By Dennis Berry
The NBA Draft has taken the first step towards next season. Teams can address their roster needs by choosing from the best college and international players available.
While we do not know just how good any of these players will be in the NBA, we can judge by how they faired beforehand. Here are a few judgments from the 2012 NBA Draft:
Most Predictable Draft Pick: #1 Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
This was the easiest draft pick to get right. If you got it wrong, then you must not watch college basketball.
Davis was the best player in college basketball last year. He averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks a game as a freshman. He led Kentucky to a national championship and was named the Most Outstanding Player. He will become a dominant force on defense and his offensive game is better than most give him credit for. If his offensive game gets on the level as his defense, then he will be a franchise player in the NBA.
Best Pick of the Draft: #2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte
Finally Michael Jordan made a good draft choice. Many want to believe that this is a bad pick because of Kidd-Gilchrist’s lack of a jumper. The truth is, this is the player that the Bobcats need. What he lacks offensively, Kidd-Gilchrist makes up for in other areas. He is a lockdown defender and never takes a play off during a game. He will turn into a leader on and off the court. The Bobcats have only had one winning season in eight years of existence. Kidd-Gilchrist will help change that.
Worst Pick of the Draft: #13 Kendall Marshall, Phoenix.
There are two reasons that this is a bad pick. One, it signals that Phoenix does not believe that Steve Nash is coming back next year. Two, Phoenix could have traded down and made this selection. Marshall is a great passer, but there are too many other concerns about his game that make taking him this high a bad move. He does not have good speed or agility which will make him a poor defender in the NBA.
Worst Pick Honorable Mention
The "I can't believe he's available" Pick of the Draft: #28 Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City
Most believed that Jones would fall in the draft after concerns over a knee injury. Oklahoma City had to be happy he was still there at #28. The guy is a lottery talent and the Thunder managed to grab him with a late pick in the first round. There was little risk taking him here, but there is a chance for a high reward. If he becomes the player that some believe he can be, he can replace Serge Ibaka if the Thunder cannot resign him. Even if he doesn't work out, it's just a late 1st round pick.
College of the Night: Kentucky
After winning a national championship in April, John Calipari had another big night in the draft. Sure, North Carolina had four players drafted in the first 17 picks, but Kentucky had six players drafted in 2012. That is a record for most picks from one school in a two-round draft. Kentucky now has had 15 draft picks over the last three seasons.
The Not So Feel Good Story of the Draft: Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones was in attendance expecting to hear his name called. Jones believed that he would be taken in the first round. It did not happen. By the end of the draft, pictures started to showing up on twitter of him in the arena. He had to sit there while NBA teams drafted European players who may never play in the NBA. Hopefully a team signs him as rookie-free agent.
Best Moment of the Draft: Bernard James
Bernard James served in the Air Force for six years, which included tours in Iraq. The reaction from the crowd was great.
So now we wait until the start of the 2012-13 season to see all of these careers unfold.
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