Recapping The 2012 NBA Draft: Hornets, Rockets, Kings, Thunder and Univ. of Kentucky Impress
Sports Illustrated recapping an exciting NBA Draft with few trades but plenty of drama and surprises:
No. 1) New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis PF (Kentucky) The Hornets get their man, a dominant defensive presence and team-first talent who will now attempt to meet incredible expectations. The comparisons, to review, have been made to the likes of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. The exciting part for Hornets fans is that Davis is likely a long ways from reaching his potential. He sprouted to his current height midway through high school and will be fun to watch develop. New Orleans hopes to re-sign free-agent shooting guard Eric Gordon and have him form a promising inside-outside duo with Davis.
No. 2) Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF (Kentucky) The Bobcats had everyone believing that Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson was their man. But in Kidd-Gilchrist, they’ve opted for a tenacious defender whose character, motor and ability to get to the rim are widely respected. He’ll have to improve his perimeter shooting to round out his offensive game.
No.3 ) Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal SG (Florida) The Wizards were excited about this pick all along, hoping that no one would get in their way of adding the dynamic sharpshooter to point guard John Wall in the backcourt. Shooting was a major priority for Washington, and the athletic Beal comes with the added benefit of being able to defend, get to the rim and rebound. He has been compared to a young Ray Allen as well as Eric Gordon. Many executives believe he’ll be a future All-Star.
No. 4) Cleveland Cavs: Dion Waiters SG (Syracuse) The Cavs were as tough to gauge as any team in recent weeks, but they pull off an early shocker here by taking the talented combo guard who came off the bench for Syracuse. They were believed to be high on Harrison Barnes early, and then Bradley Beal became the flavor of the week. Waiters’ appeal is in the fact that he is a tough, fearless scorer who was far more efficient than many of his fellow guards. The Warriors are sure to be disappointed because they wanted Waiters at No. 7
No. 5) Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson PF (Kansas) The Kings have to be thrilled. Robinson was very high on their list all along, but they were under the impression that he would be gone to Charlotte at No. 2. He’ll be dangerous alongside emerging center DeMarcus Cousins, who had already added a serious dose of nasty to the Kings’ personality. They’ll be feisty, talented, dangerous and fun to watch.
No. 6) Portland TrailBlazers: Damian Lillard PG (Weber St) Lillard’s rise to No. 6 spot was impressive: He jumped from mid-major talent to top 10 prospect by blowing away executives at every turn. He impressed at the Chicago combine, then dazzled the Blazers in his workout in Portland. He is a tremendous shooter, a creative scorer and an underrated athlete. Portland needed help here because guards Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford — who both disappointed last season — are about to become free agents.
No. 7) Golden St. Warriors: Harrison Barnes SF (North Carolina) The Warriors missed out on Waiters, but they get one of the top three on their wish list in Barnes. Now we’ll see if he’s good enough to fill the small forward void, one of the team’s top offseason priorities. He is a very good athlete and shooter, but there is some question about whether he’ll be able to create his own shot in the NBA. The Warriors don’t have any point guards like North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall, who always looked to pass first and made a habit out of making Barnes look good. Still, the pairing of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Barnes has some interesting long-term potential.