NBA Draft 2012: Pros and Cons of All 30 1st-Round Picks

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIJune 29, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Pros and Cons of All 30 1st-Round Picks

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    All the picks of the 2012 NBA draft have been made, and every team thinks they've found players who will be able to help them be competitive in the 2012-13 season.

    While every NBA team thinks they've found the best player in the draft, and the player who can help them achieve success in the near future, every player selected in the draft has a downside.

    There are pros and cons in every prospect's game. For example, Anthony Davis is a great athlete and a terrific shot blocker, but he's also lacks strength and muscle on his lanky frame. A lot of times the pros outweigh the cons, but it's wise to be aware of what prospects need to work on heading into the offseason.

    Ahead is a list of pros and cons for the first-round picks of the 2012 NBA draft.  

1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

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    Pros: Terrific shot blocker and athletic, lanky wingman 

    Anthony Davis is one of the most productive players on the glass and on the defensive side of the ball to come out of the draft. He's a shot-blocking fiend, and his lanky frame in the paint will be a nightmare for opponents to go up against.

    In addition, Davis is one of the purest athletes on the offensive side of the ball. He has a terrific perimeter game for a player his size, and that's something that will help him stand out during his rookie year.

    Cons: Needs to add muscle to 6'11'', 224-pound frame

    Davis' athleticism is only held back by the fact that he's a bit weak at this point in his career strength-wise. He'll need to improve on that before he can become a true All-Star in the NBA. 

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

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    Pros: Elite athleticism and terrific perimeter defender

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the best perimeter defenders coming out of the draft.

    That athleticism also translates to the offensive side of the ball. Kidd-Gilchrist can cut to the rim with the best players in the league and has an amazing motor that never seems to run out.

    Cons: Needs to add polish to perimeter game

    What makes small forwards stand out in the NBA is whether or not they have the ability to stretch the court with a perimeter game.

    At this time, Kidd-Gilchrist needs to work on his long-range game. Until he does that, he'll be limited in the way he can impact the game for his teammates. 

3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

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    Pros: Best pure shooter coming out of the draft

    Bradley Beal has been compared to Ray Allen, which is high praise considering Allen is the all-time leader for three-point shots made in the NBA.

    While Beal right now might not be exactly on that level, there's no doubt that what we've seen from him at Florida leads us to believe that he can quickly become that kind of player in the NBA. The Wizards now have an impressive backcourt duo with Beal and John Wall.

    Cons: A bit undersized for the shooting guard position

    There's no doubt that Beal will be a productive shooting guard in the NBA, but he'll be held back early on by his lack of size.

    Beal can add strength to his frame but he can't change the fact that he's just 6'5''. Seeing that his size is his only con, I'm sure the Wizards can deal with that. A number of great NBA shooting guards have been much shorter than Beal. 

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse

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    Pros: Versatile ability to score on the perimeter and in the paint

    While Dion Waiters didn't start a single game at Syracuse and only averaged around 24 minutes per game, the one thing we learned about him is that he can flat out score.

    Waiters can hit clutch shots on the perimeter and can also drive into the paint and finish, similar to players like Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade.

    Cons: Inefficient jump shot

    The one thing Waiters needs to work on is adding a level of efficiency to his long-range jumper.

    He's a bit of an inconsistent shooter on the perimeter. While that won't keep him from being productive in his rookie year, it's certainly something he will need to improve. 

5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

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    Pros: Hard worker and physical offensive game

    The Sacramento Kings drafted the hardest worker in the 2012 draft class, and that's something that will pay dividends for their young, and often times immature, roster.

    Thomas Robinson will out-work and out-hustle everyone around him, and that will in turn make the talent around him better, which is a major plus for the Kings.

    Cons: Focuses a bit too much on his perimeter game

    Robinson needs to remember that he's a power forward, and not a wingman who's supposed to hang out on the perimeter.

    While Robinson has a nice touch on his perimeter jump shot, the Kings drafted him to bolster their frontcourt depth in the paint, and that's something Robinson needs to remember during his rookie year. 

6. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

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    Pros: Disciplined and efficient scoring point guard

    Damian Lillard is an ideal point guard prospect at the NBA level. He protects and facilitates the ball well, and he also is a prolific scorer.

