NBA Draft 2012: Stat Projections for Every Team's Best Rookie Next Season

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJuly 10, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Stat Projections for Every Team's Best Rookie Next Season

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    This year's rookie class has the potential to be one of the best in the last decade. There are no clear favorites for Rookie of the Year, and as many as 10 guys come to mind when thinking about who has a chance to step out and be a difference-maker in year one.

    Looking ahead, there are several newcomers who have a chance to be a top three player on their team from training camp going forward. Elsewhere, other teams have been blessed with multiple rookies who could blossom into contributors in the near future.

    Here's a look at each team's best rookie, and some of my stat projections for their first full season in the NBA.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Player: John Jenkins

    Position: SG

     

    Jenkins suddenly finds himself in a favorable position in Atlanta. After the departure of Joe Johnson becomes official, DeShawn Stevenson and Anthony Morrow will be his only competition for playing time.

    Depending on Atlanta's pursuit of Dwight Howard and their playoff prospects, he could find himself in the starting lineup if Atlanta has started a rebuilding project.

    With a smooth stroke and the ability to hit the three-point shot, he should find success playing off Jeff Teague and Josh Smith in the halfcourt game.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    9.2       3.0        1.5      42%     38%     80%      22.7          0.8           0.1

Boston Celtics

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    Player: Jared Sullinger

    Position: PF

     

    Sullinger could be the steal of the draft for the Celtics, and by pairing him in the frontcourt with either Kevin Garnett or Fab Melo, he'll have the opportunity to roam both on offense and defense in Doc Rivers' system.

    Without a true backup behind Garnett—one of Boston's most glaring weaknesses over the past few seasons—Sullinger should get good minutes, especially with Garnett on the down-side of his career.


    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    10.1      6.1       0.8      44%     15%    65%      21.8           0.5         0.3

Brooklyn Nets

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    Player: Mirza Teletovic

    Position: SF/PF


    The Bosnian newcomer and 6'9" combo forward will see some minutes for the Nets, specifically because there is no one else on the roster at this point after the Joe Johnson purge.

    After averaging 21.7 points in his last 10 games in the European championships, Teletovic has a nice three-point stroke and projects as a smaller power forward in the mold of Ryan Anderson and Brian Cardinal.

    If he can come in, play solid defense and hit a couple threes per game, then he'll fulfill his role alongside Deron Williams, Johnson and maybe Dwight Howard.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.2       3.3        1.1      41%    35%     68%       15.7         0.4         0.2

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Player: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

    Position: SF

     

    MKG should be a starter for the Bobcats from day one, so his stats should look pretty good in extended minutes. Catching passes from D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker won't hurt, and if he displays the kind of athleticism he did at Kentucky in the fast break game, he'll be lethal in transition.

    However, his three-point shot likely needs some adjustment, as well as shot selection, like most rookies. But as a rebounder and defender, he should have a Kawhi Leonard-type year in Charlotte, exciting fans about what's to come for the young Wild-turned-Bobcat.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    11.5     6.7        2.3     43%     29%     72%       26.2         1.2          0.8

Chicago Bulls

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    Player: Marquis Teague

    Position: PG

     

    I was on the fence about Teague as a draft pick, but after the imminent departures of both John Lucas III and C.J. Watson, this pick makes a lot of sense for Chicago.

    He'll be the guy behind Derrick Rose, and he could even open the season as the starter, depending on Rose's health progress. He won't be asked to do much with Rip Hamilton, Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer leading the way, but playing a role on coach Thib's defense will be important to keeping his job as the backup PG come playoff time.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    5.8       2.3       4.4      42%      31%    75%      15.2          0.9         0.1

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Player: Dion Waiters

    Position: G

     

    Waiters and Kyrie Irving form the 20-year-old backcourt-duo for the Cavs next season, and it's one that should be exciting to watch as they both develop and add talent around the two in Cleveland.

    I think Waiters has a little bit of a learning curve on the offensive end, but playing off of Irving in the halfcourt and transition game will help keep his numbers in the solid part of the rookie pool. His field goal percentage could dip due to "going into the trees" against bigger defenders in the NBA, but Waiters and Irving might be the most exciting backcourt in the Eastern conference soon.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    10.9       3.4        3.3      39%     33%    77%     25.1          0.8           0.3

Dallas Mavericks

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    Player: Jared Cunningham

    Position: PF

     

    Since Rick Carlisle hasn't shown much urgency in developing young talent (see Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones), Cunningham is a bit of a wild card in his first season. While Carlisle doesn't have the penchant for rookies, the Mavericks don't exactly have a lot of other options, either.

