NBA Draft 2012: 5 Rookies Who'll Save Their Coaches' Jobs
For NBA coaches, finishing in the lottery is both a gift and a curse.
While it's nice to add a top-14 selection to any roster, teams that are in the lottery are typically those that have either just fired their coach or those that will be looking to make a move on their bench in the not-too-distant future.
However, with the influx of some of the talent that was acquired in the 2012 NBA Draft, some of the coaches in the lottery that are on the hot seat may, in fact, get a stay of execution.
So as we look back at the draft, let's take a look at five rookies whose impact next year will save their coaches' jobs.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Monty Williams was a success in his debut campaign with New Orleans, but in the wake of last year's Chris Paul trade, the Hornets battled injuries all season and limped to a 21-45 record.
No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (and fellow lottery selection Austin Rivers) will return New Orleans to its winning ways, and the team could be a factor in the Southwest Division as early as 2013-14.
Davis is the type of franchise-level talent that comes along once every few years. He is almost certain to engineer a turn-around under Williams' tutelage.
Bradley Beal, Washington
Randy Wittman was 18-31 during his stint as the Wizards' head coach last season, but the team should be much improved in 2012 with the addition of Florida's Bradley Beal.
Beal has textbook form on his jump shot, is a solid defender and is the perfect complement to current Wizards' point guard John Wall.
The Wall/Beal duo should not only sell out the Verizon Center this year, but it should ensure Wittman's job as Washington's bench boss for many years to come.
Thomas Robinson, Sacramento
A DeMarcus Cousins/Thomas Robinson frontcourt would be a dream for most NBA coaches, but it's a reality for Sacramento's Keith Smart.
After taking over for the fired Paul Westphal early last season, Smart led the Kings to a 20-39 record. The team's poor showing resulted in Sacramento to securing the fifth spot in the lottery, and the Kings struck gold when Robinson fell to them on draft night.
Robinson was the second-best player on many draft boards. The 6'9" power forward should be able to step in immediately at the 4 spot for the Kings.
Robinson alone won't lift Sacramento from mediocrity, but if the team's young talent continues to develop and mature, the Kings should make some noise relatively quickly.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State
Mark Jackson had a rough debut season in Golden State, but his fortunes changed instantly when the team drafted Harrison Barnes with the seventh overall pick.
The Warriors were in dire need of a small forward, and the 6'8" Barnes is well-suited to play at the three spot in the NBA.
With Barnes, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the wing and David Lee and Andrew Bogut on the low block, Golden State should finish with a far better mark than their 23-43 record from a season ago.
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix
The general consensus regarding Phoenix is that the wheels will fall off if and when Steve Nash decides to leave for greener pastures. That may not happen, however, with Kendall Marshall now running the point in the Valley of the Sun.
After winning 54 games in 2009-10, the Suns have missed the playoffs two years in a row, and the chorus of those wanting to replace Alvin Gentry is getting louder by the day.
That may change with the drafting of Marshall, a 6'4", pass-first point guard who is exceptionally adept at making the players around him better.
The narrative hasn't even begun for the former North Carolina star, but Marshall could wind up becoming the latest in a long line of Hall of Fame-caliber point guards for the Suns.