2012 NBA Mock Draft: Bust-Proof Picks for 1st Round Selections

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJune 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 30:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during practice prior to the 2012 Final Four of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on March 30, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the NBA Draft only a mere hours away, teams are putting the final touches on their respective big boards.

After all the workouts, teams must try to settle in on that one perfect guy that can help them shape their franchise for the future. However they must be wary of the hype that surrounds most of these players.

A majority of these guys will turn into busts, at least in terms of the hype they've received coming out of college. While this class is considered deep, in reality there are only a few bust-proof picks in the first round.

I'll focus in on these guys in my latest mock draft.

With that being said, let's dive right into it as the New Orleans Hornets are now on the clock.

1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, Kentucky

Davis needs to bulk up, but he will be a game-changer immediately in New Orleans.

His length is insane and his instincts and basketball IQ are way beyond his years.

His biggest trait is that he can dominate the game without ever touching the ball, blocking 4.7 shots per game, grabbing 10.1 rebounds per night and altering a ton more shots. when he does touch the ball, Davis can finish, shooting 63 percent from the floor.

New Orleans lands the player who can make the biggest immediate impact in Davis. With his defensive ability, Davis is projected as a future All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year.



2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson, Kansas 

Charlotte could trade this pick, but if they stay here, the Bobcats need to go with the guy who can help on the glass as well as adding a scorer.

Robinson is NBA-ready after a season in which he averaged 17.7 points per game and was second in the nation with 463 rebounds (11.9 per game). The Kansas product recording 27 double doubles on the season.

He may be a bit small for the position, but Robinson is a winner and he will produce.


3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, Florida            

Don't be surprised if someone moves up to No. 2, though, to take Beal away from Washington, which could in turn cause them to field offers for this pick.

With the trade that brought them Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, the Wizards likely don't need to draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as they just added a pair of solid defensive players.

They now have a hole at the 2 and are in need of a lights-out shooter. Beal fits that bill, and a John Wall-Beal backcourt looks nice for the future.

Beal could be the best pure scorer in the draft, averaging 14.8 points per game on the season. He brings range with his jump shot and is also one of the best rebounding guards in the draft, pulling down 6.7 rebounds per night.

He's a perfect fit in Washington.


4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky

I've been back and forth here between MKG and Harrison Barnes for the Cavs, but while Barnes is a much better scorer, Kidd-Gilchrist brings so much more to the table.

Ideally, the Cavs would probably like to move up to No. 2 to select Beal, but if they don't, then MKG makes a lot of sense.

He also can impact the game without ever needing to touch the ball. His tenacity on defense will make a difference in Cleveland as he can guard almost any position on the floor.

I worry about his perimeter shot, only shooting 25 percent from behind the arc, but he's athletic and can score the ball. He also will look nice in transition paired with Kyrie Irving.

He's also a high-character player who will add toughness and a winning attitude to the locker room, something else Cleveland needs badly. MKG is a future star in the league and could bee too difficult to pass on here.


5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, Connecticut

The Kings could attempt to deal this pick, but if they don't, it will be hard to pass on Drummond here.

They need a productive big man to pair with DeMarcus Cousins, and Drummond could be the young, productive big man they have needed for years.

It's a roll of the dice, but it's difficult to pass on someone with Drummond's physical package and enormous upside.


6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Damian Lillard, Weber State

The Blazers need a point guard and a big man, and while Andre Drummond is an option if he slides, I love Lillard here for them.

He adds the dynamic backcourt scorer (24.5 PPG) that the Blazers need and brings a sense of toughness to the team. Lillard is a steady, athletic guard who can shoot the lights out and get to the rim.

Speaking of shooting, that's what makes Lillard a bust-proof prospect. He shot 47 percent from the floor, 41 percent from behind the arc and 89 percent from the charity-stripe.

Lillard is a player that can make an impact. Portland can take its chances on landing a big man later on.


7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

The Warriors need a productive small forward and if they remain in this spot and Barnes falls to them, it is a gift.

