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2012 NBA Mock Draft: Definitive Blueprint for Entire 1st Round

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIIDecember 21, 2016

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Definitive Blueprint for Entire 1st Round

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    This mock draft was updated on Thursday 7/28 at 2:00 p.m. to reflect recent trades.

    No matter how good, or how bad a given team is, every team approaches the first round of the NBA draft with a goal in mind. 

    Some need a specific position filled, some are looking to merely acquire talent—and, hopefully, advance the development of the entire team—and some may be in pursuit of a specific type of player. There are a ton of different parts that comprise a championship-level or even playoff-level basketball squad.

    The draft is a great place to find those parts. It depends on where your team is picking and what type of team they fielded the previous season. 

    All teams will tell you that a championship is the ultimate goal. But many know that getting to that point may not be possible with just one offseason of additions and subtractions.  

    No matter what happens, each team must have a plan for the first round of the draft. Here's how this year's is shaping up.

No. 30 Golden State Warriors: Scott Machado, PG (Iona)

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    Insurance for two injury-prone starters in Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry

    Help at small forward position


    -The Pick:

    Scott Machado, PG (Iona)

    In spite of four picks in the draft—two in the first and two in the second—the Warriors won't solve all their problems on June 28. 

    They might fill a few big holes, though.

    The Warriors are a team whose 2012-2013 record will be largely influenced by the health of two key players: point guard Stephen Curry and center Andrew Bogut.

    With former New York Knick and St. John's star Mark Jackson piloting the team from the bench, expect him to grab a tough, New York City point guard if available.

    Iona's Scott Machado, a native of Queens, N.Y., qualifies.

    Machado is a small, but tough point guard who will arrive in the NBA with a bit more maturity than many of his counterparts.

    That's because Machado is a rarity in big-time college sports: He's coming out after his senior season, and he's also got the potential to be more than just a backup. That could be important given Curry's endless string of injuries. 

No. 29 Chicago Bulls: John Jenkins, SG (Vanderbilt)

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    A healthy Derrick Rose

    A guard who can knock down the open three

    A more versatile scorer  


    -The Pick:

    John Jenkins, SG (Vanderbilt)

    The Chicago Bulls have spent the better part of the last two very successful seasons searching for someone, anyone, to knock down some open threes. The shot seems to always be there with Derrick Rose penetrating, and guys like Boozer, Noah and Deng all able to get shots off from closer range. 

    Now, they may finally find their guy. John Jenkins isn't the most versatile player in the draft, but he can shoot. On a lesser team he might have problems getting open, but on a team with a point guard like Derrick Rose there will be open looks.  

    Jenkins and the city of Chicago will have to be patient, though. Next season could be a struggle depending on Rose's recovery from his ACL tear, not just for a rookie like Jenkins but for the entire team.

    That won't mean that Chicago takes its eye off the big picture, though. 

    Rose will be back, and when he is back he'll still be under 25 and one of the league's premier point guards. He'll also finally have someone on the perimeter to kick the ball out to with the shot clock winding down. 

No. 28 Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Jones, PF (West Virginia)

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    Backup point guard with Derek Fisher likely departing

    A power forward who can score from mid-range off the bench


    -The Pick:

    Kevin Jones, PF (West Virginia)

    The Oklahoma City Thunder certainly qualify as a team prepped for sustained success, but they are not perfect. 

    The Thunder could use a more versatile offensive player at power forward. Serge Ibaka is one of the league's best defensive big men, and Kendrick Perkins is a big, bruising presence under the rim. Neither would be considered a consistent offensive threat, though. 

    West Virginia's Kevin Jones isn't that tall, but at 250 pounds he's big enough to play with the league's big men. He's also been playing for Bob Huggins for the past four years. That means he's battle-tested and knows how to play the game at a fast pace.

    Jones could fit in with the Thunder as a productive offensive player off the bench and one not named "James Harden."  

No. 27 Miami Heat: Draymond Green, SF (Michigan State)

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    Maturity, versatility, a willingness to accept limited role on a star-studded team

    -The Pick:

    Draymond Green, SF (Michigan State)

    Green won't be the most talented player available when the Heat make their selection, but he will probably be the player most adept at joining the Heat and fitting into whatever role Erik Spoelstra deems appropriate.

