2012 NBA Draft Recap: How Teams Will Utilize Their 1st-Round Picks Next Season

Steven SlivkaCorrespondent IIIJune 29, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Recap: How Teams Will Utilize Their 1st-Round Picks Next Season

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    Now the hard work begins.

    Every first-rounder from the 2012 NBA draft will be under a microscope, just for the sake of being a first-round pick.

    There just might be the next Kwame Brown or Hasheem Thabeet in this year's class.

    They won't all start, but make no mistake, everyone will be talking about them.

New Orleans Hornets

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    No. 1 Anthony Davis

    Just as expected, the Hornets drafted Anthony Davis with the top pick in the NBA draft.

    Davis' long reach and ability to shut down everything under the basket will make him a great young star in the league.

    His lanky frame and his trademark unibrow are the hottest new commodities in the Big Easy.

     

    No. 10 Austin Rivers

    Taking Duke freshman Austin Rivers at No. 10 will add more offense to a team that finished 29th in the league in points per game.

    Teaming Rivers with Eric Gordon gives New Orleans some room to put the former in as a point guard.

    Either way, this was a win-win for New Orleans.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    No. 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

    MKG was taken a bit higher than anticipated as he followed fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis at No. 2.

    As miserable as the Bobcats were last season, MKG will play well with Kemba Walker and together they'll help change the culture of the struggling franchise.

    It looks as if Michael Jordan finally got a draft pick right.

Washington Wizards

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    No. 3 Bradley Beal

    Florida freshman Bradley Beal will be a nice fit for the Wizards as they look to breed a young duo in D.C.

    Beal and John Wall will make for an exciting one-two punch next year as the Wizards look to improve on a 20-46 season.

    In a tough division that features the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic, the Wizards are hoping they can become relevant in the Eastern Conference once again.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    No. 4 Dion Waiters

    It's safe to say the Cavaliers reached a bit by taking Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters No. 4 overall.

    Waiters averaged 12.6 PPG last season without ever starting a game.

    It will be interesting to see the impact he makes on the Cavs as they are in rebuilding mode for the third straight season.

    If Waiters doesn't start, he'll just as effective coming off the bench.

     

    No. 17 Tyler Zeller

    After trading Jared Cunningham to Dallas for Tyler Zeller, the Cavaliers got a nice big man to help take some of the pressure off Kyrie Irving.

    Irving had a sensational rookie season, but the Cavs need a reliable center to help make them relevant again.

    Zeller had a phenomenal career at North Carolina and as one of the most experienced big men in the draft, his maturity and ability to adapt to the NBA will ultimately make Cleveland better.

Sacramento Kings

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    No. 5 Thomas Robinson

    Sacramento was extremely lucky to land Thomas Robinson with the fifth pick in the draft.

    It's a shock the Kansas junior was still available at No. 5, and the Kings added a nice piece to their young team next season.

    Robinson will join Jimmer Fredette, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins next year to add more youth to an already exciting roster.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    No. 6 Damian Lillard

    Not much of a surprise to see the Weber St. junior go to Portland at No. 6.

    Portland has two first-round picks and since they've been looking to ship Raymond Felton out for some time, Damian Lillard will make an early impact on the Blazers.

    He was second in the nation in scoring last season with 24.5 PPG.

    Can't argue with those numbers.

     

    No. 11 Meyers Leonard

    The addition of seven-footer Meyers Leonard will help out LaMarcus Aldridge underneath the basket next year in Portland.

    After drafting Lillard at No. 6, the Blazers decided to take the Illinois big man for some size.

    Look for Leonard to make an immediate impact in Portland with his explosive play and ability to grab any rebound nearby.

Golden State Warriors

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    No. 7 Harrison Barnes

    UNC sophomore Harrison Barnes could be the one piece that helps the Warriors make the postseason next year.

    With Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut already on the roster, Golden State is hoping that Barnes can put up the kind of numbers he did when he was in college.

    His 17.4 PPG led the Tar Heels last year. Golden State fans are hoping that he has a smooth transition to the NBA.

     

    No. 30 Festus Ezeli

    With Andrew Bogut under the basket, Festus Ezeli will be a nice addition for the Warriors, but he won't have an immediate impact.

    His lack of rebounding skills made him one of the weaker big men taken in the first round.

    If Bogut goes down like he did last season, Ezeli will get some serious playing time for the Warriors.

Toronto Raptors

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    No. 8 Terrence Ross

    In what was regarded as the most "surprising" pick in the first round, the Raptors decided to take Washington sophomore Terrence Ross at No. 8.

    Toronto must have seen something in Ross that nobody else had, since they passed over Austin Rivers, Jeremy Lamb and Kendall Marshall.

    He averaged 15.3 PPG last season and will be a solid addition to a Raptors team looking to improve upon a 23-43 season.

Detroit Pistons

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    No. 9 Andre Drummond

    The Pistons decided to roll the dice on UConn big man Andre Drummond.

    The No. 9 overall pick in the draft won't turn 19 until August, but Detroit is hoping he is wise beyond his years.

    Drummond will take over in Motown for an aging Ben Wallace. He will help the Pistons build on their 25-win season last year.

Houston Rockets

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    No. 12 Jeremy Lamb

    Houston caught a break by snagging Jeremy Lamb at No. 12.

    It was surprising that the UConn sophomore fell out of the top 10, but Houston jumped on him as soon as it was time to draft.

    The Rockets nearly made the playoffs last season, and with Lamb as the shooting guard, the postseason should be in their future next year.

     

    No. 16 Royce White

    The Houston Rockets made their lineup that much nicer by drafting Iowa State forward Royce White with the No. 16 pick.

