2012 NBA Mock Draft: All Star Break Edition

My last mock draft I included everybody. This time I left out freshman like James McAdoo, Cody Zeller, Myck Kabongo, Marquis Teague, Quincy Miller and others.

1. Charlotte Bobcats - PF Anthony Davis, Fr, Kentucky. Anthony Davis is the unquestioned number one pick right now. He has dominated college basketball with a unique skill set that we haven't really seen before. There is no team in the NBA that needs a guy like this more then the Bobcats. The best player the franchise has ever had is probably Gerald Wallace, so it is safe to say the few Charlotte fans are dying to root for an All Star. It is hard to believe that Davis would immediately have the same impact at the NBA level he is currently having for the top ranked Wildcats, but I wouldn't put it past him. With the Bobcats he would form a fearsome shot blocking front court with Bismack Biyombo and Tyrus Thomas. No one is going to dunk on those guys.

2. Washington Wizards - SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. The Wizards are a mess, but they do have a few pieces. John Wall is one of the best young point guards in the league. JaValle McGee is a talented, although boneheaded, shot blocking big man. Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely look to be key pieces of the future. But this team lacks so much talent, and more importantly, guys who really want to play. Harrison Barnes critics are saying that he is nothing more then a scorer. That is not entirely true. The Tar Heels are so deep that everyone plays a specific role. Barnes role is to score. He is a better all around player then his numbers show. I think he could eventually be a 20 point per game scorer at the next level. And unlike Nick Young, he won't allow twice as much as that on the other end.

3. New Orleans Hornets - C Andre Drummond, Fr, Connecticut. This is a good spot to gamble on the upside of Drummond. He has hardly looked like a top three pick this year but you just can't ignore the talent and size. He is definitely a project, but the Hornets still have Emeka Okafor clogging up minutes on the front court and obviously don't mind being terrible while the NBA owns the team, so he could be brought along slowly. This franchise needs to swing for the fences.

4. New Jersey Nets - SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Fr, Kentucky. This pick is between Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and I think either pick would be good for the Nets. The Nets have a huge hold at small forward so they go with MKG. Kidd-Gilchrist is the rare glue guy that is good enough that he warrants a top five selection. Usually you call someone a glue guy because they can't play but find 30 minutes per night somehow. MKG is not that. He has a great all around game. Can play defense, rebound, handle the ball and slash and score.

5. Toronto Raptors - PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. The Raptors would love for the Nets to go with Robinson instead of Kidd-Gilchrist, but they have to go with Robinson here, even if he doesn't fill the biggest need. If Robinson were two inches taller, he would be talked about as the very first pick in the draft, but I think he is in that second tier of four guys right after Anthony Davis. Robinson has to be one of the favorites for player of the year, and is filling up the stat sheet nightly and carrying a Jayhawks team with less talent then years past.

6. Detroit Pistons - PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. I definitely worry about Sullinger on the next level. For every Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph there are ten Robert Traylors and Marcus Fizers. Sullinger would be a great fit next to a big man like Greg Monroe, who can rebound and score but doesn't clog up the lane. Sullinger is a beast down low that will have to learn to get his shots off without out jumping the guy guarding him, kind of like what Randolph does these days. But with a big man to play beside him that will command defensive attention, he could thrive.

7. Sacramento Kings - SG Bradley Beal, Fr, Florida. The Kings have a million guys who can score but nobody who can really play defense, so I give them another undersized shooting guard?  I think Beal is the best player on the board and I don't really know who to give the Kings. This is a team that should trade this pick for an established small forward who can play some defense. Beal is a tough guard who can score in a variety of ways, but is hurt because he is only 6'4.

8. Milwaukee Bucks - C Meyers Leonard, So, Illinois. I am going to predict until the draft that Leonard will go in the top ten. He is a 7 footer with some pretty good skills, and was a highly recruited prospect. Every year we have a raw big man taken around this point. The Bucks might need to move on from Andrew Bogut soon. He is expensive and just cannot stay healthy. Even if he somehow does, Leonard would be a nice fit at power forward next to him.

