2012 NBA Mock Draft: Prospects with the Most Potential

Joseph AkeleyAnalyst IJune 27, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Prospects with the Most Potential

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    One draft pick can change everything. Just ask the Portland Trail Blazers after choosing Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant.

    With that in mind, I present you with my best predictions for the 2012 NBA draft with an added twist. I predict how every first-round pick will fare in the NBA by the following descriptions—perennial All-Star, viable starter, solid role player, minor bust or major bust. 

1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis PF/C (Kentucky)

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    Davis may never win an NBA MVP, but he has the talent to be a perennial All-Star.

    He’ll instantly be the anchor of the Hornets’ defense with his outstanding length and athleticism.

    Davis has good feel for the offensive end and beautiful shooting form.

    The question is whether Davis can develop his offensive game and become New Orleans’ go-to option.


    Prediction: Perennial All-Star

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson PF (Kansas)

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    The Bobcats need a big man they can build around, and Robinson has the potential to be just that.

    Robinson has the athleticism to excel in the NBA, but his offensive skills are very raw.

    T-Rob will be bothered by the length of NBA players early in his career, but in time, he’ll learn to use his quickness to his advantage and become a solid starter.


    Prediction: Viable Starter

3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal SG (Florida)

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    Beal shot 33.9 percent on three-pointers in college. We’ll call it an aberration.

    With perfect jump-shooting form, Beal will develop into a three-point machine in the NBA.

    Beal has the ability to break down defenses, which would help John Wall, who is Washington’s only perimeter option right now.


    Prediction: Viable Starter

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF (Kentucky)

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    At worst, Kidd-Gilchrist should be the next Gerald Wallace.

    He has incredible athleticism and an uncanny ability to finish in the lane. All that’s lacking is a consistent jump shot.

    If he can become a respectable shooter, he will be a perennial All-Star and part of a scary trio with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson.


    Prediction: Viable Starter

5. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes SF (North Carolina)

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    Barnes was a major hit at the NBA combine, leaving many draft pundits to believe he’ll be taken in the top four.

    As great as his measurables are, he doesn’t show enough explosion off the dribble to be considered a great prospect.

    Still, Barnes is the best small forward prospect available and would fill a need if the Kings cut ties with Tyreke Evans.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

6. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard PG (Weber State)

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    Lillard had to carry much of the scoring load at Weber State, leaving some to believe that he’s not a true point guard.

    Playing alongside a talented corps in Portland would allow Lillard to show off his underrated passing skills.

    With good coaching Lillard could become one of the best point guards in the NBA and the jewel of this draft class.


    Prediction: Perennial All-Star

7. Golden State Warriors: Dion Waiters SG (Syracuse)

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    I get the feeling Golden State’s management is eager to win now and doesn’t want to wait on projects like Perry Jones and Andre Drummond.

    Without a good small forward option available, the Warriors could turn to Waiters who will develop into a deadly sixth man like he was at Syracuse.

    Waiters doesn't fill a need, but he's the best player available and would make an instant impact for the Dubs.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

8. Toronto Raptors: Jeremy Lamb SG (Connecticut)

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    I’ve seen Lamb mocked here a lot, and it makes sense. The Raptors need a player on the wing who can help spread the floor.

    Lamb has great range and a good feel for the game on the offensive end. He would allow DeRozan to slide to small forward.

    Like Barnes, Lamb doesn’t have the quickness to get to the rim and may never be more than a three-point specialist.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

9. Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond C (Connecticut)

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    The Pistons could use a center to build around Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight.

    Drummond has a once-a-decade combination of size and athleticism, yet he lacks basic offensive skills and the motor to be a great rebounder.

    Still, with his shot-blocking prowess, he will be drafted somewhere in the top 10.


    Prediction: Major Bust

10. New Orleans Hornets: Kendall Marshall PG (North Carolina)

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    Next year’s draft is lacking in quality point guard prospects, which may push Marshall up the board this year.

    Marshall will never be a consistent scorer, but his passing ability will make him a quality point guard for years to come.

    He would team with Anthony Davis to form a solid young nucleus.

    Prediction: Solid Role Player

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller PF/C (North Carolina)

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    The Blazers need a big man who can help LaMarcus Aldridge defend the rim.

    Zeller needs to bulk up a little more, but he has the length and timing to be a solid shot-blocker in the NBA.

    Zeller ranks higher than John Henson, Meyers Leonard and Arnett Moultrie because of his refined offensive game.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

12. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard C (Illinois)

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    Houston has a major hole at center after dealing Samuel Dalembert to the Bucks.

    If the Rockets can't swing a deal for Dwight Howard, they will likely take Leonard, who should instantly be a great shot-blocker because of his seven-foot frame.

    He’ll need to make vast improvements on his post game to become worthy of this pick.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers PG/SG (Duke)

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    The Suns need to pick up a point guard for the future, but the drop off after Marshall is steep.

    Austin Rivers is more of a shooting guard, but the Suns may take a chance on him and try to mold him into a primary ball-handler.

    Rivers has a good feel for the game and the ability to score in bunches, but his mediocre explosiveness and athleticism will keep him from being a starter on a quality team. 


    Prediction: Minor Bust

14. Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson PF (North Carolina)

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    Milwaukee would rather draft a center for the future, but Henson is the best player available at this point.

    He’s a versatile offensive option and a prolific shot-blocker, but he may struggle to guard NBA bigs who play physically. 


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Jones PF (Kentucky)

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    Elton Brand is not getting any younger, and Terrence Jones would add some much-needed depth down low.

