The 2012 NBA draft class was seen by many to be one of the deepest in history. Now, with the upcoming season looming, it is time to see if all of the hype is true.
Some rookies have a lot to prove immediately. Anthony Davis, the first overall pick, is a prime example. Others, like Jared Sullinger, are more likely to be eased into the lineup.
Overall, this draft class has a huge upside. Many of these players could emerge as stars as early as their rookie season.
Here's a look at what we can expect statistically from each first-round pick this season.
Projected stat line: 13.1 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG
Anthony Davis was selected first overall, and the Hornets having high expectations for the young big man.
As the team's new centerpiece, he will likely be more of a defensive force than an offensive star, but he won't fail to impress on both ends.
Davis will be active on the boards and will likely average a double-double in points and rebounds.
He'll also find himself among the league's leading shot-blockers and might give others a run for Defensive Player of the Year.
Projected stat line: 12.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
The Bobcats' second pick, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, is stepping into one of the worst situations of any rookie. From day one the ex-Wildcat will be handed the reins of the team, as no other player on the roster—except Ben Gordon—has proved to be talented enough to lead this shameful squad.
Kidd-Gilchrist is versatile, but he'll make the biggest splash on defense and won't be the prolific scorer Charlotte may need. He'll still manage to put up decent numbers in both scoring and rebounding.
Projected stat line: 16.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG
With the addition of Bradley Beal at shooting guard, the Wizards backcourt may have the brightest future of any in the league.
With the help of John Wall, Beal should find himself with plenty of scoring opportunities. It wouldn't surprise me if Beal leads all rookies in scoring.
While Jordan Crawford may begin the season with the starting job, come the the All-Star Break, don't be surprised to see Beal's name at the second guard spot instead.
He isn't a great rebounder or distributor, but Beal knows how to light it up in the scoring column.
Projected stat line: 11.8, 2.2 RPG, 2.4 APG
Scouts projected the Syracuse guard to be a late lottery pick, so hearing his name called fourth came as a bit of a surprise to everyone.
That said, Waiters will likely find himself in a similar situation as he did in college, coming off the bench to provide a scoring spark.
His college numbers don't stand out—12.6 points and 2.3 rebounds—but his impact is hard to overlook.
Waiters' transition into the NBA should be fairly smooth, so his numbers won't see a large drop.
Projected stat line: 14.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.2 APG
From a statistical standpoint, Thomas Robinson dominated the NCAA, averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
That said, the competition in the NBA is on a higher level than in college.
Robinson will still be productive, but not to the extent that he was with the Jayhawks. He'll share his frontcourt duties with DeMarcus Cousins for a Kings team that is not lacking in talent at other positions as well.
He'll find ways to be active on the boards and score at a respectable rate. But don't expect him to replicate his college stats.
Projected stat line: 13.1 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.2 RPG
The entire world seems to be jumping on the Damian Lillard bandwagon, with expectations through the roof. The rookie out of Weber State has been predicted to win the Rookie of the Year award, as well as other accolades.
However, if any rookie faces a more difficult transition to the pros than Lillard, I would be surprised. The jump to the NBA is hard for everyone. But with Lillard's alma mater, even the college competition that he faced was far from the level than that of other rookies taken high in the draft.
On the other hand, he will likely have the keys to the offense from the start, and being the prolific scorer that he is, Lillard should not have too hard a time putting the ball in the basket.
He won't be a bust, nor will he replicate the 24.5 points he managed in college. Lillard's stats will improve as he matures; but in his rookie campaign, expect his numbers to be fairly ordinary.
Projected stat line: 15.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.1 APG
From my point of view, no rookie is entering a better situation than Harrison Barnes.
The rookie forward finds himself on the perfect team, as the Warriors lineup appears fairly set, with the only exception being a hole at small forward.
Drafting Barnes in June filled that hole, but he shouldn't face too much pressure in his first season. With Stephen Curry having already established himself as a star and Klay Thompson being the team's young stud, Barnes won't be the defense's primary focus, nor will he be their second or even third option.
Instead, Barnes will do what he simply does best—shoot.
He may struggle to create his own shot, but with Curry feeding him (as well as the likes of Thompson), Barnes won't lack for scoring opportunities.
He may not be the team's go-to-guy. But as the easy choice as the starting small forward, Barnes should play many minutes each night.
Projected stat line: 8.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 APG
When Terrence Ross' name was called as the eighth overall pick, the majority of the NBA seemed to have the same reaction: Who?
Ross was the reach of the draft. Even a few months later, I'm still trying to piece together the Raptors' reasoning for this selection.
The backcourt is fairly full, with Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry at point guard and DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard.
Ross' opportunities this season will be limited, for sure, and he certainly has a lot to prove. He may prove naysayers wrong, but his current situation doesn't give me the confidence that his rookie season will be anything more than adequate.
Projected stat line: 11.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.0 BPG
Andre Drummond has the physical tools to succeed in the NBA. As an athletic center, Drummond should have no problem adjusting to the up-tempo style of play in the pros.
