The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone, and now it is time to dissect these young rookies and predict exactly what they'll do in their rookie campaigns. Some will certainly do better than others.
The rookie with the most expectations is obviously Anthony Davis. He's a young player, but he's got the talent to legitimize the high expectations New Orleans fans will have for him. Other highly-touted players will also have to use every bit of their talent, and then some, to live up to the massive pressure put on them.
The players who will live up to the pressure will be the ones who are ultimately successful in the NBA. Here are predictions for each rookie drafted in the first round.
Predicted Stats: 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game
Davis was obviously the best player in this draft and deserved to be picked No. 1 overall. His 6’11” frame and long arms will be great at protecting the rim immediately. He’s a bit light though, and he will probably get pushed around a bit in his first season. He'll average a double-double as a rookie and win Rookie of the Year.
Predicted Stats: 16. 3 points, 6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist won't be a great offensive player right out of the gate. He's very athletic and can get to the rim, but his jump shot still needs work. He will play tremendously hard and introduce the Bobcats to this new thing called "defense." His work ethic and character will make him a leader almost immediately.
Predicted Stats: 18. 3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game
Bradley Beal is the perfect fit for the Wizards to fill their need at shooting guard. He'll step in and play well immediately, making their offense run much more smoothly and even helping out on defense. His long range shooting ability and athleticism are desperately needed and will be used. His rebounding abilities from his position will also help on the defensive end.
Predicted Stats: 12 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game
Dion Waiters isn't a good enough shooter to be perfect in this spot but he will be fairly effective. He'll be the Cavs' best option at getting to the rim and will start alongside Kyrie Irving. He'll be a good starter, but probably not as effective as Bradley Beal would have been here.
Predicted Stats: 12 points and nine rebounds per game
Thomas Robinson will fill a big need for the Kings in the toughness department. His bullying ways around the rim will be needed, and he'll continue to rebound well as a rookie. His scoring will go down as he'll have many more players to share the ball with, but he'll still get a decent 12 points a game.
Predicted Stats: 19 points, four assists and 3.5 rebounds per game
Damian Lillard is the most talented point guard in this class, and he'll live up to that hype in his first season in Portland. Few players have the rare combination of being able to shoot from long range, get to the basket and pass the way that Lillard does. All those attributes will be on display in his rookie season.
Predicted Stats: 15 points and 4.5 rebounds per game
Harrison Barnes went to the perfect place for him. He loves to shoot threes, and he'll get to shoot plenty alongside Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. Barnes will flourish in the up-tempo attack that the Warriors use. He may not grow much as a player, but he'll get some nice stats out of the deal.
Predicted Stats: 11 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game
Terrence Ross is a great three-point shooter and that's the primary function he'll fulfill for the Raptors in his first year. He'll also get some rebounds and add some length on the perimeter thanks to his terrific athleticism.
Predicted Stats: 8.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game
Andre Drummond landed in a great situation in Detroit. The Pistons need a rim-protector/rebounder to pair with Greg Monroe. That's a role that Drummond should be able to adjust to fairly quickly, and he'll have a solid rookie season.
Predicted Stats: 14 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists
Austin Rivers' role on this team is unclear at this point. I have my doubts about him as a point guard, but I feel like he'll be very good as a shooting guard. No matter what position he plays, Rivers absolutely will score. He's a great shooter and great isolation scorer, and both will come in handy for the Hornets.
Predicted Stats: 8.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks
Meyers Leonard is a project, but he should have an impact immediately for Portland. The Blazers need a big man to play beside LaMarcus Aldridge and Leonard can be that guy for them. He's raw, but he should be decent to start out.
Predicted Stats: 16.4 points and 4.3 rebounds
Jeremy Lamb is a very smooth athlete and a really good pick at No. 12 for Houston. He should have an immediate impact on their team and start, especially if a big trade goes down. He can shoot from the outside and has the athleticism to put up nice numbers. If he learns to play hard every night, he could end up being a lot better than anyone expects.
Predicted Stats: 12 points and 6.4 assists per game
This prediction is assuming that Steve Nash leaves as a free agent, and Kendall Marshall steps in as the starter. Marshall is the best passer in the draft and has great size for his position. He'll lead this offense better than any other rookie could, although not quite as good as Nash...yet.
