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NBA Draft Recap: Lottery Teams That Will Make the Playoffs Next Season

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28:  Austin Rivers (R) of the Duke Blue Devils greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number ten overall by the New Orleans Hornets during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Nicholas GossCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2016

The Houston Rockets—one team that picked in the lottery at the 2012 NBA Draft—will certainly make the playoffs next season.

Picking the best player available certainly helps your roster, but the most improvement comes from drafting players who will address serious weaknesses from the year before.

Let's look at three lottery teams that addressed weaknesses in the first round of the draft, and as a result, will make the 2012-13 NBA playoffs.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks finished ninth in the Eastern Conference this season and missed the playoffs by a four-game margin.

They drafted John Henson out of North Carolina to give them the shot-blocking presence they gave up at the trade deadline when they dealt center Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors.

Henson will dramatically improve the Bucks' ability to defend in the paint and rebound. The Bucks won't have to worry about scoring at a high rate on a consistent basis because Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings are two of the better offensive guards in basketball.

Henson and newly acquired center Samuel Dalembert will help Milwaukee get back to the playoffs next season.

 

Houston Rockets

The Rockets missed the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference by two games last season, and they were fortunate to have three first-round picks in this year's draft following a few trades.

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 chose UConn guard Jeremy Lamb with the 12th pick, which wasn't a great move since he doesn't project to be a star player. There were better players available that the Rockets passed on, like Tyler Zeller of North Carolina. Lamb will be a good player and can contribute right away, but his ceiling isn't very high.

The Rockets' next two first-round picks were Royce White of Iowa State and Terrence Jones of Kentucky at picks 16 and 18, respectively. Both of these players can score the basketball and give the Rockets versatility in the frontcourt.

After an interesting draft for the Rockets, they now have a deep roster of players who could be quite valuable as trade chips to acquire marquee stars.

Whether they trade one of their first-round picks or not, the Rockets are set up nicely for a playoff appearance next season.

 

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets added two future stars in Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick and Duke Point guard Austin Rivers with the 10th pick.

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28:  Anthony Davis (R) of the Kentucky Wildcats greets NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) after he was selected number one overall by the New Orleans Hornets during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 201
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Davis will be a reliable contributor at both ends of the floor, and he doesn't need to have the ball to be effective, which is important for a team that has two quality scorers in Rivers and Eric Gordon that need the ball on offense.

With a nice roster of young talent and a new owner, the future is bright for the Hornets. If Davis and Rivers continue to develop, New Orleans could certainly earn the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

All of this depends on Gordon re-signing with the team in the summer, however.

 

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