What would happen if the 2012 draft were to happen all over again? Knowing what we know now, who would rise up to the top of the draft? Who would fall?
For the sake of this exercise, all teams have their current rosters. That means the Houston Rockets already have James Harden and the Toronto Raptors have Rudy Gay, even though that has some Back to the Future-type concerns. Team needs will take a backseat to player value in this discussion, but current roster compositions will be factored in.
Basically in this hypothetical situation, the 2012 draft and season all happened, but the players must now be drafted again to new teams. Got it? Good.
With the first pick in the 2012 NBA draft part two, the New Orleans Hornets (Pelicans?) select...
1. New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans: Damian Lillard, PG
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF/C
3. Washington Wizards: Andre Drummond, C
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG
5. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes, SF
At pick one, the New Orleans Hornicans (as we'll refer to them from now on) are left with the toughest decision of this re-draft, but it's Damian Lillard who gets the nod over Anthony Davis as the safer pick. Davis is capable of brilliant play on both ends, but durability may be an issue and New Orleans may not see him as a center. Teams rarely trade big from small, but Lillard's scoring and ability to run a team give him the ever so slight nod as the first pick.
At pick two, the Charlotte Bobcats rush the podium to take Anthony Davis, who conveniently falls in their lap as a franchise big man. Andre Drummond is briefly discussed, but Davis is viewed as the more complete player, and that's perfect for a franchise that needs, well, everything. All the things the Bobcats liked about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist come in a bigger package in Anthony Davis.
At pick three, the Washington Wizards take all the time on the clock deciding between Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond, but at the last second they go with Drummond to create the league's most explosive pick-and-roll duo with John Wall.
At pick four, the Cleveland Cavaliers find the perfect backcourt mate for Kyrie Irving in Bradley Beal. Cleveland makes out like bandits here, upgrading their "fit" on the wing tremendously with a spot-up shooter like Beal instead of a high usage guy in Dion Waiters.
At pick five, the Sacramento Kings finally get a small forward who can score and defend by drafting Harrison Barnes. Although he may play with blinders on, Barnes gives the Kings a scoring option in isolation or on the block (like Thomas Robinson was supposed to) for when DeMarcus Cousins gets that itch to be a perimeter player. He should probably get that checked out, by the way.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Dion Waiters, SG
7. Golden State Warriors: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF
8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross SG/SF
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF/C
10. New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans: Maurice Harkless, SF
At pick six, the Portland Trail Blazers are hunting down David Stern for this crazy idea after losing Damian Lillard. Begrudgingly, they select Dion Waiters as a perimeter scorer with lots of potential.
At pick seven, the Golden State Warriors draft another small forward who can shift to the 4 in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Although he's not the shooter Harrison Barnes is, Kidd-Gilchrist is an excellent rebounder and defender that will mesh with the Splash Bros (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) just fine at either forward spot.
At pick eight, the Toronto Raptors are our first team to not change a thing. How terribly boring of you, Toronto Raptors. Luckily, Terrence Ross is anything but boring. He's a walking highlight reel with as high of a ceiling as any other perimeter player in the draft, so long as he can put it all together.
At pick nine, the Detroit Pistons join Portland's pity party (Voodoo donuts for everyone, at least?) and take another shot-blocking big in John Henson. Although they certainly lose some explosiveness by not having Andre Drummond around, Henson projects to be a very capable rim protector and worker on the offensive glass. Cheer up, Detroit.
At pick ten, the New Orleans Hornicans ask how this re-draft could be more heartless, and so they take Mo Harkless and leave Austin Rivers in the dust. Rivers produced one of the worst rookie campaigns in NBA history during the year that shall not be named, so getting a versatile, young small forward here is a nice pull.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jared Sullinger, PF
12. Houston Rockets: Evan Fournier, SG
13. Phoenix Suns: Thomas Robinson, PF
14. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Nicholson, PF
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Jeremy Lamb, SG
At pick 11, the Trail Blazers exact some revenge and take a guy some forgot about due to his shortened year. Jared Sullinger looks to be a double-double machine and a killer offensive rebounder, and yet he probably won't kill you defensively like J.J. Hickson. Or Meyers Leonard, which is who Portland took in the draft that didn't happen.
