By Eli Cooper
The 2012 NBA draft class produced a lot of high quality players. From a top 7 player, All-NBA players, All-Defense players, all-star reserves, and high qulaity role players. Let's take a look at how this draft should have went.
Pick 1: New Orleans Hornets (Now Pelicans):
-Anthony Davis, Kentucky (originial pick: Anthony Davis)
This one was pretty obvious, even at the time of the draft, you would have been drastically reaching to find another player who was better or with more upside from this class. And he certianly proved everyone right, as he's been arguably the most dominant big man in the game. The true impact of his abilities is finally on full display, as he's now teamed up with LeBron in LA, in hopes to make a run at this years title.
In his career, he's averaged about 24 and 10 per game and has accumulated 82.5 win shares (most in his class) so far in his career. Really his biggest issue has been staying healthy. He continues to develop his range out to the 3 point line, and is extremely comfortable in the mid post area. And defensively he's arguably the most impactful player in the league. It's safe to say this MVP caliber player was the right choice with the #1 overall pick.
Pick 2: Charlotte Hornets
-Damian Lillard, Weber State (originial pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist)
The mid major guard has had a lot more success recently in the NBA, and one of the prime examples of that is Dame Dolla. It was a shock in the first place when a Weber State guard went #6 overall, but looking back, he should've went even higher. His 79.9 win shares are only second to Anthony Davis. He's a 5x all star, and 4x All-NBA player as well, in just 8 seasons. In our re-draft, Charlotte gets to make amends for their original pick of Kidd-Gilchrist that didn't quite pan out.
One of the best scoring point guards in the league, he's averaging 24 ppg and still manages to average about 6.5 assists per game, a number that has climbed over the last 3 seasons. He's been Portland's best player over the last decade, and has some of the most clutch playoff shots in the league on his resume. The downside is, he's already 29 years old, and Portland has struggled to put a true contending team around him. And playing in a very tough western conference hasn't helped. However, at this pick, Damian Lillard is certainly the best player.
Pick 3: Washington Wizards
-Bradley Beal, Florida (original pick: Bradley Beal)
This one was difficult, because there's another player that we will get to later that is more decorated than Brad Beal, however Brad Beal is emerging as an elite scorer in the NBA, and that matters. Contrary to popular belief, scoring the ball is still the hardest thing to do in the NBA. If it wasn't, everyone would do it.
While Beal is 5th in this class in win shares with 41.5, most of that is due to the disfunction that is the Washington Wizards. Beal is constantly improving year after year. His ppg averge has gone up for 5 straight years, including this season where he averaged a career high 30.5 points. Not only that, his assist numbers have gone up each of the past 5 years as well, reaching another career high of 6.1 per game. Brad Beal's stock is rising, despite an awful all-star snub in 2020. Having a scorer like Brad Beal is still the most valuable thing to find in the draft, so he remains the #3 overall pick.
Pick 4: Cleveland Cavaliers
-Draymond Green, Michigan State (original pick: Dion Waiters)
For as much hate as Draymond gets for being "overrated" you'd be very hard pressed to find a player with his skill set. Someone who defends multiple positions, sets great screens, rebounds, but also able to push the ball in transition, and be able to make the correct pass. These are vary valuable traits for a complimentary player, and with the right team around him, this skill set is maximized.
Pick 5: Sacramento Kings
-Khris Middleton, Texas A&M (original pick: Thomas Robinson)
I'm making this pick solely on where Khris Middleton, and the NBA play style are currently. While one could argue Andre Drummond has been better throughout his career, he's not more valuable to a team right now than Khris Middleton. He has emerged into one of the NBA's best two way players which is so difficult to find.
Middleton has steadily improved throughout his NBA tenure, becoming an all star in each of his last two seasons, including this year where he's averaged a career high 21.1 ppg. He's become a second option for a Bucks team that looks ready to make a run for a title. He's probably better served as your third best player, but if he can continue his improved play into the postseason, the Bucks can be a real threat. Middleton's defense is what makes him so valuable though. He can defend your best wing player, while still giving you borderline 20 ppg production. That makes him the right pick here at #5 overall.
Pick 6: Portland Trail Blazers
-Andre Drummond, UConn (original pick: Damian Lillard)
The Blazers unfortunately don't get the luxury of Dame as a steal at this pick, however I'm sure they'd be satisfied with Andre Drummond at this pick. Drummond is actually third amongst this draft class in win shares at 60.6, trailing only AD and Dame. Drummond struggles from the foul line, which makes him a liability late in games, but he's one of the best rebounders in the league and is continuing to improve offensively.
