2012 NBA Mock Draft 1.0
By Robbie Marbury
The NBA announced their Draft Lottery on Wednesday night, and the New Orleans Hornets won the right to draft Anthony Davis. The conspiracy theorists will try to claim it was rigged, but they are stupid. The NBA would be sued by the other owners, the accounting firm that watches the drawing would be sued and the 30 team representatives in the room during the drawing would all have to be in on the hoax. So, everyone please stop with all the crying. Back to draft talk. Once Davis is off the board, things get confusing. Well, unless you are me, then you know what to do (kidding).
(These picks are who I think are the best available players and that fit a need when that team picks. This is what a team SHOULD do, not what I think the team will do.)
1. New Orleans Hornets- Anthony Davis PF 6-10 220 lbs. (Kentucky)
Davis is, and has been, the consensus No. 1 pick for the last six months. He will be the best defender entering the league since Dwight Howard. Davis has the ability to stretch the floor and hit 18-footers. He can put the ball on the floor very well for a power forward. I do expect rebounding to be a little tougher for him at the next level, but he is a hard worker and will still be a good rebounder, just not exceptional. Davis has the potential to be a multiple All Star and future Defensive Player of the Year.
2. Charlotte Bobcats- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF 6-7 210 lbs. (Kentucky)
The Bobcats should trade this pick for some veteran help, but if they keep it then Kidd-Gilchrist should be the choice. When you are as bad as they are, you have to take the best pick available, so if they keep the pick that player is MKG. He is almost as good as a perimeter defender as Davis is at interior defense. Kidd-Gilchrist has the strength, length and motor to defend 2s, 3s and 4s in the NBA. He is best offensively in transition, where he cannot be stopped. He is like a freight train in the open floor and can finish through contact. He will bring his lunch-pail to work everyday and give all he has to give. Might never be an All Star, but he could be the third best player on a contender.
3. Washington Wizards- Bradley Beal SG 6-4 200 lbs. (Florida)
Beal is the best shooting guard in this year’s draft. His shooting percentages were not great during his one year at Florida, but that can be attributed to playing out of position at small forward. Beal will be able to step in right away and give the Wizards a nice scorer next to John Wall. He will also be able to open the lanes for Wall to drive through, because opponents will have to honor his shooting stroke. A big frame and athleticism will help him on the defensive end.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers- Andre Drummond C 6-11 275 lbs. (Connecticut)
Enigma thy name is Andre Drummond. It’s hard to predict a player’s talent when he so rarely tries hard. But Drummond has a huge body and phenomenal athleticism. The Cavs have their leader for the future with Kyrie Irving, so Drummond will not be asked to be the teams best player, which should fit his personality best. When Drummond is playing all out, he has the potential to be the best player in this draft. He will excel defensively immediately and when he is not settling for jumpers, he can also be a good offensive player. I expect Irving will be able to get him some pretty easy shots, so he will fit in perfectly.
5. Sacramento Kings- Thomas Robinson PF 6-9 237 lbs. (Kansas)
Thomas Robinson is the exact type of player this Kings team needs. He is a tough, hard-nosed and a leader. He is also super-athletic. He will be able to step in right away and play next to DeMarcus Cousins. Robinson and Cousins games compliment each other perfectly. He can step out on the floor and hit 18-footers, but he does his best work when facing up, and attacking the basket. Robinson is a very tough defender that will be hard to move on the low-blocks. He has crazy hops, and will be a very good weak side defender in the Serge Ibaka type mold.
6. Portland Trailblazers (via Nets)- Jared Sullinger PF/C 6-10 280 lbs. (Ohio St.)
The Blazers need some depth in the post, and they need it now. LaMarcus Aldridge and Kurt Thomas are the only two bigs under contract for next season. Sullinger is a back-to-the-basket machine. He knows how to use his low center of gravity to move opponents where he needs them to be. He is as tough as they come on the low block. He has excellent basketball IQ, and uses his smarts to rebound at a high rate. He has that Kevin Love/Zach Randolph rebounding gene, he knows where the ball is coming off and he goes and gets it. Sullinger is not a workout warrior, he doesn’t have a great physique and doesn’t have prototypical size, but playing next to Aldridge will eliminate some of these deficiencies.
7. Golden St. Warriors- Harrison Barnes SF 6-8 210 lbs. (North Carolina)
The Warriors need someone who can get to the rim. They are stocked full of jump shooters, but they don’t have a player that can create their own shot. Barnes is that guy. He can get anywhere he wants on the court, and he is long enough, and athletic enough, that he can pull up for a jumper on almost anyone. He has a terrific midrange game. He is a very well disciplined defender that uses his high basketball IQ to read plays. Barnes does a good job of staying in front of his man. He would be the Warriors best perimeter defender the second he steps on the court.
