2012 NBA Draft: Mock Draft One-Week Countdown Edition (With Player Highlights)
A week away from the NBA draft, medical reports and individual workouts either have to or will help to clear up who is going where and their impact on the future of their franchise.
The NBA combine allowed numbers to make a lot of noise in terms of players' draft stock, but the skills and intangibles of each player are showing itself to teams, and early reports for each team have indicated favorites of these squads.
With yesterday's Wizards-Hornets trade (from The Jamestown Sun), it is clear that even though the NBA Finals are still going on, the NBA offseason is right around the corner, and though it isn't exactly the summer of 2011, it will be time to get excited for basketball again right after the finals are over.
This mock draft is only one round and includes no trades because though I included them in my last mock, I know as much as anyone that draft trades are unpredictable.
No.1: New Orleans Hornets Select PF/C Anthony Davis
The best of Davis' offensive game showcased itself against Festus Ezeli, like his offensive rebounding skills, ability to penetrate on the pick-and-roll and a good mid-range jump shot.
Davis is maybe the next Kevin Garnett if he is a power forward. However, with yesterday's dumping of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, it begs to ask whether Al-Farouq Aminu will start at small forward or power forward and whether this team is up-tempo or half-court defense oriented.
No.2: Charlotte Bobcats Select PF Thomas Robinson, Kansas
When compared to the other top big men in the draft, Robinson dominated Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller and competed with Anthony Davis in the final three games of his career.
He has a great tenacity, which shows in the video above with him creating and-one opportunities, and has phenomenal athleticism that would give a unique post combination with Bismack Biyombo in terms of both a scoring and defensive presence and the ability to play in transition.
Assuming Tyrus Thomas is amnestied, Charlotte needs to build from the inside out, and adding another shooting guard or swingman when there are players available in free agency at that position makes little to no sense.
Robinson has the intangibles, aggressive and cockiness; according to Hoopsworld, he believes he should be the No.1 pick. Michael Jordan will fall in love with him in workouts and interviews, and usually has final say on personnel moves, so don't be surprised if Robinson is the guy.
No.3: Washington Wizards Select SG Bradley Beal, Florida
As revealed in my observations of the Wizards-Hornets trade, I believe that the Wizards' true target is Bradley Beal, as his perimeter shooting presence is the one thing that the Wizards need in order to open up the floor for John Wall, the deep frontcourt and wild-card talent Jan Vesely.
Whether Beal starts or comes off the bench as a sixth man, he is a very efficient and productive backcourt mate for Wall, who, according to WalterFootball, compares to Eric Gordon. The Wizards are a potential playoff team this season with the Eastern Conference in shambles, and this is the move that could put them over the top.
No.4: Cleveland Cavaliers Select SF Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
In Sam Amick's most recent mock draft on SI.com, he revealed that he has been told that the Cavs love Barnes and that he cancelled a workout with the Sacramento Kings at No. 5, so he must believe he will be picked no lower than the top four.
Normally, UNC and Duke don't get along, but Barnes and Kyrie Irving, respectively, will be a seamless combination because Barnes doesn't always need the ball to be successful and worked well with a great point guard in Kendall Marshall, but struggled immensely without him.
Though Barnes has been compared to Tracy McGrady, Barnes is more of a small forward with a 6'8'', 230-pound frame, and he is continuing to develop his post-up game. Plus, there may be either a shooting guard available in free agency or at the No. 24 pick in the draft that could complement Irving and Barnes.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a very good player, but is not a perfect fit in Byron Scott's scheme, as he does not have perimeter shooting skills at the 3 position.
No. 5: Sacramento Kings Select SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
With Tyreke Evans now a failed experiment at three positions (PG,SG, SF), Evans is on the trading block this offseason, according to the Yahoo! Sports Blog Ball Don't Lie.
With Isaiah Thomas looking like the point guard of the future and Marcus Thornton playing well at shooting guard either as a starter or sixth man, it is now time to find a true swingman who can play with these guys in transition, and a great leader.
