2012 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Every Team's First Pick

Jay Wierenga@@JayWierengaCorrespondent IMay 31, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Predictions for Every Team's First Pick

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    It is getting to be that time again!

    For the four teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs, the season at hand is still important.

    But for the remaining 26 squads and their fans, the focus has already been turned to next year.

    Perhaps the biggest component of future planning for next year's squads hinges on the NBA draft. And the biggest component of the draft hinges on tonight's draft lottery. 

    Here is a breakdown of what each of the 30 teams should be thinking about heading into the draft, and predictions on who each team will select.

New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

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    No matter what, this will happen. He's the most sure thing No. 1 since LeBron.

Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

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    Best Case Scenario

    Someone in New Orleans has a nervous breakdown and they pass on Davis.

    But in all seriousness, the Bobcats are pretty well set in their back court with last year's picks, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.

    They also have Bismack Biyombo manning the middle.

    What they really need is more athleticism on the wings, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could become a very good player.

    There really isn't a worst case scenario since everyone knows who will be the first pick.

Washington Wizards: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

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    Best Case Scenario

    The first two picks go as planned, and the Wiz have their choice of the best backcourt player in Bradley Beal or the second best power forward in Thomas Robinson.

    Robinson represents the greater combination of talent and skill.

    Nene will man the middle, but they need more help at the 4. Robinson could become a star in this league.

    Worst Case Scenario

    If Robinson goes No. 2, Wiz could have troubles.

    Bradley Beal is the next logical choice, and he probably has to go here. But he doesn't fill a need, so if they grab Beal, they either have to deal Henderson or make Beal a super sub.

    Another option could be Andre Drummond.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

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    Best Case Scenario

    Bradley Beal is the ideal fit to Kyrie Irving. He can score in a number of ways, has deep range and is a willing defender.

    Worst Case Scenario

    If Beal is gone, the Cavs are going to have a tough decision in front of them, especially if Robinson is still on the board.

    Most likely, one or the other is gone. If Beal is gone, Robinson has to be taken, even though the Cavs love Tristan Thompson, last year's second pick.

    An outside chance goes to Andre Drummond here, who could be a legit center.

Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

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    Best Case Scenario

    If Bradley Beal, MKG and Andre Drummond are picked up in the top four, Robinson would fit Sacto to a tee.

    DeMarcus Cousins is destined to be a center, and with Robinson helping to carry the load on defense, he could become one of the best centers in the league.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Drummond and Robinson go after Davis and MKG, and the Kings have the difficult prospect of staring Beal in the face.

    They already have a stud at shooting guard in Tyreke Evans, so they don't have a need here. Harrison Barnes could be an option, but then what would they do with Marcus Thornton?

Portland Trail Blazers: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

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    Best Case Scenario

    Everyone above them passes on Drummond, and the huge big man falls to Portland.

    Drummond pairs perfectly with LaMarcus Aldridge. He is huge, athletic and has the potential to become an All-Star center.

    Worst Case Scenario

    In all honesty, the Blazers have no worst case scenarios. They also have the No. 11 pick, so they basically have two shots at getting this right.

    They have needs at shooting guard, so if Beal slips, they will be happy. If Drummond is gone, Barnes could also be an option.

Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

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    Best Case Scenario

    There might not be a better fit in this draft outside of Anthony Davis to New Orleans.

    The Warriors need an athletic wing who can shoot, and Barnes will most definitely be here.


    Worst Case Scenario

    There really is no likely scenario in which Barnes comes off the board before here. I think, outside of some crazy occurrence, Barnes ends up here.

Toronto Raptors: Perry Jones, F, Baylor

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    Best Case Scenario

    Someone is infatuated with Perry Jones and takes him in the top six.

    This leaves Toronto with Harrison Barnes, an elite scorer.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The lottery plays out like it should, and the Raps are left to contemplate either Jared Sullinger, Dion Waiters or Damian Lillard.

    In that scenario, they need to go with Sullinger. Sure, the Raps have some big men on the roster, but Sullinger is just too good to pass up.

Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond, C, UCONN

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    Best Case Scenario

    Hopefully for Detroit, everyone ahead of them will lose their wits. It isn't far-fetched to believe.

