2012 NBA Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions and Analysis

Andrew Hermann@@ahermann9Correspondent IApril 20, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: First-Round Predictions and Analysis

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    The 2012 NBA draft features a class unlike any other in past years. All five of the starters on this year's 2012 NCAA Championship team have declared for the draft. Darius Miller, just one of the two seniors on that team, will also declare for the draft making this one of the most talented drafts in recent history.

    The Wildcats have been getting most of the attention in the upcoming draft, which draws away from all the other talent. There is depth at every position, so even teams drafting in the bottom part of the first round will still have a wide variety of talented players to choose from.

    I will be taking a look at each individual team and will try to pick the player who I think will best fit that particular system.

    Enjoy.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Power Forward/Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 10 in 220 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 14.3 points 10.0 rebounds 4.7 blocks

    The Bobcats are currently the favorite to win the No. 1 selection in the upcoming draft and without question, their selection would be Anthony Davis. Davis will fit in right away in the NBA, and he could be an immediate impact player.

    The Bobcats still have a few years before they can start to become a contender for the playoffs, but with the selection of Kemba Walker last year and Anthony Davis this year, the Bobcats would be well on their way to becoming a contender in the league.

2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 7 in 232 lb (18 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 11.9 points 7.4 rebounds 1.9 assists

    This just proves why the Wildcats went on to win the NCAA title. Having back-to-back players from the same team going one and two is just amazing.

    Kidd-Gilchrist would be a great selection for the Wizards because even though they didn't play together, Wall and Kidd-Gilchrist should have some chemistry after playing under the same system for a year.

    He can score and rebound efficiently, which will be a good upgrade for the Wizards. 

3. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson

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    School - Kansas

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 10 in 240 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 17.7 points 11.9 rebounds 0.9 blocks

    This would be the best pick for the Hornets if they can land Robinson. He is a big guy standing at 6 foot 10, and his ability to score low in the post will help the Hornets fill the void at power forward.

    If the Hornets can't re-sign Chris Kaman, then Robinson could also have some playing time at the center position.

4. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond

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    School - Connecticut

    Position - Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 10 in 251 lb (18 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 10.0 points 7.6 rebounds 2.7 blocks

    Andre Drummond has the most potential out of any player in the draft. He was the No. 2-rated prospect coming out of high school and this year wasn't the most consistent. Drummond could easily become a star in this league, but he just needs to work at it.

    DeMarcus Cousins could be a good mentor for Drummond. Cousins hasn't taken very long to become a good player in the league, and he could be a key factor in developing Drummond as a star center in the NBA.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal

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    School - Florida

    Position - Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 4 in 201 lb (18 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 14.8 points 6.7 rebounds 2.2 assists

    Bradley Beal had a great freshman season; he was a key part to the team's Elite Eight run. Deciding not to come back for a second season will make him a potential top five pick in this year's draft.

    The Cavaliers could use a player on the wing and Beal would be their best available option. Beal is considered by some scouts as a "can't miss" prospect. He can score, rebound and pass the ball with great skill. He is an all-around player who is ready to make an impact on the NBA.

6. Toronto Raptors: Harrison Barnes

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    School - North Carolina

    Position - Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 8 in 210 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 17.1 points 5.2 rebounds 1.1 assists

    Some say Harrison Barnes' stock went down during the NCAA tournament, but I don't think his performance altered his draft stock even a little bit. Harrison Barnes can still be an elite scorer in the NBA, and whoever drafts him will add a prolific scorer to their team.

    The Toronto Raptors hope they are that team. Drafting Barnes in the sixth spot almost seems like an early steal in the draft. Barnes' size and speed, along with his scoring ability, will make him tough to defend. The Raptors would be wise in selecting him if he is available.

7. Portland Trail Blazers (via Nets): Jared Sullinger

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    School - Ohio State

    Position - Power Forward/Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 9 in 280 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 17.6 points 9.1 rebounds 1.0 blocks

    Sullinger has the potential to be a dominant "big man" in the NBA. Portland could use some size at the power forward and Sullinger is that guy. If he can be even remotely close to how he was at Ohio State, then the Trail Blazers might finally have the pieces for making a playoff run next year.

8. Detroit Pistons: Tyler Zeller

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    School - North Carolina

    Position - Center

    Vitals - 7 ft 0 in 250 lb (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.3 points 9.6 rebounds 1.5 blocks

    Tyler Zeller can run the floor, he can rebound and he can also score in the paint. Zeller could be a wise choice for the Pistons because he could complement the skill level that Greg Monroe has.

    With Ben Wallace heading to free agency, the Pistons will be short at the center position, and Zeller could be the perfect fit for them.

9. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Damian Lillard

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    School - Weber State

    Position - Point Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 2 in 185 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 24.5 points 4.0 assists 1.5 steals

    Damian Lillard was one of the most efficient scorers this past season and will make a great add for any team willing to draft him. Lillard is a score-first point guard who also has good passing ability.

