2012 NBA Mock Draft — CHJ Edition 1.0
We’re less than two months away from the 2012 NBA draft. Ousted playoff teams are now looking forward to the next monumental event on the NBA calendar, where needs are met and hope is renewed. Here’s my take on how the first round will shape up:
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis will go first in the 2012 NBA draft on June 28. He’s the perfect combination of skill, potential and NBA-readiness. Davis will contribute right away on the defensive side of the ball, and his offensive game steadily improved in his only year at Kentucky.
2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Washington is in prime position to fill some need in this draft. Stealing the number one pick from Charlotte would be optimal and Davis would fit perfectly beside Nene in the middle. Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal are both excellent consolation prizes, as the Wizards have a need on the wing.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, Florida
Cleveland would love to land the number one pick, but the odds are against them. Beal provides immediate help to Kyrie Irving in the Cavs backcourt.
4. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, Kansas
The Hornets need instant production. Robinson has an NBA body and will be able to step right in and contribute.
5. Sacramento Kings: Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
This is a tough pick for Sacramento. Sullinger is a low-risk player with little upside, but his offensive game is polished. Andre Drummond is high-risk. but potentially high-reward. Both players fill a need inside for the Kings.
6. Portland Trailblazers (via New Jersey): Andre Drummond, Connecticut
Drummond alongside LaMarcus Aldridge would create a formidable frontcourt for Nate McMillan. But will the Portland front office be willing to draft another center surrounded by red flags? Drummond has the NBA body but was timid and inconsistent in his only year at Connecticut.
7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Small forward is a need for Golden State. Some scouts may question Barnes’ ability to create his own shot, but with superb passing bigs like David Lee and Andrew Bogut, he should fit right in for Mark Jackson.
8. Toronto Raptors: Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Toronto really can’t go wrong with this pick. They have needs across the board, and Moultrie fits the bill down low. His improvement last year at Mississippi State was remarkable compared to his time at UTEP, which makes him a not-so-surprising reach here for Toronto.
9. Detroit Pistons: Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
Another lanky wingman may not be what Detroit needs, but Lamb is one of the best players available and can score from anywhere.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota): Austin Rivers, Duke
New Orleans addressed their “instant production” need with their first pick. Here, the Hornets address a “volume scorer” need. Rivers certainly isn’t lacking in confidence, and he’ll attract fans to a hurting franchise.
11. Portland Trailblazers: Perry Jones III, Baylor
One out of two should succeed, right? PJ3 and Drummond have their proverbial “red flags,” but if both live up to snuff, this will be the best draft in recent memory for Portland.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson, North Carolina
Henson gives Milwaukee a great defensive option should Ersan Ilyasova leave via free agency. This is the epitome of a “safe pick.”
13. Phoenix Suns: Damian Lillard, Weber State
With the impending departure of Steve Nash, Phoenix will need to draft a point guard. Lillard is a scorer at heart and could start right away for Alvin Gentry.
14. Houston Rockets: Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert are not long-term options at center for Houston. Zeller may not be a franchise center, but he can be a quality big for years. His experience makes him a contributor from day one.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Jones, Kentucky
This is a perfect fit for both Philadelphia and Jones. He’ll need mentoring in his first few years, something that Elton Brand would provide.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York): Terrence Ross, Washington
Ross is one of the best shooters in this class, and Houston could use depth on the wing behind Kevin Martin. Great fit.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
There is no better way to start a youth movement than drafting a point guard. Marshall is the best “pure point” in this class, and his court vision is incredible. He’ll be a great heir to Jason Kidd in Dallas.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah): Quincy Miller, Baylor
Miller didn’t see overwhelming success in his only year at Baylor, but he was productive. His potential makes him a great pick for the T-Wolves with the 18th pick.
19. Orlando Magic: Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt
Meyers Leonard is an intriguing option here for Orlando with the drama surrounding Dwight Howard. Taylor, however, is a safer option. He’s an elite athlete and defender, a combination that is hard to come by in this class.
20. Denver Nuggets: Moe Harkless, St. John’s
Harkless is more “raw” compared to Taylor, but they share the same qualities. Harkless needs time to develop, but he’ll flourish in the Nuggets’ up-tempo offense.
21. Boston Celtics: Meyers Leonard, Illinois
The most pressing concerns for Boston are age and size. Leonard provides an upgrade in both areas, and could prove to be a franchise center down the road.
22. Boston Celtics (via LA Clippers): Dion Waiters, Syracuse
Waiters fits perfectly in Boston. His size is a concern, but with the defensive prowess of Rajon Rondo, he would be able to guard the shortest player on the court. Don’t be surprised, however, if Boston trades these two picks for a higher selection.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Fab Melo, Syracuse
Atlanta needs youthful depth in the frontcourt behind Al Horford and Josh Smith. Melo is far from polished, but his defense would be an instant asset for the Hawks.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Lakers): Royce White, Iowa State
White is a top five talent in the 2012 class. He held his own (and then some) against the Kentucky front line in the NCAA tournament. His skill set is terrific for a player that probably won’t be selected in the top ten.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Will Barton, Memphis
O.J. Mayo may not return to Memphis next year. Barton is one of the best shooting guards available. This is a hometown selection that just makes sense.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Teague is another one-and-done that had much to gain if he stayed in school. His decision-making in college wasn’t the best and his shot needs work. However, he’s a bully defensively and has NBA pedigree. Not a bad late-round selection for the Pacers.
27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, Michigan State
The Heat are one of the most talented teams in the NBA, and they don’t have many holes to fill. Green is a do-it-all player and can contribute right away.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson has quietly improved his numbers every year for the Bonnies. He’s added a three point shot to a steadily improving offensive repertoire and isn’t a fraud defensively, either. OKC could use a seasoned frontcourt player like Nicholson behind Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison.
29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Shooting guard is a glaring need in Chicago. Lamb and John Jenkins are both shooters that excel from beyond the arc, and both make sense for the Bulls.
30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio): Tony Wroten Jr., Washington
Stephen Curry is an All-Star, but his durability is a huge question mark for the future. Wroten gives the Warriors a viable backup plan should Curry fall to injury again.
Potential is a term thrown around more than any other at this time of year. The hype around each player makes the NBA draft so captivating, and this hype will give optimism to franchises across the league.