Barnes doesn't do much except score, but he has the chance to be a No. 1 scoring option in the NBA and a possible 20 point per game scorer. He's a guy that adds another dimension to the Warriors lineup and could make them a playoff contender in the Western Conference.


8. Toronto Raptors: Dion Waiters, Syracuse

Waiters is tough and adds scoring and projects to be a very good NBA combo guard.

Toronto is another team that could trade out of this spot, but with Waiters' stock rising in the fashion that it is, it's hard to see him sliding past this spot.

He adds the ability to get to the rim from the guard position, which is something the Raptors need badly, as there is nothing but jump shooters on their roster right now.

Add Waiters and last year's No. 1 pick Jonas Valanciunas to the lineup and the Raptors are another team that could be turned around almost overnight.


9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, North Carolina

Henson can rebound (10.1 RPG) and block shots (2.9 BPG), which are qualities the Pistons need in a frontcourt guy to pair with Greg Monroe.

The ACC Defensive Player of the Year is a good fit for a team looking for frontcourt help.

He also will make Detroit much more athletic, which is a must with this pick. Henson's post-game needs some work, but a Henson-Monroe frontcourt could be intimidating in the future.


10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Austin Rivers, Duke

The Hornets can go multiple ways with this pick. They need help at the point, the wing and in the middle, and while Rivers solves none of those problems, he provides them with insurance in case restricted free agent Eric Gordon leaves.

Rivers is an intriguing prospect who many teams like and can add another scorer, long-range shooting and potential star power, all things the Hornets need badly.

He was only the third freshman to ever lead Duke in scoring (15.5 PPG), but he has a lot to work on. He is a poor decision maker, doesn't use his teammates well and doesn't play well without the ball. But those things are all correctable and Rivers could have a bright future ahead of him.

Adding Davis and Rivers will make this a very good draft for New Orleans.


11. Portland Trail Blazers: Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Leonard won't be a star right away, but he has a ton of overall talent. With Leonard, Portland gets size, athletic ability and a ton of upside.

Leonard led the Big Ten in blocked shots (1.9), and even though he is a raw talent, the NBA is always enamored with size. He had an outstanding combine, and his stock is way up. He could fill the need in the middle for the Blazers.

At Illinois, Leonard put up nice overall numbers, scoring 13.6 points, grabbing 8.2 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the floor.

Portland lucks out and gets not only the point guard it needs, but a future big man as well.


12. Houston Rockets (via Milwaukee Bucks): Tyler Zeller, North Carolina    

I highly doubt this is Houston's pick come draft night, but for now, the ACC Player of the Year can add the size and athleticism in the middle that the Rockets need. Zeller averaged 16.3 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game for North Carolina during his senior season and while he won't likely approach those numbers, he can be productive in the NBA.

He isn't flashy and won't be an All-Star, but Zeller is good fundamentally and could be a solid NBA player for a decade or more.

Houston needs a center, and Zeller could become a pretty good one.


13. Phoenix Suns: Terrence Ross, Washington

He has great size for a 2-guard at 6’6” and can do anything on the floor very well. The Suns need backcourt depth, and they get a real good player here.

Ross can score from the inside or outside, averaging 16.4 points while shooting 37 percent from behind the arc. In addition, he can defend, handles the ball well and is one of the best rebounding guards in the draft, pulling down 6.4 boards per night.

The Suns need backcourt production, especially if Steve Nash leaves, and the long-range shooting ability of Ross combined with his elite athleticism will be a nice fit in the Phoenix backcourt for a long time.

They could elect to go point guard here for Nash-insurance, but taking the best player makes more sense for a team with a ton of holes to fill.


14. Milwaukee Bucks (via Houston Rockets): Perry Jones III, Baylor

The Bucks moved down two spots and added Samuel Dalembert in the process, so I expect them to add some production from the wing with this pick.

