NBA Draft 2012: Recap, Review, Winners and Losers

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Recap, Review, Winners and Losers

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    Welcome to the other side of the 2012 NBA draft.

    While the draft is over, the time to critique how it shook out is not.

    Though we saw plenty of the picks coming, others were a bit more perplexing—borderline confusing—as plenty of teams that attempted to come out ahead failed miserably.

    But that should come as no surprise, because as with everything in the NBA, the draft boasts a set of both winners and losers. 

Atlanta Hawks

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    First-Round Selection: John Jenkins (SG)

    Second-Round Selection: Mike Scott (PF)

    Verdict: Loser

    John Jenkins is a terrific shooter, but that's about all he does, which doesn't fit the needs of a Hawks team that needs a replacement for Marvin Williams sooner rather than later.

    Atlanta found a second-round gem in Mike Scott, ensuring that the team continues to have a string of strong interior presences.

    But not to the point that it eclipses the Hawks' questionable thought processes from in first round.

Boston Celtics

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    First-Round Selections: Fab Melo (C), Jared Sullinger

    Second-Round Selection: Kris Joseph (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    Jared Sullinger is a low-risk, high-reward commitment for the Celtics. He can destroy the boards when he's into it and is even a solid low-post scorer.

    While Sullinger's back is definitely of some concern, he's a top-10 talent that Boston picked up near the end of the first round.

    That's a steal.

    As for Fab Melo, he's a project but one that a rim protector such as himself makes it worth undertaking. His defensive mechanics are sound; he just needs to develop an offensive game.

    Melo's teammate Kris Joseph isn't anything special in terms of execution, but he is extremely athletic and, like Melo, could be a project worth Doc River's time.

Brooklyn Nets

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    First-Round Selection: None 

    Second-Round Selections: Ilkan Karaman (PF), Tornike Shegelia (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    It was tough for the Nets to accomplish much of anything during this year's draft, but they managed to draft two athletic bigs who bring a wide-variety of intangibles—like hustle—to the table.

    While neither of Brooklyn's prospects are likely to make a significant impact immediately, if at all, the Nets did a great job grabbing hold of legitimate talent extremely late in the game.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    First-Round Selection:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF)

    Second-Round Selection: Jeff Taylor (SF)

    Verdict: Loser 

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is an incredible perimeter defender, but if the Bobcats were looking for someone to build around for the future, Thomas Robinson would have made a better cornerstone. After all, his jump shot is further along than Kidd-Gilchrist's.

    Jeff Taylor was a solid way to kick off the second round of the draft, but only for a team which hadn't already drafted Kidd-Gilchrist.

    This draft was supposed to be a game-changer for Charlotte, but now it just seems as if the team dropped the ball and is headed for only a slight improvement next season.

Chicago Bulls

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    First-Round Selection: Marquis Teague (PG)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Winner

    The Bulls need help in the backcourt, and Marquis Teague provides just that.

    He's lightening fast, can get to basket with ease and continues to improve as a floor general.

    As long as Rose remains on the sidelines, those are aspects of the game in which Chicago cannot afford to be deficient, which is why Teague will prove to be a valued piece to its puzzle.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    First-Round Selections: Dion Waiters (SG), Tyler Zeller (C) (via Dallas Mavericks)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Loser

    If drafting Dion Waiters was ultimately the plan, trading down should have been, as well.

    Waiters is a dynamic scorer who can also man the point when called upon. That said, he's hardly a top-four player, so Cleveland missed a golden opportunity to stockpile additional assets.

    As for Tyler Zeller, despite yielding a strong presence in the middle, he wasn't cheap. The three picks the Cavaliers moved to Dallas in exchange for the rights to him make you wonder why Cleveland didn't select Thomas Robinson with the fourth overall pick.

    This was not one of  the Cavaliers' better drafts.

Dallas Mavericks

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    First-Round Selection: Jared Cunningham (SG)

    Second-Round Selections: Jae Crowder (SF), Bernard James (C)

    Verdict: Winner

    Dallas is going all out with Jared Cunningham, and you have to respect that. He's an athletic freak in need of some fine-tuning on his jump shot, but with the proper instruction, he has the potential to surprise a lot of people.

    The 27-year-old Bernard James can rebound, but not much else. His military history should draw points from the home crowd, which is a victory in itself.

