2012 NBA Mock Draft: Sharpshooters That Will Be Targeted in Round 1
Every team wants a player that can light up the scoreboard from beyond the arc.
This year’s NBA draft has no shortage of shooters who can really stroke the ball from distance.
Here are my predictions for every first-round pick, highlighting the players that will be assassins with their long-range shots.
Note: These players are in italics.
1. New Orleans Hornets (21-45): Antony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Davis is completely deserving of the No. 1 overall pick. He is a monster in the paint and swatted 4.6 shots per game last year.
He won a national championship in addition to being awarded the National Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. No chance New Orleans passes on him.
2. Charlotte Bobcats (7-59): Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
The Bobcats did everything they could to get Anthony Davis, but Kidd-Gilchrist will be a nice consolation prize.
The team gave up 100.9 points per game last season and need to get better on defense. Kidd-Gilchrist has a nonstop motor and will make an immediate impact on that end of the floor.
3. Washington Wizards (20-46): Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
The first sharpshooter to come off the board will be Beal. The former Gator has unlimited range, but also can drive and finish at the rim.
He put up 14.8 points per game during his only year in college. He only shot 33.9 percent from beyond the arc, but the 18-year-old will improve his shot selection as he matures.
He is the best shooting guard in this year’s class because he not only knocks down shots from deep range, but also rebounds extremely well. He grabbed 6.7 boards per game in 2011-12.
Other sharpshooters in the draft are one-dimensional, but Beal can do a little bit of everything.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45): Andre Drummond, PF/C, Connecticut
The Cavs’ biggest need is on the wing, but Harrison Barnes is a bit of a reach here.
Drummond can play center or power forward and is extremely quick and athletic for a 6’11” player. He can score on the block or step out for jumpers and will complement Kyrie Irving very well.
5. Sacramento Kings (22-44): Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
The Kings cannot pass up on Robinson. If he is paired up with DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento will have one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the league.
Robinson pulled down 11.9 boards per game in his junior year and has all the necessary skills to be a double-digit rebounder in the pros as well.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via 22-44 New Jersey Nets): Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Lillard has been shooting up draft boards recently and the small-school prospect deserves to be a top-10 pick.
He was second in the country with 24.5 points per game and has all the necessary skills to be a solid point guard in the NBA for a long time.
He also has the ability to light it up from beyond the arc and shot 40.9 percent from three-point range this past season.
Lillard is the type of player who can break down a defense in multiple ways, and one deadly weapon in his arsenal is his deep-range jumper.
7. Golden State Warriors (23-43): Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
The Warriors need help on the wing and Barnes is one of the most complete players in the draft.
He’s a solid defender and has a great mid-range game. At 6’8”, he’s an ideal size for his position and he will help Golden State in many different ways.
8. Toronto Raptors (23-43): Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
Lamb is a knock-down jump shooter who scored 17.7 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting from the floor in his sophomore year for the Huskies.
He may be a little short for an NBA 2-guard at 6’5”, but he makes up for it wish an incredible seven-foot wingspan. His insanely long arms make him a defensive nightmare for whomever he matches up with.
The Raptors should be looking for a different kind of player at shooting guard as DeMar DeRozen has failed to develop into a versatile scorer. He shot 42.2 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range last season.
DeRozen is one-trick pony, and Toronto would add a versatile scorer who can also defend at a high level if they chose Lamb.
9. Detroit Pistons (25-41): Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Sullinger is one of the most skilled big men in the draft and the Pistons would be thrilled to see him still available at No. 9. At 280 pounds, he is load on the low block, but he is also surprisingly quick when facing the basket.
Charlie Villanueva is not the player Detroit hoped he would be, and the team will be glad to have someone who can score from the power forward position.
Will the Hornets make the playoffs in the next three years with Eric Gordon and their two lottery picks?
10. New Orleans Hornets (via 26-40 Minnesota Timberwolves): Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
The Hornets have the opportunity to build a solid core of players with two lottery picks.
Marshall is the type of player that will make everyone around him better on the offensive end, and Eric Gordon and Anthony Davis will greatly appreciate his playmaking skills.
11. Portland Trail Blazers (28-38): Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
The Blazers need a big man who rebounds and plays defense to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge, and Zeller is a perfect fit.
He is a true seven-footer with a great motor who averaged 16.3 points and 9.6 boards for the Tar Heels this year. With Lillard and Zeller, this may be the year Portland reverses its bad luck in the draft.
12. Milwaukee Bucks (31-35): John Henson, PF, North Carolina
After trading away Andrew Bogut, the Bucks need some interior defense. Henson is a great fit and the lanky forward averaged 2.9 blocks per game this past season.
Henson is also very athletic and gets up and down the floor very quickly. This will be a necessary skill for every Milwaukee big man as long as Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are in the backcourt.
13. Phoenix Suns (33-33): Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ross is an exciting prospect and the Suns would love to have some help at shooting guard.
He is an ideal size for the position at 6’6” and can also make it rain from deep. He shot 37.1 percent from beyond the arc as a sophomore and has a great-looking jumper.
The Suns need a player who can stretch the floor, and Ross can do just that. Defenders who try and play him tight and stop the three-pointer will be in for a long night. He is a great athlete who can beat his man off the dribble and finish at the rim.
