My 2012 NBA mock draft

I am not going to be including any trades in terms of the mock, but here are a few possibilities that might affect the picks.

Blazers trading 6 and 11 for #2, #3, or #4. Originally people thought this would be for Beal, but now it seems like the Blazers like Andre Drummond.

Bobcats trading #2 for #4 and 33 from Cleveland. The Bobcats would almost certainly get Thomas Robinson who is probably their guy, and the Cavs would get Beal, who is an ideal backcourt mate with Kyrie Irving.

Rockets throwing all of their draft picks and some sort of salary filler for Dwight Howard: The Rockets are still trying to land that superstar, and the Magic are trying to move on. If they picked, they would probably just take BPA and worry about need later.

I am not predicting any wild surprises, because I think generally the cutoff between tiers of players is pretty noticeable.

Mock Draft:

1. The New Orleans Hornets select Anthony Davis with the 1st overall draft pick. This is one of those easy decisions that happens a fair amount of times in the NBA. I don’t think Davis will be a total superstar, but he will almost certainly be at least a star in this league, a 14/11/2 guy with great defensive presence, along with good passing ability.

2. The Charlotte Bobcats select Thomas Robinson with the 2nd overall draft pick. This is a much tougher decision, as Robinson probably does not have as high a ceiling as guys like Michael Kidd Gilchrist or Andre Drummond. However, he should still be a very good player with potential for more, and can help the Bobcats return to respectability. He will probably be another automatic double double most nights, but his defense is way below Davis', and he is several years older. He has great work ethic, has a great overall character, is tough, and is a rebounding machine. If he worked on his defense, he could be a perennial all star.

3. The Washington Wizards select Bradley Beal with the 3rd overall draft pick. If the Wizards get Beal without trading up to #2, they can be very happy, because he has been shooting up draft boards, and there are rumors of much higher teams trying to trade down and draft him (OKC?). He is a complete package at shooting guard, with an especially sweet looking shot. He releases the ball the same every time, gets good elevation, and squares up perfectly. He is an average defender with the quickness and work ethic to become a plus defender. He is a superb rebounding guard and has shown willingness and ability to pass. While his height and athleticism were of some concern, he is 6'5 in shoes, and has above average athleticism as well. He will probably be the number one option in Washington, and the only guy on the team who can really shoot the ball.

4. The Cleveland Cavaliers select Harrison Barnes with the 4th overall draft pick. He also has a very nice shot, and a killer first step to get open for midrange shots, which he buries. He has the size and athleticism to be a plus defender, but unlike the three guys in front of him, with Barnes there are questions of toughness and work ethic. He can rebound and defend, but is not amazing at either. He needs to improve his handles a lot, because he seemingly can not get to the rim as of right now. He should still be a solid overall player, a 20 point per game scorer, but might not do much else.

5. The Sacramento Kings select Michael Kidd Gilchrist with the 5th overall draft pick. He has an amazing work ethic, leadership abilities, and basketball IQ. He will be a very good perimeter defender right off the bat, and also is a great rebounder and passer. While he can slash to the basket and attack the rim, his shot is utterly broken, and it is amazing he shot as well as he did at Kentucky. If he can refine his shot to something approaching normal, he could end up being the best player in the whole draft. His floor is somewhere around Gerald Wallace or Andre Iguodala, and I think his ceiling could be LeBron James lite.

6. The Portland Trail Blazers select Andre Drummond with the 6th overall pick. Here is the big swing player in this draft. He is amazingly athletic for a man his size: he is around 7 feet tall and 280 pounds, but can run and jump like a guard, and an athletic one at that. He is very, very raw, but has good defensive instincts and should at least be a solid defender in the NBA. His rebounding and offensive game needs work badly, but he has soft hands, and can move, which means comparison to Hasheem Thabeet and Kwame Brown do not seem fair. His work ethic has been called into question, but if he can put it all together, he could be a superstar as well, and perhaps better than Anthony Davis.

7. The Golden State Warriors select Dion Waiters with the 7th overall draft pick. Waiters is a much different kind of shooting guard than Beal, Austin Rivers, or Jeremy Lamb. He is much thicker, and likes attacking the basket and drawing contact. His outside shooting tends to be very streaky, but he is great inside. He is big and athletic enough to be a good defender and rebounder, and also has pretty good court vision. He should be a pretty good 6th man or 4th best starter on a contending team, but I doubt he fulfills some of his loftier comparisons (Dwayne Wade).