    As far as Crowder goes, he's incredibly undersized for his position but fights with heart and a scrappy attitude.

    The Mavericks took a slew of risks here, but will look like geniuses if it all pays off.


Denver Nuggets

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    First-Round Selections: Evan Fournier (SG)

    Second-Round Selections: Quincy Miller (SF), Izzet Turkyilmaz (F)

    Verdict: Winner

    In keeping with the theme of its roster, Denver opted to take the understated route with its draft picks.

    Evan Fournier can be a great scorer but has to add some strength, which could result in his staying over in France for a while longer.

    Quincy MIller was an absolute steal.

    He's one of the top jump-shooters in the country and is currently struggling to recover from ACL surgery last year.

    If he ever regains his hops, he'll pay huge dividends.

    And as for Izzet Turkyilmaz, he'll likely stay in Europe to attempt and put on some bulk and gain experience at a higher level.


Detroit Pistons

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    First-Round Selection: Andre Drummond (C)

    Second-Round Selection: Kim English (SG)

    Verdict: Winner

    Andre Drummond's potential easily exceeds any risks he presents here. He fell into the Pistons' laps after eight other teams avoided him like the plague, and Detroit should be quite alright with that.

    Drummond gives the Pistons two formidable low-post presences, each of whom has the potential to develop into a superstar one day.

    And Kim English is no slack, either, as he's an extremely efficient shooter who can carry a team's offensive burden on his shoulders alone.

    Detroit really struck potential gold in this year's draft.

Golden State Warriors

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    First-Round Selections: Harrison Barnes (SF), Festus Ezeli (C)

    Second-Round Selections: Draymond Green (SF), Ognjen Kuzmic (C)

    Verdict: Winner

    Not only did the Warriors add the most athletic swingman in the entire draft, but they also finally cleared up the mountain of uncertainty building up at the small-forward slot.

    While Festus Ezeli was a questionable pick, especially with guys like Draymond Green and Quincy Miller still available, he does provide some extra insurance to an uncertain front line.

    And the addition of Ognjen Kuzmic was purely situational.

    He's a center with an unmatchable work ethic who's undoubtedly a long-term project, though one who could certainly pay dividends in the future.

Houston Rockets

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    First-Round Selections: Jeremy Lamb (SG), Terrence Jones (PF),Royce White (SF)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Loser

    The Rockets drafted a trio of competent players, but, sadly, none of them address Houston's biggest void, in the middle.

    While each of Houston's draft picks can put points on the board, a low-post game is not prevalent in any of their styles, including that of the 6'10" Terrences Jones, who plays more like a small forward than anything else.

    Though drafting for talent is essential, so is drafting based on needs. 

    This time around, the Rockets hardly did that.

Indiana Pacers

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    First-Round Selection: Miles Plumlee (PF)

    Second-Round Selection: Orlando Johnson (SG) (via Sacramento)

    Verdict: Loser 

    The Pacers made an unnecessary reach for Miles Plumlee in the first round, one that may eventually come back to haunt them.

    Though Plumlee is exceptionally athletic, he's also incredibly raw on both ends of the floor, overshadowing the promise that the perpetual scorer Orlando Johnson brings to the table.

    For a team interested in pushing itself over the championship hump, Indiana sure didn't draft like it.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    First-Round Selection: None

    Second-Round Selection: Furkan Aldemir (PF)

    Verdict: Winner

    For a team that didn't have the opportunity to select a player before the 53rd overall pick of the draft, the Clippers did a pretty good job.

    Furkan Aldemir is one of the best rebounders to come out of the draft and has inserted a series of low-post moves into his revamped offensive arsenal.

    That said, the Turkish big man is a bit undersized.

    He more than makes up for it in energy and diligence, though, and provided he can improve on a regular basis, he has a legitimate shot at contributing to the Clippers one day.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    First Round Selection: None

    Second Round Selections: Darius Johnson-Odom (SF), Robert Sacre (PF)

    Verdict: Loser

    Darius Johnson-Odom is a prolific scorer, so he should receive a legitimate opportunity to prove what he can do, as the Lakers need a role player who can shoot the ball.

    Robert Sacre can do an array of things on a basketball court, but he cannot do anything well enough to separate himself from the pack.