At pick 12, the Houston Rockets reach a little bit for a guy who fits their scheme in Evan Fournier. Although his time was limited as well, Fournier showed he could shoot with range and put the ball on the floor and create for others. He's a nice player.
At pick 13, the Phoenix Suns happily pounce on Thomas Robinson to give them the monster frontcourt rebounder they desperately need. Robinson's potential is too hard to pass up, even if it's clear it will take him some time to figure it out offensively. After all, Phoenix has lots of time!
At pick 14, the Milwaukee Bucks take Andrew Nicholson and hoard all the underrated big men. Nicholson showed some serious chops as a post scorer, but lacks athleticism. Place him next to Larry Sanders and all is right in the world.
At pick 15, the Philadelphia 76ers draft Jeremy Lamb despite the fact that he barely touched the floor. The Sixers need perimeter shooting and athleticism on the wings, and that's Lamb.
16. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C
17. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Zeller, C
18. Houston Rockets: Terrence Jones, PF
19. Orlando Magic: Tony Wroten, PG
20. Denver Nuggets: Jae Crowder, SF
At pick 16, the Houston Rockets stop the drop of Meyers Leonard and accept the project. Although he often looked lost defensively, Leonard has the body and athleticism that won't let him drop too far.
At pick 17, the Dallas Mavericks select Tyler Zeller at pick 17 to provide much needed synergy between the real and fake drafts. Zeller seems cool like that, and big men who can run the floor are always fun.
At pick 18, the Houston Rockets continue their pick hoarding ways and take Terrence Jones. The Rockets are one of the only teams weird enough to take on Jones and his unique skill-set, but they're up for the task.
At pick 19, the Orlando Magic draft Tony Wroten as a point guard of the future. He may not actually have a right hand, but at 6'5 with good speed, he'll just keep going left until someone figures it out.
At pick 20, the Denver Nuggets get wild and take the first second round pick of last year's draft in Jae Crowder. A great energy guy who can defend multiple positions and hit from three, Crowder fits right in with Denver's unorthodox lineups and immediately becomes dreadlocked hustle bros with Kenneth Faried.
21. Boston Celtics: Draymond Green, F
22. Boston Celtics: Austin Rivers, G
23. Atlanta Hawks: Fab Melo, C
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: John Jenkins, SG
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Kendall Marshall, PG
At pick 21, the Boston Celtics profess their love for defense by selecting Draymond Green. Having a guy who can legitimately cover three positions is always nice, especially at this point of the draft.
At pick 22, the Boston Celtics profess their love of nepotism by selecting Austin Rivers. In a hypothetical last ditch effort to get Doc Rivers to stay on during the rebuilding process, the Celtics draft his son despite the fact that he's probably not a very good basketball player.
At pick 23, the Atlanta Hawks take Fab Melo as a project big for Al Horford to show the ropes. And so they can say to fans, "look, we may have missed out on Dwight Howard, but at least we got Melo!"
At pick 24, the Cleveland Cavaliers take spot-up shooter John Jenkins to give Kyrie Irving even more weapons to play with. Can you imagine Irving in even more space? Scary.
At pick 25, the Memphis Grizzlies stop turning players that are out of the league into backup point guards and take a young prospect in Kendall Marshall who can probably thrive in the chaos that is Grit and Grind.
26. Indiana Pacers: Orlando Johnson, SG
27. Miami Heat: Festus Ezeli, C
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Perry Jones III, SF
29. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG
30. Golden State Warriors: Bernard James, C
At pick 26, the Indiana Pacers just keep on doing what they've been doing, because it's working.
At pick 27, the Miami Heat take Festus Ezeli to give them a young, shot-blocking center with some real size and bulk.
At pick 28, the Oklahoma City Thunder somehow get the same steal twice and bet on Perry Jones III and his potential.
At pick 29, the Chicago Bulls take Marquis Teague and hope that Derrick Rose can still show him how to wreck house as an athletic point guard.
At pick 30, the Golden State Warriors end our re-draft and take Bernard James as a backup center that should be a fan favorite everywhere he goes.