8. Toronto Raptors- Jeremy Lamb SG 6-5 185 lbs. (Connecticut)
Lamb has the size to be a great defender in the NBA. He has a freaky seven-foot wingspan, quick feet and the jumping ability to guard any shooting guard in the league on the perimeter. He will struggle with bigger guards wanting to go at his body, but there aren’t too many of those in the league. He has a smoothness to his offensive game that looks like he’s not even trying. Lamb gets to his spots and pulls up. He has a real simple game but it’s very effective. He can shoot the three but that’s not his strong suit. He needs to work on his three-point consistency.
9. Detroit Pistons- John Henson PF 6-10 210 lbs. (North Carolina)
Henson has to be the armiest (new word) person I have ever seen. His wingspan is as long as the equator. He will be an excellent weak side defender from day one, which would work well next to Greg Monroe and his inability to defend. His lack of strength will make guarding bigger post-men tough but his length will make up for some of the lack of muscle. Henson doesn’t bring much on the offensive end of the court, but he will be relentless on the offensive boards.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via T-wolves)- Kendall Marshall PG 6-4 188 lbs. (North Carolina)
This is assuming the Hornets keep Eric Gordon. If they do keep Gordon, then Marshall would be the perfect guard to run pick-and-rolls with Anthony Davis. He would have Gordon spotted up one side, Davis rolling to the basket or an open lane if no one help off on him. Marshall has the best court vision since Chris Paul. He will be getting teammates easy buckets for the next 12 years in the NBA. Marshall has zero shot though. He cannot hit from anywhere. It’s Rondo bad but if teams lay off of him, that just makes passing lanes easier to find. If he had a good stroke, he would be the No. 2 pick, the rest of his game is that good.
11. Portland Trailblazers- Damian Lillard PG 6-2 185 lbs. (Weber St.)
The only point guard under contract for the Blazers next season is Nolan Smith. It will not be a surprise if they draft a point guard with one of their two lottery picks. Lillard has the prototypical size for a point, he has a great handle, he is super quick, he can knock down threes, but he is a shoot first point guard. The Blazers will be lacking in backcourt scoring, so he will be able to help them out tremendously. He has the ability to get in the lane and create shots for others. The Blazers stocked with knockdown shooters (Batum, Matthews, Babbit).
12. Milwaukee Bucks- Tyler Zeller C 7-0 250 lbs. (North Carolina)
Zeller is the most polished center in this year’s draft class. He has a big frame so he will not be pushed around. He is very quick and will beat a lot of centers down the court for easy buckets. He is a decent rebounder but not stellar. With the Bucks trading Andrew Bogut last year, Zeller will be able to step in right away. With Zeller on the floor, the Bucks can move Ekpe Udoh back to his natural position of power forward. Zeller has a very high basketball IQ, doesn’t force shots of the offensive end and will not have any issues fitting in on a team that already has two high volume shooters (Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings).
13. Phoenix Suns- Terrence Jones PF/SF 6-8 245 lbs. (Kentucky)
The Suns are in a position to slide back pretty far next season with the departure of Steve Nash. They could reach for a point guard, but I believe the best way to go when you are destined to be bad, is to take the best player available. Jones has a good shooting touch out to the college three-point line. He can play the three or four position, and thanks to his athleticism, he will be able to guard either position without hesitation. Jones can be a fantastic defender when he tries. Jones has top-5 talent, but the biggest issue with him has always been effort. If the Suns can get him to play up to his level, he could fill the void left by Amar’e Stoudemire. If they can’t get the effort out of him, he will be the next Michael Beasley.
14. Houston Rockets- Perry Jones III PF 6-11 253 lbs. (Baylor)
Jones is a versatile big. He can jump out of a gym and has the speed of a wing player. He is a great finisher around the basket. He will be able to bring some athleticism to a Rockets frontcourt that is very slow-footed. I imagine him being brutal for defenses in the pick-and-roll. Jones has all the physical tools to be an All Star but lacks toughness. He has been lumped in the Terrence Jones and Andre Drummonds department for his effort, but from what I see Perry plays hard, he just becomes a little passive at times. He doesn’t take plays off, he just doesn’t assert himself enough. I would be a little worried about him rebounding at the next level, but he will definitely be a spark off the bench immediately.
15. Philadelphia 76ers- Arnett Moultrie PF/C 6-11 235 lbs. (Mississippi St.)
Moultrie is a big time post-scorer who can also face up and shoot out to 15 feet with comfort. He is also an excellent rebounder that uses his long arms to tap the ball to himself, especially on the offensive boards. He doesn’t have a very thick build, so he will need to add some weight to his frame. With the Sixers likely to amnesty Elton Brand before next season, Moultrie could step in right away.
