5 Crazy Predictions for Each Round of the 2012 NBA Draft

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2012

5 Crazy Predictions for Each Round of the 2012 NBA Draft

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    Year after year, the NBA draft never ceases to amaze. Through months of mock drafts and analysis, predicted outcomes seldom come to pass.

    While the top five selections in this year's NBA draft are becoming more clear, uncertainty surrounds the remaining selections in the first and second rounds.

    With the draft quickly approaching, rumors are running more rampant than ever and misinformation is quickly becoming the norm.

    As Thursday nears, here are five crazy predictions for each round of the NBA draft.

First Round: Kentucky Starting Five All Selected in the First Round

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    While Anthony Davis is a mortal lock to be selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Hornets, his teammates at Kentucky are all unsure of where they will land.

    Small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will likely be selected somewhere in the top five by either Charlotte, Cleveland or Sacramento after the Washington Wizards recently traded for swingman Trevor Ariza.

    After Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, the two most likely players to be selected are point guard Marquis Teague and tweener Terrence Jones.

    Teague has a wealth of potential and, after just one season at Kentucky, is looking to follow in the footsteps of former Wildcat point guard Brandon Knight.

    Jones on the other hand is a combo-forward with the muscle to play down on the blocks, but the length and athleticism to play on the perimeter.

    The final piece is shooting guard Doron Lamb who will have the toughest time being selected in the first round. Currently projected as a late-first or early second-round pick, Lamb will hope to catch on with one of the league's more veteran teams.

First Round: Damian Lillard Is Selected Before Andre Drummond

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    Although Connecticut's Andre Drummond may be the most intriguing prospect in this year's NBA draft, Weber State's Damian Lillard has all of the makings of a star at point guard.

    In a league that has seen shoot-first point guards emerge as the norm, Lillard will be a highly sought-after prize in the lottery stage of Thursday's draft.

    After a junior season in which he averaged 24.5 points and four assists per game, Lillard looks like the complete package.

    Very capable of creating his own shot, Lillard could be a nice fit for a team like the Portland Trailblazers at pick No. 6. With point guard Raymond Felton headed for unrestricted free agency, Lillard is a logical pickup for a team in need of some perimeter scoring.

First Round: Terrence Ross Falls out of the Lottery

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    A sharpshooter out of the University of Washington, Terrence Ross has the ability to become a nice complementary scorer at the professional level.

    Although Ross is an instinctive scorer, he's slightly limited by his size and lack of versatility. Too small to defend more lengthy and athletic small forwards, Ross is a better fit as a shooting guard in the NBA.

    With plenty of shooters available in the latter stages of the first round and later in the second, teams shouldn't jump to snag a player like Ross with one of the first 14 selections.

    If he does fall out of the lottery, Ross could be a natural fit with the Philadelphia 76ers (No. 15 overall) or Houston Rockets (No. 16 overall)

First Round: Boston Celtics Trade into the Top 10, Select Austin Rivers

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    With picks No. 21 and 22 overall in the first round of this year's NBA draft, the Boston Celtics have been granted loads of flexibility.

    Remaining at picks No. 21 and 22 is a nice consolation, especially in a draft loaded with talent. However, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has to be intrigued by the possibility of a move into the top 10 where he would have a shot at drafting his son, Duke shooting guard Austin Rivers.

    With the departure of Ray Allen looming, Rivers could be a natural fit on a Celtics team that is looking to get younger and more athletic. Rivers is a deadly scorer and, while he didn't flash his full potential in his freshman year at Duke, he has plenty of room to grow.

    Alongside Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, Rivers could help the Celtics continue to make noise atop of the Eastern Conference.

First Round: Perry Jones Is Selected Before Tyler Zeller

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    North Carolina's Tyler Zeller and Baylor's Perry Jones could not have more contrasting styles of play.

    Zeller is a fundamental big man who just finished his senior season with the Tar Heels, averaging 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Jones is an athletic specimen whose game needs some polishing, but is accompanied with loads of upside.

