2012 NBA Draft: Simple Solutions for Every Team in the 1st Round
The deadline for declaration for the draft has passed, and the playoffs have begun, leaving 14 teams to plot which future player they are going to take in the 2012 NBA draft.
The 14 teams left out of the playoff party will enter the lottery, with the Charlotte Bobcats most likely to get the first overall pick this year (25 percent chance).
The picks from Nos. 15-30 are in order of regular season record, with teams tied on record, like Chicago picking ahead of the Spurs, via a coin toss.
For the top 14 picks, I have gone by the order of most likely to win the lottery, giving us Charlotte at the top and the Rockets 14th.
No. 1: Anthony Davis (Charlotte Bobcats)
The Charlotte Bobcats set a new record for tanking, hitting a 23-game losing streak on their way to a 7-59 overall record, good for the NBA's all-time lowest winning percentage of a measly 0.106.
All that will be worth it, however, when the Bobcats take Anthony Davis as the first pick of the 2012 draft.
Davis is an exceptionally rare talent. He seems to have it all: a 6'10'' frame; a 7'3'' wingspan; and the ability to do just about everything—post up, face up, run the ball down the floor, shoot from range, defend, block shots and rebound. Davis has the potential to turn into a basketball superstar.
At the NCAA tournament in March, Davis averaged 15.2 points per game, 11.2 rebounds per game and 4.6 blocks per game as he led the Kentucky Wildcats to their eighth national championship.
For the Bobcats, this pick is elementary. Davis is by far the consensus No. 1 pick, and the Bobcats will take him for that reason and for the reason that he can fit in beside last year's lottery picks Bismack Biyombo at center and point guard Kemba Walker.
No. 2: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Washington Wizards)
The Wizards need someone to come in with an NBA-ready work ethic. They need leadership and toughness.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fits that role perfectly. Anthony Davis' Wildcat teammate represents Washington's best scenario coming out of the draft.
The Wizards need to change the atmosphere around the team as they risk turning John Wall from promising young starlet to wasted talent.
Bradley Beal might be an appealing choice for Washington to pair with Wall, but I'd expect the Wizards to take what is seen as the logical fit.
No. 3: Bradley Beal (Cleveland Cavaliers)
If last year's top pick Kyrie Irving was the first stage of the Cleveland Cavaliers' "Get over LeBron James" rebuilding plan, then getting Bradley Beal at No. 3 this year to complete the backcourt must be stage two.
Beal has much of the same skills as Irving: good ball-handling, the ability to get to the rim and shoot from long range.
A backcourt tandem of Irving and Beal sets the Cavaliers up for a long run with two top young guards.
No. 4: Thomas Robinson (New Orleans Hornets)
The New Orleans Hornets need size. There are a handful of superb big men up for grabs in the 2012 draft, and the Hornets will probably choose between Robinson and the more raw talent, Andre Drummond.
Drummond may be the exciting, risky pick, but when you're dealing with losing the face of the franchise, Chris Paul (trade), and new face of the franchise, Eric Gordon (injury), you want to make sure you end up with a player worth his position in the draft.
Robinson will wind up in New Orleans for the 2012-13 season.
No. 5: Andre Drummond (Sacramento Kings)
As mentioned, Andre Drummond is a raw prospect. Very raw. He has the physique to become on of the league's dominant forces, yet he could not put a run of consistent domination together in his college career.
Sacramento represents the logical landing place for Drummond. The team has a history of taking the risky pick and trying to turn the potential into reality. They did it with DeMarcus Cousins, although it required a coaching change to get there.
A frontcourt of Cousins and Drummond? If I'm an NBA guard, I'm not going into the paint when those two are anywhere near it.
No. 6: Harrison Barnes (Portland Trail Blazers)*
*Via New Jersey Nets
The Trail Blazers are finally in rebuilding mode after saying goodbye to Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby through injury and trade respectively.
Portland simply needs help at all positions, and someone who can come in, shoot the ball well and score in volume will go a long way in turning this franchise around.
