NBA Draft 2012: 6 Teams That Will Regret Not Having a First-Round Pick
While most teams are diligently preparing their draft boards for the first round of the upcoming 2012 NBA draft, several teams will not have the luxury of selecting with one of the first 30 picks.
First-round picks are not only great ways to acquire young talent fresh out of the college or international ranks, they are also highly valuable on the trade market, as these teams have found out.
While these teams may have been happy to send away a pick at the time, rather than have to give up an actual player, they may be kicking themselves on Thursday as they take a backseat to the exciting action that is the first round of the NBA draft.
Of course, there is always the possibility that one of these teams could trade for another first-round pick at some point, and there is a very good chance that one of them will.
With the draft order set right now, here are six teams that are going to regret not having a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
Los Angeles Lakers
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The Los Angeles Lakers traded away their first-round pick in 2012, along with Luke Walton and Jason Kapono, to the Cleveland Cavaliers for point guard Ramon Sessions in a deadline deal in March.
After a quick playoff loss at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Magic Johnson expressed his thoughts in this Los Angeles Times article about how the Lakers need to get younger and faster.
Unfortunately for coach Mike Brown and aging superstar Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles doesn't pick until the final selection of the entire draft.
However, the Lakers should be very active on the phones in the moments leading up to and during the draft because they have two of the biggest trade chips in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
If the Lakers are going to get back on top of the Western Conference, they need an infusion of young talent on their roster, but not having a first-round pick in 2012 makes that very tough to do.
Los Angeles Clippers
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The Los Angeles Clippers acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Oklahoma City Thunder in this draft-day deal in 2010 for their first-round pick in 2012, which now belongs to the Boston Celtics as part of the Kendrick Perkins-Jeff Green trade.
This will mark the second straight year that the Clippers won't have a first-round selection, which for some teams could be devastating to their franchise.
However, the Clips have a very bright future with "Lob City" entertaining fans in the form of all-stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
Yet, Los Angeles is still a significant piece or two away from really contending, which was evident when they were swept out of the playoffs by the Spurs.
While they could always add a guy through free agency, the Clippers don't really have the spare cash to be a big spender, not to mention Griffin is due for a big contract next summer.
The Los Angeles Clippers will still be a talented playoff team next season, but they will regret not being able to add a first-round talent from the 2012 NBA draft to "Lob City."
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The Utah Jazz' first-round pick in 2012 was lottery protected. However, as a result of making the playoffs, it became the Minnesota Timberwolves' pick as part of the Al Jefferson trade.
While the frontcourt duo of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were phenomenal in leading the Jazz to the playoffs in 2012, coach Tyrone Corbin's team has some huge holes at point guard and on the wing.
Devin Harris is clearly not the point guard who is going to lead the Jazz deep into the playoffs, and GM Kevin O'Connor needs to find the real successor to Deron Williams sooner rather than later.
While he does have a few trade chips with which to bargain for a possible first-rounder, it would be unwise to break up the promising young core that Utah has.
The Utah Jazz were a surprising playoff team in 2012, but they are going to regret not being able to build on their success by adding a first-round player to their backcourt.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves subsequently sent the No. 18 pick that they acquired from the Jazz to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chase Budinger in a deal on Tuesday.
While the Wolves were able to get a very good developing starter in the 6'7" Budinger, they are going to look back in a couple years and regret giving up their first-round pick.
Budinger is an athletic, tall wing player who shot a career-high 40.2 percent from three-point range in 2012.
However, Budinger doesn't profile to be anything more than a solid role player in the future and that doesn't equal in value to what a first-round pick could offer.
A guy like Royce White, who arguably still would have been on the board with the No. 18 pick, has the potential to be much more of an impact player in the NBA than Budinger.
While the Timberwolves were able to secure a capable, decent NBA player in Chase Budinger for their first-round pick, they will regret missing out on the opportunity to select a potential superstar in the 2012 NBA draft.
New York Knicks
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It seems like ages ago, but does everyone remember when Tracy McGrady was on the Knicks?
Well, the Knicks gave up their 2012 first-round pick as part of the three-team trade that brought the former superstar to Madison Square Garden from the Houston Rockets.
The Knicks struck gold with their first-round pick in 2011 when they selected guard Iman Shumpert out of Georgia Tech.
While Shumpert went on to have a phenomenal rookie season by helping the Knicks get to the playoffs, New York won't be able to repeat their success in the 2012 NBA draft without a first-round pick.
Being able to add another player of Shumpert's caliber to a lineup that includes Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler would have gone a long way toward pushing the Knicks to the top of the Eastern Conference.
New York Knicks fans always have a very strong presence on draft day, but they will be disappointed this year because their beloved team will be quiet during the first round of the draft.
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In what didn't seem like a smart move at the time—and can't seem like a smart move right now—the then New Jersey Nets traded away their 2012 first-round pick (top-three protected) along with Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams for Gerald Wallace.
There is no team on this list that needs the help of a first-round player more than the Brooklyn Nets.
While Gerald Wallace is a very good player in the NBA, he is not a superstar and the Nets missed out on an opportunity to add one when they traded their pick to Portland.
The Wallace trade came as an alternative option when the Dwight Howard trade talk fell through, and it was a desperate attempt to try and keep point guard Deron Williams with Brooklyn.
There is a very real chance that the Nets not only lose out on Howard and the first-round pick, but Williams and Wallace could not be on the team next year.
While the Brooklyn Nets might have flashy new uniforms to showcase in their flashy new arena, they won't have an exciting young first-round pick to put on the court in 2012.