2012 NBA Mock Draft: Breaking Down All 30 First-Round Picks
Everyone knows just how talented next year's NBA Draft class is. It's not really a secret anymore.
That being said, there are a plethora of able players who can jump right to the NBA and contribute almost immediately, like the pictured Anthony Davis, who has already made an impact at the collegiate level.
Even though it is still early on in the college basketball season, many experts and analysts are already frothing at the mouth over these guys, myself included.
Here's the latest breakdown of the first round.
1. Los Angeles Clippers (By Way of T'Wolves): Andre Drummond, UCONN
Normal 18-year-olds usually worry about things like acne and who'd they like to take to their senior prom. However, Andre Drummond, a freshman at the University of Connecticut, has bigger and better things to worry about, like whether he'll go No. 1 overall in one of the best potential draft classes in basketball history.
Drummond has a skill set that rivals that of an 18-year old Dwight Howard (yes, I just made that comparison). He's strong, big, athletic, plays adequately on defense and most importantly, he's a true bruiser in the post.
Unfortunately for Timberwolves fans like myself, Kevin McHale ultimately dealt this pick light years ago when Drummond was a fourth grader. Do you know who the team received in exchange? I'll give you a hint—he's Serbian, he was a bust and it was perhaps the worst trade in team history. Thanks a lot, Marco Jaric.
How good will the Clippers be in two years? Only time and development will tell.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Alright Cleveland, it's time to buckle down.
It was cute when you dealt for Omri Casspi right before the lockout began and dubbed him your starting small forward. Really, it was.
But seriously, I can't wait to see what the Gilberts do with him once they realize that Harrison Barnes will be on the board with the second pick (although remember, this draft order isn't even close to set).
Just ask Wisconsin.
3. Toronto Raptors: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
The Toronto Raptors are certain of two things: one, Andrea Bargnani doesn't belong on the team; and two, there is a big void for post players down low on Canada's squad.
Talk about talent and a potential huge selection. Anthony Davis is simply a freak of nature
At 18, he already displays great confidence (as seen in his game-winning rejection of North Carolina's John Henson last week) and plays electrically on both sides of the hardwood.
I'm so excited to see this guy play in the NBA. He could end up being the steal of the draft, and at three that's fairly high praise.
4. Washington Wizards: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
Jeremy Lamb is a guy who has increased his draft status tremendously over the past year.
There's a good chance that incumbent shooting guard of the Wizards, Nick Young, will be packing his bags as early as next week. This is a safe pick if he's gone by next year, which at this point seems like a lock.
He's solid defensively, and the team of our nation's capital would be foolish to pass up such a talent.
5. Sacramento Kings: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Here's a guy who, by not declaring last season, potentially hurt his own case for a top-five pick. He would've no question gone near that number had he kept his name in the draft hat.
Has Jared Sullinger lost some of his lore? Yes, probably, but he has so much upside that I feel like it might be worth the extra season as a Buckeye.
I don't think the Kings will be concerned whether he's 19 or 20 by the time he gets picked, just as long as he suits up and plays his game.
6. New Jersey Nets: Brad Beal, Florida
Another slide, another 18-year-old with minimal collegiate experience. I'm not saying that's a knock on Florida's Brad Beal because honestly he's a very talented player.
It's hard to shun a shooting guard who averages seven rebounds a game as a shooting guard. In addition to that stat he puts up 15 points per game and shoots at a fairly consistent rate.
Brad Beal (he has one of those names where you can't call him by just his first or last name, much like Chris Paul) must limit his turnovers if he wants to find success at the next level.
7. Detroit Pistons: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist just has it in his veins. Even his awesome name has basketball written all over it.
The Detroit Pistons need to practically start from scratch, so why not snag this potential star? He's a terrific all-around player and he should be available around the seventh pick.
Kidd-Gilchrist is just one of a plethora of available Kentucky Wildcats in this summer's draft, and with defense and potential like his he's bound to become a serviceable pro.
8. Boston Celtics: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Are you sick of the Kentucky Wildcats yet? Good, because there's still two to go in this mock draft's lottery.
The third of the bunch, Terrence Jones, is a very talented all-around southpaw. At 6'9", he's very versatile and might be thought of as a "tweener" in the NBA.
There's really no huge gripe on Jones, but rather a mix of smaller things he needs to work on—his movement, his unorthodox mechanics and perhaps a little bit of the emotional side of the game.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Perry Jones, Baylor
Standing at 6'11" and weighing 235 pounds, Perry Jones might seem like Anthony Randolph 2.0 at first glance, but I'm going to go ahead and say that he's much more than that.
