12 May 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Edition

As you would expect, this will be an NBA draft dominated by the stars from the national champions, John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats. As the NBA Playoffs are moving onwards towards the conference semifinals, the teams that missed the show are awaiting the NBA Draft Lottery, which is scheduled for May 30th. Thus, here is my pre-draft lottery mock draft.

Check out the mock database at WalterFootball for even more mocks

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. 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.

4. 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. Plus, Landry is a free agent and the current power forwards under contract are Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon, neither of whom should start. 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.

5. Sacramento Kings - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
I could really see Sacramento going in a few different directions with this pick and I narrowed the possible choices down to Andre Drummond and Harrison Barnes. The Kings really did not get very much production at the three in 2011-12, with the top contributor being Terrence Williams, who is nothing special. 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.

6. Portland Trail Blazers - Andre Drummond, PF/C, Connecticut
This is the pick the Blazers received in the trade made with Brooklyn for Gerald Wallace. Greg Oden was never able to stay healthy and with the club trading Marcus Camby to the Rockets, Portland needs another talented big guy down low to team up with LaMarcus Aldridge. 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.

7. Golden State Warriors - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
The Warriors as usual suck defensively, especially so after they traded young big man Epke Udoh to Milwaukee as part of the Monta Ellis trade. The Warriors are pretty soft up front as David Lee doesn't play defense and Andrew Bogut has injury troubles so I think they will use this selection for some depth and toughness inside. 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.

8. Toronto Raptors - Damion Lillard, PG, Weber State
Really think that the Raptors are hoping that Barnes falls to them due to their big need at small forward so in the scenario of this mock, I think Toronto will fill their other big need at point guard and reach for Lillard. He is not a true guard as he is more of a scorer first rather, the prototypical combo guard, if you will. He is really good shooting from the outside who can shoot from far outside and is confident. Toronto was 19th in three point percentage so Lillard should help improve their shooting right away.

9. 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 to coach him and could get Jones to showcase his full potential.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
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, Lamb still makes sense because he would give the club the scorer in bunches their bench lacks. Lamb is tremendous shooting from the perimeter, which the Hornets are not very good at (22nd in the league), and he can also drive and attack the hoop. He needs to work on his defense and he can be streaky shooting.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Portland should look to find a point guard in this draft, even after they used their first round selection a year ago on Nolan Smith, who really did not play much. Ray Felton is 28 but he didn't have a great year in 2011-12 plus he is also a free agent. 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.

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 - Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse
The Suns scored a ton of points, as usual, last season but they did not get great play from the two guard spot. Plus most of their wingmen are free agents this offseason, leaving only Jared Dudley and Josh Childress under contract at the wing. 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. He can play point guard if necessary to help fill the void left by Steve Nash.

14. Houston Rockets - 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. Rockets coach Kevin McHale, therefore, is a good fit to help develop Leonard.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - John Henson, PF/C, North Carolina
Spencer Hawes has developed into a solid center for the Sixers but he is a free agent and with the dearth of quality centers league wide, he could get a big offer somewhere else, meaning Philly should try to land a big man in this draft. 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, particularly as the 76ers are not that great offensively as is.

16. Houston Rockets - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
The Rockets should look to add another big man as their frontcourt is pretty shallow, even after the mock selection of Leonard. 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.

17. Dallas Mavericks - Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
You really could never have too many big men in this league and I think that Mark Cuban and co. would take a risk on one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the draft in 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.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Minnesota was extremely exciting to watch early in the season as Kevin Love was playing great and Ricky Rubio was brilliant running the point, until he got injured and was lost for the season. But they took a major step forward and they need to address the hole at shooting guard, as neither Wayne Ellington nor Martell Webster are really any good, plus could use another potent threeballer. 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.

19. Orlando Magic - Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
The Magic really need to build up the supporting cast to keep Dwight Howard happy to convince to stay long-term in Central Florida. One way they can do that is to take a point guard and groom him behind Jameer Nelson, who is due to be a free agent after next season. Wroten is a big point guard who is athletic and sees the floor pretty well and his strength is slashing to the basket. If he works on his outside shot and his decision making, he can develop into the best point guard in this class.

20. Denver Nuggets - Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
Denver has themselves a pretty deep team but one that does have some injury woes. They should look to add some depth at the wings and a capable backup for Danilo Gallinari. 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.

21. Boston Celtics - Royce White, F, Iowa State
Kevin Garnett may be ageless, but even he will not be around for ever. Fortunately the team swung a brilliant deal for Brendon Bass in exchange for Glen Davis but they could still use some depth up front. 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.

22. Boston Celtics - Austin Rivers, G, Duke
Does anybody think that if Austin Rivers was on the board when the Celtics are selecting that they wouldn't take Doc Rivers' kid? The Celtics really need a scorer off the bench and thus 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.

23. Atlanta Hawks - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Hawks only have six players under contract for next season and their bench really was not that good in 2011-12 so they'll look to take the best player on the board. The Hawks' lack of depth in their frontcourt was particularly notable when Al Horford was out for injury, especially during the playoffs. 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.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers - 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 a lot. He also is a very good passer who is a very good defender who can be a great one.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
The Grizzlies do not have a lot of needs on their roster thanks to some shrewd moves by their front office but they could use more depth, particularly at the point as they don't have much behind Mike Conley. 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.

26. 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.

27. 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.

28. 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.

29. Chicago Bulls - Will Barton, SG, Memphis
The Bulls are in pretty good shape with their roster but Barton would definitely fill a role on this club. Chicago has gone with a mish-mash at shooting guard over the last couple of years with a strong defender Ronnie Brewer and the shooter Kyle Korver, particularly after Rip Hamilton was injured for much of this season. Barton would make for a good fit with his slashing scoring abilities. He's very athletic, scores really well particularly in driving to the basket and is a pretty good defender as well.

30. Golden State Warriors - 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 help effectively fill the role of Epke Udoh, even after selecting Sullinger earlier.

1 comment:

  1. Where is Quincy Miller, the is zero chance he falls out of the 1st round.