    Lillard is a hard worker, and he has an offensive skill set that will certainly translate to the NBA level very quickly.

    Cons: Court vision is lacking

    Sometimes Lillard can get a bit too focused on the basket, similar to how Russell Westbrook plays for the OKC Thunder.

    Lillard will need to remember that he is a point guard first, and a scoring guard second. If Lillard can focus on facilitating the ball to teammates, he'll help loosen the defense's focus on him, which will help him be a more efficient and productive scorer. 

7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

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    Pros: Mature and fundamentally sound wingman

    Harrison Barnes is certainly the most mature and fundamentally sound player coming out of the draft, and that's something that will benefit the Golden State Warriors.

    His maturity will rub off on the players around him and will also lead to him becoming one of the hardest workers coming out of the draft.

    Cons: Lacks elite level of athleticism

    Barnes is a fundamental player but he will be held back by his lack of elite athleticism.

    The lack of athleticism that exists in Barnes' game is something that he'll have to overcome with fundamental offensive skills, similar to the way that Tim Duncan has to play. 

8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

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    Pros: Athletically gifted with an impressive range

    At the No. 8 spot for the Raptors, Terrence Ross was the first stretch of the draft. The Raptors made that stretch because of Ross's athleticism and his pure ability to score.

    Ross is a big-time leaper and one of the quickest shooting guards off the dribble, which is something the Raptors lacked last season.

    Cons: Inconsistent and undersized

    The reason why going after Ross at No. 8 was a stretch is because he's an extremely inconsistent player on the offensive side of the ball. He's a streaky shooter, and the Raptors will learn that rather quickly.

    Ross also is a bit small for the 2-guard position in the NBA, and he'll have to learn how to overcome his lack of size against bigger and stronger defenders. 

9. Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

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    Pros: Massive upside rooted in athletic ability

    The Detroit Pistons picked the best player available instead of drafting for needs with Andre Drummond. Drummond is a ridiculously athletic player, and at his size, his athleticism is something you rarely see.

    Drummond's athletic potential has been compared to that of Dwight Howard, and that's certainly why the Pistons took a risk on Drummond.

    Cons: Inconsistent and extremely raw

    At Connecticut, Drummond was a bit inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball, as he would settle for perimeter shots a bit too much.

    Drummond is also extremely raw on both sides of the ball. He'll need significant time to develop and mature, and he's going to have to be the one to put all the hard work in.

    Here's to hoping he fairs better than Hasheem Thabeet did in the NBA. 

10. New Orleans Hornets: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke

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    Pros: Confident shooter with an impressive range

    Austin Rivers is an extremely confident player, and that's what makes him so successful. A number of experts call his confidence arrogance, but I'd take a player who believes he's the best over one who doesn't every day of the week.

    Rivers also has one of the deepest strokes of all the prospects in the draft, and that's something that will translate immediately into the NBA.

    Cons: Questionable shot selection

    Because of Rivers' confidence, there are times when he puts up too many questionable shots, and that certainly holds him back.

    Rivers will need to work on adding efficiency to his offensive game. Until he does that, his minutes could be limited if he puts up too many questionable shots. 

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

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    Pros: Athletic upside and developmental skills

    The Blazers needed a center and they decided to go with the one with more upside than the more NBA-ready prospect.

    Meyers Leonard certainly has a lot of potential as he's the most athletically-gifted center prospect in the draft next to Andre Drummond. Leonard's athletic abilities are why the Blazers selected him so high.

    Cons: Needs to add strength and lacks polish

    Leonard is a ridiculously raw offensive player, and that "rawness" will hold him back early on in his NBA career.

    Leonard is certainly not ready to translate his game to the ranks of the NBA. He'll need time to work on his post game and harness his athleticism in the ranks of the NBA.

    Until Leonard develops, he won't be able to be a productive player in the NBA. 

12. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut

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    Pros: Crazy wingspan with an impressive range

    Jeremy Lamb is one of the most versatile and athletic 2-guards in the draft. He certainly has an impressive range to his jump shot, and that will help him excel in the NBA.

