NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Power Ranking Every NBA Team After the Lottery

Carl BermanContributor IIIMay 31, 2012

NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Power Ranking Every NBA Team After the Lottery

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    The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery results were revealed, and the teams surprisingly fell into position according to their lottery position until the Cleveland Cavaliers were selected for the fourth spot. The New Orleans Hornets moved into the final three and were ultimately given the first pick of the NBA Draft 2012.

    This is a huge victory for the Hornets, their most important one of the season. How did the NBA Lottery 2012 affect our NBA team power rankings? Find out in the following slideshow. We'll review each team from the worst (poor Charlotte) to the best. Let's start now!

#30: Charlotte Bobcats

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    Michael Jordan's job just got harder. The only player in the NBA Draft 2012 capable of turning a team's fortunes around quickly is Anthony Davis. Charlotte with their 7-59 record, the worst end-of-year percentage in NBA history, surely deserved the first pick. But they didn't get it.

    As we remarked in our earlier NBA Lottery 2012 article, the team with the worst record has not received the first choice since the Orlando Magic selected Dwight Howard in 2004. The Bobcats' 25 percent chance of getting the first pick didn't pan out.

    Now it's back to the drawing board for Jordan. Does he select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson with the second pick? Neither of those players will dramatically improve a seven-win team. It's possible Jordan may look for a deal.

#29: Sacramento Kings

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    Poor Sacramento. They may not be in Sacramento much longer because their long-awaited arena deal still appears questionable.

    The Kings have DeMarcus Cousins as the cornerstone of their rebuilding effort, but Cousins isn't known for his patience. Something tells us that Cousins' patience will run out before the Kings reach respectability. They have some nice young players in Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans, but their No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft won't raise their profile immediately.

    The Kings may wind up choosing between Bradley Beal or Perry Jones III, both projects in the eyes of the basketball scouting company, NetScouts Basketball.

#28: Golden State Warriors

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    Golden State received the No. 7 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery 2012. The pick won't help them very much next season.

    At the close of this, season the Warriors' starting five looked more like an NBA Summer League team. Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson, Jeremy Tyler and Dominic McGuire. Even with all their injuries they have to do better than that.

    The No. 7 pick may get them a Harrison Barnes or a Jeremy Lamb who will both likely help, especially if it's Barnes. But it'll be help down the line, not so much next season. It'll be another long year in Oakland. The franchise's only hope is to actually move to San Francisco as is being discussed. That won't happen for at least another four years though.

#27: Washington Wizards

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    Washington's big hope in the NBA Draft Lottery 2012 was to get the No. 1 pick. It didn't happen, as the Wizards actually dropped from their No. 2 position to No. 3.

    The difference between No. 2 and No. 3 may not mean a whole lot if Charlotte keeps their pick and goes for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. That will leave Thomas Robinson for the Wizards. In our 2012 NBA Mock Draft, we have Robinson as the second best player on the board. Although Robinson is closer to 6'8" than his listed 6'10", he's tough, plays hard and is what the Wizards need.

    Washington will have some nice pieces in place among John Wall, Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Robinson if that's who they wind up with. They're headed in the right direction, but still need a solid perimeter scorer and some better depth.

    As least there's hope in Washington.

#26: Brooklyn Nets

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    The New Jersey Nets are moving to Brooklyn. The Barclay Center is the biggest development Brooklyn has seen in decades. It needs to be successful, and Nets management and ownership will be spending a lot of money in the free agent market the next two years to try to make the team competitive.

    As someone born in Brooklyn, I wish them the best of luck. However, they'll need to improve through the free agent path rather than this year's draft. Their only pick is No. 57.

#25: Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Cleveland is headed in the right direction. They have loads of draft picks and selected wisely in last year's NBA Draft with both Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.

    They fell back a spot in the 2012 NBA Draft to No. 4. We have many concerns about Andre Drummond. He shot 29 percent from the foul line this season, didn't show any offense other than the occasional dunk and doesn't appear focused at times.

    However, he is a freak athlete, has a Dwight Howard-type body and the NBA has few good true centers. Drummond can develop into one, but it would take him a while in the best of circumstances. If he's there when Cleveland drafts, we'd expect the Cavaliers to take him.

    Cleveland has three other high selections, a No. 24 first-round pick and two picks early in the second round at No. 33 and No. 34. The Cavaliers have a shot at setting their stage for the future. They won't improve that much next season, but two to four years from now, they could be a team on the move.

