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Instant Grades: 2012 NBA Draft Round 1

by | NBA Blogger
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CBSSports.com NBA blogger Royce Young analyzes each pick from Round 1 of the 2012 NBA Draft, grading each team on its draft-night selections. Refresh this page during the draft for the latest grades.

Complete coverage: 2012 NBA Draft tracker

Grades: Round 1Round 2

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Live draft analysis by NBA writer Royce Young
No. 1: Hornets select: Anthony Davis PF Kentucky Grade
Analysis: It's a no-brainer pick, but that doesn't mean it's any less of a home run. The Hornets not only get the unquestioned best player in the draft, but they get a player that can potentially reshape the future of the franchise. I'd say that's a pretty good pick, even if we've all known it was coming for a month.
A+
No. 2: Bobcats select: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF Kentucky Grade
Analysis: The Bobcats have been talking about moving this pick for days, and have been talking about different names all over. They kept it, and took Kidd-Gilchrist who's a blank canvas offensively and could be an All-NBA defender.
A-
No. 3: Wizards select: Bradley Beal SG Florida Grade
Analysis: The Wizards have been desperately searching for offense alongside John Wall and may have found it in Beal who can shoot, run the floor and score. He fills a need, and probably was the best player on the board with Kidd-Gilchrist going to Charlotte.
A-
No. 4: Cavaliers select: Dion Waiters SG Syracuse Grade
Analysis: The Cavs seemed to be determined to get Beal and worked on a deal to move up to get him right until the end. In failing, they decided to reach a bit and take the second best thing behind Beal. With Harrison Barnes on the board, it's a risk.
B
No. 5: Kings select: Thomas Robinson PF Kansas Grade
Analysis: The Kings have had their eye on Robinson for some time and had to wait and see if he'd be there for them. They get their wish, and their guy. Robinson probably isn't star material, but he's a high character player and putting him with DeMarcus Cousins means the Kings are going to be one tough team in the paint and on the glass.
A
No. 6: Trail Blazers select: Damian Lillard PG Weber State Grade
Analysis: If the Blazers had it their way, they'd be taking Lillard 11th. But he's appeared to be Portland's target for some time and the Blazers weren't going to risk it. It might be a little too high, but they need a point guard and he's the best one on the board. That's a solid pick, even if it's a couple spots too high.
A+
No. 7: Warriors select: Harrison Barnes SF UNC Grade
Analysis: With Barnes slipping, the Warriors probably didn't anticipate having the shot to take him seventh. They probably needed size over scoring, especially after taking Klay Thompson and trading for Richard Jefferson last season, but Barnes has some versatility, and should fit fine.
B+
No. 8: Raptors select: Terrence Ross SG Washington Grade
Analysis: The first real head-scratcher of the draft. First, the Raptors already have DeMar DeRozan, which means one of the two has to play out of position. And he went 5-10 picks higher than most expected. He's athletic, has upside and adds some scoring, but it's a reach.
C-
No. 9: Pistons select: Andre Drummond C Connecticut Grade
Analysis: In terms of a pick in theory, the Pistons nailed it. Greg Monroe a slick power forward playing next to an athletic monster in Drummond. But there are questions with Drummond and he'll have to prove some critics wrong. It's on Drummond now to make this thing work out. A ton of talent to land at No. 9.
A
No. 10: Hornets select: Austin Rivers PG Duke Grade
Analysis: Assuming the Hornets re-sign Eric Gordon, here's their core: Anthony Davis, Gordon and Rivers. That has kind of Thunder ring to it, doesn't it? Young, fast, long and exciting. The Hornets became a League Pass favorite with this draft. Will Rivers fit next to Gordon?
A-
No. 11: Trail Blazers select: Meyers Leonard C Illinois Grade
Analysis: This is where you insert a joke about the Blazers taking a big man, right? All that stuff notwithstanding, Leonard is an upside player with a lot of athleticism for his size. Probably a risk considering more polished bigs were on the board, plus it means LaMarcus Aldridge is locked in as a 4 from now on. Taking John Henson or Terrence Jones meant more positional options for Portland.
B
No. 12: Rockets select: Jeremy Lamb SG Connecticut Grade
Analysis: Probably the best available player on the board, which means he's more of an asset to the Rockets than anything else. With Kevin Martin playing his position, one has to think Daryl Morey expects to use one of the two as trade bait. And if not, he's talent on the roster, a wing scorer and a good shooter to try and build with.
A+
No. 13: Suns select: Kendall Marshall PG UNC Grade
Analysis: When I heard "Kendall Marshall," I really just heard, "Goodbye Steve." The Suns took what seems to be their new point guard and wow, what a downgrade. This is probably about six picks too high, and with questions about his speed and ability to guard, the Suns only regressed.
F
No. 14: Bucks select: John Henson PF UNC Grade
Analysis: Didn't the Bucks already draft Henson last season when they took Larry Sanders? He was the best available player probably, but in terms of need, there's none. They might lose Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, but the Bucks have something like 45 forwards on the roster now. Going for versatility or a swingman would've made much more sense.
D
No. 15: 76ers select: Maurice Harkless SF St. John's Grade
Analysis: The Sixers just added another player that can't shoot and needs to get to the rim to score. He can defend, but isn't this just Andre Iguodala lite? You have to assume he's a future replacement for Iguodala who the 76ers have been trying to trade for forever. If so, not a bad pick. If not, curious.
C+
No. 16: Rockets select: Royce White PF Iowa State Grade