He'll likely be thrown into the fire and should prove to be solid at his position.
Greg Monroe may steal some of the spotlight, but that doesn't mean Drummond will fail to find himself his fair share of opportunities.
Expect Drummond to flourish in his first season in Detroit.
Projected stat line: 13.0 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.0 RPG
Austin Rivers may seem better suited to be a shooting guard, but his role in New Orleans will likely be at the other guard.
Still, Rivers won't find himself being a pass-first point guard. He's a born scorer and will likely find himself with multiple opportunities to light it up this season.
With the defense focused on Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis, Rivers will get his fair share of open looks. Not too much will be expected of him, so he shouldn't have too hard a time proving his worth.
Projected stat line: 9.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.3 BPG
I'm still undecided about Meyers Leonard. He's built to be a star, standing at seven-feet tall. However, he is very raw and his motor has been a big question for a while.
LaMarcus Aldridge will be the team's main threat inside, making Leonard's job a bit easier. Still, he will likely find his role to be large. Eventually, if not immediately, he figures to be the team's starting center.
He may struggle initially, but by the end of the season, he should make an impact.
Predicting anything too lavish may be a bit of a reach, but Leonard will certainly put together an efficient rookie campaign.
Projected stat line: 15.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.0 APG
Houston spent its first of three first-round picks on Jeremy Lamb, and its investment will likely pay off. Kevin Martin's spot on the roster is far from guaranteed, and I wouldn't be surprised if Lamb gets the nod as the starter eventually.
He is a volume shooter, and on a team that so desperately lacks a star—all apologies to the fans still stricken with Linsanity—Lamb should have no problem finding more than enough scoring opportunities.
His initial entry may be a bit slow, but his production should pick up, especially if he overtakes Martin for the starting role.
Projected stat line: 8.9 PPG, 8.6 APG, 3.6 RPG
When Steve Nash was traded to the Lakers, Marshall's value immediately increased. The signing of Goran Dragic may have hurt it a little bit, but beating out Dragic for the starting role should be a lot easier than beating out Nash.
Marshall is not a fantastic scorer, but it would be hard to overlook his passing ability. He finished second in the NCAA in assists, and on a team that so heavily relied on Nash's distributing, Marshall will be given a chance to prove his worth.
His scoring skills may be a bit underdeveloped, but Marshall's assist average should finish among the league's upper echelon.
Projected stat line: 9.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 BPG
After parting ways with Andrew Bogut last year, the Bucks were in need of a lengthy inside presence to command the paint.
They struck gold with their selection of John Henson. At 6'11", he is a big body and a proven shot-blocker.
The Bucks frontcourt is a bit crowded, with Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh and Samuel Dalembert each commanding a role. Still, Henson will likely find himself with a decent amount of playing time by the end of the season.
He won't have an unbelievable year, but it will certainly be a solid one.
The Milwaukee fanbase should be excited about Henson.
Projected stat line: 6.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG
Moe Harkless was drafted with the presumption that he would back up Andre Iguodala in Philadelphia.
However, following the trade that ended the "Dwightmare," Harkless' home became Orlando, and the young small forward will likely be a large part of the team's future.
Unfortunately, the supporting cast in Orlando is thin and won't give Harkless the help he needs to immediately reach his ceiling.
That will result in more playing time, however, and while that may impact his stat line initially, he will soon find it hard to produce on such an awful team.
Harkless will likely struggle through his first year, as well as the ones that follow.
Projected stat line: 9.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 5.0 APG
Royce White is, without question, the most intriguing player in this draft class. Because of this, he is also my absolute favorite.
His upside is incredible, as there is no end to his talent. Unfortunately, an anxiety disorder has also given him an extremely low basement.
During White's time in Iowa State, he led his team in points, assists and rebounds.
A triple-double machine, there is no question that his versatility is what makes him great. At 270 pounds, he is a physical beast; but his ability to distribute like a guard is what sets him apart.
Houston took the risk with White—a move that many other teams chose not to take. However, in the end, it should work out, with White producing solid statistics across the board.
Projected stat line: 8.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG
Tyler Zeller was an outstanding college player and could be a valuable asset to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who acquired the seven-footer from Dallas on draft night.
However, he is ill-equipped to play center in the NBA, as he often fails to use his large frame to his advantage.
On the scoring front, he should be decent as a power forward, but nothing more. Overall, I wouldn't set the bar too high for Zeller in his rookie year, as he could simply be a bust.
Projected stat line: 9.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG
Terrence Jones will eventually be a star in this league. His athleticism is off the charts, and he can fill many roles. He is a fantastic shooter and a beast on the boards.
Still, Houston's frontcourt is very full with Omer Asik, Patrick Patterson, Donatas Montiejunas and Royce White, so Jones may struggle to break into the starting lineup.
In the time he does receive, Jones should perform well. While he may not be a star in his rookie campaign, he'll give Houston fans something to look forward to in the years to come.
Projected stat line: 12.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG
With Dwight Howard officially out of the picture, Nicholson will enter Orlando with an extremely big role, as the starting center position may belong to him from the start.
