The 2012 NBA Draft is back in full force on Thursday night, so it’s high time we got out our final mock draft of the year. This is a deeper draft class than usual, although there aren’t necessarily a ton of sure-fire superstar players.
Still, plenty of teams are looking for that next gem to polish off, and there are at least 5-10 guys with limitless potential. Let’s see what each team will do through the first two rounds of the 2012 NBA Draft:
1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Davis needs to get bigger and stronger inside, but he already has range and you can’t teach his size and versatility. He’s a franchise changer and
David Stern the Hornets know that.
Robinson is perfectly built for the NBA power forward position and brings an improving jumper. Charlotte needs more hard workers with natural talent, along with some inside help. Robinson fits the bill.
I’m not sold on Jordan Crawford as the long-term answer at the two spot. Beal is the better natural talent and is probably a more consistent shooter. Washington needs stronger guard play and they’ll get it with Beal.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G/F, Kentucky
Cleveland has a point guard and power forward, so now they need a slasher who can score. He’ll be a perfect complement to Kyrie Irving. This offense could hum in 2012.
Tyreke Evans refuses to play small forward anymore, so he’ll either get traded or move back to the one or the two. Either way, that opens up a spot for the talented Barnes, who is a steal at five.
6. Portland Trail Blazers - Andre Drummond, C, UConn
Portland hasn’t had much luck with centers over the years, but they’ll have to cut their losses and take a shot on Drummond. He’s raw, but he has excellent size and a limitless ceiling. He’s worth the risk.
Stephen Curry’s ankles are always suspect and the Warriors could use a more long-term option behind him, either way. Consider Lillard a combo pack of insurance and depth.
Toronto is reportedly smitten with Waiters, and they could use some more offense out of their guards.
Henson isn’t as big as you’d like, but he’s a shot-blocker with room to grow. Detroit turns back the clock and gets a nasty inside presence to get their defense back on track.
Rivers is an underrated scoring talent, as he can spot up or create his own shot. Eric Gordon may not want to stick in NO, so this is a good insurance pick, while Rivers is a heck of a bench shooter at the very least.
Portland could possibly lose both Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum, so they protect themselves with a versatile wing man in Ross here.
I’m betting Houston trades most of their picks if they go after Dwight Howard. But whether they do or not, Leonard is too talented to fall much further.
The Suns will probably stick with a similar offense with or without Steve Nash. They grab an athletic shooter to improve their outside game here.
14. Milwaukee Bucks - Perry Jones III, F, Baylor
I see Meyers Leonard here a lot, and it makes sense, but how can the Bucks pass up a guy dripping with talent like Jones? He has some rough edges, but he’s a superstar in the making. They have to take a chance on him.
Elton Brand is slowing down and Spencer Hawes is always hurt. Time for Philly to get another big body that can score.
No, I don’t think the Rockets draft two centers back to back. But I also don’t think they keep either of these picks. Zeller is a borderline top-15 talent. I can’t see him dropping much further.
Jason Kidd is ancient and Delonte West isn’t the answer. With or without Deron Williams, Dallas needs to get younger and better at the point.
This pick could make sense if Houston kept it, as they just shipped off a small forward (Budinger) to get this pick. I just can’t see Harkless dropping much further.
19. Orlando Magic - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Sullinger’s disrespect stops here, as Orlando is starting over and gets a new (and different) big man to man the middle.
Denver bolsters their size a bit with Nicholsan. Birdman is aging and JaVale McGee is inconsistent.
Pure talent/best player available pick here. Boston is aging and doesn’t have a ton of talent to work with these days. Jones is super talented, and probably should be gone by this point.
Ezeli isn’t a freak athlete, but he’s strong inside and plays good defense. Boston could opt for Fab Melo, too, but I think Ezeli is the better risk.
23. Atlanta Hawks - Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Melo is a project, but he could end up paying off in a big way. Ultimately, he could take over at center and allow Al Horford to slide to his more natural power forward position.
Cleveland just grabs the best talent on the board, and that’s the silky smooth White, who could easily end up being a starter in a couple of years.
Miller is explosive and strong inside, and Memphis could use some extra muscle after seeing what life is like without Zach Randolph.
