2012 NBA Draft: Predicting What Each Lottery Pick Will Buy with His First Check
Terrence Jones spent his first paycheck on a car for his mother.
In a mere few months the NBA season will be over and teams will be scrambling to check out all of the best college prospects.
When the NBA draft rolls around, plenty of teenagers will become millionaires in a matter of minutes.
But what is a 19-year-old going to do with a couple million dollars?
Let’s be real—investing it is probably not the first thing going through these players’ minds.
With all of the emotions surrounding signing an NBA contract, it may be difficult for certain players to decide what to treat themselves to first.
Fear not, future draftees. Here is a list of what each lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft should buy with his first paycheck.
**Note: The mock draft lottery used is taken from ESPN's mock draft.
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First purchase: a copyright for his unibrow memorabilia
Anthony Davis has basically been the consensus No. 1 NBA draft pick since his senior year of high school. In college he did not disappoint, winning player of the year honors and setting multiple records for blocks in a season.
So what could he possibly want with his first major NBA paycheck?
Well, if he wants to keep raking in the cash, I’d suggest Davis copyright his trademark unibrow. Kentucky Wildcats fans completely bought into the craze, buying unibrow shirts, masks and who knows what else.
Davis has said he has embraced his massive eyebrows and their popularity and has no intention of shaving them. So why not make the most of it?
My business advice for Davis? Make as much unibrow paraphernalia as possible and instead of white-outs or black-outs like traditional NBA fanbases do, the lucky organization that drafts him can have unibrow-outs.
What would intimidate an opponent more than thousands of fans wearing masks that have been overtaken by eyebrows?
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First purchase: toothbrush
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might be the hardest worker in the entire NBA draft. He made a name for himself by being a defensive stopper, having a motor that just doesn’t quit and outrebounding almost any player on the court not named Anthony Davis.
However, the best part about his game is that on every play, no one looks like he is having more fun than Kidd-Gilchrist.
After a big play, be it by himself or a teammate, Kidd-Gilchrist has the biggest smile I have ever seen on a basketball court. He runs to the other end of the court grinning from ear to ear. He looks positively giddy at times, running up to teammates and slapping them on the back just like a 10-year-old playing rec ball.
So MKG, remember to brush those pearly whites! I would hate to see that smile disappear.
And the plus side is that he will have plenty of money left over for anything else he might want to buy.
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First purchase: personal Twitter assistant
Bradley Beal has taken social networking to a new level. To say he is addicted to Twitter would be an understatement.
Beal’s Twitter account is practically overrun with tweets about nothing in particular. Sometimes he tells his followers about his workouts, often he is hungry and, from time to time, he ruminates on one of the wonders of the world: childbirth.
As a likely Top 5 pick in the 2012 NBA draft, though, Beal will have to spend the majority of his days working out and preparing for his new career.
But when will he find time to tweet? His followers will undoubtedly worry if Beal disappears for too long as he has been so diligent up until now.
Fortunately for Beal, he will soon have money to burn and what better way to burn it than to hire a personal Twitter assistant?
His account will be updated and Beal will have time to work out. In between jacking up threes, he can yell tweets to his assistant, keeping everyone happy.
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First purchase: a plane
I suppose a nice car will do, but a plane would really be best.
Thomas Robinson played like a beast on the basketball court, muscling defenders out of the way, dunking with abandon and shamelessly rejecting shot after shot.
Off the court, however, Robinson is, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys in the game and a fiercely loyal friend.
Robinson lost his grandmother, grandfather and mother all within the span of a month during his sophomore season, leaving him as the closest relative to his sister, Jayla.
The experience made Robinson rededicate himself to basketball and it certainly paid off. He was a player of the year candidate, exceeding expectations game after game.
During his senior season, Robinson became extremely close to his Kansas Jayhawks’ coach, Bill Self, the man partially responsible for Robinson’s breakout season.
Between making stops in Kansas to see his former coach and visiting his sister (who may or may not be living with him next year) and the rest of his family, Robinson will be racking up frequent flier miles.
Why not just get himself a plane to make all of his traveling easier?
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First purchase: a personal free-throw shooting coach
If Andre Drummond is going to make a name for himself in the NBA, he will have to overcome questions about his character and work ethic.
Drummond disappeared in big games too often last season, settling for outside jumpers and not crashing the boards.
His most obvious (and, frankly, embarrassing) flaw, however, is his free-throw shooting. Drummond shot 29.5 percent from the line in his lone season with the Connecticut Huskies.
Yep, that’s right, not even 30 percent.
Drummond made a grand total of 26 free throws for the entire season! Twenty-six! Michael Jordan has made that many free throws in one game!
His 30 percent career shooting percentage at Connecticut would easily make him the worst free-throw shooter in NBA history. Ben Wallace currently holds that honor, shooting an astoundingly bad 41.5 percent for his career, but watch out, Ben, Andre Drummond is coming for your record!
Unless, of course, he hires a personal coach with that first paycheck of his.
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First purchase: personal “brand” developer
Harrison Barnes made waves as a college freshman by announcing one of the reasons he decided to stay in school instead of jumping to the NBA was to “enhance his brand.”
Barnes has a tendency to answer questions with the simply answer “It’s a business” and famously declared he did not like to talk about religion or his political opinions for fear of polarizing the public.
The problem with Barnes was that at many times during his college career, he seemed to care more about his brand than improving as a basketball player. And he also did not do that much to enhance his brand while playing with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Fans grew frustrated with his soft style of play and inability to take over games.
Barnes claimed the longer a player stays in college, the better a brand he builds. Do you think he would tell LeBron James or Kevin Durant that? Because I think they (at least Durant) turned out just fine.
I would advise Barnes to focus his improvement on the basketball court and let someone else deal with the “Barnes Brand.” Maybe someone that has completed more than two years of business school.
