his length and athleticism. His stats were somewhat suppressed from playing in Arizona's conservative "packline" defense, but that's a positive to me, as it shows his ability to remain disciplined and execute the defensive principles and game plan laid out by the coaches.