Like Randolph, he's athletic, speedy quick and has the size to mesh with anyone at the three or four, but there are some differences. Jones has the ability to become a more explosive player and he handles the ball much better than AR.
The Charlotte Bobcats are clearly still in rebuilding mode. After drafting two solid rookies last year in Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, why not make it a trio by snagging Jones?
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Ross, Washington
Here's a guy with as good a jumper as you'll find in the 2012 draft class.
Terrence Ross of Washington is a phenomenal athlete who will make some team proud by selecting the Portland native.
The Milwaukee Bucks need to find a long-term option at shooting guard, and Ross just might be the perfect option.
11. Utah Jazz (By Way of Warriors): Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The Utah Jazz, at this point at least, have two consecutive first-round selections, as they are owed one via a trade they made with the Golden State Warriors.
The first selection, Thomas Robinson, has had a stellar season at Kansas thus far and has helped out tremendously his standing in the draft. He has freakish athleticism and is one of quickest players available in the draft.
Seeing as how the Jazz will already have Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter in the post this season (Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are currently being shopped, according to sources), this team could be beastly in the post if they added a guy like Robinson to the mix.
12. Utah Jazz: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Alright Utah, enough messing around. Your ballclub need a point guard.
Marquis Teague of Kentucky is one of the more intriguing ones in this year's draft class, and he's a guy whose style would fit in nicely with the team who has been searching ever since Deron Williams was dealt to New Jersey at the trade deadline last year.
Not to mention he's the fourth guy from Kentucky on this list. What a darn good team. Even Charlie Sheen is impressed with that winning.
13. Phoenix Suns: Myck Kabongo, Texas
Would you like to know who I think is going to be the steal of the draft? This Texas Longhorn.
He's essentially a mold of Rajon Rondo (great defense and facilitating, quicker than Speedy Gonzalez, but can't shoot a three-pointer if his life depended on it), and his potential is through the roof.
You traded Rondo last time, Phoenix. Don't do it again.
14. Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Usually the fifth-most NBA ready player on a college basketball team is "ready" to head into the real world. This is not a normal NBA draft, and this is not a normal college basketball team.
Doron Lamb out of Kentucky is a great scorer and a good passer, and at 6'4" teams will take a chance on him as a shooting guard. He could provide to be a very serviceable backup for the explosive Kevin Martin.
He needs to work on his distribution, but that's something that could come natural as Lamb improves. It's not like he's already reached his ceiling, you know (oh man, there's the Minnesotan in me)?
15. Indiana Pacers: Tim Hardaway, Jr., Michigan
The best prospect coming out of the Big Ten next season not named Jared Sullinger, Tim Hardaway Jr. is a very solid player on the wing.
As we have all heard, the Indiana Pacers are desperate for a good player at the 2, and Hardaway Jr., although maybe a stretch at this point, could be that guy.
Plus his dad was pretty good. There's always that, too.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Quincy Miller, Baylor
Quincy Miller out of Baylor is an interesting case.
After losing his entire senior campaign last year to injury, no one knew what to expect this season when he signed with the Bears.
He has impressed, and the Sixers will be looking to bring his talents to the city of brotherly love next summer, especially if they do not re-sign incumbent starter Thaddeus Young.
17. Houston Rockets (By Way of Knicks): Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Call whatever name you feel fits best, but I think Kendall Marshall of UNC is a little hard to pass up in this point of the draft, and I'll tell you why.
He's a great floor general and might be the best pure passer out of this ultra-talented draft class. At 6'4" and 197 pounds, he has the size to mesh with the biggest point guards out there and there's no reason (unless he doesn't improve his long range) to think he can't be a solid point guard in the NBA.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Khris Middleton, Texas A&M
Josh Smith seems like he's already out of Atlanta, no matter what the roster currently says.
If the Hawks are looking for a small forward right now (whether it be free agency or trades), it might be best to wait until this guy's name pops up in the draft next June.
Khris Middleton of Texas A&M has the size and talent to compete with the pros, and he might be able to help all 100 of Atlanta's fans forget the void Smith left.
19. Memphis Grizzlies: John Henson, North Carolina
The third North Carolina Tar Heel to make an appearance on this mock, John Henson's greatest concern is that he will get bullied in the post by NBA bigs who are bigger than his 6'10", 220-pound frame.
If he bulks up he could become very scary as a pro, and the Memphis Grizzlies ought to add him as Zach Randolph enters his 30s.
20. New Orleans Hornets: CJ Leslie, North Carolina State
Well New Orleans, it was a fun era while it lasted.
Time to rebuild and take the best available big in the draft. That's all there is to it.
