NBA Mock Draft

Wednesday June 13th, 2012

2012 NBA Mock Draft 2.0
With the NBA draft combine behind us and the big day only two weeks away, it's time for an updated look at the first-round possibilities. Anthony Davis stays in the top spot, of course, but the rest of the order remains fluid and prospects' ongoing workouts with teams will lead to more changes. For now, though, Thomas Robinson moves up to No. 2, Terrence Jones climbs into the top 10 and Damian Lillard continues to be the only point guard in the lottery. (Note: Heights and weights are from the combine, with fractions rounded up. For the complete list of official measurements, click here.)
Anthony Davis
Despite the entire free world's being aware that the Hornets will take Davis first, he continued to pretend at the combine in Chicago that his status as the No. 1 pick wasn't "set in stone yet." But barring a trade involving the pick, Davis will be the big man who helps the Hornets rebuild. As if we didn't know that his ridiculous length wasn't a major part of his package, it was formally quantified at the combine, where he measured 6-10½ in shoes with a 7-5½ wingspan. Davis will need to work on his body in his first few seasons, though, as he weighed only 222 pounds.
Photo Gallery: Top picks in the lottery era
Thomas Robinson
I reserve the right to flip-flop on this pick all the way to the end, mainly because the Bobcats themselves will likely be doing the same thing. So it is, then, that Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist loses his Mock 1.0 spot here to the feisty and ferocious Robinson. Beyond the notion that Charlotte might trade its pick, the buzz about the Bobcats is that, despite general manager Rich Cho's considerable influence, it still comes down to which player Michael Jordan falls in love during this process. And while Kidd-Gilchrist is best known for his motor (something Jordan would surely love), the truth is Robinson has quite a motor himself while looking more like a franchise centerpiece-type player. They couldn't be any more different when it comes to bravado, either. Robinson let it be known at the combine that he thinks he should be the No. 1 pick. Kidd-Gilchrist took the aw-shucks approach while saying he simply hopes he gets picked.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Wizards' trade of young, maturity-challenged center JaVale McGee to Denver for veteran center Nene in March had as much to do with changing their culture as it did adding to the talent pool. In that regard, Kidd-Gilchrist would be a phenomenal fit. He was a leader of the highest order at Kentucky. His focus on defense would set the right kind of tone for a rebuilding team, and he also has the ability to get to the rim at will.
Harrison Barnes
North Carolina
While nothing has changed about the Cavs' love affair with Barnes, things could get very interesting if this scenario wound up playing out on draft night. Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal is also being strongly considered, and it's worth noting that his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has agreed to workouts with only the top four teams so far while denying requests by Sacramento (No. 5), Portland (No. 6) and Golden State (No. 7). Either player would be a quality addition to the young core led by Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.Barnes helped himself at the combine. He had a maximum vertical leap of 39½ inches (Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom had the highest mark at 41.5) and ran the fastest three-quarter court sprint at 3.16 seconds. Cleveland has four of the top 34 selections, and reported that the Hornets rejected Cleveland's offer of the fourth, 24th, 33rd and 34th picks for No. 1.
Bradley Beal
This space was initially reserved for North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, in part because he's the kind of proven, reliable talent that the Kings appear to be homing in on but also because I have reason to believe they like him quite a bit as a possible frontcourt partner to franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins. But the Beal appeal was ultimately too strong. Passing on him could wind up being the sort of move that haunts any executive -- in this case Sacramento president Geoff Petrie -- for years to come. But if this is how it shakes out, it will be complicated. As I mentioned, Beal has no current interest in working out for Sacramento and thus might not want to be there. What's more, the Kings have plenty of perimeter scorers -- Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette -- and drafting Beal would likely force them to shuffle the deck in other ways. Other possibilities here, with looming workouts expected to play a part: Kentucky power forward Terrence Jones, Baylor power forward Perry Jones, North Carolina power forward John Henson, Connecticut center Andre Drummond and Weber State point guard Damian Lillard.
Andre Drummond
The Blazers ignore those recurring nightmares about Greg Oden and opt for another big man with huge upside in Drummond. New general manager Neil Olshey won't be able to expect the instant stardom he experienced with the Clippers' Blake Griffin (after missing a season with a knee injury), but Drummond could be a potent partner to franchise cornerstone LaMarcus Aldridge. Drummond's raw skills and body are a major reason for his value, and his measurements at the combine did nothing to change that. He weighed 278 pounds with 7.5 percent body fat, and was 6-11¾ with shoes with an incredible 7-6¼ wingspan. As for the athleticism department, Drummond overstated his own prowess when he told reporters that he jumped about 38 inches. In reality, his jump was just 33½ inches.
Terrence Jones
The Terrence Jones buzz has been growing at Golden State, and he's as likely a pick as any if the team actually holds on to it. It doesn't hurt that he's represented by the same agency from which new general manager and former agent Bob Myers hails (the Wasserman Media Group), which was also the case when the team pursued Clippers center DeAndre Jordan as a restricted free agent last summer.But the win-now mode that owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have entered after trading for Andrew Bogut means they're looking for veteran small forward help (or, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, to trade up for Kidd-Gilchrist). This Jones or the one he faced off with in a Monday workout (Perry) doesn't appear ready to make that sort of impact right away.
