The 2012 NBA Draft has come and gone like Maybach Music Group‘s Self Made 2 drop earlier this week. Billed as one of best drafts in recent memory, it didn’t provide the same kind of trade activity that all the pre-draft talk suggested. Nevertheless, the lack of major moves impacted the way the draft played out. Hell, David Stern, Adam Silver and the entire ESPN broadcast couldn’t even keep up with the rate Twitter was disseminating the picks at warp speed. Now GMs, teams, and players have no time before they’re notified of how great or how poor their evening went. We documented each selection as it unfolded; and here’s our list of the top ten winners and losers of the draft.
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10. UNDRAFTED PLAYERS
Every kid wants to hear their name called come draft night. However, there are a lot of cats that misplay their hand for various reasons and go undrafted as a result. While there are some guys that surely made a strong case for themselves this past season â€” like Casper Ware, Scott Machado and Drew Gordon â€” it’s often in their best interests to become free agents and control their destination. There are plenty of players in the league who have made fine career for themselves after going ahead with the undrafted process. Wes Matthews and Jeremy Lin are two recent examples of the kind of hard work that’s necessary to be a player who sticks.
9. EKPE UDOH & LARRY SANDERS
The Milwaukee Bucks draft strategy must have been to pick the best player available. They drafted John Henson despite having similar players in Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders on the roster. It’s funny how former lottery picks like those two can suddenly be on thin ice to stay in the league. Udoh and Sanders must prove their worth and not let Henson take their playing time when training camp begins.
8. RENARDO SIDNEY
Renardo Sidney had no chance on being drafted, and that’s really unfortunate. According to DraftExpress.com, he was the fattest kid to attend a New Jersey Nets combine back in May, weighing in at a massive 304 pounds, and his body fat ranks as the second-highest in their records, ahead of only Oliver Miller. This day is a sad realization and example of how talent alone won’t guarantee a future in the NBA. He was once considered one of best prospects in the nation; his game drew comparisons to a young Chris Webber. Now, Sidney is the latest poster boy of the cautionary tales of wasted potential and talent.
7. FUTURE AMERICAN PLAYERS
Check back to number eight on the winners list. If that many international players were picked on a supposedly down year for them, who is to say that future draft classes won’t consist of more?
6. JOHN CALIPARI
How can John Calipari be a loser on draft night when all six of his Wildcats got selected? He’s a loser because he and Big Blue Nation had grandeur expectations of these draftees after winning their first national championship in a cool minute. In classic Calipari fashion, he arrogantly believed that all six of these guys should be first-round picks. He wants to outperform and brag about how many recruits he can get into the first round mix every year. These draftees couldn’t even match the five Wildcats that were headlined by John Wall in 2010. Calipari should always be held to a higher standard than the rest of his collegiate coaching peers because of his personality and bravado.
5. BROOKLYN NETS
They were easily the biggest loser during this past trade deadline. The Brooklyn Nets can propel to number one on this list too, depending on whether they can convince D-Will to sign on the dotted line for an extension before his own July 5th deadline. Up to this point, they have completely misjudged the draft and how valuable these assets are. Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Damian Lillard are the young players they refused to build around. Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov must be confident their fantasy of D-Will and Dwight Howard becomes a reality soon. If not, they have nobody to blame but themselves on why they preferred to go after players they really couldn’t control.
4. ANDRE IGUODALA
The Philadelphia 76ers drafted Moe Harkless out of St. John’s with the No. 15 overall pick. Their playoff run probably made them realize that it’s time to take a step back in order to make two steps forward. This selection was a clear shot at Andre Iguodala and how determined the 76ers will be to unload his contract in a trade this summer. Iguodala won’t be able to escape this inevitable reality as in past years. He should get his bags packed soon because there’s no doubt he’ll be dealt for someone, as Harkless will take his starting small forward spot soon enough.
3. QUINCY MILLER
Out of all the cats selected in the second round, Quincy Miller was the biggest loser of them all. He easily has the most upside, and the best opportunity to increase his draft stock had he elected to return to school. Some draft experts like ESPN’s Chad Ford suggested he could’ve been a top-10 pick next year. That type of projection warrants maintaining his college eligibility for one more season. Miller’s recovery from injury and not suitably showcasing his skills were the biggest reasons why he should’ve gone back to Baylor. Instead, he has to fight for a guaranteed contract when training camp starts in the fall.
2. NEIL OLSHEY
Neil Olshey and the Portland Trail Blazers played it too safe. He is a loser because they were the only team in the lottery with multiple picks that could’ve made a radical move to help out LaMarcus Aldridge right now. The Hornets were not going to consider trading their two lottery picks because they’re clearly in rebuilding mode. The Blazers should be reloading. Damian Lillard easily benefited from a horrendous point guard class to increase his stock. There’s a chance he may only be good as Jimmer Fredette, who also lit it up at a smaller school. Meanwhile, getting Meyers Leonard is scarier than Michael Myers. Olshey missed an opportunity to shake up the league and own draft night.
1. MICHAEL JORDAN
Michael Jordan just can’t draft a team. His Airness is a loser and nobody should be surprised by this. Maybe Michael Kidd-Gilchrist reminded him of Scottie Pippen. But why draft Pip first when there’s no Mike anywhere any sight? The Charlotte Bobcats were dead last in the NBA in points per game, averaging just under 87 a game. As much as defense is important to win a ‘ship, scoring is what gets you there, first and foremost. There’s currently a premium on finding players that can get their own buckets. Jordan dismissed Bradley Beal as the next best player available, and wasn’t able to pull the trigger on a trade to perhaps land someone as nice as James Harden. In a league where perimeter players rule, the Bobcats now have the shortest backcourt with D.J. Augustin, Kemba Walker, Ben Gordon, and you can thrown in Kidd-Gilchrist, too. Jordan just placed tremendous pressure on a glue guy to be one of the franchise’s saviors. As much as Kidd-Gilchrist is pegged as a cat that somehow can change a team’s culture, that begins and ends with those at the top. And Jordan has failed yet again to evaluate talent and maximize the few assets he’s had to definitively alter the course of his team.
Who were the biggest losers on draft night?
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