NBA Mock Draft 2012: How UNC Prospects Declaring Reshapes the First Round

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 30, 2012

NBA Mock Draft 2012: How UNC Prospects Declaring Reshapes the First Round

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    Now that Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall and John Henson have all officially left North Carolina for the greener pastures of the NBA, it's time to take an updated look at how the 2012 NBA draft is shaping up in the first round.

    The first overall pick won't surprise you. It shouldn't, at least. But the rest of the 29 selections in the first round are still up in the air.

    On each slide you'll find a player's school, year, position, vitals (height and weight), stats from this season and a brief description of their playing style and pro prospects.

    Read on for the mock draft.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis

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    School: Kentucky

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'10", 220 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists

    If you want a full description of Anthony Davis' playing style and potential as a pro, check out this article I posted comparing him and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Reading that will be much more beneficial than any short blurb I can produce here.

2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    School: Kentucky

    Position: Small forward

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'7", 232 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists

    If you want a full description of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's playing style and potential as a pro, check out this article I posted comparing him and Anthony Davis. Reading that will be much more beneficial than any short blurb I can produce here. 

    With that, I promise I'm done being self-promoting.

3. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson

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    School: Kansas

    Position: Power forward

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'10", 237 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists

    All you have to do is look at Thomas Robinson's shoulders to realize that he's going to be a stud. The power forward went from backing up the Morris brothers for the Kansas Jayhawks one season to competing for National Player of the Year with Anthony Davis the very next year.

    He's no flash in the pan, though, as No. 0 possesses a great all-around game highlighted by tremendous athleticism, quickness and rebounding instincts.

4. Portland Trail Blazers: Andre Drummond

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    School: Connecticut

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'10", 270 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists

    This pick is all about potential.

    Andre Drummond has shown that he's incredibly raw on both ends of the court, and his production in no way justifies him as a top-five pick in the 2012 NBA draft. But despite his inadequacy at the collegiate level, Drummond's body and ceiling have kept him in the No. 2 spot for almost the entire year.

    With other players proving themselves more and more, I simply can't keep him there any longer.

5. Toronto Raptors: Jared Sullinger

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    School: Ohio State

    Position: Power forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'9", 265 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists

    Despite his lack of athleticism and quickness, Jared Sullinger has still proven to be a dominant post player thanks to his tremendous strength and arsenal of moves down low.

    Hailed by many before the collegiate basketball season started as a potential Player of the Year, Sully disappointed throughout his sophomore campaign and still managed to nearly average a double-double.

    Staying in school for another year may have hurt his ability to go in the top three picks, but it did make him a better basketball player.

6. Sacramento Kings: Bradley Beal

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    School: Florida

    Position: Shooting guard

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'3", 207 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists

    Although Bradley Beal may be a little bit undersized for a shooting guard in the NBA, his ability to put the ball in the basket makes up for his lack of physical stature.

    The freshman for the Florida Gators truly broke out during March Madness and the SEC tournament, carrying his team on his back in multiple games with his tremendous athleticism. A great rebounder and solid defender with point guard skills, Beal will make an immediate impact at the next level.

7. Detroit Pistons: Harrison Barnes

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    School: North Carolina

    Position: Small forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'8", 215 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists

    My opinion of Harrison Barnes has declined more and more as the year has gone on. Before the season started, I thought he was a shoo-in for Player of the Year and a lock to make at least a few All-Star teams during his NBA career. But this season has exposed his weaknesses.

    Barnes is a knock-down shooter, but he really has trouble creating his own shot without an elite point guard passing him the ball. Just look at his performance with Stilman White running the show for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

    He's also a poor passer and ball-handler, making him one-dimensional on the offensive end of the court. But that one dimension is an incredible one, and Barnes has the talent to be a lockdown defender as well.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers: John Henson

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    School: North Carolina

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'11", 220 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists

    A terrific high-energy player, John Henson has elite-level athleticism, length, rebounding and defensive skills. All of that should make for a can't-miss prospect, but this North Carolina Tar Heel still needs to add a lot of strength before he can capably bang around with the NBA bigs.

    Henson's offensive game has grown dramatically during his junior season, but it also needs work. The tools are there, but Henson is going to struggle out of the gate for his NBA squad.

9. Utah Jazz: Jeremy Lamb

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    School: Connecticut

    Position: Shooting guard and small forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'5", 180 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists

    Jeremy Lamb is a great scorer and an even better athlete capable of playing both shooting guard and small forward at the NBA level, although he'd be a little bit undersized for the latter position.

    The prevailing concern, though, is Lamb's lack of intensity and consistent effort. He should have been the one to step up for the Connecticut Huskies when their season started to fall off a cliff, but he just contributed to the disaster.

    It's not good when your most relevant highlight is a missed windmill dunk at the end of a loss in the Round of 64.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller

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    School: North Carolina

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Senior

    Vitals: 7'0", 250 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists

    I'm not even going to attempt to hide it. I love Tyler Zeller.

