2012 NBA Mock Draft: Best and Worst Case Scenarios for Every Team
Four weeks from now, the results of Wednesday night's NBA draft lottery will unfold at the 2012 draft. Many options will be explored and scenarios played out between now and then. But now that we know the order in which every team will be picking, we can get a better idea of who is going where.
There is a margin of error for each team, some obviously greater than others. Eventually, this draft, like all others, will be measured by who struck gold and who struck out.
Here is a look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for all 30 teams in this year's NBA draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets
Best Case Scenario: Everyone throughout the organization agrees with what everyone outside the organization has been saying for months: Kentucky's Anthony Davis is the best player in the country and the obvious No. 1 overall selection.
Worst Case Scenario: The guy who delivers the pick to David Stern on draft night trips and breaks his ankle. The Hornets run out time on the clock and forfeit the pick.
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Best Case Scenario: We all get in a time machine, go back in time and the Bobcats win the lottery.
Worst Case Scenario: That's impossible, so they draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and hope for the best.
Best Case Scenario: Bradley Beal, the smooth shooting guard out of Florida, comes in to fill an enormous need for the Wizards and combines with John Wall to form a dynamic, long-term backcourt.
Worst Case Scenario: They trade the pick to Denver for JaVale McGee.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Case Scenario: Bradley Beal falls to them and they pair him up with Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving to form a potentially lethal backcourt.
Worst Case Scenario: They draft North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes, who they were in on last season when Barnes pondered coming out early.
5. Sacramento Kings
Best Case Scenario: The Kings take Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, an excellent player from a winning program who will provide a solid complement to DeMarcus Cousins up front.
Worst Case Scenario: They take UConn center Andre Drummond, who does not provide a good contrast to Cousins and is a major project. The Kings need someone who can contribute now.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
Best Case Scenario: The Blazers take this pick, package it with the No. 11 selection and trade up to either No. 2 or No. 3 to take Bradley Beal, a perfect fit for their team.
Worst Case Scenario: There really isn't one for the Blazers, who are in the best position of anyone besides New Orleans in the entire draft. I guess they could take a budding star who drops out of the league early due to a chronic injury a la Greg Oden.
7. Golden State Warriors
Best Case Scenario: The Warriors solidify depth on their front line with Thomas Robinson (if he falls), Ohio State's Jared Sullinger or North Carolina's John Henson and pray that both Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut are healthy next season.
Worst Case Scenario: Whoever they take has to be the man right off the bat because Curry and Bogut aren't all the way back. As a result, their pick has his growth stunted.
8. Toronto Raptors
Best Case Scenario: The Raptors need size and toughness, so it would serve them well to try and trade up for someone like Thomas Robinson. There's a chance they could snag Jared Sullinger here as well.
Worst Case Scenario: They wind up with neither Robinson nor Sullinger and have to reach for a player like Perry Jones III or settle for a player like like John Henson—a bad fit alongside Andrea Bargnani.
9. Detroit Pistons
Best Case Scenario: The Pistons get a tough perimeter player who can score like Syracuse's Dion Waiters, giving them a very nice three-guard rotation with Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey.
Worst Case Scenario: Not too many for Detroit, a team that started to figure it last season under first-year coach Lawrence Frank. If they take someone like John Henson here, that may feel like settling.
10. New Orleans Hornets
Best Case Scenario: After taking Anthony Davis, New Orleans grabs a potential point guard of the future in North Carolina's Kendall Marshall or Weber State's Damian Lillard.
Worst Case Scenario: They don't match the top offer for restricted free agent Eric Gordon, putting far more onus on Davis and whomever they get here.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
Best Case Scenario: They trade this pick and their sixth-overall selection for a chance at Bradley Beal.
Worst Case Scenario: They stay put and draft Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall if either is still available. If not, UConn's Jeremy Lamb could be a good consolation prize for missing out on Beal.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
Best Case Scenario: Somehow, Jared Sullinger falls to them. He is the ideal fit for the Bucks, given where they are picking, especially after the acquisition of Monta Ellis.
Worst Case Scenario: They end up with John Henson or Perry Jones III, neither of whom would be too bad adding depth to a thin frontcourt.
13. Phoenix Suns
Best Case Scenario: The Suns get lucky and either Damian Lillard or Kendall Marshall, either of whom could be their first attempt at replacing Steve Nash, falls to them. Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters would work here, too.
Worst Case Scenario: They have to reach for a guy like Washington's Terrence Ross, a 2-guard like Lamb or Waiters, but not as polished offensively.
14. Houston Rockets
Best Case Scenario: The Rockets finally get Pau Gasol a season later. The combination of this pick, the No. 16 overall selection and a disgruntled star in Kyle Lowry could wind up playing a role in any number of potential deals.
Worst Case Scenario: They take North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, a more than serviceable player at the spot where they need the most help.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
Best Case Scenario: The Sixers use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand, re-sign free agent Lou Williams and get an athletic forward like Kentucky's Terrence Jones, who can play inside and out.
Worst Case Scenario: They keep Brand, lose Williams and wind up with no one to replace him. Even if they are stuck with Brand and his albatross contract, the Sixers should be looking big man here.
16. Houston Rockets
Best Case Scenario: The Rockets trade this pick and perhaps No. 14 as well to finally land Pau Gasol.
