2012 NBA Draft

After the dust has settled, 25 observations from the NBA draft

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25 thoughts, observations, and wisecracks about the 2012 NBA Draft, now that there’s been some time to see the whole board.

 

1. I spent two months talking myself into the idea that Tyshawn Taylor was a first round pick because I was worried I was being overly harsh on his decision making late in games. Then it turned out I was giving him too much credit.

2. Harrison Barnes was essentially overrated in evaluations for two years, all the way up until Thursday at 7:00 EST. Then he was adequately rated by the draft process. Waiters may have been a reach by Cleveland, but Barnes going seventh was representative of where he should go overall. Enough of a risk to not go top five, enough of a talent to go top ten.

3. The bust likelihood on Anthony Davis is the basement. It’s sub-arctic. That’s such a luxury for the Hornets. Even if his offensive game never flourishes, defensively, he’s a franchise player. His ceiling is mega-star, his basement is franchise power forward. So that works out well for them.

4. I was vehemently opposed to the idea of Harrison Barnes going top four. But he would have been a better choice for Cleveland than Waiters. It’s not that Waiters doesn’t fill the need or won’t be a good player. He does and he will. It’s just such a reach. The Cavaliers spent all that time efforting to move up to No. 2, why not spend a little time moving back to get Waiters and pick up something else? It wasn’t a huge reach, it was a small reach, but it was still a reach.

5. But Sacramento reaps the benefits. All of your rebounds? They belong to the Kings. All of them. In two years, that’s the single nastiest frontcourt in the NBA. Just nasty. Cousins and Robinson are going to flat out beat up on other frontcourts.

6. How about Portland showing common sense? Addressing need while taking arguably the two best players at their positions? Some common sense in a rare showing.

7. I love John Henson as a draft prospect, I hate him as a Milwaukee Buck. Ekpe Udoh, Larry Sanders, Samuel Dalembert… why do you need to add John Henson to that mix? What does he do for you in Skiles’ system?

8. Detroit couldn’t get away from Drummond’s hypnotic effect. No matter what they did, they just landed back there. Unfortunate, really. (File this under: things to throw back in my face if Drummond reaches his potential and shows that every single piece of evidence about his mental approach is flawed.)

9. The only thing, the only thing that gives me pause on Royce White is the fact that he said he might rather play music than play basketball. It’s a totally fair position. A lot of people would rather do other things than what they do. It’s just that so few NBA players are truly great with that mindset.

10. I had all these wonderful words prepared for whoever took Terrence Ross in spots 13-18, and then the Raptors went and reached for the sky on him and now I don’t like the pick at all. That’s just aggravating. He was best available at the position, but it’s such a “competent role player with a top-10 pick” feel.

11. “Philly drafts Moe Harkless so surely they’re going to trade Andre Iguodala!” #thingswehavethoughtforthepastfiveyears

12. Houston managed to get three great players in the draft and still come out a loser because they yet again whiffed on the big pitch. Graded. On. A curve.

13. I want you to imagine a frontcourt of Glen Davis and Andrew Nicholson. Rolly, polly, big, and aggressive as everything holy.

14. You know, if you combine both of Boston’s picks into one player, you really start to have something.

15. Oh, what’s that, you can’t do that due to NBA regulations and basic laws of science? Oh, then that’s a terrible 1-2 set. Great for value where they were at, though, even if Melo was a bit of a reach.

16. OK, Dallas. Whatever.

17. Very excited to attend the Grand Opening of the Denver Nuggets new department store: “Versatile Wings Outlet Store,” since they can open it now by owning approximately 1,100 of them.

18. Perry Jones III went from being that pick that you were anxiously dreading a team taking too high to that kid you felt sorry for dropping so low. The draft, she is a cruel mistress.

19. Kendall Marshall to the Suns makes so much sense and you nod along and nod along and then you look at the draft board and go “Wait, Marshall went No. 13? That high? Really?”

20. The Ben Gordon trade helps my “MKG is going to have too many expectations to do things he can’t even though he’s a phenomenal player and a great kid” blood pressure stay down. That’s one of the weirdest sentences ever written.

21. Washington: Daring the fates and skating by since… 2012. But still!

22. An Austin Rivers-Eric Gordon backcourt should just be called The Hunger Games.

23. Teague may have been the slightly better, maybe safer pick for Memphis, but based off their need for a combo guard, he fits well. They still will not be able to shoot. At all.

24. Philadelphia really sneakily managed their way into a tremendous draft.

25. Robbie Hummel getting drafted is just a good thing for this world. Congrats to that kid.

Really? Online petition started to change name of Durant, Oklahoma, to Westbrook.

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stands on the court in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Durant, Oklahoma, is a city of just more than 15,000 people in the southern part of the state. It is the capital of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and it was named after its Choctaw founder, Dixon Durant.