The Pacers are fine on their wings right now, but Danny Granger is often the subject of trade rumors. Taylor will back him up to start, but could one day replace him.
Teague still needs to learn the point guard position, but he’s arguably more talented than Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. He could take over as the lead point guard in a couple of years.
Instead of reaching for some help inside, the Thunder add to a strength at the guard position. Derek Fisher is aging and Eric Maynor is returning from a knee injury, so it’s a good depth move.
Chicago is always talking about making an upgrade at shooting guard, and Jenkins makes a ton of sense. He’ll bring instant offense off the bench.
Golden State keeps thinking about trading for a new small forward, but they might have their guy here in Fournier. Fournier is versatile and brings major clutch ability.
Green has the talent to make it into the first round, so Charlotte gets a steal to begin round two.
Washington keeps adding depth to their forwards with Barton, who can score in bunches and can also play the two.
Cleveland gets Kyrie Irving another shooter to sit outside. Even as a second-rounder, Lamb could make an impact as a shooter off the bench.
Cleveland grabs an overseas talent that they can slowly groom in Aldemir.
Plumlee has first round talent and plays strong around the rim. If Andrew Bogut doesn’t stay healthy, the Warriors will need reinforcements.
Tyreke Evans could be on his way out, so why not get some more depth on the wing?
James is older than you like, but Toronto needs all the help inside they can get.
Denver gets some wing help in the cerebral English. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but is otherwise a steal in the second round.
Detroit takes a chance on a Kentucky kid, as Miller clearly has talent.
Portland will have point guard concerns heading into 2012, so grabbing a gem in Taylor is a good move. He’s not a pure point guard, but he has ideal size and athleticism for the position, so he’s worth the gamble.
Portland has hit some major needs in this draft, and now they beef up their big man rotation with Gordon.
Green has his limitations in terms of raw ability, but he’s very strong and athletic, and carries considerable upside. Milwukee just adds some muscle to the rotation here and hopes Green can develop an offensive game.
Atlanta could wind up moving Josh Smith in the future, so they grab a versatile wing man who can hopefully help out in the rotation in the future.
Detroit just lost some scoring in Ben Gordon, so they’ll aim for the future with Murphy here. He’s weak and needs to develop his offensive game, but he’ll provide outside scoring right away.
Philly always talks about moving Andre Iguodala, so Joseph could be a nice guy to add to the rotation if they ever actually do it. He has great size and athleticism, but seems to be missing a necessary killer instinct.
The Hornets add some muscle to their big man rotation in Jones. He’s under-sized and isn’t an elite athlete, but has a nice offensive game and plays hard.
Utah could really use an offensive spark off the bench. They may have found one here with Johnson-Odom.
The Knicks know real talent is hard to come by in the second round, so they’ll take a flier on an overseas guy here and see if he can grow into something special down the road.
With or without Dwight Howard, the Magic are still built to shoot the three. Why not bring in a guy who specializes in doing exactly that?
I’m not a believer in Javale McGee ever developing into anything more than what he currently is, so why not add another center to the mix?
Boston isn’t usually known for their hands reaching overseas, but Satoransky is an interesting talent and could be worth a look. They’re trying to get younger, and Satoransky brings excellent versatility as a lead guard or spot-up shooter.
The Bogut health question again. Sims could come in for depth/insurance.
A long forward with a versatile offensive game, Shengelia is a project with considerable upside. The Clippers could draft him and reel him back in after a few years of development.
Sacre might need to get a bit stronger, but with Spencer Hawes struggling to stay healthy, Philly could use the depth.
Dallas digs into Croatia to find a new big man to add to their rotation. He probably won’t make an impact for a few years, but they’ll hold onto his rights.
Has a developing all-around game but biggest asset is his athleticism and ability to finish around the rim. He’ll add size and explosiveness to Toronto’s bigs.
He’s from a small school and lacks elite athleticism, but Machado is a superb leader and passer. If Deron Williams jets, this could be a nice find for the Nets.
Minnesota takes a chance on a unique 7-footer in Gobert.
Tony Parker has a hurt eye and the Spurs are always looking for a foreign gem. This one just makes a ton of sense.
The Lakers probably won’t even keep Young, but at least he’s a big wing who can score and brings nice versatility to the table.