2012 NBA Draft: Live Draft Analysis

If you stumble upon this page tonight, make sure to bookmark and hit "refresh" regularly. I will be posting my thoughts on each pick minutes after the selections are made. I won't give grades, because I think instant grades are stupid, but I will give my thoughts on each pick and update and talk about trades that come through. Enjoy the draft!

First Round

1. New Orleans Hornets - PF Anthony Davis, Fr, Kentucky. The Hornets cleared some excess weight from their roster, opening up more then enough minutes for Davis to be the centerpiece of this team. He will not set the world on fire offensively right away, but his defense and rebounding is already NBA ready. He is one of the most unique talents to come along in quite some while, and will be the new face of a franchise who will not be named the "Hornets" for much longer.

2. Charlotte Bobcats - SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Fr, Kentucky. This could be the precursor to a trade, as Michael Jordan was thought to not be enamored with MKG. However, the Bobcats did move Corey Maggette and have absolutely nothing at the small forward position. He is a great defender, and the Bobcats are trying to become a better defensive team with him and Bismack Biyombo. MKG is not a great offensive player, but I do think he was the second best player in this draft. The Bobcats need help everywhere and with everything, so best player available was the way to go, if they choose to hold on to him.

3. Washington Wizards - SG Bradley Beal, Fr, Florida. After the trade that landed Washington Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, Beal was the only player that made perfect sense for the Wizards. They did not panic, held their ground and get their guy. Beal is a good scorer and is a very good all around guard, who should be a great fit next to John Wall. The Wizards have a tough, fast, athletic back court. Both guys can handle the ball and shoot. Washington could be a playoff team next year.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - SG Dion Waiters, So, Syracuse. For the second straight year the Cavaliers take a guy who shot up into the top five the day of the draft. Tristan Thompson looked okay, and Cleveland hopes Waiters will be better. He is short, but playing along side a 6'4 point guard, that won't be as much of a problem. Cleveland now has a very explosive offensive back court. Both guys can be interchangeable and will be tough to guard. Waiters can handle the ball and get to the rack, putting up shots against bigger players. This pick could be considered a reach if Waiters does not reach his potential and is a backup in the NBA.

5. Sacramento Kings - PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. This is why teams usually don't trade picks ahead of time. Just in case something like this happens. Robinson is an absolutely perfect fit for the Kings. Jason Thompson is a good player, but Robinson offers so much more and fits perfectly with DeMarcus Cousins. He is a tough bull down low with a developing offensive game, and is a very good rebounder, especially defensively. Cousins can now focus on offense knowing Robinson is going to hold the paint down next to him. With so many scorers on the Kings, Robinson can concentrate on rebounding and shot blocking. Great pick for the Kings.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (from New Jersey Nets) - PG Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber St. I have had Lillard mocked here for a couple of months. It just made too much sense. The Blazers are in need of back court stability and a guy who can get his own points. Lillard is more of a scorer then a distributor at this stage of his development, but unlike most small school scoring machine guards, he is more then just an athlete playing point guard. He will never lead the league in assists but could have some 18 and 6 seasons in his future. Good pick considering how weak the point guard class is this year.

7. Golden St. Warriors - SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. The Warriors needed to add a swing man who can do more then just shoot wide open three pointers. Barnes is a very gifted offensive player who hasn't developed his offensive game as well as hoped. He needs to play alongside a good point guard to be effective, and we still don't know what type of point guard Stephen Curry is. Still, he is a monster upgrade over Dorell Wright and is a good kid with a great head on his shoulders. I think he is one of those guys, like Rudy Gay, who will be a better player in NBA then college. I see a few 20 ppg seasons in his future, even though he might not offer much else. He should immediately step in and become the teams starting small forward.

8. Toronto Raptors - SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. I had Ross mocked to the Raptors here, even though most people thought he would go lower. I think he has a very good chance to be the best shooting guard in this draft. He does what a "shooting guard" is supposed to do, and that's shoot. It is no secret that Toronto needs to add guys who can score from the perimeter. Ross has a nice all around offensive game and stands at almost 6'7, giving Toronto size at that position as well. Good pick for the Raptors, and addresses their biggest need.

9. Detroit Pistons - C Andre Drummond, Fr, Connecticut. This is a hell of a pick for the simple fact that Joe Dumars does not have to face the future embarrassment of picking a 210 pound 20 minute per night power forward in the top ten. Drummond's shortcomings have been well documented by this point, but with the 9th pick this pick is close to a no-brainer. The Pistons have the hard working Greg Monroe to teach him the ropes. He is not much of a scorer yet, but his defense is already there. Unlike stiffs like Hasheem Thabeet, Drummond has the potential to be a good scorer. There is a great chance he will never pan out, but with the 9th pick, it was well worth the gamble for Detroit.

10. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - PG/SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. There is a ton of debate as to what kind of pro Rivers will be, but one thing is clear, he is a scorer, and the Hornets need guys who can put the ball in the basket. He will start out as a backup behind Eric Gordon and Jarrett Jack and gives the Hornets four offensively talented guards with size. I think his "ego and attitude" problems are overblown. What I worry about is what type of position he will play at the pros. He loves to have the ball in his hands but is not a great passer. Rivers gets his wish of playing with the Hornets, and New Orleans should be pretty exciting to watch next season.

11. Portland Trail Blazers -C Meyers Leonard, So, Illinois. I refused to move Leonard out of my lottery all year and I don't look like an idiot for once. He is still somewhat skinny and very much a project, but I expected this type of draft from Portland, with Lillard first and either Leonard or Tyler Zeller second. He had great workouts and showed that he is more then your average white 7 foot stiff. The Blazers will not get a lot out of him as a rookie but he has a chance to develop into a solid starter. Portland's draft won't knock anyone's socks off, but they hope they found long term starters at the two most difficult positions to fill.

12. Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee Bucks) - SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. Who knows if the Rockets are going to keep any of the players they draft, so I will just give analysis on how the player fits with the Rockets, then update if a player is traded. Houston would like to move on from Kevin Martin sooner then later. I think Lamb will be a better pro then college player. He is a good shooter with size, and can play good defense on the perimeter. He represents an upgrade over Courtney Lee as a backup shooting guard and has the potential to be a solid starter if he puts in the effort and shows the determination.

13. Phoenix Suns - PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. Marshall is a good player, but he is not a scorer, and who on the team does he have to pass to that can score? If the Suns lose Steve Nash they might be picking first overall in 2013. But on to Marshall, he is the best distributor in the draft but draws comparisons to Rajon Rondo for the wrong reasons, he is not much of a scorer at all. The Suns will need to surround him with scorers before we get to see how good of a player he can be. I think the Suns wanted to add a shooting guard, but with Ross, Lamb and Rivers all off the board, they took the best back court player available.

14. Milwaukee Bucks (from Houston Rockets) - PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. This is one of the only teams I wouldn't laugh at taking Henson. I like Henson's potential as a shut down shot blocker and rebounder, though at about 20 minutes per game. I actually think his ceiling is Samuel Dalembert, and interestingly enough he gets to play behind the newest Buck Dalembert. The Bucks are deep on the front court with a ton of shot blocking beasts, as they now have Henson to go along with Dalembert, Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders. The Bucks remain a very deep team.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - SF Maurice Harkless, Fr, St. John's. I liked Harkless at the tail end of the lottery, but he is more of the same for a Sixers team that has non shooting wing players Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. Philadelphia should be able to run the opposition off the court, as Harkless is a super athletic wing who can play defense and throw down the rock. Not sure if this is the best fit for Harkless, but this clears the way for Iguodala to get dealt, even though Doug Collins likes to glue his rookies to the bench.

16. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - SF/PF Royce White, Jr, Iowa St. White is a very unique talent who has drawn comparisons to everyone from Charles Barkley, Anthony Mason and LeBron James. He is a big man who has a good feel for the game and can actually be a team's ball handler for small stretches. He interviewed very well, calming concerns about anxiety issues and off the court troubles. The Rockets have a similar player who was stuck to the bench all season in Marcus Morris. White could be a prime candidate to be traded.

17. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Dallas Mavericks) - C Tyler Zeller, Sr, North Carolina. Other teams opt to go upside, and the Mavericks get a guy who could probably step in right away and provide an upgrade over the soon to be amnestied Brendan Haywood. His upside is not that high, but he can score, rebound and run the floor and would allow Dirk Nowitzki to remain at power forward full time. If you can get your future starting center with the 17th overall pick, you did very well for yourself.

Update: C Tyler Zeller traded from Dallas Mavericks to Cleveland Cavaliers for picks 24, 33 and 34. Zeller is a good fit with Kyrie Irving and company. With Tristan Thompson, Irving, Waiters and now Zeller, the Cavs will be able to get up and down the court and score a lot of points. Zeller is a nice contrast to incumbent Anderson Verajao, but I think Cleveland vastly overpaid. Why not move those picks to get Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal instead? Great move by the Mavericks, though. They get to replenish their bench with two very high second round draft picks who won't cost first round money.

18. Houston Rockets (from Utah Jazz) - PF Terrence Jones, So, Kentucky. The Rockets now have about 754 power forwards on the roster. I don't see how they go into the season with Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Terrence Jones, Royce White, Marcus Morris and Donatas Motiejunas. At one point Jones was under consideration for the top overall pick in 2011, but he settled into a reserve role with the very talented freshman for Kentucky this year. He diseappeared for stretches with the Wildcats, but showed during the tournament that he can do the dirty work, banging down low and gathering up rebounds. He has starting power forward potential.

