NBA Mock Draft 2012: How the NCAA Tournament Reshaped the Draft Board
With the 2012 tournament in the books, it's now time to look towards the draft. There remains a lot of number-crunching and analysis to be done before the final rankings are complete, but it's never too early for a mock.
This quick, post-tournament version is based mostly on statistics, but also on tournament play. It includes all NCAA players, regardless of whether they have declared for the draft or not.
Anthony Davis, PF-C Kentucky
I think we'd have to go back to Tim Duncan in '97 to find a player who was so clearly better than the field in any one draft. Davis is dominant and should quickly become one of the top big men in the game.
Tony Mitchell, PF North Texas
No college player other than Davis put up numbers as impressive as Mitchell's. He does everything a power forward needs to do and does them all well.
In this year, when the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 is greater than the one between No. 2 and No. 60, I'll go with Mitchell's upside over any other player out there.
Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas
A nod to his inspired tournament play. Robinson is a great rebounder. He's hardly a lock for NBA success though. He's an inefficient scorer and his defensive numbers are on the low side.
As it stands now, the players from three to 10 are all very close and any one of them could rise or fall dramatically in the coming months.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky
His role on a loaded roster makes him a tough player to get a handle on using only stats. He'd be something of a gamble this high, but has shown enough to merit the risk.
Jae Crowder, SF Marquette
Crowder shot 60 percent from inside the arc, rebounded like a good PF, snagged more steals than most guards and posted one of the lowest turnover rates in the nation. I can't ignore a player who played that well.
Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio State
Sullinger had his moments in the tournament and during the season, but didn't dominate like Davis.
Dion Waiters, G Syracuse
I consider Waiters the best guard prospect in the nation. He's been up-and-down in his two seasons at Syracuse, but has flashed enough potential that I feel he could handle either backcourt position.
Bradley Beal, SG Florida
Beal has some nice potential as a pro SG. He didn't get a chance to shine on offense, so there will be some guesswork on whether he can remain an efficient scorer with increased scoring opportunities.
John Henson, PF North Carolina
Unlike most of the class of 2012, teams will know exactly what they're getting with Henson. He'll be an energy guy, providing defense and rebounding off an NBA bench.
Andre Drummond, C Connecticut
Drummond slightly improved as the season progressed. He's still far from being an NBA center, but his size and potential shouldn't have him left out of the top 10.
Draymond Green, F Michigan State
A multi-talented player who would be a top-three pick if he wasn't such an inefficient scorer.
Cody Zeller, PF Indiana
This is a draft full of flawed players. Zeller has yet to show he can rebound like an NBA big should. His other skills are stellar.
Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut
This wasn't a good year for the prospects of UConn players. Lamb has good potential as a scorer, but didn't flash anywhere near the defensive prowess he should considering his length.
Will Barton, SG Memphis
Barton is a solid wing prospect. He improved a lot as a sophomore this past season and that's always a good sign.
Andrew Nicholson, PF St. Bonaventure
For most of his career, Andrew Nicholson ranked somewhere out of the top 60, in the ranks of the undrafted.
In the last few months, something clicked for him and suddenly he's putting up incredible numbers and moved himself into the draft discussion in the process.
Mike Moser, SF UNLV
There are several talented, but raw SFs in the college ranks. Some of whom will develop into nice players over the next couple of years. Moser is the best of that bunch right now.
Jeff Withey, C Kansas
Shot-blockers are always worth a gamble. Withey is a shot-blocker with a nice tournament run behind him.
Scott Machado, PG Iona
Tough call between Machado, Lillard and Marshall as the best of a very weak PG class. I give Machado a very slight edge because he has the most well-rounded game of the three.
Damian Lillard, G Weber State
I've never been a big fan of shoot-first PGs. Lillard is definitely in that group.
If he can't make the transition from college gunner to NBA PG, he still has a chance to be an effective third or fourth guard.
Perry Jones III, PF Baylor
Every time I watch Baylor play, Jones makes a play that only a handful of 6'11" players have ever been capable of making. That's what has him in the lottery of most mocks.
The poor rebounding rate, weak defensive numbers and inefficient scoring are what knocks him down to the 20s here.
Meyers Leonard, C Illinois
Leonard has some decent skills, but doesn't block shots at the rate most successful center prospects have and that knocks him down the list.
Tony Wroten, G Washington
Wroten is the ultimate high risk/reward prospect of the 2012 draft. He's a long way from contributing to an NBA team, but hidden in his erratic statistics are some numbers that suggest he could become a very good player someday.
He's a long shot, but so was Iman Shumpert at this time last year.
Kendall Marshall. PG North Carolina
Marshall is an excellent floor general, but his low numbers in rebounding and the defensive stats suggest he'll struggle at the next level.
I do think he's worth a risk at this point in the draft, because his PG skills should entice a team looking for a backup PG.
BJ Young, SG Arkansas
Young finished the year strong and is one of the better SGs in the nation. I'm not ready to put him in the class of Beal, Waiters and Lamb yet, but he isn't far behind that group.
Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina
There's very little in Harrison Barnes' stats that suggest he'll become an NBA success.
He's an inefficient scorer, a poor passer and has weak defensive numbers. If he hadn't been so highly touted coming into college, I doubt I'd even deem him worth a mention.
Kyle O'Quinn, C Norfolk State
Here's a guy who should be helped by the tournament. O'Quinn has solid numbers at a small college, which isn't always a recipe for NBA success. I do feel he's worth a look late in Round 1.
Gorgui Dieng, C Louisville
I was high on him early in the year. He faded, but came back with a strong tournament. My feelings remain mixed.
He's very slight by NBA standards, listed at 210 lbs, and he's a couple years older than the typical sophomore.
He has some strong defensive potential and that gets him in Round 1.
Jeffery Taylor, SF Vanderbilt
Taylor improved his three-point shooting in his final year and became a first-rounder because of it.
Marcus Denmon, SG Missouri
A solid guard whose ability to shoot the lights out and play defense should get him a place as a useful bench player.
Tyler Zeller, C North Carolina
The 2012 draft will likely go down as the draft of the marginal big men. The most striking thing about this draft is the unusually large number of centers and power forwards who rank as marginal prospects.
Players who don't blow you away as prospects, but have shown enough that as a fan I could probably talk myself into being excited if my team drafted one of them.
That excitement would last until the inevitable DNP-CDs started to pile up.
Zeller epitomizes the marginal big man and that makes him the perfect player to close out this early mock draft.