The 2012 NBA Draft: A Short Draft Day Preview
The 2012-13 NBA season officially begins tonight with the NBA Draft held in New York. Lottery teams (picks 1-14) will search for rookies who can become contributors and make their teams better as soon as possible, while non-lottery teams have the luxury of drafting prospects/projects who don’t necessarily need to play big minutes right away. Teams picking early are under a lot of pressure to select the right player for their team and the rookies are expected to perform and succeed because nobody wants to be called a draft “bust” (see Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic, Greg Oden). Some teams choose their draft picks depending on the best available talent/skill while others choose depending on the needs of their team.
This year, the unanimous 1st overall pick is Anthony Davis who played one year of college ball at the University of Kentucky. Davis was named the best player in the NCAA last year and helped the Wildcats win the Final Four championship game last March. “The Brow” can play center or power forward. He is listed at 6-10 and has a wingspan longer than Kevin Garnett or Kevin Durant. Most analysts believe that Davis will become a franchise player similar to what Tim Duncan did for the Spurs. The main difference between them, Duncan had an offensive repertoire while Anthony Davis lacks offensive skills. Still, Davis is an excellent shot blocker and rebounder and his low post defense is above average. His offensive game needs a lot more work but if Davis can develop a set shot similar to what Marcus Camby can make, he will be an all-star by next year. And if he develops a low post game, Davis will be on his way to superstar status.
The rest of the draft is a mystery. I have seen multiple mock drafts and no two have been alike after the first pick. The selections fluctuate on a daily basis, for example: one mock draft has Thomas Robinson of Kansas going at number two while another one has Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of UK going second. This is a deep draft and the first ten picks could interchange depending on the team’s mood and philosophy during draft night. Most analysts agree that teams who pick any of these: Robinson, MKG, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb will get a player who can contribute immediately and is less of a question mark. Meanwhile, players like Austin Rivers, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, Dion Walters and John Henson are among those who could struggle early in their careers and may have some troubles adjusting to the NBA’s style of play.
While others rose to the top of the draft board, a couple of them fell lower than expected. Jared Sullinger of Ohio State was one of those whose stock plummeted due to health concerns about possible back problems and lack of athleticism. That’s unfortunate for Sullinger who would have been a top 5 pick last year had he entered the draft. Sullinger has developed an effective low post game but his defensive awareness needs more polishing. Most draft boards see him getting picked from 18-20. Another projected lottery pick last year who could be drafted much lower this year is Perry Jones III of Baylor. Jones had a worse year compared to last year and people have questioned his work ethic and attitude. Jones is a versatile player who can play multiple positions and can dominate a game if his mind and effort is into it.
There aren’t a lot of international players projected to be drafted this year. Only one European player (Evan Fournier of France) is expected to be selected late in the first round. Last year, four international players were drafted in the top ten picks. Last year’s steal (and sleeper pick) was Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets at number 22. Faried ended up on the All-Rookie First Team and he was a major contributor during the Nugget’s playoff run. A player similar to Faried, though shorter, is Jae Crowder of Marquette. He is projected to be an early second round pick. I think he will be the sleeper pick of this draft. Enjoy the draft and I hope your team gets the player they want and need. Next up – the free agent season starts on July 1!
Thanks to the Hoop Nut.