The 2012 NBA draft class is so ridiculously stacked that there are plenty of talents lurking outside the lottery that promise to provide great value for their position.
It’s not too often that a player with immense skills, such as Terrence Ross from Washington or Austin Rivers from Duke, will potentially be available late. There are usually just guys that become marginal rotation members or D-Leaguers left to choose from once the mid-to-late portion of the event rolls around.
Let’s take a look at the latest mock, with a focus on some studs being selected near the bottom of the draft.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Charlotte is hoping to land the No. 1 pick to pair this defensive monster and blossoming offensive force in the frontcourt with upcoming rookie Bismack Biyombo.
2. Washington Wizards: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Barnes is an elite scorer who has the ability to become a second superstar to pair with John Wall.
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3. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Robinson may be the best player in college basketball right now, and he is showing great promise, as his team is dominating in the Final Four in his junior season. The Hornets need a player who can contribute immediately with a winning pedigree.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey): Andre Drummond, Connecticut
Drummond has out-of-this-world upside, but he has barely displayed what he is capable of on the court. If Portland can get him to use his size and natural skills properly, he’s a steal here.
5. Toronto Raptors: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
MKG is the hardest-working player on both sides of the ball, and that means he is going to be a successful pro. He has the size and athleticism to become the star Toronto has lacked since Chris Bosh took his talents to South Beach.
6. Sacramento Kings: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
The Ohio State Buckeye may be the most NBA-ready player in the class, and he should contribute immediately to a Kings team that could use him desperately.
7. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, North Carolina
Detroit should be looking to get even bigger with the emergence of Greg Monroe. Henson is a lengthy and skilled PF who will get the job done in the Motor City.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
Lamb has been criticized by scouts for being lackadaisical on the court, but playing with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland should motivate him to be an elite player.
9. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Brad Beal, Florida
Beal is an absolute bargain with the No. 9 pick, and Utah cannot let him pass by, even if they did draft another SG in the lottery last year in Alec Burks.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: James McAdoo, North Carolina
McAdoo has a ton of upside for a player mostly used as a reserve at UNC. He filled in capably for John Henson when he was out with a hurt wrist and could be a worthwhile investment for the size-starved Bucks.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, Weber State
Lillard might not have gone to the most prestigious school, but he is arguably the best PG in this class. Portland would love to replace the ineffective Raymond Felton with this young talent.
12. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota): Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Zeller doesn’t have immense upside, but he’s an able big man who can without a doubt run the court and play fundamental basketball. New Orleans needs to take a sure thing here and not risk adding a potential bust to the roster.
13. Utah Jazz: Quincy Miller, Baylor
Miller’s immense athleticism and scoring ability mesh well with the youth movement currently taking place in Utah.
14. Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
This pick may hinge on whether Steve Nash decides to stick around the desert or sign with a contender to finish his career out. However, Phoenix should pick Marshall—the leading assist man in college—regardless to eventually replace their superstar PG.
15. Houston Rockets (via New York): Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Leonard is a legitimate NBA big capable of protecting the rim and keeping opponents out of the paint. Houston loves guys like that, but the haven't found one since Yao Ming retired.
16. New Jersey Nets (via Houston): Perry Jones, Baylor
PJIII is one of the most enigmatic prospects in this class. He has lottery talent, and he plays like a future star at times while looking like a bust at others.
New Jersey needs to take the risk that he will be a stud if they want to field a competitive team when they move to Brooklyn.
17. Boston Celtics: Austin Rivers, Duke
It’s a dream scenario for Rivers, the Celtics and sportswriters if Austin ends up on his father Doc’s team.
The C’s need a SG if Ray Allen leaves, and this Duke star is arguably the best available.
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18. Denver Nuggets: Terrence Ross, Washington
Ross is a superb athlete who is becoming an even better shooter. Denver is set at most positions, and the Husky’s star would be a nice bench option for the second-unit.
Eventually, this young man is going to prove he’s a worthwhile starter and become a great player in the NBA.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Moe Harkless, St. Johns
Harkless’ potential is through the roof, and Atlanta has to take a gamble if they ever want to compete in the East.
20. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Jones is an elite talent who should be going in the lottery, and he probably would if he were to declare any other year.
However, he sometimes looks lost out on the court and struggles to harness all of the talent he possesses.
It’s an absolute must-pick here for Philly if Jones is still available due to his upside.
21. Houston Rockets (via Dallas): Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt
Taylor above the rim play is on par with anyone in this class, and his jumper is improving to boot. Nice fit as an immediate role player in Houston.
22. Indiana Pacers: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Waiters' ability to get to the hoop reminds some people of Dwyane Wade, but he’s got to work on the rest of his game. Great option for a deep and talented Indiana squad who can let him develop.
23. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten, Washington
Wroten has a solid future as a point guard in the NBA, and he may go earlier because of it, but Memphis would be happy to snag him this late to back up Mike Conley Jr.
24. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
This guy has been talked about as a lottery pick, but he has fallen down some big boards lately. Boston would snap him up here to add some direly needed size.
25. Orlando Magic: C.J. Leslie, NC State
Leslie is a tweener, but he has the athleticism to play both forward spots. Good depth option for an Orlando team that could use it.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Mitchell has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant, although a much less skilled version. That isn’t a bad thing for the Cavs with the No. 26 pick in the draft.
27. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio): Draymond Green, Michigan State
Green’s ability to make his teammates better, to defend and his commitment to winning make him a good pick up for coach Mark Jackson and his new attitude towards defense in the Bay Area.
28. Miami Heat: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
The Bonnies forward is an optimal backup to Chris Bosh because of his polished mid-range game and experience.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
Ezeli is quickly becoming a capable big man with NBA potential. The Thunder would be getting a nice rotation player to sub in for Kendrick Perkins.
30. Chicago Bulls: Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Joseph is a veteran scorer who would be able to log a few minutes in Chicago’s rotation and contribute some buckets.