TEAM: New Orleans Hornets
PLAYER: Anthony Davis
SCHOOL: University of Kentucky
This is the obvious choice for the Hornets. Anthony Davis is the best player in this draft. This is a franchise changer for New Orleans as the center position is such a hard one for a team to acquire. Davis gives the Hornets a building block to build their team around for years to come. With the recent trade of Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis the Hornets have the flexibility to sign Eric Gordon as well as the tenth pick they have a chance to reshape the roster and turn into a playoff team in the next two years. Davis has all the ability to be one of the top young big men in the NBA for years to come.
PICK 2 Charlotte Bobcats Thomas Robinson PF Kansas In our first mock draft we had the Charlotte Hornets selecting Andre Drummond out of UCONN. I think with the recent lack of return on investment in recent draft years they will look to draft a player with the lowest possible chance to fail. Thomas Robinson will be the selection here. He will improve their roster without question with his ability to rebound the ball and add activity to the team. Robinson is the best rebounder in the draft and can be a scorer on offensive rebounding, running the floor in transition, and rolling hard on screen and rolls. He doesn’t have much room to grow in my opinion, but will be a solid NBA power forward. Robinson to me reminds me of a better Brandon Bass. He’ll be a starter without question, but don’t see him having a huge impact in the NBA. Drummond or Beal should be the pick here as both of them could be all-star level players and I don’t see Robinson at this level, but he is the safe pick and shouldn’t fail.
PICK 3 Washington Wizards Bradley Beal SG Florida The Wizards have made big strides in their roster since last season. They recently traded Rashard Lewis for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor. It seems like they are making strides in acquiring solid veterans to improve the character on their roster. Also to have solid pieces with NBA skill it makes John Wall’s job easier running the team at point guard. Bradley Beal should be the pick here as the Wizards need perimeter scoring. Beal has a chance to be an Eric Gordon type player that can be an all-star level scoring talent. This is a good pick here over Michael Kidd Gilchrist because of his ability to be more of a half court scoring threat and his ability to stretch the floor making shots. Solid pick here for Washington.
PICK 4 Cleveland Cavaliers Michael Kidd Gilchrist SF Kentucky The Cavaliers will look to put an athletic wing player with Kyrie Irivng. With Gilchrist’s athletic ability and size at the small forward position it will allow the Cavs to speed up their offense and also put a potentially dominant defender into their lineup. With Thompson developing and Varejao solidifying their frontcourt, adding a Gerald Wallace type combo forward will enable Byron Scott to put a more athletic team on the floor. Also with Gichrist’s size they can play him at some power forward and go small to match up better with teams that do the same. I like this pick because it gives Irivng one more weapon to use with his ability to get in the lane and kick out to a big athletic slashing wing player.
PICK 5 Sacramento Kings Kendall Marshall PG North Carolina The Kings are in need of a lot without question. I think the first thing they need is a point guard that can get their team easy shots. Kendall Marshall is the best passer in this draft and would be a great addition to Sacramento’s lineup. I think that this will enable them to take Tyreke Evans off of the ball and put a true point guard in the starting rotation. This will allow for them not to depend on isolations as much and get the ball to their best players in positions where they can be successful. The more easy shots that they can get for Thornton, Cousins, and Evans the better this team can be. I love Marshall’s ability to run a team and control tempo. There are some great prospects still on the board with Barnes and Drummond, but I think when you have a chance to draft a true point guard that can run your team there’s no question that you take him. I like Marshall with this pick here.
PICK 6 Portland Trailblazers Andre Drummond C UCONN Everyone knows that the Trailblazers need size and point guard help. There is still a chance that they re-sign Felton in free agency, but there is a big need for size on the roster. Andre Drummond is the biggest enigma in this draft as he has more raw ability that any other player including Davis. The problem is you don’t know what kind of focus that Andre will have an that is a major issue when trying to evaluate him. But with his size and athletic ability it is really hard to pass up on a true center that can be a scorer on the block and a defensive presence like Drummond can be. Anytime you have a chance to draft an elite level point guard or center I think a team must take the chance. I’m not sold on Lillard’s ability to be a point guard that can truly run a team as I see him more as a scorer, I think Portland should take a chance on Drummond here.
