Winderman: Irving, Kanter as top picks? This is one odd draft.

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Quality? That’s debatable.

Depth? That’s the consensus.

Bizarre? Apparently that’s the ticket.

The 2011 NBA Draft comes off as much as circus as orderly restocking of rosters.

Chet Kammerer, a long-time NBA talent evaluator who currently works alongside Pat Riley as the Heat’s vice president of player personnel, said Wednesday that any process that starts with Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter is, by nature, bizarre.

“I think it’s one of the more unusual, intriguing drafts that have been out in the last few years,” he said. “There are a lot of subplots.

“But one would be just the No. 1 pick.”

While Irving is almost a lock to go No. 1, Kammerer said just the fact that Irving, Williams and Kanter came to be viewed as No. 1-worthy speaks to the unique nature of this year’s process.

“We’re talking about a No. 1 pick,” he said, “of a 6-foot-10 Turkish player that nobody has seen play for 15 months in an actual game.

“We’re talking about a point guard who’s only a freshman that played 11 games.

“And we’re talking about a center in an average league this year that now they say is going to be a four-three.

“And that’s who we’re thinking about drafting at No. 1?

“To me, that, right there, makes for a very interesting draft and trying to project what kind of players that we’re talking about.”

What Kammerer said is so unusual is that an argument could be made that this almost is the NBA’s version of the NFL’s Andrew Luck-less 2011 draft, with prospects such as Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Jeremy Lamb bypassing the process.

“There’s probably at least five college players this year that aren’t in this draft that would probably be lottery picks, but because of the pending, potential (lockout) they’ve decided to make it another year of college,” he said. “I think that’s interesting. It’s kind of a phenomenon this year.”

Indeed, this could wind up as the rare year when a mid- or late-lottery pick winds up as Rookie of the Year, or perhaps Norm Macdonald gets his wish and Blake Griffin becomes the first repeat winner of the award.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.