Despite only being 18 his freshman season at Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist became the leader of the team, coming up with effort plays that inspired the rest of his teammates and playing with no fear when driving the basket. With Demarcus Cousins also being a player coached by John Calipari, Kidd-Gilchrist will help get the best out of the dynamic yet enigmatic talent of Cousins.
Kidd-Gilchrist can play power forward in an up-tempo lineup, and if he is the next Gerald Wallace, he will be a volume rebounder from the small forward position whose overachieving in terms of putting up stats and making plays will make a unique combo with Thomas. Their combination will increase both the character and consistency of this team in terms of both the half-court offense and key situations.
No. 6: Portland Trailblazers Select C Andre Drummond, Connecticut
In this game, Drummond was an alley-oop machine, but he didn't impact the game in a way that tremendously helped UConn win, which was a constant criticism throughout the season.
However, with two lottery picks, including this one that it wasn't even guaranteed this season when it moved Gerald Wallace to New Jersey, Portland should and will take a chance on a player who has a chance to be the next Dwight Howard. With LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum (if he stays) the franchise pillars at the forward position, a true center like Drummond would make the type of impact the Trail Blazers hoped when they picked Greg Oden No. 1 a few years ago.
Drummond would allow Aldridge to play most of the game at the 4, limiting his burden and also giving him better matchups. Plus, it will allow Portland to use its up-tempo lineup less often, meaning it can be used more efficiently. The selection of Drummond will mean the official end of the Greg Oden-Brandon Roy era.
No. 7: Golden State Warriors Select SG Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
With a near seven-foot wingspan and great athleticism, Lamb would be considered a top 10 and possibly top-5 draft pick by the entire community were it not for UConn's disappointing season.
While Golden State could look at trading the pick for a veteran small forward, the unfortunate reality is that there are not a lot of available trades as of now. Plus, Klay Thompson can play the small forward position.
Lamb is not always an aggressive scorer, but if he played either as the starting shooting guard or sixth man, the trio of Stephen Curry, Thompson and David Lee would lessen the pressure on Lamb to try to get the ball in the basket. This will allow him to use his length on defense and then make plays in the open floor.
With no talented small forwards who are ready to play right now left in this point of the draft, Golden State needs to take the best available talent and allow him to develop. Lamb is that player.
No. 8: Toronto Raptors Select PG Damian Lillard, Weber State
Though he played for Weber State, if Lillard could transfer what he did to the NBA in a couple years, he could become a more polished version of Russell Westbrook.
Though Toronto is another team looking for a veteran small forward, this team needs an athletic and tenacious floor general to lead this team, as Jerryd Bayless is a restricted free agent and inconsistent, while Jose Calderon has one year left on his contract and is getting old.
Toronto could sign Gerald Wallace or another 3 in free agency and have their point guard of the future in Lillard. At 6'3'', 195 pounds, Lillard is part of the new crop of point guards who are bigger and athletic and have some 2-guard skills in terms of scoring.
The Raptors need a player like Lillard who made his team and other players around him better, and then add a complementary piece or two to compete for the postseason this year and more in later years. Don't be surprised to see Toronto playing in April and May next season.
No.9: Detroit Pistons Select C Meyers Leonard, Illinois
Leonard is 7'1", about 250 pounds, has a good mid-range game and has the potential to become a big-time Center in the NBA.
About a week ago, Yahoo! Sports reported that team president Joe Dumars and his staff are very interested in Leonard. With his impressive combine workout and the fact that Jared Sullinger may have fallen out of favor with his health issues, Leonard could very well be Detroit's selection.
While he isn't always aggressive or tenacious, Bruce Weber's system never called for that, and maybe Lawrence Frank can put him and Greg Monroe in the paint together, as both have great passing skills. Plus, with smaller big Jonas Jerebko on the bench, it will allow Detroit to use an up-tempo offense with Monroe as the center whenever Leonard sits.
With versatile players like Jerebko, Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight, the addition of a true center would allow the Pistons to match up with just about any team in the league and make them a potential playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.
