2012 NBA Draft Grades
John Jenkins was the best shooter in this draft. Adding a man with that title is something to be happy with. Although Jenkins doesn't have the athleticism of a Terrence Ross or the overall game of Bradley Beal, he can flat out shoot. Along with Jenkins, Atlanta took Virginia's Mike Scott: a crafty forward who can score and dominate opponents even without elite athleticism.
Boston has a number of important players hitting free agency. Because of this, and injuries this past season, they needed a lot of help inside behind Kevin Garnett. Jared Sullinger is a smart player who can learn from the veteran and Fab Melo could complement him as a rim-protecting seven-footer. The Celts also added Kris Joseph, a talented wing who disappointed a bit last year at Syracuse.
Quiet for the first round, Brooklyn made a move early in the second by trading for senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor. Taylor was prone to errors and turnovers while at Kansas, but he has skills. The Nets selected him in the hopes of backing up Deron Williams and not replacing him, as he is nowhere near the player or the draw that Williams is.
Although there were questions of where Charlotte would go with their top pick, taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seemed like the smartest option. There is little doubt that Kidd-Gilchrist will be a contributing pro, especially on the defensive end and the Bobcats needed a sure thing. They then made another smart selection by taking Vanderbilt’s Jeffery Taylor, a do-it-all player who will find his niche.
With Derrick Rose probably out until the middle of next season, Chicago chose to draft a point guard, Marquis Teague, possibly to play right away and see what he is capable of. Then, when Rose returns, they would be able to evaluate Teague's future.
Bradley Beal was the man they wanted. He was gone by the fourth pick and perhaps Cleveland panicked a bit. They took the next best scoring guard/forward in Dion Waiters, but it was a slight reach for a man who didn't even start in college. The Cavs were later able to turn a couple second round picks into a very skilled big man in Tyler Zeller. Zeller can score in the post, defend and run for miles.
Dallas traded back and obtained Cleveland's picks. They were able to add a penetrating guard (Jared Cunningham), a defensive big man (Bernard James) and a solid all-around performer out of Marquette in Jae Crowder. Deepening an old roster was curtailed a bit by James already being 27 years old.
Denver has a lot of nice pieces on their roster and was able to add to a thin area with shooting guard Evan Fournier. The only foreign player taken in the first round, Fournier can shoot and make plays with the basketball. They then added Baylor swingman Quincy Miller: a player who should be better in the pros after struggling through an injury his one year in college.
Of course there is risk associated with Andre Drummond since he produced very little in his one year in college. However, Drummond is a perfect complement for Greg Monroe, who is an excellent player but does not protect the rim on the defensive end. Detroit also added forward Khris Middleton and guard Kim English with their second round selections.
Golden State Warriors
Harrison Barnes seems like a perfect B grade. He is an amazing athlete and basketball player, yet always managed to underachieve while still performing admirably. The Warriors then selected two successful collegians, Festus Ezeli of Vanderbilt and Draymond Green of Michigan State, who should be able to contribute immediately on this team.
It's easy to get a high grade when you have three lottery picks, yet Houston used their selections well. They took three of the most talented players in the draft in Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones. Lamb is a silky smooth scorer and White is a point forward with all kinds of versatility. Jones too showed his versatility last season moving from a scorer to a banger and contributor on a loaded Kentucky squad.
Indiana has a solid roster but they are not quite good enough to use their first round pick on a backup big man. Miles Plumlee has little to no upside and was not even able to produce consistently in college. He can run and rebound and that's about it. Trading for experienced guard Orlando Johnson does not quite do enough to save Indiana's draft.
Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles didn't exactly light the world on fire during this draft. They had one pick and used it on Furkan Aldemir from Turkey. He can rebound the basketball, but probably will not prove it in the United States for at least a year or two.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers had just one pick in the 2012 draft and desperately needed guard help, particularly at the point. Instead, LA selected center Robert Sacre, a scoring big with little defensive upside. Meanwhile, a handful of decent point guards, like Iona’s Scott Machado, went undrafted. The Lakers did add shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom from Dallas for some cash, but he will not solve many of the backcourt problems.
