2012 NBA Mock Draft: Talented Freshmen Ready for NBA Glory

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats react late in the second half while taking on the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA draft is loaded with young talent, but only a select few freshman prospects are truly ready to shine at the next level. 

Here's my latest 2012 NBA mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at those skilled freshman ready to dominate in the NBA. 

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

The best prospect in the draft, Davis is a lock for the top spot. The freshman phenom was a dynamic force all season long, and his skills translate very well to the NBA. 

Of all the freshmen studs up for grabs in the 2012 NBA draft, Davis is the safest bet.

The 6'10", 220-pound forward was unstoppable this past season, and even though he needs to bulk up, he's too talented not to thrive at the next level. 


2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky  

Another freshman stand out, Kidd-Gilchrist got better and better as the season progressed. He's only going to keep improving his game, which make him a very sexy pick and dangerous player. 

Since he seemingly came out of nowhere and excelled on a team stockpiled with talent, Kidd-Gilchrist has proven that he can succeed on any court. 

He'll do exactly that for the Wizards, with John Wall feeding him great looks along the way. 


3. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

The Hornets need winners, and Robinson is exactly that. He's a true workhorse in the post, and he won't be a disappointment in the NBA.  


4. Portland Trail Blazers (via NJ): Andre Drummond, C, UConn

This is a risky pick, but Drummond has great potential, and Portland will not want to pass that up. 


5. Toronto Raptors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

Toronto could use a center, but it's a gamble here when they could get a sure-fire stud in Barnes. He fills a position of need for the Raptors, as Barnes would easily be an instant upgrade to their roster.


6. Sacramento Kings: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

The Kings continue to add great guard play, hoping to get a ton of scorers on the court to beat their opponents. 


7. Detroit Pistons:  Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

At 6'11", 230 pounds, Zeller could end up being the best center in the 2012 draft class. His ceiling is high, but he might decide to return to school. 

Should he enter the draft and take his talents to the NBA, there is no doubt that Zeller will dominate. Sure, he needs work like all freshmen players do, but Zeller's ability to flourish in the paint makes him a solid pick.

He's a tough player who's ready for NBA glory, and he also fills a huge need for Detroit. 


8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor

Jones had his ups and downs during his career, but there's no denying he has the talent to put up great numbers at the next level. 


9. Utah Jazz (via GS): Damian Lillard, PG, Weber St

Utah has several options here, but getting a guy like Lillard to come in and help put points on the board while also making those around him better is the right call for the Jazz.  

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

Zeller is a beast down low that never gives up, which is what makes him so enticing to NBA teams. He's a phenomenal rebounder, and after the Bucks traded Andrew Bogut, they're in need of help at center. 


11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

The Blazers opted to go with size for their first pick, so with their second one they'll focus on adding a prolific scorer. Lamb is the best available here, and he'll step in and help Portland win right away. 


12. New Orleans Hornets (via MINN): Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

All Marshall did during his time at North Carolina was make those around him better. New Orleans has a huge need for a player like him, and while he's no Chris Paul, Marshall can definitely improve the Hornets. 

13. Phoenix Suns: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

The Suns would be better off with a point guard, but unfortunately, the top ones are taken, and reaching on one here would be foolish. Settling for the best available player in Sullinger isn't a bad move though, as it gives Phoenix extra depth. 


14. Denver Nuggets: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

Jones is a solid all around player. He'll be a nice fit in Denver as the Nuggets strive to become the best team out west. 


15. Houston Rockets (via NY): Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

This is somewhat of a reach, but there's no denying that the Rockets need a big man. Leonard has boom or bust written all over him, but Houston can afford to gamble here since it has another first rounder. 


16. New Jersey Nets (via HOU): John Henson, PF, North Carolina

Adding depth is a must for the Nets, and they'll certainly be happy with a powerful player like Henson. 


17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via UTAH): Austin Rivers, G, Duke

Rivers loves to score, and Minnesota could use another guard to help put points on the board. Rivers and Ricky Rubio teaming up would work really well together. 


18. Boston Celtics: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi St

Doc Rivers almost gets the chance to draft his kid, but it works out for the best. Boston won't be tempted to do so since he's off the board, meaning it can focus on it's primary need, which is adding a big man.  


19. Philadelphia 76ers:  Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

Ross was overshadowed at times by his teammate Tony Wroten, but the kid can definitely play. At 6'6", Ross is a great shooter that will give the 76ers a much needed spark. 


20. Memphis Grizzlies: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

Another fantastic shooter, Lamb will be a great fit in Memphis. The Grizzlies will forget all about O.J. Mayo and let Lamb's superb shooting skills take over.  

21. Houston Rockets (via DAL):  Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

Houston adds more depth by getting Miller, a talented freshman forward who in time will be something special. 


22. Boston Celtics (via LAC):  Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

Boston went with size with its first pick, and with their second pick, the Celtics wisely add a scorer. Waiters has above average ability to get to the rim and score in transition.  


23. Atlanta Hawks:  Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Atlanta has options here, but adding depth at forward is a wise move, especially with the possibility Josh Smith leaving.  


24. Indiana Pacers: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

Melo isn't overly impressive, but his potential is what matters most. His size is also what makes him enticing, and it's the main reason the Pacers take the gamble and select Melo.  


25. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LAL): Tony Wroten, G, Washington

Cleveland needs some depth for Kyrie Irving, and having Wroten on the team will help the Cavs push towards becoming elite in NBA again. 


26. Orlando Magic: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

It's hard to really know what Dwight Howard's future plans are, which is why the Magic have to draft a center in the first round. Ezeli has a high ceiling and with work, he can be a dominant star at the next level. 


27. Golden State Warriors (via SA):  C.J. Leslie, SF, N.C. State

Leslie is underrated, but his success in the NCAA Tournament helped his draft stock in a major way. He'll continue to improve his stock as the draft draws near. The Warriors need an upgrade at small forward, and Leslie will give them exactly that. 


28. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, F, Michigan State

Green does everything on the court, which is the type of player Miami really needs. He won't have to be a star for the Heat, but doing all the little things will really go a long way. 


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s

Another underrated stud in the draft, Harkless has the talent to grow into a big-time star. For the Thunder, though, he'll serve as a strong bench player, providing the team with superb depth. 


30. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

The Bulls would be wise to add extra depth behind Derrick Rose. Teague would serve as great insurance for Rose, giving Chicago a solid bench player that can not only create his own shots but also make sure his teammates have good looks as well. 




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