    In other words, he'll fit right in on the Lakers bench, where both consistent talent and depth hardly exist. 

Memphis Grizzlies

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    First Round Selection: Tony Wroten Jr. (PG)

    Second Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Winner

    Tony Wroten is a great passer, but his jump shot is worse than broken. 

    That said, he attacks the rim aggressively, usually protects the ball and is athletic enough to make you believe that he can change.

    He's certainly a high-risk, high-reward player, but he's one the Grizzlies can get on board with.

    If Wroten plays his cards right and improves his jumper, he could see everyday minutes as Mike Conley's backup.

Miami Heat

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    First Round Selections: None 

    Second Round Selections: Justin Hamilton (C)

    Verdict: Winner

    The Heat killed two birds with one stone here by drafting a big man without having to pay the salary a first-round draft pick in the process. Considering the luxury tax and their need to improve via free agency, that's huge.

    Nice job, Pat Riley. 

Milwaukee Bucks

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    First-Round Selection: John Henson (PF) 

    Second-Round Selection: Doron Lamb (SG)

    Verdict: Winner

    The Bucks made out like bandits in this year's draft.

    John Henson, along with Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden, gives Milwaukee a low post that is capable of at least making the playoffs next year.

    Inside the paint was a sore spot for the Bucks all season long, but now they have some clarity down low.

    Combine that with newly drafted sharp-shooter Doron Lamb, and their postseason hopes should materialize next season.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    First-Round Selection: None 

    Second-Round Selection: Robbie Hummel (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    There's not much to like about Robbie Hummel aside from his lights-out jump-shooting abilities.

    Luckily for him, that's the only thing Ricky Rubio needs to like, as he and Chase Budinger should receive a ton of open looks courtesy of Mr. Rubio's drive-and-kicks.

    It's never been so good to be one-dimensional.

New Orleans Hornets

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    First Round Selections: Anthony Davis (PF), Austin Rivers (SG)

    Second Round Selections: Darius Miller (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    The Hornets came away with not only Anthony Davis but two other scorers, in Austin Rivers and Darius Miller, who will make immediate impacts.

    And while New Orleans still has a long way to go, the culture of the entire organization has completely shifted.

    The Hornets have a strong draft to thank for that.

New York Knicks

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    First-Round Selection: None 

    Second-Round Selection: Kostas Papanikolaou (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    This is about as winning a pick as the Knicks were going to get this late in the draft.

    All you need to no know about Kostas Papanikolauou is that he has shut down Andrei Kirilenko on defense.

    Papanikollauuo will likely stay over in Greece for a couple more years to hone his offensive abilities, but defensively, he seems to be there already, meaning that there's hope for him yet.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    First-Round Selection: Perry Jones III (PF) 

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Winner

    Knee problems aside, Perry Jones III may very well be the steal of the draft.

    In Jones, the Thunder drafted an athletic backup for Kevin Durant who can score from anywhere on the floor, not unlike Durant himself.

    The forward's greatest problem lies in his motor.

    He has a history of battling fatigue and inconsistency, but when he's locked in, he's a two-way athlete with star potential.

    And the latter is what Oklahoma City will be focusing on. 

Orlando Magic

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    First-Round Selection: Andrew Nicholson (PF)

    Second-Round Selection: Kyle O'Quinn (C)

    Verdict: Loser

    Andrew Nicholson is a tremendous workhorse.

    He's an aggressive rebounder, can score from almost anywhere on the floor and is an underrated defender.

    That said, I can't help shake Marcin Gortat out of my mind here, as the talented big man was buried behind Dwight Howard in Orlando and his career suffered as a result.

    Kyle O'Quinn will be in the same boat.

    He's deceptively effective and really adept at protecting rim, but he'll most likely not receive to a chance to showcase his talents as long as Howard is in town.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    First-Round Selection: Moe Harkless (SF), Arnett Moultrie (PF) (via Heat)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Loser

    Looking at the Sixers' current roster, Moe Harkless simply doesn't fit the bill, or rather fits the bill so well that he's out of place.

    In fact, his game is so similar to those of Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young that it's frightening.

    While Harkless is an incredibly gifted athlete, there comes a point where a team has too many small forwards with suspect jump shots. 

