2012 NBA Mock Draft: Power Ranking the Impact of Projected Top 10 Picks
Less than an hour after the lottery ended on Wednesday night, Chad Ford of ESPN.com released his first mock draft with the official 2012 draft order.
These are only his preliminary selections, as the pre-draft combine and individual team workouts will undoubtedly alter the appearance of his final mock draft.
As most of us expected, Ford has a pair of former Kentucky Wildcats, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, going No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. The rest of his picks, however, are certainly up for debate.
Here are my power rankings for the impact of each top-10 pick. Keep in mind that the rankings are based on their expected production on the team that selected them in Ford's mock draft.
10. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 7
Projected Team: Golden State Warriors
2010-2011 Statistics: 17.6 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.1 BPG
Jared Sullinger will have the least impact out of any of the top 10 picks, not because of his skills, but because of the lack of playing time he will get with the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors already have David Lee starting at power forward and traded for center Andrew Bogut last season.
There is a strong chance Bogut will get injured considering he hasn't played in all 82 games since his rookie season, but Sullinger will come off the bench unless that happens.
9. Andre Drummond (Connecticut)
Projected Pick: No. 6
Projected Team: Portland Trailblazers
2010-2011 Statistics: 10.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.7 BPG
Andre Drummond was one of the biggest disappointments in college basketball last season.
Time and time again, he didn't show up when his team needed him, most notably in UConn's only game of the NCAA tournament, where he had only two points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.
Playing next to LaMarcus Aldridge, who takes around 17 shots per game, Drummond won't be chucking up too many field goal attempts.
Sullinger may be a better and more proven player than Drummond, but Drummond gets rated higher since he will probably start for the Trail Blazers this season.
8. Damian Lillard (Weber State)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 10
Projected Team: New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves)
2010-2011 Statistics: 24.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.0 APG
Jarrett Jack should be back for the start of next season, but Damian Lillard is the future and will get plenty of playing time with the New Orleans Hornets next season.
Lillard proved in college that he is an exceptional shooter, shooting 41 percent from three last season for Weber State.
He is also a pretty good rebounder for his size, averaging five rebounds per game last season.
His passing still has room for improvement, but even as is, it won't be difficult for him to throw lob passes to the other Hornets rookie who will appear later on this list.
7. John Henson (North Carolina)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 9
Projected Team: Detroit Pistons
2010-2011 Statistics: 13.8 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.9 BPG
John Henson is still pretty skinny and really needs to bulk up once he reaches the next level, but he uses his length to his advantage very well.
Henson should be able to have a huge impact next season playing next to Greg Monroe.
Both players are very tall, which will be extremely difficult for most teams to match up with.
Henson should also be able to have a huge impact on the defensive end playing power forward, since he will be guarding players smaller than him most of the time.
6. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 2
Projected Team: Charlotte Bobcats
2011-2012 Statistics: 11.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.0 APG
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's impact will probably be much bigger off the court than on it.
Kidd-Gilchrist plays with such a high motor that he brings a level of energy that I haven't seen from a college player in a long time.
He will be a huge motivating factor for his teammates, as they will hopefully play up to his energy level, but he is definitely better suited as a complimentary piece rather than a go-to scorer.
Unfortunately, the Bobcats don't really have many pieces who will be playing around him, so Kidd-Gilchrist will be a little out of his element, decreasing his impact next season.
5. Dion Waiters (Syracuse)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 8
Projected Team: Toronto Raptors
2011-2012 Statistics: 12.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.6 APG
NBA scouts have mixed reviews about how successful Dion Waiters will be in the NBA.
You can't deny he is extremely talented on offense, reminding some of Dwyane Wade the way he can shoot as well as drive to the basket, but he also played very little defense in college.
Waiters should still have a huge impact for the Raptors next season anyway, since he can play both guard positions very well.
Dion Waiters' excellent shooting should be the perfect compliment to DeMar Derozan's attack-the-basket style of play.
4. Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 4
Projected Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
2011-2012 Statistics: 17.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
I know most people are down on Harrison Barnes after he didn't quite live up to the hype in college, but I'm not one of those people.
Personally, I believe the Charlotte Bobcats' best move in this draft would be to select Barnes at number two.
He uses his large frame to his advantage and can create his own shot with ease.
This should translate very well to the next level where he will be expected to be a leading scorer for the Cleveland Cavaliers right away.
3. Bradley Beal (Florida)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Projected Pick: No. 3
Projected Team: Washington Wizards
2011-2012 Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.2 APG
I love Brad Beal's game.
The dude is fearless when driving to the bucket, but also has a jumper that reminds scouts of the great Ray Allen.
A backcourt of John Wall and Brad Beal will be lethal for opposing teams to defend for years to come.
If this team had a little more talent and I felt Beal's presence would bring this team to the playoffs next season, he probably would have been No. 1 on this list.
2. Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
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Projected Pick: No. 1
Projected Team: New Orleans Hornets
2011-2012 Statistics: 14.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 4.7 BPG
I know everyone expected Anthony Davis to be No. 1 on this list.
The reason I have him No. 2, however, is because even though he will be dominant on the boards and on defense and probably win Rookie of the Year, his team will still most likely have a losing record and be right back in the lottery trying to get the No. 1 pick again next year.
If his team still has a terrible record, how big of an impact did he really make?
1. Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
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Projected Pick: No. 5
Projected Team: Sacramento Kings
2011-2012 Statistics: 17.9 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG
If Thomas Robinson slides all the way to No. 5, the Sacramento Kings got the steal of the draft.
Robinson is the most NBA-ready out of any player in this draft and will certainly take a lot of pressure off of DeMarcus Cousins next season.
The man attacks the glass on every single possession and can be a pretty dominant low post scorer as well.
The duo of Cousins and Robinson has the potential to be one of the best frontcourts in the league and should lead the Kings into the playoffs next season.