2012 NBA Mock Draft: First-Round Busts Who Should Be Avoided in the Lottery

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJune 18, 2012

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 16:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears controls the ball during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on January 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Bust candidate. The two words organizations hate to hear about NBA prospects.

We see busts occur every year and the 2012 NBA draft won't be any different.

There are several bust candidates in this year's class, but we will focus on just a few of them.

You can find those players with (*) beside their school. 

1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

Anthony Davis will be a dominant force down low for the New Orleans Hornets. He provides size, length, athleticism and an underrated offensive game. 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates before he cuts down the net after the Wildcats defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Davis will average 20 points, 10 rebounds and a handful of blocks per game at the peak of his career. He's a special talent that only comes once in a blue moon.  

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

What's not to love about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? He is one of those players who doesn't come along often. 

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats lays the ball up in front of Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

He has the perfect mix of talent, skill, will to win, grittiness, competitiveness at all times, length, size and athleticism. 

Kidd-Gilchrist will be a star in the NBA.   

3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

Bradley Beal turned up his game in the SEC and NCAA Tournament. He proved that he was more than just an outside shooter. 

GAINESVILLE, FL -  NOVEMBER 11:  Guard Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators listens to coach Billy Donovan during play against the Jackson State Tigers November 11, 2011 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messersch
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

However, Beal is still slightly overrated in my mind. He is a top-five talent, but I can easily see him going No. 3 to Washington. Slightly overrated.

At 6'3", Beal doesn't bring the size from a natural two-guard position. 

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina 

Harrison Barnes dropped 40 points on Clemson in the ACC tournament two years ago. His mid-range game is of high quality. 

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels drives in the first half against Nick Kellogg #15 of the Ohio Bobcats during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal at Edward Jones Dome on March 23, 2012 in
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Barnes has great size and underrated athleticism. 

He averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this past season. Cleveland should select Barnes if he's still on the table. 

5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

Andre Drummond is one of those high ceiling/bust potential players. His size, length and athleticism is amazing for a guy of his stature. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies shoots the ball over Rakeem Christmas #25 and James Southerland #43 of the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garde
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

However, he would have benefited from another year at Connecticut. His offensive game needs loads of work and he is invisible for too many stretches of games. 

Which player will we see at the next level? Sacramento will find out. 

6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn): Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas  

Thomas Robinson is an underrated power forward in this draft class. He doesn't receive the respect he deserves. 

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks dunks against Reggie Bullock #35 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

He's a double-double machine that is capable of playing at the same level in the NBA. 

7. Golden State Warriors (via Utah): Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor *

Perry Jones III is one of those players you select with your eyes closed. He has all the talent you would want to see in the NBA but he rarely puts it together. 

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 23:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears drives against the Xavier Musketeers during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Semifinal game at the Georgia Dome on March 23, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Get
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

His size, athleticism and skill set are top-10 worthy but I wouldn't go near him in the lottery. Most of his scoring production came from dunks or in the paint. 

What will he do when that's not available at the next level?

It will be a struggle for Jones, and he's a player I don't have much faith in. 

8. Toronto Raptors: Austin Rivers, G, Duke 

Austin Rivers is as explosive as anybody in this draft class. He's a legitimate beast when taking it to the rack. 

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Austin Rivers #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

His offensive game is dynamic and he can get to the rim when he wants. Rivers was asked to be the scorer, facilitator, last-shot taker and leader of a Duke squad. He was only a freshman.

When was the last time you could say that about a player from Duke? 

9. Detroit Pistons: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

Arnett Moultrie is a guy who didn't receive a ton of love this season. He should have.

Moultrie brings quality size and athleticism from the power forward position. Detroit will give him a hard look at No. 9. 

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota) Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina 

Kendall Marshall is the best pure point guard in this draft class.  

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Injured point guard Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels supports his teammates from the bench against the Kansas Jayhawks  during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

He averaged eight points and 10 assists per game this past season at North Carolina. Marshall isn't the best shooter from the perimeter, but he isn't as awful as people think.

Marshall shot a respectable 35 percent from behind the arc this season, compared to 38 the season before. 

New Orleans is set to have a dynamic 2012 NBA Draft

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State 

Damian Lillard has star potential written all over him. He averaged 24.5 points, five rebounds and four assists per game this past season. 

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 17:  Tre'Von Willis #33 of the UNLV Rebels goes for a steal between Damian Lillard #1 and Matt Washington #33 of the Weber State Wildcats during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center December 17, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Lillard is a great scoring threat and his talents translate to today's point guards; guys who can attack the rim with reckless abandon. 

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

No Andrew Bogut means Milwaukee will be looking for a center. North Carolina's Tyler Zeller should be the option with the No. 12 pick. 

ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 23:  Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels attempts a shot against Reggie Keely #30 of the Ohio Bobcats during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal at Edward Jones Dome on March 23, 2012 in St. Louis,
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Zeller runs the floor well, has solid size and is strong enough to compete down low.  

13. Phoenix Suns: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse 

Who doesn't love instant offense?

Dion Waiters provides quality offense whenever and wherever. He came off the bench for Syracuse despite being the Orange's best offensive weapon. 

14. Houston Rockets: Royce White, PF, Iowa State 

Royce White has star quality in his game. He can do a bit of everything on the basketball court. 