    Playing for Tom Izzo, one of college basketball's best all-around coaches for four seasons, has made Green a solid, all-around basketball player. 

    The Heat simply need more parts they can insert into games that will either be able to complement the team's stars or make smart decisions to be productive in limited minutes. Those aren't traits often found in a first-year player, but a four-year player from Michigan State could prove to be an exception. 

No. 26 Indiana Pacers: Moe Harkless, SF ( St. John's)

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    A go-to scorer

    Added depth 


    -The Pick:

    Moe Harkless, SF ( St. John's) 

    If you watched the Heat-Pacers series this postseason, then you probably came away thinking, "The Pacers are a very good basketball team," and/or, "Boy, they could they use a go-to scoring option."

    You'd be right, of course. The Pacers do need a guy who can give them some points. Generally speaking, there aren't ton of them floating around in the mid-20s of the first round; scoring is pretty important, and the proven ones are gone—and fast. 

    That's why a player such as Moe Harkless from St. John's will offer some appeal here. While Harkless is not a great shooter, he's outstanding at finishing around the rim, and in transition. He's raw from a development standpoint, but he's also 6'9" which makes him a potentially tough defender as well.

    Harkless' motivation and drive has been questioned, but on an Indiana team that has warriors like David West and Danny Granger, he won't get much wiggle room to give any less than 100 percent.   

No. 25 Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Taylor SF Vanderbilt

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    Look great on paper, but were a disappointment in the playoffs  

    -The Pick:

    Jeff Taylor, SF (Vanderbilt)

    In the wake of a troubling opening-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Grizzlies are reassessing the current makeup of their roster. 

    One possible change may include dealing scoring small forward Rudy Gay. If that were to happen, the Grizzlies would likely look to acquire a potential future starting SF.

    That's where Jeff Taylor of Vanderbilt could come into play.

    Much like Gay, Taylor is a great athlete and has an unusually long wingspan for his size. He's not nearly as polished a player as Gay was upon entering the league, but that's OK, The Grizzlies would probably get a pretty decent haul in exchange for Gay, and the team already has other very talented players such as Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, Jr.  

No. 24 Cleveland Cavaliers: Fab Melo, C (Syracuse)

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    Offense (luckily the Cavs have the No. 4 overall pick, so they'll try to fill that need there); with this lower pick, they may be willing to take a risk on a less proven big man

    -The Pick:

    Fab Melo, C (Syracuse)

    Cleveland is still rebuilding following the departure of LeBron James. The Cavs already have some building blocks in place, and in this summer's draft, they'll look to fill some more holes. 

    The selection of Fab Melo is likely to elicit some criticism, but Cleveland will hope that his reputation as a dispassionate player can be chalked up to immaturity.

    At 7'0" Melo is a true center. With Anderson Varejao at the pivot, Melo won't need to be a great player immediately. He'll be able to take his time and develop. 

    That could end up yielding very positive results down the road. 

No. 23 Atlanta Hawks: Festus Ezeli, C (Vanderbilt)

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    Backup big men

    More bench scoring at the forward positions


    -The Pick

    Festus Ezeli, C (Vanderbilt)

    If you watched the Hawks this past season, then you watched a team really struggle to find any sort of consistent low-post offense, defense and/or rebounding while starting center Al Horford was injured. The Hawks know that Ezeli might not have as high a ceiling as some of the other players who will be around at this point. 

    They also know he's 7'0" tall and can rebound and block shots. The physical gifts are there; the drive and refined skills are not, but when you're picking at No. 23, you don't expect to find a polished big man with all the skills to excel in the NBA.

    You're going to have to roll the dice, and that's what Ezeli will be for the Hawks. 

No. 22 Boston Celtics: Royce White, SF ( Iowa St. )

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    Youth, Rebounding, Depth

    Offense and offensive rebounding

    A replacement for Paul Pierce  


    -The Pick:

    Royce White, SF ( Iowa St.) 

    The Celtics addressed current problems with the selection of Andrew Nicholson at No. 21, and now, at No. 22, the team can afford to be more patient.

