2012 NBA Draft In Review
- Updated: July 5, 2012
By: Kels Dayton
1. New Orleans- Anthony Davis, F, Kentucky. PICK GRADE: A+. The obvious choice. The only question is, how good will he be in the NBA? Our guess is he becomes an All-Star who can help carry the Hornets back to the playoffs with the right supporting cast.
2. Charlotte- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky. PICK GRADE: A. The Bobcats need everything, so they got a guy who can do everything at small forward. Gilchrist is a relentless defender and rebounder, and will help Charlotte right away.
3. Washington- Bradley Beal, G, Florida. PICK GRADE: A. The Wizards were so bad at putting the ball in the basket last year that NBA TV’s David Aldridge counted Nene as their best shooter. NENE. That unfortunate fact alone makes Beal the right selection at No. 3.
4. Cleveland--Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse. PICK GRADE: D+. Let’s see. The Cavs used the No. 4 pick in the draft to grab a chunky tweener guard who couldn’t even crack Syracuse’s top five. This was the most puzzling pick of the entire draft.
5. Sacramento-Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas. PICK GRADE: A+. Shocking—we know, but the Kings actually made good use of a high draft pick. Robinson should help immediately and give Sacramento a nice 1-2 punch with DeMarcus Cousins inside.
6. Portland- Damian Lillard, G, Weber State. PICK GRADE: B-. It’s tough to say how the Big Sky Player of the Year will project to an NBA roster, but Lillard is a tough, athletic point guard who can do a little bit of everything.
7. Golden State- Harrison Barnes, G/F, North Carolina. PICK GRADE: C+. Barnes will never be spectacular at the pro level, and Golden State has lacked a decent big man for so long that fans are beginning to have hallucinatory dreams about Tom Tolbert. This pick doesn’t make a ton of sense.
8. Toronto- Terrence Ross, G, Washington. PICK GRADE: B. Raptors fans will like Ross, who has the size (6-7) and athletic ability to be a good scorer in the NBA. If Jonas Valanciunas lives up to the hype, Toronto may actually have the beginning pieces of a good young team.
9. Detroit- Andre Drummond, F/C, Connecticut. PICK GRADE: C+. You knew someone in the lottery was going to roll the dice on Drummond, and Detroit is actually a good spot for him to land. If he can focus on the things he’s good at (rebounding, blocking shots, finishing overthrown alley-oops), Drummond may actually be able to help the Pistons right away. He and Greg Monroe form a nice front-court tandem, in theory at least.
10. New Orleans- Austin Rivers, G, Duke. PICK GRADE: B-. Rivers is irrationally confident, which is a good thing. But he’s going to have to transform himself into a point guard and co-exist with backcourt mate Eric Gordon, who remains the Hornets’ best scoring option. Kendall Marshall would probably have been the better choice here.
11. Portland- Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois. PICK GRADE: B. No one’s ever heard of him, but Leonard has shown real potential as a passer and shooter, and is a tough rebounder with great size. This could end up being a great pick for Portland.
12. Houston- Jeremy Lamb, G, Connecticut. PICK GRADE: D+. Lamb is not going to be able to score on his own in the NBA. He needed to go to a team that would not rely on him to do so, and Houston is not the best fit.
13. Phoenix- Kendall Marshall, G, North Carolina. PICK GRADE: B. Apparently, that the Suns see Marshall as the heir apparent to Steve Nash. Not sure how that one’s going to work out, but it was worth the risk at No. 13.
14. Milwaukee- John Henson, F/C, North Carolina. PICK GRADE: C+. The best part about this pick is the fact that Henson remarked in his post-draft interview that he “actually likes Milwaukee” and said that the main reason for that was “there’s not that much traffic.” So, there’s that.
15. Philadelphia- Maurice Harkless, G, St. John’s. PICK GRADE: A-. This may be the steal of the draft. Harkless has the potential to become a star at shooting guard, with his 6-8 frame and explosive first step. The only issue is that he’s not a great shooter, and neither are any of the other 76ers’ shooting guards (Iguodala, Turner).
16. Houston- Royce White, G/F, Iowa State. PICK GRADE: A. There aren’t too many players in this draft who have a chance to become All-Stars, but White is one of them. There’s not much he can’t do on a basketball court, and Houston will love his creativity and strength with the ball.
17. Cleveland (from Dallas) - Tyler Zeller, F/C, North Carolina. PICK GRADE: C. Dallas made the selection, but the Cavs will end up with Zeller, who is 7 feet tall and well-coordinated.
18. Houston- Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky. PICK GRADE: A-. The Rockets finish off their all-rookie backcourt by nabbing Jones, who has the potential to become a workhorse rebounder and defender in the NBA. One of the three picks has got to stick, right?
19. Orlando- Andrew Nicholson, F, St. Bonaventure. PICK GRADE: A. This was an impressive debut from new Orlando G.M. Rob Hennigan. Nicholson is a talented big man with a feathery shooting touch and good NBA skills. He’s also smart (was a physics major), and a terrific kid. Great choice by Orlando.
20. Denver- Evan Fournier, G, France. PICK GRADE: B. He’s French, he can shoot, and he wears earrings in both ears. That’s what we know.
21. Boston- Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State. PICK GRADE: B+. Great value for the Celtics here, who get a guy who might have been a top-10 pick had he come out last season.
22. Boston- Fab Melo, C, Syracuse. PICK GRADE: C-. There are other needs the C’s could have addressed here, but at least Melo gives Boston a shotblocking presence who may mature and develop under Garnett’s intense tutelage.
23. Atlanta- John Jenkins, G, Vanderbilt. PICK GRADE: C. The Hawks get a ‘C’ here because it’s not really clear that they have a plan for the future. Jenkins is a good value at No. 23, but trading Joe Johnson away means that his role as a spot-up shooter no longer exists.
24. Cleveland- Jared Cunningham, G, Oregon State. PICK GRADE: C. Who else thinks Cunningham might be a better shooting guard than Waiters?
25. Memphis- Tony Wroten, G, Washington PICK GRADE: B. Wroten has good size and handle, and will help fill the rather large void left by O.J. Mayo when he leaves via free agency.
26. Indiana- Miles Plumlee, C, Duke. PICK GRADE: D. This pick makes no sense, especially when you consider that three of the next four players drafted (Moultrie, Jones III and Ezeli) play the same position and have much more talent and potential than Plumlee.
27. Philadelphia- Arnett Moultrie, F/C, Mississippi State. PICK GRADE: B+. Excellent value for Philadelphia, which needed size and defense inside. Moultrie should help the 76ers immediately.
28. Oklahoma City- Perry Jones III, F, Baylor. PICK GRADE: A. You can’t do much better than to get lottery talent with the No. 28 pick in the draft. Even if Jones turns out to be a bust, it was worth the gamble for OKC.
29. Chicago- Marquis Teague, G, Kentucky. PICK GRADE: C. The logic makes sense, because Derrick Rose is about as sturdy as lime jello. But Chicago really needed someone who can score (Orlando Johnson, Jae Crowder, Draymond Green) instead of an insurance point guard.
30. Golden State- Festus Ezeli, F/C, Vanderbilt. PICK GRADE: B-. Just chasin’ that big man dream.