    With just one year left on Devin Harris' contract, Lillard could assume the starting role if he chooses not to re-sign with the team. A high-scoring point guard could be just what the Jazz need to add to all their other weapons.

10. New Orleans Hornets: Jeremy Lamb

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    School - Connecticut

    Position - Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 5 in 185 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 17.7 points 4.9 rebounds 1.7 assists

    Jeremy Lamb has a great ability to shoot the ball from deep, and I think that with the addition of Thomas Robinson, Lamb would be the next best possibility for the Hornets. They would add a big man who can score underneath and a guy in Lamb who can score from almost everywhere.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Kendall Marshall

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    School - North Carolina

    Position - Point Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 4 in 180 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 8.1 points 9.8 assists 1.2 steals

    The only reason that I didn't have Marshall picked higher is because of his recent wrist injury.

    I'm not sure how much of a factor that will have on his draft stock (whether general managers want to risk it) but I think Kendall Marshall will have an impact on any team that drafts him. Marshall isn't the best scorer or passer but he is a pure point guard.

    He keeps his team in the game with the ability to make plays and that's what the Blazers need with the departure of Raymond Felton.

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Perry Jones III

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    School - Baylor

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 11 in 220 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 13.5 points 7.6 rebounds 1.3 assists

    Perry Jones III would be a top 5 pick based on just his talent alone. There are some scouts who are saying that Jones would be better on the wing in the NBA but he needed to work on his shooting a bit more.

    If Milwaukee were to draft Jones, then I would put Milwaukee as one of the top 5 teams in the East next year. With the addition of Monta Ellis, this team could go far if they drafted Jones.

    His size, versatility and talent would make him a great fit for a team like Milwaukee.

13. Utah Jazz: Austin Rivers

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    School - Duke

    Position - Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 4 in 203 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 15.5 points 2.1 assists 1.0 steals

    Austin Rivers is one of the most talented prospects in the draft. He is a good all-around player, but his biggest weakness his playing off the ball.

    For him to succeed in the NBA, he will have to work on that part of his game to make himself better. The Jazz would love to add a shooting guard after drafting Damian Lillard.

14. Phoenix Suns: Terrence Jones

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 9 in 249 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 12.3 points 7.2 rebounds 1.8 blocks

    Terrence Jones increased his draft stock by finishing off the regular season strong. He played well in the NCAA tournament, but his lack of performance in a few games shouldn't alter his draft stock.

    Jones could be a key piece at the power forward position and could be an early impact once he takes over the starting role.

15. Houston Rockets (via Knicks): Terrence Ross

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    School - Washington

    Position - Shooting Guard/Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 7 in 197 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.4 points 6.4 rebounds 1.4 assists

    Ross is a very athletic player who can shoot the ball from deep. He would be a great fit for the Rockets, either behind Kevin Martin at guard or splitting time at small forward with Parsons.

16. Philadelphia 76ers: John Henson

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    School - North Carolina

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 11 in 220 lb  (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 13.7 points 9.9 rebounds 2.9 blocks

    John Henson is a long, shot-blocking forward who also has a decent jumper, but he can still be limited offensively, and he can also be bullied down low because he has such a thin frame.

    Henson's potential is great, he just needs to be on a good team to help develop over time and he could do that on the 76ers. He could be the potential replacement for Elton Brand.

17. New Jersey Nets (via Rockets): Arnett Moultrie

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    School - Mississippi State

    Position - Power Forward/Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 11 in 220 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.4 points 10.5 rebounds 0.8 blocks

    Arnett Moultrie is being viewed by scouts as a potential lottery pick. I don't have him that low on my predictions, but he still could slide forward to a few teams up front.

    The Nets are hoping that's not the case, so they can snatch the 6-foot-11 center as a possible replacement for Brook Lopez, who is on his way to free agency. Moultrie averaged a double-double last season which the Nets are hoping he can repeat at the NBA level.

18. Denver Nuggets: Marquis Teague

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Point Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 2 in 179 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 10.0 points 4.8 assists 0.9 steals

    Marquis Teague is another player who has an abundance of talent but is not yet totally developed. Teague would make a great fit in Denver as a first-year backup to Ty Lawson.

    Teague and Lawson could split playing time and be a dynamic duo for the Nuggets. Teague could help add to their NBA-best points per game next season.

19. Dallas Mavericks: Tony Wroten

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    School - Washington

    Position - Point Guard/Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 5 in 180 lb (19 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.0 points 3.7 assists 1.9 steals

    Tony Wroten is a two style guard who needs to work on slowing his game down a bit. He averaged almost four turnovers a game last season due to his fast pace of play.

    He is a high-risk, high-reward player and the Mavericks could use him at the point position with the possible departure of Jason Terry and Jason Kidd.

20. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard

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    School - Illinois

    Position - Center

    Vitals - 7 ft 0 in 240 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 13.6 points 8.2 rebounds 1.9 blocks

    With all the controversy surrounding Dwight Howard of "Will he stay or will he go?" the Magic need to draft someone who could instantly replace him if he were to leave Orlando.

    Meyers Leonard would be the best option of available players to fill that void. If Howard is going to stay for all of the 2012-13 season, he could help Leonard develop into one of the future star centers of the league.

21. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Taylor

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    School - Vanderbilt

    Position - Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 7 in 226 lb (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.1 points 5.6 rebounds 1.7 assists

    Scouts were very impressed by Taylor late in the regular season. During the late stretch, he became a more consistent player and shooter, and he was one of the reasons that Vanderbilt won the SEC Championship.

    Jeff Taylor could get some playing time behind Joe Johnson or Josh Smith and what better two to play behind than these two? Taylor could fill that role the progress to the starting rotation in a few years.

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Royce White

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    School - Iowa State

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 8 in 270 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 13.4 points 9.3 rebounds 5.0 assists

    Royce White has major talent and if it takes this long to get drafted, this would be another steal. White is one of the most versatile players coming into this draft. He can do almost anything from score to rebound to sett up other players.

    White has a long NBA career ahead of him; he just needs to keep up his work ethic and some day he could be one of the stars of the league.

23. Boston Celtics: Moe Harkless

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    School - St. John's

    Position - Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 8 in 208 lb (18 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 15.5 points 8.6 rebounds 1.6 steals

    Moe Harkless is a talented prospect who carried his team all season long. The one thing he needs to improve on is his shooting range, and he could play a key role for the Celtics on the wing.

24. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Fab Melo

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    School - Syracuse

    Position - Center

    Vitals - 7 ft 0 in 250 lb (21 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 7.8 points 5.8 rebounds 2.9 blocks

    Back-to-back picks for the Celtics lead to two great players for their veteran team. Fab Melo may have had some injury problems, but he looks to be a good solid player if he can stay healthy.

    Garnett and O'Neal are about as done as they can be, so Melo will fill an immediate void for the Celtics at center.

25. Indiana Pacers: Dion Waiters

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    School - Syracuse

    Position - Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 4 in 210 pounds (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 12.6 points 2.5 assists 1.8 steals

    Dion Waiters has been in about almost every spot in all the mock drafts I've looked at. Waiters is one of those players that you hope will have a good career, but you just can't know for sure.

    Scouts say Waiters can make for a perfect sixth man, and that's what the Pacers are looking for.

    Ultimately, he could take over for George Hill as their shooting guard but he will need some time to improve on his game. That is why I have Waiters going 25th overall.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Festus Ezeli

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    School - Vanderbilt

    Position - Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 11 in 255 lb (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 10.1 points 5.9 rebounds 2.0 blocks

    Festus Ezeli is a dominant player. That is what the Cavaliers need underneath next season.

    Tristan Thompson could fall back to the power forward spot to replace Jamison, and Ezeli could go at center alongside Brad Beal and Kyrie Irving.

    If that is the projected lineup for the Cavaliers, watch out for them in a year or two when the players are more mature.

27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green

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    School - Michigan State

    Position - Power Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 6 in 235 pounds (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 16.2 points 10.6 rebounds 3.8 assists

    The Heat already have the core pieces needed for a championship as they showed last season making it to the Finals. Everyone keeps saying that they still need one more player to win it all (But at the rate LeBron is playing right now this might be the year).

    If this isn't the year, Heat fans won't have to wait long because the man they need is here and his name is Draymond Green.

    Green is a do-it-all player who the Heat shouldn't pass on if he's available. The Heat need to make this happen to become a more dominant team.

28. Golden State (via San Antonio): Andrew Nicholson

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    School - St. Bonaventure

    Position - Power Forward/Center

    Vitals - 6 ft 9 in 220 lb (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 18.5 points 8.4 rebounds 2.0 blocks

    Nicholson improved his stock late in the season, and he should be a first-round pick. Golden State could be a good fit for a frontcourt player like Nicholson.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Darius Miller

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Small Forward

    Vitals - 6 ft 7 in 230 lb (22 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 9.9 points 2.8 rebounds 2.1 assists

    The Thunder have good players at every position, so having a college veteran in Miller playing behind one of the best scorers in the league can be good for his development.

30. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb

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    School - Kentucky

    Position - Shooting Guard

    Vitals - 6 ft 4 in 170 lb (20 years old)

    2011-2012 Key Per Game Stats - 13.7 points 2.7 rebounds 1.5 assists

    If the Bulls pick Doron Lamb, I would write them up as the favorites to win the title next year. Lamb is a good scorer and playmaker who can complement Rose perfectly.

    Lamb would be a huge pick for the Bulls and would cap off having six Kentucky players drafted in the first round.