The Starting Five’s coverage of the 2012 NBA Draft from Philadelphia 76ers headquarters

(Mel Evans/AP)

Davis and Austin Rivers are the future in NOLA

The Kentucky Wildcats became the first school to yield the first two picks in the NBA Draft. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were selected by the New Orleans Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats, respectively. Fellow freshman Bradley Beal of Florida went third overall to the Washington Wizards, giving the SEC three freshman selections to open the draft.

The early winners look to be  Boston, Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Sacramento.

(Jerry Lai/US Presswire)

I wouldn’t bet or root against Thomas Robinson 

Former Kansas forward Thomas Robinson (my choice for ROY) waited just a little longer than any of us expected before he was selected fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings. Robinson who lost his mother and both grandparents in a matter of weeks has been an inspiration to so many people and tonight was his time in the sun. Robinson teams up with guard Tyreke Evans and center DeMarcus Cousins giving the Kings a very promising nucleus for the future.

The Cleveland Cavaliers drafted Philadelphia native Dion Waiters fourth overall and later traded to acquire center Tyler Zeller from the Dallas Mavericks.

The Houston Rockets gained a shooter in UConn sniper Jeremy Lamb, a banger in Terrance Jones out of Kentucky and a multi-faceted player in Royce White from Iowa. White is listed as a power forward, but has uncanny ball handling and distribution skills for a man his size.

Doc Rivers was unable to don the hat of his son’s new team, the New Orleans Hornets but his smile told the story as Austin Rivers joins Anthony Davis in the Crescent City.

Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse, UConn, Vanderbilt and Washington had multiple players drafted.

(Newsday)

The Philaldelphia 76ers used their 15th overall pick to select Maurice Harkless a 6’8″ freshman from St. John’s. In one season Harkless averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Sixers GM Rod Thorn gushed over the selection. “He (Harkless) was the top selection of the scouts and coaches. Everyone on our staff felt like he was the guy to take.” When asked if there was an opportunity for the 76ers to move up in the first round Thorn responded, “We had an opportunity to do several things, but we didn’t feel that strongly about moving up into the top ten for anyone other than Anthony Davis to trade what we would’ve had to trade to move up.” The Sixers would trade their 45th pick and a future first round pick to the Miami Heat for the rights to Arnett Moultrie a 6’11” power forward from Mississippi State, Moultrie was second in the SEC in scoring, averaging 16.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

I would find out after leaving the draft that the Sixers had a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that would have involved Andre Iguodala and Rudy Gay as the primary pieces.

The Celtics took Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Syracuse’s Fab Melo with picks 21 and 22. Sullinger was red-flagged two weeks ago because of a bad back and Fab Melo’s character issues have been a topic since the NCAA Tournament. In Boston, both players should be able to contribute early most notably, Melo who fits into the C’s defensive scheme nicely.

Another prospect whose stock plummeted, maybe  for the better was Baylor center Perry Jones III (son of Popeye Jones). News had spread about meniscus damage in one of Jones’ knees. A sure lottery pick, Jones was not selected until the 28th pick by the Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder. The silver lining is that Jones can be brought along at a nice pace and will benefit greatly playing alongside Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

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