Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft

Way Too Early Edition
By: Brian Sanchez

I know it's way too early to throw out a Mock Draft, but I'm doing it anyways.  This is the projected Lottery order and I can 99% guarantee you at least one spot will change.  But, if it stays the same, here is more first thoughts on how it will go down.

1. Charlotte Bobcats- Anthony Davis, F/C Kentucky
The team with the lowest winning % in NBA history needs everything.  Literally, there is no position they could not use.  When in doubt go big, and it doesn't hurt that the most talented player in this draft by far is the 6'10" shot blocking phenom from Kentucky.  He reminds a lot of people about a lot of great players, but for me I see Kevin Garnett in this kid.  

2. Washington Wizards- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky
The Washington Wizards have a decent roster, but like any team drafting No. 2 overall they have needs.  Wall, Nene, Vessely, Crawford, Seraphin and Singleton is a decent nucleus.  What they need is a pure hustle and defense guy.  Kidd-Gilchrist is the total package.  He loves to play and leaves everything out on the court.  His offensive game is coming but he is very good at getting to the rim.  The starting SF right now is Chris Singleton who is decent but would probably be better off on the bench behind Singleton.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers- Bradley Beal, SG Florida
The Cleveland Cavaliers hit the jackpot last year with Kyrie Irving.  The book is still out on Tristan Thompson, but he is big.  Here the Cavs have a good shot at getting Kyrie a long time running mate.  They will probably be losing Antawan Jamison and have Varejao at Center but he is a health concern.  I could understang them going with Thomas Robinson or go for broke with Andre Drummond.  I think Beal project out to be Eric Gordon like.  He is a tremendous scorer and putting him alongside Irving gives the Cavs a legitimate, very offensively potent backcourt.  

4. New Orleans Hornets- Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas
The only reason he is going No. 4 is because of his size.  He is an undersized PF at 6'8"but he makes up for it with effort.  He is a max effort guy just like MKG.  He is a terrific rebounder and really stepped up his offensive game in his last year at Kansas.  The Hornets want more reliable players which is Robinson.  Even if the talent never comes around he will always be an effort guy who rebounds tirelessly.  They could go Drummond but I think they want a guy who can produce right away.

5. Sacramento Kings- Andre Drummond, C Connecticut
The Sacramento Kings have never been more about the person they draft rather than the player.  They could use a SF and Harrison Barnes is still on the board, but he does not have the upside of Andre Drummond.  The 6'11" Center has so much raw ability I don't think he knows what to do with it.  What he can already do is jump and block shots.  Not necessarily defend but block shots.  He is a bit temperamental and I think putting him with Demarcus cousins could bring trouble.  Then again, if Cousins and Drummond screw their heads on straight they could form a starting frontline that would rival any other.  That is what the Kings will hope for when they make this pick.

6. Portland Trailblazers- Damian Lillard, PG Weber St.
This pick will take a while for people to come around on.  The Trailbalzers would like a big man to put with Aldridge down low but I don't think Jared Sullinger or Tyler Zeller are worth this pick.  Lillard plays a premium position in PG where the Blazers only have Felton (and Jamal Crawford as back up but he's probably gone).  Lillard is lightning quick and a very good scorer.  When I see him I see a lot of Ty Lawson.  He could easily be the best PG in this class and a very good offensive one.  He can also play some SG because of how good he is offensively.  I like this pick to bolster the Portland back court.

7. Golden State Warriors- Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina
This is a very good pick for the Warriors assuming they keep their pick (70% chance that they do).  Their weakest point on the team is SF and Barnes could slide right in to that hole.  I'm not sure he would start right away, but he would play.  Not the best athlete ever but a good shooter and scorer.  He has a high basketball I.Q. and for a team who only has one hole in the starting line up, Barnes is the perfect fit.

8. Toronto Raptors- Perry Jones III, SF/PF Baylor
Let's be real, the Raptors will almost never attract a big name free agent.  Just can't do it.  So, when there is a guy with the upside of Jones III you have to pull the trigger.  Jones has a tendency to disappear during the game but he is 6'11" but he has the ability of a ball handling 6'5" SG.  If he pans out he has the talent to go No. 2 or No. 3 in this draft.  Because the draft is the only way for the Raptors to hit it big, Jones is worth a shot.

9. Detroit Pistons- Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi St.
This is another pick that will take some time for people to understand.  Moultrie is a big physical PF and frankly, that is a bit of a dying breed.  He may not be able to score like Sullinger but he can defend big bodies in ways Sullinger can't.  The Pistons have Greg Monroe at Center and he is a good rebounder and scorer but he is not a good defender nor is he physical or defensive.  Moultrie poses a good compliment to Monroe down low and can help open up the outside for Brandon Knight.

