Final 2012 NBA Mock Draft

I was going to do a 2-round mock draft but I felt like I was going to run out of time with all the typing so I shortened it down. I am NOT going to put trades in here. I will do the mock draft with the order as it currently stands. Be sure to read the full comments on the picks to understand rationale and other things of that nature. In the famous words of Heath Ledger as the Joker, "AND HERE .. WE .. GO!"

01.) New Orleans Hornets | Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky -- This is the only pick in the entire draft where everyone knows who is getting picked. Reports surfaced that the Cavaliers contacted the Hornets about this pick shortly after they won the draft lottery and offered to deal their entire draft for this one pick. The Hornets, obviously, said no. Imagine if they had said yes, though. Irving and Davis together would have been quite the duo for the future. Anyways, Davis will now slot himself in as the power forward slash center hybrid and control the paint. Has a formidable future ahead of him. NBA Upside Comparison: Kevin Garnett

02.) Charlotte Bobcats | Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas -- In any other draft I could see Thomas Robinson having a case for the first overall pick. He has what you look for in the face of a franchise. He plays hard, smart, tough, gets you paint points, gets you rebounds, and can lock it down on defense. Problem is that he has a problem with length. That's why Anthony Davis gave him problems the couple times they met. Charlotte is trying to deal the pick because they feel they can still move down and nab him. If they stay put, he's their guy. And it's a good pick. NBA Upside Comparison: Elton Brand

03.) Washington Wizards | Bradley Beal, SG, Florida -- Yes, he's the top shooting guard prospect in the draft but there is some question about what his upside truly is. Regardless of that he's going to be a pretty good player in the NBA no matter where he ends up because, much like Thomas Robinson, he just makes things happen on the basketball court. I like the fit with Washington simply because that team has zero outside shooting presence and he's a good one from range. He'll team up with John Wall, give Washington some future, and enable the Wizards to have a shot at the playoffs this season. NBA Upside Comparison: Eric Gordon

04.) Cleveland Cavaliers | Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky -- To me he's the top player in the draft. Why? Well, he's quite a special winner. The guy has won at every level he's been at and is one of the most tireless workers to come into the league in quite some time. He can defend four or five positions on the court with great results and is a monster in transition. He does have some shooting questions surrounding him but the guy is gonna work through it. I have no doubt in my mind. He was a high school teammate of Kyrie Irving, can play well alongside him, and will anchor their perimeter defense for years. This, in my honest opinion, is a steal. He'll have a Kawhi Leonard impact early and grow from there. NBA Upside Comparison: Scottie Pippen

05.) Sacramento Kings | Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina -- This is the most interesting pick in the draft to me simply because whatever the Kings do here will affect the next several picks. If they keep the pick then they're likely going to draft a wing scorer who can get into the paint and also shoot from the outside. Barnes can be that guy. I'm not that high on him but for what the Kings need he'd be fine. You have to factor in that they're not bringing Donte Greene back, as well. They have an opening at small forward. If the Kings decide to deal the pick then they're likely dealing it to Houston who will then draft Andre Drummond. Either way, Kings still own the pick as of now. NBA Upside Comparison: Joe Johnson

06.) Portland Trail Blazers (from Brooklyn) | Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State -- To me, he's the best guard in the entire draft. He can score from any range, drive, pass, and moves well off the ball. The guy, quite simply, is a beast of an offensive player and just gets buckets. This is an interesting pick simply because Portland would have to decide between Lillard and Andre Drummond in this situation. I have them picking Lillard. They need a scoring guard more than anything else at the present moment and they'd be foolish as all hell to pass on one here. For years Portland searched for their point guard of the future and for years they've passed on guys. Let's not forget trading back for Martell Webster when Chris Paul was there for them to take. This is the guy to end that drought. NBA Upside Comparison: Bigger Stephen Curry

07.) Golden State Warriors | Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse -- There's reports going around that the Warriors were the team to promise Waiters and if that's the case then he's obviously going to go here. I don't think he goes any higher and a team would be foolish to take him in the top six when there's better players on the board. Waiters never started a college game but won't be the highest guy ever taken in the draft to have accomplished that. Marvin Williams didn't start a college game at North Carolina and was selected second by the Atlanta Hawks a few years back. Waiters is a solid guard prospect but the comparisons to Dwyane Wade need to chill out a little bit. They're getting crazy. Think he's a solid sixth man in the league with marginal upside to start. NBA Upside Comparison: DeMar DeRozan