    He's not a great athlete, and he needs to add a little bit of strength, but Zeller's offensive game is quite refined in the post, and he has a smooth stroke that allows his range to stretch out to about 18 feet.

    With his knack for scoring and great instincts on the glass, Zeller is going to be a great professional.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Terrence Jones

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    School: Kentucky

    Position: Small forward and power forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'9", 252 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists

    The third Kentucky Wildcat to go in the lottery portion of my mock draft, Terrence Jones has the upside to make this pick a huge steal for the Portland Trail Blazers.

    Although he can play small forward, Jones is much more of a tweener or power forward, both in terms of size and playing style. He's overcome the knock that he can only go left and now has a dizzying array of ways to score. Plus, he's a shutdown defender.

    If Jones' attitude isn't a problem and he remains motivated to live up to his potential each and every day, there's no telling how good he can become.

12. New Orleans Hornets: Perry Jones III

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    School: Baylor

    Position: Power forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'11", 235 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists

    Perry Jones III is the most frustrating prospect in the 2012 draft class.

    He has the athleticism, size and talent necessary to challenge Anthony Davis for the No. 1 spot, but he also has the annoying penchant to disappear at a moment's notice, if you even have that long to figure it out.

    There have been short stretches where PJ3 has looked like the best player in college basketball, and there have also been long stretches where it's easy to get caught up in watching the other members of the Baylor Bears as you forget that he even exists.

13. Utah Jazz: Kendall Marshall

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    School: North Carolina

    Position: Point guard

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'4", 195 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists

    Kendall Marshall can pass with the best of them, but he struggles to score and defend. The positives and negatives for this tremendous point guard have been quite well documented throughout the year.

    The biggest thing working in Marshall's favor right now is how the North Carolina offense had the tendency to grind to a halt when he was out with a fractured right wrist during the later stages of the 2012 NCAA tournament.

14. Phoenix Suns: Damian Lillard

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    School: Weber State

    Position: Point guard and shooting guard

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'3", 195 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists

    Personally, I think that Damian Lillard is a much better point guard than Kendall Marshall. The problem is that he went to Weber State and Marshall went to North Carolina.

    Lillard is a solid athlete with shooting ability from the outside and an even better ability to drive to the basket and create shots for himself. He'll never be a pass-first point guard, but he's a good enough scorer that he doesn't need to be.

15. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard

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    School: Illinois

    Position: Center

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 7'1", 245 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists

    When you have a seven-foot frame and the athleticism of a young guard, you kind of have an unfair advantage. That's exactly what's going on with Meyers Leonard, a promising sophomore center for Illinois.

    Leonard isn't particularly strong, but he's got an all-around game on both ends of the court, and he's still developing.

16. New Jersey Nets: Quincy Miller

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    School: Baylor

    Position: Small forward

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'9", 210 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 11.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists

    Quincy Miller is long and athletic, and he has one of the best shots in this entire draft class.

    The problem is that he still makes bad decisions, especially when it comes to picking and choosing his spots to shoot the ball. Once he learns to play within the offense, this guy could be a poor man's version of a certain high scorer named Kevin Durant.

17. Boston Celtics: Terrence Ross

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    School: Washington

    Position: Shooting guard and small forward

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'6", 195 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    Terrence Ross plays much more like a small forward than a shooting guard, so it would be nice if he was a few inches taller. Then again, that might not have been fair to the people that had to guard him.

    With great defensive skills and a ridiculous vertical leap, Ross is all the more potent because he can shoot the ball quite well.

18. Denver Nuggets: Austin Rivers

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    School: Duke

    Position: Point guard and shooting guard

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'4", 200 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists

    The best situation for Austin Rivers is to go to whichever team picks directly after his father's Boston Celtics. That way, he'll have a chip on his shoulder and be motivated to get better throughout his career.

    Rivers is one of the best guards in college basketball when it comes to creating his own shot, but he struggles to make good decisions on a consistent basis and struggled during large portions of his freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Tony Wroten Jr.

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    School: Washington

    Position: Point guard and shooting guard

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'5", 205 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists

    Tony Wroten Jr. is pretty much the definition of a combo guard.

    At 6'5", he has the size to play both positions, but he also has the skill. The young Washington Husky is an excellent finisher at the rim and has incredible court vision for a freshman. He's quite adept at making both himself and his teammates look good on offense.

    Wroten does need to hone in his jump shot and work on choosing the right shots to take, but that will come with time.

20. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie

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    School: Mississippi State

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'11", 230 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists

    The long, athletic big man known as Arnett Moultrie has the talent and body to go in the lottery, but questions about his mentality are holding him back quite a bit.

