18 June 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: 5th Edition

There is no bigger enigma in the 2012 NBA Draft than Connecticut center Andre Drummond. After all, this is a guy with the measurements that make scouts drool but the tape that makes them scratch their heads. Sam Amick lays it all out right here pretty well. Drummond is a top ten lock but will he go top five? My five mock draft may have an answer.

1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis, PF/C, Kentucky
Regardless of whether the lottery was rigged or not, the Hornets are going to take Davis and he fills a big need in the frontcourt. 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 with a ridiculous wingspan and once he fills into his body and puts on some more weight, watch out. He looks like a star.

2. Charlotte Bobcats - Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
I've been feeling the Bobcats taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ever since the lottery but now I've started to move away from that and towards Robinson, who is a talented player by his own rights. 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. What I really love about Robinson is his confidence as well as his feistiness on the court. 

3. Washington Wizards - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Taking MKG with the second pick would essentially stand as a motion of no confidence towards last year's first round pick Chris Singleton, who did nothing last season. Even though the Wizards have a glut at small forward, they have to take Kidd-Gilchrist if he is on the board here. The Wizards need a leader just like Kidd-Gilchrist, as well as someone who has a basketball IQ above single digits. 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. 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.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
As the future of the Cavs looks to be firmly in the hands of young stud point guard Kyrie Irving, the team has to focus itself on finding some desperately needed wing players to complement Irving as they threw out scrubs at the two last season and thus Beal, who Chad Ford likened to a cross of Ray Allen and Eric Gordon, would be a logical fit. 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. Sacramento Kings - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
With reports that the Kings would pass on Andre Drummond if he were to be on the board, I think then that Barnes would be the next logical option, especially considering the hole at the three on Sacramento's roster. 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, C, Connecticut
It's hard to look back and say that the Gerald Wallace trade was a good one for the Nets. A team that desperately needs piece to try and keep Deron Williams in town really overpays for a guy in Gerald Wallace that Portland would have been content with a mid-first pick, that probably does not have much great years left and could very well leave in free agency. Billy King, what a brilliant GM.
The Blazers really need to find themselves a center as they need to find more protection for LaMarcus Aldridge down low and they may be willing to take the risks that Drummond brings. 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. The question is does he have the drive to be a star as he looked like he wasn't giving it his all this season in Storrs.

7. Golden State Warriors Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Everybody and their mother knew that Golden State was tanking to be able to keep this pick, which would have gone to Utah had it fallen out of the top seven, and the Monta Ellis/Andrew Bogut deal with Milwaukee made it obvious so I guess Mission Accomplished for the folks out by the bay, especially if they are really looking to trade the pick. The Warriors are pretty soft up front as David Lee doesn't play defense and 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 - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
The Raptors will look to groom a successor to Jose Calderon, who is entering the final year of his contract and is likely priced higher than what Toronto will be willing to play. Plus the Raptors need all the offense they can get. Lillard has been rising after looking pretty good in the drills at the combine and showing off talents as a shooter, which Toronto really needs help as they were in the bottom half in the league in shooting the threeball, and as an athlete. However, Lillard is not quite the prototypical point guard as he needs ot work on his distribution skills.

9. Detroit Pistons - John Henson, PF, North Carolina
The Pistons are a team that if they make the right moves in the offseason, they could conceivably make the playoffs next season. One thing they really need is a strong defender in the paint, one that could take some pressure off of Greg Monroe as Detroit didn't get much from the power forward spot last year, even though Jonas Jerebko is a solid contributor. Henson should've probably return to school because he really needs to grow physically as he is rail-thin. He is a tremendous athlete and a gifted shot blocker but he needs work on his offensive game.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Remember when Chris Paul was in New Orleans? Of course you do, as the hole he left in both trades (wink, wink, Mr. Commissioner) was never really filled. Now that is not meant to be a slam on Jarrett Jack, who played decently in 2011-12, but he is also not the long-term answer either. Marshall's 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.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
The Trail will likely lose Jamal Crawford this offseason as he will opt-out of his contract, barring something unexpected, and while Wesley Matthews is a decent player and a fine American, he is nothing more than a role player at best. 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 is an athletic slasher who loves to get at the rim in a way that makes him somewhat similar to Dwayne Wade and he can also shoot the rock from deep as well. Plus, he can play a little point guard and help fill that void. 

12. Milwaukee Bucks - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
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. 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 as the talent is there.

13. Phoenix Suns - Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut 
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. Lamb is tremendous shooting from the perimeter, although he can be streaky at times, and he can also drive and attack the hoop. He really needs to focus and work on his defensive game, however, and that is not Alvin Gentry's strong point. 

14. Houston Rockets - Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
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. 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 as he scores very well in the paint plus he can run the floor well for a big man.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - Austin Rivers, G, Duke
Now I understand that the 76ers have a few combo guard types already in the mix but they really need some more offense as they had to rely on their tremendous defense too much in 2011-12 plus they could really use some more shooting from outside. 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 have helped him a lot.

16. Houston Rockets - Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
The Rockers do not have a bad roster and their backcourt is rather good, in my opinion, but the biggest hole on the roster, besides at center, is at small forward, where the team lacks a consistent weapon. 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 occasionally, as anybody who watched Kentucky at length this season can attest to.

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 (from Utah) - 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 - Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State
The whole Dwight Howard situation is even more of a mess than Greece's finances right now (okay, probably not) and nobody is quite sure of whether or not he will return to Central Florida next season. Even if he does returneth, the Magic's depth in their frontcourt leaves something to be desired as their key reserve there dropped his pants and dove into the stands at seperate times this season. Moultrie is big and athletic, 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. 

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 in the frontcourt at both forward positionsHarkless 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 as well as the fact that he really struggles with flying 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.

22. Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers via Oklahoma City) - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Like I mentioned just a moment ago, Garnett is not playing forever. Plus, the Celtics have not had a real consistent force at center since they traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City as both Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal really had nothing left in their respective tanks. 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.

23. Atlanta Hawks Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
The Hawks have a pretty crappy bench that will probably look a lot different next season as the club only has six players under contract for next season so they could really draft anything here and it would make sense. 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, as Chad Ford compared him to Rajon Rondo when the latter was coming out of college, and we all remember how raw he was.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Nicholson, PF/C, St. Bonaventure
If the Cavaliers address their deficiencies on the wing with their first selection look for them to take a big man with their second first round selection and Nicholson seems to be a popular mocked selection for the Cavs here, even as he would team for a rather short frontcourt with Tristan Thompson. 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 too. 

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 - Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Because of how the Heat have been put together, they have been scrambling to put pieces together at center as while Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem and Ronny Turiaf are physical and solid defenders, they are not natural centers and are a little bit undersized. 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. His post game is good as well but he needs to improve his rebounding.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
As we all know, the Thunder are a pretty set and loaded team, hence the fact that they are in the NBA Finals and currently up 1-0 on Miami. But you can always make room for guys like Green on your team and I'm sure Sam Presti would as well. 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. I have a feeling that Scott Brooks would love this guy to help fill out the roster.

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 - Jeffrey Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
The Warriors have a hole at small forward that they are craving to improve upon and thus they have been rumored to be dangling their first selection at seven for some help there, as well as targeting somebody in free agency. Regardless of what they do, taking a polished three like Taylor would make 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. He also is a very good passer who is a very good defender who can be a great one, which would make Mark Jackson happy. 


  1. You put the Celtics logo next to Austin Rivers who you had being drafted by the 76ers

    1. Simple mistake since I had Rivers going to Boston in my prior mock.

  2. Beal won't be there at 4 if the Cavs want him they will have to trade up