    Drummond would be the ideal fit for Detroit.

    Worst Case Scenario

    All the elite bigs are gone, and Detroit has to settle for either Tyler Zeller or John Henson.

    Either of those guys would be serviceable, but neither would be the game changer Detroit needs.

Milwaukeen Bucks: Perry Jones, F, Baylor

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    Best Case Scenario

    The rest of the lottery plays out well, and nobody bites on the high risk, high reward forward from Baylor.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Should Jones be off the board, it would make sense for Milwaukee to think about Jared Sullinger here. They need bigs, and Sullinger might be the most talented of the second tier.

Phoenix Suns: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

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    Best Case Scenario

    Sullinger slides due to his lack of size, and the Suns are waiting right there.

    Obviously if Nash sticks around, this will be ideal.

    But even if he doesn't, the Suns will have a court leader.

    Worst Case Scenario

    All the good bigs are gone, and the Suns have to pick up a second-tier big man. No matter what, this team is in a position to succeed.

Houston Rockets: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Rockets need a big-time rebounder, and ideally, they will get a shot at Moultrie.

    Tyler Zeller would be great here as well, but he likely won't fall this far.

    Moultrie, though still somewhat raw, averaged nearly 11 rebounds per game last year, and that's just scratching the surface of his ability.

    Worst Case Scenario

    There is a run on bigs, and they are stuck with yet another swing-man. At this point, it is too high to grab someone like Leonard, Nicholson or Fab Melo, so their best bet at this point would be someone like Terrence Jones, Royce White or Moe Harkless.

    Hopefully this pick could be used to bolster a trade for a big since Houston desperately needs a young big man.

Philadelphia 76ers: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

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    Best Case Scenario

    Zeller falls from a potential Top 10 pick into the Sixers' lap.

    Zeller is exactly what Philly needs. He is big, athletic and can block shots. He runs the court well, and he can rebound in traffic.

    Worst Case Scenario

    There is a run on bigs, and Philly is stuck selecting yet another guard, potentially someone like Dion Waiters, Doron Lamb or Terrence Ross. 

    Sure, they could always reach for someone like Meyers Leonard or Andrew Nicholson, but the smart money is always to grab the best available player and sort everything out later via trades.

Dallas Mavericks: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

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    Best Case Scenario

    Sullinger, who has had some detractors due to the fact he plays below the rim and has had weight issues in the past, free falls all the way out of the lottery.

    Dallas likely will get their point guard via free agency, and while they wouldn't mind getting more athletic, Sullinger is just too talented not to grab.

    Sullinger would provide a post scoring option off the bench initially, and his passing ability would pair well with Dirk Nowitzki as a high-low scoring punch.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Sullinger and all of the other ready-to-play talents are off the board, and they are stuck with a project like Austin Rivers or Moe Harkless.

    Sure, these guys could become good pros eventually, but Dallas wants a quick re-boot to take another shot at a title with Dirk.

Minnesota Timberwolves: John Henson, PF, North Carolina

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    Best Case Scenario

    Teams are frightened by Henson's lack of size (and comparisons to Ed Davis), and they let the Tar Heel slip.

    With Minnesota, Henson will have time to develop and gain strength. He will become a situational bench player who contributes as a shot-blocking presence and rebounder.

    Worst Case Scenario

    They draft yet another point guard, perhaps Kendall Marshall or Marquis Teague.

    This seems unlikely given Ricky Rubio's emergence, but who knows with the Wolves.

    Other less than stellar options include drafting yet another project as a shooting guard like Austin Rivers or another tweener like Terrence Jones.

Orlando Magic: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

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    Best Case Scenario

    Sullinger slips even further than was previously thought, and he ends up in Orlando.

    Sure, Sullinger reminds some people of Glen Davis, who Orlando already owns.

    But Sullinger is a rich man's Davis. Sullinger is a better passer, rebounder and has much better instincts.

    If the Magic are able to keep Dwight Howard in town, Sullinger surely would be an ideal fit next to him.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The bigs are gone, and they end up with someone like Kendall Ross or Kendall Marshall. Orlando has plenty of holes to fill, but their biggest needs right now are tied to keeping Howard happy.

