2012 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting the Top 15 Picks
With the 2011 NBA Draft now firmly in the rear-view mirror, the 2012 NBA Draft class is beginning to round into shape.
A number of incoming college freshman project to be "one and done" next season and will make up the majority of the 2012 NBA Draft lottery.
11 of the projected top 15 picks (according to nbadraft.net) have yet to play a single game at the collegiate level.
Please note that the order of the players is based on information obtained from nbadraft.net.
15. Michael Gilchrist (6'6" 216), SF, Kentucky, Freshman
Michael Gilchrist is one of three incoming Kentucky Wildcat freshmen to crack the top 15.
His seven foot wingspan and off the charts athleticism allow him to play much bigger than his listed height.
14. Austin Rivers (6'4" 198), PG/SG, Duke, Freshman
Austin Rivers is headed to Duke next season to replace the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft—Kyrie Irving.
Many consider Rivers to be the best player in the country as a result of a his ridiculous crossover dribble that allows him to get to the hoop and elevate for dunks whenever he wants.
13. Josiah Turner (6'4", 187), PG, Arizona, Freshman
Josiah Turner is headed to the University of Arizona to help offset the loss of the number two pick in the 2011 NBA Draft—Derrick Williams.
Turner is a scoring point guard who has the perfect size and frame to be an elite point guard at the next level.
I would compare Turner favorably to Devin Harris of the Utah Jazz.
12. Myck Kabongo (6"2" 160), PG, Texas, Freshman
Myck Kabongo is headed to Texas next season to help replace three first round draft picks from 2011, including point guard Cory Joseph.
Many feel that Kabongo is the best pure point guard in the 2012 class and he will be relied upon heavily next season by the Longhorns.
I would compare Kabongo to Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers.
11. Khris Middleton (6'7" 220), SG/SF, Texas A&M, Junior
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Our first non-freshman to crack the list, Khris Middleton, was a second team All-Big 12 selection as a sophomore while leading the Aggies in scoring at 14.4 points per game.
Middleton can do it all on offense with his size and versatility, two traits that will likely ensure him a great deal of success at the next level.
10. Brad Beal (6'4" 196), SG, Florida, Freshman
Brad Beal is headed to the University of Florida to help offset the loss of Chandler Parsons.
Beal is a silky smooth shooting guard and comes equipped with NBA ready shooting range.
I think he could potentially be comparable to Ray Allen at the next level.
9. Marquis Teague (6'2" 178), PG, Kentucky, Freshman
Marquis Teague is yet another projected 2012 lottery pick headed to Kentucky next season and is the younger brother of Jeff Teague—a breakout star for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2011 playoffs.
Teague possesses the best first step in the class and his incredible quickness allows him to get out in transition and excel in the open court.
Teague is often compared to John Wall because of his ability to get to the rim at will and his perceived weakness as a jump shooter.
8. Perry Jones (6'11" 235), SF/PF, Baylor, Sophomore
Perry Jones returns to Baylor this season after many felt he would declare for the 2011 NBA Draft after his superb freshman season was cut short by an NCAA suspension due to receiving impermissible benefits.
He will have to sit out the first five games this year and pay back $700.
Jones is an extremely athletic small forward that can play inside and out and has all the physical tools to be an All-Star at the next level.
7. Quincy Miller (6'9" 200), SF, Baylor, Freshman
Another player from Baylor, Quincy Miller, will team with Perry Jones to form one of the best front-courts in the nation.
Miller is an extremely long wing player who is an absolute nightmare to matchup with on the perimeter. He can do it all and his versatility will allow him to have immediate success at the next level.
He's been compared a more athletic version of Danny Manning.
6. Jeremy Lamb (6'5" 185), SG, UConn, Sophomore
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The breakout player of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Jeremy Lamb showed the world exactly why he's ready to take his talents to the next level.
Lamb averaged over 16 points per game in the NCAA Tournament and has a ridiculous 7'1" wingspan. As a result of his length, Lamb is an elite defender on the perimeter and loves to get into the lane and shoot floaters on offense.
5. Jared Sullinger (6'10" 281), PF, Ohio State, Sophomore
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Jared Sullinger surprised everyone by returning to Ohio State for his sophomore season after he made it more than clear as a freshman that he was ready to play in the NBA.
Sullinger has the size and skills to step in and start as a power forward at the next level and will contribute immediately.
4. Harrison Barnes (6'8" 223), SF, North Carolina, Sophomore
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Another player who surprised us all by returning for his sophomore season, Harrison Barnes could potentially be the number one pick in the 2012 draft after being projected as the 2011 top pick while he was still in high school.
Barnes is the prototypical NBA small forward with all the skills to score from inside and out.
I was extremely impressed by how he continued to progress as the season went on and did not allow all of the criticism he faced early in the year to affect his game.
Barnes simply went about his business very professionally and displayed the type of mental attitude it takes to have success at the next level, where every player is constantly under a microscope.
3. Anthony Davis (6'10" 214), PF, Kentucky, Freshman
Anthony Davis is yet another member of John Calipari's incoming recruiting class, a class that many are saying is one of the best of all time.
Davis is considered by many to be the best player in the 2011 class and his 7'4" wingspan will make him an absolute nightmare to deal with on the college level.
Davis can also play on the perimeter and has excellent ball skills for a player of his size. Don't be surprised if this is the best player in the country next season.
2. James McAdoo (6'9" 226), SF/PF, North Carolina, Freshman
James McAdoo would put up huge numbers at any other school in the country next season, but because he chose to go to North Carolina, he will have to compete for playing time with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and John Henson.
Not a bad front-court for the Tar Heels next year eh? I can only hope and dream for a North Carolina versus Kentucky matchup in the final game next season—a matchup that could include NINE first round draft picks in 2012.
McAdoo is an extremely gifted forward that can play both the 3 and the 4 and has a wingspan of 7'1". Not only can he score in a variety of ways, he will be an elite rebounder and shot blocker at the collegiate level.
1. Andre Drummond (6'10" 251), PF/C, Undecided, High School Senior
According to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com, Andre Drummond will indeed be eligible for the 2012 NBA Draft if the rules remain the same after the players and the owners come to a new agreement.
Drummond is a once-in-a lifetime type talent that comes equipped with everything you would expect. He has a huge wingspan, a perfect physique, off-the-charts athleticism, and the versatility to do anything he wants to do on the basketball court.
Drummond has the potential to be one of the next great players in the NBA and it could happen much sooner than you think.