So far through his career he averages about 14.5 ppg, although this year he posted a career high 17.7 ppg to go along with his 15.2 rpg before the season ended. Drummond must still work on improving his skill set offensively, and could be much more dominant on the defensive end than he is now. He's only 26 though, and the potential to grow is still there.
Pick 7: Golden State Warriors
-Harrison Barnes, UNC (original pick: Harrison Barnes)
Luckily for Barnes, he lands back with Golden State, where he started his playing career, and enventually won a championship. Looking back at this draft, this pick ended up playing a part in reshaping the league 4 years later. The Warriors decided not to match an offer sheet from the Mavericks, opening the door for them to sign Kevin Durant.
Barnes himself has had a solid career, although most would say he's never lived up to the two max contracts he's signed. Barnes is best served as a 4th option offensively, since he doesn't necessarily have a deep arsenal of moves to create his own shot. His first two seasons in Dallas he did average just about 19 ppg, but were mostly empty stats on a bad team. He's been serviceable since being traded to Sacramento, and certainly can be a key piece to a championship caliber team.
Pick 8: Toronto Raptors
-Evan Fournier, France (original pick: Terrance Ross)
With this pick the Raptors add a reliable shooter, who can also handle the ball, and play in pick and roll. A very valuable skill set in today's NBA. This season, he did that better than ever, averaging a career high 18.9 ppg, while also posting his best ever percentage from three. Probably best used as a third or 4th option, or in a sixth man roll, but Fournier can efficiently put the ball in the basket.
Pick 9: Detroit Pistons
-Jae Crowder, Marquette (original pick: Andre Drummond)
The Pistons likely would've preferred to keep their original pick, but in this case they do get a solid 3 and D forward in Crowder. His ability to guard multiple positions and play the 4 in small ball lineups, while still providing floor spacing, is a valuable asset in building a winning team.
Pick 10: New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans)
-Terrance Ross, Washington (original pick: Austin Rivers)
Coming out of high school, most would've thought Austin Rivers would end up being a top 3 pick in this draft, but a lot of his flaws were exposed at Duke and in pre draft workouts, and clearly those have held true. So Instead, New Orleans takes Terrance Ross here, which gives them a shooter with elite athleticism, who can put the ball on the floor as well. Ross is solid defensively, but really could be better given his length and athleticism. His scoring has increased in his last two seasons in Orlando, which may be a sign that he's figured it out. But at 28, he pretty much is what he is at this point.
Pick 11: Portland Trail Blazers
-Jeremy Lamb, UConn (original pick: Meyers Leonard)
Pick 12: Houston Rockets
-Will Barton, Memphis (original pick: Jeremy Lamb)
Pick 13: Phoenix Suns
-Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (original pick: Kendall Marshall)
Pick 14: Milwuakee Bucks
-Maurice Harkless (original pick: John Henson)
Pick 15: Philadelphia Sixers
-John Henson, UNC (original pick: Maurice Harkless)
Pick 16: Houston Rockets
-Austin Rivers (original pick: Royce White)
Pick 17: Dallas Mavericks
-Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic (original pick: Tyler Zeller)
Pick 18: Houston Rockets
-Kyle O'Quinn, Norfolk State (original pick: Terrance Jones)
Pick 19: Orlando Magic
-Tyler Zeller, UNC (original pick: Andrew Nicholson)
Pick 20: Denver Nuggets
-Meyers Leonard, Illinois (original pick: Evan Fournier)
Pick 21: Boston Celtics
-Mike Scott, Virginia (original pick: Jared Sullinger)
Pick 22: Boston Celtics
-Dion Waiters, Syracuse (original pick: Fab Melo)
Pick 23: Atlanta Hawks
-Jared Sullinger, Ohio State (original pick: John Jenkins)
Pick 24: Cleveland Cavaliers
-Terrance Jones, Kentucky (original pick: Jared Cunningham)
Pick 25: Memphis Grizzlies
-Miles Plumlee, Duke (original pick: Tony Wroten)
Pick 26: Indiana Pacers
-Quincy Acy, Baylor (original pick: Miles Plumlee)
Pick 27: Miami Heat
-Darius Miller, Kentucky (original pick: Arnett Moultrie)
Pick 28: Oklahoma City Thunder
-Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt (original pick: Perry Jones)
Pick 29: Chicago Bulls
-Thomas Robinson (original pick: Marquis Teague)
Pick 30: Golden State Warriors
-Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure (original pick: Festus Ezeli)