Predicted Stats: 5.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks
John Henson is a great athlete with tremendous length. However, the rest of his game isn't good enough for him to be that good right away. His strength and offense must improve. He'll be in the rotation and block some shots. Other than that, he won't have much of an impact in his first year.
Predicted Stats: 6.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game
Maurice Harkless is a very gifted athlete, yet another for the Sixers to add to their group. He isn't the three-point shooter they needed (20 percent from three), but he is a great athlete with a seven-foot wingspan. He'll be in the rotation and play some, but he'll have trouble separating himself from the rest of the team.
Predicted Stats: 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists
Royce White will continue to play a kind of "point-forward" position that he did at Iowa State. He' s too athletic and gifted to keep on the bench, and he has a confidence that one wouldn't expect considering his anxiety problems. He'll be a balanced player who helps the Rockets (or whoever ends up getting him).
Predicted Stats: 10 points, 8.2 rebounds and a block per game
Tyler Zeller will be expected to come in right away and play for the Cavaliers, and he'll be up to the task. He's an extremely mobile big man who runs the floor well and can play a decent all around game. Cleveland's frontline will be better immediately with Zeller.
Predicted Stats: 10.2 points and 7.5 rebounds per game
Terrence Jones may have hurt his draft position by coming back to Kentucky, but he did become a better player in that extra year in college. He'll be an impact player in his first year, probably off the bench. Lottery talent is tough to come by, but the Rockets have it here. Jones will play like it too.
Predicted Stats: 14 points and 8.4 rebounds per game
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Nicholson starts for Orlando, either alongside Dwight Howard or without him. He's got a great low-post game, and he can also knock-down the outside shot. Combine those skills with his good free throw shooting and offensive efficiency, and you've got one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Predicted Stats: None
Fournier will not be seen in the upcoming NBA season. He'll be stashed by the Nuggets in France for at least another year. He needs to add strength to compete in the NBA.
Predicted Stats: 6.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game
Sullinger will come off the bench for the Celtics, giving them a player that can score in the low post. There are major questions about Sullinger's health and athleticism, but he won't be asked to do as much, and he'll do well in his limited role. A bigger one may await later on, but not next season.
Predicted Stats: 3.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game
Don't expect Fab Melo to have a big impact soon. He's a major project that is far from being near completion. He will be able to step in and play some defense immediately though, as his length and size make him a great defender almost by default.
Predicted Stats: 5.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, 38 percent from three
John Jenkins is the best pure shooter in this draft. That's all he'll be next season: a shooter to space the floor for the Hawks other players. He'll do well in that role because he's a really good shooter, but he won't do much else.
Predicted Stats: 4.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists
Jared Cunningham is a great athlete who will expected to play point. The problem is that he won't be ready for all that just yet. He will play some, but he'll struggle to adjust to the NBA game. Although he may be a lot better as he matures, he won't be in his rookie season.
Predicted Stats: 6.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game
Tony Wroten is the most athletic point guard in the game. He's huge for his position and can power his way to the hoop. He'll probably start out as a backup to Mike Conley, so his stats won't be great. But give him a few years and he could be running this team.
Predicted Stats: 2.1 points and 3.4 rebounds
Plumlee will struggle to make a consistent impact in his rookie year in the NBA. He's athletic and strong, but it takes more than that to be good right away. This pick was a major reach by the Pacers, and they may regret it.
Predicted Stats: 5.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game
Arnett Moultrie is a good athlete and can score the basketball, which is a need for the Sixers. He'll come off the bench and contribute immediately. I wouldn't expect huge minutes for him next season, but he might get those after Elton Brand is gone.
Predicted Stats: 4.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks
Perry Jones III will have trouble getting on the floor at first. This Oklahoma City team has a deep rotation, but Jones will eventually break into it. Don't expect much from him this year, but he's role will grow as the team needs him and he matures.
Predicted Stats: 2.1 points and 1.3 assists per game
Marquis Teague will probably have a really tough time getting to play with this team. I wouldn't be surprised if he spends time in the D-League, but he could nab the third string point guard spot. He'll do alright in his limited time, but his role with this team will be tiny.
Predicted Stats: 4.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and one block per game
Festus Ezeli is a big body and that's exactly what the Warriors will use him for. He'll rebound well and block some shots, but he's still not very good on offense. If he can land the backup role behind Andrew Bogut, those stats will be about right. If not, they'll be lower.