June 28, 2012

Final 2012 NBA Mock Draft: The Picture Becomes Clearer

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1
(Thursday, June 28, 2012)

(Based on official NBA Draft order after the lottery.)

Another update could come just before the draft if more information comes along. For now, here is my "Final 2012 NBA Mock Draft."

Latest Update. 6:54 PM.

1. Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 222 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: Anthony Davis will be the number one pick here. 100%. He is a legit NBA prospect with superstar potential. He is a game changer due to his rebounding and shot blocking, and is further along offensively than some of the top big men before him.

2. Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 244 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The Bobcats have had at least 5 teams call about the #2 pick. If the keep this pick, all signs point to Thomas Robinson being the pick.

The concerns with drafting Robinson are that he may not have the upside as some of the other top prospects, as well as the fact that he and Bismack Biyombo would form an undersized frontcourt.

However, he is arguably the most NBA ready prospect in the draft, and should be able to contribute immediately with his rebounding, toughness, and inside/outside game.

3. Brad Beal, SG, Florida
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 202 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: The Wizards are fielding calls, but it is unlikely they will trade this pick, especially if Brad Beal is still on the board. Cleveland is a team that has expressed interest in jumping ahead of the Wizards to select Beal. If Charlotte does trade its pick, then Washington could trade down and select a wing player.

Assuming the Bobcats stay put and take Robinson, Brad Beal will almost certainly be the pick. They need a shooting guard and a backcourt player to pair with John Wall.

4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 233 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: Cleveland has openly expressed interest in trading for the second overall pick to get Brad Beal. They've also shown interest in guards Dion Waiters and Terrence Ross, but not at #4. If they choose to stay put, they'll choose between Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes.

This is a tough call for the Cavs. I've been hearing all along that Barnes has had the edge, and is certainly a better fit for Cleveland right now. However, over the past 24 hours, I've heard that Kidd-Gilchrist has the edge.

MKG certainly would be a nice pick. He has the best motor of any prospect I've seen, and he gives them defensive versatility, toughness. He would form a nice backcourt pair with his former high school teammate Kyrie Irving.

5. Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 279 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: Sacramento recently turned down Houston's offer of Kyle Lowry and the 16th pick for the 5th and Chuck Hayes. However, the Rockets have come back with a strong offer that the Kings may not refuse. Whether they plan to keep him or trade him (in a deal for Dwight Howard), Center Andre Drummond appears to be their target.

If the draft falls a certain way, however, the Kings should consider keeping the pick and taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Andre Drummond. MKG gives them the toughness and defensive versatility they need, while pairing Drummond with DeMarcus Cousins would give them twin towers in the frontcourt, and that would be hard to pass on.

6. Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 189 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Brooklyn)

Analysis: Portland will most likely keep both of its picks, and with Andre Drummond off the board, they'll take Damian Lillard.

Lillard has proved he is a top 10 player in the draft. He is an excellent scoring guard, with legit point guard skills. Drafting him here allows the Blazers to target a big man with their second first round pick.

7. Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 228 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Golden State has been looking to trade this pick for a veteran swingman. Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, and Wilson Chandler have been trade targets. Harrison Barnes has fallen in their laps, and I see no way they pass on him.

I understand they like Dion Waiters as well, but the chance to fill their need at small forward without having to give up anything is exciting. Barnes is an elite scorer who would help the Warriors become playoff contenders in the near future.

8. Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 221 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: The Raptors have been looking to trade this pick for a veteran swingman as well. GM Bryan Colangelo says he has narrowed this pick down to three players, and Dion Waiters appears to be in the lead.

Waiters gives the Raptors the backcourt scorer they desperately need, as he is an excellent slasher and can shoot the basketball well.

9. John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 216 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The Pistons seem to be locked in on John Henson, especially if Andre Drummond is off the board. He may not be a perfect fit, but he is an athletic four who can rebound and block shots, though he'll have to improve a bit on the offensive end.

10. Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 203 lbs. | Class: Freshman
(via Minnesota)

Analysis: The Hornets would like a big man to pair with Anthony Davis. But many people believe Austin Rivers is high on their draft board, and they may not let him slide past them.

Rivers is one of the most talented players in the draft, and they believe he can run the point effectively. Adding Rivers would certainly give them an explosive backcourt, assuming Eric Gordon re-signs.

11. Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 247 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: After snatching up Damian Lillard with the sixth pick, the Trail Blazers get their center here. Meyers Leonard has more upside, but Zeller would be a safer pick. They can't really go wrong with either one here.

12. Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 250 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Milwaukee)

Analysis: There is a good chance the Rockets pull of a deal with the Kings and won't be picking here. Assuming the trade doesn't happen, they would likely take the skilled big man from Illinois Meyers Leonard.

13. Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 179 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Many people around the league believe Phoenix is the team that made a promise to Dion Waiters. However, due to his surging stock, he is unavailable to them.

