2012 NBA Draft Review: 76ers, Bulls, Celtics, Grizzlies, Hawks, Mavericks, Pacers, Thunder, Warriors

Part 1 is here (picks 1-10)

Part 2 is here (picks 11-20)

21. Boston – Jared Sullinger (PF)

Sullinger’s reputation was sullied at the last minute by rumors of a back problem, dropping him from a potential lottery pick down to the Celtics at 21. (Okay, sorry, that was bad) If he turns out to be okay, then that’s a pretty good pick for a Carlos Boozer or Glen Davis type of guy.

He’s got a nice shot with some pretty good range, which is a definite bonus for rookie of his size. He’s also fairly strong and is able to get good rebounding position. Unfortunately, that good stroke also means that he’ll probably end up relying on it when he goes up against bigger and/or taller players in the NBA (hence my Carlos “Fadeaway” Boozer comparison).

He’s also a bit slow and can be beaten on defense (once again, Carlos Boozer, who has just kind of given up even trying to play D). Sullinger will probably back up KG at PF and maybe get some time at Center, but even if he does get to play both positions, I don’t think he’ll be worth taking in a fantasy draft. He might be worth picking up during the season, even early on if he’s getting 25+ minutes and scoring well, but wait until that happens and be ready to jump on him (and also be ready to drop him if his game falls off again).

22. Boston – Fab Melo (PF)

When your upside is someone like Kendrick Perkins, don’t expect much in the way fantasy value, especially your first year in the league as a 20-year old. While the Celtics’ pick of Sullinger one spot earlier provides the team a high upside offensive post presence (especially once the post-KG era arrives), the 7-foot Melo gives the team much needed size and a legitimate center. He can block shots (2.9 a game with Syracuse), but averaged only 5.8 rebounds a game and isn’t much of an offensive player. Like Perkins was with the Celtics, he is destined to always be the fifth offensive option on the floor, although he could eventually develop into a solid defensive player for the team. Even if he takes over the Celtics’ starting center job next season, don’t expect too much fantasy value other than blocks from the young big man.

23. Atlanta – John Jenkins (SG)

With the salary-shedding trade the Hawks just made with Brooklyn, you might think that John Jenkins is going to be a key piece of their franchise in years to come. Jenkins does seem like a good fit with Al Horford posting up down low. He probably won’t get many looks created by Josh Smith, but it doesn’t seem like Jenkins needs much of a window to get his shot off anyway. He has one of the fastest strokes I’ve seen, and definitely NBA range. He’s a bit undersized for a Shooting Guard in the NBA, but he’s not as bad as someone like Ben Gordon. The Hawks are bringing in Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson who will probably take over the SF and SG positions initially. If Jenkins can hit his shot consistently against the big boys, then I can see him being a good fantasy pick just for the threes alone, even if he’s coming off the bench. Like most of the guys taken at 20+, he’s not worth drafting (unless you want to take a last round flier on him, or if you’re in a deeper [I said Deeper, not Keeper] league), but he’s worth keeping an eye on in case he starts draining threes like it seems he’ll have to do to stay in the league.

24. Dallas – Jared Cunningham (SG)

Even Oregon State fans are surprised that Cunningham got drafted in the first round, but that’s just the type of draft class it was. He does possess elite quickness and athleticism, which is the reason why Dallas targeted him after trading down from pick 17. He’s also one of the best ball hawks in the draft, averaging 2.5 steals per game with Oregon State his junior year. The 6-4 Cunningham projects as a combo guard in the NBA and might be better suited as a SG, but he could fill a need for the Mavs at PG if Jason Kidd does not return to the team since the Mavs failed to get Deron Williams, or he could pick up the void created by Jason Terry’s departure for Boston. He’ll compete with Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones for minutes this season and he’ll need to develop a consistent jumper before he’s more than a steals category play for fantasy owners.

25. Memphis – Tony Wroten (PG)

Tony Wroten could be a great value pick if he can fix all the flaws in his game. He’s got good height for a PG, good handles when he goes to his left, and good rebounding and defensive instincts. His fantasy value this year (if any) will come from his court vision and passing, his rebounding (good for a PG, but not good against the average NBA player), and his steals. The Grizzlies still have Mike Conley under contract, but if OJ Mayo leaves, then Wroten might get some time at SG. NBA teams should easily recognize that he has no shot, though, and should be able to guard against his ball handling and penetration, limiting his scoring opportunities. Definitely stay away from Wroten in fantasy drafts. We’ll let you know if he does something worth noticing, so you probably don’t even need to keep an eye on him initially.

