Redrafting the 2012 NBA Draft: Damian Lillard causes shakeup at the top
Redrafting the 2012 NBA Draft
The 2012 NBA Draft will be remembered as a class with immense talent at the top, such as Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard, with numerous second-round steals, like Draymond Green, Khris Middleton and Jae Crowder that went on to become All-Stars or steady contributors.
Eight years later, how would teams pick differently? Would Davis still go No. 1? How high does Green rise?
Let's find out.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Damian Lillard
School: Weber State
Original Pick: Anthony Davis
As great as Anthony Davis is, and he's an incredible basketball player, you have to look at this from New Orleans' point of view. They took Davis No. 1 overall in 2012, watched him blossom into perhaps the best big man in the NBA only to demand a trade after seven seasons.
Wouldn't they rather have a superstar at a more important position (PG), who's one of the best shotmakers in the league, has much more playoff success and fewer durability concerns than Davis? Not to mention Lillard's stuck with Portland despite some questionable roster decisions by that front office.
This may be a bit of a hot take, but it wouldn't be all that surprising to see New Orleans make a different decision with the benefit of hindsight.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis
Original Pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Davis doesn't fall farther than the second pick, as Michael Jordan gets the upgrade of the century over his original selection. As stated before, Davis is the best big man in the NBA, and is an exceptional talent on both ends of the floor.
New Orleans couldn't get him to stay through the rest of his prime, but maybe Charlotte could make things work with Kemba Walker as a perfect running mate already on the roster.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal
Original Pick: No change
There's a case for Draymond Green at this spot, given he's one of the best defensive players of all time, but it's hard to pass on a scorer/shotmaker like Beal in favor of someone with Green's skill set.
The Warriors dynasty doesn't happen without Green, but it also doesn't happen if Green is your No. 2 option like he'd be with the Wizards here. Everybody wants an uber-versatile big man who can defend anyone on the court, push the ball in transition and find open shooters, but elite offensive players are arguably more important to championship teams.
Beal was, and still is the better fit next to John Wall, so the Wizards make the same choice they did eight years ago.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Draymond Green
School: Michigan State
Original Pick: Dion Waiters
Draymond Green can name all 34 players selected in front of him in the 2012 draft, and now he'll only have to remember three.
The Cavs add Green to a core already consisting of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. If LeBron James makes the same choice to come back in 2014, the Warriors probably don't win a single championship. You know, unless they get Kevin Durant again.
5. Sacramento Kings: Khris Middleton
School: Texas A&M
Original Pick: Thomas Robinson
A bit of a late bloomer, but Middleton has become one of the best and most efficient two-way players in the NBA. Pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins would make for an interesting two-man game in Sacramento.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Harrison Barnes
School: North Carolina
Original Pick: Damian Lillard
Barnes has been a steady scorer and shooter who can play across all three wing positions since he entered the league. He's probably had too many isolation opportunities in Dallas and Sacramento, but he's still a productive player at an important position on the floor.
The Blazers capitalize on that value at sixth overall with their prized point guard off the board at No. 1.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jae Crowder
Original Pick: Harrison Barnes
Crowder becomes the third second-round pick from 2012 to go in the top-10 of this redraft. Here, the Warriors get a solid 3-and-D wing who can guard 1-through-4 and knock down threes at a nice clip.
Crowder never developed into a shot-maker who could create his own looks off the bounce, but his main strengths are exactly what today's NBA demands out of wings.
The Warriors miss out on Draymond, so Crowder gives them some positional versatility even though they'll probably never be the same team without Green.
8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross
Original Pick: No change
With Andre Drummond still on the board, the Raptors stand firm and take Terrence Ross again at No. 8 overall. They drafted Jonas Valunciunas fifth overall in 2011, so going center again wouldn't make a ton of sense.
With Ross, the Raptors know what they're getting. A terrific shooter who can get hot at any time and carry an offense for short spurts. He may not offer much of anything outside of scoring, but Ross is still a solid pick at this spot.
9. Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond
Original Pick: No change
The Pistons go with their same choice as well and take Drummond No. 9.
Drummond's skill set might be a tad outdated, but paired with the right players, he can be a valuable weapon. Perhaps knowing what they do now about Drummond, the Pistons trade Greg Monroe sooner to capitalize on both big men's value.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Evan Fournier
Original Pick: Austin Rivers
With Lillard in hand, New Orleans goes with another prolific shooter to create an intriguing sharpshooting backcourt. Fournier is a sneaky good scorer who's not afraid to launch from anywhere on the court.
