Re-Drafting the First Round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Training Camp Edition
Leading up to the NBA Draft in June, it seems like there are thousands upon thousands of mock drafts that get a look at every angle possible for each team's pick. Even still, getting the draft order right would be like winning the lottery while riding a shark with a leprechaun.
However, once the draft goes by, everybody then throws out draft day grades, ranks the rookie class and does everything possible to look back at what went down.
One of my favorite things to do, however, once the offseason is over, the trades have all gone through and we have a bit more of a handle on what the rookies have to offer, is a complete re-draft. It gives a good sense of whose stock has risen, whose has fallen and who made the best picks.
Some players made a name for themselves during the NBA's Summer League out in Las Vegas, others hurt their post-draft stock and have therefore fallen down the draft board.
Obviously we're not going to have a new No. 1 overall pick; after all, nobody else of the 2012 class has an Olympic Gold Medal to their name now, do they? However, some injury issues have evaporated, others have lingered, some guys have shown up a little heavy and some guys just don't look as good as they did in college.
So here we go, the absolutely arbitrary, completely compelling, needlessly argumentative 2012 NBA Re-Draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets, Anthony Davis
Original Pick: Anthony Davis
There's no question that the New Orleans Hornets made the right pick. Anthony Davis showed that he's going to at least be able to finish alley-oops and grab big rebounds when he was playing in garbage time for the US Men's Olympic Basketball Team.
It wasn't really a terrific gauge of what Davis is going to be able to do in the NBA, but it was nice to see him play in legitimate(ish) competition rather than just putting up some shots against a bunch of rookies, sophomores and scrubs in the Summer League.
Davis has to be the front-runner to win the Rookie of the Year Award. He's not going to lead the rookies in scoring, he might not even lead them in rebounding, but he's going to be able to come close to averaging a double-double for New Orleans. If he does that, then the award will have his name on it before the season ends.
Not only is he going to have a terrific immediate impact, but he's also the guy with the brightest future from the 2012 Draft. Anybody trying to argue against Davis as the top pick is just a contrarian in nature.
2. Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Original Pick: Michael Kidd-Glichrist
Things stay the same through the top two picks as the Charlotte Bobcats are trotting out Michael Kidd-Gilcrhist once again to be the new savior of their franchise.
Kidd-Gilchrist played in just one Summer League game, but he threw up an 18-point, eight-rebound, five-assist, four-steal game in just 22 minutes. He can play against the league's bottom of the barrel, so he should have a chance at being the best player on the Bobcats.
Even without a legitimate sample size from the Summer League, MKG still has the attitude that the Bobcats need. He's a level-headed hard worker who is doing everything he needs to do in training camp at this point, which should be the second-best thing Bobcats fans have heard this Summer. The best, of course, is that Michael Jordan is giving up managerial control of the team.
3. Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal
Original Pick: Bradley Beal
We're keeping it the same through three, but things will start to shake up soon, I promise.
Bradley Beal is going to be a bit of a project moving forward. What Washington wants to turn him into is something along the lines of Ray Allen, but with the way he's moved through the Summer League and the first preseason game for the Wizards, he's been closer to a Monta Ellis-type shooter.
Beal shot 42 percent in the Summer League and scored 18 points on 17 shots against the Bobcats, but at least he's looking at being more efficient than Jordan Crawford.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers, Harrison Barnes
Original Pick: Dion Waiters
We all still know that there are questions surrounding Harrison Barnes, but Dion Waiters never really did much to endear himself to the people of Cleveland over the Summer.
Waiters showed up to the Cavs Summer League team out in Vegas at least 10 pounds overweight, and while he has since shed the weight, it seems like something that tells you more about a person that he would allow himself to get so out of shape during the summer.
Barnes, meanwhile, has worked his way into a situation where the starting small forward spot with the Warriors is his job to lose. Barnes may not be the top two pick that he looked his freshman year at North Carolina, but he's not the guy he was made out to be before the draft either.
5. Sacramento Kings, Thomas Robinson
Original Pick: Thomas Robinson
With Thomas Robinson still available fifth, there's no way the Sacramento Kings change their mind and decide to go with someone else.
Robinson has come in with Sacramento and worked his way into a position where he could be starting for the Kings on opening day. Keith Smart is still a little iffy on whether or not that's going to happen, but it's a definite possibility.
The thing that's going around that's got me excited for some smash-mouth basketball is the notion that Robinson could fill in at times as the team's small forward. The thought of Robinson, Chuck Hayes and DeMarcus Cousins all playing together has me itching for the basketball season.
6. Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard
Original Pick: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard came into the draft with questions surrounding whether or not he was going to bring his mid-major game into the NBA and succeed. Fast-forward a summer and 106 points in four games in the Summer League, and Lillard is suddenly the talk of the town.
Lillard is getting tons of hype as a favorite—not a dark horse now, a favorite—to win the Rookie of the Year Award.
Obviously, Lillard is looking good, and even though I'm not ready to say he's going to be able to challenge Anthony Davis and the top-of-the-line players in this draft for the RoY Award, he is going to be the best pick for the Trail Blazers at this spot.
7. Golden State Warriors, Terrence Ross
Original Pick: Harrison Barnes
The Golden State Warriors are going to fall victim to some wiser picks above them this time through, unfortunately, but they shouldn't feel like they're settling for Terrence Ross.
Instead, look at Ross as a guy looking to prove that he should be picked this high, just as he's doing at this point with the Toronto Raptors.
While Ross is an inconsistent shooter (which probably isn't good for a guy whose best skill is his shooting), he's a hard worker who the Raptors are hoping is a guy that can make DeMar DeRozan better just by playing alongside him.
8. Toronto Raptors, Dion Waiters
Original Pick: Terrence Ross
Toronto loses out after a chain of events leads to them losing the guy that even they stretched to take in the original draft back in June.
Picking Dion Waiters here gives them the best available offensive threat left in the re-draft, but what they'll get in Waiters is a guy with a bit too much confidence in his shot and a streaky showing throughout the summer.
Hopes here are that Dion can live up to the lofty expectations that the Cavs set on him by picking him fourth overall, although he is going to be a bit of a project at any pick.
9. Detroit Pistons, Andre Drummond
Original Pick: Andre Drummond
Back in June when the Pistons picked Andre Drummond in real life, it was a pick with hopes that Drummond can turn into a good player, growing from his size, athleticism and his strength. It seemed like a bit of a "what the hell, why not?" pick.
A summer went by and you know what, what the hell, why not pick him again?
Drummond is still very much a project, but he's been working on his game throughout the summer in hopes of learning enough to pull down some playing time for himself in the early stages of the season.
Plus, he's apparently learned himself a go-to move, a sort of secret weapon, if you will. He never really said what it was, but I'm excited for it nonetheless.
10. New Orleans Hornets, Austin Rivers
Original Pick: Austin Rivers
It wasn't true back when the Hornets drafted him, but I'm kind of excited for Austin Rivers playing alongside Eric Gordon. It's either going to go terribly or it'll be kind of scary, all depending on whether or not Rivers knows his place.
He wasn't impressive in his preseason debut, scoring 10 points, making just two shots and dishing out just one dime. That's not really a great stat line for a guy you're hoping can play a little point guard, but there's still a lot of time.
Rivers has a lot of talent in his genes and he knows how to play basketball, he just needs to know what decisions to make.
11. Portland Trail Blazers, John Henson
Original Pick: Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard hasn't been that bad since he was drafted by the Trail Blazers, but John Henson reminded us all why he should have been drafted higher.
Where Leonard got drafted for his athleticism, size and physical prowess, Henson fell because he was too skinny. After seeing him play in the Summer League, it kind of wiped away a lot of the knocks on the skinny dude.
Sure, Henson is skinny and he's going to have some trouble adapting, but he's also got the reflexes of a basketball player. He knows how to rebound and get his way into a situation where he's going to be able to score.
Leonard is a project who could go one way or the other, Henson is a guy who can play today and get better moving forward.
12. Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lamb
Original Pick: Jeremy Lamb
I don't have enough faith in the development of Jeremy Lamb to really bump him up the draft board, but I do have enough faith in Jeremy Lamb to say that he's the guy with the most upside this late in the draft.
Over the course of the summer and even into training camp, one thing became evident about Lamb. This dude knows how to score, plain and simple.
Whether it's putting a shot up from the outside or putting the ball on the deck and moving in for a pull-up jumper from mid-range, Lamb just seems to take smart shots. I really like him, but I don't think I'm ready to tell him that I love him.
13. Phoenix Suns, Kendall Marshall
Original Pick: Kendall Marshall
The Phoenix Suns needed a point guard to help lead them into the post-Steve Nash Era. The only point guard left who is going to have any chance of having a halfway decent career as a starting point guard is Kendall Marshall.
Marshall isn't a great scoring threat, and it's going to take a bit of work for him to be one, but it's not like that's an automatic dismissal of a chance of being a starting point guard. After all, Andre Miller has made a career of knocking down mid-range jumpers and finding himself at the rim with a chance to put the ball up and draw a foul.
He's going to have a tough time adjusting, but lucky for him, the expectations for the Suns aren't exactly through the roof this season.
