June 26, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft

    The Miami Heat were able to win their first championship with the "Big 3," and now the NBA shifts its attention to the NBA Draft.

1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

Anthony Davis
    If the Hornets do not make Davis this selection, it would be a very big surprise. Davis is a dominant defensive player and blocks shots. Many think he will be the next star, and while I would not be surprised to see that happen, I don't think he will pan out to what people are expecting. He will have a place in this league, but I think he could end up being more of a Marcus Camby (a solid starter) as opposed to a star. But I could easily be wrong.

    With Chris Kaman and Carl Landry becoming free agents, and the Hornets dealing Emeka Okafor to Washington, and Davis being one of few players with good potential in this draft class, this pick makes too much sense not to happen.

2. Charlotte Bobcats - Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

Thomas Robinson
    The Bobcats finished with the worst record in NBA history last season (7-59), and to make matters worse, did not get the #1 pick in the draft. On top of that, after Davis, there is no one available in this weak draft to build your franchise around. The most logical choice is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but he is a defensive player and is not a franchise centerpiece.

    Next is Thomas Robinson, who is a bit undersized but is physical and can start from day one. He has impressed at workouts, and seems to be best fit in this case. Could develop into a solid starter and maybe even more.

 EDIT: This pick is looking like it could be traded to Cavs any minute, so stay tuned. Cavs would most likely take Bradley Beal here. In turn, the Wizards would take Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bobcats still take Robinson at #4. Kings take Harrison Barnes at #5. Team acquired Ben Gordan from Pistons on Tuesday, so the chances of taking Bradley Beal if they stay here is next to non. If they do stay, all signs point to Thomas Robinson.

3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

    The Wizards have their future at PG in John Wall, and filled their hole at C by acquiring Okafor from the Hornets. Rashard Lewis was traded to the Hornets as well for a small upgrade in Trevor Ariza, and Nene will be the PF. This leaves SG as the only question mark, and the Wizards can grab one here.

    Enter Bradley Beal, the best shooter in this draft. Jordan Crawford is still there but is better suited as 6th man. The Wizards have a decent roster, if they draft Beal. The only question is depth. After Crawford, the team takes a dip in talent. 

    But this starting 5 will put up a lot of points, and I would not be surprised to see them grab the seven or eight seed in the playoffs. Picking up some solid role players would be nice, and they appear to be on their way back to the playoffs.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

Harrison Barnes
    Last year, the Cavs said Barnes would have been their pick at #4 if he entered the draft. But due to uncertainty over the lockout, he stayed for another season. Luckily Barnes will be available here, and the Cavs can draft him.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is also a good player, and both would make sense here. Cleveland needs offense over defense right now, so Barnes makes the most sense. Also the Cavs have been so high on Barnes for so long.

5. Sacramento Kings - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

    The Kings have the scoring, but they need to play defense. If Kidd-Gilchrist falls here, the Kings would get the defensive-minded SF they need. He is known for his intensity and bringing the best out of his teammates too. A good fit for almost any team.

6. Portland Trail Blazers - Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
From Nets

    Waiters is a player whos stock has risen the most this draft and draws comparisons to Dwayne Wade. The Blazers need a center, but Andre Drummond is too much of a question mark. Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall would be an option here at point. 

    But Waiters's ceiling is so high that taking a SG here makes the most sense. They can get other needs at pick #11 too.

7. Golden State Warriors - John Henson, PF, North Carolina

    The Warriors have many options here, but in this case taking a shot blocker in Henson would make most  the sense. Henson is skinny for a PF but would be a solid force with Andrew Bogut in the post. He would be an upgrade over David Lee too.

8. Toronto Raptors - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

    Toronto needs a scoring threat with DeMar DeRozan, and if Lillard falls here he would be great for them. He can play point or  shooting guard, and he can score. Jeremy Lamb is also likely here if they keep the pick, but Lillard is a smarter pick.

Damian LIllard

9. Detroit Pistons - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi St.

    The Pistons really need a shot blocker who can play at the 4 spot, and Moultrie can be that guy. He has great potential. But if Detroit isn't scared of Jared Sullinger's back problems, he would be a better selection.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Andre Drummond, C, UConn
From Timberwolves

      Drummond is a top 5 talent but could use a lot of work. If he does not go to the Blazers or Kings at five or six, he could drop. The Hornets have talked about trading this pick and a veteran team who could use a future center could trade up for him.

