June 28, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; Terrence Ross (Washington), right, is introduced as the number eight overall pick to the Toronto Raptors by NBA commissioner David Stern during the 2012 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
It was a huge down year for Pac-12 basketball, and they still managed three first round draft picks. You have to think that the potential for next year's class has to be limitless!
Terrence Ross of the Washington Huskies got picked eighth overall by the Toronto Raptors that'll help fill some huge needs at small forward. He figures to be part of the youth movement that the Raptors will try to use to lure over Steve Nash in free agency. Ross was arguably one of the most complete prospects in the draft, particularly since he fits the profile of a modern small forward (and all the buzz leading up to this week seemed to match that). Ross's profile seemed to suffer because of the team he was on, but he appears to have recovered nicely.
Jared Cunningham of the Oregon State Beavers got picked next. It seems safe to stop questioning Cunningham's decision to turn pro early. Cunningham is headed to the Dallas Mavericks, where he could very well be slotted to be the next two guard if Dallas loses Delonte West and Jason Terry to free agency. Cunningham and Rodrigue Beaubois could be part of the next generation of Dallas combo guards, and Cunningham's athleticism could come in handy for a Mavericks team that's relied mostly on experience and skill.
One pick later, Ross's teammate Tony Wroten was picked 25th by the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis struggled to move the basketball when Mike Conley was off the floor last year, and Wroten figures to be a development project. Wroten is a long-term player, but he could definitely spell Conley as a backup point for a few minutes here and there until his game is fully developed.
Each of these players seems to fulfill a particular need for each team. Ross could be a potential starter down the line, and Wroten and Cunningham could start off as bench contributors until they fully develop into the players they're capable of coming.
The Pac-12 has to be happy with this result after a dismal season, and it could give them some players to promote going into next season.