No. 10: New Orleans Hornets Select PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
After SI.com NBA daft expert Sam Amick compared Kendall Marshall to Ricky Rubio, there is no way the Hornets should pass up taking Chris Paul's replacement, as there will be a high amount of alley-oops from Marshall to Anthony Davis.
As a big 6'4'' point guard, Marshall has excellent vision, doesn't take bad shots and can defend both guard positions. He can be a Jason Kidd-type player as well, and today's NBA is mostly a point guard's game.
While he is not very aggressive, Marshall makes the players around him better and is a consummate leader, as was Ty Lawson when he came out of UNC. New Orleans could look to move this pick, but could be best served filling out its potential starting backcourt with Marshall paired with Eric Gordon (if he re-signs).
No. 11: Portland Trail Blazers Select PG/SG Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters can either be the next Brandon Roy, Dwyane Wade or James Harden.
Any way you slice it, Portland can't pass up a talent like Waiters, as he could be a sixth man and play either guard position. Or, if Portland really wants to copy division rival Oklahoma City, it could use Waiters as a point guard like Russell Westbrook.
But with a bunch of free agents available at the point guard position, Waiters will likely take Jamal Crawford's spot as the bench scorer for the Trail Blazers. Portland will rebuild this offseason, but could contend as quickly as Oklahoma City did after starting Kevin Durant's second year 3-29.
No. 12: Milwaukee Bucks Select PF John Henson, North Carolina
With Scott Skiles as a defensive coach and Carlos Delfino, Mike Dunleavy and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute as players that can play the small forward position, Milwaukee will want some shot blocking to get out in transition.
John Henson is tremendously thin at 6'10'' and under 220 pounds and could only bench 185 pounds five times on the bench at the combine, according to SI.com's Sam Amick. In the same article, however, Amick says that Henson could still develop his body the way Kevin Garnett did.
The only other elite shot blocker in this draft is Anthony Davis, so Henson can maybe develop early on the way Serge Ibaka has for the Thunder. Henson can also be a big man that can get out and run with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, providing another thing Milwaukee doesn't have as of yet.
No. 13: Phoenix Suns Select SG Austin Rivers, Duke
Doc's son is a tremendous scorer who can create shots like no other player currently on the Phoenix Suns' roster.
Austin Rivers can be a great combo guard that can either develop and learn the point behind Steve Nash or be the sixth man for Phoenix, something the team hasn't had since Leandro Barbosa. With an NBA pedigree, Coach Alvin Gentry and Nash will love this kid's ability to adapt to the NBA game very quickly.
Rivers has ice water in his veins, and when he gets hot, he is nearly unstoppable, the type of clutch player that Phoenix has seemingly never had.
No. 14: Houston Rockets Select SF/PF Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Jones is another intriguing big that Kevin McHale will love working with, as he sacrificed to help Kentucky win a national championship.
Jones has great range, athleticism, ability to defend multiple positions and is an underrated defender. Houston could look to deal one of their first-round picks and Samuel Dalembert, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.
However, with Jones the best player on the board and the No. 16 pick pretty valuable in this year's draft, if they were to keep one of their first-round picks, it would be this one. Houston should and probably will make some sort of blockbuster deal this offseason.
No. 15: Philadelphia 76ers Select C Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
With Elton Brand likely to be amnestied, according to Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com, and Carl Landry or Kris Humphries possible candidates to replace him in free agency, according to Philly.com, Philadelphia could also have to make the choice of whether to keep Lou Williams, who has opted out, or Spencer Hawes.
Since Williams led the team in scoring, it is safe to say he will most likely be the one kept. With Hawes being the one left out, Zeller would be a perfect fit within the 76ers offense, as he would not have to be the volume rebounder with either Landry or Humphries at power forward, and his ability to pass out of the post and set picks will open up the floor for the deep assortment of guards in Philly.
Philadelphia was one win away from the Eastern Conference Finals, so their formula, safe for a tweak here and there, is working.
No. 16: Houston Rockets Select SF/PF Perry Jones
With one of Houston's two picks likely to be traded, there could be an intriguing trade opportunity.
