2012 NBA Mock Draft: Which Teams Will Make the Best Moves?
Only one thing is for certain in the upcoming NBA draft and that is the fact that the New Orleans Hornets have the No. 1 pick and will likely use it to select Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.
Everything else is up in the air, including how potential trades could impact the first round.
In my latest mock draft, I will take a look at how a pair of talked about potential trades could impact the first round.
The first move involves the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers as Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times reported that the Warriors will dangle the No. 7 pick in an attempt to land Andre Iguodala.
The other involves the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets as Larry Coon reported that the Rockets still want to acquire forward Pau Gasol.
Just for the sake of seeing what happens compared to my previous mock draft, I will assume that both moves happen for now and that the Sixers move up to No. 7 and the Lakers up to No. 14.
With that being said, the New Orleans Hornets are on the clock.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis is a no-brainer at No. 1 for New Orleans.
He not only will make an impact on the defensive end, but he’s a better offensive player than people give him credit for, making 63 percent of his shot attempts on the season.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
MKG is an explosive athlete and has a motor that never quits running.
He does everything well on the floor except shoot the perimeter shot. But given his work ethic, it could be safe to assume that Kidd-Gilchrist improves on the 25 percent he shot from behind the arc this season.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, Florida
I have a feeling that Washington passes on Thomas Robinson here to go with Beal.
Beal has the chance to be a dominant 2-guard at both ends of the floor and paired with John Wall, the Wizards could have one of the better young backcourt duos in the league.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Barnes could become a No. 1 scoring option in the NBA.
He averaged 17.7 points per game, but has the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. The future is suddenly looking very bright in Cleveland.
5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
Sacramento has good young talent and they can add instant production at a position where they need it.
Robinson averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds on the season while recording 27 double-doubles. He may not be that good right off the bat, but he will be a very productive NBA player.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Andre Drummond, Connecticut
The Blazers get the potentially dominant big man that they need with Drummond.
If he lives up to his potential then the Blazers have a future All-Star. But if Drummond turns out to be the guy that scored in single digits in 16 of UConn’s 32 games and grabbed fewer than five rebounds in 13 of those then the Blazers search will continue on.
7. Philadelphia 76ers (via Golden State Warriors): Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
If the Sixers move up to this spot by trading Iguodala, then Evan Turner will slide nicely into the 3, allowing them to draft a potentially dominant 2-guard in Lamb.
He’s a guy that can score at will, averaging 17.7 points on the season and can score from anywhere on the floor.
Lamb has a great mid-range game but also has the ability to both attack the rim and extend his game out beyond the arc.
One of Philadelphia’s problems during the postseason was the lack of a go-to guy at the offensive end. Moving up to get Lamb could solve some of those problems.
8. Toronto Raptors: Perry Jones III, Baylor
Toronto needs a wing player and rolling the dice on Jones seems like a good option here.
Jones is a risk, given his inconsistencies in college, but he’s also a high reward type of player as he has the skill set to be outstanding.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, North Carolina
The Pistons must get more athletic, and Henson can solve some of those problems by giving them the athletic shot-blocker they need to pair next to Greg Monroe.
He can rebound (10.1 RPG), block shots (2.9 BPG) and can defend multiple positions. He may be a little raw offensively, but he’s athletic enough to make an immediate impact in Detroit.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Damian Lillard, Weber State
Adding Davis’ ability on the defensive end to Lillard’s ability on the offensive end could make this a great draft for the Hornets.
Lillard averaged 24.5 points per game on the season to go along with a 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. New Orleans could be well on the way to being rebuilt before long.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Dion Waiters, Syracuse
With Lillard off the board Portland could target the talents of Waiters with their second pick of the round.
Waiters can get into the paint at will and while he may not be a true point guard, he could become a very good NBA player.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State.
Critics like to point out that Sullinger isn’t a great athlete, but he finds a way to produce, averaging 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds during his career at Ohio State.
He has a better post game right now than anyone in the draft, and the Bucks need a big man who can be productive for years.
13. Phoenix Suns: Terrence Ross, Washington
The Suns have a hole at the 2 and Ross is a guy that could come in and make Phoenix instantly better.
He can shoot the basketball and attack the rim, but Ross does almost everything well on the floor, including rebound, as he’s one of the best rebounding guards in the draft, pulling down 6.4 rebounds per game.
Ross is a stat sheet filler and could become an NBA star.
14. Los Angeles Lakers (via Houston Rockets): Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Dealing Gasol could potentially land the Lakers a point guard like Kyle Lowry in return, so I don’t like them taking one here.
If they would fail to land a point guard then Kendall Marshall becomes the logical pick.
However, the Lakers also have a hole at the 3 and adding the 6’9” Jones this late would be a steal.