No. 7: Perry Jones III (Golden State Warriors)
The Warriors won their coin toss with the Toronto Raptors, giving them the No. 7 pick in the draft.
The Warriors began tanking their way to the lottery when they gave up Monta Ellis for an injured Andrew Bogut and not much else.
Perry Jones III, according to some scouts, has the skills to go as high as the top three depending on the draft order.
Golden State needs a small forward, Jones played that position throughout college and could become a real steal should he live up to his top-three potential.
If this pick falls to No. 8 or lower, they must send this pick to the Jazz.
No. 8: Damian Lillard (Toronto Raptors)
The Raptors struggled with production from their backcourt this season, especially after losing Leandro Barbossa to the Indiana Pacers in a trade.
Damian Lillard can come in, take over some minutes at point guard, run the offense and get some easy scores for a Raptors team that has plumbed the depths of the league since Chris Bosh's departure for South Beach two years ago.
No. 9: Jared Sullinger (Detroit Pistons)
The Detroit Pistons have multiple viable options they can choose to draft this year. They really want some frontcourt depth as they look to escape long-term mediocrity.
Jared Sullinger may be slightly undersized as a 6'9'' power forward, but his ability to score at will and rebound in numbers could tempt the Pistons to grab the Ohio State product.
No. 10: Jeremy Lamb (New Orleans Hornets)
With the Hornets already picking near the top of the draft and likely choosing a big man, they'll go after some backcourt talent with this pick.
Lamb is a mercurial talent, and his position in mock drafts reflect that—some have him going as high as seventh or eighth, while others have him sliding as far as the Dallas Mavericks at No. 17.
No. 11: Tyler Zeller (Portland Trail Blazers)
The Trail Blazers need some size and depth in their frontcourt, which is much easier to draft than to trade for.
Tyler Zeller has a good future ahead of him. He has size, and he can run the court, which is rare for a big man and a good weapon to have.
He's going to be a part of a plan, but not a cornerstone.
No. 12: Meyers Leonard (Milwaukee Bucks)
The Bucks began putting something very interesting together at the trade deadline this season. They traded injury-prone big man Andrew Bogut for Golden State's scoring star Monta Ellis, creating a dynamic backcourt alongside Brandon Jennings.
Ersan Ilyasova had a breakthrough season and is a free agent with a lot of money coming his way. If Milwaukee is able to afford to keep him and draft Leonard, the top out-and-out center in the draft, they have a great unit in the works.
No. 13: Austin Rivers (Phoenix Suns)
The Suns are looking at a future without Steve Nash. They need help at most positions.
Rivers has been projected at the top of the draft for a while but has finally found what looks like a consensus position at No. 13.
He's a scorer. That's good for the team that drafts him.
The red flag is that he has a tendency to look for his shot more than he perhaps should. If he can get his skills to translate to the NBA, he'll excel.
No. 14: John Henson (Houston Rockets)
The Rockets are one of those teams with talent at each position but just not enough of it. For that reason, they'll probably take whoever they think is the best player left on the board.
In Henson, the Rockets can get a player who can change games with his shot-blocking, rebounding and defense.
Drafting a big man allows the Rockets to at least cover the potential trade of Luis Scola.
No. 15: Kendall Marshall (Philadelphia 76ers)
The 76ers need depth in their backcourt. Although Marshall is not a shooting guard, where they need most help, they can twist their minutes about and come to a rotation that benefits everyone.
Marshall is a pass-first point guard, the kind who could come off the bench and run the offense when you need it.
No. 16: Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets)*
*Via New York Knicks
The Rockets will have already taken a big man, but in this draft, there aren't that many good backcourt guys. The Rockets will target more depth behind Luis Scola.
Jones had a great college career with the Kentucky Wildcats and has huge upside for whoever drafts him.
No. 17: Terrence Ross (Dallas Mavericks)
The Mavericks look set to blow it all up again this season after a first-round sweep at the hands of the young, athletic Oklahoma City Thunder.
In Ross, the Mavericks get a three-point marksman to score big as the team looks to rebuild.
