NEW YORK (AP) — The Cleveland Cavaliers selected UNLV freshman Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 pick Thursday night, making him the first Canadian to be the top choice and getting the NBA draft off to a surprising start.
The Cavaliers passed on big men Nerlens Noel and Alex Len, who went to Phoenix at No. 5, in favor of the forward who has starred for Canada's junior national teams and was the Mountain West Conference player of the year.
There was suspense right until the end, either because the Cavs were unsure who they wanted or were trying to trade the pick. Most predictions had them taking one of the big men.
David Stern, booed heavily in his final draft as commissioner, added to the surprise of the moment by pausing slightly before announcing the Cavs' pick, their first at No. 1 since taking All-Star Kyrie Irving in 2011.
Orlando passed on both of the big men, too, going with Indiana swingman Victor Oladipo with the No. 2 pick. Washington took Otto Porter Jr. with the third pick, keeping the Georgetown star local.
Ten years after the Cavaliers selected LeBron James to start a draft that would include his future NBA championship teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the top five, this one lacked the star power and perhaps even the promise of stardom.
Bennett, Noel and Len are all coming off injuries and couldn't even work out for teams, but the Cavs decided Bennett's shoulder surgery wasn't enough cause for concern.
It was a good start to the night for the Hoosiers, with Cody Zeller going two places after Oladipo to the Charlotte Bobcats.