    Lamb also uses his wingspan effectively off the dribble to create space and separation between him and his defender.

    Cons: Lacks strength on his frame

    Lamb needs to get stronger, and he needs to do that rather quickly or he'll struggle transitioning into the NBA.

    Lamb's lack of strength is something that is a concern for him, but it's not something that will completely hold him back during his rookie year in the NBA. 

13. Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

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    Pros: Truest point guard in the draft

    Kendall Marshall is hands down the most complete point guard coming out of the 2012 draft. That's something the Suns need with uncertainty surrounding Steve Nash's future in Phoenix.

    Marshall averaged close to a double-double in college, and he could easily carry that production into the NBA. Marshall's biggest strength is his ability to facilitate offense to the talent around him, which is the kind of player Nash is in Phoenix.

    Cons: Not the most athletic prospect, inconsistent shooter

    Marshall excels at running the point, but he lacks the serious scoring ability that makes other prospects like Damian Lillard so exciting.

    Marshall also is not the most athletic prospect coming out of the draft. Luckily, his ability to facilitate to his teammates will help him transition into being a productive point guard in the NBA. 

14. Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson, PF, North Carolina

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    Pros: Mature and disciplined defender

    John Henson is a mature and disciplined person, which translates into being the most hard-working and disciplined player coming out of the draft.

    Henson's biggest strength is the focus he brings to the defensive side of the ball, and that's something the Bucks will certainly profit from during his rookie season.

    Cons: Needs to work on offensive game

    Henson does lack a level of polish on his offensive game, and that will hold him back a bit as he transitions into the NBA.

    Henson also needs to add a serious level of strength to his frame, because where he stands right now, he's a bit small to be banging in the paint with the best of the best in the NBA.

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Maurice Harkless, SF, St. Johns

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    Pros: Explosive athlete and solid defender

    The Philadelphia 76ers were a solid team last season and they earned that success by leading with defense, which is something that Maurice Harkless can fit right into.

    In addition to his solid defensive focus, Harkless is also a very athletic and explosive offensive player, which is something that will fit well within the 76ers' system.

    Cons: Fails to play hard all the time

    The biggest question surrounding Harkless' game is whether he'll give 100 percent all the time or not.

    Harkless needs to prove that he'll reach his potential in the NBA by combining his raw athletic potential with a high work ethic. 

16. Houston Rockets: Royce White, SF, Iowa State

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    Pros: Physically gifted and versatile power forward

    Royce White has an extremely high upside that is rooted in the versatility that he brings to the court. He's a massive power forward, who's able to also hit long-range shots from the perimeter.

    In addition to that, White is also an above-average ball-handler for his size, and that's something that if it's maintained, can be a major upside to what he brings to the court.

    Cons: Questionable shot selection and off-the-court issues

    White often times puts up questionable shots and believes in himself a bit too much. White's confidence leads to poor shot selection, which will certainly hold him back a bit.

    There are also a lot of off-the-court issues that White will need to deal with as he looks at translating his versatile game into the ranks of the NBA. 

17. Dallas Mavericks (To Cleveland Cavaliers): Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

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    Pros: Mobility and ability to run the floor

    Tyler Zeller runs the floor like a small forward. Seeing that he's seven feet tall, that's quite an impressive aspect of his game.

    Zeller also has an impressive mid-range jumper, and he's a great rebounder who will be able to fill the paint for the Cleveland Cavaliers right away.

    Cons: Not extremely athletic

    Zeller will have to overcome his lack of athleticism by continuing to add strength to his frame and working on the fundamental level of his post game.

    There's no doubt that Zeller can overcome his lack of athleticism. The only question is how long it will take for him to do that. 

18. Houston Rockets: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky

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    Pros: NBA-ready frame and versatile offensive skills

    Terrence Jones might very well be the best player coming out of the draft from Kentucky. Not only does he have an additional year of experience under his belt, but he also has a more NBA-ready frame than teammate Anthony Davis.

    Jones has the size of a power forward, but he plays with the versatility and athletic abilities of a small forward, which is something that will benefit his transition to the NBA.

    Cons: Can focus too much on perimeter offense, has a questionable motor

    Jones has a very questionable work ethic, but he can definitely overcome that by proving that he will give 100 percent every time he steps on the court.

