10 NBA Rookies Drafted by the Wrong Team
The 2012 NBA draft offered the world exactly what it was looking for: unforgettable thrills, shocking twists and a glimpse at the future of the league. Unfortunately, with the good came the bad, as certain prospects were selected by teams who simply do not fit their abilities.
From overstocked positions to a mismatch of talent and need, certain prospects simply find themselves in unfortunate scenarios. While the potential is there for these players to rise above conditions, one can only imagine that their careers might go a bit more smoothly had they found themselves elsewhere.
So who are these unfortunate 10? Why is it that their respective teams are wrong for them, and how will they respond? Those questions and more will be answered in the following slides.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
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Draymond Green might have been the most well-rounded player in the nation. He can score from the post or perimeter, facilitate an offense and defend any position.
The one thing he can't do? Find a guarantee for playing time behind first-round pick Harrison Barnes and sharpshooter Dorell Wright.
Barnes is clearly a player that the Warriors are proud to have landed. They're likely to invest a lot of money into the former North Carolina Tar Heel once his rookie contract is up. This leaves Green as an odd man out, which is an unfortunate waste of top-tier talent.
Draft Position: Second Round, No. 35
Maurice Harkless, Philadelphia 76ers
You have two options here.
Either the Philadelphia 76ers trade Andre Iguodala to make room at the 3, or they could move Thaddeus Young to the 4 on a full-time basis and limit his abilities. Regardless of what the Sixers decide to do, any move they make to accommodate Maurice Harkless will be detrimental to the quality of their team, no matter how talented Harkless may be.
The former St. John's standout has legitimate star potential. He's an explosive athlete who thrives in attacking the basket, which the NBA rulebook fully supports; just ask Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin how it's working out for them. Then ask Isiah Thomas what would have happened if he had tried the same attack in his day.
Unfortunately, Harkless just won't find the court as a rookie. He might not even find the court until his rookie contract has come to a close.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 15
Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers entered the draft with two distinct needs that outweighed all other desires. Those needs, of course, came at the point guard and center positions. Considering the Trail Blazers' two first-round draft choices were at those two positions, it's easy to say that they made the right move.
Unfortunately, they didn't select the right player.
The Trail Blazers needed a defensive presence whose ability to score on the other end was adequate enough to alleviate the pressure from star LaMarcus Aldridge. While Meyers Leonard is an energetic athlete whose passion is admirable, he's simply not the caliber of player the Trail Blazers should have been looking for.
While Tyler Zeller isn't either, his skills are much more fitting. Zeller can score well from the post and in the paint, as well as offer his two cents on defense. While neither player offered what Andre Drummond would have, Portland would have been in better position with Zeller rather than Leonard.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 11
Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns
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When the Phoenix Suns selected Kendall Marshall, I was one of many who felt that the fit was perfect. Marshall is an elite facilitator whose passing skills and court vision is up to par with the best of them.
Unfortunately, Marshall won't be starting for the Suns at any point over the next four seasons.
The Suns just signed Goran Dragic to a four-year deal worth $34 million. Considering Dragic was once the backup in Phoenix and spent the past season and a half as the reserve in Houston, it's safe to assume that the Suns guaranteed Dragic a starting role in Phoenix.
So where does Marshall fit in? While a learning curve of one or two seasons exists, how long do the Suns believe he will be a reserve? In all likelihood, this pick was merely a rental.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 13
Quincy Miller, Denver Nuggets
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In all fairness, Quincy Miller is in need of further development. With that being said, however, Miller has found himself in a situation in which he may never see the court.
Danilo Gallinari was the key to the infamous Carmelo Anthony trade. Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, just signed a five-year deal worth $37 million. The likelihood that Miller overtakes either one of those players without the occurrence of an injury is slim to none.
Quincy Miller may benefit from a few years under George Karl, but seeing no playing time will do him no good. As a top-10 talent, draft position is truly irrelevant in this case.
Draft Position: Second Round, No. 38
Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic
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I trust Rob Hennigan, as his track record in Oklahoma City speaks for itself. I also like Andrew Nicholson, who has the potential to emerge as the best offensive power forward in this draft class, all the while holding a solid reputation on the defensive end.
Orlando just isn't a good fit for him.
Subtract the presence of Glen Davis and the potential re-signing of Ryan Anderson, and this selection makes perfect sense. What we all seem to forget, however, is that Big Baby finally found his own during the postseason and averaged 19.0 points per game and 9.2 rebounds.
More importantly, we forget that the Magic need help at every position on the perimeter. Besides, who in the world is going to mentor Nicholson?
Draft Position: First Round, No. 19
Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls
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The Chicago Bulls made a smart decision in selecting Marquis Teague out of Kentucky, who was the best point guard available. After all, star lead man Derrick Rose will be out until at least January with a knee injury, and the Bulls could certainly use a complementary option to C.J. Watson.
Unfortunately, the Bulls drafted a player whose skills just aren't developed at this moment in time. This is only important because of the situation he is being brought into, where Teague could potentially land the starting job for a team that's looking to keep its head above water until Rose returns.
The weight of the Eastern Conference's regular-season elite is now resting firmly on the shoulders of a young, under-developed point guard.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 29
Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers
This is not to suggest that Dion Waiters cannot thrive in Cleveland, as he can. The issue here is simply a poor mix of need and abilities.
The Cleveland Cavaliers entered in the 2012 NBA draft in need of two things: an upgrade at the 2 and a spot-up shooter on the perimeter. While they certainly met the former, the Cavaliers came up swinging and missing on the latter. Dion Waiters simply won't help the team in terms of perimeter scoring.
Waiters will play well. He's an elite slasher who moves well without the ball in his hands and puts himself in great position around the basket. Unfortunately, the dream of Kyrie Irving's drive-and-dish game improving just took a temporary hit.
Royce White, Houston Rockets
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Kevin McHale is a great role model for how to make it in the NBA. Unfortunately, there is no one on the Rockets' roster at the 3 who can offer such a positive influence on Royce White's troubled career.
In the current situation, the Rockets' best options at the 3 are two second-year players. Chandler Parsons and Marcus Morris, who spent most of his year in the D-League, are the best sources of influence for White at this point in his career. If not them, mercurial shooting guard Kevin Martin and power forward Luis Scola could fill the role of mentor.
Not the most promising names available.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 16
Tony Wroten Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
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The Memphis Grizzlies were in dire need of a secondary ball-handler. They were also in need of a big body on the perimeter who could potentially replace O.J. Mayo as their sixth-man combo guard. In some eyes, they filled both of those needs with their selection of Tony Wroten Jr.
Just hold on a second and re-evaluate this situation.
The Memphis Grizzlies' second unit was in need of a reliable ball-handler who knows how to manage a game. Wroten just so happens to be a wild ball-handler who values the flashy finish over the fundamental execution. To properly support Mike Conley Jr., the Grizzlies needed a veteran.
Not a future star who is stuck in development.
Draft Position: First Round, No. 25