    Though Arnett Moultrie adds some strength in the paint, he has to learn to spend time there first. He spends way too much time on the perimeter for a big man; Philly doesn't need a stretch 4, they need a bonafide big man.

    Just saying.

Phoenix Suns

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    First-Round Selection: Kendall Marshall (PG)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Winner

    Steve Nash or no Steve Nash, the Suns made an incredibly intelligent decision to draft Kendall Marshall.

    Not only is Marshall probably the most savvy point guard in all the draft, but he breaks down defenses and excels in transition the way Nash himself does.

    To call Marshall the second coming of Nash would be a stretch.

    But Phoenix is officially in good hands—especially if Marshall opts to look for his shot more—no matter what team Nash decides to sign with.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    First-Round Selections: Meyers Leonard (C), Damian Lillard (PG)

    Second-Round Selection: Will Barton (SG)

    Verdict: Winner

    Without a shred of doubt, Damian Lillard was easily the most talented all-around point guard in this year's draft. He's a prolific scorer, intelligent facilitator and admirable defender.

    He has the potential to single-handedly bring Portland's backcourt back from the dead.

    Center Meyers Leonard was also a great pick, as he provides the Blazers with another option to go to in the low post alongside LaMarcus Aldridge—who will welcome the assistance.

    Will Barton cannot be forgotten, either. He's a strong scorer who will make an immediate impact in Portland's rotation.

    The Blazers went 3-for-3 here.

Sacramento Kings

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    First-Round Selection: Thomas Robinson (PF)

    Second-Round Selection: None

    Verdict: Winner

    Thomas Robinson fell right into Sacramento's lap, and they couldn't be happier.

    Not only is Robinson the biggest athletic freak that this draft had to offer, but he's less of a project and more of a pillar than Andre Drummond would have been.

    And as if that's not enough, imagine the duo he and DeMarcus Cousins will form in the low post for the Kings.

    Intriguing, isn't it? 

San Antonio Spurs

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    First-Round Selection: None

    Second-Round Selection: Marcus Denmon (SG)

    Verdict: Winner

    For a team on which basketball IQ trumps athleticism 100 percent of the time, Marcus Denmon was a perfect match.

    Denmon can shoot the ball with impressive accuracy and is an extremely tough defender for someone who finds himself outmatched on most nights.

    Could San Antonio turn Denmon into the second coming of Danny Green, sans a few inches?

    Who knows?

    But the fact that it's an option speaks volumes about this pick.

Toronto Raptors

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    First-Round Selection: Terrence Ross (SG)

    Second-Round Selections: Quincy Acy (SF), Tomislav Zubcic (SF)

    Verdict: Losers

    Here we have another case of a team that should have traded down.

    As talented a shooter as Terrence Ross is, he's hardly a lottery pick, let alone deserving of the top 10.

    While his presence helps Toronto's sales pitch to Steve Nash, it doesn't increase the Raptors' chances by much, rendering this an extremely risky pick.

    None of Toronto's second-round picks scream "game-changer" either.

    Quincy Acy is a solid addition, though he has to develop an outside game. The same goes for Tomislav Zubcic, who has enormous upside but needs to get stronger and produce at a high level consistently.

Utah Jazz

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    First-Round Selection: None

    Second-Round Selection: Kevin Murphy (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    Kevin Murphy was one of the best scorers in college basketball.

    Though the small forward is drastically undersized, he knocks down shots and dells out passes with pinpoint precision.

    He's also a willing defender and a decent rebounder.

    With the Jazz in need of an outside scorer, Murphy should receive an opportunity to play early on.

Washington Wizards

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    First-Round Selection: Bradley Beal (SG)

    Second-Round Selection: Tomas Satoransky (SF)

    Verdict: Winner

    Bradley Beal is just what John Wall ordered: a savvy shooter who will stretch opposing defenses wafer-thin.

    With the additions of Trevor Ariza and Beal, along with the ever-present Wall, the Wizards are suddenly a scary transitional team.

    The hard-fought defense Beal brings along with him will also be a valued commodity in Washington.

    Let's not neglect to mention Tomas Satoransky, either. He'll probably stay in Europe for the next couple of years, but he's a diligent wing who can play a point-forward role.

    Expect him to replace Trevor Ariza eventually.