Jones is a great athlete, which was another problem for the Lakers, and can score at any level, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 33 percent from behind the arc. In addition he’s a very good rebounder and defender, which the Lakers can also use.
If Los Angeles comes out of the draft with a point guard via trade and Jones, they will be contenders once again.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie is an outstanding athlete who can score from anywhere on the floor, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from behind the arc.
He also has the strength to play either the 4 or the 5 and if Philadelphia can unload Iguodala’s contract and add Lamb and Moultrie to next year’s roster, they could be a dangerous team in the future.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Austin Rivers, Duke
If Houston can add Gasol via trade, assuming they don’t have to give up both picks to get him, the next logical move is to add some backcourt depth.
Rivers has a ton of natural ability and if he puts everything together could become an NBA star and the eventual replacement for Kevin Martin. Rivers averaged 15.5 points per game on the season and if he develops some consistency, he could turn into one of the best natural scorers in the league.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Jason Kidd is 39 and a free agent and Rodrigue Beaubois is more of a combo guard so it makes sense for Dallas to grab their point guard of the future here.
Marshall isn’t a great athlete or a great shooter, but he has fantastic court vision and decision-making skills, averaging 9.8 assists on the season.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
With the top shooting guards off the board and plenty more others to be had in the second round, instead of reaching for one here, the Wolves could elect to go for frontcourt depth.
Zeller has size, runs the floor well and has a good touch around the basket, shooting 55 percent from the floor on the season.
19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Leonard is big and athletic and with the Magic likely close to losing Dwight Howard, he is a good option for the future.
He averaged 13.6 points per game on the season, but that part of his game may need to develop but Leonard can play defense and rebound, grabbing 8.2 boards and blocking 1.9 shots per game.
20. Denver Nuggets: Moe Harkless, St. John’s
Harkless has a very high ceiling and could become a dominant wing player in time. He can be the complete package of a solid scorer, defender and rebounder.
He’s a very good slasher and averaged 15.3 points per game. His potential is off the charts and the good thing is that the Nuggets can afford to take their time with him.
21. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
The Celtics need big bodies and Nicholson could turn into the steal of the draft.
Nicholson puts up numbers, averaging 18.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 2.0 BPG, but did so shooting 57 percent from the floor and 43 percent from behind the arc during his senior season, while leading the Bonnies back to the NCAA Tournament.
22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Fab Melo, Syracuse
Speaking of big bodies, the Celtics can add another one for the future in Melo.
He is very raw offensively but has some talent.
He should be able to step in immediately and rebound and play defense, as the Syracuse product is a very good shot-blocker, swatting away 2.9 shots per game on the season.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Royce White, Iowa State
Joe Johnson can shift back to the 2 and the Hawks can add a potentially productive 3 in White.
He’s talented enough to be a top 10 pick but some off the court issues, which include an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying, could cause him to drop. At No. 23 though he is well worth the risk.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Already adding a wing player in Barnes, the Cavs can add a lethal shooter in Lamb with their second pick of the round.
When he’s going well Lamb doesn’t miss, shooting 47 percent from behind the arc on the season.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Evan Fournier, France
The 19-year-old Frenchman could add some needed shooting to the Memphis lineup, but he is also someone that doesn’t have to come to the NBA right away which would be good as the Grizzlies aren’t exactly in a good cap space.
26. Indiana Pacers: Tony Wroten, Washington
Wroten has a lot of work to do to develop his game, but he’s very talented and could become the best point guard in this draft when it‘s all said and done.
He’s big, athletic and can get to the basket, averaging 16.0 points per game on the season, but he’s an awful shooter, knocking down only 16 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.
27. Miami Heat: Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt
Taylor is an elite athlete who is an outstanding perimeter defender and has range on his jumper. All Miami needs is depth and Taylor could have some impact coming off the bench.
In any other draft he may be a lottery pick, so this is a nice grab for Miami this late.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Quincy Miller, Baylor
The Thunder don’t need much right now except depth, so they can afford to gamble on Miller and reap the benefits later on.
Miller is a scorer and while he was a bit inconsistent coming off a torn ACL his senior season in high school, Miller’s upside is very high.
29. Chicago Bulls: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Teague gives Chicago some Derrick Rose insurance at the point and while he still needs to develop, he’s a great athlete with a bright future.
He can push the ball effectively, get to the basket and is a better than average defender.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
Ezeli is raw on the offensive end, but shot 60 percent from the floor and has a nice baby hook shot that he can shoot with either hand. He’s a good rebounder and shot-blocker, which is something the Warriors can use.
Golden State can elect to add more size with their second pick of the first round and Ezeli is a guy I like a lot.
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