NBA Draft 2012: Predicting Lottery Picks Who Will Propel Their Team to Playoffs
The 2012 NBA draft is over, so which lottery teams will make it to the 2013 NBA playoffs?
A lot will depend on their young picks. Some franchises, including Charlotte and Sacramento, are still not good enough to get over the hump. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will add toughness and grit, but the Bobcats need more than him, Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker to make the NBA playoffs. Sacramento remains a mess and Thomas Robinson is not quite enough to fix it.
But others, like Washington and Golden State, could take big steps forward next season because they already have good foundation rosters.
So, can Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal and their fellow lottery picks lead their teams to the NBA playoffs?
No. 1: Bradley Beal, Washington Shooting Guard
Beal is an excellent shooter, scoring slasher and athlete who will fit perfectly next to John Wall in the Wizard's backcourt. Along with All-Star-level center Nene; emerging forwards Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphim; and role players Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the Wizards have enough to make the playoffs.
No. 2: Damian Lillard, Portland Point Guard
The Blazers should have taken Barnes, a special player and the best talent remaining, at No. 6. But Lillard is a good point guard and, paired with star LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and cap space, he will lead the Blazers to the playoffs.
He could be their future franchise point guard for years to come.
No. 3: Harrison Barnes, Golden State Small Forward
Barnes is a special talent who fits perfectly on this team, which was a small forward away from a complete, dynamic lineup. Paired with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, Barnes will be part of the new rising power in the Western Conference.
This could be the third-best team in the West after a few more tweaks to the roster.
No. 4: Jeremy Lamb, Houston Shooting Guard
The Rockets are going to be very, very good. Lamb is an All-Star talent who was the X-factor on Connecticut's 2011 NCAA Championship team. Houston is going to make several trades, likely involving Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry, but this team will make the NBA playoffs.