We have a large enough sample size to say with some amount of certainty that the four best players from the 2012 NBA Draft are Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, and Draymond Green. The first three aren’t a huge surprise: Davis was considered the biggest lock to be a star since LeBron James and went No. 1, Lillard came from a small school but everyone knew he could really play and went No. 6, and Drummond was a freak of nature who had a few question marks but went No. 9.
And then there’s Green, who went in the second round with the No. 35 pick. An All-American at Michigan State, everyone knew Green was a really good basketball player, but there were questions about whether he had the size to be a big man or the athleticism to be a wing player. Plus there were concerns about his ceiling and whether he’d ever get better than he was at that time. All of those concerns seem kind of funny looking back, but there was a reason his NBADraft.net player comparison was “Luke Harangody/Jared Dudley.”
To Green’s credit, he’s worked incredibly hard to shut up those who doubted him back in 2012. Part of the reason why is he’s motivated by the 34 dudes who were picked in front of him, so much so that The San Jose Mercury News learned he can name all of them from memory in the order they were drafted.
“First was Anthony Davis to New Orleans,” he says. “Then Charlotte took (Michael) Kidd-Gilchrist. Then Washington took Bradley Beal. Fourth was Cleveland: Dion Waiters.
“Eight was Toronto: Terrence Ross …
“Sixteen was Houston: Royce White …
By the time he’s done, Green has reeled off the names of all 34 players selected ahead of him and the corresponding team.
Here’s the list of players selected in the 2012 Draft.
Again, at the time, basically all of the people picked ahead of Green made sense. But in retrospect it’s amazing to see some of the names that went ahead of a guy who will surely garner All-NBA honors this season and might be the second-best player on a 73-win team.