He can handle the ball, shoot from outside, lead transition breaks and find the open man. He's a potential superstar. 

15. Philadelphia 76ers: John Henson, PF, North Carolina *

Philadelphia needs size immediately. John Henson averaged 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this past year for North Carolina.

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  John Henson #31 of the North Carolina Tar Heels gets in position for a rebound against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The fit makes sense. However, Henson won't be more than a role player in the NBA. Drafting him in the lottery would be a mistake because drafting role players that high shouldn't be an option.

Henson is a good player and if he can get with a team he meshes well with, he can reach his peak performance. 

16. Houston Rockets (via New York): Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

Terrence Ross could be one of the bigger steals in the draft if he reaches his ceiling. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27:  Terrence Ross #31 of the Washington Huskies blocks the shot by Andre Hollins #1 of the Minnesota Golden Golphers in the second half during the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA NIT Men's Basketball Championship at Madison Square Garden
Jason Szenes/Getty Images

Ross has quality size, athleticism and scoring ability. His skills translate well to the NBA game. 

17. Dallas Mavericks: Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut

Jeremy Lamb scored 17.7 points in his sophomore season at Connecticut. He seemed to be overlooked because of how consistent he was. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 07:  Jeremy Lamb #3 of the Connecticut Huskies puts up a shot against Deniz Kilicli #13 and Darryl Bryant #25 of the West Virginia Mountaineers  during their second round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madiso
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It's almost like people expected too much from Lamb. It was impossible to live up to the expectations. 

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah): Moe Harkless, G/F St. John's 

Size, athleticism, 7'0" wingspan, a dynamic offensive skill set and underrated defensive skills. These are the characteristics St. John's Moe Harkless brings to the table.  

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06:  Moe Harkless #4 of the St. John's Red Storm in action against the Pittsburgh Panthers during their first round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2012 in New York City.  (Ph
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Harkless scored 15.3 points and recorded 8.6 rebounds per game in his freshman season. Minnesota would be ecstatic to see him left on the board.  

19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

Is Dwight Howard staying or going? Apparently, even he doesn't know.

Orlando must plan for the future because nobody knows what's going on in Howard's mind.

Meyers Leonard would be a solid selection with his size and skill set. 

20. Denver Nuggets: Jared Sullinger, C/PF, Ohio State *

Some people have Jared Sullinger going in the lottery. I think that drafting him that high would be a major mistake.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 31:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after the Buckeyes lose to the Kansas Jayhawks 64-62 during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superd
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Sullinger struggled against size and athleticism at Ohio State. It frustrated him, he couldn't find his offensive game and his position on the block worsened against quality defenders.

What will he do against these guys on a game-by-game basis?

Sullinger will be a role player in the NBA, not a star. He will slide down the draft board. 

21. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

Maybe Boston decides to shop their two selections in the first round or maybe they draft backups for aging stars.

Let's say that they keep their draft picks. 

Andrew Nicholson's game reminds of Kevin Garnett. He has a great mid-range game. He should be the selection here.  

22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

Ray Allen is all but out the door in Boston. The Celtics need to search for a replacement in the draft.

John Jenkins shot 44 percent from beyond the arc this past season at Vanderbilt. Sounds like a great fit. 

23. Atlanta Hawks: Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington 

Tony Wroten is 6'5", 203 pounds, he is excellent at getting to the rim and his vision is great. Today's NBA isn't about true point guards, it's about athletic point guards; guys who can get to the rim and make things happen. 

Wroten is that type of player. He has the characteristics and skill set of today's best. 

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State

Draymond Green won't be anything more than a role player in the NBA. Despite saying that, I love his game.

He can handle the rock, attack the rim, shoot from outside, start the break and he's a great leader on and off the floor. 

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Miller, F, Baylor 

Quincy Miller is another player who probably should have stayed another year in school. He's a great player with fantastic upside, but he would have been better suited staying at Baylor for at least another season.

If he did that, we could be talking about a lottery pick in 2013. 

26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky 

Marquis Teague can attack the rim better than most in this draft class. Being from Indianapolis, Teague has a great chance of playing for his hometown team.

LEXINGTON, KY - APRIL 17:  Marquis Teague of the Kentucky Wildcats talks with the media during the news conference in which he announced he will enter the NBA draft at Joe Craft Center on April 17, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Indiana needs another guy who can attack the rim and create his own shot. The fit makes sense. 

27. Miami Heat: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

Miami needs size down low. If not a starter, at least some depth at the position.

Fab Melo provides great size, defense, rebounding and underrated athleticism. 

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Oklahoma City is still searching for Jeff Green after they traded him to Boston. While Jeff Green isn't available, another option similar to Green is in the draft.

Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor provides size and outside shooting. He would be a great fit on a talented roster. 

29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SG, Memphis

Will Barton has star potential written all over his game. He has size, athleticism and he can score the rock with great proficiency.

Chicago should look to land a potential steal late in the first round. Barton is that type of player. 

30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio) Evan Fournier, SG, France 

Evan Fournier may be the only European player drafted in the NBA draft this year. Very surprising.

Generally, European players are filtered throughout the first round. That won't be the case this year. Fournier is a great prospect, but he will be a project.