Damian Lillard
Weber State
Lillard's rise has been steady, and his decision to participate combine drills paid off after he shined as a shooter and an athlete. The Raptors are seeking scorers to help an offense that ranked 29th in points per possession and could be looking for their next floor general now that incumbent point guard Jose Calderon is entering the final year of his contract (worth $10.6 million). Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters is under consideration as well.
Tyler Zeller
North Carolina
Sacramento isn't the only team contemplating Zeller and Henson as complementary pieces to its emerging center; Detroit is searching for help for Greg Monroe. I'm sticking with Zeller here because he has fewer red flags than Henson (specifically the fact that the latter is rail-thin and not very strong) and a more versatile game that could lead to a long and productive career. Zeller averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a senior while earning the ACC Player of the Year award. Henson won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award the last two seasons, but he also jumped just 30 inches at the combine and managed only five repetitions on the 185-pound bench press (Marquette forward Jae Crowder had the highest mark at 20 reps).
Jared Sullinger
Ohio State
The void at point guard left by Chris Paul would remain unfilled, but this pick would give the Hornets a young, intriguing frontcourt in the offensive-minded Sullinger and defensive-minded Davis. Sullinger is crafty, confident and more than skilled enough to produce at the next level despite the limitations in athleticism and physique. He averaged 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds as a sophomore, almost identical to his freshman season. Duke shooting guard Austin Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers and a close family friend of Hornets coach Monty Williams', is being seriously considered too. He can play both guard positions and could be a good fit with shooting guard Eric Gordon, a restricted free agent who is expected to be re-signed.
Dion Waiters
The supremely confident Waiters is an efficient and versatile scorer who could help replace Jamal Crawford, who is expected to opt out of his contract this summer. He may have passed the likes of UConn's Jeremy Lamb, Rivers and Washington's Terrence Ross in the shooting guard category. Waiters is believed to have a promise from a lottery team, and many suspect that it's Phoenix at No. 13. (Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo has made it clear he did not give Waiters a promise.) Pass-first North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall could be in play as well.
Meyers Leonard
Much like Lillard, Leonard was a combine All-Star by most accounts. He measured well (7-1¼ in shoes, with a 7-3 wingspan) and did more than enough to likely keep him in the lottery. After dealing Bogut, the Bucks could certainly use Leonard. He averaged 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Illinois after a freshman season in which he barely played. Zeller and Syracuse center Fab Melo will likely be considered.
Jeremy Lamb
While Waiters could be gone before the Suns have a chance to grab him, there is no shortage of talented two-guards from which to choose. Lamb is a smooth and athletic scorer (38-inch vertical) whose 6-11 wingspan gives him serious upside on the defensive end, too. He's jockeying for position here with Ross, whom I had going to Phoenix in Mock 1.0.
Perry Jones
The Rockets' front office is as calculated as they come. It has a habit of acquiring assets -- otherwise known as players -- that might not fit perfectly now but could come in handy later. But Jones, a top-10-worthy talent who has faced questions about his intensity level and inconsistent play, is both a good fit and a good asset (should the Rockets decide to trade him) if he falls this far. Though he's being billed as a small forward by his representatives, most teams see him as a power forward. He could play behind veteran forward Luis Scola while starting the process that he promises will take place: proving his critics wrong.
Austin Rivers
The Sixers are well-equipped in their backcourt with young Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, but Rivers could fit in nicely with his ability to create his own shot and play both positions. The bigger Ross is the better shooter and athlete of the two, but he doesn't have Rivers' versatility.
Terrence Ross
As I noted when I slotted Lamb here in the first mock draft, veteran shooting guard Kevin Martin has one year left on his contract but is unlikely to return via free agency and reserve shooting guard Courtney Lee is a restricted free agent this summer. Ross, who has deep range, size and athleticism, could turn out to be a great get here.
Kendall Marshall
North Carolina
Point guard is an uncertain position for the Mavericks, who have Jason Kidd about to test free agency and are set to chase Deron Williams on the open market. With free agency being settled after the draft, Dallas could use the point guard who is considered the best passer in the bunch by far. "At this next level, they have enough scorers in the NBA," said Marshall, who was second in the nation with 9.8 assists last season. "I'm not going to the NBA to average 20 points a game. I'm there to do what I do best, and that's make other guys better."
John Henson
North Carolina
Even if Henson fell this far, the fact remains that his defensive impact and ability to contribute in other areas as well make him Anthony Davis-lite in this draft crop. He averaged 2.9 blocks last season and 3.2 in 2010-11, along with improving his scoring (from 11.7 points as a sophomore to 13.7 as a junior) and maintaining his solid rebounding (10.1 as a sophomore, 9.9 as a junior). The Wolves, who are also looking at Iowa State forward Royce White here, would welcome a rim defender like Henson who could spark stops and get out and run with point guard Ricky Rubio.
