It was no surprise when former Kentucky center Anthony Davis was taken by the New Orleans Hornets with the number one overall pick, but the next 59 picks remained mysteries until the official announcements from NBA commissioner David Stern (and later his deputy Adam Silver).
As expected, six Kentucky players were drafted, along with a handful from UNC, Duke, UConn, Baylor, and Syracuse. And of course, this year’s draft had no shortage of European players that you have never heard of, with names that you wouldn’t dare to try to pronounce.
Earlier today, Trevor identified the biggest winner and biggest loser of the draft. In this post, we’ll identify a few more of each.
2012 NBA Draft Instant Winners
They had six players selected:
- Anthony Davis (1-NOH)
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2-CHA)
- Terrence Jones (18-HOU)
- Marquis Teague (29-CHI)
- Doron Lamb (42-MIL)
- Darius Miller (46-NOH)
What else really needs to be said?
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels were not too far behind with four players selected, all in the top 17:
- Harrison Barnes (7-GSW)
- Kendall Marshall (13-PHX)
- John Henson (14-MIL)
- Tyler Zeller (17-DAL)
Syracuse had three players selected, including Dion Waiters at #4 to Cleveland, as well as Fab Melo (22-BOS) and Kris Joseph (51-BOS). And Baylor had three players selected, though Perry Jones and Quincy Miller were surely disappointed by their selection slots.
The Celts shocked the league by coming within one win from advancing to the NBA Finals after the Big Three were nearly broken up early in the season and despite Rajon Rondo trade rumors in the regular season.
With the Big Three most likely losing a member, 37-year-old Ray Allen who became a free agent after the 2011-2012 season ended, Boston reloaded its roster with fresh legs and young talent, especially in its frontcourt. They added former Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger along with Melo and Joseph.
With KG returning to the Garnett of his mid-twenties and Rajon Rondo playing in his prime, the Celtics could make another run at the Finals in the next few years in the post-Big Three Era.
Houston seems to be stuck in a cycle of seasons around .500 and a roster with average players. However, the Rockets are looking to change that identity. They have made serious runs at acquiring Dwight Howard and made the most of their three picks in the top eighteen selections last night.
With the twelfth pick, Houston drafted UConn shooting guard and NCAA national champion Jeremy Lamb. Four picks later they drafted Iowa State standout Royce White. They completed their draft by selecting University of Kentucky forward Terrence Jones.
If White can get over his fear of flying and Jones doesn’t butt heads with Houston’s coaching staff, then the trio of Rockets draft picks can change the culture in Houston as they mature over the next few years in the NBA.
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKC may have had the steal of the draft by picking up Perry Jones III, who slipped down to the 28th pick. Runners-up in last season’s NBA Finals, the Thunder made the most of their sole pick in the draft to improve their frontcourt, and it gives them a player who could help replace Serge Ibaka if they can’t sign him to a long-term contract down the road.
New Orleans Hornets
Drafting Anthony Davis with the first pick in the draft improved their future more than can be described in words, but Austin Rivers and Darius Miller take New Orleans’ draft to the next level. Along with shooting guard Eric Gordon, the Hornets could have a very formidable starting lineup in a few years.
What Were They Thinking?
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors certainly added some talented small forwards and centers by drafting Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli, and Ognjen Kuzmic. And that is exactly why I am questioning their draft as a whole.
Yes, Barnes was the best player available with the seventh overall pick, and he has great potential to develop into a very good player at the next level. Yes, Green is a fantastic leader and team player, someone who you would not question his passion for basketball. Yes, with Ezeli, it never hurts to add a seven-footer who can grab rebounds and contest shots.
But did Golden State’s front office look at their roster closely enough before draft day?
They only have three guards, their best being Stephen Curry, and none of them are players who can take over a game with their outside shooting or penetration in the lane. If they plan to deal Andris Biedrins or Andrew Bogut, who earn a combined $21 million per year, then I will feel much better about their draft because no team needs more centers than point guards and shooting guards combined.
I have to wonder if Derrick Rose’s injury-prone 2011-2012 season that limited him to only 39 regular season games and will likely have him missing much of next year, caused the Bulls to start panicking.
With the 29th pick, Chicago drafted Marquis Teague out of Kentucky, which means that the Bulls have three point guards in addition to their three shooting guards.
Jae Crowder and Draymond Green were both available when Chicago was on the clock. As a Bulls fan, I would have been thrilled if either of those forwards were Chi-Town bound to learn from and play alongside Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Carlos Boozer.
Instead, the Bulls got an insurance policy.
Teague will get his share of playing time with D-Rose out, but he will go to the bench as soon as the 2011 MVP returns to the court. Unless Teague changes positions as a Bull or Rose becomes an off-guard, the two point guards probably won’t be on the floor at the same time during most situations.
As good as Teague may be in the future in the NBA and as much as the Bulls may need another ball-handler until Rose comes back, I would have preferred Crowder or Green.
New Most Anticipated Matchup
Boston Celtics vs. New Orleans Hornets
It will be a family rivalry that is unlike any other we’ve seen in professional sports. Coach Doc Rivers of the Celtics scheming defenses to stop his flashy shooting guard son Austin Rivers.
You have to wonder if Doc Rivers will get a Father’s Day card in the mail after Kevin Garnett throws an elbow into the younger Rivers next season.
The Best European Names of the Draft
- Kostas Papanikolaou-SF-48th pick-Greece-New York Knicks
- Izzet Turkyilmaz-PF-50th pick-Turkey-Denver Nuggets
- Tornike Shengelia-SF-54th pick-Georgia-Philadelphia 76′ers
- Ognjen Kuzmic-C-52nd pick-Bosnia-Golden State Warriors