2012 NBA Mock Draft: New Orleans Wins the Lottery Edition

New mock draft with the official draft order.

Don't forget to check my NBA Off Season Previews. 12 teams complete so far!

1. New Orleans Hornets - PF Anthony Davis, Fr, Kentucky. Unibrowgate conspiracy theories aside, the Hornets are the huge winners of the lottery, and very good young head coach Monty Williams has already announced the team will take Davis. Davis unique slashing, alley oop offense and dominating defensive game will quickly endear him to New Orleans fans and he is already the new face of the franchise. If the Hornets can resign Eric Gordon they could return to playoff contention in a hurry.

2. Charlotte Bobcats - SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Fr, Kentucky. Rich Cho looked like someone kidnapped his children after losing out on the top pick, but Charlotte should be able to add a key piece here at 2. They will receive plenty of trade offers for this pick, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seems to be the player most coveted now that Anthony Davis is no longer an option. If Charlotte keeps him, he will slide right into the small forward spot and instantly become the teams best player. He has a bit of Gerald Wallace to his game which Bobcats fans are used to. Out of the next tier of guys, I think he is the safest pick, and the Bobcats simply cannot afford to strike out here. Everyone is an option though.

3. Washington Wizards - SG Bradley Beal, Fr, Florida. The Wizards would love to land either Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal here. Beal is a great all around scorer and a good defender, and his lack of size won't be as much of an issue playing next to a 6'4 point guard. He is a perfect fit next to John Wall and will allow Jordan Crawford to slide into a more natural role as scoring guard off the bench.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. I know I just wrote up a feature saying that Kidd-Gilchrist, Beal, Robinson and Drummond were in the second tier and who would be the best and worst fits for every team, but with the way this mock draft has unfolded, I have to put Barnes here. His stock is down after a bad tournament performance, but he has shown that he can be a very good scorer when he has a point guard to get him the ball. In Cleveland he will have one of the best young distributors in the NBA playing with him in Kyrie Irving. I think Barnes can be a future 20 point per game scorer in the NBA, even though he might not bring anything else to the table. Cleveland needs to add more scoring talent, as Irving is the only guy on the team that can score consistently.

5. Sacramento Kings - PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. This is a great fit for both Robinson and the Kings. Robinson is a bit undersized and might have struggled offensively against double teams. But with future All Star center DeMarcus Cousins holding down the post next to him and shooters all over the court, he could flourish in this offense. He also gives the Kings another rebounder. While he will not block a lot of shots, he should be a good defender at the NBA level, and can even play small forward for very small stretches.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (from New Jersey Nets) - C Andre Drummond, Fr, Connecticut. Portland has to be scared to death of taking Drummond, but there really is no other option here. The talent level drops off quite a bit after this selection, and Portland has another pick coming up very shortly anyway. They almost have to take the risk here. If he does not pan out, Portland's future is not destroyed, and if he does turn out to be the next Dwight Howard, the Blazers have finally solved their center problems.

7. Golden St. Warriors - SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. I seem to be a bigger Jeremy Lamb fan then most, and think he would be a very good fit with Golden St. He is a pretty good shooter and has the skills to be a plus defender in this league. In Golden St., defense is an afterthought so a guy who can guard wing players would be a welcome addition. He should be able to beat out Dorrell Wright and allow Klay Thompson to move over to small forward.

8. Toronto Raptors - SG Dion Waiters, So, Syracuse. The Raptors are in a tough spot. They would like to add a future 20 point per game scorer who can stroke from long range, but Lamb and Beal are gone and this is too high for guys like Terrence Ross and Austin Rivers. If Waiters was two inches higher this would not seem like a reach at all, and he may end up going around this spot once the draft rolls around. He has the chance to be a special scorer who can slash and get to the line 10 times per game. On defense, he has very good hands and footwork and could be amongst the league leaders in steals. You have to wonder why he never started in college, but I think once the workouts start he will shoot up the board and land well in the lottery.

9. Detroit Pistons - PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. Much has been said of Sullinger's lack of athleticism and weight issues. But he was a very productive college player and hard worker, and should be a starter at power forward in the NBA right away. He would be a good fit with the Pistons next to a finesse center like Greg Monroe who will draw attention away from the lane. Sullinger has a knack for getting shots off and rebounds without explosive leaping ability, like Zach Randolph.

10. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - PG Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber St. Jarrett Jack and Greivis Vazquez both played very well for the Hornets last year, but if they want to return to the playoffs, the team should aim higher at the point guard position. Lillard is more of a scorer then a distributor right now, which is expected for a guy who played for a mid major. He had the ball in his hands pretty much all the time, and like most small school point guards, was the first option to score. But his turnover ratio was very good, showing that he can be a teams primary ball handler on the NBA level. He will never be Steve Nash, but has the ability to get his teammates involved. Even with Anthony Davis, the Hornets will need help with scoring, and the Hornets backcourt duo of Lillard and Gordon could average 40 ppg in a few years.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. The Blazers went with potential with their first pick, so they go with the more sure thing here. You know what you are getting with Marshall. The ball will be taken care of and he will do a good job of getting the rock to LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum. You have to worry that teams will sag off him and dare him to shoot, but that is something you can learn at the NBA level. Scouts said the same thing about Rajon Rondo and he dropped 44 points last night. Marshall will be a lottery pick because there are only a couple good point guard prospects in this draft and so many teams with needs at the position.