Pick 7 Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes SF North Carolina Golden State needs to get more athletic on the perimeter and needs to upgrade their shooting. I don’t think they will take a chance with Jared Sullinger here. They need a player that can make shots as well as get their own shot on isolations as well as other situations. I think Barnes down the road will be an excellent NBA player. He has very good size at 6-8 for a small forward and can make shots. He’ll be able to drive on long closeouts from the weak side as well as post up when he adds muscle to his frame. He’s taken his share of bumps in his short career at North Carolina but has all the ablity and skill sets to be a 20 point a game scorer down the road in the NBA. He reminds me of Jason Richardson,just a big wing who can score and stretch the defense with his shooting. This will be a good get for the Warriors at 7.
Pick 8 Toronto Raptors Dion Waiters SG Syracuse The Raptors without question need some help on the perimeter with players that can score, but also put the ball on the floor. In our first mock draft we had them taking Lamb here, but we are switching gears here and going with Waiters. I love Waiters as a combo guard that not only can get to the rim, but also has a very high basketball IQ with his ability to pass the ball. . They have Demar Derozan who is a superior athlete still on his rookie contract. They have last year’s draft pick Jonas Valanciunas still in their stable as well as Andrea Bargnani in the front court. I think by adding Waiters it gives them more toughness and a player that can elevate everyone else’s game with his ability to get in the lane and score as well as create for others. Also he is one of the best if not the best perimeter defenders in this draft. His perimeter shooting is a question at this point of his career, but it is something that without question can improve. I like Waiters here for Toronto.
Pick 9 Detroit Pistons John Henson C North Carolina I think the Pistons would rather take a chance on Drummond here because of his upside, but there are in need of skilled big men to put around Greg Monroe. Henson in my opinion is one of the more underrated big men in this year’s draft. His lack of strength and some questions about toughness come into play with many, but his strength can improve in time. There have been many players drafted that were very weak physically that went on to have productive careers in the NBA. John is a very active post player that rebounds and blocks shots. I think when you factor in that he will get stronger the next thing you need to look at is his activity level. He doesn’t shy from contact and is always around the ball. I think if Sullinger’s back wasn’t red flagged that he would be in play here, but Henson’s size and skill level is something that I wouldn’t let slide past my pick here. The Pistons take Henson here and eventually put him with Monroe in the starting lineup. They have Jason Maxiell that can fill in some time at power forward with his strength and toughness until Henson moves into the starting lineup.
Pick 10 New Orleans Hornets Damian Lillard PG Weber State The Hornets have options here. They cleared two pieces from their starting lineup after trading Okafor and Ariza to Washington. They need to draft a point guard that they can put with Davis. If Marshall slides here I think it’s a no brainer, but if he’s gone I think Lillard is the pick here. He is an explosive combo guard that they can put in pick and roll with Davis and could have a great combination there for years to come. He’s an exciting player that can get in the lane and score points. He hasn’t proved to me yet that he can be a great point guard that can setup others to elevate their game, but he’s proven to be a scorer. He will add speed to this offense and make the tempo exciting especially with Davis and if they re-sign Gordon. They can also go with Austin Rivers here as well, but I like Lillard here a little bit more.
Pick 11 Portland Trailblazers Austin Rivers SG Duke Portland needs to draft a point guard in this spot. With the uncertainty of Raymond Felton in the balance The Blazers need a point guard that can fill the void just in case they don’t have Felton. Rivers gives them a ball handling combo guard that can spread the floor and make shots. He struggles in my opinion in running a team, but he can score on pick and rolls and has deep range. Portland needs perimeter shooting to surround Aldridge with and I think Rivers can fill the hole in their lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised if Portland went with another big here in Zeller to stockpile big men in their frontcourt, but I think they will go big with their first pick and then snag the best possible guard that can handle the ball here and I think Rivers will be here to take.
