By: Sam Block
We are now more than a half-decade removed from the 2012 NBA Draft. By now, it should be rather clear how the players selected in this draft are turning out in the NBA. On that Thursday evening in Newark, New Jersey, just over five years ago, the childhood dreams of 60 individuals came true. Unfortunately, due to the incredible competition in the NBA, only 25 of those 60 players still remain in the league today. The date was June 28, 2012, and the Charlotte Bobcats decided to take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist one spot ahead of Bradley Beal. They say hindsight is 20/20. I say let’s do a re-draft. I will tell you how the top 5 picks of the 2012 NBA Draft SHOULD have gone. For starters, I will tell you how they did go:
- Anthony Davis
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- Bradley Beal
- Dion Waiters
- Thomas Robinson
Now…the nitty gritty:
- Anthony Davis
This, to me, is a complete no-brainer. Anthony “The Brow” Davis is going to be in the Hall of Fame one day. The New Orleans Hornets made the perfect pick back in 2012. Although they are now the New Orleans Pelicans, their pick of AD would have no reason to change today. The 6’10” Power Forward out of the University of Kentucky has been nothing short of sensational thus far in his NBA career. Despite being called injury prone by the media, nobody can doubt what he is able to do when he is healthy. In his career, Davis has averaged 23.1 points per game to go along with 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. For years, AD has done an incredible job of keeping the Pelicans relevant in a loaded Western Conference. Now, along with DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins, the Pelicans will be scary for years to come, as long as they manage to keep both he and Boogie healthy and on the squad. Anthony Davis is 24-years-old and a complete monster on the hardwood. Ladies and gentlemen, face the facts.
- Damian Lillard
Weber State University. That is where this beast hails from. Don’t feel bad if you have no idea where Weber State is…most people don’t. For those curious, it is in the state of Utah. Damian Lillard was a question mark for some analysts coming out of college. Now the only question is whether or not he will spend his entire Hall of Fame career in Portland, Oregon. Lillard has averaged a juicy 22.9 points per game throughout his NBA career thus far. He has also chipped in an average of 6.2 assists. Not too shabby for a guy that was picked after Thomas Robinson. For those counting at home, Thomas Robinson was drafted 5th overall by the Sacramento Kings and has scored 1,528 total NBA points. Damian Lillard was drafted 6th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and has scored over 10,000 NBA points. That’s the difference between the Kings and the rest of the NBA. All jokes aside, Lillard’s outstanding. Damian has also been able to lead the mediocre supporting cast of Portland to four straight playoff appearances. Damian is a scorer, a winner, and should have gone second overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
- Draymond Green
Many people would argue that Draymond should have gone second in this re-draft. Draymond Green is phenomenal, but I am not going to sit here and tell you that Draymond has not benefitted from being surrounded by two to three Hall of Famers thus far in his NBA career. I will however sit here and tell you that the Warriors made one of the best picks in NBA history when they selected Draymond with the 35th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. I have the versatile competitor moving up 32 spots in my re-draft. Yes, that’s extremely impressive. The Michigan State product truly does it all. He has often been talked about as the most important piece on the Golden State Warriors. I do not necessarily think that is true, but he is definitely the extra glue that makes the Warriors so ridiculously tough to compete with. His offensive numbers won’t blow you away, a career average of 9.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 6.9 rebounds. However, his defensive presence is clearly evident each and every time he steps on the hardwood. He averages over a block and a steal per game, and is able to guard just about every position on the court. Draymond’s energy and effort is what I like best about his game. You would be hard pressed to find someone who fights harder than the former Spartan.
- Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal balled out when he was at the University of Florida. And let me tell you, he has balled out for his entire career in the nation’s capital. Often thought of as the second best player in his own backcourt, Bradley Beal’s importance on the Washington Wizards cannot be overlooked. John Wall is a superstar Point Guard, but Bradley Beal is also a superstar at the Shooting Guard position. Beal is still very young at only 24-years of age, and over the last two seasons, he has averaged over 23 points per game. A career average of 18.6 points per game is far from shabby. Bradley is also a stellar three-point shooter, with his 39% clip from long range. It is hard not to like a player like Beal who is able to light it up on any given night. His postseason numbers are nothing to sneeze at either. The 6’5” guard has shown up when the lights were on bright, with a 22.6 points per game postseason average. I expect Bradley Beal to continue to get better and better as his game continues to mature in the coming years.
- Andre Drummond
Big Andre Drummond gets the nod for me here as he boxed-out any of his competitors for the number 5 spot. Andre has also been boxing out for his entire NBA career thus far, on his way to nearly 6,000 rebounds. Yes, that is six with three zeros attached. Drummond also has nearly 6,000 points. Those gaudy numbers explain his averages of 13.5 points per game and 13.2 rebounds per game. The 6’11”, 279-pound Center out of the University of Connecticut fits the Detroit mold very well. He simply eats in the paint night in and night out. For a big man, his durability has also been very impressive as he has played over 80 games in four out of his five complete NBA seasons to date. Being available is one of the most important traits any NBA player could have, and Drummond has been more than available for the Pistons. To start his career, Andre’s clear weak spot was the free throw line. He has even been able to fix that part of his game, shooting 63% from the charity stripe this season. Andre Drummond continues to improve each year in the association, and he will continue to do so moving forward.
The other five players I likely would have chosen to round out my top 10 would have been Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes, Evan Fournier, Jae Crowder, and Will Barton. Clearly, the top five of my 2012 NBA Re-Draft have separated themselves in terms of overall talent. A guy like Khris Middleton has really turned into a nice NBA player, but the five guys I named above all have Hall of Fame potential. It is never easy to predict what a 19-year-old college kid will turn into once he gets picked to play in a grown men’s league. It is safe to say that Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Draymond Green, Bradley Beal, and Andre Drummond have acclimated themselves rather well.