    Jones has the physique and athleticism to be a quality NBA player, but he needs to improve his jump shot and his ability to finish with his right hand to become a solid NBA contributor.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

16. Houston Rockets: Tony Wroten PG (Washington)

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    The Rockets should look to add point guard depth with Goran Dragic entering free agency and Kyle Lowry on the trading block.

    Wroten would be a top-10 pick if he had any ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter.

    If the Rockets believe his broken jumper can be fixed, they should take him. 


    Prediction: Minor Bust

17. Dallas Mavericks: Arnett Moultrie PF/C (Mississippi State)

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    The Mavericks will likely amnesty Brendan Haywood, leaving them without a center on their roster.

    Moultrie is the best center prospect available because of his rebounding prowess and decent shooting range, but he doesn’t possess the shot-blocking skills needed to be a dominant defensive player. 

    Learning from Dirk Nowitzki would be the best-case scenario for Moultrie. In time, he could develop a skill set similar to the German star.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

18. Houston Rockets: Jared Sullinger PF (Ohio State)

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    NBA doctors have reportedly given Sullinger a medical red flag for his back, which may push him out of the first round entirely.

    However, don’t be surprised if a team takes a chance on him in the middle of the first round.

    The Rockets are unlikely to use all three picks, but if they do, they could target Sully, who is the most NBA-ready player in this draft

    He can shoot from the perimeter, score in the post and rebound in traffic. What he lacks in athleticism, he makes up with court savvy.  


    Prediction: Viable Starter

19. Orlando Magic: Perry Jones SF/PF (Baylor)

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    Ryan Anderson is the perfect power forward for Orlando’s offense, which would force Jones to play small forward.

    Jones is often tabbed as a player with a lot of potential, but his inability to dominate the college game in his two seasons at Baylor leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Jones has the speed and agility to play on the wing, but his inconsistent jump shot and lack of playmaking ability should keep him on the bench in the NBA.


    Prediction: Major Bust

20. Denver Nuggets: Royce White SF/PF (Iowa State)

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    Talent-wise, White deserves to go in the top 10. Several reports say White has anxiety issues, which could scare teams away from him in the first round.

    The Nuggets have depth at every position and could fall in love with White's versatility.

    He has the quickness and vision to play on the wing and the strength to play down low.


    Prediction: Viable Starter

21. Boston Celtics: Terrence Ross SG/SF (Washington)

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    With Ray Allen possibly signing with a new team, the Celtics could use a talented scorer on the wing.

    Ross fits the billing. He's long, athletic and a prolific shooter, but he doesn't have the ball-handling skills to get to the rim consistently.

    He’s Jeremy Lamb with a little more length, making this a good value for the C's.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

22. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson PF (St. Bonaventure)

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    This is my sleeper of the class. Nicholson plays a lot like Kevin Garnett on the offensive end.

    He has outstanding shooting touch and an ability to finish with both hands in the key.

    The Celtics would be wise to take him with this pick.


    Prediction: Viable Starter

23. Atlanta Hawks: Moe Harkless SF (St. John's)

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    Harkless shot just 20 percent from beyond the arc at St. John’s, but he thrived attacking the basket and finishing with his superior athleticism.

    He has the most upside of any player left and would fill a need if the Hawks cut ties with Marvin Williams.

    Until Harkless dramatically improves his jump shot, he’ll ride the pine.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doron Lamb SG (Kentucky)

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    Lamb may be the best shooter in the class.

    He’s the perfect wing complement to Kidd-Gilchrist—just ask coaches who lost to Kentucky last year.

    Lamb would stretch the floor giving Irving more room to operate.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

25. Memphis Grizzlies: John Jenkins SG (Vanderbilt)

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    O.J. Mayo is unlikely to be re-signed, which would leave the Grizzlies without a three-point specialist.

    Jenkins is already a better shooter than Mayo and a talented all-around scorer to boot.

    He’d be the ideal pick for Memphis at this spot.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague PG (Kentucky)

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    The Pacers could use an upgrade from Darren Collison at point guard.

    They could take a shot on Teague, who has the speed and athleticism to be an explosive NBA point guard.

    Teague’s inconsistent jump shot and proneness to wild turnovers will likely keep him from starting at point guard for a quality team.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

27. Miami Heat: Jeffery Taylor SF (Vanderbilt)

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    Not that the Heat need another Shane Battier, but Taylor could become just that.

    He makes threes and plays great defense but doesn't do much else.

    He should be an instant contributor in the NBA.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player 

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Fab Melo C (Syracuse)

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    Don’t be surprised if the Thunder take a center at the end of the first round.

    OKC may want to amnesty Kendrick Perkins to open up cap space to sign James Harden and Serge Ibaka to long-term deals.

    Melo has major offensive limitations, but the Thunder would only ask him to play outstanding defense which he’s more than capable of.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player

29. Chicago Bulls: Tyshawn Taylor PG/SG (Kansas)

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    The Bulls are unlikely to re-sign C.J. Watson or John Lucas, leaving them thin behind Derrick Rose.

    They will likely take the best point guard available, and Taylor fits the range.

    Taylor doesn’t shoot well enough to be a great shooting guard, and he’s way too turnover-prone to be a solid point guard.


    Prediction: Minor Bust

30. Golden State Warriors: Drew Gordon PF (New Mexico)

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    The Warriors will look to pick up frontcourt depth in this draft.

    Gordon averaged a double-double in his final two years at New Mexico.

    He showed an ability to knock down perimeter jumpers and finish in the key.

    He would be a solid bench contributor for the Warriors for years to come.


    Prediction: Solid Role Player