#24: Toronto Raptors

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    Toronto received the No. 8 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery. The Raptors seem committed to DeMar DeRozan at the two. With Andrea Bargnani settled in as a scorer and a very poor defender, they may need a big who can defend.

    The problem is there aren't any. Many analysts are high on John Henson. NetScouts Basketball isn't. We look at him more like another Ed Davis who is in Toronto already. We'd like them to pick Jared Sullinger here. We'll see.

    Either way, it won't affect Toronto's power ranking very much for next season. They still won't be very good.

#23: Detroit Pistons

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    Detroit held steady at the No. 9 spot in the lottery. Their top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Brandon Knight was arguably the second best rookie last season. Knight was strong from the start and averaged 12.8 ppg and 3.8 apg on the year.

    The Pistons have other decent perimeter players in Rodney Stuckey and Ben Gordon, so will likely go big here with Perry Jones or Jared Sullinger. Tyler Zeller would be a steal at No. 9 if he's available. Paired with Greg Monroe inside, the Pistons may start to be respectable again.

#22: Milwaukee Bucks

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    Milwaukee held steady at the No. 12 spot in the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery. Their power ranking will also remain steady.

    Any team with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in the backcourt had better get someone who can rebound and score off the offensive boards. There won't be a lot of shots available for whoever they take, but expect it to be whatever big falls down to them at the 12 slot. Possibly Sullinger or Henson, but I wouldn't rule out Meyers Leonard here.

#21: Portland Trail Blazers

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    Portland is another team that gave up last this past season and jettisoned much of their team as well as their respected coach Nate McMillan.

    The Trail Blazers kept their No. 6 and No. 11 lottery picks. These picks will likely improve the team down the line, but they lost so much last season that at best they will be at about the same level next season.

    They'll likely go for a point guard and a big. Maybe a combination of Damien Lillard and either Tyler Zeller or Arnett Moultrie.

#20: Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets held at the No. 14 lottery spot. We moved them up slightly in our power ranking because they also have the No. 16 pick.

    The Rockets have some pieces in place and now need to add some depth. They could use a big because both Marcus Camby (38) and Samuel Delembert (31) are in the final stage of their NBA careers. Meyers Leonard would make sense here as would Arnett Moultrie, plus the best available player at No. 16.

    This draft can really help the Rockets.

#19: Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Minnesota was headed in the right direction before Ricky Rubio's knee injury threw their season off kilter. The Timberwolves don't have a lottery pick, but their first pick is at No. 18.

    With Kevin Love playing at the level he did last season, the return of Rubio and the continuing improvement of Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic, the Timberwolves are a team on the rise.

    They'll likely select the best available player at their No. 18 spot.

#18: Orlando Magic

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    The Magic's first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is at No. 19, so the NBA Draft Lottery did not impact them.

    What will impact them is trading Dwight Howard, which we are assuming will take place in the offseason. This just seems like a team in disarray and headed downward in a spiral. Without Howard, it will be a long season in Orlando.

#17: Phoenix Suns

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    We're making another assumption here that Steve Nash has played his last game in Phoenix.

    The Suns held their No. 13 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery 2012. They will likely go for a Nash replacement. Kendall Marshall would be a good pick if he's available.

    Phoenix dropped a bit in our power ranking due to Nash's imminent departure.

#16: New Orleans Hornets

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    The New Orleans Hornets are the big winner in the NBA Draft Lottery 2012. The Hornets had the fourth worst record in the league this season, and we feel they will improve to be close to a .500 team next season.

    Anthony Davis is that good. He's the No. 1 pick in our (NetScouts Basketball's) 2012 NBA Mock Draft as well as every other Mock Draft in the Mock Draft universe.

    He'll turn the franchise around, similar to what LeBron James did for Cleveland, what Larry Bird did for Boston and what Michael Jordan did for Chicago.

    The Hornets also have the No. 10 pick and will likely go for a point guard or scorer in that spot. That would be a nice complement to Davis for the future.

#15: Utah Jazz

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    The Utah Jazz did not have a lottery pick, and their first pick of the draft is not until No. 47.

    They should be a middle-of-the-pack team again next season. They have some interesting younger players: Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter. If they can improve, so will the Jazz.

#14: New York Knicks

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    The remaining teams were not in the NBA Draft Lottery 2012. We'll be evaluating them based on their performance this past season along with any help they may receive as a result of the 2012 NBA Draft.

    There are a lot of questions surrounding the Knicks. Their first draft pick is No. 48, so they won't get help via the draft. They don't have any cap room, and it'll be tough for them to retain Jeremy Lin. If Lin leaves, we expect the Knicks to take a step backward next season.

