04 April 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: 1st Edition

As we all know, the Kentucky Wildcats are champions of college basketball. And a big reason why were the two talented freshman forwards, Anthony Davis, the Most Outstanding Player of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Barring something completely unexpected, both are NBA bound and locks to be in the top five. So why not put up my first mock draft?

Walter Football has a great NBA draft database with many quality mocks stored there. I recommend it completely.

Going by records as they stand right now.

1. Charlotte Bobcats - Anthony Davis, PF/C, Kentucky
The Bobcats need help at every position, I mean, just watch them play! Man they are awful. If they manage to win the draft lottery, you know they would be drooling at the chance to draft Davis. Davis was six feet tall only a few years ago and while he has grown to be 6'10" he still moves around like a guard and has a pretty solid shot. He has been the best defensive player on the collegiate hoops scene in a long time as he only set the season record for blocks in a season. He is so long and once he fills into his body and puts on some more weight, watch out. He and Bismack Biyombo have the potential to be a great frontcourt in Charlotte.

2. Washington Wizards - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
This clearly would not be a pick for need as the Wizards have a logjam at the small forward position with Rashard Lewis still in D.C. and Chris Singleton being drafted by the team a year ago but MKG is just too good to pass up and would be a much needed "non-moron" on their club. If only Kidd-Gilchrist was strong with his three-point shot, he'd be a legitimate contender with Davis to be the top overall pick. The Jersey native is a natural leader and has great character, unlike pretty much everyone on the Wizards. He's a tremendous defender and can guard multiple positions, is very athletic, is a great rebounder and can get to the hoop with authority.

3. New Orleans Hornets - Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
The Hornets suffered a major loss in free agency when David West signed with the Indiana Pacers and they never really replaced him, even as Carl Landry is a solid player. Robinson has the tools you want out of an ideal power forward and he really carried the Jayhawks at times this season. He is athletic, can rebound really well down in the paint and has a very good inside/outside game, although he could use some more work on his jumper.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
The Cavaliers really need some help out on the wing to take some of  the scoring load off of Kyrie Irving. They have not gotten much production from the shooting guard position and taking Beal would make sense. Beal is supremely talented offensively. His jump shot is outstanding and he is very good at attacking the rim and finishing at the basket, despite his mediocre size for a shooting guard (6'4"). Beal is also solid defensively and is an underrated rebounder for someone of his size.

5. Toronto Raptors - Andre Drummond, C, UConn
The Raptors are pretty crappy right now on the court and they could go in many directions with this pick. In this scenario I have them taking the best player on the board and hope that Drummond taps into his immense potential and then move Andrea Bargnani to the four. Drummond has great size, strength and athleticism and is a game changer defensively in the paint but he is very raw, particularly on offense. He is not ready at all to play right away but the talent is there to be a star.

6. Sacramento Kings - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
J.J. Hickson was a bum after he arrived in the Omri Casspi trade which looked like a steal for the Kings but he ended up getting cut, leaving the Kings' frontcourt a little shallow and they should try to find a big guy to pair with DeMarcus Cousins. Sullinger is one of my favorite players because he just loves to get physical in the paint and he's very skilled on both sides of the court inside, especially on offense where he has got some really good post moves. The question I have with him, however, is that he is not particularly athletic.

7. Portland Trail Blazers (from New Jersey) - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Well this is fun. The Blazers traded Gerald Wallace to get this pick from New Jersey, which is top three protected (brilliant move by Billy King, eh?) and here I have them picking the guy who will fill Wallace's role. Barnes could have been the top pick in last year's draft, returned to school and had a really good year but sucked in the tournament. But his talent is too much to ignore here and has a complete package offensively as he has a great shot and is great at getting to the hoop. He also works hard and has quality character.

8. Detroit Pistons - Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
The Pistons could really use an infusion of offense at the four next to talented center Greg Monroe as Jason Maxiell and Ben Wallace provide zip in terms of offense and while Jonas Jerebko is a nice player, he's just that. Jones has tremendous talent who has a great inside/outside game and an NBA ready body with quality athleticism. He needs strong coaching though as he can be selfish at times and does disappear. Lawrence Frank makes sense and could get Jones to showcase his full potential.

9. Utah Jazz (from Golden State) - Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
The Jazz are loaded in the frontcourt but their backcourt is very shallow, even after the selection of Alec Burks in the draft a year ago. Burks has talent but adding some more pop to their backcourt makes a lot of sense. Lamb is tremendous shooting from the perimeter, which the Jazz struggle with, and he can also drive and attack the hoop. He needs to work on his defense and he can be streaky shooting.

10. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota) - Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse
The key piece in the haul the Hornets got for Chris Paul was obviously Eric Gordon but he is a restricted free agent this offseason who could very well leave, considering the fact the Hornets have strings on their budget due to being owned by the league. But even if Gordon stays in the Big Easy, Waiters still makes sense because he would give the club the scorer in bunches their bench lacks. Waiters is similar to Rodney Stuckey in that he's a combo guard due to his size but his scoring ability makes him a two.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
The Trail Blazers are actually in pretty decent shape for having their pick this high and with LaMarcus Aldridge firmly in place at the four, they can take a chance on a talent like Jones. Nobody will deny Jones's potential thanks to his incredible length and athleticism but he did not put it all together that often down in Waco. Jones needs to work on his all-around game and thus allowing him to sit and not get major minutes right away is a smart idea.

12. Milwaukee Bucks - Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
The Bucks made a great move in acquiring Monta Ellis and Epke Udoh in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson but the problem is that they have a hole at center and they have been trying to fill it with power forwards. And even when Bogut was in town, they needed a better backup plan because of how frequently injured he was. Zeller needs to get stronger so he doesn't get bullied inside and be more physical but he is pretty skilled for a seven footer.

13. Phoenix Suns - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
The Suns have been extremely fortunate to have a floor general like Steve Nash for the last eight years but he's as good as gone this offseason as he wants to win a championship. Now I think this is a little early for Marshall but he is, in my opinion, the top true point guard in this draft. His defense is average and he can't really do too much offensively but boy is he brilliant running the point. He has great vision and is a tremendous passer and most importantly for a point, he's unselfish. A good fit in the Suns' wide open attack as well.

14. Utah Jazz - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Devin Harris has been decent for the Jazz and arriving in the Deron Williams trade but he is not great either. Lillard would give them a heir apparent to Harris and give them some offense off the bench. He is not a true guard as he is more of a scorer first rather than the guy that went right before him. He is really good shooting from the outside who can shoot from far outside and is confident. Like Lamb, he would really help out the Jazz with three point shooting.

15. Houston Rockets (from New York) - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
You know if David Stern had not interfered with the original Chris Paul trade, Nene would probably be a Rocket right now. Now the team has no long term answer at center and they need to draft someone to help fill the Yao void. Leonard has great size, athleticism and length and can shot block very well but he is also very raw. He is said to have a lot of potential but needs a quality big man coach to help him develop his game. Kevin McHale, therefore, makes sense.

16. New Jersey Nets (from Houston) - John Henson, PF, North Carolina
The Nets are just a fiasco. Deron Williams is very unlikely to re-sign and Gerald Wallace, who they traded their first round pick, top three protected, for and he could leave as well. Add in the fact that Kris Humphries, who is on a one year contract, could leave as well so the Nets are in a rough spot so they should take the best player on the board. Henson should probably return to school because he really needs to grow physically as he is very light. He is a tremendous athlete and a gifted shot blocker but he needs work on his offensive game.

17. Denver Nuggets - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
The Nuggets are pretty deep and are set at most positions. You can never have too many big men though and so I think they would take Moultrie here. Moultrie is big and athletic and was a consistent double-double threat in Starkville and showed a great ability on the boards, especially on the offensive boards which is very important. He also has a solid offensive game in the paint but not very much range. If he can develop some range on his jump shot, he'll be very good.

18. Philadelphia 76ers - Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
Spencer Hawes is a free agent so the 76ers would love to add a big man via the draft but at this point there really aren't any big men worthy of this spot in this mock. So in this scenario I think they further strengthen their backcourt depth. Wroten is a big point guard who is athletic and sees the floor pretty well and his strength is slashing to the basket. The Sixers have plenty of guard depth so they can let him develop.

19. Houston Rockets (from Dallas via Lakers) - Royce White, F, Iowa State
The Rockets should look to add another big man as their frontcourt is pretty shallow. White does have some character questions regarding his arrest when he was a freshman at Minnesota but he is a talent. He is an undersized four but he is very physical in the paint due to his strength and he's a very good rebounder. He has no perimeter game nor much of a shot but he handles the ball very well does have a good low post game and is a quality passer. I really like him.

20. Atlanta Hawks - Austin Rivers, G, Duke
The Hawks have a crappy bench and don't have very much depth in their backcourt plus they only have six players under contract next season. Taking a talent like Rivers, who is coming out too early, makes sense considering he won't be pressed into major minutes right away. Rivers is small for a two but his play makes him better suited to be a shooting guard. His offensive game is so good, he can shoot from the parking lot and he can get to the rim really well. He's got cojones to take the last shot as well. Still think he is coming out too early though and another year of college would help him a lot.