I love taking a chance on the potential of Jones this late. He has simply too much raw talent to slide any further. He runs like a deer and can jump through the gym, but the dominant production hasn't come out consistently like his skill set would suggest it should.

On talent alone, Jones is a top three pick.  If he ever lives up to that talent, he will be an NBA star.

He's super athletic, but there are questions about his motor. Eventually, the rewards will outweigh the risks, and Jones has too much talent to not roll the dice on this late.


15. Philadelphia 76ers: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut

Philadelphia needs a go-to guy, and Lamb could be exactly that, as he averaged 17.7 points per game while at UConn. If the Sixers trade Andre Iguodala and move Evan Turner to the 3, then Lamb becomes an even better fit.

He can extend his game beyond the arc—shooting 33.6 percent from three-point range—but has a devastating mid-range game.He's quick shooting off the dribble and can attack the rim.

In addition, his 7'0" wingspan should make him tough defensively, which Doug Collins will like.

Philadelphia also could look at Arnett Moultrie or Jared Sullinger here as they need a big as well, but they need someone to put the ball in the basket. Lamb is young but has a ton of upside and could be a steal at No. 15 for the Sixers.


16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

Moultrie is big and strong enough to play either the 4 or the 5, but he has the athleticism of a guard. He's a tenacious rebounder but can also stretch the defense, as he can score effectively inside or outside, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from behind the arc on the season.

Moultrie has a high motor, and he produces (16.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG). I worry about his commitment on the defensive end of the floor, but overall I like his upside here.

If Houston keeps these picks somehow, they stand to get much more athletic almost overnight.


17. Dallas Mavericks: Terrence Jones, Kentucky  

Dallas needs to get younger and more athletic and Jones helps them do that.

He can play either forward spot and can score at all three levels, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 33 percent from behind the arc.

Jones also averaged 1.8 blocked shots and 1.3 steals for Kentucky, so his defensive ability could earn him immediate playing time.


18. Houston Rockets (via Utah Jazz through Minnesota Timberwolves): Moe Harkless, St. John’s

Houston just acquired this pick from Minnesota, and while I highly doubt it will be drafting here by draft night, if it does, then it can't hurt to take the best available player.

The Rockets get frontcourt help with Jones and Moultrie and can continue to get more athletic with Harkless. He needs to work on his perimeter shot but he's a guy that can attack the basket and will commit to playing defense.

He averaged 15.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game as a freshman and has a very bright future ahead of him.

Even though they need backcourt depth, Harkless has the potential and upside to be a star. I love any team getting him this late.


19. Orlando Magic: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina   

The Magic could be starting over and adding a point guard for the future is a very good start.

Marshall is the best pure floor general in the draft and makes passing the rock look much easier than it really is, setting the ACC single-season assist mark (351).

He's an outstanding decision-maker, averaging 9.8 assists per game and posting a 3.48 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Marshall makes his teammates better and Orlando needs that type of leadership. Right now they don't have anyone like him on their roster.


20. Denver Nuggets: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure

I love Nicholson as a potential sleeper in this draft.

Nicholson has the ability to stretch the floor, averaging 18.5 points per game, shooting 57 percent from the floor and 43 percent from behind the arc. But he's also a talented rebounder (8.4 RPG) and shot-blocker (2.0 BPG).

He's an athlete, so George Karl's up-tempo attack won't be a problem and his abilities on the defensive end could earn Nicholson immediate minutes.


21. Boston Celtics: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

Danny Ainge has been known to take a risk or two and he will take one with both of Boston's first round picks.

Boston needs size and could use a banger and a real low-post scorer. Sullinger is the top talent left on the board and a player who could come in and contribute immediately, despite the medical red flags.

His lack of athleticism is a concern, but here's another case where the rewards could outweigh the risks.

He's a guy who averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game and knows how to play the game. I like his post game, and while I don't think Sullinger will ever be a star, he could be a decent NBA power forward.