     If not, the Hornets have options. A PG in Kendall Marshall is not out of the question, but Chris Kaman might not be back so grabbing Drummond to possibly pair up with Davis could create a strong frontcourt in the future.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - Perry Jones III, SF, Baylor

    Perry Jones has some big question marks with what position he will ultimately play, and his character. But talent-wise, he is lottery-worthy. The Blazers could use a guy who could play any of the 2, 3, or 4 spots, and could be a huge reward.

Tyler Zeller
12. Milwaukee Bucks - Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

    After the Bucks traded Andrew Bogut at the deadline last season, they have had a huge gap at center. The best option here is Zeller, who can fill in as an average starter. Getting a good FA as well would be a good thing for Milwaukee, as he could mentor Zeller.

EDIT: This pick was traded to Rockets, and the Bucks aquired the 14th pick, and Samuel Dalembert. With this pick, Rockets could take Zeller or Leonard, but are most likely going to trade it to move up yet again.

13. Phoenix Suns - Austin Rivers, PG, Duke

    The Suns's backcourt is weak, and Steve Nash could very well be gone before the season starts. Son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers can play point or guard, and also is a phenomenal scorer. Best player for Suns at this spot.

14. Houston Rockets - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

    Marcus Camby is a free agent, and with probably not falling past the Sixers at #15, the Rockets will take him here. Like Zeller, Leonard won't ever be great, but if a veteran is brought in to teach him, he could benefit greatly.

EDIT: This pick was traded to Bucks, who will most likely keep it. After a acquiring a center, getting a wing like Jeremy Lamb, who the Bucks have said they like, makes most sense. Don't expect them to take a center anymore.

Jared Sullinger
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
     The 76ers need a big man, and Sullinger is a top 10 talent. But huge red flags are popping up all because of his back. Some are saying he could fall all the way to the second round, and he was not invited to the NBA draft. I don't think he will fall nearly that far, and the Sixers will get a steal here.

16. Houston Rockets - Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
From Knicks

    Jeremy Lamb probably won't fall this far, but if he does, it shouldn't be much farther than this. He is the second best shooter in this draft after Beal, but character concerns have caused him to fall on some boards.

17. Dallas Mavericks - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

    Jason Kidd is almost done with his career, and after him, there is hardly anyone at point. Marshall could be a very good player in the future and is more talented then the #17 slot. If the Mavs don't acquire Deron Williams, Marshall will be the starter when Kidd hangs it up.

18. Houston Rockets - Moe Harkless, SF, St. Johns
From Timberwolves

     After acquiring this pick from the Timberwolves late Monday night for Chase Budinger, the Rockets will probably take either a point guard or SF. Harkless is an underrated player with good upside, almost like Budinger who they just shipped off.

19. Orlando Magic - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

    The biggest question is if Dwight Howard will be back next season. Getting star players around him is the only way, and while some say the Magic should go after one here, Howard won't be influenced to stay by a rookie selected after the lottery. The Magic need to grab the best center available which would be Fab Melo, a possible replacement for Howard.

20. Denver Nuggets - Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky 

    Andre Miller can still play, but he is a free agent. Even if Miller comes back, adding some depth behind him would be good. Tony Wroten Jr. also is a possibility here, but Teague can play from the start and does not need work like Wroten. It could go either way though.

21. Boston Celtics - Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky

     As we draw a close to the Celtics big 3, it's time to build around Rajon Rondo. This isn't the best place to start off the rebuilding process, but Jones has good upside and can contribute from day one. If Kevin Garrnett leaves, they won't miss him for too long with Jones stepping in.

22. Boston Celtics - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
From Clippers
Terrence Ross

    With Boston's second first round pick, they will just take the best player available as they need help everywhere but at point. Ross has the talent to go higher, but one of the guards projected to go late in the lottery will fall to around here, and the Celtics will take him.

    Either way, the Celtics get a good player here who can score - a good replacement for Ray Allen.

23. Atlanta Hawks - Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington

    The Hawks need depth, and with Wroten, they can get a back-up point guard and one who can start in a year or two. Wroten's potential is one of the highest in the draft, and given some time to develop, he can become a star. The passing is outstanding, but shooting is very bad. Either way, given some time, Wroten can be a star.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers - John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt 
From Lakers

     It's unlikely the Cavs keep this pick and could very well be used in a trade to move up from the #4 spot. If not, they will take a pure scorer at wing. Though a center is a possibility, no centers available are worthy of this pick.

