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2012 NBA Draft Predictions: 10 Rookies Who'll Start from Day One

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIJune 27, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Predictions: 10 Rookies Who'll Start from Day One

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    The 2012 NBA Draft is loaded with players that will have an instant impact at the next level.

    Thrown into the gauntlet, these players will have to learn on the fly as they adjust to the fast pace of the NBA game. Only the best will survive, while others will find themselves on the bench early.

    Here are the ten rookies that will start from day one.

Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

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    A lock to be the No. 1 overall pick, Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis should have no problem starting for the New Orleans Hornets.

    Earlier in the month, the Hornets dealt starting big man Emeka Okafor to open up room for the Kentucky phenom. 

    Davis has the height, speed and athleticism to be a force in the NBA for years to come. With a capable jump shot and solid post moves, Davis will be able to add another dimension to the Hornets' woeful offense.

    On the other end of the court, Davis is a relentless rebounder and has the length to alter shots.

    Expect him to start come opening night.

Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

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    There is no denying Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson's motor or ambition.

    Responding to Anthony Davis' "CHECK MY STATS" shirt, Robinson rebutted (via Yahoo! Sports):

    "If you wanted to check the stats, then I'd be the No. 1 pick easily—if that's what you want to do," he said. "I should get one of those shirts. I'll get a shirt that says, 'Numbers don't lie.' "

    Robinson's game could silence his critics early into his NBA career. The Jayhawk is a hounding defender and has the athleticism to compete in the league.

    A successful career in Kansas should translate into success in the NBA.

    Look for Robinson to compete for Rookie of the Year honors next season.

Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

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    At 6'4" and 220 pounds, Florida's Bradley Beal is the prototypical shooting guard to start in the NBA.

    Beal is quick enough to blow by defenders and has the savvy to step back and knock down the open jumper. The versatile guard can put up numbers in a hurry or find the cutting man for an open layup.

    Beal's frame will have him wreaking havoc on the defense end as well, as he has the hustle and physical capabilities to defend either backcourt position.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky

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    Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's transition game will flourish in the NBA.

    Kidd-Gilchrist has the speed and hustle to become an incredible finisher in the league. At 6'7" and 230 pounds, the Wildcat will be able to finish at the rim and absorb contact at an NBA level. 

    Kidd-Gilchrist should take start taking lessons from the Sixers' Andre Iguodala now. 

    A relentless defender, the lanky forward will have the talent to lock up the opposing team's best perimeter player.

    Kidd-Gilcrhist has the motor and drive that all NBA scouts and coaches look for, making him a worthy starter come opening night.

Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

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    Weber State's Damian Lillard fits the trend of explosive point guards that every contender needs.

    Like the Bulls' Derrick Rose or the Rockets' Kyle Lowry, Lillard has the court vision to consistently drop ten dimes a game. When it comes to scoring, the point guard has the offensive prowess to light up a defense for 30 points on any given night.

    His game speaks for itself. As a result, Lillard has the raw physical talent and the intangibles to start from opening night.

Dion Waiters, SF, Syracuse

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    Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters has the versatility to score all over the court.

    Whether it is from the baseline, beyond the arc, the elbow, in the paint, from the corner or somewhere else, Waiters can make it happen.

    The prolific attacker will be a nightmare for defenders, as a stocky build will not have him avoiding contact in the NBA.

    Whether its driving into the lane or knocking down the open three ball, Waiters' dynamic play will benefit any team that drafts him.

    Somewhat akin to a Ben Gordon lights out shooter, Waiters should find success starting in the NBA.

Terrence Ross, SF, Washington

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    The lanky 6'7" Terrence Ross will excel in the pick-and-roll next season.

    Ross has the length to finish around the basket and the stroke be a force in the pick-and-pop game, similar to the Pacers' David West.

    The forward from Washington has a good game between the ears as well, and will be a solid help defender throughout his career. With a 6'7" wingspan, Ross will consistently crash the boards and fill up the box score next season. 

Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

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    The Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie has the type of dynamic offensive game that causes head aches for defensive coaches.

    Moultrie is versatile enough to play the high-post or the low-post. Down low, the Bulldog has a solid array of low-post moves to get easy buckets. Near the elbow, Moultrie also causes problems as he has the ability to hit the open jump shot.

    At 6'11" and 233 pounds, Moultrie is surprisingly quick. Good footwork will be his calling card, as the rookie could hone some crafty veteran moves early into his career.

Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky

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    At 6'9" and 252 pounds, the Kentucky forward Terrence Jones has one of the most NBA ready bodies out of this year's prospects.

    Jones thrives in the open court, running the floor well and crashing the offensive and defensive boards. He is not a high maintenance player and excels in the face-up game.

    Putting Jones among a legitimate low-post threat like the Rockets' Luis Scola or the Timberwolves' Kevin Love will maximize the rookie's game next season. A good inside-outside combination will also yield dividends in the half court.

Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

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    While Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague may not be the most hyped backcourt player heading into this week's draft, the Wildcat has all the tools necessary to succeed at the next level.

    Tremendously explosive while possessing great court vision, Teague is not necessarily a pure point guard. Rather, he falls within the hybrid category of scoring play makers like the Thunder's Russell Westbrook.

    The guard could not have asked for a better coach at Kentucky. Teague will join the Wizards' John Wall and the Kings' Tyreke Evans, among others, as successful guards coming out of the John Calipari system.

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