Dion Waiters emerged as a potential star in his rookie year. How did the other 2012 rookies fare?
By SAM AMICO FS Ohio
A look at the 2012 NBA Draft, and what type of impact each first-round pick made in his first season:
Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans. Injuries kept him in check, but flashed the potential to become what everyone said he was: The best player in this draft.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Charlotte. Inconsistent, but spectacular athlete who proved he can do all the little things (and a few big) very well. Along with
Kemba Walker, MKG is the future.
Bradley Beal, SG, Washington. Suffered through the typical rookie blues for much of the year, but displayed a dynamic upside and came on strong at the end. Likely future star.
Dion Waiters, SG, Cleveland. Can fill it up, distribute and plays with a bit of an edge. Loads of potential, but still unclear if he’s a good fit with
Thomas Robinson, F,
Sacramento. Didn’t do much with the
Kings, then even less after being traded to Houston. Still not clear whether he’s a power or small forward, or really either.
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland. Rookie of the Year is a point guard who can score from anywhere. Sort of looks like Isiah Thomas all over again.
Harrison Barnes, SF, Golden State. Came on strong in the postseason, finding his niche on a team that likes to fire away. Underrated rebounder and could be really, really good once he fully adapts to pro game.
Terrence Ross, SG, Toronto. Didn’t get much of a chance to showcase his stuff. When he did, the result was usually so-so.
Andre Drummond, PF, Detroit. Absolute beast inside with a big body and the smarts to know how to use it. Should be a force for quite some time.
Austin Rivers, G, New Orleans. Coming out of high school, he was viewed as a game-changer. However, he struggled to learn the pro game, and while the potential remains, the doubts are almost as great.
Meyers Leonard, C, Portland. Big with all the fundamentals, he should at least be a competent backup center for a long time. He has the size and skills to be more than that, too.
Jeremy Lamb, SG, Houston. Traded to Oklahoma City on the day before the regular season in the James Harden deal. Didn’t get much run, but displayed the type of perimeter game that could lead to something good.
Kendall Marshall, PG, Phoenix. Less-than-solid rookie year. Too soon to give up on him, though, because he looked better near the end.
John Henson, PF, Milwaukee. Like most rookies, had trouble adjusting to the speed and strength of the NBA. But opportunities were mostly limited by the rise of Larry Sanders.
Maurice Harkless, SF, Philadelphia. Sent to Orlando as part of the trade that shipped
Dwight Howard to the L.A. Lakers. Showed promise in a less-than-ideal situation.
Royce White, F, Houston. Anxiety disorder that caused him to drop in draft proved to be even more suffocating than anyone thought. May never play in the NBA.
Tyler Zeller, C, Dallas. Traded to Cleveland on draft night, then forced into a starting role. Was pretty good as a backup, uneven as a starter. Overall a nice player for this spot in the draft.
Terrence Jones, F, Houston. Played 19 games, so still too early to get a read. But it doesn’t look good.
Andrew Nicholson, PF, Orlando. Mostly good, at times a guy who could really bring it. Should be a quality starting power forward for a long time.
Evan Fournier, SG/SF, Denver. Was everything the
Nuggets hoped when they drafted him: A polished wing with promising offensive skills.
Jared Sullinger, PF, Boston. Played well at the beginning, capably backing up
Kevin Garnett and making a solid all-around contribution. Then the back that was red-flagged by NBA doctors before the draft gave out, requiring season-ending surgery. Time to start again.
Fab Melo, C, Boston. Big and athletic and can sometimes get in the way. That’s pretty much what the
John Jenkins, SG,
Atlanta. Underrated ability to float on the perimeter and bury opponents. Could get much of a chance with the
Hawks next season, and just might shine if he does.
Jared Cunnigham, SG, Cleveland. Traded to Dallas on draft night, then spent the entire season getting lost in the shuffle.
Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Memphis. Displayed good ball-handling and size for a guard in limited minutes. Could be one of those valuable pieces that no one but his coach and teammates really notice.
Miles Plumlee, PF, Indiana. A non-factor who played in 14 games and averaged less than a point per game. Still, size makes him worthy of taking another look.
Arnett Moultrie, PF, Miami. Dealt to Philadelphia on draft night and didn’t get much of an opportunity. Came on a little as his minutes increased at season’s end.
Perry Jones, F, Oklahoma City. Made the most of playing for a team that didn’t really have an opening at his position. Showed promise in the time he got. But remember when we all thought he’d be a major difference-maker?
Marquis Teague, PG, Chicago. Averaged just 8 minutes per game on a team that didn’t have
Derrick Rose. Has promise as a defender.
Festus Ezeli, C, Golden State. Played in 78 games and averaged nearly 15 minutes per. When you have the final pick in the first round, those numbers are more-than-acceptable for a rookie.