NBA Mock Draft 2012: College Studs Destined for Success in the NBA

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterMay 14, 2012

NBA Mock Draft 2012: College Studs Destined for Success in the NBA

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    College basketball is seemingly hitting an all-time high when it comes to producing NBA talent. 

    This year's draft class is loaded with playmakers, shooters, defenders and speedsters in what could be the deepest overall class in the past 10 years.

    The question is, where will these college studs land?  Which ones will see their success carry over to the NBA level? 

    Here's a look at how the complete first round could shake out.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 blocks

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 220 pounds

    Like Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts, this is a sure-fire pick.

    Davis's best qualities are his length and feel for the game. Not many elite big men grew up as guards before hitting a growth spurt like Davis did, and it's only helped his handle on the game.

    Right now, he might get pushed around a little bit if he plays the center position, but at power forward, he could immediately enter as one of the best defensive players in the game.

2. Washington Wizards: Thomas Robinson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists

    School: Kansas

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 237 pounds

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is tempting, but after drafting two small forwards in Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely in the first round last year and the emergence of Jordan Crawford at shooting guard, the Wizards should go for a power-forward stud in Robinson.

    The inside-outside combination of John Wall and Robinson coupled with the young wings and Nene at center could easily make the Wizards a playoff team in the Eastern Conference next year.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, two assists

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 232 pounds

    Despite playing mostly small forward at Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist was often asked to guard the opponent's best wing player, even if it meant their point guard.

    This extreme versatility on defense coupled with an awesome work ethic and attitude should only mean continued success at the next level.

    Paired with former high school teammate Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers could have an All-Star backcourt for years to come.

4. New Orleans Hornets: Andre Drummond, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks

    School: UConn

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 270 pounds

    A huge risk, yes, but centers of his size and athletic ability only come around about once every five to 10 years.

    New Orleans could build a great inside-outside combination with Drummond and Eric Gordon and could also move Emeka Okafor back to power forward which should help extend his career.

    The next Greg Oden or the next Dwight Howard? Only time will tell.

5. Sacramento Kings: Jared Sullinger, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists 

    School: Ohio State

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 265 pounds

    Sullinger plays a game very reminiscent to Kevin Love, as he is an excellent rebounder and scorer around the bucket who can also step out and hit the outside shot.

    With Sullinger and DeMarcus Cousins roaming the paint, even the best post defenders would have their hands full on a nightly basis.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (via New Jersey Nets): Bradley Beal, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists 

    School: Florida

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 207 pounds

    ESPN's Chad Ford has Beal ranked third on his 2012 big board and for good reason. 

    His game has been compared to that of Eric Gordon with a touch of Ray Allen, which any NBA team would love as its fifth overall pick.

    Wesley Matthews disappointed last year and was bumped from the starting lineup at times.  Beal would help them solidify their shooting guard position for years to come.

7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, one assists

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 215 pounds

    The Warriors have a potential fix at every position except for small forward. It only makes sense they select possibly the best small forward in the entire draft.

    Barnes is an excellent spot-up shooter who could help spread the floor for Golden State, and with a healthy Andrew Bogut, the Warriors could possibly contend for a playoff spot on 2012-2013.

8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Jones, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.5 points, seven rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 252 pounds

    An athletic combo forward, Jones could start right away or contribute off the bench in Toronto playing either forward position.

    With the right coaching and development, Jones could become a Lamar Odom-like talent with his versatility, scoring and rebounding.

9. Detroit Pistons: Tyler Zeller, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks 

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 7'0", 250 pounds

    Detroit gets a true seven-footer with great post moves coming from one of the premier programs in college basketball.

    With the Pistons, Zeller's main job would be to rebound and block shots. He would only occasionally be asked to score, which would fit his game well.

    Detroit could also move Greg Monroe to power forward full time which should benefit his game as well.

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Kendall Marshall, PG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 pounds

    Marshall along with Eric Gordon and Andre Drummond would present a bright future for the Hornets/Spirit/Voodoo/whatever their name may be in 2012-2013.

    The passer in the draft, Marshall could sit behind Jarrett Jack for a month or two before being penciled in as the full-time starter somewhere around the new year.

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, PG/SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, four assists

    School: Weber State

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 pounds

    Lillard is a dynamic do-it-all guard who could inject some scoring into the Blazers' offensive attack. 

    Lillard would likely be pushed into a starting point guard role, as Portland struggled to find a full-time answer at the position last season.

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Meyers Leonard, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Illinois

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 7'1", 245 pounds

    The Bucks are fairly deep at every position but center, if they can re-sign Ersan Ilyasova.  Drafting Leonard might be a bit of a reach, but his size and length could make for a very balanced Bucks' lineup.

    Leonard may take a few years but could develop into an above-average center in the league.  He already has the size to contribute immediately on the defensive end.

13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists 

    School: Duke

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 pounds

    Rivers is too talented to fall much further than this. A pure scorer who never met a shot he didn't like, Rivers would provide instant offense for the Suns.

    Likely losing Steve Nash, the Suns will need a new face of the franchise, and Rivers has the potential to be just that.

14. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists

    School: UConn

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 180 pounds

    Getting a player like Lamb in the mid-first round is a great value, as he would have likely been a top five pick in last year's draft class.

    Kevin Martin is entering the last year of his contract and could be an attractive trade piece. Adding Lamb would allow Houston to deal him if they so choose.

