We are now just 29 short hours away from the beginning of the 2012 NBA Draft! Rumors are swirling, deals are being made and discussed while our beloved Boston Celtics sit wondering whether Kevin Garnett will retire and if Ray Allen is going to sign in Miami. It would be great to have an answer from KG whether he was returning or not before the draft so we could use our picks accordingly, but that’s not a luxury we have right now.
A trade was made last night between the Detroit Pistons and the Charlotte Bobcats. Corey Maggette was sent from Charlotte to Detroit in return for Ben Gordon and a future first round pick. The trade does not effect the draft order for tomorrow night at all, but it almost certainly rules out a top prospect for the Bobcats at pick No. 2.
Depending on some late-breaking workouts and rumors, this may or may not be the last version of my mock draft. I will say that I will be entering it in to GameDay’s very own Mock Draft Challenge! You should do the same by clicking on the link and leaving your picks in the comments section. Prizes will be given away to the most accurate mock draft of the bunch.
Also, if you are going to be watching the draft tomorrow night, don’t sit there talking to yourself! Join GameDay’s live Chat where we will be discussing all the news and happenings that come with the NBA Draft!
1. Anthony Davis – F, Kentucky
The consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Anthony Davis gives the
Hornets a dynamic player to add to their roster. Davis would instantly fortify their defense in the paint, but will he be able to develop his offensive game to the point where he can be a true franchise changer? I still don’t like some of the Tim Duncan comparisons going around about Anthony Davis, but I think Kevin Garnett is his ceiling. If he can develop a lethal jump shot like KG as well as some post game, he will be a dynamic player in the NBA.
2. Thomas Robinson – F, Kansas
The Bobcats trading for Ben Gordon eliminates Bradley Beal from being a possible candidate at this spot. Charlotte is still discussing moving down to either the 3rd or 4th pick while adding other assets in the process. If that doesn’t happen, look for Thomas Robinson to be the pick. He’s ready to make an impact now for a team who needs a physical presence in the post with a legit offensive game. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is arguably the 2nd best prospect in this draft, but he doesn’t give Charlotte the scoring punch they sorely lack.
3. Bradley Beal – G, Florida
With the trade of Rashard Lewis being sent to New Orleans for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, that solidifies Washington’s small forward and center positions. John Wall is the star point guard and Nenê
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – F, Kentucky
This pick is reportedly between Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes, assuming that the Cavaliers don’t move up to #2 to take Bradley Beal. I think at the end of the day, they go with the player that is arguably the 2nd best player in the draft. Kidd-Gilchrist is the perfect teammate and while his offense is a work in progress, his defense, hustle and intangibles are all off the charts.
5. Harrison Barnes – F, North Carolina
Remember all the talk last year that Barnes could be the #1 pick of the draft? Well some scouts got really down on him this past season. With all the pre-draft workouts completed, he seems to be shooting back up draft boards and the Kings have their eyes on him. Some say his game is more suited for the NBA than college. He could potentially be the best player in this draft.
6. Damian Lillard – G, Weber State
With each new version of my mock draft, Lillard continues to rise. The Blazers could use a player like Lillard who can score the basketball and get others involved, but won’t risk waiting on him to fall to them at 11th pick. He’s the man for Portland at No. 6.
The Blazers own this pick due to the deal that sent Gerald Wallace to the Nets.
7. Andre Drummond – C, Connecticut
I badly want to put Dion Waiters here because I think he could be the pick, but I’ll stick with Drummond for the mere fact that some owner is going to want to draft a dynamic big man and won’t be able to pass them up. There are talks that Golden State is looking to ship this pick over to Denver in return for Wilson Chandler, which would be a great move for them. If they can’t find a veteran small forward for this pick, look for them to roll the dice on Drummond.
8. Dion Waiters – G, Syracuse
The Raptors are sorely lacking toughness on the offensive side of the basketball. Dion Waiters would change that. He is tough going to the hole and is one of the few players in this draft that can create his own offense.
9. John Henson – F, North Carolina
Unless Andre Drummond falls to No. 9, which is a definite possibility, this pick is basically a lock. Henson was brought in on a group workout against the following players: Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones and Perry Jones III. At the end of the day, reports came out that Henson was clearly the best player of the workout and the Pistons could use his defensive prowess in the worst way.
10. Tyler Zeller – C, North Carolina
A lot of people see Austin Rivers as the pick here and I can’t blame them for thinking that. With the trade to acquire the huge expiring contract that is Rashard Lewis, that will free up a ton of cap space for the Hornets to re-sign Eric Gordon, making Rivers a bit excessive. Pairing Zeller with Davis would give the Hornets an athletic front court to groom for years to come.
This pick is from Minnesota via the LA Clippers from the Chris Paul trade.
11. Meyers Leonard – C, Illinois
After grabbing a scoring combo guard earlier in the draft, the Blazers turn to the center position and Meyers Leonard who has been rising up draft boards recently. He’s a legit 7-0 tall, possibly 7-1 in shoes, and has a ton of potential and room to grow. Placing him next to Lamarcus Aldridge we give perhaps the longest front courts in the league along with Nicolas Batum.
12. Terrence Ross – G, Washington
The Bucks could really use some size, but with Tyler Zeller and Meyers Leonard off of the board, they turn their attention to one of the best shooters in the draft in Ross. Some may think that Austin Rivers is the better player between he and Ross, but Ross is far and away the better shooter and that gives him the nod in Milwaukee.
13. Austin Rivers – G, Duke
The Suns are in disarray. Steve Nash is leaving and there is not a single player on the team worth paying money to watch. Austin Rivers brings a sort-of star quality to the Suns. Sure he didn’t live up to the hype in his one season at Duke, but who could have? Rivers’ one-on-one game will translate better at the NBA level, but if he doesn’t fix that jump shot (his elbow constantly flies way out away from his chest), his offensive game will be inconsistent at best.