Worst Case Scenario: They are unable to make a deal, hang on to this pick and wind up with someone who overlaps with what they already have like Washington's Terrence Ross or Duke's Austin Rivers.
17. Dallas Mavericks
Best Case Scenario: The Mavs use this pick as part of a package to get Dwight Howard from Orlando. Deron Williams joins Howard as a free-agent signing.
Worst Case Scenario: They miss out of both Howard and Williams. With Jason Terry probably gone as a free agent, getting someone like Austin Rivers or Terrence Ross here wouldn't hurt too badly.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
Best Case Scenario: The Wolves need help on the wing, particularly at the 2. If Austin Rivers is still here, he's the pick. If not, Terrence Ross, or St. John's small forward Moe Harkless would be fine.
Worst Case Scenario: The best-case scenario unfolds, but Ricky Rubio's knee injury lingers and he's not the same player.
19. Orlando Magic
Best Case Scenario: The Magic trade Dwight Howard, hire a quality coach and GM and draft someone who can come in and aid the rebuilding process. A big man like Tyler Zeller or Illinois center Meyers Leonard wouldn't be a bad start, nor would Moe Harkless or Baylor's Quincy Miller.
Worst Case Scenario: They keep Howard and watch him set fire to another season, setting the franchise back even further.
20. Denver Nuggets
Best Case Scenario: The Nuggets keep Andre Miller and draft for depth. Moe Harkless, Quincy Miller or Vanderbilt's Jeff Taylor all fit nicely here.
Worst Case Scenario: Miller goes. If this happens, Denver should be able to recover if it winds up with a point guard like Washington's Tony Wroten or Kentucky's Marquis Teague.
21. Boston Celtics
Best Case Scenario: The Celtics package this pick and the No. 22 overall selection to move up and get someone like Terrence Jones, who can be groomed to succeed Kevin Garnett.
Worst Case Scenario: They stand pat, which would be fine if they address their woefully thin frontcourt with his pick. Syracuse's Fab Melo is very raw, but he is a big man who will come in and contribute right off the bat.
22. Boston Celtics
Best Case Scenario: Again, the Celtics move up and get a player who can make a greater impact than the two they would get if they stay put.
Worst Case Scenario: Again, standing pat. But as mentioned before, this option isn't terrible. Fab Melo, Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie or Jeffery Taylor would all be good gets at No. 22.
23. Atlanta Hawks
Best Case Scenario: Atlanta finally trades Josh Smith and drafts Arnett Moultrie or St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson to help replace him. If the Hawks keep Smith, they should take a skilled wing player like French star Evan Fournier.
Worst Case Scenario: No matter what they do, the Hawks continue to wallow in NBA mediocrity, making the playoffs every year but never moving into the later rounds.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
Best Case Scenario: What the Cavs do with this pick will depend on what they do at No. 4. If they somehow get Bradley Beal up there, they should take a wing player like Jeffery Taylor, Quincy Miller or Evan Fournier. If they take Harrison Barnes, anything could be in play.
Worst Case Scenario: Having to take Fab Melo here. Melo is not horrible, but with Anderson Varajao at center, that is the last spot in which the Cavs need help.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Best Case Scenario: The Grizzlies draft an offensive replacement for O.J. Mayo, who looks like a goner in free agency. Tony Wroten, Evan Fournier or Vanderbilt's John Jenkins could be that guy.
Worst Case Scenario: There is a team-wide breakup due to monetary issues, and whomever the Grizzlies take at No. 25 can do little to help the sinking ship.
26. Indiana Pacers
Best Case Scenario: The Pacers, coming off their best season in years, keep impending free agents Roy Hibbert and George Hill and draft someone like Jeffery Taylor for depth. Andrew Nicholson or Tony Wroten could work here, too.
Worst Case Scenario: Both Hibbert and Hill go, forcing the Pacers to choose someone like Marquis Teague or even Meyers Leonard in an attempt to fill those holes. Hill's departure would also put a lot of pressure on Darren Collison, but might make taking Teague more logical.
27. Miami Heat
Best Case Scenario: Coming off their second championship, the Heat can afford to be prudent and take a low-risk guy like Draymond Green, a seasoned player after four years at Michigan State.
Worst Case Scenario: The Heat blow their 2-0 lead over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals and spend all summer fielding questions as to why they haven't won a title yet, thereby making whomever they draft here a moot point.
28. Oklahoma City
Best Case Scenario: A big man who can score in the post is available when the Thunder pick. Oklahoma City is excellent up front on defense but needs to get better at putting up points down low.
Worst Case Scenario: The window for this team is wide open and will be for years, making whomever they take here not that big of a deal.
29. Chicago Bulls
Best Case Scenario: A shooter or ball handler would be ideal, but the pickings will be slim. John Jenkins or Jeffery Taylor, the duo from Vandy, would both be good values here.
Worst Case Scenario: That already happened at the end of Game 1 of their first-round series against Philly when Derrick Rose went down.
30. Golden State Warriors
Best Case Scenario: Like a few other teams before them in the draft, what the Warriors do here will largely depend on what they do with their first pick at No. 7. Frontcourt depth would be nice—maybe Festus Ezeli out of Vanderbilt could do the trick.
Worst Case Scenario: The Warriors don't get anyone who can help up front and Bogut's injury woes continue to plague him.
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