Perry Jones III
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First purchase: noise-cancelling headphones
It’s hard to tell whether Perry Jones III is simply a misunderstood late bloomer or a frustrating player who will never reach his vast potential. In his two seasons with the Baylor Bears, Jones showed flashes of brilliance but also prolonged moments of shying away from the spotlight.
No matter the truth, it is unlikely a player as polarizing as Jones should spend too much of his time listening to critics.
The best choice for Jones would be to bide his time until the NBA draft, wait for a team to give him millions of dollars, and then buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and concentrate on basketball and basketball only.
No matter what Jones says publicly, the harsh words of critics have to get to him.
He would look pretty nice in some oversized headphones so the purchase would be both practical and stylish. And if it helps Jones improve his game, it will bring in even more money.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
First purchase: spotlight
Damian Lillard has been underrated for his entire basketball career. As a recruit, he was just a 2-star prospect and was passed over by almost every Division I school.
After a breakout sophomore season, Lillard broke his foot just nine games into his junior year and was forced to miss the entire season.
Yet again, expectations plummeted.
However, Lillard proved everyone wrong yet again, finishing as the second-leading scorer in the country while also establishing himself as one of the best point guard prospects in the draft.
No matter what team chooses Lillard, chances are he will have to make a name for himself there as well. So why not just buy a spotlight and show the world his last season with the Weber State Wildcats was no fluke?
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
First purchase: Rogaine
No, John Henson does not have a receding hairline. The hair on the top of his head looks just fine.
It’s just that Henson still has such a baby face, despite being 21 years old. If he could grow a massive James Harden-esque beard or a snazzy mustache, Henson could go a long way towards resembling his actual age—or at least striking fear into his opponent.
A common saying is that the NBA is a “man’s league.” If Henson doesn’t look the part, it might be hard for his true talent to shine through.
If Henson could develop a trademark scowl, he might be able to intimidate a few opposing players, but it would simply be easier for him to grow a beard and call it a day.
Just picture Henson rising up to stuff ex-teammate Ty Lawson, then running back down the court, stroking his beard.
Nothing would make a better first impression on his future NBA teammates.
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First purchase: sick leave
By the end of the 2012 college basketball season, Kendall Marshall was widely regarded as one of the best point guard prospects in the country. His 9.8 assists per game were second in the country and he continued to improve his offensive and defensive game as the season went on.
However, Marshall’s value was never higher than when he wasn’t on the court.
In the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Marshall fell and broke his wrist. And his value to the North Carolina Tar Heels was never more clear as the team struggled without Marshall facilitating for them. North Carolina led the country in points per game, mostly thanks to Marshall’s pinpoint passes.
Just in case Marshall’s value is not immediately obvious to his future NBA team, he might want to bribe upper management into giving him a few days of sick leave.
If his college experience repeats itself, the team will truly realize Marshall’s value if he takes a few days off.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
First purchase: personal library
The trend in the NBA draft is that players are getting younger and younger. The one-and-done craze is taking over college basketball as more players are jumping to the NBA instead of graduating from college.
Tyler Zeller did not just abandon this trend; he completely turned it on its head. Not only did Zeller stick it out as a North Carolina Tar Heel for a full four years, he graduated third in his class with a 3.97 GPA.
Zeller’s major was business administration and hopefully that will serve him well in his future career (perhaps he could advise ex-teammate Harrison Barnes as well).
Zeller must not forget his education once he signs his first paycheck, though. He should use his extra smarts to give him an edge in preparing for games, getting in the opposition’s head and increasing his basketball IQ.
If Zeller’s first investment is in a personal library, he will be sure not to forget his education.
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First purchase: Treadmill
Jared Sullinger is just a few more inches and a few fewer pounds away from being a can’t-miss prospect.
As it stands, Sullinger is still very highly regarded and could easily become an NBA All-Star. One of the few things holding him back, though, is his build. While Sullinger cannot do much about his height, his weight is definitely something that he has control over.
In addition to making him less mobile and more prone to injuries, carrying extra weight also gives Sullinger a baby-faced complexion that makes him look more laughable than intimidating.
Sullinger used the offseason in between his freshman and sophomore seasons to whip himself into shape and slim down considerably. If he can do the same thing before the NBA season begins, Sullinger could burst onto the scene and prove he was worth all of the hype.
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First purchase: ego deflator
Ikea sells ego deflators, right? Or at the very least, a cheap, yet serviceable one can be found at Target.
I’m not sure what it is about Austin Rivers, but something it just off-putting. Maybe it’s that his dad is NBA coach Doc Rivers and Austin is already best friends (or at least pretends to be) with NBA players.
Maybe it is that annoying smirk he gets on his face every time a call does not go his way.
Or perhaps it is all of the unnecessary shots Rivers jacked up during his lone season with the Duke Blue Devils.
Either way, Rivers’ ego could use a serious downgrade. One more year under Mike Krzyzewski’s system might have turned him into a more well-rounded and likeable player, but at this point no one will know.
When Rivers gets to his first NBA workout, he will need to check his ego at the door before he gets a rude awakening from NBA veterans.
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First purchase: already made
Terrence Jones wasted no time in cashing his first NBA paycheck. He hadn’t even been drafted before making his first major purchase.
Fortunately for Jones’ financial future, though, he did not splurge on anything for himself.
Instead, he showed his softer side with his first professional purchase when he bought his mother a new car for Mother’s Day.
Jones had signed with an agent earlier in the week and apparently was given an advance big enough to make his first major purchase.
For a player that was dogged by questions about his commitment and attitude, Jones did a major service to his reputation with his extravagant present.
Hopefully, his positive attitude will continue over to his NBA career. Then he will get a chance to buy himself a present or two.