2012 NBA Mock Draft: How NBA Playoff Picture Reshapes the First Round
With the NBA regular season now completed and playoff excitement and intensity now taking over, we can take a more accurate look at how the 2012 NBA draft will pan out.
With the lottery not until May 30th, the first 14 picks are still in flux, but draft spots for the final 16 teams have now been decided.
How does this, along with a shake-up in the projected lottery, affect the draft?
Let's take a look.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'10", 220 pounds
Like Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts, this is a sure-fire pick.
Davis' best qualities are his length and feel for the game. Not many elite big men grew up as guards before hitting a growth spurt like Davis did, and it's only helped his handle on the game.
Right now, he might get pushed around a little bit if he plays the center position, but at power forward he could immediately enter as one of the best defensive players in the game.
2. Washington Wizards: Thomas Robinson, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Height/Weight: 6'10", 237 pounds
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is tempting, but after drafting two small forwards in Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely in the first round last year and the emergence of Jordan Crawford at shooting guard, the Wizards should go for a power forward stud in Robinson.
The inside-outside combination of John Wall and Robinson coupled with the young wings and Nene at center could easily lead to a playoff team in the Eastern Conference next year.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SG/SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Height/Weight: 6'7", 232 pounds
Despite playing mostly small forward at Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist was often asked to guard the opponent's best wing player, even if it meant their point guard.
This extreme versatility on defense coupled with an awesome work ethic and attitude should only mean continued success at the next level.
Paired with former high school teammate Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers could have an All-Star backcourt for years to come.
4. New Orleans Hornets: Harrison Barnes, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists
School: North Carolina
Height/Weight: 6'8", 215 pounds
Not sold on UConn center Andre Drummond, New Orleans opts for a safer bet in UNC stud Harrison Barnes.
Only the Charlotte Bobcats scored fewer points this season than the Hornets, but the addition of Barnes plus a healthy Eric Gordon would certainly change that.
5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'10", 270 pounds
Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins could be a lethal combination down low.
Drafting the UConn center would mean playing Cousins at the power forward spot, his natural position. It would also be a good fit for Drummond, as he could focus on his defense to begin his career since Sacramento already has a plethora of talented scorers.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Bradley Beal, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Height/Weight: 6'3", 207 pounds
ESPN's Chad Ford has Beal ranked third on his 2012 big board, and for good reason.
His game has been compared to that of Eric Gordon with a touch of Ray Allen, which any NBA team would love as its fifth overall pick.
Wesley Matthews disappointed last year and was bumped from the starting lineup at times. Beal would help them solidify their shooting guard position for years to come.
7. Golden State Warriors: Damian Lillard, PG/SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists
School: Weber State
Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 pounds
The Warriors wanted Harrison Barnes, but with the UNC star off the board, taking any other small forward would be a reach.
Adding Lillard will give them a premier scorer who can play either guard position and provide insurance for any Stephen Curry injuries that might, and probably will, occur.
8. Toronto Raptors: Jared Sullinger, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists
School: Ohio State
Height/Weight: 6'9", 265 pounds
Sullinger plays a game very reminiscent to Kevin Love, as he is an excellent rebounder and scorer around the bucket who can also step out and hit the outside shot.
With Sullinger on board, Andrea Bargnani would be free to hang out near the three-point line more and do what he does best: shoot.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.9 blocks
School: North Carolina
Height/Weight: 6'11", 220 pounds
An athletic, lanky shot-blocker and rebounder, Henson would be the perfect complement to Greg Monroe in the Pistons' frontcourt.
With Henson and the development of Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight and Monroe, Detroit would have a definite eye on the Eastern Conference playoffs.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Tyler Zeller, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks
School: North Carolina
Height/Weight: 7'0", 250 pounds
New Orleans gets a true seven-footer with great post moves coming from one of the premier programs in college basketball.
With the Hornets, Zeller's main job would be to rebound and block shots. He would only occasionally be asked to score, which would fit his game well.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Kendall Marshall, PG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists
School: North Carolina
Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 pounds
The Blazers need a point guard, and Marshall is the best this draft class has to offer. His impact was evidenced by UNC's poor performance in the NCAA tournament after Marshall fractured his wrist.
With Bradley Beal, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge, Marshall wouldn't be asked to do much scoring and could rely on his strength of dishing and getting teammates involved.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Jones, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 6'9", 252 pounds
An athletic combo forward, Jones could contribute off the bench or in a starting role in Milwaukee, playing either forward position.
With the right coaching and development, Jones could become a Lamar Odom-like talent with his versatility, scoring and rebounding.
13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 pounds
Rivers is too talented to fall much further than this. A pure scorer who never met a shot he didn't like, Rivers would provide instant offense for the Suns.
Likely losing Steve Nash, the Suns will need a new face of the franchise, and Rivers has the potential to be just that.
14. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 7'1", 245 pounds
Even if the Rockets choose to bring back Marcus Camby, they'll need a younger center to develop alongside him.
Enter Leonard, who may take a few years, but could develop into an above-average center in the league. He already has the size to contribute immediately on the defensive end.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Jeremy Lamb, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Height/Weight: 6'5", 180 pounds
Lamb is just what Philly needs—a spot-up shooter who can knock down the outside shot and spread the floor for the Sixers' playmakers.
