June 29, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Grades: Round 1

2012 NBA Mock Draft: Round 1
(Friday, June 29, 2012)

Here are by draft grades for the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Analysis and letter grades are below.

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

Analysis: Anthony Davis has been the number one pick since last June in some people's minds. He's that talented. Drafting the best player in the draft and filling a need is definitely an A+.

Grade: A+

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

Analysis: The feeling was that the Bobcats would take Thomas Robinson here. The chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead, which to me was a better pick. He gives the Bobcats the versatile defender they need on the wing, and he also brings toughness, leadership, and a great work ethic.

Grade: A-

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

Analysis: Brad Beal was my second rated player in the draft, and a great pick for Washington. Shooting Guard was their only obvious need, and they filled it by drafting the best player available. Pairing Brad Beal with John Wall makes for an explosive backcourt.

Grade: A+

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

Analysis: The Cavaliers reached for Tristan Thompson in this spot last year. Dion Waiters was a reach, especially with Harrison Barnes on the board. However, Waiters is a skilled guard who can slash, and shoot the basketball well. He reminds me a little of Dwyane Wade, and while that is lofty praise, he could pay off for the Cavs.

Grade: B-

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

Analysis: The only way Sacramento wouldn't have traded this pick to the Rockets, is if Thomas Robinson was on the board. The Kings made a good decision staying put and selecting Robinson, as he should pair well with center DeMarcus Cousins.

Grade: A

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

Analysis: Making sure they snatched up Damian Lillard was a smart move. He is the best point guard in the draft, and immediately gives Portland an upgrade at the position.

Grade: A-

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

Analysis: Golden State may have had the best draft besides New Orleans. Their only obvious need was a wing player who can score, and that's what Harrison Barnes is. Barnes falling to the Warriors was great, because they didn't have to trade for a veteran.

Grade: A+

8. Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 197 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: Terrence Ross was 11th on my board, ahead of Austin Rivers and Jeremy Lamb. However, he may not be the best fit, which hurts their grade a little. Still, Ross is an athletic wing who shoots the ball well. Plus, they needing a shooter on the wing so this is a good pick.

Grade: B

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

Analysis: For the third straight year, the Pistons capitalized by taking the best player on the board. Andre Drummond, the best center in the draft, fell right in their laps, and they were smart not to pass on him. Drummond gives them the big, athletic, shot-blocking center they needed to pair with the talented Greg Monroe. They look like playoff contenders in the near future.

Grade: A

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

Analysis: Austin Rivers is a talented prospect, but he is a slight reach at #10, and not a great fit with the Hornets. Sure they have a nice young nucleus in Davis, Gordon, and Rivers, but they believe Rivers can be a point guard, which is a bad assumption. Drafting for talent over need, however, usually works, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Grade: B-

11. Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 250 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: The Blazers do a good job with their second first round pick. They desperately needed a center. Meyers Leonard is all of 7-1, 250 lbs. He has a ton of upside as an NBA prospect, but carries some risk. Their track record with drafting centers isn't very good, so we'll just have to see if this works out.

Grade: A-

12. Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 179 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Milwaukee)

Analysis: The Rockets kept all of their picks. The first was used to select Jeremy Lamb. If they keep him, he's a great pick because he would potentially replace Kevin Martin, giving them a smooth scorer on the wing with great length to defend multiple positions. The value is good as well.

Grade: A

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

Analysis: Kendall Marshall is not an elite point guard, but a pretty good replacement for Steve Nash. Sure they wanted a shooting guard, but replacing Nash was high on their priority list as well.

Grade: B

14. John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 216 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Houston)

Analysis: Getting John Henson here may seem like a steal, but I think it's a slight reach. I see some potential in this guy, and he has great length and shot-blocking ability, but he just looks like an average NBA player to me. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but Tyler Zeller would've been a better pick, especially since they need a long term answer at center.