16. Houston Rockets (via Knicks)- Dion Waiters SG 6-4 215 lbs. (Syracuse)
Waiters was a big time scorer off the bench for a Syracuse squad that had title aspirations until Fab Melo got hurt. Waiters has the ability to score, but not hog the basketball. He was 28th in the nation in scoring per-40 minutes pace adjusted, while also averaging 1.31 points per shot. He is a very effective at getting in the lane and is a good and willing passer. He doesn’t have the ideal size for a shooting guard, and may have trouble creating space for jumpers at the next level. Waiters is not a great defender. He will be instant offense off of a good team’s bench, as long as he stays reigned in on doing what he does best and doesn’t get to jump shot happy.
17. Dallas Mavericks- Austin Rivers SG 6-4 199 lbs. (Duke)
I love Austin Rivers; game, but I’m not sure he is as good as he thinks he is. He has some of the hero-ball complex in him. He’s willing to take a difficult shot as opposed to letting someone else take a try at beating the defense. The good news is that he tends to make more of the difficult shots than he misses. He has been around the NBA his whole life (his father is Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers), so he will have no problems adjusting to the lifestyle or the grind of being a professional. He is a great spot-up shooter, has a dead-eye from well beyond the three-point line. With the Mavs likely gutting their roster to try and get Deron Williams in the offseason, they will need to find a scorer in the draft, and Rivers fits that role.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Jazz)- Terrence Ross SG/SF 6-7 196 lbs. (Washington)
Ross is a perfect utility-type player. He can do a little bit of everything. He is a very good scorer in traffic, good three-point shooter and rebounds extremely well for a wing player. He has the size to guard either wing position. He would fit in perfectly running the floor with Ricky Rubio. He doesn’t have a very good dribble, but if he played with a point like Rubio that wouldn’t matter, he would be catching and shooting, which he is great at or catching and attacking the rim. Ross does need to work on his pull up jumper and shot selection. He could excel in a reserve role, but could also pan out to be a solid starting small forward.
19. Orlando Magic- Quincy Miller SF 6-9 210 lbs. (Baylor)
Coming out of high school, Miller was one of the highest rated recruits in the country. He had to deal with an ACL injury during his senior season, so it’s hard to determine if his inconsistent play this past season was due to him recovering, or if he just struggled playing against top-notch talent. He has a slippery offensive game, using unique angles and his 7-3 wingspan to get off shots that didn’t appear possible. He has great size for a small forward, but if he can’t find a consistent jumper then he might have to be a power forward, which he is too small to handle. He has lost some of his quickness from his ACL injury and in the NBA if you are going to be productive without athleticism, you must be a good shooter. He has the upside to be a top-5 talent if he fully recovers from his injury. At this point in the draft, the Magic could take the risk and see what happens.
20. Denver Nuggets- Marquis Teague PG 6-2 178 lbs. (Kentucky)
Younger brother of Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, Marquis has been billed as being the better Teague, but during his one season in Lexington he had some issues with consistency, which happens to be the biggest knock on his older brother. Marquis does have a good frame. He did play for John Calipari, so I expect him to be a very good defensive player in the NBA. He has a good stroke, even though the numbers didn’t reflect that last season. The biggest issue with Teague in the NBA will be decision making, but playing in an uptempo setting like Denver, would be a good fit for his playing style. If he has to run halfcourt sets consistently he will struggle.
21. Boston Celtics- Meyers Leonard C 7-0 240 lbs. (Illinois)
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Celtics try and package this pick with the 22nd pick to move up. If they stay put, Leonard would be a good find. The Celtics got away with playing Kevin Garnett at center for most of this season, that is not a good look for their future. They need to find a center to take some of the workload off of KG, and Leonard is that guy. Leonard is a legit 7-footer, who has a huge presence on the defensive end, and is a very capable rebounder. He could step in and fill the void that has been gone since Kendrick Perkins left. Fortunately, he is not an offensive liability.
22. Boston Celtics (via Clipypers)- Moe Harkless SF 6-8 190 lbs. (St. John’s)
It’s hard to get a good read on the Celtics. Are they resigning Garnett? Are they resigning Ray Allen? Are they going to trade Paul Pierce? Assuming they bring back everyone, then Harkless is a great fit for this team. He would give Rondo a running mate in the open court. He is a big-time athlete. He has a huge vertical, and uses his hops to make him a great rebounder. Harkless doesn’t always get it done on the defensive end, but being on a veteran team would be the perfect way to learn how to play defense. He can make an impact from the start as a reserve, spark-plug wing.
