NBA Draft 2012: 5 Picks Who Will Single-Handedly Save Their Team
With the 2012 NBA Draft being the deepest in years, many teams are hoping their pick completely turns around their franchise from day one.
The lottery is where most of the gems lie, and teams that have those picks should be giddy with excitement. There are plenty of guys find within the lottery that can completely change the fortunes for the teams that select them.
Either way, these five players figure to single-handedly save their teams from the depths of the standings and the lottery next year.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
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There is no other player who should go number one overall. Anthony Davis is the best prospect to come out of college in a very long time.
But is he a sure-fire talent? Most definitely.
The only knock against him is a lack of muscle, which can easily be remedied with NBA strength coaches and night after night playing against the Kevin Garnetts of the league. The other issue is his unibrow. Let's hope he remedies that as well with his first NBA paycheck.
Whichever team drafts him, which we all know will be the New Orleans Hornets, will be receiving an elite defender a la Dwight Howard as well as a formidable offensive threat. Think a combination of Garnett and Marcus Camby's defense. That's what we will see from Davis.
He'll be a superstar and one of the best big men the league has seen since Howard himself.
The Hornets made out like bandits when they stole the first pick from the Charlotte Bobcats this year. Five years from now, I can't wait to see which team is better off solely because of this pick.
I can guarantee it'll be New Orleans.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
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According to NBADraft.net, "MKG is a strong, athletic small forward who possesses the intangibles that can't be taught."
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is easily the second-best prospect in the NBA and will instantly transform any team that is lucky enough to draft him. He has already seen his fair share of winning, playing alongside Anthony Davis on one of the greatest Kentucky teams of all time.
I have him going to the Washington Wizards at No. 3. And if that happens, boy, will they have a steal. Trust Michael Jordan to screw this up and not pick MKG at No. 2.
The same website above lists MKG as an amazing finisher and an elite athlete with a desire and will to win that is crucial to being a successful player in this league. He is destined to become a go-to guy, the kind of player you want to have the ball in his hands in crucial stretches of games.
That in itself makes MKG a prospect who has the most potential to be elite. While he does everything well, he doesn't do one thing great. If that's the only knock against the guy, you can't go wrong with him on your team.
Expect MKG to pop up on an All-Star roster sooner rather than later.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
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Thomas Robinson still thinks he should be the No. 1 pick on June 28th. We hear you, buddy, but it isn't going to happen. Not with Anthony Davis on the board. But we like that confidence. It's crucial for success in the NBA.
At this point, I expect Robinson to go right after Davis, the second selection to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats. That's not a terrible pick on their part. Robinson finally could be the player to send them in the right direction.
Look at it this way. The guy has been through hell and back in his life. He has seen more in his life and had more responsibility than the majority of guys in the draft. That alone should solidify him as one of the safest picks in the NBA draft. After going through so much and being this close to success, why would he not give it everything he's got and push his game to elite levels?
He is an elite rebounding big man, with great offensive skills to boot. Coming to Charlotte, he should immediately steal that frontcourt spot from Tyrus Thomas and D.J. White and bring a whole new winning attitude and passion to the court. He will team with Kemba Walker to form a deadly and elite duo for years to come.
Bank on it.
Damian Lillard, Weber State
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If there's one guy who has improved his draft status the most, it's been Damian Lillard of Weber State in Utah.
Even though he's from a small school and hasn't played against top college teams, scouts still have been blown away by his skills.
According to hoopsworld.com, the pressure definitely has not fazed the previously unknown guard:
Executives and coaches in attendance raved about Lillard’s performance. He shot the ball well, played excellent defense and showed that he’s not backing down from anyone throughout the pre-draft process. With his draft stock on the line, Lillard delivered under pressure.
He's already been the nation's second-leading scorer in college basketball, having posted 24.5 points a game to go with 5.1 rebounds, and four assists a game. And now that he's delivering impressive numbers under intense pre-draft pressure, there's no reason to believe he won't do the same thing under the glaring lights of the NBA.
I count on him ending up on either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Utah Jazz (Utah will find a way to trade up for a solid point-guard prospect). Either team could use an explosive point guard who also can throw a good pass. While Lillard may not be a true point guard, he definitely has the tools to lead an NBA offense from the get-go.
When not already dominating with the ball, he will also help his teammates find their own shots. Point guards like him don't come around very often.
In a few years, we could be talking about him being in the same elite category as Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose.
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
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I love Kendall Marshall. He's probably my favorite prospect in the draft. On most days, I'm trying to convince people of why my Utah Jazz should trade up solely so they can get their hands on the North Carolina point guard.
If you don't already believe what he can do for a team on the next level, look at what happened once Marshall went down with a wrist injury in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina just wasn't the same team without him. He was the vocal leader, the floor general and the guy who created everything for that elite college team. They looked lost without him (that was especially true of Harrison Barnes).
One day, he'll do the same for whatever team drafts him. While I envision him taking the reigns from either Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns or Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks, it may take him a little while to get going.
But his passing comes across as natural and teams should be salivating over selecting him in this year's draft. For some reason, they are not. I don't know whether it's his recent wrist injury or the bigger hype for his teammates Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson, but it certainly isn't something that should be happening. Marshall deserves much more attention than he is getting.
According to hoopsworld.com:
The one thing that Marshall exudes is a confidence in who and what he is as a player. It’s all too common in the draft process for players to let their ego run away from them. Marshall comes off surprisingly comfortable with who and what he is as a player at the next level.
In the end, Marshall will have the better career and will transform a team in need of a point guard like him.
He's the next Mark Jackson.
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