Analysis: Because of anxiety issues and a fear of flying, some had White falling down deep in the first round. But you can't ignore his talent. He's a smooth stretch 4 that can pass, shoot and score. Take away some of history and the anxiety concerns and this guy is a lottery talent. The Rockets weren't afraid to pull the trigger early on White and it means they add a terrific player.
A
No. 17: Mavericks select: Tyler Zeller PF UNC Grade
Analysis: The Mavs made this selection for the Cavaliers in a trade. The Cavs are stockpiling size and to get Zeller this late is a huge value pick. They had to give up the 24th, 33rd and 34th picks to get him, but Zeller is a lottery type talent and the Cavs don't really need three more young players right now.
A-
No. 18: Rockets select: Terrence Jones PF Kentucky Grade
Analysis: The Rockets appeared to be positioning to move their three picks to move up, or grab a big name talent. Instead, they've taken three pretty good player. Jones is pretty similar to White, but the Rockets still have the ability to package these players in a deal. Houston has some young assets to work with right now. If they keep all three, there appears to be a bit of a logjam at forward for Houston.
B+
No. 19: Magic select: Andrew Nicholson PF St. Bonaventure Grade
Analysis: Nicholson could be a serious sleeper in this draft, but in terms of fit, it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for the Magic. Is he really all that different from Ryan Anderson, who the Magic intend to re-sign? Couldn't the Magic have used a swingman or a point guard much more? With Tony Wroten and Marquis Teague on the board, the Magic had a chance to help themselves a lot more than they did. This isn't an indictment on Nicholson -- he could be great -- but more about what Orlando needed.
C
No. 20: Nuggets select: Evan Fournier SG France Grade
Analysis: Wise move by Masai Ujiri. The Nuggets are already a bit overstocked and Fournier is a big time talent that can be stashed for a couple years in Europe. There really wasn't anything remaining on the board that Denver really could've used, so the Nuggets made the smart play and went for talent to be developed.
A
No. 21: Celtics select: Jared Sullinger PF Ohio State Grade
Analysis: Take away the medical concerns, and Sullinger is a lottery player. Most had him as a top four pick if he had come out after his freshman year. He's a little undersized, but at 21, the Celtics fill a need and if Sullinger is healthy, get a really terrific college player. High value, high talent and a great fit.
A
No. 22: Celtics select: Fab Melo C Syracuse Grade
Analysis:The Celtics had their eye on size in this draft, and they've landed a pretty good amount with their back-to-back picks. I'm sure they would've preferred the versatility of Royce White, but Boston needed desperately to restock on big men. Melo needs a bunch of work to contribute offensively, but he's a big body that can screen, defend and rebound. Maybe their new Kendrick Perkins?
B+
No. 23: Hawks select: John Jenkins SG Vanderbilt Grade
Analysis: You have to think the player the Hawks really wanted got taken ahead of their pick. They've been shopping Josh Smith for a while and probably would've like a new big to pair with Al Horford. Instead, they settle on a marksman in Jenkins. He can really shoot it, but he'll probably be nothing more than a specialist. Which is sometimes all a playoff team really wants.
B+
No. 24: Cavaliers select: Jared Cunningham Oregon State Grade
Analysis: The future of Jason Terry is unknown and the Mavs are going to need some bench scoring soon. Solid athlete, good slasher and some good length. At this point, there type of players expected to contribute now are dwindling, so playoff teams are looking to add depth. Only thing is, there's probably a better available player than Cunningham.
B-
No. 25: Grizzlies select: Tony Wroten PG Washington Grade
Analysis: It seemed that the Grizzlies were going point guard all the way as it is one of the biggest needs on the team. They need a backup for Mike Conley desperately and had their choice between the bigger more versatile Wroten, and the smaller and quicker Marquis Teague. They took Wroten, who can probably play with Conley. The more options, the better. Smart pick.
A
No. 26: Pacers select: Miles Plumlee C Duke Grade
Analysis: Breaking: The Pacers select the big white guy. Not many had Plumlee in the first round, but adding size to that front court isn't a bad idea. It's not guarantee they're keeping Roy Hibbert, so stockpiling size is smart. Seems that there were higher upside guys out there though like Perry Jones III, but the Pacers like toughness, something Plumlee has plenty of.
C
No. 27: Heat select: Arnett Moultrie PF Mississippi State Grade
Analysis: This pick being traded to the 76ers from the Heat, but a bit of an unexpected free fall for Moultrie. Some had him as a late lottery guy and here he is falling nearly out of the first round. The Sixers can use more size and Moultrie is an athletic, explosive player that needs to refine his game.
B-
No. 28: Thunder select: Perry Jones III PF Baylor Grade
Analysis: The Thunder land a lottery level talent on the back end of the first round. Jones dropped because of medical concerns, but now Oklahoma City has a potential replacement for Serge Ibaka if the Thunder can't re-sign him. This one didn't take much genius from Sam Presti. Because it was a no-brainer with Jones available.
A
No. 29: Bulls select: Marquis Teague PG Kentucky Grade
Analysis: The Bulls reportedly were set to take Tyshawn Taylor with this pick, but probably fell on the floor when Teague was still available. They've clearly needed a backup point guard for Derrick Rose and Teague is outstanding value at this point of the first round.
A+
No. 30: Warriors select: Festus Ezeli C Vanderbilt Grade
Analysis: The Warriors needed interior size and most felt they'd go for it with the seventh pick. But they went for a wing in Barnes there and are going for a project in Ezeli with the final pick of the first round. Makes sense, but did they guess right?
C+
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