With the Lakers and Rockets already having worked on the Pau Gasol nullified trade and Derek Fisher trade, the Lakers appear interested in Baylor Forwards Perry Jones and Quincy Miller, according to Fox Sports.
With Terrence Jones already in the fold within a deep frontcourt, the Rockets don't need a player like Perry Jones, who is an unfinished product. Plus, Jones will remind Laker fans of Lamar Odom, who they cannot get back until a year after the Dallas trade due to a new CBA stipulation.
No. 17: Dallas Mavericks Select PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Moultrie is very similar to former SEC player and now Atlanta Hawk Al Horford and is the best player on the board right now for the Dallas Mavericks.
With Dallas lacking a true big man who can play both the 4 and 5 position, Moultrie is the type of addition that can allow for unique lineups that include having Dirk Nowitski play anywhere from small forward to center. He will not have to start or play a big role immediately, but Moultrie is the type of versatile piece that Rich Carlisle loves to work with.
No. 18: Minnesota Timberwolves Select SG Terrence Ross, Washington
No longer will Wesley Johnson play the shooting guard position for Minnesota, as Terrence Ross could be a day one starter for the Timberwolves.
Ross' 6'7'' frame will allow him to shoot above almost everyone who defends him, and he will be the perimeter player who provides shooting for Minnesota, as without Kevin Love, there would be no shooting for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With their starting shooting guard of the future picked, don't be surprised if the Timberwolves try to make a move with assets like the expiring contracts of Martell Webster and Brad Miller, Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley as young restricted free agents and future draft picks.
No. 19: Orlando Magic Select PG Tony Wroten, Washington
Tony Wroten has the ability to be another big point guard to join the athletic and gymnastic heights of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook.
However, if there was a brick laying guard at the combine, it was Tony Wroten. Yet with his many other ways of contributing, like defense, rebounding and playing in transition, Wroten has the other pieces to his game to make him an effective point guard.
You can teach shooting over time, but you can teach intangibles and defense, and since Oklahoma City's assistant GM (Rob Hennigan) is taking over as Orlando's GM, he may see Wroten in the same way as he once did Russell Westbrook. With Jameer Nelson deciding whether to opt out of his contract this offseason, the time for a new point guard of the future is now.
No. 20: Denver Nuggets Select SF Moe Harkess, St. Johns
The Denver Nuggets have everything a team could want (if Javale McGee stays) except a consummate and unselfish superstar.
That being said, with this pick, Denver should either use it as trade bait or add a young talent that can develop. Harkless is a very good young talent, as WalterFootball compares him to Paul George of the Indiana Pacers.
Like George, he can play as a big shooting guard, small forward and small power forward, and that scheme and positional versatility will add to a team that has Danilo Gallinari, Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler and Al Harrington. He proved himself to be a long and active defender in his only year for St. Johns and has a lot of offensive ability already that can only get better.
No. 21: Boston Celtics Select PF Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Sullinger's drop could be the best thing that could happen to him, as Glen "Big Baby" Davis had similar weight and health concerns and wound up joining Kevin Garnett in Boston.
There, Garnett taught him how to lose weight, be professional and how to best use his skill set. If Sullinger gets that opportunity, assuming KG doesn't retire, Boston will have its frontcourt scorer for at least the next five years and a young player who can develop with Rajon Rondo.
With Paul Pierce getting older, Doc Rivers needs somebody who can create their own shot in the painted area, and Sullinger can do exactly that on the post-up. He will a great bench big man to add to JaJuan Johnson, another Big Ten stud the Celtics have drafted, and he will remember all the teams who passed him up.
No. 22: Boston Celtics Select SF Royce White, Iowa State
Royce White showed the ability to be a double-double machine at times last season, as his rebounding skills, passing ability and ball-handling are unique for someone about the size and stature of LeBron James.
Make no mistake, White is not James, but he is the type of versatile player that Paul Pierce can help develop the next two years, and maybe the player that replaces what the Celtics thought they would get in Jeff Green. Boston needs to make the most of two consecutive first-round picks in a deep draft, and to do that, it needs to take chances on two players with top-10 skill sets.
