Published on May 7th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
NBA Draft 2012: Bad Fits for Each Lottery Team
The 2012 Draft class is finally taking shape, and it is talented, for certain. But it is also very, very dangerous.
Tons of players, all the way from the top picks down to the end of the first round, have huge question marks, way more than usual. This isn’t a safe draft, by any means—this is a draft that can easily get GMs fired.
This class has a lot of unquestionable (and questionable) talent to sort through, and NBA teams won’t have a ton of time to focus on the draft. After all, in the NBA Finals go all the way to Game 7, and then there will only be three days in between the end of the Playoffs and the Draft. Not exactly a ton of time to get it right in a very, very complicated draft.
Luckily for the teams in the lottery, they aren’t playing in the Playoffs, so they can focus more on the Draft. While it’s fair to expect some of the deeper 2012 Playoff squads to struggle in scouting their players in limited time, lottery teams not only have the time, they NEED to get this right.
So let’s do those lottery GMs a favor and give them some names they should cross off their lists to begin with. Let’s take a look at bad fits for each of the lottery teams.
Hit the jump for the rest of Bryant’s piece…
1. Charlotte Bobcats: None
Hate to start off this way, but let’s be real here. Charlotte has no one, with the exception of Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, worth keeping around after this year. No one. There is literally no player they could add in this draft that wouldn’t improve them in some way or another.
I suppose Michael Jordan could go and draft Jared Sullinger or something with the Bobcats’ top four pick and that would be a bad move, but it wouldn’t be a bad fit, just a dumb reach. That’s how bad Charlotte is. Any talent in this draft isn’t redundant with them.
2. Washington Wizards: C Andre Drummond, UConn
I can see Washington being wooed by Drummond’s grand potential and taking the UConn big man, but when you think about it, Drummond would be a horrible fit.
First off, didn’t the Wizards just subject John Wall to nearly two years of a braindead center? They finally ditched JaVale McGee and got Nene out of it, a nice swap. So adding in Drummond, who has the body to dominate but the will of a preschooler, would just be even worse for Wall/Wizards relations. Unless Washington just wants to secure Wall leaves in 2014, they need to steer clear of Drummond.
And second, Washington already has to deal with the memory of drafting Kwame Brown with the 2001 top pick. They don’t need to be using another pick on Kwame Brown 2.0, they need surefire talent (Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal).
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: PF Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Sure, if the Cavs were picking tenth or so, this wouldn’t be a bad pick. But at #3, taking Sullinger would imply that A. The Cavs are not convinced that Tristian Thompson is any sort of long term fit in the paint, and B. that they caved to the few, ardent Ohio State fans who still think Sullinger is a future NBA star.
Of course, the Cavs won’t pick Sullinger. Come on, who do you think Danny Ferry is… David Kahn?
4. New Orleans Hornets: SG Bradley Beal. Florida
Picking Beal, who is regarded as an Eric Gordon clone, would basically signal to the NBA world that the Hornets have no intentions of trying to resign Gordon. And unless Gordon is asking for max level money, that would be a mistake, even after he was out for last season with injury.
New Orleans needs to use both of their picks (this one and the one from Minnesota) to add talent that would fit WITH Gordon, not without him.
5. Sacramento Kings: PF Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
With all due respect to David Thrope of ESPN, I cannot disagree stronger than with his piece here on the Kings draft needs. He lists Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a bad fit for the Kings (under no circumstances would Kidd-Gilchrist be a bad pick for anyone in this draft) and then lists Jared Sullinger as the best fit.
Let’s take a look at a small scouting breakdown of Jared Sullinger.
- Great size, NBA body
- Huge wingspan
- Very skilled for a big man
- Soft hands, great footwork
- Lacks great conditioning
- Not an explosive leaper
- Can be an indifferent defender
… Oh wait, I’m sorry. That’s ESPN’s 2010 draft breakdown of DeMarcus Cousins. See what I’m getting at here?