    Jenkins is a great scorer and can come off the bench for some points. Will Barton would make sense here too.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - Royce White, SF, Iowa State

    Don't be surprised if White is gone by this point, but if not, he won't slide past Memphis. Quincy Miller, Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor, or a guard in Will Barton or Doron Lamb could be taken here as well.

     The biggest need for Memphis is depth. Lots of it. After the starting 5, aside from Tony Allen, they are incredibly thin off the bench. The best player available at the 3 or 4 should be taken here, and there should be a lot available at this point in the draft.

26. Indiana Pacers - Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State

    If Green had more talent, he would be a top 5 pick. No one in this class is as NBA ready as he is. He is a great teammate with 4 years of experience. He is tough and has high intelligence. But talent wise, he will never be more then a role player who can spot-start. That should be enough for a team who is ready to win now and just needs depth and players who can boost team chemistry.

     The Pacers are a team like this, and would be a great match for Green. Still, at this point in the draft when many SF's should go, there are numerous possibilities.

Draymond Green

27. Miami Heat - Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

    Miller has great potential, and talent wise is a lottery pick. But he has perhaps the biggest character concerns that should make him fall this far. A team like the Heat who needs quality backups, and with good strong leadership, would help Miller. And he gets to learn behind LeBron.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Evan Fournier, SG, France

    The Thunder, being so young, don't really need young guys to come in right now. They need veterans. Fournier will stay in France for a couple more seasons, which the Thunder can afford to have happen right now. He is one of the top European players right now. When he does come over, he can contribute right away.

29. Chicago Bulls - Will Barton, SG, Memphis

    Derrick Rose could miss a lot of games next season, but aside from Tyshawn Taylor, no point guards really could do much at this point in the draft. Taylor probably couldn't either. The other need for Chicago is a shooter, which Rip Hamilton did not fulfill last season.

    Barton has emerged as a good prospect, and while the Bulls will look for a veteran (Ray Allen?) to be a 3-point specialist, drafting one is a good idea too.

30. Golden State Warriors - Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
From Spurs

    Finding someone who can fill in for the hole left by Monta Ellis, but not take touches away from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, is a need for Golden State. Lamb is a good shooter but needs to improve on other things.

     A project, but Lamb can come in off the bench this season and put up some decent points. If he develops properly, he could take over someday at SG and Thompson could move to SF.

Second Round Picks who Could Suprise

Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

    Probably won't fall into round 2, but won't go as high as some think. Has average potential but has some work to do. 
    Kings (#36), Raptors (#37), or Trail Blazers (#40 and 41) are possible spots.

Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

    At least one of the forwards at end of round 1 will fall into round 2. Taylor has skills to play in the NBA and is a good value pick in round 2. Should be one of first off the board.
    Bobcats (#31), Wizards (#32), or Warriors (#35) are possible teams.

Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

    He won't ever develop into star, but can be a good backup for any team. Should go early to mid-second round.
    Possible spots are: Trail Blazers (#40 or 41), Bucks (#42), or 76ers (#45)

Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas

    Taylor is a good prospect and could develop into a solid player. But for now, he is raw. A good value in second round, a team will take him who needs depth at point.
    Raptors (#37), Nuggets (#38) or Trail Blazers (#40 or #41) would make sense.

William Buford, SG, Ohio State

    After Bradley Beal, the best 3-point specialists are at the end of the first round. They are Doron Lamb, John Jenkins, Jared Cunningham out of Oregon State, and Buford. Buford struggled at workouts, and will be taken somewhere near end of 2nd round, if at all. But he can play in this league and will be picked up. 
    Trail Blazers (#40 and 41), 76ers ( #45 and #54), or Timberwolves (#58) are some spots.

Tu Holloway, SG, Xavier

    Holloway has the potential, but needs to touch up on his skills. He will most likely go undrafted, but latching on with a D-League team to get noticed would help.
    If he does hear his name called, it could be by Mavericks (#55), Timberwolves (#58), or Lakers #60).

Casper Ware, PG, Long Beach State

    Could be the best player you have never heard of behind Damian Lillard, Ware has been great while flying under the radar. While seeing him play this year in the NCAA tournament, he was clearly the best player on the court, making smart passes and being able to find a way to the rim every time. 
    Possible teams are Raptors (#56), Nets (#57), or Spurs (#59).

Casper Ware

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