    Jones also needs to make sure that he doesn't focus too much on his perimeter offense and uses his size and strength to bang in the paint. 

19. Orlando Magic: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

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    Pros: Perimeter range and tenacity in the paint

    Watching the 6'10'', 234-pound Andrew Nicholson shoot the ball from the perimeter is quite a sight to see, and it's a major reason why he's such a talented prospect.

    Nicholson also is a dominant player in the paint, and he's ridiculously productive on the glass, which is something the Magic will certainly benefit from.

    Cons: Inconsistent production at times

    Nicholson is the kind of player who can easily be forgotten on the court if he's not actively involved in the offense.

    He also needs to focus on adding efficiency and consistency to his mid-range game. Until he does that, Nicholson could certainly struggle in his transition into the NBA. 

20. Denver Nuggets: Evan Fournier, SG, France

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    Pros: Talented ability to penetrate the paint

    Evan Fournier is a risky talent, as there's no certainty on the kind of player he'll end up being. With that being said, he certainly has an impressive offensive skill set to his game.

    Fournier can penetrate the paint extremely well, and when you combine that with his long-range ability, you can see why he was taken so high.

    Cons: Inefficient defender and a bit undersized

    Fournier certainly needs to grow into his 6'7'' frame, and he can do that by adding muscle in the weight room.

    In addition to that, Fournier also lacks the lateral quickness it takes to defend on the perimeter in the NBA, which could be a major liability for him moving forward. 

21. Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

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    Pros: Excellent defender and tenacious on the glass

    Jared Sullinger is a lottery talent that slipped because of health questions. That doesn't change the fact that he's one of the best true rebounders coming out of the draft.

    Sullinger has an impressive knack for rebounding the ball in the paint, and even if his back isn't 100-percent healthy, that's something he can bring to the court. Sullinger also is a great perimeter defender.

    Cons: Lacks athleticism

    The biggest knock on Sullinger is that he's just not athletic enough to compete in the NBA.

    Sullinger will need to become more and more fundamentally sound to counteract his lack of athleticism. If he fails to do that, his NBA career will be short lived. 

22. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

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    Pros: Seven-foot frame and physicality on defense

    Fab Melo was drafted in the first round mainly because of his 7'0", 255-pound frame. The raw potential that exists in Melo's game is impressive to say the least.

    While his offensive skills are raw, his size alone makes him an intimidating defender, and that will help him be a productive player in the NBA sooner than later.

    Cons: Extremely low basketball I.Q.

    There's no doubt that Melo will be held back in his rookie year by his lack of basketball intelligence.

    Melo needs to learn the game of basketball, especially the pick-and-roll offense/defense, before he can be a productive rookie in the NBA.

23. Atlanta Hawks: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

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    Pros: Pure shooter and prolific scorer

    Next to Bradley Beal, John Jenkins is the best, pure shooter coming out of the draft. His ability to score at a prolific rate is something that easily translates into the NBA.

    Jenkins shot above 40 percent from the three-point line last year in college, and it's that kind of production that will help him find success during his rookie season.

    Cons: Lack of athleticism and underwhelming defensive focus

    Aside from his pure stroke, there's not much else that Jenkins does extremely well.

    He's not an overly athletic player, and his defensive focus is sub-par at best. If Jenkins wants to be a productive player in the NBA, he'll have to work on developing skills outside of his shooting ability. 

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (To Dallas Mavericks): Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon St.

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    Pros: Agility and quickness off the dribble

    Jared Cunningham is another scorer, and he does so by slashing into the paint and finishing with an impressive level of polish around the rim.

    Cunningham is also a very agile player off the dribble, with the ability to get past stronger defenders with his quick first step. That will be at the foundation of Cunningham's success in the NBA.

    Cons: Inconsistent jump shot and lacks strength

    At 6'6'' and 188 pounds, Cunningham is a bit undersized at the shooting guard position, and he'll get pushed around on the defensive side of the ball because of that.

    Cunningham also needs to work on the efficiency and consistency of his jump shot. Until he does that he'll struggle to earn minutes for the Dallas Mavericks behind more veteran talent. 

