Winners and Losers from the 2012-13 NBA Draft
We're now far enough into the regular season where we can determine the winners and losers from the 2012 NBA draft.
They consist of teams who hit or missed and players who've excelled or struggled.
For the players, much of their success has been dependent on the team that selected them. Finding the right setting and environment can be crucial for the development process to play out.
It's easy to differentiate a winner from a loser with regard to the teams. You can pretty much tell right away who made wise selections and who made poor ones.
Losers: Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings had a chance to grab their point guard for the future and instead opted for Thomas Robinson, who could still end up being a solid frontcourt asset. But the Kings will never find out.
That's because they traded him midway through his rookie year. They got back Patrick Patterson, who sports a career 4.3 rebound-per-game average, which he's maintained so far in his first month as a King.
The Kings have made some head-scratching moves over the past few drafts, and it's holding them back as a franchise.
Teams use the draft as a primary source to build their rotations, and the Kings have wasted valuable opportunities to do so.
Winners: Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers maximized their draft position by selecting the best player on the board at No. 6 overall.
Damian Lillard is a stud, and one Portland can feel comfortable dressing as a starter for years to come.
They also landed 7'1'' center Meyers Leonard, who has flashed some promise in his limited role as a rookie so far.
The Blazers got some value in the second round in Will Barton, an athletic wing who should ultimately find a spot in the rotation or future role in the league.
With two picks in the lottery and one in the second round, Portland's draft team did an excellent job of getting the best possible value with each pick they made.
Most teams enter the draft hoping to find one potential contributor. The Blazers ended up with a starter with All-Star potential and two promising role players to help fill out the rotation.
Losers: Philadelphia 76ers
At the time, I praised the Philadelphia 76ers for their selection at No. 15 when they drafted Moe Harkless from St. John's as mid- to first-round value pick.
And then within a blink of an eye he was gone when the 76ers decided to take part in four-way deal that would send Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. Philadelphia also parted ways with Nikola Vucevic, who's having a monster second season averaging 12.2 points and 11.4 rebounds for the Orlando Magic, as well as Andre Iguodala, whose history and credentials speak for themselves.
The 76ers received Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play a game for Philadelphia and may never will, and Jason Richardson, who has missed most of the year with a knee injury.
Philadelphia did get former Mississippi State standout Arnett Moultrie later in the first round, but he alone doesn't make up for injury misfortune and lost opportunities with Harkless and Vucevic.
I'm personally a huge fan of Harkless' game and long-term promise, and feel the 76ers will eventually regret throwing him into the four-way deal.
Winner: Damian Lillard
You have to admit—Damian Lillard lucked out by falling to Portland at No. 6, right?
The Bobcats at No. 2 would have been a messy situation considering there's nobody else in the offense for him to play off of. And Sacramento would have probably driven him into the ground if it decided to pass on Thomas Robinson and select Lillard at No. 5.
Portland had an open starting position in a veteran lineup. The fit couldn't have been better.
Lillard now has targets like Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge in the half court, making his life easier as a facilitator, which in turn opens up his offense.
And without anyone threatening his job, he's getting valuable reps early in his career.
A better match couldn't have been made by eHarmony.
Loser: Jeremy Lamb
Poor Jeremy Lamb.
Lamb was drafted by the Houston Rockets, a young team with minutes to spare. But before you knew it, Lamb had been shipped off to Oklahoma City as an afterthought in a deal that brought James Harden to Houston.
Now, Lamb falls behind Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant and Ronnie Brewer in a pecking order that's unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
With the Thunder intent on re-signing Martin and a current core that's built to win now, it could be awhile before Lamb is given the chance to earn consistent minutes.
It could be beneficial for Lamb in terms of development in the long run, but without the opportunity to showcase his scoring abilities, his eventual second contract in the league could take a hit in value.
Winner: Detroit Pistons
Prior to the 2012-13 college basketball season, many had projected Andre Drummond, myself included, to go No. 1 overall in that summer's draft.
However, Drummond struggled offensively at Connecticut, rarely getting the opportunity to showcase his unique blend of size, mobility and athleticism. In turn, he raised concerns surrounding his skill set and slipped to No. 9 overall, behind guys like Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes and Terrence Ross.
The Pistons capitalized on others' mistakes and found a long-term asset in the process.
This is an uninspiring lineup, so any gifts will be received with open arms.
So far this year, Drummond has been rocking one of the most impressive PERs in the league at 22.39 and has demonstrated his dominance as a finisher, rebounder and shot-blocker.
It will be interesting to see how the team moves forward and operates with both Drummond and Greg Monroe inside.
Loser: Royce White
This couldn't have been the rookie year that Royce White, or the Houston Rockets, had anticipated.
At No. 16 overall, White got his guaranteed contract, but it could end up being the last one he'll ever receive in the NBA.
White has made his anxiety disorder public through television interviews and social media platforms, as well as his disapproval with how the Rockets have been treating it. It's resulted in a back-and-forth between team and player that has only reflected negatively on the player.
As a rookie with no credentials, White has seemed to overstep his boundaries in how he's approached the situation. Though an unprecedented situation given his mental health, many have been turned off by the way he's publicly handled it.
To this day, White still hasn't suited up in a regular-season game for the Rockets and has admitted that it may never happen.
You could say the Rockets are losers in this one also, but they at least used the draft to help acquire a superstar in James Harden (trading Jeremy Lamb, No. 12 overall).
White is a unique talent who ultimately comes with heavy baggage. I'm just not sure how many teams will be willing to pay the extra fee.
Winner: Monty Williams and the New Orleans Hornets
All too often, the No. 1 pick overall is decided way too early in the process, which ultimately pressures the lottery winner to make the obvious choice.
This may or may not have happened with Greg Oden and the Portland Trail Blazers.
However, in 2012, the Hornets went with the obvious choice and ultimately made the right decision.
Anthony Davis has been better than advertised, fulfilling his reputation as a defensive presence while exceeding expectations as an offensive threat. Though his 12.9 points-per-game average may not touch Damian Lillard's 18, Davis has illustrated a diverse offensive arsenal as a face-up option, post-scorer, mid-range shooter and off-the-ball contributor above the rim.
After having their hand forced in the Chris Paul trade, Monty Williams and the Hornets replenished some of Paul's lost star power without having to pay.
They found themselves a keeper and a major building block for the franchise moving forward.
Loser: Perry Jones
Once thought of as a potential top-five pick, Perry Jones returned to school as a sophomore, only to slip to No. 28 in 2012.
The difference between the No. 5 pick in the draft and No. 28 is approximately $2 million a year for the first three years.
And not only that, but Jones went to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where available minutes for young players are scarce.
In his freshman year at Baylor, Jones was one of the most coveted prospects in the country. Two years later he's buried neck deep on the bench after almost slipping into the second round.