    The starting backcourt, right now, is Jones and Roddy B. Cunningham and Vince Carter make up the bench guards. Cunningham should provide some "instant offense" off the bench for Dallas, developing his three-point game and adjusting to only weighing 190 pounds in his rookie season.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.7      2.5        3.4      41%     30%     79%      18.3          1.3         0.4

Detroit Pistons

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    Player: Andre Drummond

    Position: C


    Drummond draws comparisons to Dwight Howard, but it will take a lot of seasoning and hard work to live up to those expectations. However, with budding star Greg Monroe alongside the rookie center, Drummond could be part of a special "twin towers" group here in the next few seasons.

    This could be the start of a promising career for the teenager from UConn, who should focus on rebounding and blocking shots while Monroe takes care of the offense in the post for Detroit.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.5       6.7      1.1       51%     3%      55%       24.0          0.5          1.2


Denver Nuggets

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    Player: Evan Fournier

    Position: SG

     

    The Nuggets essentially replaced Rudy Fernandez with a younger, more athletic, higher slashing-to-the-basket version of the Spaniard in Fournier.

    Considered one of the best European prospects at his position, he's shown a penchant for getting to the rim and finishing. Since George Karl is known to use a large rotation, don't be surprised if Fournier is in and out of the mix at the guard spot.

    With Aaron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler still on board, minutes are going to be hard to come by, but he'll get his chance to learn as a rookie and continue to develop his jump shot, which is considered a weakness by most scouts.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    5.6        2.2      2.0      40%     29%     75%      12.3            0.8          0.3

Golden State Warriors

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    Player: Harrison Barnes

    Position: SF

     

    Golden State had a deep draft, but getting Barnes was a piece that makes them an interesting team if Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry are both healthy.

    While the Warriors still have Dorell Wright and Richard Jefferson clogging minutes at the 3, look for Golden State to make a move for one or both of those guys during this season. Barnes didn't go at No. 7 to sit on the bench, and he'll make an impact during his first season in a positive way for a team that desperately needs a winning presence in the lockerroom and on the court.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    11.0     4.0        2.5      41%      32%   80%     24.4          1.1            0.7

Houston Rockets

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    Player: Jeremy Lamb

    Position: SG

     

    Lamb fell to the Rockets at No. 12, and the rookie shooting guard from UConn should see minutes and action as Houston begins their rebuilding project.

    Although Kevin Martin is still around, don't be surprised if he gets traded or misses some time due to injury, which he has a history of. There are tons of teams that would love to have Martin (although not his inflated contract) and I'm not sure he's needed in Houston much longer.

    Lamb should show his shooting touch and athleticism in year one, and he'll get a chance to start if they can ship Martin away should the right deal come along.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    12.5    3.4        1.3      44%      38%    83%      20.5          1.0         0.5

Indiana Pacers

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    Player: Orlando Johnson

    Position: SG

     

    Although Miles Plumlee was drafted ahead of Johnson, I think it's clear who has more upside. While Plumlee might play more in the first season because of need as his position, odds are Johnson is the better long-term player.

    However, with a plethora of guards in George Hill, Darren Collison and Paul George, not to mention Lance Stephenson, Johnson will struggle getting off the bench in Indiana with a team that lost to the eventual champion Miami Heat.

    He'll have his time, but right now Johnson will be a rookie in the "project" category for one of the league's budding young teams.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    1.3       0.6       0.2      40%     30%    75%      4.2            0.1         0.1

LA Clippers

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    The Clippers currently don't have any rookies slated to be on their roster. Cameron Moore and Talor Battle are two that are on the summer league roster, so make sure to check back with B/R after undrafted free agents and international players sign to see if the Clippers make a splash in the rookie talent pool.

LA Lakers

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    Player: Darius Johnson-Odom

    Position: SG

     

    Johnson-Odom is another combo guard from the Big East in the mold of Dallas Mavericks guard Dominique Jones. He likely won't see much time behind future Hall of Famers Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, and the young guards Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock.