26. Indiana – Miles Plumlee (C)

Larry Bird’s parting gift to the Pacers on his way out of town (or maybe it was a practical joke) is Duke center Miles Plumlee. The 7-footer apparently blew everyone away at the combine with his 40-inch vertical leap. And that’s about where the positives end. He capped off an underwhelming career at Duke averaging 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 21 minutes a game. He’ll back up Roy Hibbert for now and if everything breaks just right, you might just be looking at the next Jeff Foster (which at pick 26, wouldn’t actually be the worst thing in the world). I don’t think he’s on anyone’s fantasy radar come draft day.

27. Philadelphia – Arnett Moultrie (PF)

I certainly wouldn’t have drafted a guy who doesn’t try to rebound if he doesn’t get the ball or hangs his head when jogging back on D, but he’s got height and can score pretty decently inside, I guess. We don’t give draft grades (and I haven’t actually looked at draft grades for any team), but I have to say, the 76ers seems like an F if there ever was one. They took Moe Harkless at 15 to fill their huge need at the rangy-but-undersized wing position (yes, sarcasm), then they picked up Moultrie who has talent, sure, but under-developed talent, along with the attitude of a high-schooler. With Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young, and Nikola Vucevic under contract (and an offer out to rookie value pick Lavoy Allen), I guess Philly was just going with Best Player Available at this point, but even taking a risk on Perry Jones III seems like a better one to take. If they really wanted a big man, they probably should have taken one with their first pick when there were still at least some more intriguing prospects. I’d be very surprised if Moultrie gets enough minutes in the 76ers rotation to be fantasy relevant.

28. Oklahoma City – Perry Jones III (PF)

Jones is the slide of the 2012 draft; at one time projected to be a top-10 pick, he slid all the way to the Thunder at 28 due to concerns about an injury to the meniscus in one of his knees. But as long as he doesn’t turn into the next Brandon Roy, the 6-11 Jones has a “guard’s game with a center’s height” according to NBA Draft.net, which should actually make him a perfect fit with the up tempo Thunder. Despite all his tools and the mismatch problems he creates, his stats are decidedly mediocre at Baylor. He averaged 13.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks in 30 minutes a game his sophomore year. It’s unlikely that Jones has much fantasy value this season, but he does fall into a good spot with the Thunder, as he’ll be able to develop his game behind one of the best players in the league on a team where he’s not expected to do much right away.

29. Chicago – Marquis Teague (PG)

After Jeff Teague tore apart the Bulls in the playoffs two seasons ago, I have to admit I’m excited to see what his brother can do. It doesn’t hurt that the Bulls played it safe by giving CJ Watson a backup until Derrick Rose is back. Teague has a 40″ vertical and a 6′ 7″ wingspan which enable the little 6′ 2″ guy to get above the rim. Like his brother, he’s excellent at penetrating and getting to the rim. He seems to be a bit better at distributing (even though Jeff did improve on that last season). CJ Watson showed some definite weaknesses when playing extended time last season, so while Teague has an awkward “release on the way down” jump shot, he should still see some decent minutes in the first part of the season (depending on long Rose’s recovery lasts). He’s probably not a great fantasy draft pick, but once we know how many minutes he’ll play behind CJ he might be worth a short-term add for some extra assists and maybe a steal per game.

30. Golden State – Festus Ezeli (C)

Festus Ezeli – who sounds more like a bad disease rather than an actual NBA player – is a 22 year old who averaged 3.2 fouls in 23 minutes a game at Vanderbilt. He’s big and strong with a 7’5” wingspan; and is a very good defender especially around the rim, which is something that Golden State desperately needs. But given his lack of offensive game, he’s more likely to be 6 fouls off the bench for the Warriors than any sort of fantasy presence, even if (or when) Bogut goes down with an injury. Just for reference, here are the last five 30th picks in the NBA draft: Jimmy Butler, Lazar Hayward, Christian Eyenga, JR Giddens and Petteri Koponen. Ezeli is a good bet to join that list of guys who just never had that much impact at the NBA level.

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