Dieng, Siva drafted; gauging the reactions

The 2013 NBA Draft came and went, and the dust has mostly settled 24 hours later. A 6’8, 280-pound Canadian was the #1 overall pick. David Stern rode off into the sunset after grimacing through a bunch of names with unfamiliar diacritic marks. The economies of Greece and Spain inched slightly toward solvency.

Both prospective former-Cardinals heard their names called, marking the end of a four-year dry spell for UofL in the draft. That point can’t be underscored enough, even if Gorgui Dieng slid a few spots below optimistic expectations (courtesy of Atlanta’s front office ignoring the wishes of their last remaining All-Star and some light sedition from Chicago). The folks at Card Chronicle and elsewhere have already compiled most of the relevant analyses, but here are a few gems that fell between the cracks.

Gorgui Dieng, #21, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolof Wolf

The Wolof Wolf (h/t @UofLSheriff50)

The good:

  • On a night where the theatrical and bizarre set the tone, The Timberwolves’ mid-first round draft picks of Shabazz Muhammad and Dieng were pragmatic, and consequently seemed to fly under the radar in the ensuing punditry. That didn’t stop Matt Moore at CBS Sports from raving about the picks and listing Minnesota among the five teams that “won” the draft:

Minnesota Timberwolves: Made out like absolute bandits. Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad. Minnesota reeled in two high-value guys and managed to squeeze out some cash as well. Great start to the new Flip Saunders era. Dieng has such potential either off the bench or as an emergency starter, and Muhammad was once considered the top pick in the draft. Just a stellar job.

  • In his draft pick rankings, Moore also grades Dieng’s selection as a B-plus, explaining:

Very solid pick. Maybe shooting guard might’ve been a better position pick, but I love what he brings. Kevin Love and Dieng together? All of your rebounds now belong to Minnesota. [Note: this needs to go on a t-shirt or a teddy bear]

The bad:

  • The Timberwolves’ selections were met with ringing and effusive endorsements from the locals, like Tom Powers of the Pioneer-Press, who enthused:

I don’t see the season-ticket phone lines lighting up today.

  • The column reiterated the illuminating thoughts Powers shared last night during the first round from ground zero, the Target Center:

Of course, the reproach seemed laser-focused on Muhammad and Flip Saunders, so it’s hard to get a sense of much else. Powers’ piece devotes a single sentence to Dieng, describing the first team All-Big East, national champion center as “a tall, defensive type out of Louisville,” which might even strike Jeff Goodman as a bit dismissive.

Peyton Siva, #56, Detroit Pistons

Siva with new teammates Andre Drummond and Tony Mitchell

Siva with Pistons Andre Drummond and Tony Mitchell

The good:

  • Matt Moore ranked the Siva pick a B-plus, praising his work ethic, workouts and leadership, while Clayton Crowe at NBAdraft.net penned Siva’s most favorable review:

Neither Rodney Stuckey nor Brandon Knight seem like the long-term fix at point guard. Knight is more suited playing off the ball. Siva gives the Pistons an insurance policy heading into next season in case Stuckey continues to struggle and Knight regresses. Siva is a winner and a tremendous competitor. He is an excellent on ball defender and is a guy who knows how to play the point guard position.

  • Reminiscing about his glimpses of Peyton Siva in high school, a former opponent writes in the Seattle Weekly the day after the draft, “Ever since he made me and my teammates cry during a game eight years ago, I knew Siva was destined to play professional basketball.”

In a game filled with jaw-dropping dunks and forceful blocks—all by the same team—a 15-year-old Siva embarrassed us on several occasions, most notably a pair of ferocious jams in which he leapt over the shoulders of an Emerald City player.

Siva’s time spent at Louisville under Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino made him attractive to the Pistons and [Pistons Assistant GM George] David said it will help on and off the court.

“The first thing it does is bring a maturity to the team. What he’s experienced at Louisville and his maturity and his ability to make the right play is a very, very valuable trait,” David said. “He’s a guy that plays hard and knows how to make the right play.”

The bad:

  • Criticisms of the Pistons’ draft class focused more on Joe Dumars’ selection of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over prodigal son Trey Burke. But in light of April’s contest and the fact that the guards share the same position, you could understand how the selection of Siva would rub a sizeable chunk of the Michigan faithful the wrong way. Detroit Free Press writer Drew Sharp maintained today both parties benefitted from Burke going elsewhere, but noted:

You couldn’t convince those at the Palace on Thursday night for a draft party of that, however. According to one observer, it “got ugly” with loud boos when the Pistons passed on Burke.

As for (Louisville point guard Peyton) Siva, his niche in the NBA will likely be limited to disrupting opponents. He has quick hands and feet, is a jet up and down the floor and plays with passion. He just is offensively challenged.”

  • The blog PistonsPowered.com devoted a lot of ink to lambasting the Caldwell-Pope pick––God help the kid if he isn’t Rookie of the Year––but did take a passing shot at Siva:

Peyton Siva is largely irrelevant to me. Nothing against him, he was a fine college player, but he’s a longshot to make the roster, in my opinion, unless he’s willing to play overseas for a year.

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