By: Martin Sumners
This 2012 NBA Mock Draft is more like a blueprint for what each team should do and not what they will do. Too many times, teams make the wrong decision based on the determination that a certain player has more talent than another or too much consideration is given towards long-term value versus short-term greatness. This draft focus more about what type of player a franchise may need in furtherance of achieving a more balanced team or provides that missing ingredient to produce a champion.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky, 6-10, 220, Fr. Great physical and intelligent defensive player who can block shots and also guard perimeter players with his length and quick feet. Offense should only improve.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky, 6-7, 230, Fr. SF. Versatile player who can get to the rim and could be a lock-down defender in the mold of a Scottie Pippen or Metta World Peace.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida, 6-4, 200, Fr. NBA ready body and athleticism. Blossomed, after deferring to older players at Florida. Could be the backcourt of the future with John Wall.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC, 6-8, 225, So. Disappointing Tarheel career in many ways, but is overall a talented and smart player who can step in right away and contribute.
5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas, 6-9, 240, Jr. His ceiling may be low, but his mix of quickness and strength will allow him to be a solid player. His shooting range will determine how good he can be.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Nets): Andre Drummond, C, UConn, 6-10, 270, Fr. Blazers have had bad luck with selecting big men (Sam Bowie, Greg Oden), but can’t pass up a chance to pair an athletic center with LaMarcus Aldridge.
7. Golden State Warriors: Jared Sullinger, PF/C, Ohio State, 6-9, 270, So. The Warriors added center Andrew Bogut but despite issues around his bad back, Sullinger provides a nimble scorer from center or power forward.
8. Toronto Raptors: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State, 6-2, 185, Jr. Lillard Impressed many at pre-draft camps. He could replace Jose Calderon and inject excitement to shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF, UNC, 6-11, 220, Jr. Pistons need to go big. A lengthy shot blocker with some range on offense, and like center Greg Monroe, Henson is well-schooled fundamentally and would be a good fit.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Myers Leonard, C, Illinois, 7-0, 240 lbs, So. He opened up a lot of eyes at pre-draft camp and could provide muscle to the Hornets’ frontline allowing slender No. 1 pick Davis to play to his strength.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke, 6-4, 200 lbs, Fr. In need of some sizzle to re-charge this under-performing team and fan base, Rivers’ flashy scoring style would be the perfect pick.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky, 6-9, 250, So. A complimentary power forward ala Lamar Odom to go with backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.
13. Phoenix Suns: Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor, 6-11, 230, So. Very talented who can disappear often in games. Similar to the scoop on Kevin Durant coming out of Texas.
14. Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn, 6-5, 185, So. With two picks sandwiched around the 76ers, the Rockets should take Lamb who may be desired by the 76ers as well. His scoring ability could help any NBA team.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State, 6-11, 230, Jr. He could step right in to replace an aging Elton Brand with similar production from college of 16 ppg and 10 rpg.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York): Tyler Zeller, C, UNC, 7-0, 250, Sr. The first senior selected could provide strength to a front line now patrolled by older vets Marcus Camby and Sam Dalembert.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Kendall Marshall, PG, UNC, 6-4, 190, So. With Jason Kidd as a free agent, the Mavs need a steady distributor and Marshall should be the plan.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah): Dion Waters, SG, Syracuse, 6-4, 215, So. A lot of speculation he may go higher with guarantees from Suns and Blazers. Perhaps, but T’Wolves may land the sharp shooting two guard if he drops.
19. Orlando Magic: Moe Harkless, SF, St. Johns, 6-8, 210, Fr. He may be the steal of the draft. A lot of upside in a player who can handle either the shooting guard or small forward position.
20. Denver Nuggets: Terrence Ross, SG/SF, Washington, 6-7, 195, So. With his ability to score from the perimeter and create his own shot, he fits right in with Nuggets running style and could eventually beat out Arron Afflalo.
21. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse, 7-0, 250, So. The Celtics frontcourt is in desperate need of an upgrade, especially if Kevin Garnett doesn’t come back via free agency or retirement – need Melo’s rebounding and shot blocking.
22. Boston Celtics: Royce White, PF, Iowa State, 6-8, 265, So. Just to be sure about this rebounding thing, the C’s should go back for more frontcourt reinforcements.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure, 6-9, 220, Sr. He is a well-rounded player, and as a senior, could be ready to fill a frontcourt role for the Hawks who are looking to move into the league’s upper echelon.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Lakers): Evan Fournier, SG/SF, France, 6-7, 205 19 yrs old. Best available player for a team with many needs. Not a great shooter, but ball handling and ability to finish would compliment Kyrie Irving.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor, 6-9, 210, Fr. Grizz intent on trading Rudy Gay for economic reasons and his inability to play with Zach Randolph could lead to the selection of a versatile, yet passive wing player who could ease into the lineup.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky, 6-2, 180, Fr. Older brother Jeff, has shown one Teague can play in the NBA. His NCAA tournament run showed he should be ready and could be an energizer to Indy attack.
27. Miami Heat: Festus Ezili, C, Vanderbilt, 6-11, 265, His athletic skills and motor could help the Heat with its aggressive defensive style and an offense geared around LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State, 6-6, 235, Sr. The perfect fit of player and team should have Green settle in OKC as a rebounding all-around intangible-laden team player.
29. Chicago Bulls: Tony Wroten, PG/SG, Washington, 6-6, 200, Fr. Big ball-handling guard with ability to score could take pressure off Derrick Rose on both fronts.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio): Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas, 6-3, 180, Sr. A leader with toughness. A great defender but an erratic shooter and decision maker, but a winner who could be molded by Mark Jackson.