2012 NBA Mock Draft: First-Round Studs Ready for the Spotlight

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels gets set to attempt a shot against Kansas Jayhawks during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri. Kansas won 80-67.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA draft is stacked with potential elite stars, but only a few are ready for the big stage right now. 

Transitioning from college to the pros is no easy task, and some guys will find they just don't have what it takes to make it. 

Others will have to work hard to become everyday starters, and then there are those that will make a major impact from day one. 

That being said, here's my 2012 NBA mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at those players ready for the spotlight. 


2012 NBA Mock Draft


1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

The top prospect in the draft, Davis is absolutely ready to rock when he sets foot on the NBA court for the first time. 

I'd be pretty shocked if the Bobcats didn't win the draft lottery, and even though they don't have a ton of talent, Davis will still step in and thrive right away.

The 6'10", 220-pound center can also play the forward spot, and there's no denying he has all the tools to dominate in his rookie campaign.  


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

Teaming up with John Wall would work wonders for Kidd-Gilchrist's game. 

He tore through the college scene as a freshman, seemingly coming out of nowhere. Sure, he had some poor performances, but since nobody is perfect, it's nothing to get too worked up about.

Kidd-Gilchrist is the real deal, and he won't take long to make his presence known in the NBA.  


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

After leading the nation in double-doubles, it's easy to see how much of a force Robinson is going to be in the NBA. 

He's a relentless player, and he'll be a warm welcome in New Orleans. The Hornets need size and extra depth, and Robinson will give them a strong force down low. 

Robinson is all about playing hard and never quitting, and he'll make sure to give the Hornets solid production night in and night out. 


4. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C, UConn

This is a risk, but there's no denying the Kings need an additional big man to help them win games. 


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

Toronto needs help at the forward position, and Barnes is the best available here.

He had some ups and downs during his short collegiate career, but the kid can flat out play. It's a wonder how different things would be for him if he decided to leave a year ago. 

Staying in college helped his game more, though, and now he's super ready for what the NBA has to offer. Toronto may not be the best city for a rookie to get pumped about, but once he hits the court, Barnes will continue to play at a high level. 


6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

Adding a great scorer like Beal to play alongside Kyrie Iriving would be a genius move for the Cavs. 


7. Portland Trail Blazers (via NJ): Damian Lillard, PG, Weber St

The Blazers have several options here, but landing a talented point guard like Lillard is their best bet. He can score at will by driving to the hoop with ease, and with some work he'll mold into a better facilitator too. 


8. Detroit Pistons: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

Sullinger is a powerful big man that will be welcomed with open arms to the Detroit. The Pistons need help all over, and drafting Sullinger would be a good start. 


9. Utah Jazz (via GS): Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

The Jazz need help in the backcourt, and Marshall is the best point guard up for grabs here. He's not quite elite, but he can certainly grow into that. 


10. New Orleans Hornets (via MINN): Perry Jones III, F, Baylor

The Hornets would prefer for a top-notch point guard to fall their way, but it won't happen. Reaching on one here would also be a poor decision, so drafting the best available to help the depth is the best decision. 


11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

Portland needs to get younger big men in the mix, and Zeller would be a superb addition to the team. He runs the floor well and has exceptional rebounding skills. 


12. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

The Bucks will think about a center here, but it's a big gamble to go with Leonard when Jones is still there for the taking. He's a strong forward that never quits, which Milwaukee will love to have. 


13. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

This is a gamble, but with two first-round picks, the Rockets can afford to take the risk on Leonard. The seven-footer needs some time to develop for the NBA, but the potential to shine is sky-high. 


14. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, G, Duke

The Suns need better guard play, especially with the likelihood of Steve Nash leaving this summer. Rivers has a great deal of hype surrounding him, but he has the game to back it up. 


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

Ross is a very good shooter, which is something the depth of the 76ers needs if the team is going to make a deep postseason run someday soon. 


16. Houston Rockets (via NY): John Henson, PF, North Carolina

Henson's offensive skills could use some work, but the Rockets will mainly draft him here for his defense. He's a great rebounder and a big force on the defensive end of the court. 


17. Utah Jazz: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

The Jazz continue to help their backcourt with the addition of Lamb, a guy who can create his own shot and drive to the basket with ease. 


18. Dallas Mavericks: Tony Wroten, Jr., PG, Washington

Some team might reach on Wroten earlier in the draft, but if he's still there at No. 18, the Mavericks won't think twice about drafting their future point guard. After all, Jason Kidd isn't getting any younger, and having his replacement be on the roster now would be a smart move. 


19. Orlando Magic: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

The Magic have to draft a center here as insurance for Dwight Howard. Whether he leaves or gets injured again, having another big man will ensure Orlando remains a contender. 

20. Denver Nuggets: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi St

The Nuggets will be picking strictly for depth here, as their starting lineup is pretty much set. Of course, offseason roster moves could alter plans, but adding size in Moultrie would be a wise decision. 


21. Boston Celtics: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

The Celtics are aging and need to use this draft to land solid young scorers. Lamb would be a perfect fit in Boston. 


22. Atlanta Hawks: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

The Hawks tend to swing and miss when it comes to the draft, but should they acquire Taylor for insurance to Josh Smith, Atlanta will be winners on draft day. 


23. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

Forgetting about O.J. Mayo is what the Grizzlies strongly desire, and they can make sure that happens easily by drafting Waiters. 


24. Boston Celtics (via LAC): Royce White, F, Iowa State

Boston needs to get some big young bodies down low for the future of the team, and White would be a fantastic addition to the depth of the team. 


25. Indiana Pacers: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

Ezeli is a big sleeper in the draft, and with some extra work over the next year or two, he can step into a bigger role for the Pacers and begin to dominate. 


26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LAL): Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s

Speaking of sleepers, Harkless is also a good one in this draft and as the spring and summer moves on, it wouldn't surprise me to see him climb up draft boards. He'll be a solid fit to the young team Cleveland is building. 


27. Golden State Warriors (via SA): Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

Another draft pick purely for depth purposes, Nicholson will serve as a reliable backup, and in time he could develop into a full-time starter depending on the moves the franchise makes in the next couple offseasons. 


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

Miami doesn't need a star player with this pick, but rather a well-rounded player that can handle adversity. Green is the perfect fit for the Heat, as he'll step off the bench and provide the team with a great burst. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Evan Fournier, SG, France

The only international player likely to be selected in the first round, Fournier is a solid shooter who will be a good addition to the deep Thunder team. 


30. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

Another pick for insurance, the Bulls drafting Teague ensures that if anything happens to Derrick Rose, Chicago has good facilitators behind him to help the team win.  




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