8. The Toronto Raptors select Damian Lillard with the 8th overall draft pick. Lillard is a scoring point guard who has drawn comparison to a more athletic and bigger Mo Williams. Obviously he has a very nice shooting stroke, and unlike some other players with nice form such as Beal and Barnes, he actually connected on a good amount of his shots in college. He is very efficient, but lacks great court vision like Kendall Marshall or Rajon Rondo. He should be a decent defender, and an average point guard in terms of sharing the ball, but will be drafted for his shot. He is older than most other draft prospects, being almost 22, but still has upside and should contribute a lot right away for a Raptors team that needs to move away from aging Jose Calderon.

9. The Detroit Pistons select John Henson with the 9th overall draft pick. He is a very athletic power forward with legit size, and already has a decent shot. He can play defense around the rim, stretch the floor, and is a pretty good passer. If he could improve on his post game then he would be a very solid threat on the floor. On the other hand, nothing he does is really superb. He will probably be a starter in the NBA, but I don’t see him becoming a star, unlike the first 8 picks. Detroit needs his above the rim athleticism and defense to balance with the more solid but less flashy Greg Monroe (who is awesome, by the way).

10. With the 10th overall draft pick, the New Orleans Hornets select Kendall Marshall. Marshall is one of the best pure point guard prospects to come out of college in a while. Unlike Wall, Irving, or Rose, Marshall is a pass first player, much more similar to Ricky Rubio or Rajon Rondo, and has very good court vision and passing ability. He reads plays well, and makes things happen with his passes. He is a pretty good 3 point shooter, and can hit the floater as well, but he is not very athletic at all (for an NBA player). This might prevent him from getting into the lane and dishing out either to shooters or his big men as well, though he seems crafty enough, and should do fine. He will be at least a very good backup, probably a pretty good starter, but his lack of explosiveness and athleticism means he cant do all the things that new age point guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook can do. New Orleans will have him on the bench in his first year learning the ropes of the NBA from Jarrett Jack, a solid veteran.

11. With the 11th overall draft pick, the Portland Trail Blazers select Jeremy Lamb. He is another shooting guard with a sweet stroke, but while he has some height, needs to fill out a lot. He rarely attacks the basket, and while he is incredible from midrange and with his floater, he needs to get to the line more. If he bulks up he would also improve his defense and rebounding, making him a more complete player. Portland is looking to move Wes Matthews and his big contract, and Lamb should be the eventual replacement at shooting guard. However, until Matthews is moved, Lamb will likely be a 6th man off the bench.

12. With the 12th overall pick, the Houston Rockets select Tyler Zeller. Zeller is a very solid big man who can score in the post, stretch the floor a bit with a midrange shot, and rebound. He does not have much upside, but should be a decent starter from day one, and can still improve his defense.

13. With the 13th overall pick, the Phoenix Suns select Austin Rivers. Rivers is a guy who is confident he can be the next Kobe Bryant. He has very good range on his shot, and his superb handle means he can get past his defender at will. Unfortunately, he has awful tunnel vision, which means he forces up bad shots and misses the open man all the time. He has decent size to play point guard, but not the instincts or ability to run an offense, which means he will be an undersized shooting guard. He is like Nick Young without the swag and size, or a Mo Williams who is even less of an actual point guard and a much bigger chucker. The Suns need a shot creator, and Rivers can be that. A probable 6th man.

14. With the 14th overall pick, the Milwaukee Bucks select Terrence Ross. Ross is a big athletic wing who could play either the 2 or 3. He can shoot, defend, rebound, and attack the basket. He is not a great shot creator, and lacks court vision, but should still be a steal this late in the lottery. Should be a good starter in the NBA, and could become a more athletic Danny Granger. Milwaukee needs him at SF, having suffered through John Salmons, Steven Jackson, and Corey Maggette in recent years.

15. With the 15th overall pick, the Philadelphia 76ers select Meyers Leonard. Leonard is another athletic big man, though not on the scale of Davis or Drummond. He needs to work on his offensive and defensive games, but should be decent in most areas when he comes into the NBA with potential for a lot more. The 76ers need him to replace the ineffective Spencer Hawes.

16. With the 16th overall pick, the Houston Rockets select Moe Harkless. Harkless is a small forward with good size and athleticism, and can score the ball. He needs to improve his shooting, but if he can do so, he has the potential to be a star on the wings. Houston needs someone at small forward, especially now that they have traded away Chase Budinger.

