2012 NBA Mock Draft: Full First-Round Predictions and Analysis
In three days, the NBA draft will unfold and all the speculation on who's going where will finally be put to rest.
This year's draft class is filled with potential superstars, from the likes of Anthony Davis and his Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, to the famed Austin Rivers of Duke.
Each team will go into the draft looking to fulfill a certain hole in their roster or simply to obtain the next basketball prodigy.
With a new season comes new players and renewed hope of capturing the elusive NBA championship.
Every team will believe they have what it takes heading into next year, and a smart first round draft pick will go a long way to making that dream a reality.
Here is a full first round prediction and analysis of what you can expect to see on Thursday.
No. 30 Golden State Warriors
The last pick of the first round goes to the Golden State Warriors, who will likely seek the services of Washington point guard, Tony Wroten.
At the age of 19, he is young, fit, versatile, and presents real options for the struggling Warriors.
With the injury ridden Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry possibly needing some time on the sideline next season, Wroten is an ideal acquisition.
No. 29 Chicago Bulls
The 6'7", 230 pound, Draymond Green is likely to be the first player snapped up by the Bulls.
With Derick Rose missing a large portion of next season through injury and Luol Deng making a possible move away from the Chicago, Green presents a viable pick for coach Tom Thibodeau.
In his time at Michigan State, Green captained the Spartans and put up some remarkable numbers.
He averaged 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds a game.
Not too shabby.
No. 28 Oklahoma City Thunder
Andrew Nicholson looks like he's going to be the man for title contender, OKC.
Nicholson is a big guy at 6'9", 240 lbs, but has shown he is still a solid shooter.
He had a FG percentage of 57.1 and scored an average of 18.5 points a game in his senior season with St. Bonaventure.
If the Thunder are to go one step further next year and win the NBA Finals, signing a proven shooter like Nicholson is a must.
No. 27 Miami Heat
Kentucky's Marquis Teague would be an ideal first round steal for the heat.
Adding another point guard to the mix to give Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole some competition would be greatly beneficial to the newly crowned NBA champs.
A youngster at 19 years old, Teague still has plenty of time to develop, and in a few years we will likely be seeing a lot more of this man.
No. 26 Indiana Pacers
The Pacers will look to get Kansas guard, Tyshawn Taylor, if he is still available this late in the draft.
He is experienced in the college game playing all four years with the Jayhawks, and is a good size at 6'3" and 185 lbs.
He averaged 16.6 points a game for Kansas on their way to the final loss against Kentucky, and has shown his willingness to get up and down the court.
I see him making the transition to point guard in the NBA, as he is beginning to blossom into more of a playmaker.
No. 25 Memphis Grizzlies
Small forward Royce White of Iowa state could be on his way to Memphis.
With trade rumors popping up all over the place for current starter Rudy Gay, coach Lionel Hollins may want to solidify the position with his first round draft pick.
White made himself available for the draft after his Sophomore season where he put up big numbers for the Cardinal.
At 6'8", 261 lbs, White has the physicality to compete with the best in the NBA.
No. 24 Cleveland Cavaliers
Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor takes the No. 24 slot, and will likely be on his way to Cleveland.
The next LeBron?
Probably not, but he's a solid player nonetheless.
Born and raised in Sweden, Taylor had no trouble making the transition to college basketball in America and looks like he has all the makings of a great NBA player as well.
Only time will tell.
For the Cavs, they'll appreciate any help they can get.
No. 23 Atlanta Hawks
Whether or not Fab Melo will be available this late in the draft is left to be seen.
At 7' this guy is a monster.
The Atlanta Hawks are in serious need of a gargantuan like this.
He will (as always) provide plenty of rebounds and blocks, and chip in with some points on the offensive side of things.
Melo can wish his academic problems farewell as he signs his first juicy professional contract.
No. 22 Boston Celtics
The Celtics have been blessed with the No. 22 and No. 21 slots in the first round of this year's draft.
Ray Allen's time with the Celtics is reportedly coming to an end, and they will hope to acquire Vandy's, John Jenkins as a suitable replacement.
