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The Fizz Gets Graded: Looking Back On Syracuse’s NBA Draft Predictions

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The 2012 NBA Draft was arguably the best in Syracuse history, with a top 5 pick, two first-rounders, and three Orange selected overall. It’s fitting one of the best seasons in school annals would produce one of the¬†finest draft classes as well.¬†The Fizz predicted where each of SU‚Äôs stars would land. So how close did we come?

  • Dion Waiters,¬†Cleveland Cavaliers, 1st¬†Round, Pick #4¬†
  • Fizz Prediction: Portland Blazers, 1st Round, Pick #11

A very bold move by the Cavs. This was our biggest miss,¬†The Fizz was seven picks late on Dion. Portland settled for backcourt help in Weber State’s PG Damian Lillard with the 6th¬†slot. Waiters‚Äô draft stock had been climbing for quite some time, but few expected him to go in the top 5. In many mock drafts he was projected to go in the 10-15 range, but¬†his value skyrocketed even though he shut down his workouts.

Portland (#6, #11), Toronto (#8), and Phoenix (#13) were the legitimate landing spots for Dion, but Cleveland obviously views him as a potential star. His talent was never the question, but in such a deep draft, and based on needs alone, the Cavs are a bit of surprise.

He will play next to Rookie of the Year and former college standout Kyrie Irving. This pick establishes the Cleveland back court, with Irving running the point, and Dion on the wing. Waiters will join North Carolina C Tyler Zeller in Cleveland after the big man was traded from Dallas for multiple picks.There are some question marks though. How will DW5 get enough touches? He was often the one carrying the ball up the floor for SU, and attacking the basket is one if his major strengths. Plus, how soon will he start? He came off the bench every game of his Syracuse career. Dion instantly makes the Cavs better talent-wise, but logistically it may take some time for him to completely be comfortable. CLE is getting a natural scorer with a lot of confidence, and arguably the most NBA-ready player in the draft.
  • Fab Melo, Boston Celtics, 1st Round, Pick #22
  • Prediction: Boston Celtics, 1st Round, Pick #22

Nailed it. We have to hand it to DA on this one, he saw Melo in green a week before the draft. (He also predicted the C’s would take Jared Sullinger with the other first rounder.) This is easily a great fit and situation for Fab. Given the team‚Äôs need of a center, the Celtics are getting a true 7-footer with agility. He can block shots and grab 7-8 rebounds a game with the right adjustments. Doc Rivers even admitted it after the selection ‚Äúwe needed size.‚Äù Boston gets all 255 pounds of Fab, as well as¬†Ohio St.‚Äôs Jared Sullinger¬†with the 21st¬†overall selection to help on the glass.

Melo has the opportunity to join an established franchise and be mentored by some of the league‚Äôs best. A championship head coach in that of Doc, who has developed a star PG in Rajon Rondo, and his son Austin, who went at #10 to the New Orleans Hornets. This is also where Kevin Garnett‚Äôs return to Boston could be critical. With the right coaching and attitude, Fab should be in good hands and is exactly what the C’s have been missing since dealing Kendrick Perkins to OKC.

There are always some red flags with Melo. Given his questionable work ethic, how can the Celtics not be concerned? He displayed immaturity with his poor academics in the middle of a what was an undefeated season at the time, and then missed the NCAA tournament for possibly failing a drug test. But again, he is in good hands with the Boston organization. Fab had two years in a winning culture after playing under Jim Boeheim, and he could be essential in revamping a Celtics roster that is transitioning.

  • Kris Joseph, Boston Celtics, 2nd Round, Pick #51
  • Prediction: ¬†Detroit Pistons, 2nd Round, Pick #44

Another Orange wearing green, as now K-Jo and Fab join Chandler Jones in the New England area. Newest Patriot Jones didn’t hesitate to welcome his former classmates to Beantown on Twitter. Not exactly where we thought K-Jo would land. Like Dion, The Fizz was seven selections off Рbut this time we were early. Not bad for throwing darts in the 2nd round, since the late selections are really on an equal playing field.

K-Jo could also rep Celtic green awfully well. He may not make an immediate impact, but he will be playing behind a sure Hall of Famer in Paul Pierce. The two have very similar statures and playing styles. Pierce is a grinding scorer, who may not do it the most fluidly, but finds ways to get the ball in the basket. Joseph knows how to score, as well as knock down the 3 in the corner. It can hurt him sometimes though. We saw Kris disappear in the tournament in March, and he can get very tentative by hanging on the perimeter. Playing behind Pierce would undoubtedly help him become more confident in his driving ability and a solid role player in the NBA.

Overall Fizz Grade: B. Nailed one, within 7 picks of the other two. 

Posted: Brendan Glasheen

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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