10. New Orleans Hornets- Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut
Lamb is probably the best pure shooter in this draft but he is also able to score from everywhere on the court.  The big question he has had rise up is whether or not he has the drive to be good.  The Hornets already got a post player in this draft in Robinson and could certainly double up with Center Tyler Zeller but I think Lamb is so talented at No. 10 that they should just take him and stock pile talent.  Eric Gordon is in New Orleans but let's face it, the first chance he gets to leave he is bolting.

11. Portland Trailblazers- Tyler Zeller, C North Carolina
The Trailblazers go into this draft wanting a new prospect at Center.  Zeller is the third best prospect in the draft at Center and in my eyes a much more sure thing than Andre Drummond.  He does not have Drummond's up side but he also will have less chance of failing.  Zeller has something that most college players don't, moves in the post.  He is not an athletic defender but he'll get you some points on the low block and he will hustle and run the floor well.  Zeller is a very nice piece to add to this Portland team.  

12. Milwaukee Bucks- Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio St.
Sullinger finally goes.  I do think he is a lottery pick but I do not buy him in the top 10.  He has the ability to score in the low post but he is not very strong nor does he have good leaping ability.  He is an old school below the rim post player and the jury is out on how that will work out.  The new NBA is so athletic that it is difficult to thrive in Sullingers style.  The Bucks got Monta Ellis to go along with Brandon Jennings but it cost them Andrew Bogut.  The Bucks are more worried about Sullingers ability to score in the post more than his lack of athleticism.

13. Phoenix Suns- Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina
The Steve Nash era in Phenix was a great one but it is also coming to an end.  Whether he leaves in Free Agency or not, he doesn't log a lot of minutes and he will certainly have less and less as time carries on.  The Suns have won in a system where the main job of the PG is to distribute, a very classic system.  This is the strength of Kendall Marshall.  He is a pass first point guard and a very good one.  He could immediately give Nash more minutes to rest as well as be a starter if Nash leaves.

14. Houston Rockets- Austin Rivers, PG/SG Duke
Rivers should have stayed in school.  Had he played one more year he would most likely be a top ten pick.  He is a dynamic scorer and that's about it.  Whether or not he'll be able to do so right away in the NBA is yet to be seen.  But with his raw ability having him mature in the NBA could make sense.  With Kevin MArtin in the dog house the Rockets could use a SG and a dynamic scorer at that.  Rivers is a nice pick up for them.

15. Philadelphia 76ers- John Henson, PF North Carolina
Henson is a very interesting prospect.  I would not want him on my team because of how little strength he has.  But what he does do is take his incredible length and use it to block a lot of shots.  Because of his ability to get high and block shots he is a defensive asset.  For a team like the 76ers who have a lot of depth he could be worth a shot.  The one spot they do need is down low and they need a shot blocker.  I think this is a good fit for Henson.  

16. Houston Rockets- Meyers Leonard, Center Illinois
The Rockets take another player who would have gone higher had he stayed in school.  With a good pre draft showing Leonard can certainly raise his stock from where he sits now.  He is a true 7 foot Center whose strength is actually his strength fir a change.  He won't give a whole lot on offense but he is a good rebounder and defender.  It is always good to take a strong 7 footer if you need a Center like the Rockets do.  Adding Austin Rivers and Meyers Leonard will bring an influx of young talent into Houston.  

17. Dallas Mavericks- Terrence Jones, SF Kentucky
Terrence Jones is another player who could move up a lot with good pre draft workouts.  This is lower than a lot of people think he will go, but a lot of people associate how recognizable a player is with how good he is.  He is athletic but not smooth, likes to take outside jumpers but is not a good shooter.  He is a tweener not really fitting in as a SF or a PF.  For teams like Dallas who just need to get young athletes on the wing, Jones works.

18. Minnesota Timerwolves- Terrence Ross, SG Washington
The Wolves seem to be set at 4 starting positions.  Rubio, Beasley, Love, and Pekovic are all good to go.  What they need is a SG and what they may need even more is a shooter.  Terrence Ross is 6'6" and as good a 3-point shooter as anyone in the draft and may be just what the doctor ordered in Minnesota.

19. Orlando Magic- Dion Waiters, PG/SG Syracuse
The Magic need to try and stack there team with enough talent to try and keep Dwight Howard.  Waiters is a very solid player.  He has the ability to play PG or SG with his passing, driving, and shooting abilities.  He can be a premier back up at both positions and help strengthen their bench.  Waiters is not an impact guy but with the futures of Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson in question, Waiters is a good guy to have.

