NBA Mock Draft: Who's Going in the Lottery
The world was in shock as the New Orleans Hornets were awarded the No. 1 overall draft pick over the Charlotte Bobcats. However, come June 28, the first name called by David Stern will be no surprise to anybody.
Anthony Davis becoming a Hornet is basically guaranteed, but the rest of the draft could go in any direction. With a deep 2012 draft class, it will be interesting to see where each prospect falls.
Here is a complete mock of the 2012 NBA Draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis
Rarely do you see a player at 19 years of age with the skill set of Davis.
At 6'10" and 220 pounds, Anthony Davis is an athletic machine with a 7'4" wingspan—that would make a major impact for the New Orleans Hornets.
With Chris Kaman and Carl Landry both entering free agency this offseason, New Orleans needs some new bodies in the front court. What better piece to add and rebuild with than Anthony Davis?
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson
Charlotte will miss out on Anthony Davis, but Thomas Robinson is more than just a consolation prize. Robinson developed into the go-to guy for the Kansas Jayhawks this season, and he could do the same as a Bobcat.
Robinson averaged 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds during the regular season, and had no drop-off during March Madness. He averaged 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and lead Kansas to the national championship game.
As much as Charlotte may have wanted Davis, they'll be happy with Robinson at No. 2.
3. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
If it weren't for Anthony Davis and the lack of a consistent jump shot, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could challenge for the No. 1 overall pick.
However, the Wildcat product still can make an instant impact in the NBA.
Washington needs all help possible next to John Wall. A well-rounded talent like Kidd-Gilchrist doesn't make the Wizards an instant contender, but it puts them on the right path to rebuilding.
4. Cleveland Cavalier: Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal was a great scorer for Florida, averaging almost 15 points a game. The Florida guard didn't slow down—averaging 15.7 points during March Madness—and he lead the Gators to the Elite Eight.
Beal does a great job of attacking basket plus taking and making efficient shots. Beal averaged 53 percent from the field in the regular season, and 60.6 percent in March Madness.
Kyrie Irving essentially played on his own last year with Cleveland and desperately needs help around him. Beal can start right away forming a talented young back court in the Eastern Conference.
5. Sacramento Kings: Perry Jones
Perry Jones has enough potential to make himself a lottery pick. At 6'11" and 220 pounds, Jones is an athletic machine with a high-risk high-reward ceiling.
The Baylor product was extremely inconsistent during March Madness, with only nine points in the first two rounds. Jones improved the next couple of rounds, scoring 14 against Xavier and 17 against Kentucky.
Sacramento needs another big next to Demarcus Cousins. Jones could be a gamble, but is worth a lottery selection.
6. Portland Trailblazers: Harrison Barnes
Portland missed on Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant for two busts (Greg Oden, Sam Bowie). Harrison Barnes isn't the second coming of either player, but Portland will still draft him over another big man.
At the beginning of the season, Harrison Barnes was the projected No. 1 overall pick. After the emergence of Anthony Davis, and a less-than-impressive March Madness, Barnes' value took a slight shot.
Barnes has received Tracy McGrady comparisons for a reason, and he'll have his chance to prove why as a lottery pick in the draft. Portland could start him right away if they choose not to re-sign Nic Batum.
7. Golden State Warriors: Andre Drummond
Golden State needs an improvement in the front court, and could take a gamble on the raw big man from Connecticut. With their need of a young center, Andre Drummond will be high on Golden State's draft board.
Regardless of Drummond's less-than-impressive showcase in March Madness, his size and regular season performance still has scouts and analysts high on his game. Drummond averaged 10.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in the regular season and will still be a high lottery pick in the draft.
8. Toronto Raptors: Dion Waiters
The Toronto Raptors need another scoring threat next to Jose Calderon and Demar Derozan. Dion Waiters is the upgrade the Raptors need with their No. 8 selection.
Waiters had a decent March Madness and an even better regular season with Syracuse. He has a very nice one-on-one game where he's able to create off the dribble.
Waiters also has a nice shot with pretty good three-point range.
9. Detroit Pistons: Arnett Moultrie
The Detroit Pistons struck gold drafting Greg Monroe at center, but they have no stability at power forward as they continue to rotate bodies. Arnett Moultrie can solve that issue for the Pistons in the future.
Moultrie is a double-double machine and a solid defender on the block. Moultrie is a monster down low, and his game could instantly translate to the professional level.