15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, PF/C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists 

    School: Mississippi State

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds

    A great athlete who some project to go in the top 10 picks of the draft, Moultrie would be a great fit in Philly with his size and rebounding skills.

    Backing up Elton Brand or being groomed into a starting center position, Moultrie could contribute right away in some manner, as his upside is too great to leave on the bench for long.

16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): John Henson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.9 blocks

    School: North Carolina

    Year: Junior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 220 pounds

    An athletic, lanky shot-blocker and rebounder, Henson would be the perfect complement to Luis Scola in the Rocket frontcourt.

    With some added muscle, Henson could even see some time at center, especially if Houston fails to bring back Marcus Camby.

17. Dallas Mavericks: Perry Jones, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists 

    School: Baylor

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 pounds

    Turned off by a lack of motor and reminded how Anthony Randolph's career is turning out, teams pass on Jones enough for him to fall toward the middle of the first round.

    Jones would no doubt have been a top-five pick in last year's draft if he had declared, but due to a deeper class and no significant improvement in statistics from his freshman to sophomore year, he finds himself in a mini free fall.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Tony Wroten, PG/SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.7 points, five rebounds, 3.6 assists 

    School: Washington

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 205 pounds

    The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Wroten is a great athlete who can do everything well except shoot from deep.

    Going in the mid-to-late first round could be a real steal for whichever team gets him. Minnesota could definitely use an impact shooting guard and should draft Wroten if he's still available.

19. Orlando Magic: Quincy Miller, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    School: Baylor

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 210 pounds

    Miller is making an extremely questionable decision leaving Baylor after only one season, as he could have been the go-to guy for the Bears next year and improved his minutes from the 24.4 a game he received this season.

    Be that as it may, Miller still has star potential if a team develops him the right way. Orlando is very much a team that could use a star in the upcoming years.

20. Denver Nuggets: Marquis Teague, PG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists 

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 189 pounds

    A score-first point guard with a quick first step, Teague is the latest Kentucky point guard looking to make some noise in the NBA.

    A decent defender, Teague must improve on his low field goal (41 percent) and free-throw (71 percent) percentages to excel at the next level.

    Andre Miller will be a free agent, and Denver will need to find a replacement for their backup point guard spot.

21. Boston Celtics: Terrence Ross, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists 

    School: Washington

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 195 pounds

    Ray Allen is a free agent, and Paul Pierce will be 35 next season which means Boston could use some insurance on the wing.

    An excellent shooter coming off screens, Ross has great range and is a good rebounder as well.

22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): Royce White, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists 

    School: Iowa State

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 270 pounds

    White will most likely end up being an undersized power forward in the NBA, even though some of his skills resemble those of a small forward.

    He had some of his best games of the season when matched up with the NCAA's best big men—something that should definitely help his draft stock moving forward.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Fab Melo, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks 

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds

    Atlanta needs a true center like Melo so they can move Al Horford to power forward full-time and use Josh Smith as a trade chip in order to shake up a team that's going nowhere.

    Melo would give them a strong defensive presence inside and add some much-needed size.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Festus Ezeli, C

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, two blocks

    School: Vanderbilt

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'11", 255 pounds

    Cleveland took its wing in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with its first pick; now, it addresses the need at center with Ezeli.

    A power dunker and shot-blocker, Ezeli doesn't have the highest of ceilings, but he should be a good, late first-round pick.

    His contribution on defense could be immediate, and the Cavs need a true center for insurance for Anderson Varejao.

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Dion Waiters, SG

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists 

    School: Syracuse

    Year: Sophomore

    Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 pounds

    Memphis will likely lose O.J. Mayo in free agency this summer and will be looking for someone to fill his role as a sixth-man scoring option.

    Just such a player is available for them, as Waiters played that same role for the Orange last season as a scorer/slasher off the bench.

    Learning NBA defense from Tony Allen wouldn't hurt either.

26. Indiana Pacers: Evan Fournier, SG/SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists (France) 

    School: Poitiers, International

    Age: 19

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 200 pounds

    With the first international prospect of the draft, the Pacers select Fournier, who is a crafty finisher around the rim and provides them another nice scoring option.

    The 19-year-old is leading his French team in scoring in just his second pro season.

27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, SF/PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists 

    School: Michigan State

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'7", 230 pounds

    Miami doesn't need much at this point, but a smart, well-coached senior standout from a top college program certainly wouldn't hurt.

    Green could play either forward position and bring it every day in practice. He would certainly work for and earn his minutes on the court.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Moe Harkless, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    School: St. John's

    Year: Freshman

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 208 pounds

    A talented wing who plays a smooth all-around game, Harkless could be a steal at the end of the first round.

    Just a freshman, Harkless exhibited a nice mid-range game and put up great rebounding numbers in his only season at St. John's.

    Only 18, he shows a feel for the game far beyond his age.

29. Chicago Bulls: Darius Miller, SF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists 

    School: Kentucky

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 225 pounds

    Miller is a versatile defender who can match up against three different positions with his size and athleticism.

    Consistently overshadowed at Kentucky, Miller did whatever was asked of him and can contribute to the team in a number of ways, including an above-average three-point shot.

30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio Spurs): Andrew Nicholson, PF

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    2011-12 Stats Per Game: 20.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks 

    School: St. Bonaventure

    Year: Senior

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 220 pounds

    A good jump-shooter with a great motor, Nicholson has also proven to be a capable defender and should immediately improve whatever second unit he lands on.