One of the main reasons that I started this blog was to house my NBA Draft scouting reports. Every year since 2012 I’ve taken the time to look at video of as many NBA hopefuls as I could. Back in 2012 I ended up looking at video of 41 NBA hopefuls. Some of these players are now stars in the league. While others are playing overseas but this is about my hot takes ahead of the draft and how I thought these players would fare.
Looking back at my own analysis I am embarrassed by some of my predictions while feeling validated by others. One thing I have noticed about myself is that I’m great at evaluating foreign talent and terrible at evaluating Kentucky guys. Partially because of bias and also because at Kentucky you’re dealing with guys who should pretty much all be stars but there is only one ball and not everyone is going to get to shine. (I am making excuses for what I’m about to show you.) After looking at the draft I decided I’d cover the top 9 picks and then throw in some bonus evaluations. With no further ado let’s get into it.
As you can see I was most impressed by his defensive prowess. I wasn’t sure if I trusted his shot so I focused on that. I have a tweet from 6/28/12 where I said “Anthony Davis is like a combo of Aldridge and Camby” 5 years later I say that was a fair assessment.
Where is he now?: 5 years later he’s a 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 1x All Defensive, and was an All Rookie selection after his first year. He’s averaged over 20 PPG since his second season and has increased his rebounds per game every season he’s been in the league. Needless to say he’s one of the best players in the league and is already much better than I expected. I have no idea why I called him serviceable then said he was a combo of Aldridge and Camby. That’s clearly a star player but I definitely didn’t realize he’d be THIS good.
That was all I had to say about MKG. Everyone was so high on him and wanted the Hornets (Bobcats at the time) to take him but I wasn’t seeing it. I was praying they took Thomas Robinson (more on that later) but they took him and the rest is history.
Where is he now?: He was an All-Rookie selection that first year but has no accolades since that time. He struggled with injuries in his middle 3 years (playing just 7 games 2 seasons ago) but overall has proven to be exactly what I expected. Some teams are still high on him as a defender. This past year he seemed to accept what he is and focus on playing great defense, attacking the boards and attacking the rim when he gets the ball. His shot remains broken (it literally looks like his arm is broken or like one is longer than the other when he shoots) which I’ve said and will continue to say is something that can’t be changed. The Hornets have stuck with him though and though there have been many trade rumors, he remains in Charlotte.
I didn’t need to see a lot from Beal to know he was going to be a star. He had good size and he could get buckets. At the 2 position that’s all you really need to start. His aggression and intelligence are what made him a star to me.
Where is he now?: All Rookie selection. It has taken him a little while but this year he finally stepped into the star discussion. He averaged 23 points per game this year and shot over 40% from 3 for the 3rd time in his last 4. His overall FG% has increased every season and this season hit 48% (up from 44.9 last year). With the Wizards being a game away from the Eastern Conference Finals this year, I expect him to come back stronger next year and continue to improve.
For the record, when I dubbed him a sleeper he was projected to go in the upper teens. I guess somebody saw my tweets and he shot up draft boards (joking, joking). I liked Waiters for similar reasons that I liked Beal. Remember he was the 6th man on that Syracuse team and it was because if he started he’d probably do too much. He is a volume shooter and that was how Boeheim contained him. I thought that a coach may want him to chase his shot in the league and he could turn into a really good pro.
Where is he now?: All rookie selection. Waiters has taken a while to find himself but down the stretch of this season it looked like he was on the verge of becoming something. The Heat had an amazing run in the latter portion of the season and Waiters was a huge reason for it. He had a ton of big games and stepped up in big moments. Unfortunately, he missed a ton of time with injuries (played 46 games) but he had his best season overall with career highs in RPG and APG. He nearly matched his PPG average from his second year in Cleveland and shot over 42% from the field for just the second time. His 3 point % also jumped to 39.5% this year (36.8 in year two, down during his time in OKC.)
My favorite thing about Thomas Robinson was his motor. I thought he’d be a dominant rebounder and that his rebounds would lead to a lot of easy points off putbacks. I wanted him to go to the Hornets to be the guy to clean up after Big Al. I thought it would have been the perfect pairing (Josh McRoberts flourished in this role and only made my soul hurt more). However he ended up in Sacramento where good players have their spirits broken.
Where is he now?: Zero accolades. His best stretch was his 22 games in Philly where he averaged 8.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. His career Per 36 numbers are 13 points and 13 rebounds per game but he’s never averaged over 18 minutes per game. I still have hope that he’ll become something. Near the end of the year the Lakers were dealing with injuries and he was forced into action. He had 6 straight double-doubles, points ranging from 10-23 and rebounds ranging from 10-17. The last of which was a 16 point, 17 rebound performance. These are not empty numbers and I’m hoping someone can find a way to utilize his skills. I’d love him beside a scoring big who isn’t a great rebounder.
Dame played for a small school in college and therefore had to get buckets. He came into the league in a somewhat similar situation and has continued to get said buckets. The thing that’s keeping him from crossing the threshold of greatness is his lack of facilitation for others. When his shot is not dropping at a high clip he’s sometimes a detriment to the team and this is why I didn’t say he’d be a star.
Where is he now?: 2x All-Star, 2 time All-NBA, All-Rookie. Dame was the rookie of the year. His scoring translated immediately and he was able to step right in and play 38 minutes per game (his highest mpg) while scoring 19 points per. That was also one of his best assist seasons (6.5pg, his highest was 6.8 in the 15-16 season). He’s still a stud and the face of the Blazers franchise. He’s also a solid rapper and after his tape last year where he talked about bringing a “ship to Portland just like Walton did” I expect some raps about taking down Steph and the Warriors this summer.
