Record Six Kentucky Players Go at 2012 NBA Draft
Sixty young men heard their names called Thursday Night as they started their NBA Careers, but only about a third of those men had the privilege of embracing the commissioner on-stage afterwards. The rest sat at home and enjoyed the moment with friends and family. Regardless of how the players were notified, they were all thrilled to be chosen by an NBA team as a player they thought could help their team, or in some players' cases, save it.
After the worst season in NBA history, that's what the Charlotte Bobcats need right now - saving. After Anthony Davis was selected first overall by the New Orleans Hornets, the Bobcats turned to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who played in the backcourt alongside Davis at Kentucky. The Wildcats weren't done, however, as they saw 4 more of their players go off the board.
Said Coach John Calipari on his National Championship win last year, "I guess when you have the 1 and 2 picks you should win." Kidd-Gilchrist brings energy and defense to a team that needs just that. He'll play alongside Kemba Walker, and will need to improve his jumpshot. He has a very high ceiling.
After the first two were done, Bradley Beal was chosen by the Wizards to start for them at shooting guard - a position they are in need of. Dion Waiters would go to Cleveland, then Thomas Robinson went to Sacramento. The Hornets also picked up Duke's Austin Rivers (Above) at 10, giving them a talented duo of players to feed off of each other. The Cavaliers traded for #17 pick Tyler Zeller after the Waiters selection, and the Rockets and Celtics both had multiple picks.
In the Rockets' case, they took UConn SG Jeremy Lamb (Above) at 12, Iowa St. SF Royce White at 16, and Kentucky PF Terrence Jones at 18. While some are questioning those picks, I think each one of those players will turn out to be solid contributors at the next level.
The Celtics, meanwhile, had the 21st and 22nd picks, which they used on Ohio St PF Jared Sullinger and Syracuse C Fab Melo. In my opinion, these could be the most dominant pairing outside of Rivers and Davis. Sullinger has a back problem for the moment, but when he's healthy, he'll play along side the phsically agressive shot-blocker Melo and wreak havoc down low. Boston knew what they were doing here.
As for the Knicks and Nets, they both came away with decent picks - although the Knicks win here. Brooklyn made two trades - one for Guard Tyshawn Taylor, and one for foreigner Tornike Shengeila. They also used their 57th pick on Ilkan Taraman from Turkey. I like Shengeila, he's a player that could develop into a nice piece if he improves his shooting.
The Knicks used their pick at 48 to draft Kostas Papanikolaou, who many project as the second-best foreign player in the draft. He won't be in the NBA for a couple years, but he's a great defender and a solid shooter - two things the Knicks need. If you're a Knicks fan, you should be satisfied.
We'll have to wait a few more months to see these draftees in action, but the anticipation's already killing me. The 2012 NBA Draft was a fun night for all involved, and now it's up to the players to decide their fate at the next level.