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Rivers, Plumlee Do Well In Draft

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In Thursday night's NBA draft, Duke saw Austin Rivers go to the Hornets at #10 and, in a surprise, Miles Plumlee go to the Pacers at #26.

Both draft picks were questioned to an extent. Rivers definitely has his critics, and the Hornets already have Eric Gordon, so some argue that he's redundant. But the Hornets were looking for someone to help Gordon out in late game situations. Rivers is a talented player and a guy who can get his own shot. He'll find a role.

He'll get a break in that he's playing for a family friend in Monty Williams, and also with Anthony Davis. A great shotblocker can cover up anyone's defensive shortcomings, and that's one of Rivers' weaknesses currently.

We'll be interested to see how Plumlee is received in Indianapolis. From what we can gather so far, some fans think he was a bad pick.

Well let's consider first of all the players who were drafted after him: Arnet Moultrie, Perry Jones, Marquis Teague and Festus Ezeli closed out the first round.

We don't know much about Moultrie, but Jones had questions about his passion first and then his knee; Marquis Jones is a promising guard but wasn't really a phenomenal point, and while Ezeli is talented, he's had some of the same criticisms that Plumlee has.

The book on Plumlee for a long time has been that he has NBA talent but that he needed more confidence to make  it. He's earned the chance; let's see now what he can do with it. His new coach, Frank Vogel, said this:

"I think it's a home run. To get a guy like this at the 26th pick, clearly the best dirty work player in the draft. He falls right into our identity. We rebuilt this team around defense and rebounding, and this is this kid's specialty. Nobody plays harder. He's going to be all over the floor, diving for loose balls.''

For the guys down the road, it was an interesting draft as well.

Kendall Marshall was picked up by Phoenix at #13, where Steve Nash may opt for free agency. John Henson went to the Bucks on the next pick. Tyler Zeller was drafted by Dallas at #17 and then traded to Cleveland, where he'll benefit greatly from Kyrie Irving's basketball IQ. Harrison Barnes went to Golden State at #7

Otherwise, Boston had a great draft, picking up a discounted Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph. In an ideal world, that's your future frontcourt.

More locally, the Bobcats took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at #2. We're sure that Michael Jordan looks at him and greatly admires his passion and his desire to win. He takes some heat for his ballhandling and shooting, but frankly, it's easier to teach those than to teach someone to have the will to win.

Among the guys not drafted: Tu Holloway and Renaldo Sidney.