2012 NBA Mock Draft: NBA Finals Edition

Only a week to go until the 2012 NBA Draft. I will probably have one more update, maybe two, next week. Already some changes I would make to this one. As usual, guys are flying all over the draft board. Enjoy and try not to bitch too much that I put Barnes over Kidd-Gilchrist. This is how I think teams will draft, not just how I would have them draft.

1. New Orleans Hornets - PF Anthony Davis, Fr, Kentucky. 6'10, 222 lbs. The Hornets have already basically announced that Davis will be the pick. His shot blocking and rebounding is already NBA quality. He can run the floor, catch alley oops and is working on developing his offense. He has the chance to be a very special player and one that can lead the Hornets during the post-Chris Paul era.

2. Charlotte Bobcats - PF Thomas Robinson, Jr, Kansas. 6'9, 244. Charlotte is so bad that they really can't go wrong with Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson or Bradley Beal. The Bobcats are rumored to be leaning towards Robinson. Robinson measured out at a very impressive 6'9, 250, silencing concerns that he would be too small to play power forward in the NBA. If you are a terrible team, it is never a bad idea to draft size. Robinson has a great all around game and would give the Bobcats some scoring punch down low. He would be part of a very intriguing big man trio with Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens.

3. Washington Wizards - SG Bradley Beal, Fr, Florida. 6'5, 202 lbs. Washington would have their choice of wing players here. Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes would all be options here. I still think Washington would lean towards Beal because of such a big back court and scoring need. Beal would be a great back court mate for John Wall, and allow Jordan Crawford to slide into a more natural sixth man scoring role. Beal is a good shooter and strong for his size, and his lack of height would not be as much of a hindrance playing next to the 6'4 Wall.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - SF Harrison Barnes, So, North Carolina. 6'8, 228 lbs. I do think the Cavaliers have genuine interest in Andre Drummond here, but I have a hard time putting him in this spot. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would also be very hard to pass up with this selection, and I will probably get blasted for not putting him here, perhaps well deservedly so. However, Cleveland has such a huge need for another guy who can score the basketball I think Barnes would be the pick regardless. Kyrie Irving is the only guy on the team that scares you when you are on defense. Barnes was exposed somewhat during the Tournament as someone who might need to play with a good point guard to be effective. He will be able to do just that with Cleveland. I think he is NBA ready right now and is a future 20 point per game scorer, though he may fall short of All Star status. Maybe a Danny Granger/Richard Jefferson type.

5. Sacramento Kings - SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Fr, Kentucky. 6'8, 233 lbs. The Kings would be ecstatic if the draft played out this way, as Kidd-Gilchrist would be a fantastic fit in Sacramento. He is a very good defender, and unlike virtually every other player on the Kings roster, does not need the ball in his hands to be effective. He can rebound and run the floor and swat a dunk attempt from behind. He would instantly become a fan favorite for a fan base that is tired of watching selfish basketball.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (from New Jersey Nets) - PG Damian Lillard, Jr, Weber St. 6'3, 189. Lillard looks like the clear cut best point guard in the draft. I think Lillard will separate himself from a weak group of point guards due to his strength and scoring ability. He will be more of a scorer then a distributor at the next level, but has the awareness to get the ball to his teammates. He protected the ball better then your average mid major scoring machine at point guard who has the ball in his hands the entire game. This is a very bad draft for point guards, and the Blazers have two picks in the lottery, so if they want to find their 1 of the future, taking Lillard here would be the way to go. He will not last past the Raptors at 8.

7. Golden St. Warriors - SF Moe Harkless, Fr, St. John's. 6'9, 207 lbs. Huge reach? Maybe. But this is the Warriors we are talking about. They have identified their biggest need as a small forward who can play defense and provide toughness. Harkless can do just that, and showed for a terrible St. John's team he might not be as raw as one thought. Golden St. has made worse picks in the top ten (Patrick O'Bryant, anyone?) Harkless has a game well suited for the NBA, and if he can develop he could become a good defender, rebounder and slasher. The Warriors have to be sick and tired of having nothing but soft jump shooters on their roster and might take the gamble, even this high.  This pick is just a hunch, as I have absolutely no idea of what the Warriors are going to do.

8. Toronto Raptors - SG Dion Waiters, So, Syracuse. 6'4, 221 lbs. Waiters is rumored to have a promise from the Phoenix Suns, but I do not think he will last until that selection. He does not provide the shooting the Raptors would like, but he is a very tough player that is shooting up boards due to a chiseled physique and advanced game. He has drawn comparisons to Dwyane Wade for the way that he plays bigger then his size.

9. Detroit Pistons - C Andre Drummond, Fr, Connecticut. 7'0, 279 lbs. Andre Drummond will not last past this selection. He is a risk, but the Pistons have such a need for big men that he is a risk the team just has to take. He is one of only a few true 7 footers in this draft, and hypothetically a perfect fit next to Greg Monroe.