9. Phoenix Suns - SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. The Suns are terrible and would be picking in the top five if it wasn't for the machine Steve Nash. They have a couple decent big men to build around in Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. But they lack any real wing players who can create their own offense. Jeremy Lamb is a very talented scorer who is gaining a bit of a negative reputation for his lackadaisical on the court demeanor. That seems to be a theme among Huskies the past decade or so. He draws comparisons to former Huskie Richard Hamilton, and would be a great fit next to Steve Nash, who will probably play until he is 50.

10. Cleveland Cavaliers - SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. I am not sure what to think about Austin Rivers. His game is wild, has way too many holes to start in the NBA right now, and he lacks a true position. But he is a hell of a scorer, leading the Blue Devils in that category, has a flair for the dramatic and comes up big when the spotlight is on him. I am not sure how a back court of Austin Rivers and Kyrie Irving would work, but man, would it be exciting. At the worst, Rivers would be a good combo guard off the bench, and have a Jason Terry type career.

11. Utah Jazz (from Golden St. Warriors) - PG Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber St. Lillard has picked a perfect time to become one of the best guards in the country. This draft is very weak on point guard prospects. The Jazz own two picks in the top 12, so they slightly reach for a point guard of the future. Is he a reach, though? He is probably more of a scorer then distributor, but he has only 2.2 turnovers per game even though the ball is in his hands constantly.

12. Utah Jazz - PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. The Jazz are very deep with young guys, so they can go with best player available here. Henson is one of the best shot blockers in the country but is probably too weak to do anything else at the pro level, at least yet. But with the Jazz they can bring him in to provide some energy with the second unit and block some shots.

13. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. Jones has all the talent in the world but still looks like he is a very long way away from putting that talent to good use on the floor. It is unclear what type of player he will become, and would need a few years of coaching. GM's just don't have the time or patience to take someone so raw in the top five anymore. But it is a good gamble for the Hornets. They will come out of this draft with Andre Drummond and Perry Jones. They could be the Hornets new Alonzo Mourning/Larry Johnson front line or out of the NBA in 7 years.

14. Denver Nuggets - C Tyler Zeller, Sr, North Carolina. Zeller doesn't have the upside of his brother (who I did not put in this mock) or many of the other guys taken at this point, but he is pretty certain to be productive on the next level, maybe even a good starting center. He can run the floor, and hit some jumpers, and would be a good fit with this young, deep Nuggets team.

15. Boston Celtics - SF Moe Harkless, Fr, St. John's. Looking for someone to be this years Paul George or Marshon Brooks? A relative unknown to the casual college basketball fan who just shoots up the board and becomes a mid first round draft pick? Look no further then Moe Harkless. He wasn't a top ten recruit coming out of college but has put together an extremely impressive freshman season for a pretty bad St. John's team. Even though he could use more time in college I think he is a lock for the first round, and wouldn't be surprised if he bolts a losing situation. The Celtics know they need to add young talent to their team, no matter what position.

16. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks)- PF Patric Young, So, Florida. The Rockets draft or trade for a young big man, then glue him to the end of the bench, forever stunting his development. Hasheem Thabeet, Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris. Add Patric Young to the list. He is raw on the offensive end but if Bismack Biyombo can be a top ten pick, I think Young is a first round lock whenever he comes out. The Rockets will keep taking young big men until one makes a difference.

17. Portland Trail Blazers - C Fab Melo, So, Syracuse. Based on production alone there is absolutely no way that Melo should be a first round pick. He showed absolutely nothing as a freshman. He has been better as a sophomore, but is still a major work in progress. But this is the NBA, where big men are taken in the first round. Some things never change. The Blazers really need depth up front so this is a good spot to take the guy and hope for the best.

18. Memphis Grizzlies - PF Arnett Moultrie, Jr, Mississippi St. This UTEP transfer is having a fantastic junior season for Mississippi St. He is a good offensive weapon who is a very good shooter for a big man and can surprise you by taking you off the dribble and slamming one down. He would make a great backup for a Grizzlies team that needs front court depth, even when Zach Randolph and Darrell Arthur return.