08.) Toronto Raptors | Austin Rivers, SG, Duke -- This is one of those picks where I have no clue what's going to happen. I wanted to put Andre Drummond here because I have a feeling that if he's on the board the Raptors would snatch him up in order to deal him for more assets. Presumably to a team like Houston or Philadelphia. However, they do need someone who can stretch the floor for them and Rivers is that guy. Good first step, can create space, and can score. His game is better suited for the NBA than it was for college and I expect him to thrive wherever he goes. This pick, in all honesty, is probably the trickiest one in the draft to pin down. Toronto wants Waiters but he'll be gone. At this point, it's all hush hush. NBA Upside Comparison: James Harden

09.) Detroit Pistons | Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut -- And the natural center falls right into the laps of Detroit. They can pair him up right away with Greg Monroe which would allow Monroe to slide into that power forward spot and allow the Pistons to become a tougher team inside. Drummond's defensive prowess cannot be mentioned enough. The guy is a beast on that side of the court but does need to improve his offense. He has the highest upside of anyone in the draft without question and I think Detroit could help him reach that upside considering Monroe would be next to him. NBA Upside Comparison: Tyson Chandler

10.) New Orleans Hornets (from Minnesota) | Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois -- Tough to pinpoint who the Hornets would pick here. If Rivers were here he'd be the pick so they're essentially in the same situation as Toronto is. They could deal this pick to a team like Houston but if they stand pat I think they pick up a natural center to pair inside with Anthony Davis. Leonard is big, athletic, and defensively aware. Alongside Davis they'll restrict the painted area and turn it into a no fly zone. Yes, the Hornets do need perimeter guys to help them put the ball in the basket but this is a building process and you have to build from the inside out in certain situations. Kendall Marshall could get a look here but he can't shoot. Plus, I feel they like the ball in Jack or Gordon's hands. NBA Upside Comparison: Marcin Gortat

11.) Portland Trail Blazers | Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina -- It never hurts to pick up a smart center who knows how to play the game the right way. Zeller understands defense well and is quite effective offensively. Putting him next to LaMarcus Aldridge and on the same front line with Nicolas Batum is a major win for the Blazers right here. On top of that, the Blazers want to try to build fast and there's no better way to do so than selecting Zeller shortly after selecting Lillard. Both stayed in college for a long time, matured, and can help a team improve right away. Zeller would do well here. One thing to look out for, however, is that Portland could be in the market to deal this pick. Rumors say no but they're a sneaky bunch. NBA Upside Comparison: Greg Monroe

12.) Houston Rockets (from Milwaukee) | Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky -- Do I think Houston holds onto all three draft picks? No. They'll likely deal one or two in order to move up higher and nab a guy they want more than Terrence Jones but I think Jones fits them quite well. Can do a lot of things well on the court and, when he hustles, can be quite dominant at times. He can play the three and the four but also supplies them with the ability to get more athletic. They need guys who can do lots of things and Jones is one of them. He'd make sense for them right here. NBA Upside Comparison: Lamar Odom

13.) Phoenix Suns | Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina -- Okay, to me this is a reach. I'm not high on Marshall at all and I view him as just a passer with the occasional foray into the paint. He can't shoot, is average defensively, and is also average athletically. With the possibility of Steve Nash gone in the offseason, Phoenix needs to find his replacement sooner rather than later. Marshall won't fill Nash's shoes but at least he'll try. Phoenix would go Austin Rivers if he's on the board but he isn't in this situation. So, they take Marshall. NBA Upside Comparison: Andre Miller

14.) Milwaukee Bucks (from Houston) | John Henson, PF, North Carolina -- If you're counting, that makes John Henson the fourth Tar Heel selected in the lottery. The Bucks have been rumored to be high on Henson for quite some time and he does make sense for them. He's essentially Anthony Davis but without the motor. That's all he is. He's productive and menacing at times but doesn't always play hard. He supplies Milwaukee with great defense from the weakside and will be a difference maker when on the court. Had they actually kept Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee would be sitting pretty with this pair. However, now they're stuck with two idiot guards who can't shoot enough and have to hope Henson can clean up their defensive shortcomings. NBA Upside Comparison: Serge Ibaka

15.) Philadelphia 76ers | Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State -- The replacement for Elton Brand, whether that be for this season or next season. They need someone who can take over for him when he hits the highway and Moultrie is that guy. He's athletic, strong, powerful, and can do the hustle things (i.e. rebound + defend) that help a team win games. Philadelphia, reportedly, could be locked into Terrence Jones here but he's gone in this instance so I feel that Moultrie would be a perfect fit for them. They drafted Nikola Vucevic last year and Moultrie would be a good running mate for him inside. In all fairness, Moultrie could be the steal of the draft at this point. No one can pinpoint his draft spot but most feel he's a fringe lottery guy that could turn out to be a lot better. NBA Upside Comparison: Chris Bosh

