The NBA draft was expected to bring chaos on June 26. Not only was this the most anticipated NBA draft since LeBron James' class of 2003, injuries to top prospect Joel Embiid and the possibility of trades to impact the latest James sweepstakes threw things in a tizzy. But when draft night finally came, things went almost as originally planned, especially in the top three.
Embiid's foot injury and 4-6 month recovery meant he wouldn't go to the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 1, or the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 2. But thanks to the Philadelphia 76ers -- who always gamble on injury-prone big men despite getting nothing out of it -- Embiid didn't slide far down the NBA draft board after all.
As such, the top three were Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Embiid, as everyone anticipated for months -- even if the order was slightly different. Behind them, Australia's Dante Exum went to the Utah Jazz at No. 5, although he had been favored to be the Sixers' consolation prize at No. 3. The Orlando Magic took Arizona's Aaron Gordon at No. 4, while the often hot headed Marcus Smart rose up to No. 6 for the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers took Kentucky's Julius Randle at No. 7.
The first trade of the NBA draft was made by the Sixers, but not for the No. 1 pick as anticipated. They swapped their No. 10 pick, Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton, for the Magic's 12'th choice in Croatia's Dario Saric. In between then, record-setting Creighton senior Doug McDermott was picked 11'th by the Denver Nuggets, before being traded to the Chicago Bulls -- where he could help James and/or Carmelo Anthony if the Bulls' free agency dreams come true.
But the biggest trade of the night was made by the Miami Heat, as they acquired the rights to the Charlotte Hornets' No. 24 pick -- Connecticut's NCAA tournament hero Shabazz Napier. James himself praised Napier on Twitter when he took the Huskies to the championship, and even tweeted during the draft that Napier was his favorite player in it. Of course, the Heat will need to impress him more than that to make him stay in Miami.
The NBA draft turned out to be more orderly than some might have expected. However, when free agency starts next week, it might be a different matter.