    Adding another youngster to the team after Lamb can only benefit them.

    White averaged 13 PPG last season and can help out Luis Scola in the frontcourt.

     

    No. 18 Terrence Jones

    The Rockets were the busiest out of any team in the first round, with three picks in the top 20.

    Jones, a sophomore from Kentucky, will be the third rookie on Houston's roster once next season rolls around.

    He averaged 12.5 PPG last season and was a pivotal part of Kentucky's national championship run.

    His skill set is too good to not have an impact right away.

Phoenix Suns

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    No. 13 Kendall Marshall

    With Steve Nash pondering his options for next season, the Suns have a young stud to run the point in case he leaves.

    Kendall Marshall won the Bob Cousy Award last season as the nation's top point guard, and if he starts next year, the Suns will be pleased with what he's able to do.

    His 9.7 APG and ability to set up scoring opportunities will make the Suns happy they drafted him.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    No. 14 John Henson

    The UNC junior will add length to a Milwaukee Bucks squad that lacked a solid big man all of last season.

    Henson's 6'11'' frame helped him average 14 PPG and 10 RPG last season, so how could Milwaukee not take him at No. 14?

    The only problem is, Henson doesn't have a strong leader to help him along the way.

    With Drew Gooden helping him out down low, Henson could struggle at first.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    No. 15 Moe Harkless

    Philadelphia grabbed a nice scorer in Moe Harkless, and it shouldn't be long for the freshman from St. John's to put up big numbers in the NBA.

    Harkless dominated the powerhouse Big East conference last season and only has room to grow.

    Depending on if the Sixers decide to trade Andre Iguodala, look for Harkless to fit right in.

Dallas Mavericks

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    No. 24 Jared Cunningham

    After drafting Tyler Zeller with the No. 17 pick, the Mavericks decided to trade him to Cleveland for Jared Cunningham. They also picked up two second-rounders along the way.

    Cunningham finished his junior season at Oregon State averaging nearly 18 PPG.

    He will join a very old Mavericks starting lineup that is in serious need of change.

Orlando Magic

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    No. 19 Andrew Nicholson

    Coming from a lesser-known school like St. Bonaventure actually helped Andrew Nicholson once the draft rolled around.

    The senior averaged 18.4 PPG last season, and if Dwight Howard decides to stay in Orlando, Nicholson will be joined by one of the best big men in the league.

    It will be interesting to see how the Magic fit Nicholson in with Hedo Turkoglu.

Denver Nuggets

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    20. Evan Fournier

    The Nuggets got a very youthful lift by drafting Evan Fournier with the 20th pick.

    The 19-year-old Frenchman was one of the best players in Europe last season and averaged 14 PPG in France's top league.

    Fournier playing with Danilo Gallinari will bring a very European feel to Denver. He can only help them, although it's always tricky with international players.

Boston Celtics

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    No. 21 Jared Sullinger & No. 22 Fab Melo

    The Celtics took a couple of big men with their back-to-back picks in this year's draft in case Kevin Garnett decides to retire.

    Jared Sullinger slipped down the board after his medical report was red-flagged last week. When he's healthy, Sullinger has the opportunity to be a dominant force in the frontcourt.

    Fab Melo was a blocking machine last season for Syracuse and will give Boston even greater length.

    Of course, it all depends on Garnett's status. Either way, the Celtics have to be excited about their two new picks.

Atlanta Hawks

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    No. 23 John Jenkins

    The Vanderbilt junior averaged nearly 20 PPG last season and will be a great fit in Atlanta.

    With Josh Smith's status up in the air for next season, it will be interesting to see how John Jenkins will work with the rest of the team.

    Will the Hawks move the ball down low to Al Horford, or will they utilize their new rookie and see if his shot holds up in the NBA?

Memphis Grizzlies

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    No. 25 Tony Wroten Jr.

    The Memphis Grizzlies took a bit of a gamble on a young, erratic point guard in Tony Wroten Jr.

    He was the best point guard in the Pac-12 last season but averaged more turnovers per game than assists.

    Unless the Grizzlies trade O.J. Mayo or Mike Conley Jr., I see Wroten riding the bench for his first season in the NBA.

Indiana Pacers

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    No. 26 Miles Plumlee

    With Roy Hibbert, David West and Tyler Hansbrough in the frontcourt, it will be interesting to see how the Pacers work Miles Plumlee into the mix.

    He won't start, but he'll be a solid option for Indiana coming off the bench.

    If any of the Pacers' big men get hurt, Plumlee will be the next option available.

Miami Heat

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    No. 27 Arnett Moultrie

    After drafting the forward from Mississippi State, the Heat decided to trade him to Philadelphia for a future first-round pick and their No. 45 pick, Justin Hamilton.

    Miami will be getting some size and length with Hamilton on the roster. He will help out Eddy Curry and Chris Bosh.

    Of course Hamilton won't start, but he'll be nice coming off the bench.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    No. 28 Perry Jones III

    Some thought that Perry Jones III would have been picked in the top 20, but after falling to near the end of the first round, the Thunder were quick to grab him.

    With all of the length they have now with Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, Jones will fit in quite nicely with the defending Western Conference champions.

    With Jones on the team, the Thunder have now overtaken the Lakers as the most dominant team under the basket.

Chicago Bulls

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    No. 29 Marquis Teague

    The Chicago Bulls added some serious depth to their roster by drafting Kentucky's Marquis Teague.

    As unhealthy as Derrick Rose was last season, Teague could be the guy to help keep the Bulls together.

    He's already played on the biggest stage in college basketball, and he'll learn so much more from the former MVP.