NBA Draft 2012: A Look at 5 Instant-Impact Rookies
This year's draft class is deep and mystifying, but if we cross-reference what we know about this year's first-round selections and the likely depth chart of each NBA team, we can start to get a decent idea of which players—aside from Davis—might be productive right off the bat.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
It may be an easy call going with the No. 2 overall pick, but Kidd-Gilchrist was among the most NBA-ready prospects overall. He has the kind of energetic game that should translate to the pros seamlessly.
Most college standouts need control of the ball or a pivotal role in the offense to be effective, but MKG should do just fine by working his man over on the defensive end, slashing at opportune times and facilitating the Bobcats' growth on both ends of the court.
Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings
The Kings had a great prospect fall into their lap at No. 5 and had the good sense to take him off the board without overthinking their selection.
Robinson isn't going to redefine Sacramento's future, but he'll force his way into the rotation immediately, fight his way into some solid rebounding numbers and gradually work toward offensive efficiency. Even if Robinson ends up falling short of NBA stardom, he'll be a quality pro for a long time—and should be highly playable from opening night.
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns
Much has already been made of the stylistic contrast between Marshall and the transition-heavy Suns. But there's nonetheless an opportunity for an intuitive playmaker on a team in need of a new direction.
Steve Nash's bags are essentially packed, and though Phoenix could go with any number of potential options at the point next season, I think Marshall will get ample opportunity as the Suns look to initiate a proper rebuild. He's no honest replacement for Nash, but he's good enough as a ball-handler to usher in the next evolution of the Suns offense.
Ah, the power of necessity. Boston will likely be short on bigs next season even if Kevin Garnett re-signs, opening the door for a player like Sullinger or Melo (or both) to become relevant members of the Celtics' rotation.
Whether or not Sullinger is in need of immediate surgery—as was hinted in the pre-draft chatter—obviously would play a significant role in his rookie-year viability. But supposing he's healthy enough to play, he would make for a fine sub right off the bat.
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