    But LA will store DJO away for a rainy day, and he'll get most of his playing time in summer league in the coming weeks.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    1.8       1.0       0.4      35%     22%    66%     3.3             0.4          0.1

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Player: Tony Wroten

    Position: PG/SG

     

    Wroten might not seem like much to the Grizz faithful, but he could be the missing piece in keeping Mike Conley healthy and running the second unit.

    He'll be asked to take minutes from both Conley and the exiting OJ Mayo, so we should get to see Wroten in both a facilitating and scoring role in certain points this year. He was a great pick for Memphis and it will be exciting to see what his upside amounts to.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    8.5       1.5       4.2      42%     32%    71%     21.3            1.1         0.1

Miami Heat

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    Player: Justin Hamilton

    Position: C

     

    How does the old saying go, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well the Heat are in the middle of a championship high, and adding Hamilton at pick No. 45 overall wasn't a spectacular move, but one they are hoping pays off in a few years.

    They've been looking for centers since Dexter Pittman and Javaris Varnando came aboard, but haven't been able to lure one via free agency or develop their own. Hamilton might not make an impact, but he might be a valuable piece in a couple years.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    2.1       2.1      0.1      48%      0%      61%      3.5           0.1          0.4

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Player: John Henson

    Position: PF/C

     

    The Bucks have three guys in Henson, Samuel Dalembert and Ekpe Udoh who are all in the same shot-blocking mold. They won't have any trouble protecting the rim, and their three-headed monster at the position could be one of the best in the league.

    Henson might struggle to find a jump shot or finish in his rookie year, but he'll be a force on the defensive end and was well worth the No. 14 selection.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.3      5.4        0.4      51%     14%     67%     21.1          0.4          1.2

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Player: Robbie Hummel

    Position: SF/PF

     

    Hummel is a player from the same cut as his fellow Purdue alum, Brian Cardinal. Successive knee injuries have stripped him of some of his athleticism, but he'll be an aggressive defender and always give 110% when he's on the court.

    Unfortunately, I don't think he'll find a niche during his rookie season. However, if his knees hold up, Hummel could carve out a nice career knocking down threes and playing good defense in key moments.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    1.1      2.1        0.1       38%    30%    65%      3.2            0.2          0.1

New Orleans Hornets

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    Player: Anthony Davis

    Position: PF/C

     

    The No. 1 overall pick in the draft will have plenty of chances to prove his worth as a rookie. The Hornets purged their big men to clear space for his arrival, and he'll be the starter going forward.

    Look for Davis to struggle the first part of the season on offense, specifically in finding rhythm in his jump shot, but there isn't anything stopping him from being the force on defense that catapulted the freshman phenom from Kentucky to the top spot and a label as a franchise player.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    13.7     9.2       2.2      49%      11%    71%     26.1           0.8          1.8

New York Knicks

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    The Knicks selected Kostas Popanikolaou with the No. 48 overall pick in the draft this year, but he isn't coming over to the NBA just yet. NYK has a few guys on their summer roster with a chance to make the team, but without any idea who.

    Refer to Jason Kidd as the new addition to the roster that will have the biggest impact during his first year with the team.

OKC Thunder

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    Player: Perry Jones III

    Position: SF

     

    Is it possible that OKC got better with the No. 28 pick? Many think so with Jones, who slipped all the way into the hands of the Western Conference champs.

    His athleticism and length will be a great addition to an already budding roster, and he'll likely be asked to spell Kevin Durant and guard the best forward on other teams. We'll see if Jones is up for the challenge, or fades into the background, like he did at Baylor sometimes.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.2       3.8        2.9     41%     31%     74%     17.1           1.0            0.3

Orlando Magic

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    Player: Andrew Nicholson

    Position: PF

     

    The Magic suddenly are rolling with Glen Davis at power forward after Ryan Anderson's departure, so it isn't a stretch to think that if Nicholson impresses in summer league and training camp, he could be a part of the rotation come regular season.

    If he is, he's a skilled offensive player who knows how to score the ball. The Magic got a solid post player, and it will show in his rookie season.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.1      5.5       1.1       45%     29%     66%     19.5           0.6         0.4

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Player: Maurice Harkless

    Position: SF/PF

     

    Everything is up in the air for Harkless, who could be an immediate role player or bench warmer depending on other teams' interest in trading for Andre Iguodala.