Pick 12 Houston Rockets Tyler Zeller C North Carolina Houston needs quality size. With the trade of Dalembert they are in need of quality big men to put around Scola. Zeller is a safe pick here as he can rebound and run the floor for Kevin McHale’s team. Leonard can also be a pick here , but I like Zeller because of his basketball IQ and is more active. I think Zeller can be another Chris Kaman because of his ability to score, rebound, and be active. He could be a great piece to put with Scola on Houston’s lineup. He will have value in this league in a Rockets uniform or to throw in a trade for a bigger piece down the road.
Pick 13 Phoenix Suns Jeremy Lamb SG UCONN The Suns need a lot of help in multiple positions. They will most likely lose Steve Nash which puts them way behind the eight ball. They do have some solid pieces in their front court with Channing Frye, Gortat, and Lopez. Since there probably wont be a point guard available here, but if Waiters, Rivers, Lillard, or Marshall is available they will go in that direction. Lamb is a big wing that can create offense. He has good range on his jump shot and can create his own shot. They need a wing that can do more than just make open shots. They lack in many areas, but they desperately need scoring. I’m not in love with Lamb, especially without a great point guard. If Nash re-signs there he and the rest of the team would benefit, but he is a decent pick here at 13 if those other guards aren’t in the mix.
Pick 14 Milwaukee Bucks Terrance Ross SF Washington I had Ross going to the Bucks in our first mock draft and my mind hasn’t changed. I love this kid, I just think he can score and has decent size. I love players that can create for themselves and don’t need the benefit of a great point guard to do it. I have Ross in the top 5 on my board, but I can see him slipping to here. He is better in my opinion than Lamb, but this draft isn’t the way I see it. It’s the way other NBA decision makers see it. With the addition of Delembert this pick makes a lot of sense. With two guards that dominate the ball in Ellis and Jennings the Bucks need someone where the ball doesn’t stop while he dribbles around and 4 players watch as they have enough of that. I like Ross as he adds efficiency to their halfcourt offense and has the ability to guard people as well. I like Ross with this pick here
Pick 15 Philadelphia 76-ers Jared Sullinger PF Ohio State The red flag to Jared’s back is without question a concern, but the Sixers need size and rebounding. They have enough talent to still be a playoff team even if this pick doesn’t pan out right away, but if Sullinger is available they need to take him. Sullinger is one of the best rebounders in this draft and that is something that Doug Collins needs in the worst way. They have scorers and perimeter players, but needs toughness and rebounding up front. Even with the scare in his body I don’t think that the Sixers should let Jared slip past them at 15 here.
Pick 16 Houston Rockets Meyers Leonard C Illinois I don’t think there are that many great perimeter players that will be around with these picks, but what the Rockets can do is stockpile big men, especially active big men that can run, have impact on the game with their activity, and protect the paint. I’m not a huge Leonard fan, but he can rebound and roll hard on screen and rolls. He’s not a very smart player, but is not afraid to mix it up. I see him as a Jeff Foster or Tiago Splitter type of player. If the Rockets can get out of the top 18 with Zeller and Leonard I think it’s an A for sure. Daryl Morey has done a good job getting quality players to fill his roster with and if he is acquiring picks to add pieces through the draft or get assets to trade for a bigger piece down the road.
Pick 17 Dallas Mavericks Terrence Jones PF Kentucky Terrence Jones is a good pick here for Dallas. He’s had an up and down collegiate career as far as his focus and productivity, but he has a lot of talent and does show up every night. He reminds me of a Hakim Warrick type of player that can have an impact on the game with his athletic ability and energy. There is no pressure on him to perform right away which is good for both parties involved. I can see him spending time in the D League to develop. His versatility will be a big plus as he’ll have the ability to guard both 3’s and 4’s which is always a great asset to have. He can rebound and block shots at very least they have a Stromile Swift on their hands.