14. Jeremy Lamb – G, Connecticut
The Rockets own picks 14, 16 and 18 in this draft and are looking to flip them for either an instant impact veteran (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Josh Smith) or move into the top-10. With that said, there’s no way of knowing who will be picking in this spot, so I’ll give them the best available player in Jeremy Lamb.
15. Arnett Moultrie – F, Mississippi State
Moultrie is a big body with very good athletic ability. He’s a great scorer and can do it with his back to the basket or with the face-up game. The UTEP transfer shined in his one season at Mississippi State, even though they ended up missing the tournament. He’s got the size to play center as well.
16. Perry Jones III – F, Baylor
Again, there’s no way of knowing who is picking here. Perry Jones III is one of the more dynamic talents in the draft, but his motor and label of being soft is killing his draft stock. With three picks in the first round, the Rockets (assuming the unlikely that they keep all three) can certainly take a risk with Jones here.
This pick was sent to Houston in the Tracy McGrady trade.
17. Terrence Jones – F, Kentucky
Terrence Jones could go as early as #7 to Golden State, but this is his floor. He’s got all the physical tools to be a very good player, but will he put them all together and be motivated? He had a habit of disappearing for entire halves at a time at Kentucky, but he is certainly worth it at this point.
18. Moe Harkless – F, St. John’s
The Rockets are on the clock again… Highly doubtful but assuming they can’t find a trade partner for any of their picks, why not take another project player in Harkless? He’s got a high ceiling and is an athletic freak. He and Perry Jones III could develop for a couple of years or be flipped at the trade deadline for a team looking to rebuild. If the Rockets do consummate a trade involving Kyle Lowry and still hold on to this pick, Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague would be the pick here.
This pick was sent from Utah to Minnesota in the Darius Songaila trade made back in 2009. The pick was then dealt to Houston yesterday in exchange for Chase Budinger.
19. Jared Sullinger – F, Ohio State
For someone who could have been a top-3 pick last season, going back to school surely did not work out in his favor. He was projected to be in the lottery until the NBA doctors “red-flagged” him with a bad back and that has scared off lottery teams. Since then, the NBA has not invited him into the Green Room on draft night, either.
With the impending departure of Dwight Howard, Sullinger is certainly worth the risk here and would give Orlando a low-post scorer. He and Howard could not be any different athletically, but the reward outweighs the risk at this point of the draft.
20. Kendall Marshall – G, North Carolina
It’s weird, but you haven’t heard much of Marshall’s name the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft. I’m sure his wrist injury is not helping anything, but not a single peep. Anyways, Denver needs a point guard to back up Ty Lawson and Marshall is the best on the board.
21. Royce White – F, Iowa State
There were reports that the Celtics promised White they would take him at No. 21. Danny Ainge has recently refuted those rumors. What did you expect him to say? I think promise or not, he’s the pick here.
22. Andrew Nicholson – F, St. Bonaventure
I pegged Nicholson here in Version 3.0 and he is here to stay. A long, athletic forward that can block shots and knock down jumpers would be a great fit, especially if Kevin Garnett retires. A lot of people are clamoring for Fab Melo. In Version 2.0 of my mock, I had him here but have since soured on him and would dread it if they took him.
This pick is from the LA Clippers via Oklahoma City in the draft day trade that sent Eric Bledsoe to Los Angeles.
23. Marquis Teague – G, Kentucky
The Hawks could use another point guard to back up…hey, wait a minute! They have Jeff Teague on their roster already? Well, let’s make it a family affair and pick up the best point guard left in the draft in his brother Marquis.
24. Fab Melo – C, Syracuse
At some point, just like Andre Drummond, a team is going to look at Fab Melo and say that they can’t pass up an athletic seven-footer at this point of the draft. In this mock, Cleveland steps up to the plate and grabs him after passing on Drummond early in the draft for Kidd-Gilchrist.
This pick went to the Lakers in the Lamar Odom trade then to Cleveland in return for Ramon Sessions.
25. Tony Wroten Jr. – G, Washington
Highly skilled. Elite size for his position. Good athlete. These all describe Tony Wroten Jr. So why is he way down here at pick No. 25? Non-existent jump shot. Bad teammate. Disruptive in the locker room. Not very coachable. That will hurt the ‘ole draft stock for sure.
26.Draymond Green – F, Michigan State
The Pacers have a tendency to take four-year players in the draft (Roy Hibbert, Tyler Hansbrough) so I think Green could be the pick here. If not, look for Will Barton’s name to be called for the Pacers.
27. Jeffery Taylor – F, Vanderbilt
A great athlete, Taylor would be a welcomed addition to the Heat’s roster. Seniors always tend to slip in the draft and the better teams benefit from getting players that can contribute right away.
28. Evan Fournier – G, France
A typical draft-and-stash move here by the Thunder. Look for him to continue playing in Europe for at least another two years before being brought overseas.
29. Will Barton – G, Memphis
Barton is a capable scorer and would be a player the Bulls could groom as a second scorer behind Derrick Rose when he returns from injury. The Bulls could use a good shooter as well, so Doron Lamb and John Jenkins would be in the running here.
30. Quincy Miller – F, Baylor
Quincy Miller is still recovering from ACL surgery that he had his senior year of high school and has not impressed much in workouts. With that said, I think a team takes a shot on a kid with a ton of potential. The Warriors desperately need a small forward and Miller could be that guy.
This pick was sent to Golden State from San Antonio from the Richard Jefferson-Stephen Jackson trade.