16.) Houston Rockets (from New York) | Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's -- This is one of those picks that a team makes simply because they're happy to still see the guy on the board. That's what Houston does in this instance. I know I already gave them Terrence Jones but Harkless can be on the court with Jones at the same time and it wouldn't affect either guy. Harkless is a versatile scoring forward who can drive to the basket with ease and finish with ferocity. His shot isn't that great but he is working on. Only problem is he takes plays off on defense but a coach like Kevin McHale can get him to play hard. Adds toughness. NBA Upside Comparison: Gerald Wallace

17.) Dallas Mavericks | Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor -- I have him listed as a power forward but he can play the three if needed. On top of that, he would have the length to play center in extreme cases if the situation desperately called for it. I actually think he'd work well next to Dirk Nowitzki and it still keeps the door open for a guy like Deron Williams to sign with Dallas in the offseason. Dallas could go with a scoring two guard here but I think they'll feel Perry Jones' talent is worth this spot in the draft as a risk-reward type of thing. I'm not high on Jones since he never played hard, isn't a good shooter, and looks lost on defense at times while getting outpositioned for rebounds because he lacks the low base to stop guys from pushing him off the block. However, at this juncture, talent wins out. NBA Upside Comparison: Josh Smith

18.) Houston Rockets (from Minnesota) | Terrence Ross, SG, Washington -- I think Houston would feel quite happy if Ross was still sitting here for them to nab. He can come off the bench early or even start in certain instances if the team was able to move Kevin Martin either on draft night or before the start of the season. Ross can score. Easily one of the most talented scorers in the draft and is also an adept defender. Plays hard and will always do what's best for the team. A future core of Ross-Harkless-Jones wouldn't be a bad thing for Houston since you can always have one of them, ideally Terrence Jones, play the role of sixth man. Ross could go much higher and I almost slated him higher but don't know exactly how certain teams look at him. One thing to look out for is Cleveland moving up to take him. NBA Upside Comparison: Wesley Matthews

19.) Orlando Magic | Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State -- The enigma of the 2012 NBA Draft. Both the team and the player. No one knows what Orlando is going to do. They want to keep Dwight Howard happy but have no idea how. Jared Sullinger has questions surrounding him, especially his health and athleticism, and no one expects him to go in the lottery. I think Orlando, at this point, would be a perfect match for him since he can supply low post scoring next to Dwight Howard and make it so that Howard will not be easily double-teamed in the low post. Yes, they have Ryan Anderson. I understand that. However, the guy is not a power forward. Ideally, I think Orlando would like Perry Jones III here but we all know how that goes. And there's no reason to suggest Howard even stays in Orlando for the next few hours anyways. NBA Upside Comparison: Kevin Love

20.) Denver Nuggets | Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky -- Denver really doesn't need anything but they could use a replacement off the bench for Andre Miller. Teague could be that guy. Good scorer and leader at the point guard spot and was truly underrated for Kentucky throughout the season. Kid is unselfish and could even play next to Ty Lawson in certain instances when the Nuggets go small like they love to do at times. If Teague had a better freshman season I could have seen him going in the lottery and maybe even the top ten but he didn't. Great talent, though. NBA Upside Comparison: Russell Westbrook

21.) Boston Celtics | Royce White, SF, Iowa State -- If it weren't for the anxiety issues, Royce White would be drafted higher. Simple as that. He practically begged the Minnesota Timberwolves, his hometown team, to take him with the 18th pick but they ultimately traded out of the spot and he lost any chance he had of playing at home. The Celtics will take care of him. Doc Rivers will be a calming influence and Paul Pierce plus the other veterans will help guide him into the NBA. White will be Pierce's eventual replacement and, ultimately, that's what Boston is looking for in the first place. Seems ironic now. NBA Upside Comparison: Paul Pierce

22.) Boston Celtics (from LA Clippers) | Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure -- The replacement for Kevin Garnett. Okay, I know Garnett isn't retiring right now but they need more size if they want to compete still and have a future. They already have Rajon Rondo at point guard, Avery Bradley at the two spot, Royce White (see above) at the three, and need someone who can man the fort at the four. They can get a future center next year or even through a trade if needed. Nicholson is strong, a force, and defensively aware on the low block. You can put him next to Garnett right now and not worry. That's the good thing for the Celtics. Nicholson makes a lot of sense for them. NBA Upside Comparison: Andreson Varejao