Pick 18 Minnesota Timberwolves Jeff Taylor SF Vanderbilt I like Jeff Taylor here for the Rockets. If they do go big with their first two picks it just makes sense to draft a wing player here. Taylor can knock down open shots, can guard people, and is a very good athlete. I think the Rockets have done a good job bringing in smart skilled players that can play off one another. I like Taylor here more than most, but I think the Rockets do need someone that can space the floor and play off of Scola. I like Taylor here
Pick 19 Orlando Magic Fab Melo C Syracuse The Magic need to stockpile big men regardless of what happens with Dwight Howard. They don’t have a power forward that can score on the block or a serviceable backup center that can protect the paint. I think the Magic go big here and take Fab Melo. Fab Melo is an upgrade of Daniel Orton who couldn’t get of the bench for Kentucky or the Magic in the two years that he’s been there. Melo is a shot blocking active center that can protect the paint and offensive rebound. He reminds me of Robin Lopez, an active big that can block shots and play defense in the paint. I think he can develop into a serviceable rotation player in the NBA. This will be a good pick for Orlando. If new GM Rob Hennigan would rather scoring than a project big man then Andrew Nicholson would be a good pickup here.
Pick 20 Denver Nuggets John Jenkins SG Vanderbilt The Nuggets will have some options here for sure. They can go with Harkless here as well, but I think they will go for a shooter. I think with Jordan Hamilton already drafted last year that they will take a shooter. If Jeff Taylor is still around they may decide to go with him, but they need to upgrade their shooting. Jenkins is a one trick pony, but can get his shot off on ball reversal and coming off screens. He’s a hard worker, a high character kid, and someone that will be efficient in short stretches for Denver. I think defensively he may be over his head, but if he’s making shots Jenkins can fill a role for Denver here at 20
Pick 21 Boston Celtics Arnett Moultree PF Mississippi State I think the Celtics will package their picks to move up in the draft, but if they are still here at 21 and 22 they will grab Arnett Moultree here with their first pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. Moultree is a little bit similar to JaJuan Johnson that they drafted in the 2011 Draft, but as you can see in the playoffs they are in serious need of athletic bigs that can protect the rim and defend inside. I like Moultree’s ability to face up and be a threat to score. He does drift out to the perimeter a lot, but has good size at 6-11 not a great shot blocker, but Doc can teach him to be a good team defender. He’s someone down the road has the ability to be a good player if he’s motivated to get on the block. I think when they decide to part ways with Garnett, the Celtics will need some skilled big men that can score. Going forward they have Brandon Bass, Johnson, and Steimsma for big men past the KG era. I think Moultree will be a good fit here unless someone drops.
Pick 22 Boston Celtics Perry Jones III PF Baylor If there is one guy that can drop in this draft it is Perry Jones III. I don’t care what people say about guys right around draft time about seeing the light and changing their ways players that have issues with playing hard and showing up every day tend to have that problem for most if not all of their careers. That being said he could be one of the more talented players in the draft with pure ability. Others have him going a few picks ahead, but I do see him slipping. He has a lot of ability both in the post and on facing up. He could be an all-star type of player, but also can be out of the league in a few years. We will see I guess.
Pick 23 Atlanta Hawks Royce White PF Iowa State I’m going out on a limb on this pick. Royce White is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a question but he has two things the Haws desperately need out of the wing position and that is toughness and basketball IQ. His ability to break defenders down from the wing and get in the lane is uncanny. Besides Kendall Marshall White probably has the best vision in the draft without question. Now there are a few question marks as far as his medical issues. I am not a doctor and never claimed to be so I wont speak on something I have no prior knowledge of. He doesn’t have a true position to defend and is a bad shooter so those are some hang ups. But he comes to play HARD every night, can rebound, and pass the basketball. I like White here as Danny Ferry needs to bring some toughness to this roster and change the culture here.