In the 2011-12 season, Jenkins averaged 19.9 points per game and knocked down an impressive 47.4 percent of his field goals.
Adding some quality youth to the aging Celtics roster is a must to help bolster their playoff credentials.
No. 21 Boston Celtics
Another Vanderbilt man, Festus Ezeli (originally from Nigeria) will likely be snapped up at No. 21 in the draft.
At 6'11", 264 lbs, Ezeli is an athletic Center who was impressive throughout his college hoops career.
If the Celtics pass up the opportunity to get Melo, we should see Ezeli's unbelievable 7'5" wingspan cause some real problems for whoever the Celtics come up against.
No. 20 Denver Nuggets
Small forward Moe Harkless out of St. John's could be on his way to Denver this year in the No. 20 spot.
He has the ability to play either forward position providing versatility to a Nuggets team lacking in depth.
A fairly consistent shooter and renowned for the energy he brings, Harkless has all the attributes to have a very successful rookie season.
No. 19 Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic will likely just try to land the best player they can in the first round of the draft.
A quality point guard is what they will crave most, but in all probability the best ones will be long gone by this stage.
Forward Terrence Jones of Kentucky had a huge sophomore year and Orlando would love to develop him further.
At 20 years old, expect to hear big things from Jones.
No. 18 Minnesota Timberwolves
Shooting guard Terrence Ross from UW will probably take the No. 18 spot in the draft.
At 6'6", 195 lbs, his physical attributes as well as his sound defensive abilities have upped his stock vastly.
The Timberwolves will look to capitalize on Ross, who averaged 16.4 points a game, and hope that he isn't picked up earlier than expected.
No. 17 Dallas Mavericks
Arnett Moultrie from Mississippi State would provide the Dallas Mavericks with an eventual replacement for Dirk Nowitzki.
His size and physicality, paired with his ability to knock down buckets (15.8 PPG) would prove a coup for any NBA team.
If the Mavericks can teach Moultrie to limit his time on the perimeter, they could have themselves a future superstar.
No. 16 Houston Rockets
Many have predicted Dion Waiters to go as early as No. 7 in the draft, but I believe that his size and inconsistent shooting will knock him down to No. 16
At 6'4" Waiters is small for a shooting guard, but showed in his time with Syracuse that size isn't everything.
At 21 years old, he still has time to develop physically, so don't be surprised to see him make a big impact a few years down the road.
No. 15 Philadelphia 76ers
I expect the 76ers to use their first round draft pick to acquire North Carolina power forward John Henson.
Again, many people expected him to go higher in the first round, but his lanky build detracts from his aggressive style of play.
He is a consistent player both offensively and defensively, an all-action sort of guy.
He can be blocking a shot one moment and sprinting up the court to dunk it the next.
In a few years, if he can bulk up a bit, Henson and his 7'5" wingspan will be a formidable weapon for the 76ers.
No. 14 Houston Rockets
The No. 14 slot will likely go to the coveted Jared Sullinger of Ohio State.
Sullinger has a great knowledge of the game, and his 6'9", 268-lb frame makes him an ideal pickup for the Rockets.
His ability to rebound the ball (9.2 per game) and low center of gravity should see him have a fruitful rookie season in the NBA.
He is also deadly on the offensive side of things, scoring an incredible 17.5 PPG in his last season with the Buckeyes.
No. 13 Phoenix Suns
Kendall Marshall of North Carolina presents Phoenix with a problem.
While he may be one of the best passers and most technical players in all of college basketball, his physical attributes leave a bit to be desired.
The Suns will likely give him the benefit of the doubt because he is a young man with plenty of room for maturation and improvement.
No. 12 Milwaukee Bucks
Center Meyers Leonard out of Illinois would add depth and a big presence to the Milwaukee Bucks squad.
After losing center Andrew Bogut to the Warriors, Leonard could be the perfect replacement.
Coming in at a mere 7'1", Leonard dominates the boards and is surprisingly agile for such a behemoth of a man.
