2012 NBA Draft Tracker: Teams That Walked Away with Best Classes

Tim DanielsFeatured Columnist IVMarch 19, 2017

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 29:  Austin Rivers #25, team owner Tom Benson, and Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Hornets pose as they are introduced to the media at the New Orleans Areana on June 29, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Davis was the first overall pick, and Rivers the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's impossible to overstate the importance of draft night for NBA teams. It's a chance to fill holes on their roster with a new wave of young talent and the impact those players are able to make next season will have a major impact on the team's performance.

There were several franchises that should have ended Thursday night happy with the progress that was made. Let's examine three classes that stood out from the pack, both due to their depth and also the overall talent level. For a complete list of selections, click here.


NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28:  Harrison Barnes (R) of North Carolina greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number seven overall by the Golden State Warriors during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012
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Golden State Warriors

The Warriors started their draft with Harrison Barnes. He was a star during his time with North Carolina and has the all-around game necessary to succeed in the NBA. The overzealous hype in college probably cost him a top-five spot, where he belonged based on talent, but the Warriors won't complain.

They then closed out the opening round with Vanderbilt big man Festus Ezeli. His combination of size and strength should allow him to make an instant impact on defense and on the boards. It will take some time for his offense to catch up, but it's still a nice value pick.

Golden State kept the roll alive by taking Draymond Green. He improved every season at Michigan State, and that's the work ethic which will allow him to become a valuable role player at the next level, despite his lack of elite athletic ability.

The Warriors finished the class with developmental European prospect Ognjen Kuzmic. It's a terrific haul that should get the team back on track quickly.


New Orleans Hornets

It's hard to have a bad night when you own the first overall pick. The Hornets used it to take Anthony Davis, who was a dominant force during Kentucky's title run. He'll be a major factor on the defensive end right away and his offense is coming along as well.

Picking for the second time in the lottery, New Orleans took Austin Rivers at No. 10. The former Duke star is a natural scorer, plain and simple. There are concerns about his defense, but those can be fixed by increasing his effort level on that end, and will be overshadowed by his point totals.

The Hornets wrapped up the class by taking Davis' Kentucky teammate Darius Miller in the second round. Even though no single aspect of Miller's game stands out, he can contribute across the board, making him a perfect role player for a rebuilding squad.

Overall, a well-rounded class that will be remembered for the selection of Davis, but should provide a whole lot more.


NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28:  Jeremy Lamb (R) of the Connecticut Huskies greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number twelve overall by the Houston Rockets during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012
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Houston Rockets

When a team has three picks in the top 18, it's hard to fail and the Rockets didn't. Jeremy Lamb was a terrific way to start the class. He was one of the best pure shooters in the draft and should have very little trouble making the NBA jump.

Four picks later, the Rockets grabbed Royce White. As draft day approached he became one of the most coveted mid-round prospects on the board thanks to his terrific potential. He needs to improve his jump shot, but is otherwise an intriguing prospect.

Finally, Houston took combo forward Terrence Jones from Kentucky. He's one of the most complete players in the draft class and it's always nice to see a big man who can run to floor like Jones. In the right situation, he'll excel.

It's unclear how Houston is going to make all of these pieces fit together, but the team shouldn't lack talent. Building chemistry will be the tough part.