NBA Mock Draft 2012: Lottery Teams That Will Waste Golden Opportunities

Wes ODonnell@wesodonnellFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2012

The New Orleans Hornets were gift-wrapped Anthony Davis, but they haven't won the NBA draft just yet.

They have a second pick at No. 10 overall and need to make the most of it to account for the loss of Chris Paul a year ago. This team is a long way away from competing in the postseason and they won't get there if they screw up draft picks.

The Hornets are one of two teams with multiple lottery selections and both they and the Portland Trail Blazers need to make the most of the opportunities placed before them.

If they do, they'll not only be back in the the lottery next year, but they'll be competing for the top pick as well.

Here's a look at lottery teams that will struggle to make the most of their top selections.


1. New Orleans Hornets (21-45): Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

The Hornets can't mess up this situation. Davis is the sure-fire No. 1 pick and will be a huge boost for this ball club.


2. Charlotte Bobcats (7-59): Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

The Bobcats, on the other hand, could royally botch this opportunity. Sure, the seven-win club can pout over losing out on the No. 1 pick, but they can't let it affect their head on this selection.

This projection is what they should do at No. 2, but there are no guarantees.

Michael Jordan could very easily be swayed by Harrison Barnes, a fellow UNC Tar Heel, with this pick. That wouldn't be a disastrous pick, but Barnes struggled to dominate the way his talents indicate he should and that is troublesome. If he couldn't do it in the ACC what is to say he'll do it in the NBA?

Beal, on the other hand, was forced to play out of position at Florida, but still showed flashes of dominance.

If they opt not to go with either of the two scorers then they're likely to take to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Andre Drummond.

MKG is going to be a star, but the Bobcats already have enough players that aren't natural scorers—he doesn't fit this team.

Drummond, on the other hand, has elite potential but is easily the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this draft. 

The Bobcats don't need to be playing with fire here. Beal's the best pick; anything else would be a mistake.


3. Washington Wizards (20-46): Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

If the Wizards are lucky enough to see the Bobcats wisely snatch up Beal, or stupidly take Drummond, they'll jump for joy.

MKG is a perfect fit for John Wall. He's a lockdown defender, has a developing offensive game but is far from needy and, most importantly, he loves to get out and run.


4. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45): Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

The Cavs have need for a potential superstar and Barnes could be just that. He's a scoring threat from all over the court and can play defense when he wants to.

Cleveland has a lot of options, but Barnes is hands-down the best fit for them in this scenario.


5. Sacramento Kings (22-44): Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

The word out of Sacramento is that they don't necessarily want to develop another big man along with Cousins, but Robinson offers too much value in this scenario.

That said, it's far from the best pick for them as they'd have loved to see Barnes still on the board.

It's hard to say someone like Robinson at No. 5 is a draft loss, but the Kings' need for a true swingman with scoring chops is paramount to their potential success.


6. Portland Trail Blazers (via 22-44 New Jersey Nets): Andre Drummond, C, UConn

It is understandable why the Blazers will look at Drummond here, and they technically acquired this pick for a 16-game rental of Gerald Wallace so it's hard to be mad at them in whatever they choose, but there is still something haunting about the youngster's game.

His horrendous two-point, three-board, four-block, five-foul performance against Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament is beyond scary.

He consistently struggled with consistency and he's far from a lock as a potential star in this league.

We can't fault the Blazers for being intrigued in his freakish athleticism and upside, but ultimately this "steal" pick will not pan out for them.


7. Golden State Warriors (23-43): Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

The Warriors are a hot topic of conversation in the trade department. They're hoping to make a push for the postseason, but the way the draft shakes out leaves them grasping for players that won't factor in much for them.

Jones has tremendous upside and skill and has recently buoyed his once sinking stock.

All in all, if the Warriors stay put they're likely looking at the Joneses, Terrence or Baylor's Perry.

Both have tremendous upside, but are far from sure things. If they don't land a trade it could hurt them.


8. Toronto Raptors (23-43): Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

Far from dominating, Lamb is an intriguing prospect with unique measurables. He can score both inside and outside and has shown the ability to take over games at times.

He doesn't always do it, but he can, and that is the important thing for now.

The Raptors need someone who can score regularly and if Lamb turns it on he's perfect for the role.


9. Detroit Pistons (25-41): Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

There is little upside in taking Sullinger here, but pairing the big man up with Greg Monroe will give the Pistons a formidable force on the block.

Sully plays below the rim, but he's an extremely effective scorer around the basket and works like a monster on the boards.

Some people have the big man falling down the board, but he fits in nicely here.


10. New Orleans Hornets (via 26-40 Minnesota Timberwolves): Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

This pick will make or break the draft for the Hornets. There is no way to truly replace Chris Paul, but what they'd get in Kendall Marshall is a poor man's left-handed version of Deron Williams.

