NBA Draft Winners and Losers: Separating the 2012 Lottery Teams
Isn't it strange how some teams seem to always get things right, and others always seem to trip over their own feet?
Historically, the Trail Blazers, Pistons, and Clippers have had terrible luck with the lottery. Other teams, like San Antonio, Orlando, and New Orleans have been classic winners.
Every year, each team in the lottery fears that their name will be associated with the former category.
Here are the winners and losers in this year's draft lottery.
Winners: New Orleans Hornets, No. 1 Anthony Davis
The only No. 1 consensus pick, the Hornets really could only have screwed this one up.
Davis gives them not only a power forward that can block shots, get out on the break and play with passion, but gives them an identity.
Not to be confused with Marcus Camby, Davis could develop into an Alonzo Mourning type of talent.
The classic no-brainer pick.
Losers: Raptors, No. 8 Terrence Ross
If you saw a mock draft that had Ross in the top 10, you were the only one.
Ross is a talented, albeit raw swing man with long arms and athleticism.
Sadly, at No. 8 there were at least a handful of players that would have fit Toronto better, including the much more talented Austin Rivers and a handful of big men that could easily supplant the Raps' current front court.
Sure, Ross could turn into a poor man's Thad Young. But what exactly is that worth? A lottery pick?
The Raptors will probably regret this pick.
Winners: Detroit Pistons, No. 9 Andre Drummond
Okay, this one comes with a caveat.
The Pistons desperately needed a center.
They knew that they likely wouldn't get one via free agency or trades, and height is the one thing you can't teach in the NBA.
That being said, Drummond has some serious baggage.
He never lived up to his potential in college. He showed bad instincts on both sides of the ball, has below-average footwork on offense, and tended to vanish at times.
That being said, he played for a team that was without their coach for most of the year.
Here's hoping that a serious dose of coaching can help.
Losers: Cleveland Cavaliers, No. 4, Dion Waiters
Okay, so on the face of this it seems like a decent move. The Cavs needed a decent shooting guard and Waiters was on the board.
The problem I have with this is that it lacked imagination.
Sure, Waiters could develop into a decent shooting guard, but he probably won't be special. The Cavs had an opportunity to make an inspired pick like Austin Rivers, or a legit center like Andre Drummond.
I like Waiters, and he's not a bad pick. It just wasn't the best pick given who was available.
To me, this is a reach, and Waiters should have fallen to the late lottery.
Winners: New Orleans Hornets, No. 10, Austin Rivers
In a pick that they got from the Clippers in the Chris Paul deal, the Hornets were in a position to really take the best player available.
On the one hand, they already have a scoring guard in Eric Gordon. On the other hand, Gordon is a restricted free agent and there are no guarantees that they'll bring him back.
The two biggest needs that New Orleans had going into this draft were size up front and a point guard.
Obviously they got their big man at No. 1.
But at No. 10, there really wasn't a solid point guard available.
Kendall Marshall, Tony Wroten and a few others were still on the board, but it would have been a reach to take either. Instead, they grabbed one of the most explosive, intelligent players in this draft.
Offensively, there isn't much Rivers can't do. He was raised on this game, and will likely be a star in this league.
Worst case scenario, the Hornets now have two shooting guards for next year.
Best case scenario, they use one or the other to secure another player of need.
Losers: Phoenix Suns, No. 13, Kendall Marshall
For a lot of reasons I don't like this pick.
First, Marshall does not project as an above-average point guard. He is not an elite athlete, he struggles with his shot, and though tall, he does not have an especially strong lower body.
This was a panic move, plain and simple.
The Suns are scared that Steve Nash is going to bolt, and so they brought in his replacement.
To me, Marshall is little more than a Mateen Cleaves clone.
Winners: Portland Trail Blazers, No. 6, Damian Lillard
The Blazers have a lot of holes to fill.
Well, scratch one of them off the list.
With a glaring hole at point guard and a free agent crop at the position that would probably not be heading to the Rose City, the Blazers had to do something.
They could have played the chess game and hoped that Lillard slipped past Toronto and New Orleans. Instead, they wisely took their point guard early and avoided having to take a reach on a player like Marshall.
Losers: Portland Trail Blazers, No. 11, Meyers Leonard
The Blazers already took care of their most glaring need at point guard, and that left needs at shooting guard and center.
So why are they on this list given that they selected Leonard, a highly rated center?
Because the Blazers just signed up for a project that doesn't have a particularly high ceiling.
Sure, he could turn into the next Joel Przybilla, but is that really so impressive?
Leonard has good athleticism and a willingness to play physical. However, his offensive game is beyond raw, and he lacks great defensive instincts.
The Blazers swear they aren't in rebuilding mode, but this seems like a rebuilding type of pick.
Winners: Golden State Warriors, No. 7, Harrison Barnes
A year ago, Barnes was considered a top-three pick and had an outside chance to go No. 1 overall.
But after a decent, though unspectacular year at North Carolina, Barnes saw his stock slip.
Some even had the Tar Heel falling into double digits.
But he fell into the waiting arms of Golden State.
The Warriors lack a genuine small forward.
They need someone that can stretch the court and play decent defense.
The only problem with Barnes is that he doesn't do a good job of creating his own shot, but on this team, he probably won't have to.
Winners: Houston Rockets, No. 12, Jeremy Lamb
You know, I was about to give them a spot on the losers list, until I realized something: Kevin Martin has an expiring deal.
By drafting Lamb, who in many ways mimics Martin, they open the door to trading their veteran shooting guard.
Additionally, the Rockets don't have a ton of holes on their roster.
Losers: Milwaukee Bucks, No. 14, John Henson
Okay, so let me get this right: the Bucks just acquired an offensively limited shot blocker who lacks elite strength.
Where have I heard this before?
Oh, because last year they did the same thing with Ekpe Udoh, and this week they also brought in Samuel Dalembert.
Now I'm not saying Henson isn't a value, but his lack of strength and his lithe frame make him a big gamble considering who else was available.
Winners: Sacramento Kings, No. 5, Thomas Robinson
Talk about making all the right moves.
The Kings needed a power forward with toughness, rebounding ability, and defensive awareness.
Obviously Robinson lacks elite shot-blocking abilities or a polished offensive game, but so what?
DeMarcus Cousins is the perfect pairing as he can block shots and score around the hoop.
These two should be able to play off of one another for years.
Winners: Washington Wizards, No. 3, Bradley Beal
Beal's fate was sealed on the night when Charlotte traded Corey Maggette to secure Ben Gordon.
With this move, the Bobcats effectively conceded that they would not be drafting a shooting guard, especially one that has drawn some comparisons to Gordon.
Beal can do it all, and beyond that, is the perfect safety valve for John Wall.
Beal can hang out on the perimeter and drill jumpers. He can take the ball to the hoop to make for an easier assist.
And he has the strength to develop into a great defender.
Winners: Charlotte Bobcats, No. 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Much has been made of Charlotte's strange deal with Detroit that brought on a huge contract in Ben Gordon. But when you take a step back, that move wasn't as terrible as some (including myself) originally thought.
The same goes for the scouting report on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
At face value, you see his limited offensive game and his lack of range (even on deep twos).
But when you take a step back, you realize how perfect he is for this team.
They already grabbed a leader last year in Kemba Walker, and MKG pairs well with the quick Walker.
Additionally, MKG gives this team an identity.This man can defend like few others can, and does so with a passion for that side of the ball.
He also is a freak athletically, someone that will pair well with a team suddenly full of young, quick and athletic players that know their way around the defensive side of the ball.