#13: Dallas Mavericks

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    Dallas is just getting on in years. The long season will start to wear on them. The Mavericks do have the No. 17 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, so they should receive some help.

    A center would be possible, maybe Meyers Leonard if he's available. A shooting guard is also possible as the eventual replacement for Jason Terry.

#12: Philadelphia 76ers

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    The 76ers impressed us in the 2012 NBA Playoffs by taking the Boston Celtics to seven games. They have the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft.

    They'll likely go for a versatile forward, possibly Terrence Jones of Kentucky if he's still on the board. The 76ers look poised to pass Boston if not next season, then in 2013-14.

#11: Atlanta Hawks

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    Atlanta has the talent but generally disappoints in the playoffs. Jeff Teague has been improving, and if they can retain Josh Smith for the long-term, could develop into a title contender.

    The Hawks draft at No. 23 in the first round and will go for the best available player. In the NetScouts Basketball 2012 NBA Mock Draft, we have them selecting Draymond Green.

#10: Denver Nuggets

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    Denver was a solid team this season and should continue to improve. Ty Lawson really picked up his game in the playoffs. If he continues to play at that level, the Nuggets will be a solid playoff team next year.

    They have the No. 20 pick in the first round. Another athletic wing, possibly Moe Harkless, would help them in the future.

#9: Memphis Grizzlies

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    Memphis didn't perform as well in this year's NBA playoffs as they did in the 2011 NBA Playoffs. We feel that they lack reliable outside shooting from the two slot.

    The Grizzlies draft at No. 25 in the first round. They may be able to grab a shooter who can help them, possibly Dion Waiters of Syracuse or Kentucky's Doron Lamb.

#8: Los Angeles Lakers

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    Obviously any team with Kobe Bryant can't be taken lightly. However, there's no telling what the Lakers roster will look like next season.

    Either Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum will be traded. Maybe Dwight Howard will come to town. We'll need to wait to see what the Lakers do in the offseason to properly access them.

    We do know the the 2012 NBA Draft won't help them because they only have the last pick (No. 60) of the draft.

#7: Los Angeles Clippers

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    With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers have a nucleus of a potential championship team. However, they are still missing a few pieces.

    Their No. 53 pick likely won't be the answer, so they'll need to explore the free agent market to find another complementary player or two.

#6: Boston Celtics

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    Boston is another team that we can't really access until we see what they do in the offseason. Will Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all return? It seems highly unlikely.

    Regardless, Boston's backcourt is set with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. If anyone doubts how much Rondo has been improving, you only need to look at his 44-point effort against Miami last night.

    Boston has the No. 21 and No. 22 picks in the 2012 NBA Draft. Maybe they'll show their hand based on who they select. In our 2012 NBA Mock Draft, we have them selecting Mo Harkless and Dion Waiters, but down that low in the first round they'll likely go for the best available players on their board.

#5: Indiana Pacers

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    The Pacers are very close. They play great defense and play very well as a team. Larry Bird's done a great job compiling his roster with complementary players.

    Indiana has the No. 26 pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. They'll select the best available player, possibly a power forward or even an international player, such as Evan Fournier.

#4: Chicago Bulls

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    The Bulls were obviously derailed with the injuries to Derrick Rose this season, culminating in his knee injury in the playoffs. We're rating them this high next season assuming that Rose makes a full recovery during the first half of the year.

    Chicago drafts No. 29 in the first round. We'd expect them to look for a backup point guard, such as Tony Wroten, or a scoring forward, like Keith Jones.

#3: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The Thunder are close to being a championship team, but they are not quite there yet. They have the right personnel; they just need to play a little smarter.

    OKC picks No. 28 in the first round, so it may get some help. We have the Thunder going for a backup point guard like Marcus Teague of Kentucky.

#2: Miami Heat

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    Nothing much new we can say here. This is a potential championship team, especially if they get Chris Bosh back for the finals.

    Miami drafts No. 27. They could use some height. NetScouts Basketball has them going for Quincy Miller in their 2012 NBA Mock Draft, but Festus Ezeli of Vanderbilt may be another option.

#1: San Antonio Spurs

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    The Spurs are playing the best ball in the 2012 NBA Playoffs. We rate them as the favorite over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

    San Antonio has the second to last pick of the draft (No. 59). Look for them to draft an international player such as 7'4" Dusan Cantekin of Serbia or 7'1" Ogngen Kuzmic of Bosnia, who is currently playing in Spain. They'll keep whoever they select in Europe for a few years.