21. Memphis Grizzlies - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
O.J. Mayo is a restricted free agent and Tony Allen is a free agent and with the Grizzlies paying a ton of cash to Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay, both will probably go so finding a two makes a lot of sense. Ross is a very good three point shooter and is also athletic with quality length. His size is ideal for that of a shooting guard and he can post up smaller guys plus he can block shots somewhat. He has a very well rounded game that Lionel Hollins would enjoy.

22. Boston Celtics - Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
The Celtics need depth pretty much everywhere and they could really use some youth on the wings, particularly since Ray Allen is a free agent. Harkless is very athletic and versatile who can attack the hoop very well and slash. He has a very good jump shot, even as his three point shot is inconsistent. What I love about Harkless is that he is very active on defense as well as being aggressive fighting for rebounds, both of which Doc Rivers would appreciate greatly.

23. Orlando Magic - Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
It seems that next year may be the last season for Jameer Nelson running the point in Orlando. So drafting the young and talented Teague and let him learn from Nelson and spend a year developing would be wise. Teague is very talented who could very well go higher. He is strong and well-sized to run the point. His strengths appear to be putting the ball in the basket but he has the skills to distribute well. He just needs to play consistent defense and show his competitiveness.

24. Boston Celtics (from Clippers via Oklahoma City) - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Celtics, like I said, really need to build their depth and their big men are getting older quickly, save for Brandon Bass. Fortunately they are set for now so they would not need that much from Melo right away as he is very raw. Melo showed a lot of improvement in his sophomore season in Syracuse but he is still really raw offensively. He can block shots and rebound very well naturally because of his size but that's the same story for many stiffs, for example DaSagana Diop and Hasheem Thabeet. He needs to show an offensive game to stick.

25. Indiana Pacers - Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
The Pacers like what they are getting from Leandro Barbosa off the bench but he is a free agent in the offseason. Lamb is a natural shooting guard but his size is a little small for a shooting guard, somewhat similar to Barbosa. Lamb has a great shot from the perimeter and he is very efficient with his shooting. He can't create though and he will struggle defending twos. Having him in the Barbosa role utilizes his talents in the best way, in my opinion.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers) - Jeffrey Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
The Cavaliers are weak on the wing, like I said earlier, and if they go shooting guard with their first pick, going small forward here makes a lot of sense. Taylor does not have a great jumper but his true strength is getting to the basket and finishing and he is great in transition, something Kyrie Irving would enjoy. He also is a very good passer who is a very good defender who can be a great one.

27. Golden State Warriors (from San Antonio) - Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
I fell in love with this Canadian watching him dominate the Atlantic 10 and leading the Bonnies to the tournament and a near upset of Florida State in the first round. He is a great scorer and can shoot the three pointer. He also is versatile and can play both forward positions. His rebounding and shot blocking skills would really come in handy and would effectively fill the role of Epke Udoh, who was traded to Milwaukee, and he'll give David Lee more rest.

28. Miami Heat - Draymond Green, F, Michigan State
This pick just makes too much sense in my opinion. The Heat will always struggle for depth due to the money that is tied up in LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and Green is the kind of guy every team wants on their bench. Green does nothing great but everything pretty well, a jack of all trades if you will, and most importantly he is a winner, as he proved during his time in East Lansing.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
What makes Ezeli interesting is that for a African big man, he really is not that raw as you would think because he stayed all four years at Vandy (what a concept) although he does have room to grow his game. He has great size and is a pretty solid defender down low, which is pretty much all the Thunder would ask for him as their reserve center behind Kendrick Perkins. He has a decent low post game as well but he really needs to work on his rebounding, which leaves something to be desired.

30. Chicago Bulls - John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
The Bulls are in pretty good shape with their roster but Jenkins would definitely fill a role on this club as the best player on the board, in my opinion. He is a terrific shooter from the perimeter as his ability to catch and shoot is very impressive. Unlike Kyle Korver, who fills the role of shooter very well for the Bulls, Jenkins has the potential of an all around game offensively if he works on his slashing abilities and he also is a pretty solid defender as well.


  1. stopped reading after the raptors pick...they have last years lottery pick Jonas Valanciunas coming over to play Center..theres no way they would waste back to back lottery picks on the same position,,David Kahn isn't their GM

  2. Fab Melo the Best Center!!! Brazil Huertas, Leandrinho, Marquinhos, Nenê e Varejão!

  3. as a cavs fan i like these picks, however can you breakdown why beal would be better than barnes, or do you feel with the pick at 22 there's better options at the 3 position and with the emergence of gee this year the 2 position is a greater need?