19. Atlanta Hawks - PG/SG Tony Wroten, Fr, Washington. The Hawks have really missed Jamal Crawford this last year. Wroten has some similar skills to Crawford, as he is a combo guard with handles, but probably can't be trusted to play that position full time due to all the turnovers.

20. New Jersey Nets (from Houston Rockets) - SF/PF Terrence Jones, So, Kentucky. There was a point in time where Terrence Jones was being talked about as a potential number one overall pick. But this past year and a half he has somewhat blended into the scenery, becoming just another guy. Is that who he will always be, or is it because he plays on loaded Wildcats team? He has too much talent to slip out of the first round, but we have seen guys with talent but desire questions who have fallen out of the first round all together (Josh Selby, DeAndre Jordan). I would not be surprised if that happened to Jones as well.

21. Philadelphia 76ers - SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. The Sixers are a pretty deep team and Doug Collins hates rookies, so whoever they draft here will most likely be relegated to mop up duty. Ross has good size for the position and can hit some jumpers, so he could take the Jodie Meeks role in a couple years.

22. Los Angeles Lakers - PF/C Jeff Withey, Jr, Kansas. This may be a reach, but you have to remember Daniel Orton was actually a first round pick. Like I said during my Fab Melo pick, size will be taken in the first round. Withey is like a poor man's Thomas Robinson in that he is playing much better now that the Morris Twins are in the NBA. He is still very much a work in progress, even as a former top recruit. With the Lakers having two first round picks, it is worth the gamble. Los Angeles fans have to be sick and tired of seeing Troy Murphy as their only back up big man.

23. Los Angeles Lakers (from Dallas Mavericks) - PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. First of all, yes it is true. Marshall is averaging more assists then points. But a pretty large difference. But like I said when discussing Harrison Barnes, the Tar Heels players all play specific roles. It is Marshall's job to get the ball to the scorers. He is doing just that, as he is second in the NCAA with 9.7 assists per game. He will definitely have to work on his scoring so it doesn't become 4 on 5 on the offensive end, but people said the same thing about Rajon Rondo. If the Lakers draft him he will instantly be their best point guard, by far. With the lack of point guards in this draft, he could be gone well before this.

24. Indiana Pacers - SG Alex Young, Sr, IUPUI. Alex Young is one of several mid major guys who are on the first round bubble. He is a slasher who can score, but lacks elite athleticism. It is hard to judge mid major guys since they usually do everything for their team, and the Indianapolis native is no different.

25. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) - PF Mason Plumlee, Jr, Duke. Plumlee has slowly improved his game during his time at Duke, but may never be the player people thought he would be. But I think due to his rebounding and shot blocking skills, he will make a fine backup in the NBA. Think Chris Andersen of the Nuggets. The Celtics have had to play guys like Chris Wilcox and the corpse of Jermaine O'Neal at center, so Plumlee will definitely help.

26. Orlando Magic - SG William Buford, Sr, Ohio St. With me not including freshman like James McAdoo, Myck Kabongo, Marquis Teague and more, it gives a chance for good college seniors to squeak into the first round. Buford is one of those guys.

27. San Antonio Spurs - SF Kris Joesph, Sr, Syracuse. And Kris Joseph is another one. On to the next one.

28. Chicago Bulls - PG Tyshawn Taylor, Sr, Kansas. As you can see I am just listing seniors at this point. These guys are probably second rounders, since more players will declare then I have in this mock.

29. Miami Heat - SF Draymond Green, Sr, Michigan St. Sometimes life is unfair. If Green was 6'9 instead of 6'6, he would be a much higher pick. As it stands now, the potential First Team All American will have to hope nobody declares to get picked in the first round.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder - SG Evan Fournier, France. You didn't think he would have a whole round with no foreign prospects, did you? The Thunder are starting to have to hand out extensions to their young studs, so they would probably like to save some money here.

Jonathan Carrano

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