But some people in Oklahoma are not high on the name Durant, lately. Kevin Durant decided to bolt the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors this summer, and some Thunder fans feel betrayed. Understandably. Durant was well within his rights, but if you’re a Thunder fan and you’re not hurt by this it would be strange.

Still, you have to hope what follows is satire. It reads like it.

Oklahoma’s Ryan Nazari created a Change.org petition asking the city of Durant be renamed the city of Westbrook. As in Russell Westbrook. The guy who signed a contract extension to stay in Oklahoma (for just one extra year, but still). Read the petition below and tell me it doesn’t sound like satire.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the great state of Oklahoma has been betrayed. As many of you know, Kevin Durant has left our state, torn out our hearts, and left our beloved Oklahoma City Thunder in depleted shape. All of this after even being offered a cabinet position for the State of Oklahoma. It is because of this heinous action that I believe the State of Oklahoma has a responsibility to change the name of the City of Durant to Westbrook, the man who is loyal, whom we believe in, and who will lead our team to glory. Yes, it is understood that the city Durant was not named after the evil Kevin Durant, but it is just another hideous reminder of what happened to our community.”

As of this writing, he had reached his goal of having more than 1,000 people sign on.

Maybe it’s satire, but it’s more creative than burning a jersey.

Obviously, the name of the city is not changing. If people want to live in Westbrook, they should move to Maine.

Way too early look: Who could make up USA’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic basketball team?

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21:  Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan and Kyle Lowry #7 of United States stand on the podium after defeating Serbia in the Men's Gold medal game on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Let’s start with the obvious: This is an exercise in futility. There is no way to predict accurately what the 2020 USA men’s basketball team headed to the Tokyo Olympics will look like. There will be injuries that sideline guys. There will be contract situations where key guys decide it’s in their best interest to sit out. Plus, there could be a guy just now entering his junior year of high school who we don’t know well yet but in four years will be a clear choice for the team.

Now that we’ve gotten through the tedious disclaimer, let’s have fun:

What will the 2020 USA Basketball team look like?

First, it will have a bit of a business attitude — Gregg Popovich is coaching now. Not that Mike Krzyzewski ran a college party Team USA, far from it, but with Popovich’s demeanor and the scare put into the 2016 team (and some improving world powers, such as Canada), expect the USA to be a little more focused next time around.

For the roster, who from the 2016 gold medal team in Rio returns for more gold? At the top of the list: A 31-year-old Kevin Durant will be back for one more run (and to climb on top of the USA Olympic scoring list). He will be the unquestioned team leader. The alpha. It will be his team.

After that? Young stars who want one more go at it such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, and Klay Thompson will seriously consider a return. Maybe Jimmy Butler. Those guys will have a leg up having Olympic experience and a commitment to the program.

After that, some big names that passed on Rio are going to suit up in Japan. There will be far less defection of top talent this time around — the fears around Brazil will be gone, and NBA players wanting to sell more shoes in Asia will be eager to sign up. I expect you will see Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, and maybe James Harden decide they are in for the next round. LeBron James said he felt left out and may consider a return, but he will be 35 years old with 17 NBA seasons on his body by that point, does he want to put his body through an international curtain call? Probably not.

Rounding out the roster, expect a few guys from this year’s USA Select Team — the team the Olympic squad practiced against in Las Vegas at the start of camp — to make the leap up (as Kyrie Irving and others did this year).

Who? That’s the hardest thing to predict, it depends on development. Guys to watch include Victor Olidipo, Justise Winslow, Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram, and Jabari Parker — some of them will be ready to make the leap.

One clue to the 2020 roster: Players that you see in China for the 2019 FIBA World Cup will be more likely to make the 2020 team. (Yes, the World Championships are now the year before the Olympics, welcome to more of FIBA’s wisdom, as is the fact the Cup qualifiers fall during the NBA/Euroleague seasons.) Guys from the select team now that head to China in three years and perform well in that setting will likely have the USA across their chest in Japan.

Whatever team we send will have the most talent in those games. The question is will that be enough?

Check out the Cleveland Cavaliers Top 10 plays from last season

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Kyrie Irving #2 and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare for tip off against the Detroit Pistons in game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With athletes such as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on the team, you know the Cleveland Cavaliers Top 10 plays of last season were going to have some special moments.

Yes, the block by LeBron and the stepback three by Irving that sealed the first Cleveland title in 52 years are on top of the list.

But there are some other ridiculous Irving handles and even a Timofey Mozgov dunk in there (a $64 million dunk, apparently).

Watch Spurs’ Dejounte Murray throw off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself in pickup game

Washington guard Dejounte Murray, center, dribbles the ball past Mount St. Mary's center Taylor Danaher (50) as Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, watches duirng the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.

That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.

Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.

He’s certainly got the athleticism.