2012 NBA Draft Winners
It was expected to be a frenetic draft in which teams where wheeling and dealing their way around the first round. While that didn’t come to fruition, there were plenty of teams that made some things happen last night and came out as winners.
Let’s play Monday morning quarterback and pick out some winners the day after the 2012 NBA Draft.
New Orleans Hornets:
Drafting consensus number one Anthony Davis with the first pick of the draft and following that up with guard Austin Rivers at number 10 made sure the Hornets came out as winners last night. Davis projects to be a dominant post player in the NBA and Rivers provides both protection should New Orleans decide not to match an offer for Eric Gordon and a possible backcourt mate for Gordon should he stay.
Both players are fierce competitors and tireless workers that possess both the skill and acumen to become key contributors during their NBA careers.
The second round pick of Kentucky forward Darius Miller isn’t a jaw dropper but an outstanding haul with two of the top 10 picks of the draft puts this team back on track for life after Chris Paul.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Another team with two picks in the lottery, the Blazers made the most of number six and number 11 by drafting point guard Damian Lillard and center Meyers Leonard. Combine those two potential starters with the selection of shooting guard Will Barton, who was viewed by many as a first round talent, in the second round and you’re looking at an impressive 2012 draft class.
These moves, combined with an already young and talented core of LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum currently in Portland, have a chance to make the Blazers a talented team for years to come. Acquiring three possible starters (Lillard at point guard and Leonard at center are virtually locks) in one draft is quite a haul.
With three of the first 20 picks in the draft, the Rockets had high hopes of making the Orlando Magic an offer they couldn’t refuse for center Dwight Howard. While that dream didn’t come to fruition, Houston did manage to make excellent use of those three picks.
The Rockets used each pick wisely in taking Kentucky forward Terrence Jones, Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb and Iowa State forward Royce White, who are all blue-chip talents. One or all of these players could still be used in a package to acquire Howard but, either way, stockpiling talent was the Rockets goal and they certainly accomplished that Thursday night.
Projected by most (including myself) to be selected in the middle of the first round of the draft, Ross cracked the top-10 and was selected by the Toronto Raptors at number eight overall. This is a huge win for Ross as some thought the swingman out of Washington might even last into the early 20’s as a steal for a contending team.
As it stands, Ross now has the opportunity to prove all of his critics wrong as he should have a decent amount of playing time early and often for Toronto. The key to extended minutes, and possibly even a starting role, will be how well he and DeMar DeRozen click together at the wing positions. If they are able to coexist and get some cohesion, the duo could be a solid combo on the perimeter.
Having arguably the second-best player in the 2012 NBA Draft in Thomas Robinson fall to them with the fifth pick in the first round was clearly the best case scenario for the Kings. It was suggested that Sacramento was primed to deal the pick if Robinson didn’t fall to five but after the Cleveland Cavaliers went with Syracuse guard Dion Waiters, the power forward out of Kansas was there for the taking.
Now the Kings have the luxury of starting two frontcourt players – Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins – who have the talent set to dominate the opposition on a night-in, night-out basis. Don’t expect Sacramento to lose many battles on the interior next season or for the foreseeable future with these two patrolling the paint.
Oklahoma City Thunder:
It was hard to expect the type of fall that happened for Baylor’s Perry Jones III and the Thunder made out like bandits in taking the forward near the end of the first round. Due to a meniscus issue in his left knee, Jones slid out of the teens and late into the first round right into the hands of the defending Western Conference champion Thunder.
It might just be the best place for him. Jones now has the ability to heal and grow as a player with OKC without being pushed into extended minutes early on in his career.
For the Thunder, they have the luxury of taking their time with a skilled player like Jones and allowing him to learn from one of the most talented teams in the league featuring Russell Westbrook, James Harden and, of course, Kevin Durant. Also, should the Thunder decide Serge Ibaka’s asking price is too high in the near future, Jones could be a possible replacement.
The Kentucky Wildcats basketball program might have had the best night at the 2012 NBA Draft. Teammates Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist names’ being called back to back as the first and second overall picks was an NBA Draft first. Along with that, six Wildcats total were drafted Thursday night, which tied an NBA record for most players taken from one school in the first two rounds of the draft.
It’s a safe bet that Kentucky head coach John Calipari is going to continue to have no problem recruiting top level talent for the foreseeable future.
Those are your 2012 NBA Draft winners. Stay tuned later this afternoon for the losers of last night’s draft.