17. With the 17th overall pick, the Dallas Mavericks select Perry Jones III. Perry has insane dribbling skills for a man his size- way better than Lamar Odom, who has incredible handles for a big. He has athleticism, size, and shooting touch. The only thing holding him back from greatness is himself- he needs to step up, demand the ball, and become a top option. If he becomes more aggressive, and improves his defense, he could become a great player, and one of the biggest steals ever (I went there). Dallas needs young talent, and would be getting it with this pick.

18. With the 18th overall pick, the Houston Rockets select Terrence Jones. Jones should be a very solid player in the NBA. He is a team guy who can do just about anything well on the basketball court, but nothing spectacularly. He can rebound, defend, pass, and score, and can still improve a lot in all accounts. Houston will have to wait for him to start as he is blocked by Luis Scola, but he should be very good once he arrives.

19. With the 19th overall pick, the Orlando Magic select Royce White. White has anxiety issues which trouble a lot of teams, and he is also a tweener at the SF/PF positions. If he can overcome these obstacles then he has the full package for a team that will likely be scraped bare pretty soon. He can score outside, he can score in the post, and he can rebound.

20. With the 20th overall pick, the Denver Nuggets select Jared Sullinger. The Nuggets need a homerun with this pick, and Sullinger could do that. He has very good scoring and rebounding skills, and was a lock for the mid lottery until he got red flagged because of a bulging disc in his back. If this turns out to be a non issue or something that can be treated, then the Nuggets will have received great value for this pick. Right now he is blocked by JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried, but if he proves himself in the NBA, any one of them could be traded to create minutes. The Nuggets need a player who can push them over the top, and Sullinger might be that man.

21. With the 21st overall pick, the Boston Celtics select Fab Melo. Melo gives the Celtics much needed size, and should start at Center right away. He is a defensive presence and can rebound, but he also has an attitude issue. If any team could fix that, it would be the Celtics and Doc Rivers.

22. With the 22nd overall pick, the Boston Celtics select Evan Fournier. Fournier is a French player who can score from all over the court, and has size to play both wing positions. For a Boston team that looks to be rebuilding, a young scoring wing would be very nice.

23. With the 23rd overall pick, the Atlanta Hawks select Andrew Nicholson. Nicholson is a good scorer at the power forward and center positions, and Atlanta has needed a boost at those positions for a while, especially with the prospect of Josh Smith leaving. Nicholson would be a probable bench player this year, but could be a decent starter down the line.

24. With the 24th overall pick, the Cleveland Cavaliers select Festus Ezeli. Ezeli is one of the last of the top big men, and with Cleveland only possessing one NBA rotation player at the 5 (Anderson Varejao) and one not-so-good prospect at the 4 (Tristan Thompson), they need all the help they can get.

25. With the 25th overall pick, the Memphis Grizzlies select Marquis Teague. Teague is a very high potential point guard with great athleticism. He is not a great shooter or passer, but he can certainly attack the rim, and is not a bad ball handler. This is enough for a Grizzlies team that picked up Gilbert Arenas last year in the playoff run to strengthen the point guard position. Enough said.

26. With the 26th overall pick, the Indiana Pacers select Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie is the last top big man left, and Indiana could use him if Roy Hibbert takes his talents elsewhere. If Hibbert stays, he could be a nice backup for him and David West, and could take over the power forward spot when West’s contract expires after next year.

27. With the 27th overall pick, the Miami Heat select Miles Plumlee. Plumlee is an older center prospect, and would probably just be a 3rd big on most teams. With the Heat strapped for Centers, the more contestants for the starting spot the better, and Plumlee would certainly be better than Eddy Curry or Juwan Howard.

28. With the 28th overall pick, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Draymond Green. Green is an oversized small forward or a good stretch power forward, but either way, he would provide some more bench scoring from a Thunder team that was far too shallow in the scoring department this past year. He would also be a nice change of pace from the Thunder’s stable of good defensive big men who are not offensive minded.

29. With the 29th overall pick, the Chicago Bulls select Will Barton. Barton is a wing player who can create his own shot and has good athleticism. The Bulls needed more perimeter scoring the past few years, and Barton could provide what they need.

30. With the 30th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors select Tony Wroten. Wroten is a massive gamble. He can seemingly not shoot the ball, which is obviously not good, but he has great size for the point guard position, and he has displayed nice passing at times. If he could start shooting the ball, he could be a stud. Also, the Warriors need a backup for the seemingly always injured Steph Curry.

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