    They also can take a chance on a player who has tons of talent, but has also openly admitted to having anxiety issues and a fear of airplane travel. 

    Those factors certainly won't help his draft status, but at some point White's outstanding on-court basketball skills will outweigh his off-court issues. The Celtics won't let him slip past them at No. 22. 

No. 21 Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, PF (St. Bonaventure)

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    Youth, More scoring, Offensive rebounding, Athleticism


    -The Pick:

    Andrew Nicholson, PF (St. Bonaventure)

    Andrew Nicholson won't fill all the Celtics' needs, but he's good enough that, at No. 21, his selection seems like the right move for Boston. 

    A lanky and athletic power forward, Nicholson will allow Kevin Garnett to get more rest without plunging the Celtics offense into a complete ditch. He's got good shooting range and is also a good interior defender. 

    Nicholson seems like a safe bet to be a productive NBA player. He could be even better, though, and that's what the Celtics will be hoping for. 

No. 20 Denver Nuggets: Jared Sullinger, PF (Ohio State)

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    A go-to scorer

    A physical, rebounding presence


    -The Pick:

    Jared Sullinger, PF (Ohio State)

    It seems to happen in every draft: As selection night nears, a top prospect is revealed to have some sort of on-court, off-court, physical or mental issue that scares teams and causes a fall down draft boards. 

    Jared Sullinger—this is your life.

    The medical red flags that NBA doctors have attached to Sullinger are a cause for concern. However, they're not an absolute assurance that Sullinger won't become a ferocious rebounder who bangs with the best of them over the course of his NBA career.

    The Nuggets could use that type of player. Head coach George Karl has been battling cancer for several years, and I doubt a back problem for the Ohio State product will cause either him or Nuggets brass to pass up a rebounding beast like Sullinger.  

No. 19 Orlando Magic: Tony Wroten Jr., PG (Washington)

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    The Magic could end up needing a Dwight Howard replacement; they've also had issues at point guard for years.

    -The Pick:

    Tony Wroten Jr., PG (Washington)

    The Magic might need a Dwight Howard replacement. They won't find it at No. 19, though.

    The Magic may very well be able to find a dynamic guard who can both run the point and score. And that could be Tony Wroten Jr., a 6'5" guard from Washington. 

    At only 19 years old, Wroten could be a bit inconsistent for a few years, but he appears to have the tools to develop into a decent point guard. 

    Jameer Nelson is a free agent, and the Magic have had problems finding suitable backups for him during his tenure in Orlando. Wroten could be a backup, or under adverse circumstances, could be forced into a starting role. 

    The Magic will need to address the Dwight Howard situation, but that won't happen in the first round of this draft with the No. 19 pick. 

No. 18 Houston Rockets: Perry Jones III, SF/PF ( Baylor)

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    The Rockets can afford to take a chance on one of three first round picks.  


    -The Pick:

    Perry Jones III, SF/PF ( Baylor) 

    The Rockets currently have three first round picks. Houston picked up the No. 18 pick when they dealt Chase Buddinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves. That deal may be a pre-cursor to a larger deal to acquire Dwight Howard..

    If there's no deal consummated then the Rockets will be able to roll-the-dice with their third pick of the first round. 

    Perry Jones III may represent the biggest roll of the dice out there. A prolific talent who played out-of-position at college. Jones is a player who scouts love for his talent, but fear due to a reputation for being both soft and unmotivated. 

    That won't matter for the Rockets, who having already secured solid NBA talents such as Myers Leonard and Arnett Moultrie, will gladly shoot-for-the-moon with a talent like Jones.  

No. 17 Dallas Mavericks: Terrence Jones, PF ( Kentucky)

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    -Point Guard, Backcourt Scoring, Depth, Low-Post Scoring 


    The Pick:

    Terrence Jones, PF ( Kentucky) 

    Much of Dallas' summer plans will be revealed by the choice the team makes at No. 17. 

    With both Jason Kidd and Jason Terry heading for free agency, the point guard position in Dallas must be addressed.

    Dallas also struggled to replace departed center Tyson Chandler last season. The Mavericks struggled defensively and also lacked low-post scoring.  

