NEWARK, N.J. -- The 2012 NBA Draft is in the books. For team-by-team grades from CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman and Matt Moore, click here. Now, for a breakdown of the night's winners and losers.
WINNER: Who else but Anthony Davis? The No. 1 overall pick finally was able to put the anticipation behind him and get started on life as the face of the New Orleans Hornets. He handled the process, the expectations and the silly questions as well as anyone his age could, with a rare combination of sincerity and self-deprecation. As talented as he is on both ends of the court, his personality and intelligence could wind up being what puts him over the top. He seemed to strike the perfect balance between being hungry at the opportunity and respectful of his elders. "I'm not sure a rookie can do that," Davis said, when asked whether he would start lobbying to help his team keep restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon in New Orleans. "I don't think I have that much power." With the biggest night of his life now behind him, we're all about to discover his true power.
LOSER: UNC center Tyler Zeller was the Green Room's last man standing. He had to sit and watch as three non-invites, including college teammate Kendall Marshall, were selected before his name was finally called at No. 17. To add insult to injury, as he walked off the stage, he was mockingly serenaded by a fairly large portion of the Prudential Center crowd who chanted, "Cody's Better!" Tyler's younger brother, Cody, is a rising sophomore at Indiana and a projected top-3 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Brutal.
WINNER: Michael Jordan's Draft track record deserves all sorts of mocking but the principle displayed by second-year GM Rich Cho in sticking to his rebuilding formula and selecting what he deemed the best player available at No. 2 deserves praise. Many thought Kansas forward Thomas Robinson would go here but Cho, who values intangibles, two-way play and advanced statistics, surely appreciated Kidd-Gilchrist's positive attitude, love of the game and work ethic. Not to mention his athletic skills, ability to finish in transition and his potential as a lockdown No. 1 defender. Cho defined conventional wisdom with his pick and yet still wound up with the surest player in this class besides Davis. That's a good night.
LOSER: The Detroit Pistons have been bad seemingly forever. They took on the project of all projects in UConn center Andre Drummond. While the potential for an excellent frontline combination of Drummond and Greg Monroe sounds great in theory, it could take years, in a best case scenario, to materialize. It wasn't so long ago that there was a locker room mutiny in Detroit. Is this really the best place for the 18-year-old Drummond to germinate?
WINNER: As if he needed it, Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti got another perfect opportunity to look like a genius after Baylor forward Perry Jones III, a potential Lottery talent, slid all the way to No. 28 after concerns over the state of the meniscus in his knee. Jones can take his sweet time getting healthy and the Thunder get to develop his game and personality in their ideal environment. It almost doesn't seem fair.
LOSER: Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo sure seemed like the guy stuck with a consolation prize when he drafted Washington forward Terrence Ross at No. 8. Sure, Ross is plenty promising, but the Raptors were linked to interest in the likes of UNC forward Harrison Barnes, Syracuse guard Dion Waiters and Weber State guard Damian Lillard, all of whom were off the board at No. 8.
WINNERS: The stylists. Not one player embarrassed himself with his outfit and many appeared downright dapper. If there was a downside, it was that too many of the players seemed to be dressed alike. That doesn't matter for history's sake. The important part was that no one got added to the "Worst Draft Suits Of All Time" video highlight reel.
LOSERS: Tradeniks. Hoping for splashy Draft day moves? Didn't happen. The long-rumored swap of picks between the Bobcats and the Cavaliers? Never happened. A three-team frenzy like last year? Never happened. The best of this year's Draft day trades saw the Cavaliers package up a bunch of parts for the rights to Zeller. Yawn. Then there was an insane run of pick buying in the second round that was more headache-inducing and spellcheck-testing than anything else. Hopefully the July free agency period has more in store.
WINNER: Waiters. Many thought the late talk of the Syracuse guard moving into the top half of the lottery was simply smoke. In fact, it proved completely real when he went off the board to the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4. He not only gets paired with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and Zeller (acquired in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks) but he also gets his handling of the pre-Draft process totally validated. Waiters, who has drawn comparisons to a poor man's Dwyane Wade, shut down everything extremely early and was reportedly promised near the end of the Lottery. Instead, he went above a number of players originally projected as top-5 picks. Can't beat that.
LOSERS: Robinson. The Kansas forward came into the Draft hyping himself as a possible No. 1 overall pick. When that didn't work out, he seemed destined to go to No. 2, whether it was the Bobcats or someone they auctioned the pick off to. Instead, Charlotte took Kidd-Gilchrist and his slide began. The Wizards, after trading for Nene and Emeka Okafor since March, went with Florida guard Bradley Beal. The Cavaliers already had Thompson in place. That left the Sacramento Kings at No. 5, one of the league's most dysfunctional organizations with a slew of shoot-first guards who may or may not succeed in getting Robinson the ball. Good luck.