19. Orlando Magic - PF Andrew Nicholson, Sr, St. Bonaventure. Ignore the whole Dwight Howard mess, the Magic really needed to add talent to their front line. Nicholson offers a unique skill set, as he can shoot, rebound and block shots. He is a bit undersized to be an every day starting power forward, but if the Magic can resign Ryan Anderson, the two big men will contrast each other very well. Orlando really needed to find young guys to add to their old rotation.

20. Denver Nuggets - SG Evan Fournier, France. The Nuggets are a deep team so they can afford to gamble on the upside of the lone foreign first round prospect. He is a good guard with size who can shoot and handle the ball. The Nuggets might not see him until 2013-2014 though.

21. Boston Celtics - PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. Sullinger was thought to fall in the draft but no one expected him to fall past Boston. It has been reported that he has back problems, and his combine was terrible, but he is a gamer that plays much better then his talent and body suggests. He is similar to old Celtics forward Al Jefferson, in that he somehow gets his points and rebounds with a 2 inch vertical leap. He should develop into a solid starter or very good backup. That is all you can ask for with the 21st pick.

22. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) - C Fab Melo, So, Syracuse. This draft has gone eeriely similar to most mock drafts. I expected the Celtics to go after size with both of their picks and here they are. Melo was a much much better player his second season in Syracuse. He is still very much a project and has no offense to speak of, but he can block shots and rebound right now. He has tremendous size, and if the Celtics can develop him properly, he could be just what the Celtics have been looking for. He is even a bigger question mark then Andre Drummond. He could very easily be out of the league in three years.

23. Atlanta Hawks - SG John Jenkins, Jr, Vanderbilt. The Hawks just needed to find anyone who can come in and provide some production off the bench. Jenkins can only do one thing, but he does it better then anyone else in the draft. He can shoot. Expect him to come in for 15-20 minutes per night and park himself behind the three point line and knock down shots. The Hawks had no one on the bench who could come in and hit jump shots. Now they do.

24. Dallas Mavericks (from Cleveland Cavaliers via Los Angeles Lakers) - SG Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon St. Cunningham is a nice combo guard who can attack the basket and play good defense. He was considered a very early second round pick so this is not that much of a reach. He is a tweener though, and Dallas already has a couple of those guys in Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - PG/SG Tony Wroten Jr, Fr, Washington. This could finally allow the Grizzlies to part ways with OJ Mayo. Wroten is completely wild with the ball in his hands and is not a great shooter, but he is one of the most talented players in the draft and probably would have been a lottery lock if he came back to college for his sophomore season. The Grizzlies are very well coached and if they can develop Wroten better then they did with Mayo, they could have a steal. Memphis does not have a lot of fire power off the bench.

26. Indiana Pacers - PF Miles Plumlee, Sr, Duke. Playoff teams would much rather draft guys who they can fit into a rotation then projects with a ton of talent. Like his brother, Plumlee is a freak who can jump out of the gym. He has drawn comparisons to long time Pacers backup center Jeff Foster and could carve out a similar career. His upside is probably a rebounder and shot blocker off the bench.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami Heat) - PF Arnett Moultrie, Jr, Mississippi St. The Heat are committed to spreading the floor and allowing LeBron James to facilitate everything. Moultrie is a shooter with size who will help keep the lane uncongested for James and Chris Bosh. Moultrie is a better rebounder then given credit for, so he is not your average "stretch four". He brings a similar skill set as Chris Bosh, so he will be a fine backup.

Update: Heat trade F Arnett Moultrie to the Philadelphia 76ers for a future 1st round pick. Moultrie was a popular mock pick to the 76ers with the 15th overall pick, so trading for him here was a good move for Philadelphia. He gives the Sixers some much needed size and might now be the best shooter on the roster. Good move for the Heat too, who need to save every penny they can.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder - PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. Jones is quite an enigma, but I am still shocked he fell this far. The Thunder have no space, money or need for a young player so I have a feeling they are drafting him for someone else. But they do keep their rookies every year. Jones will be glued to the bench for the Thunder but has some great coaching and could wind up being an absolute steal here. The Thunder have drafted about as well as anyone could, and they could wind up having a future starter fall into their lap.

29. Chicago Bulls - PG Marquis Teague, Fr, Kentucky. This is a good pick for the Bulls and great value here. Like his brother Jeff, he was in too much of a hurry to go to the NBA and will have to work his way into the rotation. Teague is a very talented player who still needs to learn how to play point guard at the NBA level. He is a good scorer and could be a good long term backup for Derrick Rose. He represents an upgrade over John Lucas and CJ Watson.

30. Golden State Warriors (from San Antonio Spurs) - C Festus Ezeli, Sr, Vanderbilt. A good final pick for the first round. Ezeli has good size and projects to be a fine long term backup center. Starter Andrew Bogut is made of glass, so Ezeli should see some minutes for the Warriors. He is mostly a rebounder and shot blocker. Any offense he provides will be a bonus.

Jonathan Carrano

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