NBA Draft 2012: The 3 Most Puzzling Picks of Round 1

Lance SmithCorrespondent IJune 29, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: The 3 Most Puzzling Picks of Round 1

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    It's safe to say that this draft went astray from its predictions—and quickly.

    Three picks in particular really made no sense to me. Whether it was because these players were not good fits for their new team, or if they were just a reach, these three first-round draft selections were surprising a bad way. 

3. John Henson Taken 14th by the Milwaukee Bucks

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    This pick puzzled me for three reasons.

    First of all, with Ekpe Udoh now suiting up with the newly-acquired Samuel Dalembert, the last thing that the team needed was a shot-blocker. 

    Second, if the Bucks hope to re-sign Ersan Ilyasova, they will have a harder time convincing him to return if they continue to stockpile power forwards. If they don't plan to have him back, they then needed to get more frontcourt depth. But if he rejoins the team, they have a logjam. 

    The final reason...Tyler Zeller!

    I would've bet money that Milwaukee would have taken Henson's Tar Heel teammate. With Dalembert no longer capable of playing starter minutes, and Drew Gooden not really being a long-term solution at power forward, the Bucks need more depth at center.

    Zeller is as good a rebounder as Henson, and he's a very reliable offensive player, who might be on the verge of solidifying his jump shot.

    God knows Milwaukee needs the scoring.

2. Dion Waiters Taken No. 4 by the Cavaliers

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    For the second year in a row, Cleveland has baffled us with the fourth overall pick.

    First, the Cavs could've traded down and still gotten Dion Waiters. But even if they couldn't have done so, this pick is still a real stretch.

    Waiters will step in and start immediately, but he's just not good enough to be taken above the likes of Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes.

    Why did Cleveland pass up Harrison Barnes? Waiters and Barnes will probably be at about the same level early on, but the new Golden State Warrior is likely to continue to improve for years to come—maybe even to the point of being a consistent All-Star.

    Dion Waiters just doesn't have the kind of ceiling to be taken so high.

1. Miles Plumlee Taken 26th by the Pacers

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    An absolute stretch. But let's look on the bright side.

    With their first-round pick, the Pacers got an athletic seven-footer who can play either post position, rebound exceptionally well, block a shot or two per game and finish fairly well around the basket.

    What Plumlee can't do is score that much or make a major impact defensively. It should also be noticed that he only averaged 20 minutes per game this past season at Duke, suggesting that he has hardly any upside at the next level.

    I'm not saying all of these guys are definitely the obvious choice over Plumlee, but let's think of the big men the Pacers passed up.

    -Arnett Moultrie
    -Drew Gordon
    -Perry Jones III
    -Festus Ezeli
    -Furkan Aldemir 
    -Arnett Moultrie
    -Kevin Jones
    -Perry Jones III
    -Mike Scott
    -Arnett Moultrie

    Did I mention that Indiana passed up Baylor's Perry Jones III? OK. Fine. Maybe he wasn't the true big they were looking for (I'd have taken him anyway).

    Did I mention Arnett Moultrie? Compared to Plumlee, the former Mississippi State Bulldog is almost as good a rebounder and far better offensively and defensively. He's also insanely versatile and has All-Star potential.

    Perhaps in a weaker draft, going after a rebounding specialist, who didn't play starter's minutes in college and has little upside, makes sense at the end of the first round.

    However, this draft was special. And in case I forgot to tell you, the Pacers chose this guy over Arnett Moultrie.