Playing alongside Lillard, that offense would create a ton of space in the paint.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Kent Bazemore
School: Old Dominion
Original Pick: Meyers Leonard
Bazemore went undrafted in 2012, but that didn't stop him from becoming a solid 3-and-D wing, especially for five years in Atlanta.
With him and Barnes, the Blazers come away with a nice pair of wings to play next to LaMarcus Aldridge.
12. Houston Rockets: Will Barton
Original Pick: Jeremy Lamb
With the first of three picks in the first round, the Rockets take Barton to give them instant offense off the bench. Houston hadn't traded for James Harden at this point, so getting as many buckets as possible is a priority.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jeremy Lamb
Original Pick: Kendall Marshall
The Suns follow the theme of bucket-getters here in the late lottery and take Lamb at 13. Lamb is a player who can get hot in a hurry and can provide usueful offense off the bench.
There aren't many teams who couldn't use some of that.
14. Milwaukee Bucks: Maurice Harkless
School: St. John's
Original Pick: John Henson
Another wing off the board, and with Harkless the Bucks take an athletic, versatile defender who can knock down spot-up threes. Not a bad complementary piece to an eventual team led by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: JaMychal Green
Original Pick: Maurice Harkless
The Sixers are on the brink of the process here and could use as much talent as possible. Here they take Green, who went undrafted in 2012 but became a valuable contributor thanks to his versatile game at the power forward spot.
16. Houston Rockets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Original pick: Royce White
Kidd-Gilchrist drops 14 spots but lands on a team known for developing shooters. Perhaps he could tap into some of the potential he showed at Kentucky with a different franchise.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Tomas Satoransky
Original pick: Tyler Zeller
The Wizards won't get a chance to take Satoransky early in the second round, and that's a shame for them. Before he signed a three-year, $30 million with the Bulls in free agency, Satoransky gave the Wizards steady defense and playmaking off the bench behind John Wall.
18. Houston Rockets: Dion Waiters
Original pick: Terrence Jones
Waiters went far too soon in 2012, but his talent scoring the ball is legit. He just needed a team to help him with shot selection. Maybe the Rockets could've been that team.
19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard
Original pick; Andrew Nicholson
Leonard could be considered a bust going 11th in 2012, but he's helped himself carve out a role by stretching his range beyond the three-point line.
20. Denver Nuggets: Mike Scott
Original pick: Evan Fornier
A floor-stretching big who can provide some solid defense off the bench? Sounds like a good idea for the Nuggets, though playing Scott is tough without a true big man. He doesn't play anywhere other than the power forward spot typically.
21. Boston Celtics: Austin Rivers
Original pick: Jared Sullinger
Still the Celtics' head coach, Doc Rivers drafts his son and hopes to unlock his potential earlier in his career with a group of veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to help show him the way.
22. Boston Celtics: John Henson
Original pick: Fab Melo
Henson's length and shot-blocking ability earned him a spot in the lottery, and Boston takes a flier on him to hopefully improve their interior defense behind Kevin Garnett.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Terrence Jones
Original pick: John Jenkins
Jones would be an interesting fit on the Hawks developing under Al Horford and eventually Paul Millsap. Maybe there he realizes the potential he showed at Kentucky.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyle O'Quinn
Original pick: Jared Cunningham
O'Quinn became a useful big off the bench who could stretch the floor. Cunningham never really caught on in the NBA. Nice upgrade.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Jared Sullinger
Original pick: Tony Wroten
Sullinger had a ton of talent coming out of Ohio State but never put it all together. Maybe backing up Zach Randolph would help Sullinger maximize the combination of size and skill he had.
26. Indiana Pacers: Tyler Zeller
Original Pick: Miles Plumlee
Zeller was a solid player, but if you needed your center to be able to bang down low, defend bigger players and clear out space on the glass, he's not that guy.
27. Miami Heat: Festus Ezeli
Original pick: Arnett Moultrie
Before injuries ended his career, Ezeli was a solid bench big a lot of teams could use.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Darius Miller
Original pick: Perry Jones
In a world where 3-and-D wings are at a premium, I'm sure at least one team would take a shot on Miller here and see where it goes.
29. Chicago Bulls: Miles Plumlee
Original pick: Marquis Teague
Marquis Teague was a miss by the Bulls right after Derrick Rose tore his ACL for the first time. Here they get some frontcourt depth in Plumlee.
30. Golden State Warriors: Perry Jones
Original pick: Festus Ezeli
Something tells me Golden State would be able to figure things out with an extremely athletic forward with massive two-way potential.