The best part of the NBA season is well underway. The Playoffs have given way to the Finals, and the Draft is a couple weeks away. With the lottery set and the scouting combine over, NBA teams (other than the Thunder and Heat), incoming rookies, and fans are awaiting the Draft, which is held on June 28th. We are going to sort through the talent and potential of this deep Draft class to show you the franchise players.
Tim Duncan Group (Franchise Players)
Anthony Davis – Placed on the same level as Lebron James and Blake Griffin as a surefire first overall pick who will change the face of a franchise, Anthony Davis will have a tremendous impact on the New Orleans Hornets from day one, just as he did for the Kentucky Wildcats. NBA comparisons for Davis have been tough to pinpoint, ranging from Marcus Camby to Kevin Durant. On the defensive end he will compare to Serge Ibaka, a freakishly athletic shot blocking machine with the versatility to guard the 3, 4, and 5. On the offensive end he can become similar to Chris Bosh, a jump-shooting 4/5 with solid finesse moves around the rim. If Davis develops and reaches his ceiling, Kevin Garnett 2.0 is not out of the question.
Bradley Beal – Let’s get this out of the way, Bradley Beal will be the best player to come from the 2012 NBA Draft class. The 6’4” shooting guard is just what he described himself as, a cross between Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen. A bit of exaggeration? Sure, but if you ever watched him play at Florida you’ve seen an attacking 2 who plays bigger than his height with a pure stroke from NBA 3-point range. The Bobcats, Wizards, or Cavs (Beal is unlikely to fall out of the top 4) are going to add a playmaker and a foundation for their franchise to their roster.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Known as the hardest worker in the 2012 draft class, MKG will bring a toughness and work ethic on the court and in the locker room to a franchise that’s in need of both. He’s a relentless player who will do a lot of everything for a team. He’s reminiscent of Gerald Wallace, an All-Star, and as his offensive game develops, he could develop into a player with a Scottie Pippen-like ability to impact the game on every level. He might not stick out in year one as a player who can be the foundation for a championship, but as his career progresses, his value to whichever team drafts him will become increasingly evident.
Thomas Robinson – Robinson’s ascension at Kansas and, more recently, on the Draft board is a testament to his work ethic and increasing skill on the offensive side of the ball. Expect that trend to continue into the NBA. Robinson is a tough player who has some Charles Oakley in him, which every team wants. As for current NBA comparisons, Robinson brings Blake Griffin and a young Amare Stoudemire to mind. While not as athletically gifted as either and more interested in defense than both, he will attack the basket and score in a similar fashion. As his game becomes more refined, Amare Stoudemire circa 2009 to 2011 becomes a legitimate possibility for Robinson.
Coming in Part 2: Potential All-Stars, Sleepers
Image courtesy of the NBA