The NBA Draft Lottery is only a few weeks away, and we know folks can’t get enough Mock Drafts. Here is a first attempt to try to figure out what NBA teams are going to do in 2012. There will likely be more, not just from me, but from others on the site. Keep in mind that we have no idea what type of trades are going to go down and that could change the outcome of the draft order. Either way, here’s try 1.
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis – 6’10 F/C – Kentucky
This one seems to be the only forgone conclusion in this draft. The question is what kind of player Anthony Davis will be in the NBA. If he turns out to be a Marcus Camby type, it would be a pretty good pick. If he’s better than New Orleans really lucked out. Any talk of David Stern conspiracy is lunacy. Davis could be a great, but it’s not like he is Patrick Ewing coming out of school. Also why would Stern rig the draft for a team in such a small market? Anyways I digress.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Kidd-Gilchrest 6’7 SF – Kentucky
MKG has a great motor and hustles on both sides of the court. Bobcats need all the help they can get and an attitude change is where they ought to start. Thomas Robinson would be a great pick, but Michael Jordan would probably pass on the young man for inexplicable reasons.
3. Washington Wizards – Thomas Robinson 6’9 PF – Kansas
At this point the Wizards need to select the best player available and if Robinson is still on the board they have to draft him. Sure the Wizards need help on the perimeter, but none of those players are at the level of Robinson. Look, the young man is hungry and anxious to start playing in the NBA. Oh yeah, he’s from Washington, DC too (And I mean from actually DC, DC, not Maryland or VA.) If Ernie Grunfeld balks and picks Andre Drummond instead, no one and I mean no one should buy season tickets.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Dion Waiters 6-4 SG – Syracuse
This may seem high to some, but if you look at his style of play, he would fit nicely with Kyrie Irving in the back court. Waiters is a sick athlete with an NBA ready body. He also can play some defense and plays with a lot of energy and passion. Will the Cavs pick him this high? Unlikely, but if I were their GM I would snatch him at 4.
5. Sacramento Kings – Damian Lillard 6’3 PG – Weber State
Sac-town is in a rough spot. We aren’t sure if they are going to remain in the Cali capital for long. Their team is pretty miserable too. Last year they drafted Jimmer so why do I have Lillard in the five spot where the Kings draft? It’s all about energy and passion. Lilliard is one of two incoming rookies that can start on an NBA team. The Kings can use a ball distributor that can take the ball to the rack and Lillard could be that guy.
6. Portland Trailblazers – Harrison Barnes 6’8 SF – North Carolina
Barnes has the body and looks like he can play right away, but he disappeared for stretches in key moments. When Barnes wanted to take over, he did it easily, but he didn’t take over enough. The Blazers are looking for someone to replace Brandon Roy who retired early. Barnes could be the guy to come in and be a great piece for a team that has historically been hit hard with injuries.
7. Golden State Warriors – Bradley Beal 6’4 SG – Florida
Beal would be a great compliment in the back court with Steph Curry. With Monta Ellis gone in a trade, Beal could step in and be the heir apparent. Their game is very similar, except Beal is a better defender than Ellis. If Andrew Bogut and David Lee can stay healthy, Beal and Curry will give the WarrDetroitiors a lot of firepower on offense.
8. Toronto Raptors -Jeremy Lamb 6’5 SG – Connecticut
Lamb reminds me (and everyone else) of Rip Hamilton. He is thin as a rail, but has a sweet shot. He developed some great ball handling abilities and can play some really good perimeter defense. The Raptors currently only have one shooting guard on the roster in DeMar DeRozan. If Waiters is already off the board, Lamb would be a nice fit in Toronto.
9. Detroit Pistons – Austin Rivers 6’5 PG/SG – Duke
Rivers is a combo guard, but he could becCome a point guard because it’s in his blood. He was forced to be a play maker at Duke, but he totally has the ability to run the show if he has to. The Pistons already have Bradon Knight so if Rivers slides over to the two guard, Detroit has their back court of the future. Now the questions is who will take up Ben Gordon’s contract which is wildly inflated considering his production.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Kendall Marshall 6’4 PG – North Carolina
The Hornets could vastly improve their roster if Marshall is available at 10. He would be foolish to pass up. Marshall is a pure point with a silky smooth style. His outside game needs work, but his court vision and hoops IQ is high. I am a big fan of Marshall and would expect him to go higher in other years if other teams didn’t already have that position taken care of.
11. Portland Trailblazers – Andre Drummond 6’11 PF/C – Connecticut
I am probably the only
draft expert hack who has Drummond down this far. Put it this way, I’d rather have Arnold Drummond than Andre. Sure his size and freakish ability stands out, but he seemed to be asleep half the time in college. 11 in my opinion is too high for a Kwame Brown type player, but I have to put him somewhere in the lottery. What better place for a big man bust to end up? Portland is the only obvious destination.
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Jared Sullinger 6’9 PF – Ohio State
Sullinger can come into the NBA tomorrow and be able to produce. Can he be a superstar? He sure can. Sullinger at 12 is a steal in my opinion. I just don’t expect NBA GMs to take him much higher because he lacks, (wait for it, wait for it) “upside.” That said, the Bucks could use some more beef in the front court and Sullinger is one of those guys who wants to win badly. He’s a throwback type of player, with great footwork, hands and fundamentals. In other words, he knows how to box out and could be a double double machine his rookie year.
13. Phoenix Suns – Royce White 6’8 SF – Iowa State
White is one of those players who has an NBA game and can contribute right away. With Grant Hill getting long in the tooth, the Suns can use some help at the three. White is ready to step in and play some key minutes right now. At this point in the draft, it’s wise to get players that can play right now. White is that guy.
14. Houston Rockets – Moe Harkless 6’8 SF – St. Johns
I had the chance to see Harkless in person at the Big East Tournament this year and there is one player he reminded me of and that’s Jeff Green. Harkless has great size and ball handling abilities. He also has good range and court vision. One thing going against Harkless is that he only played one year in college.