WINNER: Illinois center Meyers Leonard is the feel-good story of the Draft, having been essentially adopted by a surrogate family after his father passed away when he was just six years old. "Obviously a pretty tough time for my family and I," Leonard said, after being selected with the No. 11 pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. "Grew up with my mom and my brother and I, and not a lot of money sometimes. Some hardship. It was tough but it also made me grow into a young man at an earlier age, stepping in and being somewhat of a caretaker throughout my early years of my life and now especially being able to take care of my mom and my family. It definitely put a good head on my shoulders."
LOSER: Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the NBA, but the late rumors that the Boston Celtics were looking to trade up to select his son Austin were almost too painful to contemplate. How hard would that story get beaten into the ground if it wound up happening? That would have been unbearable. Thankfully, Rivers gets his own fresh start with the Hornets and gets to fly under the radar a bit thanks to Davis. Rivers seemed to carry a target on his back throughout the Draft process because of his Duke pedigree and his 'cocky in a good way" attitude. Now, he can be just another one of Davis' teammates. That's probably exactly what he needed. As for the rest of us: get ready for a decade of "Austin Rivers to the Celtics" trade rumors.
GOING BACK FOR A SOPHOMORE YEAR
WINNER: Barnes. The UNC forward is destined to be one of those "he didn't live up to his potential in college" guys and it's probably fair. But returning for a second year allowed him to mature and focus, and it wound up not costing him all that much in the Draft. He might be disappointed that he slipped to the Golden State Warriors at No. 7, but he gets a situation with a solid cast of talent and an ownership group that's looking for ways to win immediately. A big-time winner at both the high school and college levels, he gets to avoid the truly painful suffering of losing that goes with the bottom-5 NBA teams. In the end, he got to grow up, enjoy a second year in Chapel Hill and winds up entering the league as a role player on a fringe playoff team rather than a supposed savior, while still getting a solid rookie contract based on his draft positioning. Not bad at all.
LOSER: Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, meanwhile, just became the poster child for "Run to the NBA ASAP." Returning for a second year gave him the opportunity to make a deep NCAA tournament run but it also cost him huge on the Draft board after a back problem earned him a medical red flag. Once seen as a top-5 type pick, Sullinger dropped all the way to the Boston Celtics at No. 21. He gets to land with a premier franchise and a potential mentor in Kevin Garnett but this surely wasn't what he or his advisors had in mind 12 months ago.
Winner: No. 14 pick John Henson seems like a pretty good dude and Milwaukee is known as a very livable city. Put the two together and you this content assessment from the UNC big man after being selected by the Milwaukee Bucks: "It was a nice, small city. Not necessarily a small city, but a good-sized city and there's not much traffic, which is a beautiful thing." Alright then.
Loser: Brooklyn. The Nets are looking to start a new brand after moving from New Jersey. Their fans were well-represented in Newark and many wore the new Brooklyn gear. However, second round pick Tomike Shengelia from Georgia hadn't the foggiest idea about his new home. "I don't know much about the city because this is my first time in the States," he said. Now, maybe it would have been a different story if he had been drafted by the Manhattan Knicks?
WINNER: The Kentucky Draft Dynasty continues. After Davis became the second Wildcat (after John Wall) to go No. 1 overall, his teammate Kidd-Gilchrist went No. 2. That was just the beginning. Kentucky finished with a record-setting six players selected in the Draft, including four in the first round. Another year, another few hours of face time for Kentucky coach John Calipari. He doesn't just have the system beat. He has it destroyed.
LOSER: On the other end of the "placing guys in the NBA" spectrum, there's Weber State. To be clear, they're not waking up feeling like a loser (nor should they) on Friday morning, not after Lillard went No. 6 overall to the Portland Trail Blazers. But get this: Lillard becomes the first Weber State player selected in the NBA Draft in forty years! The last one: Willard Sojourner by the Chicago Bulls in 1972. Even the man himself was stunned by his good fortune. "I would be lying if I said I expected to be here last year," Lillard said. "But I'm honored, man, just to be drafted that high coming from where I come from, the school that I come from." Great kid, great attitude. Maybe his success will ensure that it doesn't take another 40 years.
WINNER: Manu Ginobili. Good news: even though there's never been anyone quite like Ginobili in NBA history, not one but two international players selected this year (Evan Fournier and Shengelia) compared themselves to the Spurs All-Star guard. Good luck, guys.
LOSER: The biggest loser on the international front was the poor Frenchman Fournier, but only because he had to face questions about his country's recent elections and whether he was anticipating receiving his salary paid in dollars rather than Euros. Welcome to America; Not quite the inviting Statue of Liberty treatment in Newark on Thursday night.