NBA Draft Lottery – Thoughts

The 2012 NBA Draft reaffirmed my love for the draft as one of the most exciting days on the NBA calander. It was a pretty surprising draft. The Bobcats were surprising at number two, as were the Cavs at number four and the Blazers at eleven. Wanna talk about a winner? The Thunder got Perry Jones III, formerly considered a high lottery pick if not for a damaged knee (that could prove trivial) and a low motor (which could be erased by a could reprimanding by hyper-competitive Russell Westbrook. Talk about the rich getting richer. More to come on the draft, but overall another great night for the NBA. Below is my pick-by-pick analysis of the first fourteen picks of the draft, considered the “lottery” for those of you casual basketball fans.

1. Anthony Davis (Hornets) – Davis will surely be a good player. He has no “bust” potential like Greg Odom because he’s athletic and already highly skilled. I hate when teams draft purely based on potential, and this is clearly not the case for Mr. Unibrow (shave it, please… it’s not as endearing as you think AD). However, I can’t see him being a superstar on the level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. I can’t put my finger on it, I just not as excited about him as much as most NBA scouts are.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats) – I’ll be honest, I don’t know a ton about this kid. He seems very level-headed and balanced as a player and person. I’ve seen firsthand that he has the ball-handling skills of a guard in the body of a swingman a la Wilson Chandler. I think he could be a 20 ppg, 5 assist per game scorer and an All-NBA Defensive player. This is mostly based on hearsay, though.

3. Bradley Beal (Wizards) – Beal is a talented player as far as I can tell. An multi-faceted scorer and talented defender. Can’t say much more than that. The Wizards still are going nowhere, though. Jordan Crawford is its DC’s starting SG, not a winning formula.

4. Dion Waiters (Cavaliers) – Waiters was picked much, much earlier than expected. As a talent, this guy is the real deal. He can score is so many ways, and I was truly impressed by his performance back in March. Word on the street is that he’s a knucklehead, though. The Cavs are still very far away from being a championship contender, and I think Waiters might be a guy who takes a few years to develop.

5. Thomas Robinson (Kings) – T-Rob is my favorite guy in this draft. Simply put, he’s an absolute beast; his arms and shoulders are incredible and as with Iman Shumpert, his jersey seems to be bursting at the seams. That strength will count for a lot in a league that places such high value on size and athleticism, and increasingly less importance on fundamentals and skill. Still, Robinson is a very talented player. A beast on the boards, he can also post guys up and apparently take them off the dribble. I remember once seeing him take the ball at the top of the key and get to to hoop with a single dribble and quick first step… I was blown away because it was a small forward’s move but with a PF’s size. With his work ethic and character, I think Thomas Robinson is destined for a fantastic NBA career in Sacramento. He was also picked three picks too late, so hopefully he’ll have an added chip on his shoulder (considering the fact that he believed himself deserving of the top pick).

6. Damien Lillard (Trail Blazers) – Damien Lillard is a fantastic pick. I’ve watched YouTube highlights, and the kid can flat-out score. Confident and dynamic, he’ll be an All-Star if he gets the minutes. Lillard, along with Robinson, is one of my favorite draftees.

7. Harrison Barnes (Warriors) – I view Barnes with a lot of doubt. He no doubt under-acheived at UNC, and I think he could be headed down the path of Marvin Williams. In other words, he won’t bomb, but he’ll always be a border-line starter and a subject of constant trade rumors as an expendable asset for his team. Mark Jackson is no doubt a great coach for young players, though, so perhaps Barnes will find some moxy and motor under Jackson’s tutelage.

8. Terrence Ross (Raptors) – Ross seems to be a quiet yet prolific scorer who enjoyed inflated statistics on a bad team. Nonetheless, he looks like he’s got all the tools to be one of the NBA’s premier offensive threats. I worry that he doesn’t have the NBA mentality, though. He’s quiet and a little to modest for me – perhaps he lacks a killer’s instinct? He reminds me of Danny Granger, through both his scoring capabilities and under-stated persona.

9. Andre Drummond (Pistons) – Honestly, I’m really tentative about Andre Drummond. He’s being drafted on pure upside alone, a scenario that I always hate. He didn’t produce at all UConn, and he seems apathetic and arrogant. He was picked later than projected, so the Pistons may have still landed a high-value pick.

10. Austin Rivers (New Orleans) – The rich got richer in this year’s draft as the Hornets made another fantastic choice. Rivers can flat out score at will. He’s a more precocious version of Stephen Curry, and with a father as rugged as Doc, Rivers undoubtedly has the will to win and improve. I may not like the kid as a person persay, but I suspect a bright future for the young Rivers.

11. Meyers Leonard (Blazers) – Considering the Trail Blazer’s history of choosing busts for centers in the draft (Bowie, Oden), you would think they’ve learned their lesson and would let other teams make the mistake of drafting projects. If they’re going to draft a center, Henson and Zeller both would’ve been more surefire choices. Leonard is a quiet, seemingly fragile kid who may not have an NBA mentality, either. Not a horrible pick, but a little curious considering the Blazers already have centers in Aldridge and Pryzbilla.

12. Jeremy Lamb (Rockets) – Great pick, bottom line. Lamb is a shot maker who will prove to be a clutch scorer who can put the ball in the basket in many ways. Athletic, pedigreed, and skilled, Lamb is a future star. The Rockets have impressed me with their wheeling and dealing. Getting rid of washed up Samuel Dalembert was a great choice, and shipping out an talented but unnecessary asset in Budinger will prove to be a good move as well.

13. Kendall Marshall (Suns) – I’m not a believer in Marshall at all. He has play-making ability as a passer, but not much else. Sure, guys like Andre Miller have excelled with similar skill sets, but Marshall is an un-enticing lottery pick who I would’ve let someone take a risk on later in the draft.

14. John Henson (Bucks) – Like Drummond, I’m worried about Henson. First of all, he’s exceedingly immature, both physically and mentally. He had a smirk on his face all night as if he was the sole possessor of some inside joke, and he looks like he’s about 15 years old. He’ll take a while to develop, and right now he looks highly uncoordinated, robotic, and emaciated. Henson is a boom or bust.

Thomas Robinson (along with Damien Lillard, Austin Rivers, and Jeremy Lamb) was my favorite pick of the NBA lottery.

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