June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; A general view of the first round draft board at the conclusion of the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NBA Draft: Winners


Now that we are a full 24 hours past this year’s draft we can now take a look back and analyze what went down. THe draft was by far one of the more entertaining ones of the past few years with good, top level talent sliding down the line to teams picking in the later half of the first round.

A few talents that were originally first round projections slid all the way to the second round.

But the question is who were the winners of last night and who needs to draw the curtains and hide for a while as the embarrassment of how awfully they drafted is kicking off their offseason on the wrong foot.

Winners

June 29, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets first overall selection Anthony Davis (23) holds up his jersey next to owners Tom Benson, Gayle Benson and tenth overall selection Austin Rivers during a press conference at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

New Orleans Hornets – The Hornets were obvious winners last night with their two lottery picks. First off they drafted consensus first overall pick Anthony Davis who is going to step in immediately and provide big things. But the best pick they made is one that still has critics polarized. The Hornets grabbed Duke standout Austin Rivers 10th overall and although it still has critics scrambling to make sense of it. But it’s an attractive pick on paper as the Hornets now have a really young and talented core. Eric Gordon is going to be brought back and Rivers is going to have to adapt but most thin that he can. Bottom line is the Hornets instantly got better after last night.

Houston Rockets – Another team that made out like kings were the Houston Rockets. It’s kind of hard to have three first round draft picks and fail. Thank goodness the Rockets didn’t fumble their picks the way they fumbled their extreme fantasy that they’d land Dwight Howard. But they pretty much grabbed an entirely new team in the draft picking Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones, and Royce White. Beyond this the Rockets already have a loaded roster of talent that they can unload for even more draft picks and players. Kyle Lowry is on the outs and will be replaced by lamb, and guys like Luis Scola and Kevin Martin are likely gone too which means Houston has hyper spaced their way through a rebuilding process and now have the pieces to be young and talented for years.

June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Dion Waiters (Syracuse), right, is introduced as the number four overall pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers by NBA commissioner David Stern during the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Oklahoma City Thunder – They say it’s unfair when the rich get richer and that’s exactly what the Thunder did last night. They were picking 28th in the draft and somehow were lucky enough to have the medically red flagged Perry Jones III fall to them. Jones III was once projected to be a lottery pick as recently as the middle of this month, but issues arose about his knees and he began to free fall. Now he Thunder have lottery talent yet again on their roster and can tell Serge Ilbaka to take a hike or lower his price because Jones III is going to be a fitting replacement.

Sacramento Kings – The Kings scored big time when the Cavaliers reached big time to get Dion Waiters from Syracuse. When this happened it allowed a dreams scenario to come true as Thomas Robinson who is arguably the second best player in the draft, fell to them at fifth overall. Now the Kings have Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins in their frontcourt and add to their already young and potential packed roster. The Kings had a rough season of mystery on where they would play ball in the future but not only are they remaining in Sacramento, but that future just a lot brighter too.

Dion Waiters – Waiters was probably the biggest winner of the draft last night. When mock drafts were being refined at the beginning of the month, Waiters was a late first round pick. He quickly rose and despite skipping the combine he was selected 4th overall by the Cavaliers. His historic rise to the top five is the magic of speculation. The Cavaliers wanted Bradley Beal from Florida but where unable to pull the trigger on a trade with the Bobcats. So they took Waiters, who has been called by some, the second best shooting guard in the draft. Waiters now is in for a lot of publicity and a bigger check then he would have gotten in earlier projections.

 

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