10. New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - C Meyers Leonard, So, Illinois. 7'1, 250 lbs. I had Leonard in the lottery for much of the year, but moved him down during my last update. He returns to the lottery here. I think he has potential to be a pretty good player, even though he is thin and not ready to start in the NBA. Leonard stands at 7'1 and has the frame to pack on the weight without losing much explosiveness. The Hornets have the luxury of swinging for the fences after lucking out on Anthony Davis, and will probably go after a guy like Leonard or Perry Jones to form a potentially dominating front line.

11. Portland Trail Blazers - C Tyler Zeller, Sr, North Carolina. 7'0, 247 lbs. Unfortunately for the Blazers, their two biggest needs are the two most in demand positions every year in the NBA draft. They had to go point guard with their first pick, and almost miss out on a center after Drummond and Leonard are selected. Zeller does not have tremendous upside but should stick as a solid starting center for ten years. After the failed Greg Oden experiment, Portland would gladly take that.

12. Milwaukee Bucks - PF Perry Jones, So, Baylor. 6'11, 234 lbs. The Bucks would have liked to land Zeller or Leonard, but with both guys off the board, why not go with the potential of Perry Jones? He is trying to market himself as a guard in a power forward's body, which is a terrible decision, but you can't deny the unique talent the guy possesses. At this point in the draft, he is a worthy gamble, as the only way the Bucks can land elite talent is to draft it.

13. Phoenix Suns - SG Austin Rivers, Fr, Duke. 6'5, 203 lbs. The owner of the Suns only cares about selling tickets and making money. If he loses Steve Nash, he will have to try to replenish some of that star power. Rivers has a flashy, ESPN friendly game and should sell a few jerseys. That is good enough for Robert Sarver. As for Rivers, he measured taller then thought and could wind up being a solid starting shooting guard in the NBA. I think his "uncoachability" issues are overblown, he was just brought up as a scoring machine and it is hard to shake that game, especially in only one year of college.

14. Houston Rockets - PF Terrence Jones, So, Kentucky. 6'10, 252 lbs. The Rockets tend to draft safe, productive college players. They have a few .500 seasons to show for it but might have to aim their sights a little higher if they want to make noise in the playoffs. Jones has much more potential then guys like Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris. He has great size for the power forward position and the offensive skills to cause mismatches.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - PF Arnett Moultrie, Jr, Mississippi St. 6'11, 223 lbs. The Sixers need size and shooting more then anything. They get to check off both boxes with Moultrie, who is 6'10 with three point range. He is also a better rebounder then given credit for. Unfortunately for him, Doug Collins hates rookies so he will be glued to the bench.

16. Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks) - SG Jeremy Lamb, So, Connecticut. 6'5, 179 lbs. Lamb is an absolute steal this late and should allow the Rockets to move on from the vastly overpaid Kevin Martin in a year or two. He has prototypical two guard size and is a pretty good defender for his position.

17. Dallas Mavericks - PF John Henson, Jr, North Carolina. 6'10, 216 lbs. Dallas really missed Tyson Chandler's game changing shot blocking ability last year. Henson will only be a part time player until he packs on some major weight, but has the same kind of shot blocking skills Chandler does. He would be great for 20 or so minutes off the bench per night.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Utah Jazz) - SG Terrence Ross, So, Washington. 6'7, 197 lbs. I have liked Ross to the Timberwolves for quite a while now. The fit makes perfect sense. Minnesota really needs a shooting guard with size who can stretch the defense with a three point shot. Ross is a strong 6'6, 200 and can hit the long ball. He would be quite an upgrade over Wesley Johnson at the two guard spot.

19. Orlando Magic - PG Kendall Marshall, So, North Carolina. 6'4, 198 lbs. Other then Dwight Howard (for now) and Ryan Anderson (maybe for now), Orlando's whole lineup is old and could use some young guys to push them, so Denver should go with best player regardless of position. Marshall's lack of offense pushes him down the board, but he is a very smart and solid floor general with good size. The Tar Heels were lost without him.

20. Denver Nuggets - SF/PF Royce White, So, Iowa St. 6'8, 261 lbs. White had great workouts, and more importantly great interviews, calming concerns over his anxiety issues. He has a versatile, unique game that should work well with the rest of the Nuggets players.

21. Boston Celtics - PF Jared Sullinger, So, Ohio St. 6'9, 268 lbs. Sullinger is proof to why guys should strike while the iron is hot. He would have been a top five pick last year, but now weight issues, a terrible combine and now rumblings of a degenerative knee condition, as well as a ton of good players has killed his draft stock. As it stands now he could fall out of the first round all together. I don't think he will fall that far, because playoff teams will gladly take him to add to their bench. Boston has two picks here and they will not let a guy who has offensive game down low get past them. They have no big men to speak of.

22. Boston Celtics (from Los Angeles Clippers) - PF Andrew Nicholson, Sr, St. Bonaventure. 6'10, 234 lbs. Celtics should go best player available, unless a talented big man is available. Boston gets a guy who compliments Sullinger well with Nicholson, who has drawn some comparisons to Kenneth Faried.

