There were several Big East players selected in the 2012 NBA Draft on Thursday night. Now begins the speculation. What will become of these players? What will they mean to their team, both for an immediate impact and in the long term? I break down every Big East player picked and tell you what their future holds.
Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers, Syracuse: Many people will think this is a reach, but in reality, it’s not. Waiters has the best ability to get to the basket out of anyone in this draft. His offensive game is prolific, and if he works on his jump shot, he could be a superstar scorer in this league. Pairing him next to Kyrie Irving was a smart move, and one they made after they couldn’t obtain Bradley Beal. I would not be surprised at all to see Waiters be the starting shooting guard on Opening Night for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, Connecticut: Drummond certainly dropped because of his risk factor, but at #9, he was a steal. Even if he doesn’t reach his full potential, he should still be a solid rim protector and shot blocker. But if he does, watch out. Drummond has quick feet and if he ever develops an offensive game, he could be the next Dwight Howard (that’s a big if). He may not start right away, but he’ll come off the bench. Detroit is hoping him and Greg Monroe will be their frontcourt for years to come.
Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets, Connecticut: Houston is hoping to move on from the Kevin Martin era and Lamb is their ticket. He has great length for defense and a smooth shooting stroke, especially from behind the arc. Like his Husky counterpart Drummond, he has the potential to be even better. Many didn’t like how Lamb played at UConn last year, but it was more so because he is really a complimentary player and not a vocal leader. Going to the Rockets, who have veterans and hope to make a big free agent splash, he will thrive.
Moe Harkless, Philadelphia 76ers, St. John’s: This was an odd pick in my opinion. Harkless has all the talents to make it big as an NBA scorer. He has great size for a small forward and can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways. However, where do the Sixers plan on using him? He won’t be able to play shooting guard and isn’t big or physical enough to play power forward. That leaves him to sit behind Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young, which would be a huge waste of talent. Unless Iggy gets traded, this pick has me scratching my head.
Fab Melo, Boston Celtics, Syracuse: Excellent choice here. Melo was one of the few late first round picks that I mocked correctly. The Orange big man will now go green and join the Celtics. Melo brings great shot blocking ability to the table and alters shots as well. His presence in the paint is a defensive tool of its own. However, he does have to work on being physical and scoring the ball. So who better to teach him than Kevin Garnett? KG should groom the young Melo to become a top NBA center in the future. For now, he’ll come off the bench.
Jae Crowder, Dallas Mavericks, Marquette: Crowder was drafted by Cleveland but was sent to Dallas in a multi-player deal. He’s a very interesting prospect. While he dominated the Big East last year (he was Big East Player of the Year), he does lack the size and physical tools to play in the NBA. In the NCAA’s, he outrebounded smaller players and stretched the floor with his shot because he was a college big man. As a pro, he won’t be able to do all of that. Crowder is an undersized small forward who may have to play some shooting guard. He’s a hard worker and I’ll be rooting for him, but I’m not completely sold on him as an NBA player. It will be interesting to see if he can get minutes for the Mavs this year.
Kris Joseph, Boston Celtics, Syracuse: Joining his Syracuse teammate Fab Melo, Joseph heads to Boston with the hopes of winning a title early on in his career. He is a classic swingman, although his offensive skills need some work. However, they show promise. Joseph’s wingspan will help him on defense, something the Celtics are known very well for. The older Paul Pierce gets, the more help he’ll need. I could see Joseph taking some minutes at small forward next season.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, Marquette: L. A. traded for DJO, although I’m not really sure what they were thinking. Johnson-Odom does have a nice jumper and can play some solid defense, but he doesn’t have the height to play shooting guard or skills to play point guard. Similar to his college teammate Crowder, his game may not translate well to the NBA. I’ll be rooting for them both, but Johnson-Odom will be riding the pine in Hollywood all next year.