The Pistons will love this pick at No. 9 if Moultrie is available.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers is a dynamic scorer who hasn't even reached his potential yet.
Had he stayed another year or two, he'd be a top-five pick in the draft.
Rivers' buzzer-beater triple against North Carolina was the highlight of his season. The Duke product has a great jumper with infinite range, plus great ball-handling skills to drive and create his own shot.
With Eric Gordon becoming a restricted free agent this offseason, it's unlikely he'll return to the Hornets.
Rivers is a great replacement to boost the New Orleans back court.
11. Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard
Raymond Felton will be a free agent this offseason, and is unlikely to return after a less than impressive year in Portland. The Trailblazers will be in search of a new point guard in the draft come the end of June.
Damian Lillard was a prolific scorer for Weber State averaging 24.5 points. Lillard isn't a true point guard, but has enough talent and ability to polish those skills.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson
After trading Andrew Bogut to the Golden State Warriors for Monta Ellis, the Bucks are in search of a big man to fill his absence.
John Henson suffered a broken wrist at the end of the season that held him out of three games. Before the injury, Henson was very efficient, averaging a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Henson has an impressive 7'4" wingspan and tremendous athletic ability. However, he's still very skinny at only 6'10" and 220 pounds. He'll have to improve his strength to battle with the bigs of the NBA.
13. Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall
We have likely seen the last of Steve Nash as a Phoenix Sun point guard. Nash will likely look to play for a contender this offseason leaving a hole at point guard for Phoenix.
Kendall Marshall is the floor general at point guard that any team would want. He's not a great scorer, but his court vision and unselfish play make him a quality NBA prospect.
14. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb
Kyle Lowry has voiced his displeasure playing in Houston, and Goran Dragic becomes a free agent this summer. The Houston Rockets will be in search of a new guard to build around in the draft.
Jeremy Lamb is a great scorer with slashing ability and a nice outside shot. Lamb also showed throughout the season he's also a top-tier athlete, but the world was sold after this dunk at the beginning of the season.
15. Philadephia 76ers: Tyler Zeller
Spencer Hawes will join the free agent market after his stretch as Philadelphia's big man. Tyler Zeller comes from a very similar mold and would be a great replacement if Hawes doesn't return.
Zeller stands at 6'11" and is 240 pounds, but at times struggled against tougher physical forwards and centers. He must be able to bang down low in order to succeed in the pros. Zeller does have a nice offensive game down low, especially with his hook shot.
16. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard
Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert are in no way long-term solutions for the Houston Rockets at center. Meyers Leonard has tremendous upside and could be a formidable center for the Rockets. He's got great size and athleticism for a 7'1" center.
Playing at only 245 pounds won't cut it for a project player like Leonard, though. He'll need to improve his strength and physicality to better his chances at succeeding at the professional level.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Marquis Teague
Marquis Teague has some lottery value, but more than likely won't be taken that high. After 9.5 points in the regular season, Teague isn't quite ready to lead a team as the starting point guard just yet.
Teague did do a good job as the general of the Kentucky Wildcats. Teague was a good decision maker and understood how to control the flow of the game.
With Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Delonte West all aging free agents this summer, Mark Cuban needs to find a guard for the future.
Teague, in time, can lead Dallas as the starting point guard.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Terrence Ross
Ricky Rubio broke out last season for the Minnesota Timberwolves and formed a nice tandem with star-forward Kevin Love. When Rubio returns from injury next season, he'll need a back-court mate to work with.
Terrence Ross was a streaky three-point shooter at Washington and will need to add more to his overall game in the NBA.
Ross, at times, got too comfortable behind the arc, instead of going aggressive to the lane.
19. Orlando Magic: Terrence Jones
Operation "Keep Dwight Howard happy" will begin in this summer's draft. The Magic will look to put new young players around Howard, and Terrence Jones is a great start with aging forward Hedo Turkoglu running his last leg in the NBA.
Given Jones' athletic build and skill set, he'll be able to flourish in the NBA. Jones can run the floor with Orlando as he did so well in Kentucky.
He would be a key contributor on all phases.
20. Denver Nuggets: Jared Sullinger
The picture to the left will resemble the face of Jared Sullinger if he falls this low in the draft. Sullinger has lottery talent, but also high-bust potential.
Sullinger's whining and character concerns are a red flag, but he has the physical tools necessary to excel in the NBA. If he falls this low, Denver could really use him as an assertive post presence.