23. Atlanta Hawks- Jeff Taylor SF 6-7 225 lbs. (Vanderbilt)
Taylor is the second coming of Shane Battier. He is a very cerebral player. He has a motor that doesn’t stop. He can score, rebound, defend and he always makes the right pass. He will never be The Man on a contending team, but if he’s on your team it only helps. Taylor does a lot of things well, but he isn’t spectacular at one aspect. He has great upper body strength, and will be able to rebound and defend from day one in the NBA. He has a good stroke from three when his feet are set.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers)- Evan Fournier SG/SF 6-7 207 lbs (France)
Fournier might not come over immediately, but the Cavs aren’t going anywhere soon. He has a smooth, old-fashioned game. He doesn’t have much range on his shot, but he is automatic from midrange. Fournier is not very athletic, so playing defense in the NBA will be a real treat for him. He does have the length to make things difficult on the defensive end. He has a very good handle, and can get in the lane and use his height to shoot over smaller guards. Drafting young foreigners is always crapshoot, but Fournier has the upside to possibly be a real contributor in the future.
25. Memphis Grizzlies- Doron Lamb SG 6-4 170 lbs. (Kentucky)
The Grizzlies need a shooter, a backup point guard and, keep in mind, head coach Lionel Hollins is not going to play anyone who doesn’t play defense. Lamb fits all of those roles. He isn’t the best shooter on the board, but he is one of the best perimeter defenders. He has the strength, size and athleticism to get in opponents shorts on defense. He is a very good three-point shooter, and has a good enough handle to be a point guard in spot duty. With the Grizzlies likely losing O.J. Mayo, Lamb could fill in off the bat and play backup minutes behind Tony Allen or Mike Conley.
26. Indiana Pacers- Tony Wroten Jr. PG/SG 6-5 205 lbs. (Washington)
The Pacers have two point guards on their team and neither one of them play consistently. Wroten Jr. is a scoring point guard, who has great size for a point. He doesn’t have a great stroke, but he uses his size and quickness to get in the lane. He has very good court vision and is a capable passer. He takes some bad shots, but if he becomes a Pacer, he will be surrounded by scorers at every position, which should help make his decisions easier. He would also give the Pacers another player that can finish at the rim, unlike current point guards Darren Collison and George Hill.
27. Miami Heat- Fab Melo C 7-0 270 lbs. (Syracuse)
As long as the Miami Heat has the Big 3, they will never be in the need for a scorer. Mike Miller could be an amnesty casualty this offseason, and if so, the Heat might be tempted to take a shooter, but they need some help on the blocks in a bad way. Melo is a big body in the post. He is not an offensive threat at all, but with this team he would only need to defend and rebound, which are two things he excels at doing. He won’t be able to run with the Heat, but with James and Wade you don’t really need anyone else running. He would be an upgraded version of Joel Anthony.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder- Andrew Nicholson PF/C 6-9 220 lbs. (St. Bonaventure)
The Thunder like to go small in crunch time, but that doesn’t seem to be working in the playoffs. The reason why they go small is because with Perkins in the lineup, they are playing four-on-five on offense. Nicholson would give them another big body that can score. He has a stroke out to the college three-point line and can finish at the rim. He is also a very good shot blocker. The biggest weakness with Nicholson is probably his rebounding. With his size and motor, he only averaged 8.4 rebounds in the Atlantic 10.
29. Chicago Bulls- John Jenkins SG 6-4 215 lbs. (Vanderbilt)
Chicago is in desperate need of a shooter to stretch the floor for Derrick Rose. Jenkins is the best shooter in the draft, and it’s not even close. Not only does Jenkins have range well past the three-point line, he also has one of the quickest releases in recent memory. Some want to compare him to Jimmer Ferdette, but unlike Jimmer, Jenkins rarely has to create his own shot. He is not used to having the ball in his hands, so when he gets to the NBA it won’t be new to him. He is already used to scoring without having the ball in his hands until it’s time to shoot. Jenkins has the size to play the two guard. He is not a good defender, but on a team like Chicago with Deng, Noah, Gibson and Asik, it would be easy to hide Jenkins.
30. Golden St. Warriors (via Spurs)- Draymond Green SF/PF 6-6 235 lbs. (Michigan St.)
Green can do it all and has done it all. He has the leadership qualities that not one player on this Warrior team has. He can play the three or four spots. Green can score inside and out. He has tremendous basketball IQ. He is one of the better passers in this draft. Green does not have power forward size or small-forward athleticism, but he is a basketball player. He will never be a star, but he can be a contributor in the right situation.
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