2012 NBA Mock Draft: Sure-Fire Sleepers Ready to Make an Impact

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2012

Everyone knows the big stars of the 2012 NBA draft class, but there are some lesser-known players that have the tools to make a name for themselves at the next level. 

Not every prospect will thrive in the NBA. It's the unfortunate truth that many of the players need to realize before they embark on a new chapter in their life. 

However, there will be star players from this draft class, and some of them might just be guys you never saw coming. 

That being said, here's my 2012 NBA mock draft with info on each pick and a more in-depth look at some of this year's sleepers. 


2012 NBA Mock Draft


1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

The consensus No. 1 prospect in the draft, Davis will have little to no trouble tearing it up in his rookie campaign. 


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

With John Wall by his side, Kidd-Gilchrist will have plenty of chances to excel at the next level, and he'll definitely make the most of his opportunity.  


3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

The Cavs would really love to get Beal, but it's probably going to depend on where they end up in the lottery. Last year, the ball bounced their way, so it will be interesting to see if they get lucky again. 


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

Robinson will add size, strength and superb power down low for the Hornets, which will help them take a step towards becoming a contender in the league. 


5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C, UConn

Drummond is a boom-or-bust prospect, but the Kings will take the gamble on him and hope for the best. They need more size, and hopefully, Drummond's presence will help DeMarcus Cousins improve as well. 


6. Portland Trail Blazers (via NJ): Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

Lillard isn't a top-notch facilitator, but he does know how to distribute. He was counted on to score more in college, but at the next level, he'll still do a tremendous job of making those around him better, as well as putting points on the board, a la Derrick Rose style, if you will. 


7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

The Warriors have options here, but if the lottery isn't kind to them, this pick may end up going back to the Jazz. Should they end up at No. 7 or better, the Warriors would be wise to add a skilled forward, and Barnes is the best available right here. 


8. Toronto Raptors: Perry Jones III, F, Baylor

The Raptors need help all over, but drafting a skilled and versatile forward like Jones would be a smart move despite the fact he's had some ups and downs during his college career. 


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

Sullinger is a beast down low, and he'll be an excellent addition to the Pistons, a team in dire need of help just about everywhere. 


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

Kendall Marshall makes all those around him much better. He sees the floor well, and he'll work wonders in New Orleans. He won't be a Chris Paul-level of talent for the Hornets, but he'll help them win more games. 


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

Zeller dominates the glass, which the Blazers will love to have on their team. He'll give Portland some much-needed size to better the depth on the team. 


12. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

Jones is a well-rounded player who is the best available right here, which is why the Bucks will select him instead of taking the gamble on a center. 


13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, G, Duke

Rivers has a great deal of hype to live up to, but there's no denying his skills. With Steve Nash most likely leaving for free agency, the Suns have to get guard help, and Rivers would be a terrific fit. 


14. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

Leonard needs work, but the potential to dominate in the NBA is there. Since the Rockets have two first-round picks, they can afford to take the risk on the seven footer. 


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

Ross is a great shooter, and he'll waste no time in providing the 76ers with great energy off the bench. 


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

Henson will be highly coveted for his superb defensive skills. He needs to hone his offensive game more, but he ability to defend is what makes him so enticing. 


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

Wroten was one of the many freshman phenoms from this past season, and this sleeper pick has the potential to be a stud in the NBA. 

Listed at 6'5", 205 pounds, Wroten has exceptional size for his position. He does need some work, but he's young and has time to develop into a major threat. 

With Jason Kidd getting up there in age, Wroten would be a fantastic addition for the Mavericks. He'll contribute strong right from the start, eventually taking over the starting role and helping Dallas stay on top. 


18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

Teaming up with Ricky Rubio would really help Lamb's game. He can create his own shot and get to the hoop, but having Rubio on his side will result in way more scoring opportunities for Lamb. 

Minnesota' biggest need is at the two-guard spot, and they'll love to get a sleeper like Lamb.

The forwards are stealing the show in this draft, but when it's all said and done, Lamb has the potential to be one of the biggest stars of this draft class. 


19. Orlando Magic: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

Melo is a boom-or-bust prospect who needs work, but the Magic won't hesitate in adding him for extra insurance for Dwight Howard


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

The Nuggets have plenty of options, but if they're smart, they'll draft Moultrie to ensure the team's depth is loaded with talent. 


21. Boston Celtics: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

Doron Lamb knows how to shoot the ball and shoot it well. He's taken a backseat to the other stars of Kentucky, but the kid can flat-out play. 

In big games for the Wildcats this past season, Lamb delivered in high-pressure situations, hitting clutch shots to ensure Kentucky won the game. 

He'll do exactly the same while in the NBA. Listed at 6'4", 210 pounds, Lamb is highly dangerous from beyond the arc, and he'll help brighten up the future for the Celtics, who end up getting a steal in Lamb.  

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

The Celtics need to upgrade their roster with youth, and the draft is the perfect place for that. Boston has to find a great scorer, as well as add more size, which is why White would be the ideal pick for the Celtics at No. 22. 


23. Atlanta Hawks: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Taylor can defend multiple positions, and with some extra work on his jump shot, he has the potential to be an exceptional player someday. Learning from Josh Smith will really help Taylor's game, which will be crucial since he would be likely to replace Smith someday. 


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

Harkless needs some work, but he's young and will only keep getting better. 

Listed at 6'8", 208 pounds, this guard/forward hybrid has the skills to take the NBA by storm. Joining the Cavs would give him the chance to step on the court and start thriving. 

Harkelss can come off the bench and provide a great spark for Cleveland as he hones his craft to become a full-time starter fairly soon. 


25. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

The Grizzlies have several ways to go with this pick, but adding a skilled shooting guard like Waiters will significantly help the depth of the team, which will lead to more wins and help the team in the postseason. 


26. Indiana Pacers: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

The Pacers might look to add depth to the backcourt here, but adding size to the frontcourt with Ezeli would be their best bet.

He's a sleeper pick who needs more time to develop, but his potential to shine bright is definitely there. 


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

Green will be asked to come off the bench for Miami and perform at a high level, and he is fully capable of doing that plus more for the Heat. 


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

The Thunder's draft pick this year will be solely used to help the depth on the team, and selecting an international player for the future would be their best bet. 


29. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

Teague will give the Bulls tremendous insurance at the point guard position. Derrick Rose's body keeps getting banged-up all over, so bringing in another solid point guard is a must. 


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

This could potentially be the Warriors' only first-round pick, and if so, they have to make sure they don't draft a bust-type player here. Nicholson will serve as a fine backup to David Lee, giving the team fantastic depth moving forward. 




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