While on the subject though, I might as well tell about the talented power forward CJ Leslie. Leslie has the size and mold to fit into New Orleans' system. It worked for Carl Landry, who he is comparable too.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Mason Plumlee, Duke
Another year, another first round pick out of Duke. It just wouldn't seem right to have a draft go by without having one of Coach K's prodigees hear their name called.
Mason Plumlee is big and athletic, and NBADraft.net notes that he runs the court "like a deer." I'll gladly take him on my bench.
Then again, the Portland Trail Blazers are so good that nearly every position could be considered a logjam. It might be nice to give LaMarcus Aldridge a serviceable backup, though. Plumlee could be the guy.
22. Denver Nuggets: Damian Lillard, Weber State
He might be the best player you've never heard of on this list, but Damian Lillard, out of little Weber State, is undoubtedly going to be chosen in the upcoming draft. It's a fact.
And do you know why? It's because he doesn't have many weaknesses at all. He's sort of like an Eric Maynor-type. He's got size, he's quick, he can defend and he will make the Denver Nuggets happy if they select him.
He has first-round talent written all over his 6'2", 190-pound frame. At 21-years-old, he has more experience than more than half the players already discussed anyway.
23. Orlando Magic: William Buford, Ohio State
Both Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas' days are obviously numbered in the NBA. Neither are what they used to be, and this pick would undoubtedly help the team create a more youthful look now that it looks like things will go downhill (that is, if Dwight Howard is dealt).
One guy who can help out the rebuilding process immensely is William Buford, a guy who already has experience at the national level and is one of the better known players on this list.
The Ohio State Buckeye is athletic and has one of the best jumpers out of any prospect in the class. One thing that needs work, however, is his frame. He needs to bulk up from the 190 pound body he currently sports.
Once he does that, I don't see why he can't mesh with the best pros.
24. Boston Celtics: Kris Joseph, Syracuse
One of the hardest workers in the 2012 draft class, Kris Joseph is destined to do great things in the NBA with the attitude that he possesses.
He is always running hard, and it would be awesome to see Rajon Rondo toss up alley-oops to this guy.
Although his perimeter offense is limited, he has improved ever since he began at Syracuse in that aspect.
At this point in the draft it's safe to call him a steal as well.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Rodney Williams, Minnesota
Call this a biased pick if you'd like (since I was born and raised in the great state of Minnesota), but Rodney Williams is a legitimate first-round prospect in this top-heavy draft.
He is an incredible slasher and prime athlete, and even if he is raw there's no reason why he won't improve if he's in the right system.
Who better to learn from than Kevin Durant?
In case you were wondering, Williams has indeed dunked over me and beaten my AAU high school team by 70 points. What do you expect from me, the worst defender mankind has ever seen (with Andrea Bargnani a close second)?
26. Dallas Mavericks: Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Here's that fourth Tar Heel that will go in the first round.
Tyler Zeller of North Carolina is a beast in the post, and at 6'11" he's already got the height to be one of the biggest in the NBA. He's also got some nasty post moves.
If Tyson Chandler goes through as planned and leaves the team he just won a title with, Zeller would be more than happy to step in and take his place in Dallas.
27. Los Angeles Lakers: Patric Young, Florida
The next 12 months are undoubtedly going to prove to be a wild ride for the Los Angeles Lakers. If all goes accordingly, the team will have Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. In order to do so, however, they must relinquish the talents of at least Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, among others.
That's where Patric Young comes into the plan. With the void that Gasol and Odom might leave at the 4, Young will have to pick it up.
He's talented enough, but can he get anywhere near the level that Gasol and Odom set at the position?
28. Miami Heat: JaMychal Green, Alabama
As long as the Heat keep winning during the regular season, it is going to be difficult for them to snag a top-notch talent in the draft, no matter how good a class is.
JaMychal Green of Alabama is a power forward who is very talented and could have a high ceiling if he pans out. He rebounds well and performs at an above-average rate in the post.
He could prove to be a key player in their future if, and only if, he works on his jumper.
29. San Antonio Spurs: DeWayne Dedmon, USC
As much as it pains me to say it, the San Antonio Spurs are coming to the tail end of one of the most exciting dynasties in basketball history. The team won four titles in nine years and was a mainstay during May and June.
Now what do they do? Some would say find some new wing players. I beg to differ with those people, however. I see the Spurs doing well in the near future if they can acquire some talented bigs.
DeWayne Dedmon could potentially be one of those guys. Obviously he won't be Tim Duncan, but at this point no one could hurt the situation down low.
The best seven-footer of the class would be a great fit in San Antonio.
30. Chicago Bulls: Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic
Here's our first European prospect!
Tomas Satoransky is a combo guard who does almost everything fairly well, but nothing extraordinary that will sweep you off your feet.
If he does play point, though, he's at least big for the position at 6'6".
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