2012 NBA Mock Draft: Backcourt Players Who Will Dominate the Competition
While the 2012 NBA draft has a ton of depth at the center and forward positions, there are several backcourt players capable of dominating at the next level.
Some will be complete players. Others might be more inclined to dominate a game by facilitating the offense and racking up the assists. And other still will score the rock, plain and simple.
Whatever the case may be, I've identified a few players I think will be excellent backcourt players at the next level. Let's take a look at those players alongside the rest of the field on my latest mock draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF (Kentucky)
If Davis isn't the pick, the city of New Orleans should banish the Hornets.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson, PF (Kansas)
The Bobcats need help at every position, but Robinson represents the best balance of upside and safety. Robinson won't be a bust and should be a productive, well-rounded power forward for the next 10 years.
3. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF (Kentucky)
Now it gets interesting. The Wizards might look to add a scoring option like Bradley Beal or Harrison Barnes here, but I think MKG is the type of player. He has the potential to help a team in every facet, and as his game matures, he should become a legitimate second scorer behind John Wall.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG (Florida)
The difference between this pick being Beal and Barnes comes down to Beal being able to create his own shot.
Beal has ideal size for the 2-guard position, has an excellent perimeter shot, can take it to the bucket, plays solid defense and rebounds well for a guard. He'll be the ideal complement to Kyrie Irving in an explosive Cleveland backcourt.
5. Sacramento Kings: Perry Jones III, PF (Baylor)
I don't like Barnes as a fit for the Kings, and Andre Drummond doesn't make much sense with DeMarcus Cousins already in town. I still believe the Kings will shock some folks and roll the dice on Jones.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey): Andre Drummond, C (Connecticut)
Again, Barnes slips due to team needs. With Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum already on the wing, Barnes isn't the right fit. They could also go with Damian Lillard here, but I think the big man will be too hard to pass up.
7. Golden State Warriors (from Utah): Harrison Barnes, SF (North Carolina)
This truly is a dream come true for the Warriors, who won't be expecting Barnes to drop this far to them. For a team that could use a scoring presence on the wing, Barnes is the perfect fit.
8. Toronto Raptors: Dion Waiters, SG (Syracuse)
I have my reservations about Waiters, namely in the halfcourt offense. I know he'll play dogged defense and score in transition, but I question whether he'll ever be a consistent NBA scorer.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF (North Carolina)
Henson and Greg Monroe could become a nasty pair of twin towers for Detroit. If Henson bulks up, he'll be a force on both ends.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota): Damian Lillard, PG (Weber State)
The question I have about Lillard isn't whether he'll be able to score at the next level, but more whether he'll ever be a complete point guard or a shoot-first player that inhibits the offensive flow. He had to carry a heavy scoring load at Weber State; I'll reserve my judgment on him in the future until I see if he can also operate as a playmaker for his teammates.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Kendall Marshall, PG (North Carolina)
Kendall Marshall knows who he is, and that will be his strongest asset in the NBA.
He'll never score like the other backcourt players being taken in the lottery, but he won't need to. Marshall is an assists machine that will ensure the offense operates smoothly and will keep his teammates involved.
Just ask North Carolina what happened to it after he went down with injury this year.
Admittedly, Marshall is a guy I have a hunch about. He seems like one of those guys that will surprise people by becoming an absolute stud at the next level. If he can develop his offensive game as he goes, look out.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller, C (North Carolina)
They may also roll the dice on Meyers Leonard here. If they want to play it safe, they'll go with Zeller.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jeremy Lamb, SG (Connecticut)
Lamb's size, jump shot and movement without the ball will ensure he's a nice addition for the Suns. But his less-than-aggressive mentality will keep him from ever being a dominant player.
14. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard, C (Illinois)
The Rockets will gamble on Leonard becoming franchise center after a few years of development.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Austin Rivers, SG (Duke)
A lot of people aren't very high on Rivers, and others will think I'm crazy for having him drop this low.
A lot of people will wonder why a defensive team like the Sixers would draft an undersized, ball-dominating combo guard, and others will agree that the Sixers need a legitimate scorer, and Rivers will more than fill that role, especially if Lou Williams departs.
Rivers is sort of a love-or-hate prospect, and I lean toward love. If he dropped to the Sixers, the team could find itself with a true scorer for the first time since Allen Iverson was in town. On an unselfish team with talented and willing role players, Rivers would be a perfect fit.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York): Terrence Jones, PF (Kentucky)
Too much talent and potential for the Rockets to ignore Jones. Like Leonard, he's a bit of a project, but could pay off big-time in the long run.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Moe Harkless, SF (St. John's)
As college freshman go in this draft, he's one of the safer options. He'll need to develop into a true small forward after spending a good deal of time at the 4 in college, but he's got the ability to make a seamless transition.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah): Terrence Ross, SG (Washington)
Perfect scenario for Minnesota, who will look to add a young 2-guard in this draft.
19. Orlando Magic: Tony Wroten, Jr., PG (Washington)
Wroten projects as a big-bodied combo guard who should develop into a defensive stopper down the line. Nice value here for Orlando.
20. Denver Nuggets: Arnett Moultrie, PF (Mississippi State)
The double-double machine is the safest of the deep crop of power forwards still on the board at this point in the draft.
21. Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger, PF (Ohio State)
The Celtics will thank all of those injury red flags for dropping the best value pick of the first round into the team's laps.
22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Jeffery Taylor, SG (Vanderbilt)
Boston may win the first round with these two picks. Taylor would be an excellent addition on the wing, versatile enough to play the 2 or 3 and talented enough to help on both ends of the floor.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Andrew Nicholson, PF (St. Bonaventure)
If Josh Smith ends up being moved at some point, Nicholson is the type of player that could replicate his scoring. He'll need to bulk up to crash on the boards, but his scoring touch and athleticism make him appealing.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Fab Melo, C (Syracuse)
A risky pick, plain and simple. But Melo is a true center who swats away shots like they are gnats, so the Cavs take the chance. If he develops an offensive game and becomes stronger on the glass, this becomes a steal.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Royce White, PF (Iowa State)
White is proof of just how deep this draft runs. He has bust potential, but enough talent that he could see himself picked just outside the lottery as well.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG (Kentucky)
A project, plain and simple, but Teague took major strides as a point guard throughout the year. Could become a more proficient scorer than expected at the next level.
27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, PF (Michigan State)
Call him a 'tweener, harp on his athleticims, decry the pick. But just you watch when Green finds his way onto the court and is a perfect fit in Miami.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Quincy Miller, SF (Baylor)
Another pure project down the board. The Thunder don't have any pressing needs and will give him a great environment to grow as a player.
29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SG (Memphis)
Perfect fit in Chicago. Athletic wing who defends, runs the floor like the wind and finishes at the rim. Barton did everything for Memphis last season.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio): John Jenkins, SG (Vanderbilt)
Barnes plus Jenkins plus Steph Curry equals the Warriors bombing teams from beyond the arc next season.
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