Jeremy Lamb is a smooth scorer with great length to be a very good NBA defender. He reminds me a lot of Kevin Martin. While he is pretty thin, and he doesn't seem to have that it factor, he should prove to be a solid pro.

14. Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 197 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Houston)

Analysis: Before Wednesday, the Bucks had a huge hole in the middle, and a logjam at power forward. By moving two spots down, they got a temporary fix at center with Samuel Dalembert, and moved a pair of power forwards.

With no bigs worth drafting here, Terrence Ross makes sense here. The Bucks like Ross a lot, and could use another wing player. He should be able to play the three as well.

15. Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 233 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: The 76ers are looking for size with Spencer Hawes being an unrestricted free agent, as well as a potential replacement for Elton Brand. They are seriously considering Jared Sullinger and Perry Jones, as well as Arnett Moultrie.

Moultrie gives them an athletic four who can run the floor and rebound. This was a tough call between the three, as all would make sense here.

16. Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 234 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via New York)

Analysis: Once again, I'm not sure if the Rockets will be picking here. Despite the knee issue that has been brought up, PJ3 would be a nice pick for them, as he is one of the most talented prospects in the draft.

17. Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 252 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: If Terrence Jones falls this far, the Mavericks should be all over him. He has a great power forward body, and that appears to be what he'll be in the NBA. However, he is versatile enough to play on the wing.

18. Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 207 lbs. | Class: Freshman
(From Minnesota via Utah)

Analysis: Moe Harkless is a talented prospect who carried the Red Storm all season long. He has to improve his range, but he is a special prospect. ESPN Draft Insider Chad Ford referred to him as a young Trever Ariza. I like this comparison, and so would Houston.

19. Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 198 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Jared Sullinger deserves consideration here, but with Jameer Nelson prepared to opt out, they need a point guard. Kendall Marshall is the best pure point guard in this draft. While he is not an elite athlete or scorer, he can help make his teammates better.

20. Royce White, SF, Iowa State
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 261 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Team leader and starting Point Guard Ty Lawson is lobbying for Denver to draft Quincy Miller. Since they have no obvious needs, this wouldn't be a bad pick.

However, there is some buzz that the Nuggets may try to get Royce White, as they like is skill set and play making ability.

21. Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 268 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Last week there was buzz that Boston made a promise to Royce White. They've been interested in him for a while, so this is no surprise.

White is off the board. Jared Sullinger falls to them, and I don't see him sliding past Boston. Best case for Sullinger, he's the next Carlos Boozer. Worst case, he's the next Glen Davis and that's not necessarily a bad thing in the middle of the first.

22. Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 234 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via Los Angeles Clippers)

Analysis: Andrew Nicholson could come off the board earlier than this. He has a great offensive game, similar to David West. Worst case scenario is that he becomes a solid role player, but I believe he'll be an NBA starter.

23. Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 236 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Draymond Green would be a solid pick for the Hawks. Marvin Williams has been a disappointment thus far, and while Green may not necessarily replace him as a starter, he is sure to compete and work hard.

24. Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 255 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Los Angeles Lakers)

Analysis: The Cavaliers can afford to develop a center behind Anderson Varejao. Fab Melo is a big, defensive center who will be a force in the league if he improves his offensive game.

25. Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 203 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: The Grizzlies already have a solid starting point guard in Mike Conley, but Tony Wroten is just too talented to pass up.

A gifted passer with great point guard skills, Wroten has top 10 talent for sure. If he ever fixes his shot, he'll be an excellent combo guard.

26. Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: Marquis Teague may not be the answer at point guard, but he would give Indiana some options. Depending on how their point guard situation plays out with Darren Collison, George Hill, and potentially Marquis Teague, they could end up with a few trade assets.

27. Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 264 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: The Heat can afford to take the best player available, but they also need a big body to pair with Chris Bosh that can defend, and rebound. That appears to be Festus Ezeli, the Vanderbilt senior is a tough center who does both of these things well. He'd be a solid pick late in the first round.

28. Evan Fournier, SG, France
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 200 lbs. | Class: International '92

Analysis: Evan Fournier is the best international prospect eligible for the draft. He is a great scorer who will continue to improve overseas. The Thunder don't really have any obvious needs, so they can stash an international prospect.

29. Will Barton, SG, Memphis
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 174 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Will Barton is a late riser. I can see the Grizzlies drafting him in fact. The Bulls have been looking for a solid 2 guard to pair with D. Rose for a while, and Barton would make sense late in the first round.

30. Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 219 lbs. | Class: Freshman
(via San Antonio)

Analysis: Could Quincy Miller really fall this far? Possibly. Once considered a top 10 pick, he just didn't seem to bounce back well from his ACL tear during his senior year in high school. He is still a very talented small forward who would be a steal for the Warriors here.