    At 6'10" and 252 pounds, Jones has the size. He's also got the skills. They may have been overlooked on a Kentucky team stocked with talent and led by some even more elite athletes, but once given the chance at the NBA level, Jones could develop into a solid double-double type of player.

    Dallas would probably prefer a true center, but Jones' talent will be too tempting to pass up. 

No. 16 Houston Rockets: Arnett Moultrie, PF (Mississippi State)

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    Size, Depth, Rebounding, Scoring 


    The Pick:

    Arnett Moultrie, PF (Mississippi State)

    The Rockets have two first-round picks, they're coached by a Hall of Fame power forward and they were a team that suffered from a real lack of presence in the low post last season. 

    That means that Houston will likely fortify the power forward and center positions, especially in a draft class known for depth at those positions. 

    With the second of its two first-round picks, look for Houston to snatch Arnett Moultrie. He's long, he can block shots, he's a great athlete and is very quick. 

    Moultrie could have an immediate impact on Houston's roster next season. 

No. 15 Philadelphia 76ers: Tyler Zeller, C ( North Carolina)

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    Low-post presence if they amnesty Elton Brand


    The Pick:

    Tyler Zeller, C ( North Carolina)

    Philadelphia's entire front court may change this offseason. Elton Brand could be amnestied. Spencer Hawes is a free-agent. 

    Drafting Zeller means the 76ers don't have to fear losing either big man. Zeller might not be the toughest big man in the draft, but he's a solid rebounder, solid shooter, and can run the floor. 

    On a team like Philadelphia that needs to increase it's offense and gain size Zeller is perfect. He's a very good free throw shooter who knocked down 80 percent of his attempts at Carolina last season. 

    Zeller also offers up instant impact for a 76ers team that advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Doug Collins and 76ers' fans won't have to wait long to see result from Zeller. 

No. 14 Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Ross, SG ( Washington)

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    Big Men

    Scoring at the small forward position. 


    -The Pick:

    Terrence Ross, SG ( Washington) 

    Terrence Ross doesn't always get mentioned in the same breath as guys like Bradley Beal and Dion Waiters, but in five years he might be the player who is most worthy of discussion. 

    Ross is tall, athletic, and he can shoot. The Bucks acquired Monta Ellis last year in a deal at the trade deadline from the Golden State Warriors. Ellis has an early termination option on his contract after next season. Ross will provide insurance in-case Ellis leaves, or he'll emerge as a star alongside him. 

No. 13 Phoenix Suns: Jeremy Lamb, SG (UConn)

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    Scoring, Athleticism


    -The Pick:

    Jeremy Lamb, SG (Connecticut)

    With his long wingspan and great athleticism, Jeremy Lamb is slightly reminiscent of former UConn star Rudy Gay. 

    The Phoenix Suns' leading scorer last season was center Marcin Gortat, who averaged 15.7 points per game. The shooting guard position was manned by either Shannon Brown or Michael Redd.

    The Suns really need a starting 2-guard who can score, and Lamb will be the last one available with a really high ceiling.

    They'd rather have Dion Waiters or Austin Rivers, but both players will be off the board. Lamb becomes a very logical and, potentially, very good pick here.  

No. 12 Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C (Illinois)

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    The Rockets are soft in the middle.  


    -The Pick:

    Meyers Leonard, C (Illinois)

    This is a pick that makes perfect sense for Houston. The Rockets didn't just ship Samuel Dalembert off to Milwaukee to acquire the No. 12 pick for nothing.

    Yes, the Rockets appear to be trying to acquire Dwight Howard. If they fall short of that goal they still need a center. In fact even if they do acquire Howard, that doesn't mean they'll be able to keep him in Houston.

    Howard is a free-agent following the 2012-2013 season. Adding Leonard here is a no-brainer for Houston. Even if they were to get Howard and sign him, at worst they'd have a very attractive piece of trade bait. If they don't then Leonard should be a solid center for years to come.  

No. 11 Portland Trail Blazers: Kendall Marshall, PG ( North Carolina)

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    Size and scoring in both the backcourt and frontcourt

    A point guard


    -The Pick:

    Kendall Marshall, PG (North Carolina)

    Kendall Marshall was in the midst of a freshman season at North Carolina that one could only dream of, until a broken hand in the NCAA tournament turned the dream into a nightmare. Marshall had to sit on the sidelines while his Tarheels lost on the court. 