The Kings already have DeMarcus Cousins. They don’t need the much weaker, less skilled, lower potential Sullinger next to Cousins, they need an athletic defender. Sullinger would not only be redundant for the Kings, he’d be a downright horrible pick.
6. Portland Trailblazers (Nets own the pick if it is Top 3): SF Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Who knows who Portland’s GM will be at this time, but if they take Barnes, they’re basically flipping off Nicolas Batum and telling him to take his talents elsewhere. Batum was already pissed last year at the failed extension talks, and his agent even went so far as to say “When Batum becomes a restricted free agent, we’ll look at the other 29 teams before we talk to the Blazers…”.
Taking Barnes means playing a huge game of chicken with an already distant Batum. And Batum is currently and will for years be better than Barnes is/will be.
7. Golden State Warriors: PF Perry Jones III, Baylor
Chad Ford has Golden State taking Jones here in his most recent mock draft. Considering that the Warriors did everything they could just to keep this pick (shamelessly tanking to an extreme that would make David Robinson’s Spurs from 1998 proud), Jones would be a dreadful fit.
Golden State needs toughness inside, especially if Andrew Bogut never regains consistent health. Enter in Jones, who proved last year at Baylor that he is neither tough nor consistant. He’ll make whoever drafts him tear their hair out in frustration, and Golden State already has enough of that.
8. Toronto Raptors: None
Honestly, there isn’t a lottery level talented that would be bad for Toronto. Davis is perfect for any team. Kidd-Gilchrist or Barnes would provide much needed wing help. Beal would provide shooting the Raptors don’t have. Thomas Robinson wouldn’t fill a positional need, but he’d give them toughness they don’t have. Drummond would help with their rebounding/defensive errors. Sullinger and Jones would give bench depth. Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall would give them a permanent fit at PG.
Toronto could take anyone and could realistically expect them to fit. They are in a pretty good place.
9. Detroit Pistons: PG Damian Lillard, Weber State
The Pistons need wing help, not guard help. Lillard is basically a better shooting version of Brandon Knight, and two point guards with a questionmark on their willingness to run the offense would be redundant. Detroit would be far better taking a guy like John Henson, who would instantly help their defensive needs.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Any pick that would be redundant to #4
The Hornets need to balance out their draft. If they take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with their first pick, they can’t use it on another wing (say Terrence Jones). If they use their first pick on Thomas Robinson, they shouldn’t use this one on Jared Sullinger or Perry Jones.
Or they can save themselves the headache and just take Kendall Marshall or Damian Lillard here.
11. Portland Trailblazers: PF John Henson, North Carolina
I’m a big fan of Henson’s game, but I’m not sure he fits with Portland here. Despite the fact that I think Henson will be better than former teammate Tyler Zeller or Illionis big Meyers Leonard, I also think both would fit with Portland better. LaMarcus Aldridge isn’t a NBA center, and while Henson would help defensively, he’s way too skinny to play center (currently at 220 lbs). The Blazers need big size.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: SG Jeremy Lamb, UConn
This also goes for Austin Rivers. Milwaukee already has Brandon Jenning and Monta Ellis filling the “undersized guards with inefficient shooting” category, and Rivers/Lamb wouldn’t give them anything they don’t already have. They should take Terrence Jones or Tyler Zeller here to bolster size and not worry about scoring talent.
13. Phoenix Suns: SG Austin Rivers, Duke
Chad Ford picked Rivers for Phoenix in his most recent mock, saying “The Suns need a little bit of everything, but what they really need is star power. With Steve Nash possibly on the move this summer, someone has to sell tickets.”
That’s as silly a reason to take a super risky pick as ever there was one. Yes, Phoenix needs star power, but they aren’t going to find one at #13 without serious problems. Rivers shouldn’t go in the top 15 with the attitude/motivational issues that he carries.
14. Houston Rockets: PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Houston has no business taking a point guard in this draft, not when they have Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic in free agency. It’s doubtful that Marshall or Lillard would be on the board at this point, and that leaves Houston with a ton of good options (Terrence Jones, Meyers Leonard, or even Austin Rivers).