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2012 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Edition 1st-Round Projections

Greg SwartzCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterMay 28, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Edition 1st-Round Projections

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    As the NBA draft lottery draws nears, we will soon know exactly where every team will be selecting the league's future stars.

    While the Charlotte Bobcats, owners of the league's worst record, have the best shot at landing the top overall pick, every team's placement is far from guaranteed.  

    Here is an updated NBA mock draft showcasing where every team will pick in the first round, pre-lottery edition.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 blocks

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 220 pounds

     

    Davis represents the most upside of any player in the draft. His best qualities are his length and feel for the game.

    He might get pushed around a little bit at center, but at power forward, he could immediately enter as one of the best defensive players in the game.

2. Washington Wizards: Thomas Robinson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists

    School: Kansas

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 237 pounds

     

    Robinson was the second-best player in college basketball this season, so it's only natural that he go second in the draft.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is tempting, but after drafting two small forwards in Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely in the first round last year, the Wizards would be foolish to pass on a stud power forward.

    The inside-outside combination of John Wall and Robinson, coupled with the young wings and Nene at center, could make the Wizards a playoff team in the Eastern Conference next year.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, two assists

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 232 pounds

     

    Despite playing mostly small forward at Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist was often tasked with guarding the opponent's best wing player, even if it was their point guard.

    This versatility on defense, coupled with a tireless work ethic and outstanding attitude, should only translate to 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: Andre Drummond, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks

    School: UConn

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 270 pounds

     

    A huge risk, yes, but centers of his size and athletic ability don't come around very often.

    If they are able to re-sign Eric Gordon, New Orleans could build a great inside-outside combination with him and Drummond. Drafting Drummond would also allow Emeka Okafor to move back to power forward, a move that should help the oft-injured big man extend his career.

    But is Drummond the next Dwight Howard, or the next Greg Oden? Only time will tell.

5. Sacramento Kings: Jared Sullinger, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists 

    School: Ohio State

    Year: Sophomore

    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 jumpers. 

    With Sullinger and DeMarcus Cousins roaming the paint, even the best post defenders would have their hands full on a nightly basis.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Bradley Beal, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists 

    School: Florida

    Year: Freshman

    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 to bring on board.

    Wesley Matthews disappointed last year and was bumped from the starting lineup at times. Beal would help the Trail Blazers solidify their shooting guard position for years to come.

7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, one assist

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 215 pounds

     

    The Warriors have a potential fix at every position except for small forward. It only makes sense they select possibly the best small forward in the entire draft.

    Barnes is an excellent spot-up shooter who could help spread the floor for Golden State, and with a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Warriors could possibly contend for a playoff spot next season. 

8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Jones, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.5 points, seven rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 252 pounds

     

    An athletic combo forward, Jones could start right away or contribute off the bench in Toronto playing either forward position.

    With the right coaching and development, Jones could become a Lamar Odom-like talent with his versatile scoring and rebounding. 

9. Detroit Pistons: Tyler Zeller, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks 

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 7'0", 250 pounds

     

    Detroit gets a true seven-footer with great post moves coming from one of the premier programs in college basketball.

    With the Pistons, Zeller's main job would be to rebound and block shots, which goes right along with his scouting report. 

    Adding Zeller to the fold would also allow Greg Monroe to move to power forward full time. 

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Jeremy Lamb, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists

    School: UConn

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 180 pounds

     

    Getting a player like Lamb this late is a great value, as he likely would have been a Top-Five pick in last year's draft class.

    A great shooter with a tremendous wingspan, Lamb could be the next Rip Hamilton.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, PG/SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, four assists

    School: Weber State

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 pounds

     

    Lillard is a dynamic, do-it-all guard who could inject some scoring into Portland's offensive attack. 

    Lillard would likely be pushed into a starting point guard role, as the Blazers struggled to find a full-time answer at the position last season.

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Meyers Leonard, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Illinois

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 7'1", 245 pounds

     

    The Bucks are fairly deep at every position but center. Drafting Leonard might be a bit of a reach, but his size and length could make for a very balanced Bucks lineup.

    Leonard may take a few years, but he could develop into an above-average center in the NBA. He already has the size to immediately contribute on the defensive end.

13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists 

    School: Duke

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 pounds

     

    Rivers is too talented to fall much farther than this.

    A pure scorer who never met a shot he didn't like, Rivers would provide instant offense for the Suns. With Steve Nash likely on his way out, the Suns will need a new face of the franchise, and Rivers has the potential to be just that.

