The big, bold trades everyone was anticipating failed to materialize. But that doesn't mean the 2012 NBA Draft was without surprises. Here's a look at some of the biggest stories of draft night and what they'll mean for the 2012-13 season and beyond.
New Orleans Hornets
Loved their first pick... but c'mon. Anthony Davis
was the most blindingly obvious top pick since... LeBron James
? Generally speaking, I prefer not to draft rookies in fantasy NBA leagues, but Davis is an obvious exception. I expect him to be among the league leaders in blocks and score a healthy amount, even if his offense is initially limited to put-backs and lobs. (Hey, it works for Blake Griffin
I'm a lot less enthusiastic about their second pick, Austin Rivers
. Putting aside Rivers' reputation as a me-first player that thinks he's the next Kobe Bryant
... Hornets coach Monty Williams apparently thinks he can turn Rivers into a point guard. That's the sort of thinking that gets promising young coaches fired. Rivers might work as a lead guard that can initiate the offense when he isn't creating his own shot... a poor man's version of Bryant or Dwyane Wade
or Tyreke Evans
... a full-time point guard he's not. I want no part of this experiment. I'd be a lot more enthusiastic if the Hornets planned to use Rivers off the bench initially, a la James Harden
, or play a lot of three-guard sets.
Have to applaud the Bobcats for selecting the best available player - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- despite the fact that MKG doesn't really address their biggest need. The comparisons to Scottie Pippen make a lot of sense, but don't forget that Pippen was Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman. The Bobcat roster has no Batman... no Green Lantern... I'm not even sure they have a Matter Eater Lad. Great pick, but he won't pay dividends until that roster is a lot better. Second-rounder Jeff Taylor will be a fantasy sleeper; Charlotte needs scoring so badly, Taylor could win a significant role.
Fourth overall seems awfully high for a guy that didn't even start in college; apparently Cleveland heard all the "Dion Waiters
is the next Dwyane Wade
" talk and took it to heart. Waiters could turn into one of the more productive rookies in this class if he's anything near as good as advertised; with Anthony Parker
set to retire, he should have plenty of opportunity to prove he wasn't a reach.
Anyone else think the draft didn't work out exactly the way Daryl Morey intended? Houston's general manager had three picks in the first round and big plans to parlay them into a top pick or established star. He came out of draft night with three rookies - Jeremy Lamb
, Royce White
and Terrence Jones
- and second-rounder Furkan Aldemir
. Hard to put a value on any Houston player until the next shoe drops - according to reports, the Rockets may be parting ways with Kyle Lowry
, Kevin Martin
and Luis Scola
before tipping off the 2012-13 regular season.
White is an interesting player, a point-forward type that reminds me of ex-Knick and Hornet Anthony Mason with his size, bulk and handle. Is Kevin McHale a creative enough coach to take advantage of his unique talents? I almost wish Rick Adelman were still calling the plays in Houston.
Portland Trail Blazers
Hard to argue when a team addresses two major needs. Damian Lillard
was the consensus top point guard in this draft, and Meyers Leonard
- while very raw - will give the Blazers some much-needed bulk in the frontcourt. Theoretically, this means LaMarcus Aldridge
's days of moonlighting as a center are over; I'm not sure if that helps his fantasy value (does playing at his natural position keep him healthy?) or hurts it (he was great at exploiting bigger/slower opponents).
is a potential sleeper this season. Assuming he's over the - ahem - DISC problems that caused his fall from the lottery to the 21st overall pick, he could emerge as the Celtics' first big off the bench, taking on the role that Big Baby Davis and Brandon Bass
have played in recent years. And if Kevin Garnett
retires - he'll reportedly make a decision by the weekend - Sullinger could be even more important.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the addition of Marquis Teague
could mean that Derrick Rose
will miss a substantial portion of the upcoming season.
As with the Rockets, the Sixers' made selections that left me wondering what they'd do next. Forward Maurice Harkless (you may remember him as Moe) is pretty raw, but fits the same profile as Andre Iguodala
. And Arnett Moultrie
- acquired with the late first-rounder Philly bought from Miami - plays the same position as Elton Brand
, Thaddeus Young
, Nikola Vucevic
and Spencer Hawes
. I was surprised the Sixers didn't deal Iguodala before last season. I'll be utterly shocked if he's back in Philly this year.
After acquiring Trevor Ariza
from the Hornets, the Wizards are loaded with players that are very good driving to the basket... and who can't shoot a lick. If Bradley Beal
is as good as advertised, he'll be a much-needed complement to Ariza, and John Wall
and could help both slashers improve their games significantly.