    His minutes and averages could all go up or down depending on the Sixers chances, and whether or not Iggy is around. I think the ones I project are pretty fair, especially since Doug Collins has shown a penchant for playing his young guys.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    7.2       4.6       2.0      42%      27%    67%      16.4          1.0             0.7

Phoenix Suns

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    Player: Kendall Marshall

    Position: PG

     

    Marshall is the beginning of the Steve Nash-less era in Phoenix, and his first year should be an immediate indicator of why he was billed as the best passer in this draft class.

    He'll have a solid pick-and-roll center in Marcin Gortat and a number of three-point shooters to work with. If Eric Gordon comes aboard, look out Western Conference. This Marshall-led team will be one that no one wants to face.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

     5.6       2.7      7.3       38%    31%     77%      23.5          0.8          0.1

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Player: Damian Lillard

    Position: PG

     

    Portland drafted the kid out of Weber State to be their starting point guard, so he'll get plenty of chances to prove that small schools can ball with the big boys.

    Playing the pick-and-roll with LaMarcus Aldridge is as easy as it gets, and this young guy will see his point and assist totals start to increase if he learns how to play in the Portland offense.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    10.5     2.4       5.6      44%     32%    73%      26.3          1.3           0.3

     


Sacramento Kings

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    Player: Thomas Robinson

    Position: PF

     

    The skilled big man from Kansas should form a solid threesome with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson in the Kings' frontcourt.

    The high-energy guy and No. 5 overall selection is a lock to outwork and out-hustle most guys on the floor, so chalk his high rebound totals up to that fact. Robinson and Cousins rival Monroe and Drummond in Detroit, and should be fun to watch if you're an old school, rebounding enthusiast.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    9.4      8.1       1.2       50%     0%      69%      21.1          0.4          0.7

San Antonio Spurs

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    The Spurs selected Missouri guard Marcus Denmon with the No. 59 overall selection, and in the spirit of the Spurs, it's probably best we wait on predictions for the former Tiger guard.

    It's not a slight to Denmon, but being behind Manu Ginobili, Danny Green, Gary Neal, Cory Joseph, Stephen Jackson and James Anderson on the depth chart doesn't merit enough stats to compile for the youngster. Let the Spurs do what they do best—turn second-rounders into solid role players. It's just going to take a season or two.

Toronto Raptors

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    Player: Terrence Ross

    Position: SG

     

    The shooting guard from Washington was the Raps' No. 8 pick, but with DeMar DeRozan and potentially Landry Fields coming aboard for Toronto, the opportunities to score as a high-volume player aren't as good as they were in college.

    However, Toronto needs youth and speed on the wings, and Ross should certainly be a rotation guy for coach Dwane Casey in his rookie season.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    6.5       2.3       2.1      39%     28%    72%      16.5         0.6           0.2

Utah Jazz

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    Player: Kevin Murphy

    Position: SG

     

    Murphy, the ultra-athletic guard from Tennessee Tech, was Utah's second round selection this year. He brings an above-the-rim part of the game to the table in Utah, which is for the most part lacking if you don't count Jeremy Evans (who doesn't really play).

    Don't count on him to contribute much in year one, with Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward still battling for wing minutes. But Tyrone Corbin needs to see what he has in the young man, so he'll get some time here and there.

     

    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    3.3      1.1        0.4      32%     25%    65%      5.3            0.3         0.0

Washington Wizards

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    Player: Bradley Beal

    Position: SG

     

    It took me 30 teams to reach my pick for Rookie of the Year, but here it is folks: Beal will win the award in 2013. Playing with a talented team already in place in Washington, I think Beal steps right in as a legitimate No. 2 option behind John Wall and/or Nene.

    Throw in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, and this group could follow their baseball brethren Nationals and make a run at the playoffs this season. Beal should stand out because he has the tools, the drive and is an excellent shooter. 


    Projections:

    PPG    RPG    APG    FG%    3P%    FT%    Minutes    Steals    Blocks

    16.1     3.7       2.8      45%     38%    84%      27.3          1.1         0.1