Replacing The Top Picks

       Few teams can reload after losing multiple or even just one NBA Draft pick, but let's take a look at some schools' efforts to replace losing a star or two.

Kentucky Wildcats

Who They Lost: Anthony Davis (1), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2), Terrence Jones (18), Marquis Teague (29), Doron Lamb (42), Darius Miller (46)

Draft Impact: Anthony Davis was seen as a once-in-a-generation-type player with a very-high floor, generating comparisons to Tim Duncan, Bill Russell and Kevin Garnett throughout the Draft process. With his size, length and athleticism, Davis matured as a player as the season went on, especially offensively, but defensively, he could affect the game in so many ways. Ditto for Kidd-Gilchrist- his effort, energy and hustle were undeniable. Terrence Jones had star-studded potential in college with a unique combination of size and skill, but took a back-seat as a role player in his sophomore season and the same could be said about versatile senior contributor Darius Miller. In the backcourt, Doron Lamb largely flew under the radar, but was a crucial piece given his ability to play either guard spot and light it up from the perimeter. Teague's speed was his biggest asset, but he inconsistently utilized it.

Replacement Plan: Although Kentucky's roster was devastated the most by the Draft, they also have arguably the most NBA talent coming onto the roster with shot-blocking, athletic 5-man, Nerlens Noel. Wings Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress aren't as energy-expanding as Kidd-Gilchrist or efficient-shooting as Doron Lamb, but both are talented, aggressive scorers. On the current roster, Kyle Wiltjer, who sparingly played last season, is a skilled face-up 4 with a good perimeter handle. At the point, former NC State transfer Ryan Harrow will take over for Teague. His speed and quickness should be utilized in a better manner.

North Carolina

Who They Lost: Harrison Barnes (7), Kendall Marshall (13), John Henson (14), Tyler Zeller (17)

Draft Impact: Between the four, that's 55 points, 27 rebounds, 12.2 assists and 5 blocks per game that Roy Williams must replace. Although replacing three all-league players in the frontcourt will be extremely difficult, Marshall was the engine that made this team go. His impact on the game was immediately noticed when he missed the final two games of the NCAA Tournament as UNC's offense looked stagnant, as the team nearly dropped one to Ohio before eventually losing to Kansas.

Replacement Plan: North Carolina isn't was not as high on talent as the national champion Wildcats obviously since UK won the title (and the head-to-head), but if the Tar Heels had Marshall for the full NCAA Tournament, we would have likely seen a rematch, this time on a neutral floor. James Michael McAdoo will bring some serious energy and strength to the frontcourt to help replace lots of the production left behind by Henson and Zeller, but he neither has their size nor length to affect the defensive end of the floor as much. Lanky sophomore Desmond Hubert could be that surprise performer to help shore up the starting lineup. In the backcourt, the overall talent should be better given the health of the guards from Dexter Strickland to Leslie McDonald who will be joined by perimeter snipers PJ Hairston and Reggie Bullock, both potential first-round picks in the future.

Syracuse Orange

Who They Lost: Dion Waiters (4), Fab Melo (22), Kris Joseph (51)

Draft Impact: In addition to the previously three-named, Scoop Jardine graduated leaving with Syracuse with some serious production gaps. Even though Waiters came off the bench, he was 'Cuse's best player, averaging 12.6 points and 1.8 steals in just 24 minutes of action. He's a dynamic scorer with range an attacking mentality. Although Syracuse played without Melo last season for short stretches, they were a much different team without him on the floor. His shot-blocking and interior paint play with be missed in the worst way.

Replacement Plan: Don't underestimate the Orange- they return CJ Fair at small forward, who with his size and athleticism, if he can strengthen his perimeter play, should be a first-round pick. Their backcourt is again very good with Brandon Triche still at the point and future-pro Michael Carter-Williams moving into the starting 2-guard role. In the frontcourt, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita bring a high-level of athleticism, but didn't offer much production or minutes last season. A much bigger role from both is expected, but if not, burly incoming freshman, DaJuan Coleman, should be in the mix.

Kansas Jayhawks

Who They Lost: Thomas Robinson (5), Tyshawn Taylor (41)

Draft Impact: Less than a handful of players were in the same conversation as Thomas Robinson in terms of production last season, where perhaps only top-overall pick, Anthony Davis, edged him out. Robinson was an absolute beast in energy, leading him to post tremendous rebounding rates on both ends of the floor. Although Tyshawn Taylor struggled with his decision-making (turnovers, poor shot-selection), his quickness, length and athleticism brought good overall production no matter how inconsistent he was.

Replacement Plan: Kansas still has quite a few options in Lawrence, so let's not count out the Jayhawks for their umpteenth Big 12 Title just yet. Bill Self is hoping Jeff Withey continues to develop as a true-center after making a spectacular leap in his first season in Kansas. He is a shot-blocking extraordinaire, but without Robinson, he will need to be more aggressive on the glass and scoring in the post. Elijah Johnson will handle the reigns of the team, taking over full-time for Taylor, something he is fully capable of doing. Ineligible as a freshman, expect Ben McLemore to put up points and enter the Draft conversation as a late-first, second-round prospect.

Florida Gators

Who They Lost: Bradley Beal (3)

Draft Impact: Beal really turned it on late, helping Florida advance to their second-straight Elite Eight last season. His perimeter shooting and rebounding from the wing position will be missed.

Replacement Plan: Mike Rosario will jump into Beal's starting spot left behind and offer the same perimeter skills, but less production on the glass. And Kenny Boynton, a 14 point per game scorer the past three seasons, should be better as a senior without ball-dominant Erving Walker in the backcourt. But, for the third straight season, that depends if Boynton wants to be more aggressive attacking the basket or if he wants to float on the perimeter.

The key to the Gators' team success will be their frontcourt. Will this be the year that Patric Young finally lives up to his lofty expectations and utilize his physical brutality or will he continue to live in the shadow of Erik Murphy, the more productive starter.

By Staff Writer - 7-5-12