Nicholson could develop into Orlando's future centerpiece. While he is no Dwight Howard, he is an accomplished scorer and a strong defender and rebounder, so he has the potential to be great.
With such a big opportunity this season, Nicholson could prove to be one of the best late first-rounders in the draft.
Projected stat line: 3.2 PPG, 1.0 RPG
The Denver Nuggets selection of Evan Fournier came as a surprise to no one, as the team has a knack for finding international talent.
Fournier will likely play with Denver this season, but with the deep roster they have, his playing time will be limited.
He may even be sent down to the D-League for awhile, as there really is no place for him.
Fournier has the talent to make a small impact, but on a team like this, he won't be given much of a chance to showcase his talent.
Predicted stat line: 6.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG
Jared Sullinger found himself dropping on draft night until the Celtics selected him with the first of their back-to-back picks.
The condition of Sullinger's back has been an issue for a while, so combined with the overall depth of the Celtics, it's unlikely that his role will be very large.
However, limited as it may be, he can be relied on to contribute scoring and rebounding.
Overall, Sullinger isn't looking at too much playing time as a rookie. But in the time he does manage, expect him to be fairly efficient.
Predicted stat line: 2.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG
The Celtics found themselves lacking a true center at certain points last season, which is why drafting Syracuse big man Fab Melo didn't come as a surprise.
Melo is a big body, being a legitimate seven-footer—something very valuable to a team.
In terms of skill, Melo doesn't have much, which is why he won't be given too large a role immediately. But in a few seasons when he is more developed, he may be more productive.
The Brazilian big man may improve one day, but I wouldn't expect immediate success for him, nor would I expect to see him on the court for many minutes.
Predicted stat line: 6.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG
John Jenkins is an outstanding shooter. You would be hard-pressed to find a better one in this class. His range is seemingly unlimited, and his midrange jumper seems flawless.
That said, he doesn't really have any other talents on the court. Other than being a three-point specialist, it seems hard to predict what Jenkins will contribute to a team.
You can expect him to knock down a few threes each night; but outside of that, not much can be expected of this one-dimensional player.
Predicted stat line: 7.2 PPG, 1.4 SPG
Cunningham is an intriguing prospect, as his actual position is still up for debate. He may be a shooting guard naturally, but it appears as though Dallas will utilize him as a point guard.
The Mavericks feature a fairly crowded backcourt, with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo holding the starting gigs at each spot.
Beyond them the team features decent depth, so it would be unlikely for Cunningham to receive a lot of playing time as a rookie.
He is a proven scorer as well as a tenacious defender, so he should be somewhat productive despite his limited role. Expectations shouldn't be too high.
Predicted stat line: 7.6 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.9 RPG
Tony Wroten will likely be Mike Conley's primary backup, so he should see significant minutes.
He is a multi-dimensional player, with the abilities of a point guard but the size of a shooting guard or small forward.
He can be expected to put up decent numbers, but nothing too special should be expected in his rookie campaign.
Predicted stat line: 3.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG
Hearing David Stern call Miles Plumlee's name was a major surprise to everyone, as many expected him to fall late into the second round.
He'll fail to make too big a splash in his rookie campaign, and he will likely struggle through whatever playing time he does receive.
He may eventually mature and be a solid role player, but early on, it would be ill-advised to set a high bar for Plumlee.
Predicted stat line: 6.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG
Arnett Moultrie will likely be the first big man off the bench, filling in for either Andrew Bynum or Spencer Hawes.
Because of this, you can expect him to see adequate minutes, and his athleticism and talent should allow him to take advantage of those opportunities.
He won't be a star, but by the end of his rookie season, Moultrie could be a solid role player.
Predicted stat line: 5.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG
Perry Jones III falling all the way to the 28th pick was one of the biggest surprises in the draft. He was originally projected to be an early lottery pick.
Unfortunately for him, he was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who don't really need his help that much. He'll struggle to get time in his rookie season, as their rotation is very deep.
He may eventually develop into one of the team's future stars, but until he cracks the starting lineup or becomes one of the primary backups, he shouldn't be expected to produce that much.
Predicted stat line: 4.2 PPG, 3.0 APG
Until Derrick Rose makes his return, guard Marquis Teague should find himself sharing point-guard duties with Kirk Hinrich, so he may be able to make a splash early on.
However, following Rose's return, it wouldn't surprise me if he becomes one of the Bulls' non-utilized reserves.
Still, if he impresses during Rose's absence, the Bulls may give him a larger role. However, until he proves himself, moderate stats in limited time are the best we can expect.
Predicted stat line: 3.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG
Festus Ezeli is an interesting player whose eventual upside is very large. However, his talent is raw, and as of now, Ezeli is little more than a big body.
With Andrew Bogut being the obvious candidate to start at center and Andris Biendrins his primary backup, Ezeli is not left with much playing time. That is, unless Bogut is injured again.
Ezeli's big body will likely help him rebound during the time he does play, but very little more can be expected.