Can you still be disappointed if your expectations are met?
Even Ned Flanders would’ve thought the Milwaukee Bucks would land the pick they were most likely to get. With GM John Hammond in attendance, the 2012 NBA Lottery balls bounced as expected, netting the Bucks the 12th overall pick and confirming that we exist in a realm of time and space based in reality.
Just for historical reference (with no precedential expectations for 2012), here are the NBA’s 12 overall picks dating back to the year 2000:
2011 – Alec Burks (Utah Jazz)
2010 – Xavier Henry (Memphis Grizzlies)
2009 – Gerald Henderson (Charlotte Bobcats)
2008 – Jason Thompson (Sacramento Kings)
2007 – Thaddeus Young (Philadelphia Sixers)
2006 – Hilton Armstrong (New Orleans Hornets)
2005 – Yaroslav Korolev (Los Angeles Clippers)
2004 – Robert Swift (Seattle SuperSonics)
2003 – Nick Collison (Seattle SuperSonics)
2002 – Melvin Ely (Los Angeles Clippers)
2001 – Vladimir Radmanovic (Seattle SuperSonics)
2000 – Etan Thomas (Dallas Mavericks)
So there you go; the 12th overall pick has produced everyone from the stat head’s wet dream (Collison) to an athletic project (Young) to a man who’s more known for his corrugated clone than his on-court play (Henderson) to a fiery red head that looks like Mike Maronna (Swift).
One thing is clear: the 12th pick often has a ceiling high enough to keep a player in the NBA for half a decade. It’s also low enough to prevent teams and fans from erecting a roster around their talent.
If Hammond’s first four NBA Drafts have taught us anything, it’s that tempered enthusiasm acts like Bactine, cleaning out your scrapes and burns when he pulls the rug out from under your hope’s feet (remember the love for Klay Thompson and Alec Burks last year, Luke Babbitt and Gordon Hayward in 2010?).
Expect a lot of post-workout speculation about how John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Meyers Leonard and Austin Rivers fill a (shooting/rebounding/athletic) void in the Bucks’ (offense/defense). Also expect to do some flash Google searches on draft night when Hammond takes you down the road less traveled.
Then again, that does make all the difference.