Three years. That’s how long it will take to fairly grade the 2012 NBA Draft. In that span, presumptive class superstar Anthony Davis should have an adequate offensive game, Harrison Barnes will prove whether he’s more Rudy Gay or O.J. Mayo and the likes of Bradley Beal, Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will, hopefully, be proving their teams hit the mark. But, because three years is more than a whistle and a hum away, some post-draft assessments and assumptions will be made. We could be right; we could be absolutely wrong. Regardless, the following are 10 reactions to what should be remembered as a noteworthy draft.
1. Charlotte Made The Right Move
There wasn’t a second can’t-miss prospect in this season’s draft, and Charlotte is a team in desperate need of just that. Trading down was most certainly an option, but in drafting MKG – the second-best talent in the draft – Charlotte made a commitment to rebuilding the right way. Make no mistake: the losing will continue (feel free to toss this prediction out the window). But, when Charlotte has another crack at drafting an all-world kind of player, they can pair him with an incredible all-around talent in Kidd-Gilchrist.
2. …And, So Did New Orleans…Three Times
Davis was a no-brainer, but picking up Austin Rivers makes the Hornets all the more enticing. If they plan on keeping Eric Gordon around for the long haul – which they should – Rivers will have to take over primary ball-handling ability. That truth aside, Rivers should be able to score from the get-go, forming a dynamic young nucleus. The Hornets still have one or two more perimeter defenders to go, but they will be able to score. Darius Miller, the team’s second-round pick, should also be a rotation player from the get-go.
3. Give The Cavs Some Time
When the name “Dion Waiters” trickled out of David Stern’s mouth, every casual NBA fan hopped on the nearest smart phone to find out who, exactly, Waiters is. The Syracuse sixth man was easily the draft’s most obscure player, and because it’s easy to misjudge unknown commodities, many thought the Cavaliers had reached. Ask anybody who actually knows Waiters’s game, though, and you learn that he was arguably the draft’s best player at creating his own shot. The Cavs could kick themselves for passing on Barnes or Robinson, but Waiters could go down as 2012’s Russel Westbrook – criticized at the time of selection, eventual All-Star talent.* Also, Tyler Zeller isn’t a bad upgrade at center taking into account he comes from a college system that loved to run and the face of the franchise, Kyrie Irving, operates beautifully under the same dynamic.
*Or, that’s what I’ll be telling myself for the next few seasons. Stay tuned.
4. The Rockets Are Hard To Read
Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrance Jones are all talented and capable, but they play positions that Houston has no dire need to address (shooting guard, where Kevin Martin continues to cook, and power forward, where Luis Scola is entrenched). Finding Marcus Camby’s successor would seem to be the smartest move, but in stockpiling the aforementioned players, Houston added more intrigue to a team whose flirtations with big-name trades isn’t exactly a secret.
5. Steve Nash Has Played His Last Game as A Sun
In drafting North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall, Phoenix helped make Nash’s free agency decision a whole lot easier. Marshall could be an All-Star when it’s all said and done, but Nash – who transformed from an All-Star to a future Hall-of-Famer in the desert – almost certainly won’t be around to mentor him.
6. Detroit’s Future Is Murky
Andre Drummond is as hard a prospect as their is to gauge. An optimist looks at his insertion next to Greg Monroe and says, “Future powerhouse.” Someone more jaded sees more tumultuous days for Detroit. I may be going out on a limb, but big men with work ethic issues rarely pan out the way their teams hope. Drummond is going to have to defy some pretty bad comparisons to prove Detroit right.
7. Boston Is Rebuilding On The Fly
It’s a hard task to pull off. And while it won’t be done with one successful draft, in drafting Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, Danny Ainge and co. seem to have a successful post-Big 3 blueprint. Rajon Rondo isn’t going anywhere, and Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass showed enough to inspire optimism (even though Bass is a free agent). Factor in their 2012 first-round duo, and Boston won’t miss much of a beat as KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen depart.
8. Lack Of Foreign First Round Influence
France’s Evan Fournier (selected by Denver with the 20th overall pick) was the only first-rounder to fall into this category. Unlike last season, which saw Turkish Enes Kanter and Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas go second and fifth overall, 2012’s draft was full of American-born players. No apparent rhyme or reason for this trend, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
9. UNC And Kentucky Are Good Colleges To Attend For Basketball
No shocker there, but eight of the 30 first-round picks went to one of the two college powerhouses. Minus UConn and Duke (two apiece), no other college produced multiple first-rounders. Anthony Davis and MKG also became the first college teammates to be selected first and second in a draft.
10. Oklahoma City’s Good NBA Draft Fortune Continues
Everyone knew Baylor standout Perry Jones III was going to drop in the lottery, but no one saw him falling to the Thunder at 28. While it may not exactly be Aaron Rodgers and the 2005 NFL Draft, PJ3 is a wonderful talent who should find himself motivated to prove critics wrong while playing behind some guy named Kevin Durant and a team which has the makeup to dominate the Western Conference for years to come.