Getting a player like Lamb in the mid first round is a great value, as he would have likely been a top-five pick in last year's draft class.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Terrence Ross, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Height/Weight: 6'6", 195 pounds
Kevin Martin is entering the last year of his contract, and Courtney Lee is a restricted free agent, so Houston could use some insurance at shooting guard.
An excellent shooter coming off screens, Ross has great range and is a good rebounder as well.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Perry Jones, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 pounds
Turned off by a lack of motor and reminded how Anthony Randolph's career is turning out, teams pass on Jones enough for him to fall towards the middle of the first round.
Jones would no doubt have been a top-five pick in last year's draft if he had declared, but due to a deeper class and no significant improvement in statistics from his freshman to sophomore year, he finds himself in a mini free-fall.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Tony Wroten, PG/SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists
Height/Weight: 6'5", 205 pounds
The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Wroten is a great athlete who can do everything well except shoot from deep.
Going in the mid to late first round could be a real steal for whichever team gets him. Minnesota could definitely use an impact shooting guard and should draft Wroten if he's still available.
19. Orlando Magic: Quincy Miller, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Height/Weight: 6'9", 210 pounds
Miller is making an extremely questionable decision leaving Baylor after only one season, as he could have been the go-to guy for the Bears next year and improved his minutes from the 24.4 a game he received this season.
Be that as it may, Miller still has star potential if a team develops him the right way. Orlando is very much a team that could use a star in the upcoming years.
20. Denver Nuggets: Fab Melo, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks
Height/Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds
The Nuggets' offense has been great this season, leading the NBA in points per game at 103.7. Unfortunately, they're also next to last in defense, allowing 101.2 points a game.
With JaVale McGee's status uncertain as he becomes a restricted free agent, the Nuggets should opt for the younger, cheaper version in the former Syracuse center.
Another Melo in Denver might take some getting used to, but at least this one plays defense.
21. Boston Celtics: Arnett Moultrie, PF/C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
School: Mississippi State
Height/Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds
A great athlete who some project to go in the top 10 picks of the draft, Moultrie would be a great fit in Boston with his size and rebounding skills.
Backing up Kevin Garnett or being groomed into a starting center position, Moultire could contribute right away in some manner, as his upside is too great to leave on the bench for long.
22. Boston Celtics: Moe Harkless, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists
School: St. John's
Height/Weight: 6'8", 208 pounds
A talented wing who plays a smooth all-around game, Harkless could be a steal at the end of the first round.
Just a freshman, Harkless exhibited a nice mid-range game and put up great rebounding numbers in his only season at St. John's.
Only 18, he shows a feel for the game far beyond his age.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Taylor, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists
Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 pounds
The Hawks like their athletic forwards, and Taylor has been one of the best in the college game recently.
A good scorer thanks to his tremendous athleticism, Taylor brings four years of SEC experience and should help improve Atlanta's bench immediately.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Festus Ezeli, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'11", 255 pounds
Cleveland took its wing in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with its first pick; now it addresses the need at center with Ezeli.
A power dunker and shot-blocker, Ezeli doesn't have the highest of ceilings, but he should be a good late first-round pick.
His contribution on defense could be immediate, and the Cavs need a true center for Anderson Varejao insurance.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 pounds
Memphis will likely lose O.J. Mayo in free agency this summer and will be looking for someone to fill his role as a sixth-man scoring option.
Just such a player is available for them, as Waiters played that same role for the Orange last season as a scorer/slasher off the bench.
Learning NBA defense from Tony Allen wouldn't hurt either.
26. Indiana Pacers: Royce White, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists
School: Iowa State
Height/Weight: 6'8", 270 pounds
White will most likely end up being an undersized power forward in the NBA, even though some of his skills resemble those of a small forward.
He had some of his best games of the season when matched up with the NCAA's best big men, something that should definitely help his draft stock moving forward.
27. Miami Heat: Evan Fournier, SG/SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists (France)
School: Poitiers, International
Height/Weight: 6'6", 200 pounds
Dwyane Wade is now in his 30s and is starting to show a wear and tear, evidenced by his frequent absences from the Heat's lineup this season.
With the first international prospect of the draft, the Heat select Fournier, who is a crafty finisher around the rim and provides them a nice scoring option behind Wade.
The 19-year-old is leading his French team in scoring in just his second pro season.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists
School: Michigan State
Height/Weight: 6'7", 230 pounds
OKC doesn't need much at this point, but a smart, well-coached senior standout from a top college program certainly wouldn't hurt.
Green could play either forward position and bring it every day in practice. He would certainly work for and earn his minutes on the court.
29. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, PG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Height/Weight: 6'2", 189 pounds
This pick could go between Teague or college teammate Doron Lamb.
Teague may be the preferred choice by the Bulls, however, if they want to develop a solid backup to Derrick Rose.
With the amount of time Rose has spent off the court this season, a little insurance would be a good idea.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Darius Miller, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Height/Weight: 6'8", 225 pounds
Miller is a versatile defender who can match up against three different positions with his size and athleticism.
Consistently overshadowed at Kentucky, Miller did whatever was asked of him and can contribute to the team in a number of ways, including an above-average three-point shot.
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