No. 18: Dion Waiters (Minnesota Timberwolves)*
*Via Utah Jazz
The Timberwolves have top-level talent in their frontcourt. They have Ricky Rubio at point guard. They need to fill in a hole at shooting guard.
Waiters is far from the scoring threat some of his fellow rookies will be, but he is able to run the floor and has an uncanny ability to get to the rim.
No. 19: Arnett Moultrie (Orlando Magic)
Several mock drafts have Moultrie rising these past few weeks, and I believe some of them might be overcompensating to create some controversy.
Moultrie is a great player and the Magic will likely lose Dwight Howard this summer or next. Moultrie is no center, but he is a legitimate big man.
No. 20: Quincy Miller (Denver Nuggets)
The Denver Nuggets have good depth across the board, which gives them the opportunity to draft who they think is the top player left on the board.
Miller is a good player and can give the Nuggets another valuable young contributor.
No. 21: Fab Melo (Boston Celtics)
Fab Melo is a draft prospect with huge potential upside. The Celtics will grab him to try and undo the damage of the Kendrick Perkins trade. They lost frontcourt depth in that, and Melo can replace it.
The Miami Heat would love Melo to drop to them, but with his upside, I don't see it.
No. 22: Royce White (Boston Celtics)*
*Via Los Angeles Clippers
Royce White is another "big upside" prospect and, if he works out, can save Paul Pierce from some excessive minutes as his career winds down.
White has two huge red flags hanging over him—a suspected anxiety disorder and a fear of flying. If an organisation believes it can deal with these, White could be a steal.
No. 23: Tony Wroten, Jr. (Atlanta Hawks)
Remember when the Hawks took Marvin Williams over Chris Paul in the draft? That was a bad choice.
The Hawks have struggled with point guards ever since, .
Wroten can come in and provide something different—height and strength at a small position. His 6'5'' frame makes him one of the tallest point guards in the league.
However, with a locker room featuring an unhappy Josh Smith, is someone with a bad rep as a teammate exactly what this organisation needs right now?
No. 24: Jeff Taylor (Cleveland Cavaliers)*
*Via Los Angeles Lakers
The Cavaliers can complete a great draft by taking Jeff Taylor with the No. 24 pick.
Taylor plays a position the Cavs could use help at and is a fantastic defender, reminiscent of LeBron James in his ability to defend every position on the court.
No. 25: Moe Harkless (Memphis Grizzlies)
Harkless might go to Cleveland a pick ahead, which means Taylor would fall here.
With O.J. Mayo perhaps moving on, Harkless, with his length, athleticism, scoring ability and defense, can come in and replace at least some of the lost production.
No. 26: Marquis Teague (Indiana Pacers)
The Pacers need backup at the point guard position, and Teague represents the best point guard left in the first round.
He's not an out-and-out point guard, but he has great ball-handling skills and can become a decent defender with the right coach.
No. 27: Draymond Green (Miami Heat)
With teams this low in the draft, the players chosen are unlikely to see significant minutes unless someone suffers an injury.
Green is a guy who can come into the Heat locker room with a winning mentality and the right work ethic and attitude.
When he does play, Green is a bit of a point-forward, a player with great passing touch for his position.
No. 28: Evan Fournier (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Fournier may be the only international player to go in the opening round of this year's draft.
The Thunder will look at Fournier like the Chicago Bulls looked at Nikola Mirotic last year—as a player who can go back to Europe for a year or two before finally coming over to the league when his team requires him.
No. 29: Doron Lamb (Chicago Bulls)
Doron Lamb was a lights-out three-point specialist at Kentucky, a role the Bulls could use more depth at behind Kyle Korver.
Lamb will only see a handful of minutes in blowout losses in his rookie year as the Bulls do not have the time to give him serious minutes.
No. 30: William Buford (Golden State Warriors)*
*Via San Antonio Spurs
The Warriors will again look at the best overall player remaining this late in the first round as the specialists and elite-level talents are all gone.
Buford can give the Warriors a host of skills in the backcourt, allowing head coach Mark Jackson time to figure out how he'll use the young Ohio State product.