NBA Draft 2012 Grades: Bold Predictions for This Year's Class
The trade winds were surprisingly still in this year's NBA draft, and the draft itself had its share of shocks as well. The Cavaliers, Raptors and 76ers all made surprising first-round picks, while other teams followed a sublime first selection with a questionable second prospect.
Many players were either taken too high or too low, and this affects their team's post-draft grade. Each team's class may not stay the same over time. Some players have tremendous potential and could eventually replace this year's "safe" picks as their team's most productive players. These grades are dynamic and can change all the time.
Let's make four bold predictions about this year's draft class.
Terrence Jones Will Be Second-Best Power Forward in This Class
Who will be the better forward in Houston?
Jones has a complete skill set. His 7'2" wingspan gives him the length to contest shots and consistently pull down rebounds. He is a two-way threat because of his athleticism, ball-handling and shooting skills. Adding a defensive presence to his offensive repertoire increases his value.
The Rockets found a stud talent—if he's handled correctly, he could be a star.
Robinson and Henson were the safer picks at this point, but Jones' ability to play two positions well gives him more value in the long run.
Houston got a steal at No. 18.
Fab Melo Will Wind Up in the D-League
The Celtics needed a center in this year's draft. There's no doubt about that, but taking Melo was a bad idea. He's a long-term project at best.
Defensively, Melo is an intimidating presence at 7'0", 255 pounds. He contests everything in the paint and protects the rim.
That's where the good stuff stops.
Melo's offense is limited at best. He doesn't have a consistent shooting stroke, and his low-post moves are limited. He struggles to score anything outside of a dunk or layup, and he doesn't have the footwork to get himself in position for those shots.
The Celtics needed size, but this seems like Hasheem Thabeet to me.
Detroit Pistons Will Have Eastern Conference's Best Frontcourt in Five Years
The Pistons watched a dream scenario unfold as Drummond fell into their laps at No. 9. He may be one of the most polarizing names in the draft, but he's exactly what they needed.
Drummond adds an athletic shot-blocking presence next to rising star center Greg Monroe.
Monroe averaged 15.4 points per game last year and hauled down nearly 10 boards. He's an excellent passer and a future All-Star pivot.
Drummond isn't proven, like Monroe, but he has more potential. In a perfect world, Drummond is the best player in this class. He's an unbelievable athlete for his size and only 18 years old. He has growing up to do, but a lot of time to do it.
Playing as a duo will benefit both players and allow them to blossom. Drummond can focus on the things he does best (block shots and rebound) and bring his offense along slowly. Monroe's scoring presence will allow him to do that.
Detroit's future looks promising. These two big men, plus point guard Brandon Knight, are a tantalizing nucleus.
Drummond is in an optimal situation for his limitless potential.
Kevin Murphy Will Put Tennessee Tech on the Map
The Jazz desperately needed scoring on the wing, and Murphy fits the bill. He's a lanky 6'6'' sniper who will help the Jazz immediately.
Who will be the best scorer from the second round?
Murphy must prove he can play against upper-echelon teams, but he has big-time scoring ability. He has excellent range, a solid mid-range game and an explosive first step. He isn't an elite athlete, but he can handle himself with ease.
Utah's frontcourt is one of the NBA's best. They needed to find a go-to scorer in the backcourt, but without a first-round pick Thursday night, prospects looked bleak.
Murphy will put his mid-major school on the map. He will get plenty of opportunities to play for Utah, and his scoring ability will give them a major boost.
He could be the best scorer to come out of the second round.
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