The 2012 NBA Draft is getting closer and closer, so we’re going to pound out another mock draft. Here’s how we have things shaking down in the first round:
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Davis is a game-changer and the Hornets will bet he’s a franchise-changer, too. Judging by his freakish combo of size and athleticism, I’ll assume he is.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
I know Barnes isn’t the guy most draft gurus have here, but Michael Jordan is a former Tarhell and the Bobcats need a sure-fire difference-maker. Barnes is a Tarheel, too, and he has the goods to be that necessary change for a struggling franchise.
3. Washington Wizards – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G/F, Kentucky
Is Jordan Crawford the answer as the number two? I’m not so sure, while MKG’s versatility could allow him to play the three if need be, too.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andre Drummond, F/C, UConn
Cleveland continues to beef up their inside game. Drummond can play forward or center, and has the potential to be a dominant inside force. Antawn Jamison is aging, so it’s time to get someone to pair with Tristan Thompson.
5. Sacramento Kings – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Sacramento could use another big man, while Robinson has nice athleticism and versatility to boot. He’ll be a great addition to a talented team that simply needs to mature and grow together.
6. Portland Trailblazers – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Portland needs to look for a new answer at point guard with Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford likely headed elsewhere.
7. Golden State Warriors – Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
The Warriors could use some more fire power off the bench, and Beal may just be too talented to pass up.
8. Toronto Raptors – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Toronto is rumored to be enamored with Waiters, and they could use some help at guard.
9. Detroit Pistons – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
A lot of people have Sullinger dropping much further, but he’s a big, strong guy with nice tools. I just don’t see him outside of the top-10. Detroit could use some more inside help, and Sullinger has a developing jumper that makes him a versatile threat.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
New Orleans may not be able to hang onto Eric Gordon, so landing an offensive difference-maker at shooting guard could be a good move.
11. Portland Trailblazers – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Portland has had terrible success at the center position, while Leonard has the size and tools to develop into a force inside at the next level.
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Perry Jones III, F, Baylor
I love Jones’s talent and potential, and don’t see how he slips much further than this. With Leonard gone, the Bucks can’t reach for a center so they grab a versatile forward in Jones and cross their fingers he realizes his immense potential.
13. Phoenix Suns - Arnett Moultrie, PF, Miss State
Phoenix continues to change the face of their offense by adding big men who can score.
14. Houston Rockets - Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
I think Jones is better than the 14th player, but this is how it goes sometimes. Houston is stocked with talent, but Jones can help at either forward position, so he’s a steal in the middle of round one.
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
Rivers depends on isolation a bit too much for my liking, but he’s young and has the offensive ability to develop into something special. A jolt of offense is exactly what a young 76ers team needs, and Rivers can provide a deadly outside shot right away.
16. Houston Rockets - John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Houston may not get Marcus Camby or Samuel Dalembert back, and even if they do, they need to start thinking about the future. Henson is a pure defensive-stopper at the moment, but that’ll do with the 16th pick.
17. Dallas Mavericks – Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Jason Kidd is ancient and the future isn’t in Dallas. Even if they plan on reeling in Deron Williams, they could still get a steady point guard to groom like Marshall.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
Make it three in a row for the Tarheels! Zeller isn’t as strong as you’d like, but he’s pretty well-rounded and hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. Minnesota is loaded with talent, but another big body gives them even more flexibility.
19. Orlando Magic - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
The Magic are officially rebuilding as soon as Dwight Howard gets traded. A good way to start is make sure their offense stays solid. Ross will help make sure of it.
20. Denver Nuggets – Moe Harkless, PF, St. Johns
Denver is a solid, balanced team, so the addition of a big man like Harkless is a luxury pick.
21. Boston Celtics – John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Ray Allen is almost certainly gone, so Jenkins could fill his role as an outside shooter in year one.
22. Boston Celtics – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Melo is raw but oozing with potential, while he has the size and strength to contribute right away. Kevin Garnett could walk and Boston has questions at power forward and center.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Jeffrey Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Atlanta should prepare for possibly unloading Josh Smith or Joe Johnson. Even if they keep them both, Taylor could provide a great offensive spark off the bench.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Royce White, SF, Iowa State
Cleveland continues to bolster it’s growing team with a versatile offensive weapon in White.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Memphis needs more inside help with Zach Randolph starting to become expendable.
26. Indiana Pacers – Tony Wroten, SG, Washington
Indiana could use some offensive help, and Wroten is too talented to drop much further.
27. Miami Heat – Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
Lamb is a great outside shooter and the Heat clearly need help out of their bench.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Ezeli is raw, but he’s a beast with great strength. The Thunder need more size and strength inside, and he’ll give them exactly that.
29. Chicago Bulls – Quincy Miller, PF, Baylor
Chicago looks to get bigger and more athletic inside with Miller.
30. Golden State Warriors – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Teague is probably too talented to fall this far, but if he does the Warriors will grab him as insurance if Stephen Curry keeps having ankle problems.