The winners and losers of any draft can’t be determined until a few years down the road when each prospect has gotten has feet wet, played a few years, and really show what he is capable of. For all we know, Anthony Davis will turn out to be Darko Milicic instead of Blake Griffin while over in Washington, Bradley Beal becomes DeJuan Wagner. I don’t really think either of those things will happen, but my point is that a draft can’t truly be evaluated honestly until a couple of years after That being said, here are five winners and five losers from last night’s 2012 NBA Draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets
Last night the, the Hornets not only got Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, but they also Duke’s Austin Rivers at #10 overall. Add these two to the recently acquired Eric Gordon, and the Hornets are suddenly a team on the rise. I’m very much looking forward to walking them play next season.
2. Sacramento Kings
Much like the Hornets, the Kings become a rising team last night. When Thomas Robinson fell in their lap at #5, they had to be ecstatic be pair him with DeMarcus Cousins. Led by the core of Thomas, Cousins, and budding star Trike Evans, the Kings will much improved and entertaining team next season.
3. Boston Celtics
I came away very impressed with Danny Ainge last night. By grabbing Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo in successive picks, the Celtics added two young pieces that can help them rebuild around Rajon Rondo while also helping them win now if Kevin Garnett. Sullinger himself is a steal at #21 is he stays healthy.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
I was downtown last night at the Cavs Official Draft Party, and the fans booed quite loud when Dion Waiters was selected at #4. And while it was a surprise, it may not be a stretch – other teams like Golden State and Sacramento were also very high on Waiters. Plus, with Bradley Beal off the board, Waiters was the best available shooting guard. Grabbing Tyler Zeller was also a good move, as they needed a big man like Zeller to help Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder/ Chicago Bulls
I group these two together because both of these contenders made late first round picks to help their teams. The Thunder got a steal in Perry Jones III at #28, and I expect him to come in right away and contribute. The Bulls, who may not have Derrick Rose all of next season, grabbed point guard Marquis Teague of Kentucky at #29, which was a great value pick at a position of need.
1. David Stern
Every time the NBA Commissioner came out to announce a pick, he was booed unmercifully by the crowd on hand. He’s unpopular as ever, and like Roger Goodell, Stern is becoming the enemy of the fans. With the Jim Rome incident, and now this, Stern has a lot of work to do if he wants to be viewed in a positive light.
2. New York Knicks Fans
They added a potentially solid player in Greek forward in Kostas Papanikolaou, but it’s not a pick that helps them now. Knicks fans want to win now while they still have Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in blue and orange. As a Cleveland fan, it sucks to not watch your team make the sexy pick year after year after year. Maybe next year will be the year the Knicks’s fans will be satisfied.
3. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks championship window is rapidly closing, and they didn’t really do anything thing in this draft to help them win another title. They passed on players like, Perry Jones, Quincy Miller, and Will Barton in order to take Jared Cunningham. Taking a twenty-seven year old center in Bernard James was an odd pick too (although he has a great story). All in all, a disappointing draft for Mark Cuban’s squad.
4. Denver Nuggets
French Guard Evan Fournier may come over to the NBA in a few years a make a splash, but that’s in a few years. Andre Miller is set to leave in free agency, leaving a gap at guard next to the speedy Ty Lawson. Marquis Teague would have been a great pick for Denver, who somewhat salvaged their draft by getting a good value pick at #38 in Quincy Miller. But overall, this draft wasn’t a stellar one by any means.
5. Brooklyn Nets
Outside of Tyshawn Taylor, what did the Nets actually do? They drafted foreign players that may never amount to anything, and at best, Taylor becomes a solid role player of the bench a la Daniel “Boobie” Gibson. For a team that wants to get Dwight Howard and keep Deron Williams, this has to be a disappointing draft.
And last, but not least, 11 things I think I think.
- I love the Kendall Marshall pick by Phoenix. With or without Steve Nash, he fits their style and long-term needs.
- I love Harrison Barnes in a Warriors uniform, and I also love their pick of Draymond Green at #37. Sneaky good draft by Golden State.
- The Houston Rockets also had a sneaky solid draft. They added three solid in Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Royce White. Not an “A” draft, but solid.
- Robbie Hummel is a pick I really like in the second round at #58. He can shoot, from three and probably would have been taken higher if not for his ACL tear.
- Time will tell if Ander Drummond works out. If he works out, the Pistons will be huge and skilled up front with Drummond and the 6’11 Greg Monroe.
- By adding Bradley Beal, the Wizards should expect more out of John Wall. He’s now got a player alongside him who fits his style. This season will say a lot about his ceiling.
- I was shocked Michael Kidd- Gilchrist went to the Bobcats. I love him as a player, but I was sure Thomas Robinson was going to be a Bobcat. On the bright side, I think Michael Jordan finally nailed a draft pick.
- Portland’s draft was solid as well. Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, and Will Barton are three picks that have gotten them a lot of A+’s from major sites. And they did this while in management transition. At the least, an A for effort for Portland.
- Milwaukee had the worst draft in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division. John Henson may work well, but it’s not guarantee. Doron Lamb was a great value pick, but they didn’t grab a center. And with Samuel Dalembert’s contract about to expire, the needed one.
- Draymond Green will be the steal of this draft. In a perfect world, the Cavs could of kept one of their second picks and picked up the Michigan State product.
- It was cool for me to see Philadelphia rap star Meek Mill shout out Dion Waiters after his selection. Waiters’ is also from Philadelphia, and like Meek Mill (real name Robert Williams), grew up in the projects.