I gave myself wiggle room with Barnes because of his demeanor. I wasn’t sure how he’d adjust to the league but knew that he could be a star if given the opportunity. There are players that NEED to be the guy to be effective and I thought that he could be effective as the guy but would also be a solid role player if that’s what he had to do.
Where is he now?: All Rookie Selection, NBA Champion. After serving effectively for 4 years as a role player in Golden State, the Mavs offered Barnes a max deal. The Warriors let him go having signed Durant and Barnes was given the keys to the Mavs offense. He came through effectively increasing his scoring average from 11.7 to 19.2 points per game in just 5 more minutes of action. He had several clutch performances on both ends of the floor and looks like he’ll be a key piece of the Mavericks future.
Nothing about Ross blew me away but he felt like a good player. He’s the type of guy that stays in the league for a while, likely starts but isn’t a guy that’s going to take over a game.
Where is he now?: No accolades. After spending his first 4 and a half years in Toronto as a role player he was traded to Orlando for Serge Ibaka this past season. The Magic are a hard team to read so there’s no telling what their plans for him are but he did start all 24 games he played in Orlando averaging 12.5 PPG which was higher than he had averaged any season in Toronto.
I was worried about Drummond gaining weight and/or being lazy. He had the skillset to be a really good center in the league but I wasn’t sure about his level of motivation.
Where is he now?: All Rookie selection, 1x All-Star, 1x All-NBA selection. Drummond has averaged over 13 rebounds and 13 points per game the last 4 seasons. (remember what I said TRob’s per 36 numbers were….) The 15-16 season was his best year as he led the league in rebounding (14.8rpg) and also averaged 16 points per. However, he took a step back this past season with his numbers dropping to almost exactly what they were in his 3rd season and I believe this was tied to effort. In his all-star season he averaged 7.5 FT attempts per game, this past season just 4.4. There were trade rumors near the deadline and it would not surprise me if he was moved this offseason.
I really had high hopes for Lamb. I was thrilled when he was drafted by the Rockets as he’d get the chance to be a star… he was then traded to the Thunder and I was upset because I didn’t think he’d be able to get the PT I thought he needed. I was worried that he’d be Darko’d (Darko was great coming into the league, sitting on the bench killed his confidence and he never recovered). His rookie year he averaged just 6 minutes per game and only played 23 games total.
Where is he now?: No accolades. Being stuck on the bench in OKC he never really accomplished much. After Harden was traded I thought he might step up but it never happened. Finally, this season he made his way to Charlotte for what I hoped would be a renaissance for him. He turned in his best season in scoring, rebounds and shooting percentage and looked like a solid 6th man. He also looked like he got his confidence back late in the year so hopefully he takes another step this coming season.
Nicholson was a stud with the Bonnies. He averaged 18 points per game, shot over 43% from 3 and blocked 2 shots per game in college. I thought he was the perfect stretch 4 in today’s league and during summer league he was one of the most effective players there. His maturity likely the reason for this.
Where is he now?: His rookie season was his best season. He averaged 7.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game and it has been downhill ever since. I think one of the problems with him was that he was a senior and had pretty much already peaked. Because he wasn’t a phenomenal athlete and his game was already polished he didn’t have a lot of room to grow. This was probably my biggest miss.
Evan Fournier was actually the only foreign player drafted in the first round in 2012 which sounds impossible today. I compared him to Manu coming out because of his penetration and savvy getting into the lane and creating shots for himself. There was no doubt in my mind he’d be a starter in the league for years to come.
Where is he now?: No accolades. Evan has not won any awards yet but he is definitely a solid player. He was a reserve for his first two years in Denver before being traded to the Magic for Afflalo. He’s been a key starter for the Magic since averaging 17 points per game this season. He signed a 5 year 85 million dollar deal last year so it’s safe to say he’ll be able to continue his ascension having improved his scoring every year thus far.
….Yeah. I had hope for him when the Mavs got him in a draft day trade from the Cavs. He only ended up playing in 8 games for the Mavs before being traded during the next year’s draft (along with Mike Muscala and Lucas Nogueira) for Shane Larkin and cash 🙂
Where is he now?: This year Jared played for the Jiangsu Monkey King in China with Ike Diogu and Dejuan Blair. He averaged 34 points per game this year (team finished 8-30) and didn’t do much else for them.
I really liked Jae Crowder coming out of the draft and was elated when the Mavs traded for him. He reminded me of a young Artest because he was not afraid to mix it up and he played hard. I also liked his shooting ability and hoped he’d be a nice starting SF for us for the future.
Where is he now?: Jae barely played when he was in Dallas. He would come in and show promise but Carlisle just wouldn’t commit to giving him consistent PT. He was traded to the Celtics in the Rondo deal during his 3rd season and has started every game he’s played for them the past 2 seasons. This year he averaged 13.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg while shooting 39.8% from 3. H’es a key piece on the #1 team* (LOL) in the east and is rumored to be the key piece needed in a potential Melo trade this offseason.
I really liked Draymond coming out of the draft as well. He fell victim to his age having been a 4 year player but he was one of those guys that I refer to as a “baller.” He’s going to do what he does at any level. His playmaking ability was the key reason I tweeted that he’d have a long career in a 2012 tweet when I first evaluated him.
Where is he now?: 2x All Star 2x All NBA, 2x All Defense, NBA Champion. Draymond has been an elite role player and has honestly been the key piece to the Warriors success. His numbers do not jump off the page but he does a little of everything. He averaged 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals (led the league), and 1.4 blocks per game this year. He would likely not have the awards without the team that he is on but he’d make whatever team he was on better.
That’s all I’ve got folks! If you had any players from that year that I did not cover feel free to tweet me about them and I’ll tell you what I thought.