23.) Atlanta Hawks | Fab Melo, C, Syracuse -- I admit that I have no idea what Atlanta wants to do. Do they want a point guard? Do they want a big? Do they want to actually trade Josh Smith? Do they even know what they wanna do? Melo would make sense for them here simply because he'd allow Al Horford to slide over to his more natural four spot while losing nothing defensively on the interior. Plus, Horford is an adept shooter from the mid-range area therefore he wouldn't clog the paint next to Melo. They can move Josh Smith or keep him. Doesn't matter. I think Melo would be a smart pick for them. They need a center. Bad. NBA Upside Comparison: Joakim Noah

24.) Cleveland Cavaliers (from LA Lakers) | Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor -- If he hadn't jacked up his ACL, I think Miller would have been a lottery pick. I'm firmly aware that I have them taking Michael Kidd-Gilchrist four and this seems like a redundant pick but Miller can play the four in a pinch and they'd both be athletic enough to wreak havoc together defensively while haunting teams in the open court. Miller is an upside pick here and makes too much sense for the Cavaliers to pick at this point. When that happens, however, teams usually pass on a guy for a much less sensible selection. NBA Upside Comparison: Shawn Marion

25.) Memphis Grizzlies | Evan Fournier, SG, France -- Rumors going around say Memphis wants to stash a player overseas without having to pay anything right now. Fournier can come over immediately and contribute but it would make sense for him to stay another year or two and refine his game. He's a great slasher and has some semblance of a jumper but he's not a finished product right now. If he reaches his peak, he could be one of the steals of this draft but, then again, that phrase seems to follow a lot of international players around. I like him here at this juncture for Memphis, though. NBA Upside Comparison: Manu Ginobili

26.) Indiana Pacers | Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington -- There's varying degrees of opinions on Wroten as a prospect. Some think he can pan out, others think he can't, and the rest don't give a damn. Wroten can't shoot. Literally cannot shoot. Excellent driver and disher, though. He can get to the rim and make things happen but don't expect him to do anything outside of ten feet because he'll disappoint you. The Pacers already have Darren Collison and George Hill on board but need a future guy since they'll both be free agents after next season. Pacers are rumored to be trying to move Collison so this pick would make sense. NBA Upside Comparison: Tyreke Evans

27.) Miami Heat | Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt -- The World Champions need help inside and Ezeli provides that. He can defend, rebound, and block a myriad of shots in a moments notice. He actually gave Anthony Davis a tad of trouble when they faced each other because of his defensive nature. He'd be a piece to the repeat championship efforts of this team and he'd fit right in without a hitch. He'd allow Bosh to focus more on rebounding and staying out of foul trouble while allowing him to roam more on offense. The lane wouldn't be clogged with Ezeli on the court. I like this pick for them. NBA Upside Comparison: Emeka Okafor

28.) Oklahoma City Thunder | Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt -- The perfect backup at the wing for Kevin Durant. When they go small and put Durant at the four, Taylor can easily play the three and provide production there. Great defender, can shoot, score, pass, and hustle. If he was a little younger he'd easily go higher in this draft but he's not so the Thunder get a prize at this juncture of the draft. I like his fit with this team and he could be the piece that they need to get themselves over the top. The Thunder want to trade up and get Bradley Beal but I can't see that happening without giving up James Harden and/or Serge Ibaka. I don't think they want to do that quite yet. So Taylor is their choice here. NBA Upside Comparison: Luol Deng

29.) Chicago Bulls | John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt -- It seems odd to see three Vanderbilt players int he first round, let alone in order in the first round, but they are highly coveted. The Bulls have been in trade talks with a few teams about moving up but those talks have centered around dealing Luol Deng or Joakim Noah and I don't know if Chicago wants to blow it up quite yet. Rose is out until probably January and they need a guard who can light it up from the outside in order to allow more room inside for the bigs to operate. Jenkins is that guy. Smooth shooter and scorer but that's about it. I like his fit here in a defined role as the spot-up guy. Don't ask him to do much more, though. NBA Upside Comparison: Randy Foye

30.) Golden State Warriors (from San Antonio) | Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State -- A do-it-all combo forward who is a winner. A team that is stuck in a rut like the Warriors would be wise to draft him in order to help them immediately. They took Waiters earlier in this setting and need someone who can help them right away. That's where Green comes in. He can score, rebound, and pass. He might lack the lateral agility to defend effectively at the NBA level but he will compete and that's all you can ask for from a draft pick at this point. Just play hard. And Green will. NBA Upside Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu

And that's that. This is now over 4000 words and it's 4PM Pacific so I think that about does it. Any questions, feel free to ask. I'll answer those that I can. Just remember that the NBA Upside Comparison stuff is what they would turn into if they reach their full potential. It's not how I see them turning out. I don't see some panning out but that's what I would tab as their maximum upside. So, enjoy. And sorry if it took you so long to read.

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