20. Denver Nuggets- Tony Wroten- PG/SG Washington
Wroten is a very versatile talented player.  If it were not for his terrible jump shot he would be going much, much higher.  Wroten has the abilities of Tyreke Evans or Iman Shumpert in him.  He is a big, 6'5" but can hadle himself at the point.  Andre Miller is getting very old and Ty Lawson while amazing is small.  Having Wroten as a big, young, project at back up PG would just be adding more talent to a deep Nuggets team.  

21. Boston Celtics- Jeffrey Taylor, SF Vanderbilt
Taylor is a big, athletic do it all type of SF.  He doesn't really accel in any area but at the same time does not do anything poorly.  I think his ability to take minutes on right when he steps in the NBA should be able to aid an aging Celtics team.  They need to be more athletic on the wing and Taylor will accomplish just that.

22. Boston Celtics- Fab Melo, Center Syracuse
The Celtics need help and they got some with Jeffrey Taylor but they need to get bigger inside.  Melo is 7 feet tall and can defend and rebound.  There are questions about him as a person, but at the 22nd pick if you want a talented big you're going to have to roll the dice.  KG needs help down low and they can only pick and hope here with Melo, but because of the team and management ability he's worth a shot.  

23. Atlanta Hawks- Moe Harkless, SF St. Johns
Harkless has a lot of Trevor Ariza in him.  He is a big athletic guy who defends and rebounds very well.  He uses his athleticism to get to the hoop but I wouldn't count on too much offensive production from him right away.  For the Hawks, he can get solid minutes at SF and play some very good defense for them.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers- Royce White, SF Iowa St.
White has the ability to go much higher than this.  He also has an anxiety disorder that leaves him deathly afraid of flying.  This means it will be hard for him to fly on road trips and may leave him losing sleep because he is scared.  This is what caused him to fall off the court.  On the court he is a do it all SF.  He can rebound very well and score inside.  Having already snagged Bradley Beal they can afford to take a chance on White.  Cleveland, like Toronto, is a tough place to get a big FA to go.  Take the chance on White and if he pans out, boom, huge draft.

25. Memphis Grizzlies- Marquis Teague, PG Kentucky
Another player who could have gone higher had he stayed in college another year.  Teague is a pretty good PG who can do a lot of things.  He does not dominate any facet of the game but he is adequate at almost everything.  The Grizzlies would be well suited to get a young back up to Mike Conley who may also be a replacement if Conley ever leaves in free agency.  They would also like a big but there is not one as good as Teague is at PG.

26. Indiana Pacers- Doron Lamb, SG Kentucky
Lamb is a very good 3-point shooter and in my eyes not much else.  He'll need to mature in to a better overall scorer but his long ball stroke is good enough for now.  The Pacers have very good depth and can afford to have a 3-point specialist.  As a matter of fact they do, Leandro Barbosa, but he is leaving in free agency so Lamb can step right in to his role.

27. Miami Heat- Draymond Green- SF/PF Michigan St.  
Green is the ultimate tweener.  Whether he is a PF or a SF it doesn't matter, just throw him on the floor and let him make plays.  He can pass and rebound exceptionally well.  He is also the type of person the Heat need.  Green is a great cheerleader and I mean that with great respect.  He is a leader and will step right in to Miami and know when to loosen things up or when to get serious.  Green is the next coming of Big Baby Davis.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder- Evan Fournier, SG France
The Oklahoma City Thunder need nothing.  They could take a player here and hope he can pan out to being a rotation player.  But, they could also take Fournier who is probably the only first round worthy International player this year.  Fournier is a 19 year old SG who is 6'7" and has a strong frame.  Everything about him says he should be able to make the jump to the NBA 3 years from now.  The thunder need nothing right now but 3 years from now you never know.  Fournier would be a good prospect to draft and stash much like the Spurs do so successfully.

29. Chicago Bulls- Andrew Nicholson, PF St. Bonaventure
The 6'9" Senior really made a name for himself in the Bonnies postseason.  Nicholson is an interesting prospect.  He is a very good rebounder and shot blocker.  He also has a decent jumper with some pretty good range on it.  The one thing holding him back is his lack of athleticism.  Carlos Boozer is a fail but Taj Gibson is wonderful.  Nicholson is a good candidate to be mature enough to be a back up and get some serious minutes right away.

30. Golden State Warriors-Festus Ezeli, Center Vanderbilt
The Warriors already addressed their need for a SF at the 7 pick with Harrison Barnes.  Now they need to get a big to try and be the back up Center.  The Warriors did trade for Andrew Bogut so they are no longer looking for a starting Center.  However as of right now Andris Biedrins is the back up Center and new GM Bob Meyers has already said they want competition there.  That basically means the Warriors, like the fan base, never want to see Biedrins on the floor again.  Ezeli is not spectacular but he is a 6'11" 250 lb senior who is very strong and a good defender.  I think he would have the best chance of pushing for minutes of all the big men left in the draft.

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