2012 NBA Mock Draft - v 1.0

For one year at least, the powerhouses are back in college basketball. I have 5 Wildcats and Tar Heels in my top 21 picks. Also sprinkled about are multiple Huskies, Bears, Gators and Blue Devils. For as bad as the 2011 NBA Draft was, 2012 could be the best since 2003.

This draft order was based on team rankings in NBA 2K12. I can't think of a better method, can you?

1. Los Angeles Clippers (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - C Andre Drummond, Fr, Connecticut. A lot of people out there are saying that there is a debate on the number one pick right now, Drummond or Anthony Davis. I think Drummond is the only guy you can consider at this point. First of all, he is the most talented center prospect available since Dwight Howard. Guys like that will always be drafted first. It will be interested to see if he can dominate in a great conference. As for the Clippers, they luck out the way the Pistons lucked out in the 2003 draft. Taking Drummond here, they will not waste the opportunity like Joe Dumars did.

2. Detroit Pistons - PF Anthony Davis, Fr, Kentucky. Speaking of Joe Dumars picking second overall. I am not as sold on Davis as others, though I haven't really seen him play. I just worry about skinny big men. Their track record is pretty poor. For every Kevin Garnetts and Chris Boshes, you have twice as many Jonathan Benders and Brandan Wrights. He has shooting guard skills and could be a matchup nightmare on offense one day. Pairing him with a good defensive center like Greg Monroe on Detroit would maximize his skills.

3. Toronto Raptors - SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. Barnes would be a perfect fit with Toronto. He has a "do everything" type of game, and the Raptors really need a guy who can take over when it counts. He would immediately become the leader of a team searching for an identity. I really like what the Raptors have done in the draft the last three years as they move on from the Chris Bosh and hopefully Andrea Bargnani era, and this pick would just be icing on the cake.

4. Sacramento Kings - SF/PF James McAdoo, Fr, North Carolina. If there was ever a Hard Knocks version for the NBA, I would like the Kings to be covered. I would love to see a practice with DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette fighting over one basketball. McAdoo would be a very good compliment (contrast) to those guys. He is a tweener with an old school game and won't be afraid to bang down low with bigger players. A good all around player who won't need to dominate the ball in this offense to be successful.

5. Washington Wizards -PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. One thing the NBA has gravitated towards in recent years when it comes to the NBA draft is production. They will overlook some physical shortcomings if they think the guy can continue to produce at the NBA level. Sullinger doesn't look the part of an NBA big man, but like Zach Randolph, he just gets it done. Not sure how well Sullinger will fit with John Wall, but the Wizards probably want to get rid of Andray Blatche as soon as possible.

6. Charlotte Bobcats - PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. The Bobcats once again picked two low ceiling players in the draft. Best case scenario, Kemba Walker is a Raymond Felton type and Bismack Biyombo is a Tyson Chandler. Fits right in with their Sean May, DJ Augustin, Gerald Henderson, Adam Morrison picks. Charlotte just has to aim higher if they are ever going to be significant in the NBA. When I do get around to doing my NBA predictions, I am going to pick Charlotte with the worst record in the NBA and the top overall pick in my next mock. Taking Drummond could turn around their fortunes. But right now, I will go with Jones, who has some amazing potential but is a pretty long way from putting it together. The Bobcats just have to take the risk, though.

7. New Jersey Nets -PF Patric Young, So, Florida. Slotting Young this high takes a leap of faith that he will produce on the court after showing pretty much nothing last year. It takes more then a great NBA body to be a top ten pick in this deep draft. I think he is up to the task, though. He is not a good offensive player and will probably be compared to Ben Wallace like Biyombo was last year. He is a far better prospect then Biyombo though. He would fit well next to baby poo soft Brook Lopez.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers -SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. With Kyrie Irving dominating the ball in Cleveland, Lamb will be a nice back court mate, as he works better off the ball like a Reggie Miller or Richard Hamilton. He could eventually push 20 points per game, and the Cavaliers will gladly take that, as I am not sure where offense is going to come from right now.

9. Utah Jazz (from Golden St. Warriors) - PG Myck Kabongo, Fr, Texas. The Jazz have young players waiting in the wings at every position but point guard. I think Marquis Teague is a better prospect but his scoring first mentality doesn't seem to fit well with the Jazz. Kabongo is more of a pass first point and can be brought along slowly behind Devin Harris.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - SG Brad Beal, Fr, Florida. The Bucks finally get out from Michael Redd's horrendous contract, but they are (and have been) in the market for someone who can put the ball in the basket at better then a 36 % clip. Beal has a very advanced offensive game for an 18 year old, and I think by the end of the year he will be taken before Lamb and perhaps in the top five.