14. Milwaukee Bucks, Meyers Leonard
Original Pick: John Henson
The Milwaukee Bucks are going to miss out on getting their steal with the final lottery pick, but they still get to pick up a guy with some sort of potential.
Meyers Leonard hasn't done anything to impress anyone in basketball terms this summer, but he also didn't do too much to make us think that he's going to have a train wreck of a career.
Leonard is going to be able to come in and be big, which is really all Milwaukee needs from him starting out. Everybody knows the offense is going to flow through the guards and end at the guards this season.
15. Philadelphia 76ers, Moe Harkless
Original Pick: Moe Harkless
There's no way the Philadelphia 76ers decide to take anyone else in a situation like this. He was one of the throw-in players that allowed them to land Andrew Bynum, so they're going to go out and grab him in a second.
Nobody better has fallen out of the lottery, so they might as well go ahead and go with the guy that allowed them to pick up their first real franchise player since Allen Iverson.
Harkless is dealing with recovering from surgery to fix a sports hernia, but he's still sitting as the guy with the most potential outside of the lottery.
16. Houston Rockets, Terrence Jones
Original Pick: Royce White
Originally, the Houston Rockets decided that Royce White was worth the risk with the 16th pick in the draft. I'm not so sure that they'd have the same thought at this point.
If you watched Grantland's draft day video with White, you'll see that teams really did have a lot of concern over his anxiety issues before the draft, and now that he's missed some training camp because of anxiety, it seems that they may have been legitimate concerns.
Passing on White this high is probably a decent idea. Instead, they're picking up the guy they originally drafted 18th overall, Terrence Jones.
17. Cleveland Cavaliers, Tyler Zeller
Original Pick: Tyler Zeller
The Cleveland Cavaliers saw more value in getting a mid-round pick in the 2012 Draft rather than using a late first-rounder and a few second-rounders later in the evening, opting to send their other three picks to Dallas for the rights to Tyler Zeller.
It seems that Zeller has done basically about what Cleveland expected, and the team is pretty happy with him in training camp.
He had some offensive issues in Summer League play, but he was able to pull down rebounds effectively and played hard on defense. Zeller is never going to be a star center and they know that, but he's going to be a hard worker and he's going to constantly work on his game.
18. Houston Rockets, Jared Sullinger
Original Pick: Terrence Jones
Where Royce White was the big gamble that they could justify in the original draft, Jared Sullinger seemed to be the big gamble that couldn't be justified. Now it seems to be the opposite.
Sullinger has come out with Boston and played hard in the Summer League, pulling down rebounds and matching stretches of terrible offense with stretches of brilliant offense.
That's the problem with Sully, however; he's going to be a tough player to consistently get positive play out of. However, he's got such great instincts with the ball in his hands in the paint that he's bound to turn into an effective player.
19. Orlando Magic, Andrew Nicholson
Original Pick: Andrew Nicholson
I'll admit it, up until the NCAA Tournament last season, I had never heard of Andrew Nicholson, much less seen the dude play. He was entertaining at the very least with the Bonnies; at best, he was damn impressive.
There's a lot left to desire with Nicholson, especially on the defensive end, but his hands are so soft and he's so skilled with the ball on offense that I'm thinking about jumping onto the Andrew Nicholson bandwagon.
You know what, screw it, he's a big man who looks like a cross between Greg Oden and Andre 3000, I'm all in on Nicholson.
20. Denver Nuggets, Evan Fournier
Original Pick: Evan Fournier
The Denver Nuggets made a very San Antonio Spurs-ish pick when they picked up Evan Fournier. There's not a lot to say that Fournier's going to be a great NBA player, but he was very impressive in France and at the Eurocamp, so drafting him wasn't a bad idea.
Denver is so deep that they didn't really need to find a guy who could give them a lot right off the bat, but they got someone who just might be able to do that.
Fournier might not see much playing time early on, but he's going to be able to learn from some smart ball-handlers and some good shooters.
21. Boston Celtics, Royce White
Original Pick: Jared Sullinger
Boston had no problem rolling the dice with Jared Sullinger, so they'd probably be okay with rolling them on Royce White.
White has the anxiety issues that we've all heard about, but if he's able to work through them and get that under control, then he should be able to turn into a terrific young basketball player.
He's a big man who can pass, defend and score. What more could you possibly want?
22. Boston Celtics, Festus Ezeli
Original Pick: Fab Melo
The Celtics were looking for a guy who could come in and fill up the post, rebound and play a little defense for them when Kevin Garnett wasn't in the game. Going with Fab Melo was a huge swing-and-a-miss, and the season hasn't even started yet.