    He did enough to in his freshman season to avoid having to sit on the sidelines much longer. 

    Marshall is one of the top point guards in the draft. Portland is unlikely to bring back free agent point guard, and fellow North Carolina alum Raymond Felton. 

    They'll snag Marshall at No. 11 and hope he's an NBA starter from day one. 

No. 10 New Orleans Hornets: Austin Rivers, SG (Duke)

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    A backup plan for Eric Gordon


    -The Pick:

    Austin Rivers, SG (Duke)

    If you're going to grab the big man with the highest upside at No. 1, then why not follow that up by grabbing a shooting guard with tremendous upside at No. 10? 

    That's what the New Orleans Hornets will do. Eric Gordon, whom the team acquired in the Chris Paul trade, is a restricted free agent.

    Rather than spend big money on a guy who can fill a box score with 20 points a night, the Hornets will select Rivers, who might be able to do the same thing for a lot less money.

    Yes, Rivers has maturity questions, and his athleticism is not enough to make him "elite" at the next level. He has great touch, though, and a great ability to dribble-drive and beat his defender.

    The Hornets, like many lottery teams, are rebuilding. They can afford to wait for a talent like Rivers to mature and blossom into a star.  

No. 9 Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF (North Carolina)

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    Someone to pair with Greg Monroe in the low post


    -The Pick:

    John Henson, PF (North Carolina)

    His former North Carolina teammate Tyler Zeller might have a more immediate impact, but John Henson's athleticism gives teams a higher upside to look forward to. 

    This super-athletic power forward will pair perfectly with the less athletic but highly skilled Greg Monroe, who seems able to grab 10 rebounds a night with ease.

    Last season, the Pistons made a selection to rebuild the backcourt by selecting former Kentucky guard Brandon Knight. This season, Detroit will solidify their frontcourt. 

    The team will select Henson, who will give the Pistons a defensive and athletic presence to complement Monroe. 

No. 8 Toronto Raptors: Damian Lillard, PG (Weber State)

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    Scoring from the backcourt


    -The Pick:

    Damian Lillard, PG (Weber State)

    Ironically enough, the Toronto Raptors actually have a solid point guard in Jose Calderon. He doesn't score a lot, though.

    He's also a good piece of trade bait should the Raptors decide to try and deal him. 

    Damian Lillard could be the impetus to put Calderon on the market. He's more athletic than Calderon and is likely to be a better scorer. Lillard also is a quicker player who is strong physically and plays smart defense. 

    His ceiling is higher than Calderon's, and since the Raptors haven't become much of a team with Calderon running the show, Lillard could end up being a smart upgrade. 

No. 7 Golden State Warriors: Dion Waiters, SG ( Syracuse)

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    A small forward or shooting guard to round out the starting five

    -The Pick:

    Dion Waiters, SG ( Syracuse) 

    Dion Waiters never started one game at Syracuse, that will change from day one of his NBA career. 

    Waiters is a shooting guard with star potential. Yes Klay Thompson, last year's first round pick seamlessly moved into the shooting guard position for the Warriors last season. At 6'7" the Warriors will try and slide him to small forward so that Waiters star can shine at shooting guard.

    Waiters might be a tad small for the position but he's got big-time scorer potential. 

No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers: Andre Drummond, C (UConn)

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    Shooting guard

    -The Pick:

    Andre Drummond, C (Connecticut)

    Some Portland fans will cringe at this pick, while others will deem it necessary and smart. 

    The Greg Oden era never got going, as injuries derailed the career of the top pick of the 2007 NBA draft. Now, he's gone, which leaves the Blazers really needing a starting center. 

    The question isn't one of whether or not Drummond can play center effectively in the NBA, it's more a question of will he.

    Those who frequently watched UConn basketball last season saw a player who always showed flashes of unlimited ability, and then disappeared for long stretches of games. At times, Drummond looked disinterested and somewhat lazy. Other times, he left jaws agape at his amazing athletic feats.