Tony Wroten Jr. is tremendous, reminding many of Rajon Rondo both in strengths and weaknesses, but Memphis needed a shooter to spread the floor. Doron Lamb had been available at this selection and would have perhaps been a better fit even if his upside is limited compared to Wroten.
A team that could have afforded to take a chance on Perry Jones, Miami instead traded back for an extra pick next year. Their second round selection turned into LSU big man Justin Hamilton, who gives them some much needed size but little else.
Milwaukee started their draft day before Thursday by trading back and gaining center Samuel Dalembert. They then fortified their frontcourt defense even further with stretch-four John Henson, a former ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Afterwards, adding solid scorer Doron Lamb gives the Bucks a steady player on what was a topsy-turvy roster.
If it wasn't for a string of debilitating injuries, Robbie Hummel surely would not have lasted until the Timberwolves' pick. He is a versatile big who can shoot and score with ease. Before his knees let him down for two straight years, Hummel was an All-American candidate. Minnesota hopes he is able to regain some of that at the next level.
New Orleans Hornets
It's hard to be critical of the team drafting Anthony Davis. However, Austin Rivers at ten is where the criticism stems from. He is a great scorer but questions remain about his point guard ability, ego and willingness to be a team player. Perhaps evening that out, New Orleans took ultimate team player and steady contributor Darius Miller in round two.
New York Knicks
The crowd was not in love with the Knicks lone pick this year. New York selected a young man from Greece who won't come over for a couple years. Kostas Papanikolaou is said to have first round talent, but dropped because teams knew he would not be playing in the NBA next season.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Sometimes the NBA draft is simple: just take the best player available. With the 28th pick in the first round, Perry Jones III was still available so OKC swooped him up. He has issues with a supposed injury and with putting forth his best effort, but he also has amazing leaping ability and athleticism that is too enticing to pass up.
Not really sure of where their roster is or where it is heading, Orlando was stuck between a rock and a hard place. By selecting Andrew Nicholson, they take someone who can play inside but also flirt with an outside game. A later pick of forward Kyle O'Quinn gives the Magic a rebounder who can bang bodies inside.
The 76ers managed to add two first-rounders to an already deep roster. With Spencer Hawes an unrestricted free agent and Elton Brand on his last legs, they certainly needed size. That's what they got in forwards Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moultrie.
Perhaps replacing free agent Steve Nash, Phoenix selects a point guard who excels in an up-tempo offense and loves to make full court passes in Kendall Marshall. The Suns are surely crossing their fingers that Marshall, rather than replacing the peerless Nash, is instead able to learn under his tutelage.
Portland Trail Blazers
Taking a point guard (Damian Lillard) who never played against a top 25 opponent in college and taking a center (Meyers Leonard) who is all upside and little production seems a little too risky for a pair of lottery selections. Will Barton in round two is an excellent value, as many scouts feel he was worthy of a first round pick. Barton somewhat saves the Blazers from an overall disappointing draft day.
Thomas Robinson is a worker and a hustler. He is undersized but will outplay bigger and taller men with his motor. Teaming with DeMarcus Cousins will give the Kings an imposing pair of big men in the paint.
San Antonio Spurs
Every year, San Antonio manages to steal a late round contributor in the draft. While other teams pass on certain players for whatever reason, the Spurs find value in those men. This year's pick was outside shooter and all-around hustler Marcus Denmon. Many projected him to go undrafted but time will tell what San Antonio saw in him.
Terrence Ross had flown up draft boards in recent days. He ended up going even earlier than people predicted. Ross is a great athlete and great shooter. Not necessarily a game-changer for Toronto, Ross should contribute but perhaps not at what "top 10" usually implies. The Raptors also added hustling athlete Quincy Acy to shore up their front court.
What can be said about Utah's selection of Kevin Murphy? He went to a small school and lit it up. Teams are usually weary of these players, which is why the Tennessee Tech product fell late into the second round.
Many people considered Bradley Beal the second best player in the draft. Along with this, he is an ideal teammate for John Wall. Washington needed someone who could shoot and shoot efficiently. They also took a player from the Czech Republic, Tomas Satoransky, who they might stash overseas.