23. Atlanta Hawks - PG Marquis Teague, Fr, Kentucky. 6'2, 180 lbs. No, I am not trying to be cute here by mocking Jeff Teague's brother to the Hawks. Atlanta has no bench to speak of and needs to take the best player available. Teague will take a few years to develop but I think he will wind up being better then his brother.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Lakers) - C Fab Melo, So, Syracuse. 7'0, 255 lbs. The Cavaliers have four of the first 34 picks in this draft so they can afford to take a chance or two. Melo is the ultimate boom or bust player in the first round. He could wind up being a DeAndre Jordan like defensive presence or out of the league without ever playing a game.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - SG Evan Fournier, France. 6'7, 206 lbs. Fournier is the best of a weak group of international prospects and a lock to go in the first round. The Grizzlies could choose to keep him overseas for a year or two and save money to sign their restricted free agents. If he comes over right away, he will give the Grizzlies size and slashing ability off the bench.

26. Indiana Pacers - C Festus Ezeli, Sr, Vanderbilt. 7'0, 264 lbs. Following the retirement of long time backup big man Jeff Foster, the Pacers are woefully thin on the front court. Ezeli might not ever be a starting center in this league, but he can block shots and rebound, and is one of only a few 7 footers in this draft. He is a late first round lock in my opinion.

27. Miami Heat - SF Draymond Green, Sr, Michigan St. 6'8, 236 lbs. The Heat need to continue to use their late first round picks to build depth, as their key role players are all getting older. Green is ready to step in right away and provide a solid 20 minutes per night for a playoff team.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder - SG Will Barton, So, Memphis. 6'6, 174 lbs. Even though the Thunder are deep, they like to use their first round picks on guys who will be on the roster right away. Oklahoma City needs scoring help off the bench, especially if they are forced to trade James Harden due to salary cap concerns. Barton is way too thin to be anything more then a bit player, but he offers intriguing offensive potential.

29. Chicago Bulls - SG John Jenkins, Jr, Vanderbilt. 6'4, 212 lbs. The Bulls are always looking for guys who can shoot, and Jenkins may be the best shooter int his draft. He can't do much else, but shooters always find a role in the NBA.

30. Golden St. Warriors (from San Antonio Spurs) - SF Jeffrey Taylor, Sr, Vanderbilt. 6'7, 212 lbs. The Warriors went for potential with their first pick. Here they draft a guy with lower upside but who is ready to contribute immediately. Taylor is a good wing defender.

Round 2

31. Charlotte Bobcats - SG Orlando Johnson, Sr, UC Santa Barbara
32. Washington Wizards - PG Scott Machado, Sr, Iona
33. Cleveland Cavaliers - SF Quincy Miller, Fr, Baylor
34. Cleveland Cavaliers (from New Orleans Hornets) - PG Tyshawn Taylor, Sr, Kansas
35. Golden St. Warriors (from Brooklyn Nets) - PF/C Kyle O'Quinn, Sr, Norfolk St.
36. Sacramento Kings - PF Kevin Jones, Sr, West Virginia
37. Toronto Raptors - SG Doron Lamb, So, Kentucky
38. Denver Nuggets (from Golden St. Warriors) - PG/SG Tony Wroten Jr, Fr, Washington
39. Detroit Pistons - C Henry Sims, Sr, Georgetown
40. Portland Trail Blazers (from Minnesota Timberwolves) - SG Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic
41. Portland Trail Blazers - SG Jared Cunningham, Jr, Oregon St.
42. Milwaukee Bucks - SF Kostas Papanikolaou, Greece
43. Atlanta Hawks (from Phoenix Suns) - SF Darius Miller, Sr, Kentucky
44. Detroit Pistons (from Houston Rockets) - PF Furkan Aldemir, Turkey
45. Philadelphia 76ers - PF Mason Plumlee, Sr, Duke
46. Washington Wizards (from Dallas Mavericks) - SF Hollis Thompson, Jr, Georgetown
47. Utah Jazz - SF/PF Quincy Acy, Sr, Baylor
48. New York Knicks - PG Tu Holloway, Sr, Xavier
49. Orlando Magic - SF Khris Middleton, Jr, Texas A&M
50. Denver Nuggets - SF Tornike Shengelia, Georgia (Country)
51. Boston Celtics - SF Kris Joseph, Sr, Syracuse
52. Golden St. Warriors (from Atlanta Hawks) - C Robert Sacre, Sr, Gonzaga
53. Los Angeles Clippers - PF Drew Gordon, Sr, New Mexico
54. Philadelphia 76ers (from Memphis Grizzlies) - SG/SF Alex Young, IUPUI
55. Dallas Mavericks (from Los Angeles Lakers) - SG/SF Kevin Murphy, Sr, Tennessee Tech
56. Toronto Raptors (from Indiana Pacers) - SG Tony Mitchell, Sr, Alabama
57. Brooklyn Nets (from Miami Heat) - SG William Buford, Sr, Ohio St.
58. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City Thunder) - SG Darius Johnson-Odom, Sr, Marquette
59. San Antonio Spurs - PG Nemanja Nedovic, Serbia
60. Los Angeles Lakers (from Chicago Bulls) - PF Mike Scott, Sr, Virginia

All logos courtesy of http://www.sportslogos.net/

Jonathan Carrano

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