Grade: C+

15. Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 207 lbs. | Class: Freshman

Analysis: I am a fan of Moe Harkless, and this seems like good value, but the last thing the Sixers need is another wing player that can't shoot. He'll eventually develop his jump shot, but with players like PJ3 and Arnett Moultrie on the board, not the best pick.

Grade: C-

16. Royce White, SF, Iowa State
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 261 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via New York)

Analysis: Royce White is a great pick for the Rockets. He is a top 10 talent, and he has a great skill set. He's definitely worth the risk here, and he could eventually start at the three for them.

Grade: B+

17. Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 247 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via Dallas)

Analysis: I'm disappointed that Dallas traded Tyler Zeller to Cleveland. He really would've help solidify the middle of their defense. For the Cavaliers, it's a pretty good pick. Zeller gives them a future starter at center, and is great value here.

Grade: A

18. Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 252 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(From Minnesota via Utah)

Analysis: Houston gets another steal in Terrence Jones. I had Jones 10th on my big board, so the value here is great. They now have a logjam at power forward, but some valuable trade assets as well.

Grade: A

19. Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 234 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: I really like Andrew Nicholson, but not the best pick for them, especially if you're trying to keep Dwight Howard. They would've been better off taking a risk with Perry Jones or Sullinger. Heck, they even could've drafted a point guard.

Grade: C

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

Analysis: I have no problem with this pick. Evan Fournier is the best international prospect in the draft, and with a ton of talent already on the board, they can afford to stash him overseas for a few years.

Grade: A

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

Analysis: Great value. He lacks athleticism, but he can play. You're talking about a guy who could be the next Carlos Boozer if he stays healthy. Worst case scenario, he's a role player similar to Glen Davis, which isn't bad in the middle of round one.

Grade: A-

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

Analysis: Fab Melo is a big bodied center who fills a need in the middle of the defense. However, he's not ready yet, and will have to be coached up.

Grade: B-

23. John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 212 lbs. | Class: Junior

Analysis: There were some better prospects on the board, but this is a solid pick for the Hawks. Jenkins is the best shooter in the draft, and would likely fill the Jamal Crawford role, giving them a much needed scorer off the bench.

Grade: B-

24. Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 188 lbs. | Class: Junior
(from Cleveland via Los Angeles Lakers)

Analysis: The Mavericks reached for Jared Cunningham. He is an intriguing prospect with upside, but I think they missed a huge opportunity trading Tyler Zeller and passing on some talented prospects.

Grade: C-

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 was just too talented to pass up. They think he's a bigger Rajon Rondo, which is a great comparison. Wroten is a combo guard with top 10 talent. Once he improves his shot, he'll be a great NBA player.

Grade: A-

26. Miles Plumlee, C, Duke
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 252 lbs. | Class: Senior

Analysis: Why? They had a chance to take a point guard in Marquis Teague, or the best player available in Perry Jones III. Heck, they even passed on Draymond Green and Jeff Taylor to name a few. Miles Plumlee wowed with his athleticism at the combine, but his skill set and production are that of a second round pick. Getting a role player late in the first round is normal, but they could've struck gold with this pick.

Grade: D+

27. Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 233 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Miami)

Analysis: Miami is another team that missed an opportunity by trading Arnett Moultrie to the Sixers. From the Sixers' perspective, they should've taken Moultrie with the 15th pick, but when they saw him free fall, they jumped on him. Excellent value, and need pick.

Grade: A

28. Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 234 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

Analysis: 27 teams passing on Perry Jones could prove to be a huge mistake. OKC drafting a top 5 talent 28th overall makes PJ3 THE biggest steal in the draft. He will really help the Thunder immediately, and could be a star in the future.

Grade: A+

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

Analysis: Marquis Teague is excellent value here, and the Bulls could use a backup point guard. However, they need a shooting guard, and passing on Doron Lamb and Will Barton could be a mistake.

Grade: B-

30. Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 264 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via San Antonio)

Analysis: Another excellent pick for the Warriors. Ezeli gives them a tough 7-footer that can contribute off the bench, especially defensively.

Grade: B+