2012 NBA Draft: 5 Teams That Need to Go Big or Go Home
With the 2012 NBA draft tomorrow, there are a number of teams that will be looking to add some firepower to their rosters. A few teams in particular have to really bring the heat if they want to either stay competitive or start to become competitive in their respective divisions and/or conferences.
Here are five teams that need to draft impact players now if they want to have any chance of competing in the years to come.
New Orleans Hornets
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
This kind of goes without saying, but the New Orleans Hornets are a team that needs to make a big splash in the draft. With two picks in the first 10, the Hornets need to add a ton of talent to a team that saw their star leave town and subsequently took a nosedive into the gutter of the Western Conference.
In this past truncated season, the Hornets finished dead last in the West, going 21-45. They have both the first and 10th overall selections in the draft and with them, they need to get two stars.
It's a no-brainer that they will pick Anthony Davis with the first pick. The kid is a total game-changer the minute he steps onto the court. His length will make an immediate impact on defense for a team that ranked eighth in the league in points allowed per game, and his offensive game isn't terrible, either.
It does take big men a little more time to adjust to the NBA than guards, but Davis is the kind of guy who can add 10 wins to a team right off the bat.
With the 10th pick, they have to get a guard. I know that it's a bit of a stretch because I personally did not think that he should have left school after only one season, but Austin Rivers could be the guy for the Hornets. He can add immediate offense to a team that finished 29th in the league in points per game; not to mention, he could become the next franchise point guard after the Hornets lost Chris Paul before the season.
By drafting these two players, the Hornets could set themselves up with a tandem that could lead them back to relevance and be the shining stars for the team for the next decade.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
While Dan Gilbert failed to come through on his promise that the Cavs would win a title before LeBron James did, with the fourth overall pick in the draft, they could definitely make a big impact on where this franchise goes from this point.
One year removed from having both the first and fourth pick in the draft, the Cavs finished 21-45, good enough for the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference (second worst if you don't consider the Bobcats an actual basketball team, which no one would blame you for).
Last year, they took Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, so they have the size and the point guard they need. Look for them to add a top winger to help add a little balance to their roster.
There's no guarantee that he falls to this point, but I like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for them at this spot. He's a high-motor guy who would complete a great young core of players with Irving and Thompson.
The Cavaliers need to set themselves up to succeed for the next decade, if only to back up their owner's big mouth. If not, don't expect to see the Cavs in the postseason anytime soon.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
The forgotten team of California comes in with the fifth overall pick in the draft after finishing 22-44, one game better than the Hornets. They come in to the draft with a decent roster featuring Tyreke Evans, Demarcus Cousins and Jimmer Fredette, all taken in the past two drafts.
With the 1 and the 2 hopefully figured out for the Kings, look for them to add a little depth on the wings.
To me, Harrison Barnes is the player that makes the most sense here. He can contribute right away on both offense and defense and would help the Kings in their effort to claw their way out of the cellar of both their conference and their own state.
Portland Trail Blazers
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
With the sixth and 11th overall picks, it is officially time for the Blazers to start moving on from the Greg Oden face-plant.
You have to kind of feel bad for Portland, though. They drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan and now they drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant.
They finished 28-38 last season, which wasn't horrendous, but they are going to need to pick up some big names if they are going to try to compete in the Western Conference.
With the sixth pick, I see them taking a guy like Damian Lillard, who can run the point for them in the future.
With the 11th selection, they're going to want to try to pick up some size, so I see them trying to go after Jared Sullinger. He's a bit of a raw product on defense, but if he can develop his game and tailor it to more of an NBA style, Sullinger will be a big pickup for the Blazers.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Is this a surprise to anyone? This team finished 7-59 last season and set the record for lowest winning percentage for an NBA team.
The Bobcats need a huge name more than anyone on the planet. This team was heinous last season. They were an absolute disgrace. They need help in more than one area but for the time being, we'll focus on the No. 2 overall pick.
I see Thomas Robinson here. I think he's the second-best player in the draft and will make an immediate impact for the Bobcats, maybe even get them to double-digit wins next season. He's a force down low both offensively and defensively and will make a difference for them right away.
The Bobcats are a (very) long way away from being competitive, but drafting Robinson could be the first step back toward relevance.