His offensive game is improving and he's the best passer in the entire draft. He may not be a superstar, but he still has potential and does what the Hornets will need most: get the ball to their few stars.

Eric Gordon would be thrilled with this pick.

If they opt to go elsewhere, especially taking a chance on another point guard, it will come back to bite them in the rear.

Marshall is the safest pick they can make here.


11. Portland Trail Blazers (28-38): Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor

From potential to potential, the Trail Blazers see one of the Top 10 prospects in the draft fall to them at No. 11 and they can help but bite.

PJIII has so many skills, can do so many things and is so unique that at times you wonder why in the hell he can't show up when it matters most.

The fact of the matter is, we can't measure that part of the game and thus Jones leaves wondering exactly what he can do in the league.

Portland takes two chances with their two lottery selections and both are as likely to backfire as they are to star.


12. Milwaukee Bucks (31-35): Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

There may be no better pick in this entire draft. Zeller immediately replaces what the Bucks traded away in Andrew Bogut.

13. Phoenix Suns (33-33): Damian Lillard, G, Weber State

Some say Lillard's a Top-10 talent while others believe he barely belongs in the lottery. In this case we see the latter play out and there are a number of reasons why.

He's not a true point guard and he can't defend. He can certainly score the basketball and can make plays in other phases of the game, but he's also 21-years-old.

Depending on what Steve Nash does, and what the Suns expect Lillard to be, this pick could go either way.


14. Houston Rockets (34-32): Terrence Ross, G, Washington

Plain and simple, the Rockets are going to be looking for a two-guard should they be able to offload Kevin Martin and Ross is the best available.


15. Philadelphia 76ers (35-31): John Henson, PF, North Carolina

A young big guy who loves to play defense and rebound, the 76ers shouldn't hesitate to make this selection. Henson still has some upside and he's capable of playing right away.


16. Houston Rockets (via 36-20 New York Knicks): Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

The Rockets' center position is old and they're looking for a youthful replacement in the foreseeable future.

Leonard is a genuine 7-footer, possesses good upside and doesn't need to play right away. This is a great fit given the circumstances.


17. Dallas Mavericks (36-30): Austin Rivers, SG, Duke

Doc Rivers' son is a ready-made replacement for Jason Terry's role as the instant offense off the bench with a clutch gene.


18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via 36-30 Utah Jazz): Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

Miller's battled some injury issues and wasn't 100 percent this past season, but teams know he has superstar-like qualities.

Minnesota has a logjam of underperforming players at the two, three and four spots, so Miller could turn out to be a player rather quickly.


19. Orlando Magic (37-29): Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

The 'Cuse guard is a tough, gritty scorer who can handle the rock if need be. He's everything the Magic weren't this year and they'd be lucky to see him on the board this late.


20. Denver Nuggets (38-28): Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's

Another potential star in the making, Harkless can do a little bit of everything and come along at his own pace. The Nuggs aren't in dire need of anything so this a great value selection here.


21. Boston Celtics (39-27): Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

The Celtics are in desperate need of size and athleticism on the block and 6'11" Moultrie can do it all. He put together an impressive season for the Bulldogs and has the potential to go much higher than this in the draft.


22. Boston Celtics (via 40-26 Los Angeles Clippers): Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

Did I mention the Celtics are desperate for size and athleticism. Another do-it-all baller, Nicholson is an experience player with a unique set of skills that can take his game out beyond the paint and into the post.

He and Moultrie will help Boston retool.


23. Atlanta Hawks (40-26): Royce White, PF, Iowa State

The power boarding and athleticism of White will help the Hawks avoid the problems they had down the stretch this season.


24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via 41-25 Los Angeles Lakers): Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington

A can't shoot, me-first guy could be a problem for the Cavs, but they already landed a potential superstar in Harrison Barnes. They'll have to keep an eye on him, but he could be a steal if he matures.


25. Memphis Grizzlies (41-25): Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

He needs time, but Teague will get plenty of it as the backup to Mike Conley.


26. Indiana Pacers (42-24): Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

A proven scorer with ice in his veins, the Heat exposed showed the league that the Pacers need someone other than Danny Granger that they can count on to shoot the basketball.


27. Miami Heat (46-20): Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

The Heat have not had a center since the "Big 3" arrived, and although Melo will take time to develop, he's too good a talent to pass on this late.


28. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-19): Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State

Mr. Do-Everything, the Thunder don't have any glaring needs and would be foolish to pass on the proven veteran of Green's ilk.


29. Chicago Bulls (50-16): John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt 

Arguably the best shooter in the draft, Jenkins is the perfect candidate to replace Rip Hamilton.


30. Golden State Warriors (via 50-16 San Antonio Spurs): Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

If the Warriors hold onto No. 30 pick they'd be extremely happy to see Jeff Taylor still on the board. The super-athletic wing gives them someone else who can score and play defense.


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