Predicting the Biggest Blunders of the 2012 NBA Draft
The NBA season has finally ended, but the offseason and draft promise to change the future of many franchises.
Not every player who will be drafted will have a long-term career in the NBA, so there is risk in almost every selection. In most cases, the situation that draftees find themeselves in after being selected goes a long way in determining that player's success.
Some players in this year's class will have very successful careers in the NBA, while others will be less fortunate. This is the case every year and will certainly be the case in this year's edition of the draft.
Mistakes will be made by front offices across the league, but it will take a few years to know which organizations got the most out of the draft.
Jared Sullinger Being Taken in the Lottery
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Jared Sullinger was one of the best players in college basketball over the past two years, as evidenced by him being voted an All-American after both seasons.
If Sullinger had declared for the draft after last season, he would have been a top-five pick. Instead, he chose to return to Ohio State for his sophomore year and led the Buckeyes to the Final Four.
Last season, Sullinger averaged 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest in the tough-nosed Big Ten.
At first, scouts were worried about Sullingers size and lack of athleticism. At 6'9", he is a little undersized to play the power forward position in the NBA. Add the fact that Sullinger is not a very good athlete and will be making his living below the rim, and one could see why his draft stock might begin to dip.
Recently, more bad news surfaced about Sullinger when there was a report of NBA doctors advising teams not to select the talented ex-Buckeye. According to the report, NBA doctors are worried about Sullinger's back and feel that it may shorten the length of his career.
Sullinger has the talent to succeed in the NBA, but he has too many red flags to warrant a selection inside the lottery.
The Charlotte Bobcats Not Taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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The 2012 version of the Charlotte Bobcats was the worst team in NBA history. They are in the middle of a major rebuilding project and will need to make good picks in future drafts to put a decent team on the floor.
The jury is still out on whom the Bobcats will take with Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist likely being the front-runners at this point.
On draft night, Michael Jordan and the Bobcats front office should decide to select Kidd-Gilchrist with the second pick.
Kidd-Gilchrist is tenacious and an excellent wing defender. Every team in the league could use a great wing defender, especially the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.
He will be a shutdown defender from day one, and at just 18 years old, he has plenty of time to work on his offensive game.
As a member of Kentucky's national title winning team, Kidd-Gilchrist has already proven that he is a winner, and the Bobcats are in desperate of a player that is used to success.
However, it would be surprising to see Jordan pull the trigger on Kidd-Gilchrist due to his lack of offensive weapons.
Robinson and perhaps ex-Tarheel Harrison Barnes will also be in play with the second pick, but neither would make the impact that Kidd-Gilchrist would if given the opportunity.
The Phoenix Suns Expecting Dion Waiters to Still Be on the Board at 13
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Dion Waiters has the potential to be a superstar in the NBA, and if put in a favorable situation, that is exactly what he will become.
Last season as a sophomore at Syracuse, he averaged 12.6 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. The stats don't tell the whole story though. Due to Syracuse's depth, Waiters played an average of just 24 minutes per game.
Waiter's college coach, Jim Boeheim, said the following about his physical ability:
“It’s huge,” Boeheim said in reference to Waiters’ physical attributes. “You look at some players in college and they’re good players but they’re not physically ready for the next level. That’s something that doesn’t affect Dion. He’s more than ready in that aspect and he’s also ready to play with other good players because he played at Syracuse. People sometimes say if you play at a lesser program and put up better numbers that it’s better for your chances in the NBA but that’s not the truth. In the NBA, you have be able to co-exist with other great players. Dion’s already done that.”
Boeheim makes a good point when referencing that Waiters already has experience playing with other great players. He will be ready to contribute as soon as he enters the NBA, and there is a real chance that he could be in the Rookie of the Year conversation midway through next season.