    The Blazers will take the plunge and hope that Drummond doesn't end up eliciting Sam Bowie or Greg Oden comparisons.  

No. 5 Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes, SF (North Carolina)

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    A forward who can score


    -The Pick:

    Harrison Barnes, SF (North Carolina)

    If you think the existing Tyreke Evans trade rumors are plentiful now, wait until the Kings draft the smooth-playing Harrison Barnes from UNC at No. 5

    This is the pick for Sacramento. Unless for some reason Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson drops all the way down to No. 5, there's no reason for the Kings to make a different choice. 

    Barnes had a great two-year run at North Carolina and somehow emerged from the school with less appeal than he had when he got there. 

    Not much, though. 

    Barnes is a solid, all-around player who should thrive on a team surrounded by other young, talented athletes. The Kings felt set at small forward when last season began, but Evans never seemed to develop into a consistent player in Sacramento, and he might be on his way out of town.

    With his fundamentally-sound game and mature demeanor, Barnes presents an appealing and talented alternative to Evans.  

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG (Florida)

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    Scorers whom Kyrie Irving can pass the ball to


    -The Pick:

    Bradley Beal, SG (Florida)

    Beal is going to be a very good NBA shooting guard, but the question is, when?

    After just one season at Florida, the 6'5", 18-year-old guard is heading to the NBA. He's got a ton of all-around skills, but he has only been able to showcase a limited amount of them.

    Make no mistake about it, Beal can really shoot the ball; he also has tremendous athletic and ball-handling abilities.

    If Cleveland snags Beal, the Cavs will have one of the best young backcourts in all of basketball. Beal and Irving might be so good that Cleveland fans will be saying, "LeBron who?" 

No. 3 Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF (Kentucky)

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    A scoring shooting guard or small forward for John Wall to pass to


    -The Pick:

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF (Kentucky)

    After a midseason trade that moved two talented young players in Nick Young and JaVale McGee from the Washington Wizards, the team found itself in need of scoring. 

    Kevin Seraphin and new acquisition Nene helped fill the frontcourt void. 

    The backcourt was not as easy to put together. Chris Singleton and Jordan Crawford have yet to attain consistency at either small forward or shooting guard.

    This could be a Bradley Beal pick, but Kidd-Gilchrist is an absolutely amazing athlete who will be hard to pass up.

    Adding to Kidd-Gilchrist's appeal is that he's a great defensive player who was one of the leaders of a national champion Kentucky basketball team. There's just too much potential for Washington to pass up here.  

No. 2 Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson, PF (Kansas)

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    Everything, really

    -The Pick:

    Thomas Robinson, PF (Kansas)

    Thomas Robinson might be an inch or two shorter than an ideal NBA power forward prospect. Still, at 6'9", he's tall enough to play and excel.

    It all depends on his skills and, in this case, Robinson has plenty of it to excel in the NBA. 

    The one area of weakness might be his shot-blocking. That's OK, though, because the Bobcats do have a great shot-blocker in Bismack Biyombo. 

    Considering how bad the Bobcats are, there are going to be a ton of minutes available for Robinson, who, at age 21, is both physically and mentally mature enough to play every night in the pros.

    Look for Robinson to be a serious contender for Rookie of the Year and average near a double-double. 

No. 1 New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, C (Kentucky)

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    Doesn't matter, they're taking Davis  

    -The Pick:

    Anthony Davis, C (Kentucky)

    There are questions about how good offensively the young Anthony Davis will be in the NBA.

    There are not questions about his defense. 

    Davis is going to have a major impact on the defensive end of the floor, and it won't take long. By the end of the first quarter of his first NBA game, he'll probably have his first blocked shot, and it won't be his last. He is a once-in-a-generation type of shot-blocker.

    The rest of his game—rebounding, shooting and scoring—will all come in time.

    Davis has plenty of time, too. He's only 19 years old, and he's also still growing. He's 6'11" now and he could easily be more than 7'0" by the time he's fully developed. 

    What exactly are NBA fans looking at as a finished project? 

    Davis will end up as a guy who can block shots like Marcus Camby, but with more scoring ability. That's a very good NBA player—one well worth a top pick. 

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