His ability to rebound the ball and block shots makes him one of the most feared players in college basketball.
Coming into the NBA should be a breeze for Leonard.
No. 11 Portland Trail Blazers
Tyler Zeller out of North Carolina is another center who could make a big impact coming into his rookie season.
For a player of his size (7'), Zeller is a mobile guy who can knock down buckets from most areas of the floor.
His average of 9.6 rebounds per game is striking and should see him do quite well.
No. 10 New Orleans Hornets
The top 10 of the first round should be exciting.
I see the Hornets picking up shooting guard Austin Rivers in this slot because of his seeming ease on the ball.
Only 19 years old, Rivers still has much to learn but has already shown some clutch moments for Duke.
His arrogance will serve him well in the NBA, if he can learn to control when and where to apply it.
Good luck to him.
No. 9 Detroit Pistons
Andre Drummond seems like a suitable option here.
The 7" center from UConn is explosive and dominant on rebounds and blocked shots.
With Ben Wallace aging and Greg Monroe being the Pistons only other center, Drummond is the most likely first round pick.
For an 18-year-old, he is physically imposing and presents many well developed attributes.
He must, however, find the consistency and hunger necessary for him to thrive in the NBA.
No. 8 Toronto Raptors
No, not Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lamb.
The 6'5" shooting guard also out of UConn can get the Raptors points, simple as that.
In 2011-12 he averaged 17.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
While he isn't renowned for his work on the defensive side of things, his 7' wingspan makes him a serious threat to anyone in his zone.
No. 7 Golden State Warriors
Power forward Perry Jones III out of Baylor has had his draft stock rise significantly in the past couple of weeks.
This guy has it all: good shooter, explosive leap, and an extremely athletic build.
He will provide the Warriors with another more than capable option at forward instead of Dorell Wright and Brandon Rush.
No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard out of Weber State made a big name for himself during his junior season.
He averaged 24.5 points per game.
The point guard can drop buckets, rarely turns the ball over and has a well-rounded understanding of the game.
With age, Lillard should begin to increase play-making abilities and turn into the next Rajon Rondo.
No. 5 Sacramento Kings
The Kings will likely swoop on the highly coveted Harrison Barnes out of North Carolina.
The small forward can score from practically anywhere on the court, and showed some of the best fundamentals in college ball.
He lacks a bit in strength, but makes up for it in his aggression (he's only 20).
I look forward to seeing him help the Kings progress and make a serious run for the playoffs.
No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers
Thomas Robinson, the power forward out of Kansas, could go from as high as No. 2 to as low No. 4 in the first round of the draft.
The Bobcats are rather set at PF, so Cleveland looks to be a better option for him.
His physicality and athletic build should see him dominate in a league where those aspects are always emphasized.
He went from scoring 7.6 PPG in 2010-11 to scoring 17.7 PPG the next year.
Hopefully his progression will continue and he will do well in 2012-13.
No. 3 Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal possesses some of the rawest talent in the entire 2012 draft class.
His shooting is quite simply amazing, and is all around well suited to compete in the NBA.
He will turn 19 the day of the draft, so he has a lot of time to grow and turn into the man we all expect him to be.
The Wizards will almost certainly pick him up in the No. 3 slot.
No. 2 Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, also known as MKG, should soothe some of the pain experienced by the Bobcats last year.
There is a lot of growing up to do at only 18 years old, but MKG is already a force to be reckoned with.
He was one of the best overall athletes in college hoops last year, and was instrumental in Kentucky's run to the National Championship.
His superior physicality and aggression separate him from most other first-rounders.
No.1 New Orleans Hornets
Do I even need to say it?
Forgoing any sort of miracle, Anthony Davis will be the No. 1 draft pick in 2012.
We all saw in the 2011-12 season with Kentucky how special of a player this guy is becoming
He is only 18 years old, and there is still plenty of room for improvement (scary thought).
With all the hype surrounding Davis and his introduction to the NBA, it will be interesting to see how he fares.