11. Houston Rockets - SF Michael Gilchrist, Fr, Kentucky. Gilchrist's game seems to fit with the Rockets perfectly. He has a motor that you don't often see in high school guys, and a very well rounded game. He will be able to slide into the Rockets deep rotation and provide value all across the board.

12. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) - SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. Of course this has to happen, right? Rivers will be able to play for his dad and provide some flash and instant offense off the bench. This would be the perfect role for him to start out his career as he adjusts to the NBA game.

13. New Orleans Hornets - SF/PF Terrence Jones, So, Kentucky. If you could give Jones talents to the mind and heart of Gilchrist, he would be a lock for the top five. A questionable work ethic is the last thing you want attached to you, but Jones has that stigma now. And in a draft this deep, it could cause him to fall. On an absolutely loaded Kentucky team, I don't see his stats improving that much, so it is up to him to put forth 100% every time he is out on the court. If he can show that, I think he's a top ten lock.

14. Portland Trail Blazers - PG Marquis Teague, Fr, Kentucky. Teague could be what the Blazers thought they were getting with Rudy Fernandez and Jerryd Bayless. Instant offense off the bench. He would be a nice compliment to mediocre starter Raymond Felton.

15. Indiana Pacers -PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. Here is another one of those skinny big men. But unlike guys like Wright and Anthony Randolph, Henson is already a very good defender. He could turn into a poor man's Marcus Camby one day.

16. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - SG Doron Lamb, So, Kentucky. I really don't know who they will pick here. They probably wish they could have a 20 man rotation.

17. Denver Nuggets -SF Quincy Miller, Fr, Baylor. Miller has great talent but someone has to fall in a draft this deep. I would be thrilled if my Nuggets could pick him up.

18. Utah Jazz - C Tyler Zeller, Sr, North Carolina. The Jazz just have to take a white guy. As good as this draft is, Zeller is the only legit 7 footer, so he will be taken somewhere in the first round.

19. Philadelphia 76ers - PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. Thomas Robinson could shoot up the boards as he will be the man for Kansas after the Morris twins went to the NBA. Right now, I don't think he has the amazing upside that some of these other guys have, but should be a solid pro in the NBA right away.

20. Phoenix Suns -SG/SF Khris Middleton, Jr, Texas A&M. Middleton is a good all around small forward that won't wow you. Will make a nice rotation player on a good team.

21. Atlanta Hawks - PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. Kendall Marshall is the anti Jeff Teague. A great passer and good floor leader who doesn't need to look for his shot at all.

22. Orlando Magic - PF Mason Plumlee, Jr, Duke. Sadly for the Magic, this draft pick will probably be used on a player to help try to replace Dwight Howard. Plumlee is a junior who is still more potential then production at this point.

23. San Antonio Spurs -C Festus Ezeli, Sr, Vanderbilt. Ezeli has slowly worked on his game and now looks like a potential first rounder as a senior. He is still a work in progress, but few teams are better at developing projects then the Spurs.

24. Memphis Grizzlies - SF Adonis Thomas, Fr, Memphis. His name is Adonis, so it is fitting he is blessed with amazing talent and an NBA body. He doesn't really have the game to play at the next level yet, but he will be a good project to work on and could win the slam dunk contest as a rookie.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder -SF LeBryan Nash, Fr, Oklahoma St. Am I simply matching college teams with their NBA counterparts at this point? Probably. Nash has been compared to Ron Artest because they are both apparently insane. Sounds fun to me.

26. Dallas Mavericks - PF Trevor Mbakwe, Sr, Minnesota. Mbakwe sticks out like a sore thumb in this first round, but every draft seems to have that undersized power forward who just muscles his way into the first round.

27. Boston Celtics - PF/C Josh Smith, So, UCLA. I think Smith will be the first pick of the second round. He has a lot of talent but is very generously listed at 310 pounds. A team will probably not want to commit a guaranteed deal to him. But I think it will be hilarious to have him and Big Baby on the same team. Yes, that is all the thought process I am putting into these late picks.

28. Los Angeles Lakers -SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. Drafting a backup to Kobe Bryant in the first round always seems to work out well for the Lakers. Ask Kareem Rush.

29. Chicago Bulls -SG William Buford, Sr, Ohio St. Shooting guard depth.

30. Miami Heat - SG John Jenkins, Jr, Vanderbilt. The Heat could really use some more shooters.

Jonathan Carrano

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