Danny Ainge should have confidence in Doc Rivers' ability to coach these somewhat damaged goods, as he has already done with the veteran-laden Celtics in the Big Three era.
No. 23: Atlanta Hawks Select PF Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Besides Al Horford, there is no true big man on Atlanta's roster who can shoot.
If Andrew Nicholson is brought in, however, the roster could make some changes to make a more conventional team, as these up-tempo Atlanta Hawks have reached the point of playoff mediocrity. Nicholson is a stretch power forward who provides a true scoring presence to Atlanta's frontcourt and some depth that was deeply missed last season.
No. 24: Cleveland Cavaliers Select SG Will Barton, Memphis
Will Barton is only 175 pounds, but his 6'6'' length and improving jump shot would allow Cleveland to create a dynamic perimeter trio.
If the Cavaliers can bring Alonzo Gee back, the depth and versatility among its guards and forwards would allow Cleveland to give Kyrie Irving both fast break mates and shooters that can play off his penetrating ability. With no very good pick-and-roll player for Irving to work with as of now and none left to take in this draft, Cleveland will have to look to free agency to add a frontcourt scoring presence to make this team competitive.
No. 25: Memphis Grizzlies Select PG Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Though Mike Conley has played very well the past two years, Memphis has had trouble finding a backup point guard to play behind him.
Last year, they even used Gilbert Arenas in that role before his injury, so a young player who can learn but has NBA pedigree like Teague can make the point guard issue mute once and for all. Though the Grizzlies could use shooting, lack of depth in the backcourt has killed this team at times, and there are plenty of shooters like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis available in free agency.
No. 26: Indiana Pacers Select SG Doron Lamb, Kentucky
With Leandro Barbosa a free agent, there are no true shooting guards left on Indiana's roster.
Though they could look at Eric Gordon, the Pacers first need to lock up Roy Hibbert and/or George Hill. Though Lamb wouldn't start, he could come off the bench, as Paul George is a nice player, but not an ideal 2-guard.
Lamb is cerebral, a very good shooter and a versatile player who defended and also played some point guard at Kentucky. Larry Bird loves champions, so he will love Lamb.
No. 27: Miami Heat Select SF Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt
Taylor is potentially the next Thabo Sefelosha, as he is a gritty defender who could learn the intracacies of the NBA game quickly from LeBron James and Shane Battier.
Plus, with LeBron James only becoming more and more of a post player, it could help to have a true small forward who can defend and shoot the 3. Miami could look to trade this pick if the right offer comes around.
No. 28: Oklahoma City Thunder Select SG Evan Fournier, France
With Oklahoma City potentially seven-deep at the guard positions, Oklahoma may have to look at trading players like Eric Maynor or Daequan Cook for frontcourt scoring.
If such a move is made, the Thunder need to refill that position with the addition of Fournier, who, at 6'7'', is a great player in transition and helped lead France's under-20 team to a victory over Russia's under-20 squad. Thabo Sefelosha isn't going to be happy making only $3 million forever, and as San Antonio, who once employed now Thunder GM Sam Presti, showed, if you get international prospects, you can use them and develop their skills whenever you want to.
Look for Oklahoma City to continue that trend.
No. 29: Chicago Bulls Select C Fab Melo, Syracuse
Fab Melo was inconsistent and couldn't participate in this year's NCAA Championships, but he does possess a 7'0'', 250-pound body that blocks and alters shots.
With Omer Asik a restricted free agent, he could potentially leave in free agency. With that being the case, and no tremendously talented point guard left, the Bulls need to look at backup center as a vital need with the amount their backup big men play.
No. 30: Golden State Warriors Select SF Draymond Green, Michigan State
Draymond Green could remind coach Mark Jackson of his New York Knick teammate Anthony Mason, who possessed guard-like passing and ball-handling skills in the body of a big man.
Green is another bench player who can play with Jeremy Lamb, and both have won national championships, so their ability to understand what it takes to win will translate well to Golden State's roster.