The Nuggets got great production from Kenneth Faired in the playoffs, but he's more valuable as a high energy bench guy for depth.
Sullinger could start with Faired coming off the bench as a spark plug.
21. Boston Celtics: Jeffery Taylor
The Boston Celtics have a nice youthful backcourt with Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. The Celtics look rejuvenated in the playoffs, but their age will catch up with them soon.
With the whole team aging and Kevin Garnett entering free agency, it's time for Boston to look for some younger players this offseason.
Jeffery Taylor could be a fine role player on a veteran team like the Celtics. He's a great slasher to the hoop, a strong finisher around the rim and a great physical defender.
Boston prides themselves on playing defense, as does Taylor.
22. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo
Kevin Garnett has been playing like the Big Ticket this postseason, but that won't keep up forever entering his 18th season. Whether he returns to Boston is unknown, meaning the Celtics need some young blood in the front court.
Fab Melo is very raw on offense, but has great size and skill at the center position defensively. Melo was the anchor of Syracuse's defense, and it was obvious watching Syracuse without Melo.
Fab Melo missed out on the entire NCAA tournament due to eligibility issues. This plagued Syracuse in the tournament and dropped Melo's draft stock way down.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Tyshawn Taylor
Tyshawn Taylor was a nice secondary option behind Thomas Robinson, averaging just over 17 points a game. Taylor struggled in a few games of the NCAA tournament, but played well enough the rest of the way, making his struggles an afterthought.
Taylor can create his own shots off the dribble as well as set up his teammates in rhythm. Taylor would back up Jeff Teague who broke out in the playoffs last year.
Taylor could serve as a starter as well if ever Teague wasn't available.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Quincy Miller
Quincy Miller shocked everybody when he announced he was entering the NBA draft, but there's no denying his talent. The Cleveland Cavaliers could get a steal with drafting Miller in the lower half of the first round.
Miller has top-level talent, but he still doesn't look fully recovered from a torn ACL in high school. His recovery will be key in how much he is able to contribute to his new team.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Doron Lamb
OJ Mayo will become a restricted free agent this summer. He's been traced to trade rumors for a couple years, so leaving is a definite possibility.
Doron Lamb was one of the most consistent scorers for Kentucky. He was dangerous in transition and has a nice jump shot to complement his game.
As with the rest of the team, Lamb was a great team and on-ball defender.
26. Indiana Pacers: Tony Wroten
Tony Wroten is an athletic guard with a strong feel for the game. Wroten can create his own shot off the dribble and also create for his teammates. He averaged 16.7 points a game along with five rebounds, making him a fairly complete player.
The Pacers likely will take the best player available with their established depth already. A guard like Wroten is too good to pass up at No. 26.
27. Miami Heat: Andrew Nicholson
The Miami Heat still don't have a reliable post player on offense, and should be in search of that in the draft.
Andrew Nicholson is another dark horse who could turn some heads in the draft. The 6'9," 240-pound product from St. Bonaventure could be that solution for Miami. Nicholson carried St. Bonaventure to an A-10 Conference championship and an NCAA tournament berth.
Nicholson has a solid inside and outside game. He's a great athlete and works hard on both sides of the floor. Nicholson is a diamond in the rough this draft.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Moe Harkless
The Oklahoma City Thunder have finally punched their ticket to the NBA Finals. After building successfully through the draft back to the days in Seattle, they'll look to continue to find the same luck while searching for depth on the wing.
Moe Harkless averaged 15.3 points and eight rebounds with his aggressive style of play as a guard for St. John.
Harkless is a great slasher and attacks the rim hard when given the opportunity.
29. Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins
With Derrick Rose possibly missing significant time next season due to injury, Chicago needs to find another guard to fill his void.
John Jenkins is more of a catch-and-shoot threat instead of a pure point guard. With other guards like C.J. Watson and John Lucas III available, it gives the Bulls the chance to pull the trigger on Jenkins with their first-round pick.
30. Golden State: Draymond Green
The Warriors earned the final first-round pick after the Stephen Jackson trade, and can select the best available player. Draymond Green isn't the best talent at this spot, but any team would be lucky to have a player and leader of this caliber.
Green is one of the biggest sleepers in the draft, and can contribute in the NBA right away. He's a bit undersized, but Green has a unique skill set where he can bang down low, isolate off the wing, or pull up for a three-pointer.
Green's leadership and intangibles would help any team, but a young team like the Warriors could use more leaders in the lineup.
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