14. Houston Rockets: Perry Jones, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Baylor

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 pounds

     

    Turned off by a lack of motor, teams pass on Jones enough for him to fall to 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 he made no significant improvements in his sophomore year, and this is a deeper class. 

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, PF/C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists 

    School: Mississippi State

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds

     

    A great athlete whom some project to go in the first 10 picks of the draft, Moultrie would be a great fit in Philly with his size and rebounding skills.

    Backing up Elton Brand or being groomed into a starting center, Moultrie's upside is too great to leave on the bench for long.

16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Terrence Ross, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists 

    School: Washington

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 195 pounds

     

    An excellent shooter coming off screens, Ross has great range and is a capable rebounder as well.

    Despite being a tweener on the wing—a bit slow by shooting guard standards and slightly undersized for a small forward—Ross should become a solid contributor over the long haul. 

17. Dallas Mavericks: Quincy Miller, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    School: Baylor

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 210 pounds

     

    Miller is making an extremely questionable decision leaving Baylor after only one season, as he could have really stood out as the go-to guy for the Bears next year. 

    Be that as it may, Miller still has star potential if a team develops him the right way.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Tony Wroten, PG/SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.7 points, five rebounds, 3.6 assists 

    School: Washington

    Year: Freshman

    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: Kendall Marshall, PG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 pounds

     

    Marshall won't be an elite point guard by any stretch, but he is fundamentally sound and the best pure floor general in the draft.

    His impact on the court was evidenced by UNC's struggles in the NCAA tournament after he went down with a fractured wrist.

20. Denver Nuggets: Marquis Teague, PG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists 

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 189 pounds

     

    A score-first point guard with a quick first step, Teague is the latest Kentucky point guard looking to make some noise in the NBA.

    A decent defender, Teague must improve on his low field-goal (41 percent) and free-throw (71 percent) percentages to excel at the next level.

    Andre Miller will be a free agent, and Denver will need to find a replacement for its backup point guard spot.

21. Boston Celtics: John Henson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.9 blocks

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 220 pounds

     

    An athletic, lanky shot-blocker and rebounder, Henson instantly would become a defensive presence in the Boston frontcourt.

    With some added muscle, Henson could see some time at center, but for now he projects as a power forward at the NBA level.

22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Moe Harkless, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    School: St. John's

    Year: Freshman

    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.

    As a freshman, Harkless exhibited a nice mid-range game and put up great rebounding numbers. The 18-year-old shows a feel for the game far beyond his age.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Fab Melo, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks 

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds

     

    Atlanta needs a true center like Melo so it can move Al Horford back to power forward and use Josh Smith as a trade chip. 

    Melo would give the Hawks a strong defensive presence inside and would add some much-needed size to their frontcourt. 

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Festus Ezeli, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, two blocks

    School: Vanderbilt

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 255 pounds

     

    After taking a wing player in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with their first pick, the Cavs address their need at center with Ezeli.

    A power dunker and shot-blocker, Ezeli doesn't have the highest of ceilings, but he represents a good value at this stage of the draft.

    His defensive contribution would be immediate, and Cleveland needs an insurance clause for the fragile Anderson Varejao.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists 

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    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.

    Thankfully for the Grizzlies, Waiters played that same role for the Orange last season as a slasher off the bench.

    Learning how to play NBA defense from Tony Allen won't hurt, either.

26. Indiana Pacers: Evan Fournier, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists (France) 

    School: Poitiers, International

    Age: 19

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 200 pounds

     

    Fournier, the first international prospect of the draft, is a crafty finisher around the rim and would provide the Pacers with another offensive weapon. 

    The 19-year-old is leading his French team in scoring in just his second pro season.

27. Miami Heat: Royce White, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists 

    School: Iowa State

    Year: Sophomore

    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 top big men—something that should definitely help his draft stock moving forward.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists 

    School: Michigan State

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 230 pounds

     

    OKC doesn't need much at this point, but a smart, well-coached player from a top college program certainly wouldn't hurt.

    Green could play either forward position and will bring it every day in practice. He would certainly work for and earn his minutes on the court.

29. Chicago Bulls: Jeffery Taylor, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists 

    School: Vanderbilt

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 pounds

     

    A good scorer thanks to his tremendous athleticism, Taylor brings four years of SEC experience and should help improve Chicago's bench immediately.

30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Andrew Nicholson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 20.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks 

    School: St. Bonaventure

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 220 pounds

     

    A good jump shooter with a great motor, Nicholson has proved to be a capable defender and should immediately improve whatever second unit he lands on.

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