2012 NBA Mock Draft: Austin Rivers and More Busts Waiting to Happen
Even though the 2012 NBA draft class has a lot of talent and depth, there are players, such as Austin Rivers of Duke, who could certainly turn out to be busts.
Rivers is one player in this class—and there are several of them—who needs another year in college basketball to develop their talents to the max.
Let's look at a fresh first-round mock draft.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
With Anthony Davis being named to the training camp roster for Team USA basketball, it's clear that he's already viewed as someone who's ready to compete with and against top talent.
2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can play well at both ends of the floor and will add some much-needed scoring and all-around play to a struggling Washington Wizards franchise that is a wreck right now.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The Cavaliers need an NBA-ready player who can turn them into a playoff contender next season, because right now they are close to competing for a No. 8 or 7 seed. Robinson would be a great fit because of his rebounding.
4. New Orleans Hornets: Andre Drummond, Connecticut
Andre Drummond did not have the dominating impact as a freshman at UConn that most people imagined he would have had, but there's no denying that he's an enormous talent worth taking in the top five of the first round.
5. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
The Sacramento Kings really need a superstar talent to help draw more fans and help attendance numbers. Harrison Barnes has this potential, especially offensively.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey): Austin Rivers, Duke
Austin Rivers has the potential to be a very good scorer in the NBA if he's drafted into the right situation. However, the best decision for his future would have been to stay at Duke for another year.
He's not a pure point guard because his playmaking skills aren't top-tier, and he's not a legitimate shooting guard since he doesn't have a lot of size.
Rivers will be a good player, but it's going to take longer for him to develop into a star guard than Brad Beal.
7. Golden State Warriors: Perry Jones III, Baylor
Baylor Bears star Perry Jones III will be an NBA star in a few years as his body gets stronger and he gains more experience against top talent.
8. Toronto Raptors: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
The Raptors need more defense from the power forward position, especially if they choose a guard with their top-five lottery pick. Sullinger might not be a superstar player, but he will be a solid pro right from the start.
9. Detroit Pistons: Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
The Pistons need more size up front, so selecting an NBA-ready player such as Moultrie would be a solid choice at pick No. 9.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
With the Chris Paul era now firmly behind them, the Hornets need to find another pure point guard for the future. Kendall Marshall is a great playmaking talent and should be available at No. 10.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal could be the big-time scorer the Portland Trail Blazers desperately need to continue their rise as a Western Conference playoff contender.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
The Milwaukee Bucks need some depth at the center position, because you cannot compete in the Eastern Conference without a strong center.
Tyler Zeller of North Carolina is the best guy available here.
13. Phoenix Suns: Damian Lillard, Weber State
If Kendall Marshall is off the board at this point, then Damian Lillard becomes the next best option for the Phoenix Suns as they look for the future replacement for Steve Nash.
14. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
Lamb is a good shooting guard who will contribute steady offense to the team that drafts him. He won't dominate defensively, however.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: John Henson, North Carolina
Henson is going to be a very good NBA player, but he must add some strength if he's going to compete on a nightly basis with strong NBA power forwards and centers. Defensively, he could be a star as a rookie right from the start.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Terrence Jones, Kentucky
The Rockets need a player who has versatility and who can score the basketball on a consistent basis from the small forward spot. Terrence Jones is a raw talent who can do these things for them.
Jones didn't improve to the level many thought he would when he decided to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season.
He played well last season for the national champs, but wasn't one of the four most important players on the roster. Ross could turn out to be a bust and would have been better served returning to the Wildcats for a third collegiate season.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Terrence Ross, Washington
Terrence Ross can come into a contender like the Mavericks and earn playing time with his strong defense and intelligent play.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Leonard satisfies the Timberwolves' need for a strong center who can be a strong compliment to Kevin Love at the power forward spot.
19. Orlando Magic: Quincy Miller, Baylor
The Magic need more size and scoring from their power forward spot, because right now it's a position that is used on the perimeter as a shooting option. That's not winning basketball.
Orlando needs someone like Quincy Miller, who will bang on the boards and not be pushed around inside.
20. Denver Nuggets: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
The Nuggets play an exciting, fast-paced, high-scoring style that perfectly suits Dion Waiters of Syracuse. However, his weak defense is a real concern because the Nuggets as currently constructed don't have much defensive talent.
Waiters played with a lot of good players at Syracuse, including a very strong defender at center in Fab Melo, who could clean up Waiters' mistakes on the perimeter.
Waiters needs to be a better one-on-one defender or he will be a major bust and won't get much playing time as a rookie.
21. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
JaJuan Johnson hasn't gotten many minutes this season as a rookie power forward, but the Celtics need more frontcourt depth given their lack of youth at the power forward and center positions.
22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Moe Harkless, St. John's
The Celtics badly need a center to take over the team long-term. While there won't be much quality at center at pick No. 22, Harkless does have some good defensive talent that would fit in Boston.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Doron Lamb, Kentucky
The Hawks don't have a lot of young scoring talents at the guard positions, and Lamb is someone who can play well at both ends of the floor on a consistent basis.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Royce White, Iowa State
Royce White has little offensive potential, but he would satisfy the Cavaliers' need for stronger interior defense.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten, Washington
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
The Pacers are a young team with strong frontcourt depth, but they need a scoring point guard who can give the team offense when Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert are having off nights.
27. Miami Heat: Fab Melo, Syracuse
Miami's biggest weakness is at the center position, because Joel Anthony cannot be your starting center if you want to win an NBA championship.
Melo is a strong rebounder, which is certainly something that would benefit the Heat.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Evan Fournier, France
Evan Fournier can be a very productive offensive player with his consistent outside shooting at the 2-guard spot. His defense needs work, but his raw offensive talent is really impressive.
29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
Jenkins would be a smart option for the Chicago Bulls' shooting guard woes, because veteran Richard Hamilton isn't going to be a dependable offensive player for much longer.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt
The Warriors need to get value at the end of the first round, which means drafting someone like Jeff Taylor, who has good all-around skills, is a smart choice.
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