If Ross can add a mid-range game, he will be unstoppable offensively. For now, he can contribute with deep-range shooting and exciting dunks.
14. Houston Rockets (34-32): Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
The Rockets have a lot of young talent and will be ecstatic to add Jones, who is one of the most versatile players in the draft.
He is 6’11” and can score in many different ways. Few players can get down the court as quickly as he can and he will be electric in the open floor.
15. Philadelphia 76ers (35-31): Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Jones is a versatile, athletic player with a 7’3” wingspan. His length and physical attributes will make him a great asset for Doug Collins.
The Sixers play smothering defense, and Jones can guard multiple positions effectively. He would be a perfect fit in Philly.
16. Houston Rockets (via 36-20 New York Knicks): Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi
The Rockets will have the chance to add an abundance of size and athleticism to their roster with Jones and Moultrie.
Moultrie averaged a double-double last season for the bulldogs, and he has the talent to develop into the type of player who can do that in the pros as well.
17. Dallas Mavericks (36-30): Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
The Mavs sorely missed Tyson Chandler in 2012, and Leonard can help Dallas with defense and rebounding.
Even though he does not have much of an offensive game, he posted 8.2 boards and 1.9 blocks in his sophomore campaign, showing the potential to be a beast in the paint.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via 36-30 Utah Jazz): Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
This will be a big slide for Rivers, as many thought he would be the No. 1 pick in this draft before this past college basketball season.
He failed to impress at many points during his freshman year, but still put up 15.5 points on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 36.5 percent from three-point range.
He is a streaky shooter who has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor.
There is no question that he has a ton of talent, and maybe sliding in the draft will cause him to play with a chip on his shoulder. If he can live up to his potential, he can be the final piece that makes Minnesota a playoff team.
19. Orlando Magic (37-29): Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Magic must start preparing for life without Dwight Howard.
Melo is an athletic seven-footer who can protect the rim. He is nowhere near the player Howard is, but he can at least be a presence in the paint.
20. Denver Nuggets (38-28): Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
NBA teams will have their reservations about a shooting guard that can’t really shoot, but Waiters thrives in the paint and is an effective scorer.
He is fearless on his drives and Denver would love to get a chance to take him this late in the draft.
21. Boston Celtics (39-27): Moe Harkless, SF, St. Johns
The Celtics need to get more athletic, and Harkless is one of the most explosive leapers in the draft.
He is also very quick and showed that he can use his athleticism to crash the boards, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game during his only season in college. He will bring a lot of energy off the bench for Boston.
22. Boston Celtics (via 40-26 Los Angeles Clippers): John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
With Ray Allen’s age and injury troubles, the Celtics also need to add a shooter.
Jenkins is one of the most efficient outside shooters in the draft. He shot 43.9 percent from beyond the arc as a junior and scored 19.9 points per game.
He is extremely dangerous when left open, and like Allen, has a remarkably quick release.
Jenkins may be undersized at 6’4”, but he can knock down shots as well as anyone in the draft.
23. Atlanta Hawks (40-26): Evan Fournier, SG, France
The Hawks have needed a scorer off the bench ever since Jamaal Crawford left, and Fournier can excel in that role.
Fournier has great size for the position at 6’7” and he can work the mid-range game really well.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via 41-25 Los Angeles Lakers): Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Cleveland needs help on the wing, and Miller brings athleticism and versatility.
He needs to bulk up and stay healthy, but he can score from anywhere and play multiple positions. He fills a need for the Cavs and has a big upside.
25. Memphis Grizzlies (41-25): Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington
Wroten Jr. projects as a combo guard in the NBA, and if the Grizzlies ever finally deal O.J. Mayo, then he can be valuable in their second unit.
He is not the shooter that Mayo is, but he brings a lot of energy and athleticism to the table. He is also far less selfish than the Memphis guard and often looks to set up his teammates.
26. Indiana Pacers (42-24): Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson has the motor that Larry Bird loves to see in players, and the Executive of the Year will jump at the chance to draft the forward if he is still available.
Nicholson put up 18.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game last season and he has all the tools to develop into a solid, skilled power forward in the NBA.
27. Miami Heat (46-20): Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
The Heat needs size badly, and at 6’11” and 255 pounds, Ezeli can give them that.
He is still a raw player with undeveloped skills on offense, but he crashes the boards and blocks shots. That’s all Miami will want him to do.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19): Royce White, Small Forward, Iowa State
White is extremely talented but has had character issues in the past. He impacts the game in multiple ways and he averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this past season.
With few distractions and a stable locker room in Oklahoma City, this might be the perfect place for him to stay focused.
29. Chicago Bulls (50-16): Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Derrick Rose’s injuries this season will cause the Bulls to bolster their depth at point guard.
Teague and Rose are both John Calipari recruits, and the Kentucky guard can thrive with Rose as his mentor.
30. Golden State Warriors (via 50-16 San Antonio Spurs): Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State
Green is a gamer who can do a little bit of everything. He is not a great athlete, but he is skilled and does a lot of little things.
Golden State can use a player with his work ethic and team-first mentality on the roster.
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