22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Royce White, Iowa State    

White can score (13.4 PPG) and rebound (9.3 RPG), but while he stands 6’9”, White sees the floor like a guard. His 5.0 assists per game led the Iowa State team and actually ranked him fifth in the Big 12 Conference.

He is a guy that I think can come in and be a surprise from day one. He has lottery talent, but his anxiety disorder and a fear of flying could make him drop.

Down the road, White could be the eventual replacement for Paul Pierce. With Nicholson and White, the Celtics get younger and more talented almost overnight.

White is talented enough to be a top 10 pick and could be a steal here at No. 22.


23. Atlanta Hawks: Quincy Miller, Baylor  

There's no debating that his raw ability and huge upside are worth the risk this late. Down the road, Miller could have the ability to be a top scoring option for the Hawks.

Atlanta will have to be patient with Miller as he's not NBA-ready right now, but a couple years from now, he could look like a steal at No. 23.


24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Fab Melo, Syracuse

With the Cavs in need of size, he's worth a roll of the dice this late.

Melo measured 7’0”, and while he’s raw offensively, he can contribute immediately as a shot-blocker (2.9 BPG) and has the size to be a good rebounder.

But he has nothing that resembles a post game and has a very low basketball IQ. 

Melo has potential, but he has a long way to go before he makes himself a quality NBA big man. But NBA general managers love size, and Melo has that.


25. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten, Washington

Memphis will have to take its time with Wroten, as he's another guy who isn't NBA-ready but has a ton of raw talent.

The Grizzlies can afford to watch him develop, and down the road, he can become one of the better guards in this draft class. First, though, he must find a jumper and learn to value the basketball.

He may be the worst shooting guard to ever be a first round selection, as he was only a 16 percent shooter from behind the arc and you don't see many point guards that come into the draft who average more turnovers (3.8) than assists (3.7), but that's exactly what Wroten did.

It doesn't help that he developed a reputation for being a bad teammate, which is something else he must shake.

He has a lot of work to do, but he has a ton of ability.


26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, Kentucky

Teague will need time to develop, but he was impressive in March, as he really came on strong in helping lead Kentucky to the national championship. 

Had he stayed in school, Teague would likely be a top 10 pick next season, so the talent is there. But while he has a high basketball IQ, his offensive game needs to be refined.

The Pacers could look at Teague as their point guard of the future here, and that ultimately could lead to them shopping Darren Collison.


27. Miami Heat: Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt

In addition to being one of the better defenders in the draft, Taylor gives the NBA champs another elite athlete.

Taylor is an outstanding perimeter defender and has range on his jumper, knocking down 42 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.

There could be minutes available as a rookie, depending on what happens with Mike Miller and his bad back. Any team can use a good defender and shooter like Taylor and he makes the Heat even stronger.


28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green, Michigan State   

Green does a little bit of everything and does it all very well. He makes his teammates better and will be a good asset coming off the bench in Oklahoma City, who is just really drafting for depth here.

He's a smart and tough player who can come in and fill a need immediately for the Thunder and can be productive off the OKC bench. My only question is, who will Green guard in the NBA?

He's way too small to guard the 4 and not quick enough to guard most NBA 3's. But he is a guy who knows how to play the game and finds a way to produce. I would expect nothing less of him in the NBA.


29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, Memphis

Barton averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 50.9 percent from the floor. He has the ability to produce and could become the replacement for Richard Hamilton down the road.

The Conference USA Player of the Year  is rising up draft boards and can be the 2-guard the Bulls are looking for.

In addition, he gives the Bulls another scoring option next to Derrick Rose, which they badly need.


30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt   

Already nabbing the small forward they need, the Warriors can add more size in Ezeli.

His offensive game is raw, but he averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 60 percent from the floor, so he's shown that he has talent.

He should help defensively immediately though as Ezeli is a big body who can block some shots (2.0 BPG)


First Five Out

John Jenkins, Vanderbilt

Kim English, Missouri

Scott Machado, Iona

Evan Fournier, France

Jared Cunningham, Oregon State


Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.


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