    Playing for Mississippi State after transferring from UTEP, Moultrie was a central figure in the Bulldogs' late-season collapse that kept them out of March Madness, and he can't get rid of the problems he had prior to his departure from the Miners.

21. Houston Rockets: Moe Harkless

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    School: St. John's

    Position: Shooting guard and small forward

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'8", 208 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists 

    Moe Harkless can't shoot, and he's an unexpected one-and-done, but after a fantastic freshman season at St. John's, he's almost a lock to go in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.

    The swingman doesn't play defense well at this stage in his career, but he's one hell of an athlete and can rebound better than almost anyone else who lines up at shooting guard or small forward in all of college basketball.

22. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague

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    School: Kentucky

    Position: Point guard

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'2", 189 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists

    The younger brother of current Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (I swear I get that question every single time I write about Marquis Teague), this freshman for Kentucky is incredibly talented but inconsistent.

    Turnovers have plagued him all year, but he's been much better since the postseason started and games truly began to count. Teague is blazingly fast off the dribble, a great defender and can create his own shots seemingly at will.

    He'll be a steal if he falls this low.

23. Memphis Grizzlies: Royce White

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    School: Iowa State

    Position: No idea

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'8", 270 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists

    Royce White is quite possible the most intriguing prospect in this year's draft class.

    Although he's plagued by anxiety attacks, which could seriously hinder his stock, White has an incredibly unique set of talents. He's 6'8" and 270 pounds, but White can line up capably at power forward, small forward, shooting guard and maybe even point guard.

    It was not an uncommon sight to see White running the show for the Iowa State Cyclones this past season.

24. Boston Celtics: Tony Mitchell

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    School: North Texas

    Position: Power forward

    Year: Freshman

    Vitals: 6'8", 235 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists

    It's really a shame that Tony Mitchell didn't get more recognition during his freshman season for the North Texas Mean Green because he had a truly sensational first year at the collegiate level.

    Mitchell isn't a great scorer outside of the paint, and academic issues have plagued him throughout the year, but his talent is through the roof. The freshman is incredibly athletic, especially in transition, and tries hard, oftentimes successfully, on defense.

25. Orlando Magic: Dion Waiters

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    School: Syracuse

    Position: Point guard and shooting guard

    Year: Sophomore

    Vitals: 6'4", 215 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists

    I was a bit surprised to see Dion Waiters declare for the NBA draft after his sophomore season with Syracuse, but he should still go in the first round of the draft.

    Waiters has a nose for the rim and attacks it relentlessly throughout the game, succeeding often enough to convince most scouts that he can be a high scorer at the next level, especially if he adds a jump shot.

    He'll become more of a shooting guard in the NBA, which is a bit problematic since he's only 6'4".

26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Mason Plumlee

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    School: Duke

    Position: Power forward and center

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'10", 235 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 10.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists

    An athletic hustle player, Mason Plumlee hasn't demonstrated enough offensive skills to me quite yet. He still scores the majority of his points on putback opportunities, dunks and easy layups and hasn't displayed any semblance of a consistent post game.

    But 6'10" explosive leapers are hard to come by—and that's exactly what this Plumlee is.

27. Golden State Warriors: Jeffery Taylor

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    School: Vanderbilt

    Position: Small forward

    Year: Senior

    Vitals: 6'7", 225 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 16.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists

    I'll sum it up in one word.

    Drum roll please.



28. Miami Heat: Tyshawn Taylor

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    School: Kansas

    Position: Point guard

    Year: Senior

    Vitals: 6'3", 185 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 17.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists

    Tyshawn Taylor and Mario Chalmers missed playing with each other at Kansas by just one season, but now I'm giving them a chance to do it in Miami.

    Taylor struggles with his long-range jumper and turnovers, but he's explosive on the offensive end and tenacious on the other side. He'd be the perfect fit for the Miami Heat's second unit.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green

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    School: Michigan State

    Position: Small forward and power forward

    Year: Senior

    Vitals: 6'7", 230 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists

    The Oklahoma City Thunder are set at virtually every position, so I've got them drafting a versatile player here who also happens to be the best available.

    Draymond Green can do it all on the basketball court, which resulted in him posting the second March Madness triple-double of his career, putting him on an exclusive list populated by only himself, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson.

    Yeah, he's kind of good.

30. Chicago Bulls, John Jenkins

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    School: Vanderbilt

    Position: Shooting guard

    Year: Junior

    Vitals: 6'4", 215 pounds

    2011-2012 Per-Game Stats: 19.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists

    Capping off the first round is the single best shooter in the draft class. John Jenkins can knock down three-pointers with the best of them, and he's quite adept at using off-ball screens to get open.

    I can't watch him play and not be reminded of a younger version of Ray Allen.

    If the Chicago Bulls are lucky enough to have this Vanderbilt Commodore fall to them, they're going to thank their lucky stars and draft him without hesitating, thus filling their hole at shooting guard.

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