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington

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    Pros: Strong, versatile combo-guard who can run the point

    Tony Wroten is an extremely gifted player. He has the size and shooting ability to be a shooting guard, but he also has the handles to run the point.

    Wroten is also very physical, and that's something that will help him transition to the next level before other players drafted ahead of him.

    Cons: Poor shot selection

    The one thing Wroten must absolutely improve heading into his rookie year is his tendency to take low-percentage shots rather than being patient in his team's offense.

    Coming off the bench, and learning from Mike Conley Jr. will certainly help Wroten learn to be a more patient and complete player. 

26. Indiana Pacers: Miles Plumlee, PF, Duke

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    Pros: Covertly athletic and impressively strong

    Miles Plumlee is a prospect whose success is founded in out-hustling everyone around him and relying on his athletic abilities.

    Plumlee is a player whose work ethic will never be called into question, and that will be why he will be able to succeed early on in his NBA career.

    Cons: Lacks polished offensive skills

    Plumlee's athleticism is great, but it won't take him far if he fails to develop a polished post game and an increased level of consistency on his mid-range jumper.

    Until Plumlee develops an offensive game, he'll be buried on the Pacers' bench. But if he's willing to put in time and add polish in the post, he can be a successful big-man in the NBA. 

No. 27 Miami Heat (To Philadelphia 76ers): Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi St.

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    Pros: Impressive perimeter game and versatility

    The Philadelphia 76ers may have gotten the steal of the draft when they traded Justin Hamilton and a future first-round pick to the Miami Heat for Arnett Moultrie.

    Moultrie is a gifted athlete who's able to play out on the perimeter or inside in the paint. Moultrie's athletic versatility will be at the foundation of his immediate success as a rookie with the 76ers.

    Cons: Weak free-throw shooter and a bit undersized

    Moultrie's biggest concern heading into his rookie season will be adding strength so that he can focus on developing a legitimate post game to help solidify the 76ers' frontcourt.

    In addition to that, Moultrie will also need to improve on his free-throw shooting. If he fails to do that he could be more of a liability than he is an asset for the 76ers.

No. 28 Oklahoma City Thunder: Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor

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    Pros: Versatile power forward, can play anywhere on the court

    The Oklahoma City Thunder made the steal of the draft by selecting Perry Jones III with the No. 28 pick.

    Jones is ridiculously athletic and he can play every position on the court. He's a good ball-handler, a solid perimeter shooter and a nightmare in the paint. As long as Jones puts the work in, he'll end up being one of the best players to come out of the draft.

    Cons: Questionable motor at times

    The biggest knock on Jones, aside from the health of his knees, is the fact that at times he seems to play at less than 100 percent.

    That won't fly for the Thunder and if Jones continues to give less than 100 percent at all times, his NBA career won't be that productive. If he decides to become a hard worker though he'll have a productive career, and he'll be the steal of the 2012 NBA draft. 

No. 29 Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

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    Pros: Extreme quickness and great court vision

    Marquis Teague is a great athlete and a solid prospect. At the foundation of his success is his elite quickness and his ability to truly view the entirety of the court at all times.

    Teague is also a competent shooter who can get into the paint and consistently hit his mid-range jump shot.

    Cons: Lack of range in jump shot

    The one thing holding Teague back is certainly the lack of range he has in his jump shot.

    Teague certainly needs to work on his three-point jumper if he wants to be an elite point guard at the next level. If he fails to do that though, he'll still be a productive point guard because of his impressive court vision. 

No. 30 Golden State Warriors: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

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    Pros: Physical defender and tough on the glass

    Festus Ezeli is a seven-foot beast on the glass and defensive side of the ball. He'll certainly add a nice level of defensive toughness to a Warriors team that desperately needs it.

    Ezeli is also a terrific shot blocker and that will help him earn valuable minutes at the next level as he continues to work on his offensive skills. 

    Cons: Raw offensive player

    The biggest area where Ezeli needs to improve is when it comes to his offensive skills. He currently lacks a level of polish that it takes to be a competent offensive center.

    As long as Ezeli puts in the time it will take to develop his offensive skills, he'll be able to be a productive center in the NBA because he has all the other tools it will take to succeed.