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