12. Milwaukee Bucks - PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. This is not the type of pick the Bucks would typically make, but the team has taken more chances in recent memory. They went out on a limb by drafting Brandon Jennings, and made the trade for Monta Ellis. If they don't want to pick in the 10-12 range every year, they should swing for the fences by taking Perry Jones here. Jones has immense physical talent but still does not know how to play the game. The Bucks have a deep, veteran front line so he can be worked in slowly while the coaching staff teaches him the game.

13. Phoenix Suns - SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. The Suns are set at one position on the court, and that is center with Marcin Gortat. Other then that, they can just go after best player available. That would be Terrence Jones, but the team does not have anything in the back court right now. I think Ross will make a solid starter in the league. He can hit the jump shot and has nice size for the shooting guard position. Whether Steve Nash resigns or not, someone on this team has to score the basketball.

14. Houston Rockets - C Tyler Zeller, Sr, North Carolina. No team in the NBA has been searching for a center like the Rockets. They will take Zeller no matter who is available. And if he is not still on the board they will go with Meyers Leonard. Zeller might not have the strength to play 30 minutes per game right away, but the Rockets are a deep team, so he should be very productive in the 20 minutes or so he will get a night.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - PF Arnett Moultrie, Jr, Mississippi St. The Sixers will probably want to use the amnesty clause on Elton Brand. That would open up front court minutes. Moultrie is not the banger the team needs, but is a very good stretch four who could be a matchup problem on offense. Doug Collins hates rookies so don't expect anything out of him his first year.

16. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - PG/SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. Rivers is too talented to pass up here. He may not have a position on offense, but with the Rockets deep group of guys, he would provide instant offense off the bench.

17. Dallas Mavericks - SF/PF Terrence Jones, So, Kentucky. This draft may not have the superstar potential we thought this time last year, but it is the deepest draft in a long time. Jones has top ten talent but falls because guys picked ahead of him also have top ten talent. The Mavericks need to restock the tool shed after half of their team will be gone due to free agency. Jones could be what the team hoped Lamar Odom would have been last year.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah Jazz) - C Meyers Leonard, So, Illinois. The Wolves would love for Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross or Austin Rivers to fall to this spot, but with all of them gone, they go with the project big man. Nikola Pekovic is entrenched as the starting center, but Darko Milicic is useless, so Leonard can be groomed to be the long term backup center for the Wolves.

19. Orlando Magic - PG/SG Tony Wroten, Fr, Washington. The Magic are in trouble and probably have several lottery picks in their future. They can kickstart the rebuilding process by not wasting a number one draft pick for once. Wroten is a long way from learning how to play the NBA game, but I would not be shocked at all if he ended up being the third or fourth best player to come out of this draft. He has superstar potential.

20. Denver Nuggets - PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. Even as a junior, Henson is a big time project. He does not have the strength to play 30 minutes in the NBA, but if he is drafted by a team like the Nuggets, he can be useful in short bursts. Denver will have quite the shot blocking, rebounding, quick front court with Henson, Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee.

21. Boston Celtics - SF Quincy Miller, Fr, Baylor. The Celtics only have a handful of players under contract for next year, so they should just go best player available with their two picks. Quincy Miller probably would have been a top ten pick had he stayed one more year, and is tremendous value here.

22. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) - C Fab Melo, So, Syracuse. Melo is a very long way away from being a productive NBA center, but with two first round picks and no size on the roster, the Celtics could take a gamble here.

23. Atlanta Hawks - PG Marquis Teague, Fr, Kentucky. I am not just trying to be cute here by pairing Teague with his brother Jeff. The Hawks need a backup point guard and someone to push Jeff, who looks like a mediocre starting option thus far in his career. I could see Teague shooting up the boards once the workouts start, similar to Brandon Knight last year.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers) - SF Moe Harkless, Fr, St. John's. Harkless is probably not ready to be an instant contributor, but the Cavs are still clearly rebuilding and can wait on him. He possesses nice defensive potential and would be a good contrast to first pick Harrison Barnes.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - SG John Jenkins, Jr, Vanderbilt. The Grizzlies will probably try to move OJ Mayo for front court help, opening up a spot on the bench for a shooter. Jenkins can't do much else, but he can stroke it and should be good for 20 minutes of offense off of the bench.

26. Indiana Pacers - C Festus Ezeli, Sr, Vanderbilt. Long time backup center Jeff Foster retired, leaving the Pacers without a backup center. Ezeli regressed as a senior and may be another David Harrison, but he could provide a few solid minutes at center.

27. Miami Heat - PF Andrew Nicholson, Sr, St. Bonaventure. The Heat need bodies at center and power forward. Nicholson isn't the banger the team would like, but he has a unique all around game and could be a good backup big man for Chris Bosh.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder -SG Evan Fournier, France. Fournier is the one foreign guy who could go in round one. The Thunder don't have room or money for rookies right now so they take the guy they can stash.

29. Chicago Bulls - SG Doron Lamb, So, Kentucky. The Bulls always seem to be on the hunt for shooting. Lamb is undersized and a backup only, but he can stroke and can't be any worse of a player then Kyle Korver.

30. Golden St. Warriors (from San Antonio Spurs) -SF Jeff Taylor, Sr, Vanderbilt. Taylor is a veteran rookie who should be able to step in right away and provide solid production for a Warriors team that always seems to rely on D-Leaguers by the end of the season.

Jonathan Carrano

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't mean to knock your mock but no Royce White in round #1? Smdh.