2012 NBA Mock Draft: Biggest Boom-or-Bust Players Bound for Lottery Picks

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats and Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears vie for posession during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA is loaded with superb talent, but some of the prospects being pegged as high draft picks will be incredibly risky picks. 

It comes with every draft, and this year it will be very intriguing to see which athletes live up to expectations and which ones flop. 

Lottery picks are the ones that get the most attention, and rightfully so. They're drafted to help pick a franchise up off the floor, but sometimes they only make matters worse. The unfortunate truth is that not every player selected in the draft will go one to be successful. Some guys will be big busts and others will just become mediocre role players, barely scrapping by around the league. 

With that said, here's my 2012 NBA mock draft with info on each picks and a more in-depth look at the lottery picks who will be the biggest boom-or-bust prospects. 


2012 NBA Mock Draft


1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

The top prospect in the draft, Davis is sure to be a star at the next level. He's the real deal and no matter what team ends up with the top draft pick, it's going to take Davis. 


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

Kidd-Gilchrist is cashing in on a successful freshman season, and with the hype around him being so high, he's going to end up being a top draft pick.

Don't get me wrong, the kid is very talented, but he's also a risky selection early in the lottery. Listed at 6'7", 232 pounds, Kidd-Gilchrist has great size, but he doesn't have a consistent perimeter game, which could be his downfall in the NBA. 

Kidd-Gilchrist has the potential to be a dominant force wherever he ends up, but there is also the risk that he fails to deliver on such high expectations. 


3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

Beal is a great scorer and would be an excellent complement to Kyrie Irving, greatly improving Cleveland's backcourt. 


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

Robinson is a beast in the post, and he'll waste no time in making his presence known around the league. He's a relentless player that never quits, which is something the Hornets will love. 


5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C, UConn

Drummond has all the measurements you want in a NBA big man, but he's young and inconsistent at times, which could be his demise at the next level. 

Listed at 6'11, 275 pounds, Drummond is going to be a high draft pick for a team in desperate need of size.

However, that team has to be wary because Drummond can often settle for terrible shots and doesn't always play as hard as he could. If he changes that in the NBA, he could be very dangerous since he is so athletic.  


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

Lillard was asked to do most of the scoring on his team in college, but with so much more talent around him, he can concentrate more on becoming an all around point guard. He definitely has the skills to become the league's next Derrick Rose


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

Barnes is going to be a stud in the league, and he shouldn't have any issues stepping in for the Warriors and making an immediate impact. 


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

Jones was up one day in college and down the next. That type of inconsistency could ruin him in the pros. 

He'll need to step into the league and assert himself as a powerful force down low, but if he doesn't then he's toast. 

Jones is quite gifted, but his ups and downs in college are a sign that he could be a disastrous lottery pick. 



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

Sullinger is a force to be reckoned with down low, which is exactly what Detroit needs. Granted, the Pistons need help all over, but adding Sullinger to the mix will significantly help them get better. 


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

A fantastic distributor, Marshall knows how to run a team and make those around him better. He'll give the Hornets some much-needed help in the backcourt. 


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

Zeller is one of the best rebounders in the 2012 draft class. He'll provide the Blazers with great depth as they strive to get back to the postseason.  

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

The Bucks will think long and hard about drafting a center here, but with Jones still on the board, his talent is too good to pass up. 


13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, G, Duke

Rivers has been hyped for quite some time now, but there's no guarantee he ends up being a successful guard at the next level. 

The Suns would love to have him, especially if Steve Nash does the expected and bolts via free agency. 

It's a mystery if Rivers is truly ready to take over a NBA team, but nobody can deny that he has great skills. He will be a prospect to watch very closely over the course of the next couple years because he could either be really special or pretty awful. 


14. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

Rounding out the lottery, Leonard would be a good fit for the Rockets. They need size, and even though this is a risky pick, Houston can afford to make it. 

Most times you have a talented seven footer up for grabs, he's going to have "boom or bust" written all over him. Leonard is still raw and could have used another year in school, but he knew his ceiling was high now.

He'll have to get stronger for the next level, or else he'll be tossed around like a little child. 


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

Ross is a great shooter who will give the 76ers solid depth and great energy off the bench. 


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

Henson is coveted for his defensive skills, which happens to be an area the Rockets need to get better at, so this is a no-brainer pick for Houston. 


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

With Jason Kidd getting near the end of his career, drafting his eventual replacement here would be a wise decision. Wroten is a big sleeper in this draft, so keep a watch on him in the coming years. 


18.  Minnesota Timberwolves: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

Speaking of sleepers, Lamb takes a backseat to all the great forwards this draft class has to offer, but that doesn't mean he isn't worth a lottery pick. Pairing up with Ricky Rubio would instantly make him better too. 


19. Orlando Magic: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

The Magic have to draft a center this year, simply because they need insurance for Dwight Howard. Whether he's banged up or no longer on the team, drafting Melo to help the depth for Howard is the ideal move for Orlando. 


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

The Nuggets will be drafting strictly for the depth of the roster here, which means they need to play it smart. Moultrie would be a warm welcome to Denver, helping the Nuggets strive for a championship. 


21. Boston Celtics: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

The Celtics are getting much older in key positions, so this is a crucial draft for them. If the Celtics stay put with both picks in the draft, selecting a talented shooter like Lamb would be a superb move for Boston. 


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

In addition to needing to add a scorer, the Celtics also need to add some power down low. White is insanely talented, but there are some questions about him off the court, which will cause his stock to drop. Still, the Celtics won't pass him up. 


23. Atlanta Hawks: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Josh Smith's future with the Hawks is uncertain, so Atlanta would be wise to draft a skilled small forward such as Taylor. 


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

Harkless is a true sleeper in the draft. He'll be a late-round pick that ends up proving his critics wrong. Cleveland needs a great shooter and defender like Harkless to help push it in the right direction. 


25. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

With O.J. Mayo most likely on his way out, the Grizzlies would be playing it smart by drafting the best able shooting guard, which is Waiters right here. 


26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

The Pacers have to get better at the point position, and with Teague being an Indiana native, he'll be a great addition for the Pacers. He isn't a well-rounded point guard, but he can push the ball up the court and be a terror on defense. 


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

Green doesn't have star status written all over him, but that's perfectly fine for the Heat. They need a guy who can come off the bench and play all over the court, doing the little things to help the team win. Green is the perfect fit for that. 


28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor 

Miller decided to return to school but then changed his mind at the last minute. He could've been a lottery pick with another year in school. The Thunder would love to add such great talent to their depth. 


29. Chicago Bulls: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

The Bulls would love to add point guard insurance for Derrick Rose here, but the top guys are all off the board. Adding a big man like Ezeli is Chicago's next best bet.


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

Nicholson would serve as a solid backup for David Lee, giving the Warriors better depth to work with as they attempt to reach the postseason again. 


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