    What makes Jones special is that he's athletic enough to play out on the perimeter, yet strong enough to hold his own down low on the blocks.

    Zeller's game is certainly more polished than Jones', but his upside and versatility are fairly limited. In a league where superior athletes are sought after, Jones could be a lottery pick come Thursday evening.

Second Round: Fab Melo Falls out of the First Round

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    In a draft class replete with frontcourt talent, Syracuse's Fab Melo may slide a bit on draft night.

    A 7'0'' center out of Brazil, Melo's defensive abilities are certainly worthy of a first-round selection, but unfortunately, his offensive capabilities limit his ceiling.

    Although he's an intriguing prospect, Melo was nothing short of controversial in his time with the Orange. Recently admitting that his suspension from the NCAA tournament was due to poor academic performance, Melo's sub-par track record at Syracuse does not bode well for his prospects as a professional.

    Although he's a relative newcomer to the game of basketball, teams would be wise to steer clear of his upside and go with a more proven prospect.

Second Round: Blazers Use Two Second-Round Picks to Acquire Third First-Rounder

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    Already holding picks No. 6 and 11 in the first round, the Portland Trailblazers find themselves extremely fortunate to also hold two second-round picks.

    With picks No. 40 and 41 in the second round, the Blazers could piece together a package that could potentially swing them a third first round pick.

    With two lottery selections the Blazers are looking to revitalize a franchise that was a Western Conference power throughout the early 2000s and the 2012 draft could be the perfect starting point.

    With their copious amount of selections in this years draft, the Blazers should have no problem surrounding All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge with talent next season.

Second Round: John Jenkins Is Drafted Before Will Barton

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    Although Memphis' Will Barton and Vanderbilt's John Jenkins are similar players, one is undoubtedly a safer pick.

    Barton is a skilled scorer who averaged 18 points per game on nearly 51 percent shooting in his sophomore season. Similar to Washington's Terrence Ross, Barton lacks ideal size for an NBA shooting guard.

    At 6'6'' and 175 pounds, Barton will need to add serious muscle to insure his coaches that he will be able to defend stronger opponents. While Barton's proficiency scoring the basketball can't be denied, there is some serious bust potential here.

    As for Jenkins, the 6'4'' shooting guard out of Vanderbilt is a safe bet to contribute from day one at the professional level. A deadly shooter from beyond the arc, Jenkins should be able to come in as a three-point specialist and produce immediately for his future NBA team.

Second Round: Kyle O'Quinn Will Be the Biggest Steal

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    A relative unknown until the NCAA tournament, Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn has emerged as one of the more interesting second-round prospects in this year's draft.

    Although we won't know for a few years who will emerge as the best professionals, O'Quinn has as good a chance as any player picked in the second round.

    One of the hardest workers at the collegiate level, O'Quinn was awarded the 2012 Lou Henson Award, handed out to the country's top mid-major player.

    Second round prospects like Quincy Acy, William Buford and John Jenkins are all more household names, but O'Quinn's stellar work ethic and drive will propel him into a contributing role with his future NBA team.

Second Round: All Three Vanderbilt Players Fall out of First Round

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    Jeff Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli will all be solid professional players, but none possess the upside necessary to garner first round selections.

    The most versatile of the three, Taylor is coming off of a senior campaign at Vanderbilt in which he averaged 16.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

    Taylor will be be an intriguing pick because of his defensive prowess, but he doesn't flash as much potential as players like Tony Wroten, Tyshawn Taylor or Doron Lamb.

    As previously discussed, Jenkins will enter the NBA as a specialist and a good one at that. However, aside from his accurate three-point shooting, Jenkins doesn't have much else to offer.

    Another senior out of Vanderbilt, center Festus Ezeli is one of the least talked-about big men in this year's draft. While Ezeli may have qualified as a first round selection in years past, this draft class is loaded with frontcourt talent. Expect Ezeli to be a steal for whichever team picks him up.