They could have made a little bit of a reach and grabbed Festus Ezeli, getting exactly what they needed in a guy who can do it for them tomorrow instead of next year.
Fab would work best this year playing in the D-League while Ezeli would work best playing about 20 minutes a game while being a huge dude trying to grab rebounds.
23. Atlanta Hawks, Tony Wroten
Original Pick: John Jenkins
The Hawks went ahead and drafted a guy who could knock down and open three and nothing else when they drafted John Jenkins back in June. After trading away Joe Johnson for the remnants of a 22-44 Nets team, however, they ended up with more of those than they can count.
Instead of taking a guy who can knock down shots, they should look for Tony Wroten, a guy who can fill in a stat sheet in a good game.
Wroten struggled a bit and he excelled a bit in the Summer League, which is really a sign that he's going to take a lot of work, but that work could pay off in the end.
24. Dallas Mavericks, John Jenkins
Original Pick: Jared Cunningham
Whereas Atlanta ended up picking up a wealth of what they would have gotten with John Jenkins in a trade, Dallas seems to be in need of a knock-down shooter from the perimeter.
Jared Cunningham may turn out to be a decent basketball player; I can't really say at this point after he spent the summer nursing a hamstring injury, but John Jenkins gives the Mavericks a guy who is going to take good shots and knock them down.
He's not going to need a lot of touches, he just needs someone to set an off-ball screen for him and get him a little space.
25. Memphis Grizzlies, Jae Crowder
Original Pick: Tony Wroten
Memphis misses out on their original pick of Tony Wroten, but they get a chance to lift somebody out of the second round who never should have fallen that far.
Jae Crowder came into the draft as the Big East Player of the Year, but he saw himself drop all the way to 34th in the draft.
Going into the Summer League, Crowder really showed off that he's a basketball player first and foremost. He just understands the game. Perhaps he shouldn't be shooting as much as he did during the Summer League, but as long as he's on the floor, he's able to make a play, offensively or defensively.
26. Indiana Pacers, Arnett Moultrie
Original Pick: Miles Plumlee
For the next six months, I think I'm going to watch and wait for the Indiana Pacers to put Miles Plumlee into the game so I can wonder aloud to myself over why they decided to draft him. In the end, I'll probably just come to the conclusion that they needed a guy to replace Jeff Foster.
Plumlee hasn't really shown anything more than the fact that he's a big fellow who can take up space and rebound, but if Indiana wanted that, they could have just taken Arnett Moultrie.
Moultrie is a big dude who is versatile and has been working his way down to a lower weight, giving him the approval of Doug Collins.
27. Philadelphia 76ers, Jeffery Taylor
Original Pick: Arnett Moultrie
The Philadelphia 76ers lost something when they traded away Andre Iguodala that has only been whispered about. Iggy was the center of their defense, the glue that (along with Elton Brand) held their defense together.
Evan Turner is a decent enough perimeter defender, but Jeffery Taylor seems to be a guy who is going to be able to come in and play some lockdown defense.
Taylor has been impressing the Bobcats with his willingness to learn and has started off on the right foot, so why not go with a tiny stretch and bring Taylor out of the second round to play some defense?
28. Oklahoma City Thunder, Perry Jones III
Original Pick: Perry Jones III
You know what we learned about Perry Jones III over the summer? Absolutely nothing.
Jones was hobbled a bit during the Summer League in his second game with a sprained ankle after going off for 16 points and eight boards in his debut in Oklahoma City's first game.
He didn't do anything too spectacular or concrete to make it seem like somebody should be taking a risk on him any earlier in the draft, but Oklahoma City is still fine to go with him a second time around.
29. Chicago Bulls, Marquis Teague
Original Pick: Marquis Teague
I haven't seen a shot of him since picture day for all the rookies, but if Marquis Teague is going to spend all season wearing Carl Winslow's mustache, then I'm getting his jersey tomorrow. Forget Derrick Rose and disregard Kirk Hinrich, he should be the team's starting point guard.
Regardless of Teague's tremendous facial follicles, Chicago needs someone to play the point, unless they want to see if Hinrich can go 48 minutes a game.
30. Golden State Warriors, Jared Cunningham
Original Pick: Festus Ezeli
Golden State is going to miss out on Festus Ezeli in the re-draft, so they might as well take the guy who remains a bit of a mystery, but retains some relative upside.
Jared Cunningham missed the Summer League with a hamstring injury, and word is that he's stoked to get going in preseason and prove what he's capable of.
He's pretty decent all-around, but he's not really a standout in any one point of his game, so it'll be interesting to see how he develops moving forward.
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