    Bringing in someone who could help in a year or two might make the franchise better in the long run, but they don't help management keep their franchise player in town next year.

Denver Nuggets: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

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    Best Case Scenario

    Teams are scared off by Jones' maturity issues, lack of focus and uneven play and let the former Portland-area forward slip down the charts.

    Sure, those are all valid issues with Jones, but on the right team, he could flourish.

    Denver, with its mature core of players and George Karl at the helm, could help Jones become a star in this league and give the team their first legit scoring small forward since Carmelo Anthony left town.

    Worst Case Scenario

    If Jones is gone, Denver needs to focus on the best player available, regardless of position. They have plenty of options, but the back court makes the most sense.

    Austin Rivers, if he is still on the board, could be an option, but Tony Wroten Jr. could be a choice as well.

Boston Celtics: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Celtics have a ton of issues, so there are plenty of options here. Leonard is ideal should he still be there at 21. He is big, loves to play defense and has underrated athleticism.

    Worst Case Scenario

    There really isn't a worst case with the Celtics.

    They need to get younger, bigger and more athletic. No matter who is on the board, they will be fine.

Atlanta Hawks: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

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    Best Case Scenario

    Marshall slips, and the Hawks finally have a good point guard when they select at No. 23.

    The Hawks have lacked a clear direction, and Marshall is a leader who can help bring this team together.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The Hawks end up with either the option of getting a second-tier point guard like Tony Wroten Jr. or the picked-over remains of big men, perhaps Andrew Nicholson.

Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse

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    Best Case Scenario

    Waiters slips, and the Grizzlies have a dynamic, attacking shooting guard who makes O.J. Mayo expendable.

    Worst Case Scenario

    All the guards are gone, and Memphis has to go with a swing-man or big man.

    Nicholson, Melo or Royce White could be options here.

Indiana Pacers: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

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    Best Case Scenario

    Marshall slips in a draft that is weak at the point guard position.

    Worst Case Scenario

    There aren't any good guards available, and Indy has to bring in another project big man. Nicholson, Melo or maybe even Festus Ezeli could be options here.

Miami Heat: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Heat need size up front, especially physical big men.

    Melo could become the front court beast Miami needs. Sure, he isn't great on offense, but he is a big body and could help the Heat on defense.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The Heat need size, and in a pinch, they will have to deal with a swing-man. Someone like Royce White or maybe Draymond Green could fit.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

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    Best Case Scenario

    Teams think Miller is a project and pass on the small forward.

    OKC needs another athletic swing-man, and Miller could be a super sub.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The semi-bigs are gone, and OKC has to take another combo guard.

Chicago Bulls: Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Bulls need perimeter shooting, and Taylor would give them that.

    Worst Case Scenario

    They are stuck drafting a combo guard who likely won't help much this year.

Utah Jazz: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Jazz need a shooting guard, and they have been trying to fill that spot for years.

    Jenkins can score, defend and shoot.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Shooting guard is off the table, and the Jazz are forced to grab yet another big man.

New York Knicks: Draymond Green, F, Michigan State

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Knicks find Mr. Green waiting around, and they pluck up the charismatic leader with the ability to rebound and score at ease.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The Knicks, yet again, are forced to pick up a swing-man who flies under the radar.

LA Clippers: William Buford, SG, Ohio State

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    Best Case Scenario

    When the Clips finally draft, they will have a shot at a scoring guard. They have options on the roster, but none are mind-blowing.

    Worst Case Scenario

    They can take another undersized small forward.

San Antonio Spurs: Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Spurs get lucky and a swing-man with athleticism falls to them.

    They don't need much, but another poor man's Kawhi Leonard wouldn't hurt.

    Worst Case Scenario

    The Spurs are so set up, they really can't go wrong. A big wouldn't hurt, but it isn't essential.

Brooklyn Nets: Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse

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    Best Case Scenario

    There are still some athletes available when the Nets draft. They need guys who can fill the lane in the fast-break offense, and Joseph can do that.

    Worst Case Scenario

    They settle on a backup point guard who can't shoot.

LA Lakers: Darius Miller, SF, Kentucky

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    Best Case Scenario

    The Lakers pick up a scorer who is coming from a winner.

    Worst Case Scenario

    It's a late pick, so who really expects it to be good?