Pick 24 Cleveland Cavaliers Andrew Nicholson PF St. Bonaventure Nichols is a solid pick here especially if they go with Michael Kidd Gilcrist with their first pick. Nicholson could be an absolute steal here. He can be a very good scorer on the block, not much of a defender but can rebound the basketball. Has a lot of scoring ability and showed up in some big games for St. Bonaventure last season. This is a big man that they can develop to add with Varejao and Thompson. This is a safe pick for the Cavs and would be happy with it.
Pick 25 Memphis Grizzlies Doron Lamb SG Kentucky Lamb to me is one of the more underrate players in the draft. I think he’s a perfect fit for Memphis. The Grizzlies may lose OJ Mayo so need to replace him at some point. Instead of spending money on a free agent they can draft Lamb on his rookie deal and develop him. He reminds me of Jodie Meeks a spot up two guard that can handle the ball and play some point guard as a backup. I like his ability to guard 2 positions, stretch the defense with his shooting, and put the ball on the floor. If the Grizzlies part ways with Mayo I think Lamb will slide in very well, it adds a shot maker and ball handler to their backcourt.
Pick 26 Indiana Pacers Marquis Teague Kentucky I think this is an upgrade for what the Pacers have coming off the bench in Price and Stephenson for guards. Teague is a lot like Avery Bradley with his ability to guard people and have an impact on the game with his quickness and athletic ability. With the 26th pick I think this could be a low rist high reward type of pick.
Pick 27 Miami Heat Tony Wroten SG Washington Probably makes more sense to go big with this pick, but I think that getting a wing player that has the potential to be a very good defender is something the Miami needs. If you draft Ezeli or Plumlee you’d just be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Wroten is a junk yard dog defender that can add athleticism and a defender on their second unit. They are a championship level team and there aren’t many players they can draft here if none at all that can shake things up in their lineup. Wroten can guard people and is an athlete. Yes he is a bad shooter and won’t score a lot, but can be a poor man’s Tony Allen. I think Wroten would be good here
Pick 28 Oklahoma City Thunder Draymand Green SF Michigan State The Thunder don’t have a lot of pressing needs besides about 11 million more on their cap to be able to sign Harden and Ibaka. I think their only need is to upgrade their backup small forward position to give some backup minutes to Durant. Now I think if Nicholson for some reason drops that OKC will look to take him. Draymand Green is a tough as nails combo forward that will start out playing the under sized power forward position, but will convert in no time to the small forward spot. Reminds me a lot of Ryan Gomes. A super skilled great college player that can step out and play on the perimeter. Has a good stroke and has college range on spot ups. I think he’s the perfect Thunder player high character, great college player, can play a role, and very coachable. To be honest if teams were smart they would take him earlier, but I think the Thunder takes him at 28. Tough kid that can rebound out of the small forward position and make spot up shots on ball reversal.
Pick 29 Chicago Bulls Evan Fournier SF France A lot of people have Fournier going before 29. I think this is a solid get for the Bulls. They can stash him overseas and bring him over in the future. Hes a very good passer, can score from the perimeter. Not a great shooter right now, just very inconsistent. This pick will show value in the future as the Bulls do need players, bur I don’t think anything at this pick can help them right now unless they decide to trade up. Fournier is a project that can develop into a prospect that can make a rotation in the next couple of years.
Pick 30 Golden State Warriors Miles Plumlee C Duke Plumlee can be a Louis Amunson type of player if given the opportunity. He’s a big strong post player that can bring energy and activity to the Warriors frontcourt. They are basically paying Biedrins a king salary to do what Plumlee can. I think if he just runs the floor, sets good screens, rebounds, and rolls hard to the rim on pick and roll that he can be a serviceable big man in the NBA. Safe pick here by the Warriors.