Arnett Moultrie
Mississippi State
Moultrie told reporters in Chicago that he expected to be taken anywhere from No. 7 to No. 17, but he'd be a terrific match with the Magic. The possibility that Dwight Howard could be traded is back in play and Orlando has room for improvement anyway in a frontcourt that includes Ryan Anderson and Glen Davis. Moultrie averaged 16.4 points (on 54.9 percent shooting) and 10.5 rebounds last season.
Marquis Teague
As good as the point guard combo of Ty Lawson and Andre Miller was for the Nuggets, Miller is a free agent and may not be back. I had Washington point guard Tony Wroten here before, but I'm told that the Nuggets have their eyes on the younger brother of Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. Marquis Teague doesn't have the aggressive scoring mentality of Wroten, but he is a speedy floor leader who would be comfortable playing at Denver's typically fast pace.
Fab Melo
At different points in the Celtics' inspired season, they publicly lamented the losses of reserve big men Jermaine O'Neal and Chris Wilcox to injury while also reportedly exploring the possibility of re-signing retired big man Rasheed Wallace. More depth down low, in other words, would be welcome. O'Neal, Wilcox and reserve center Ryan Hollins will be unrestricted free agents (not to mention Kevin Garnett), and reserve center Greg Stiemsma will be a restricted free agent. Melo is an enormous defensive presence who could find a significant reserve role.
Moe Harkless
St. John's
With Mickael Pietrus heading into free agency, the athletic, versatile Harkless could slide into the backup small forward spot behind Paul Pierce. The Big East Rookie of the Year averaged 15.3 points last season, but he shot just 44.5 percent overall and 20.2 percent from three-point range. His impact elsewhere entices front-office types who watched him average 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals. Numerous executives told me he helped his cause at the combine.
Will Barton
Barton's stock appears to be on the rise, and he'll have his chance to make his case for the Hawks when he works out in Atlanta next Wednesday. He averaged 18 points (on 50.9 percent shooting from the field and 34.6 percent from three-point range), 8.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals last season. His accuracy improved greatly from his freshman season, when he shot 42.8 percent overall and 26.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Andrew Nicholson
St. Bonaventure
Cleveland will lose a big chunk of its frontcourt scoring with free agent forward Antawn Jamison's expected departure. Nicholson could provide some of that and help in other areas, too, after averaging 18.5 points (while adding a three-point shot) 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in leading St. Bonaventure to the Atlantic 10 championship and its first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years. He worked out with Melo for Phoenix (No. 13) on Tuesday, according to the Arizona Republic, but is more likely to land in this part of the first round.
Tony Wroten
Wroten could creep up into the teens, but he is, in many ways, a classic late first-round pick. The speed, strength and aggressive offensive game are tremendous, but he's been criticized for his decision-making (more turnovers than assists last season) and ability to play under control. He also shot only 16.1 percent from three-point range. If he figures it out, though, he could wind up proving those advocates right who compare him to Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook. And Memphis added Gilbert Arenas to play behind Mike Conley this season, after all, so this would be worth a shot.
Royce White
Iowa State
If the engaging, well-spoken White's media sessions were any indication, then he was successful in discussing what is the most complex personal situation of any prospect. White's anxiety order causes, among other things, a fear of flying that he continues to work through and says wasn't an issue last season. The 21-year-old discovered it when he was 16. "It's not as much of a challenge as people think," he told reporters after his workout with the Pacers. "But it's something I live with every day and have to be conscious of." He is a rare talent, a point-forward type with some guard skills but a guy who can also play the role of scoring and rebounding big man. He struggled shooting on the first day of the combine and was one of only four players who didn't take part in the strength and agility tests -- neither of which helps his stock.
Draymond Green
Michigan State
Miami is desperate for players beyond its Big Three who can be versatile and provide some offense. Green, who performed well at the combine, would be a good addition in that regard. He averaged 16.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists as a senior, including 17.7 points, 13.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists in three NCAA tournament games.
Jeff Taylor
Taylor would give the Thunder another potential defensive stopper to go with shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha and get small forward Kevin Durant more backup help. He can score, too. Most of his offense came from attacking the rim in his first three seasons at Vanderbilt, but he started developing three-point range as a junior and made it a weapon as a senior when he shot 42.3 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 16.1 points.
Evan Fournier
Poitiers (France)
With point guard and 2010-11 MVP Derrick Rose sidelined 8-to-12 months after tearing his ACL in the playoffs, and with shooting guard Richard Hamilton showing his age (34) during an injury-filled season, the Bulls could use another scorer in their backcourt. There's no way of telling just yet whether Fournier can be the penetrating, playmaking perimeter threat in the NBA that he has been while playing for France, but he's worth gambling on here.
Quincy Miller
The Warriors wouldn't be relying on Miller to fill their need for a starting small forward, but he has enough talent to make you wonder if he could eventually play that role. Miller, whose torn ACL during his senior season in high school set him back after he was Slam magazine's top prospect of the 2011 class in 2010, said he expects to go anywhere from the late lottery to "the 20s." But he could also fall into the second round.

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