The 2012 NBA Draft figures to consist of a deeper, more talented group of prospects that the 2011 class. Team needs HAVE been taken into consideration with this 2012 NBA mock draft and the order is based off the recent NBA Lottery results which conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day with since the league owned New Orleans Hornets won the right to pick first. Click on the players’ name for a complete, in-depth scouting report and the team name for a list of off-season needs.
(By the way, The Sports Bank was graded as the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.)
1. New Orleans- Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky, 6-10, Fr.
The Hornets enter the off-season with a huge need up-front since Chris Kaman and Carl Landry are free agents. Conspiracy theory or not; this is a major coop for a New Orleans team looking for star power after trading Chris Paul. Davis steps in and becomes the face of the franchise.
Go here for more on Anthony Davis
2. Charlotte- Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas, 6-9, Jr.
I give Thomas Robinson the nod over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist since Robinson is a better and more capable scorer which the Bobcats sorely need. He and Bismack Biyombo would create an undersized frontcourt and Charlotte doesn’t haven’t a lot of talent on the wing so this is really a toss up.
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3. Washington- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky, 6-7, Fr.
If MKG is on the board, the Wizards take him even though just drafted a defensive-minded small forward last year in Chris Singleton. If MKG goes second to Charlotte, the Wizards likely take Bradley Beal since Jordan Crawford is their only shooting guard under contract for next season.
Go here for more on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
4. Cleveland- Bradley Beal, SG, Florida, 6-3, Fr.
The Cavs biggest need is on the wing so Beal likely steps in and starts right away. He and Kyrie Irving would be a terrific young backcourt of the future. Andre Drummond would be a possiblility here too but Beal is the safer pick which Cleveland needs right now. I wouldn’t rule out Harrison Barnes here either.
Go here for more on Bradley Beal
5. Sacramento- Andre Drummond, C, UConn, 6-10, Fr.
Since releasing J.J. Hickson, the Kings suddenly have a need for some depth inside. Andre Drummond isn’t ready to make a major impact right away and is certainly a risky selection, but he does tremendous upside.
Is Drummond the next NBA franchise center? Go here for more.
6. Portland (from BRK)- Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina, 6-8, So.
The Blazers are in a position to take the best available player and in this scenario; it’s Harrison Barnes. He provides insurance on the wing in case either Nicolas Batum or Jamal Crawford leave via free agency. Adding a big man or point guard would also be option, but a bit of a reach this high.
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7. Golden State- Perry Jones, F, Baylor, 6-11, So.
Scouts are hot and cold on PJ3 with good reason. He has star potential but could also easily be a bust. The Warriors need some athleticism in their frontcourt and Jones should be able to play either forward position at the next level.
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8. Toronto- Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse, 6-4, So.
The Raptors could really use a scorer on the wing to help out DeMar DeRozan. I’ve been high on Dion Waiters all season long and suddenly everybody else is hopping on the bandwagon. He is so dangerous off the bounce and has some Dwyane Wade to his game.
9. Detroit- Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State, 6-11, Jr.
The Pistons could use an upgrade over the Ben Wallace/Jason Maxiell duo that Detroit used this past season to complement the skill level of Greg Monroe. Arnett Moultrie has the size and athleticism to play either frontcourt position that gives him the nod over somebody like Jared Sullinger.
10. New Orleans (from LAC via MIN)- Austin Rivers, SG, Duke, 6-4, Fr.
Since they added some size with their earlier pick, the Hornets should look to bolster their backcourt depth. Eric Gordon is a restricted free agent and Marco Belinelli is an unrestricted free agent so Austin Rivers gives them another option with name value.
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11. Portland- Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State, 6-2, Jr.
Raymond Felton is a free agent and coming off a disappointing season so the Blazers should be looking for an upgrade at the point even though they used their first round pick on Nolan Smith last year.
12. Milwaukee- Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State, 6-9, So.
In trading Andrew Bogut, the Bucks now have a huge hole in the middle as they don’t have a true center. Tyler Zeller isn’t the banger Milwaukee ideally covets so I think the Bucks go with Sullinger since he brings more physicality to the paint.
Go here for more on Jared Sullinger
13. Phoenix- Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina, 6-2, So.
Since Steve Nash is a free agent and not getting any younger, a floor leader of the future like Kendall Marshall seems like a smart pick. Jared Dudley and Josh Childress are the only wing players under contract for next season so a scorer like like Dion Waiters or Terrence Ross would also make sense if the team is confident they’ll be able to re-sign Nash.
Go here for more on Kendall Marshall
14. Houston- Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina, 7-0, Sr.
Marcus Camby will be a free agent and Samuel Dalembert is more of a short term fix so the Rockets will look at add size with one of their first rounders. Zeller gets the nod over his UNC teammate, John Henson.
Go here for more on Tyler Zeller
15. Philadelphia- John Henson, PF, 6-10, Jr.
Another big body would be the ideal fit for the 76ers since Spencer Hawes is a free agent. Henson is a paper thin but extremely long, athletic, and a solid shot blocker.
Go here for more on John Henson
16. Houston (from NY)- Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn, 6-5, So.
In addressing their need for size with their earlier pick, a shooting guard like Jeremy Lamb would allow the Rockets to possibly move Kevin Martin via trade. A point guard is another option since Goran Dragic is a free agent and Kyle Lowry is reportedly unhappy in Houston.
17. Dallas- Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky, 6-9, So.
Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Delonte West, and possibly Vince Carter will all be free agents meaning the Mavs need some new blood in their backcourt. However, Terrence Jones has top ten talent but happens to fall in this scenario so I would expect a team like the Mavs to end his slide. If Dallas does go need, Terrence Ross would be the guy.
18. Minnesota (from Utah)- Terrence Ross, SG, Washington, 6-6, So.
The T-Wolves need a shooting guard in the worst way and will be thrilled if Terrence Ross falls to them. Ross has lottery skill and could very well be off the board at this point.
19. Orlando- Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois, 7-1, So.
Since I cannot see the Dwight Howard situation playing out well in Orlando this season, the franchise needs to start thinking about a future replacement (sorry, Daniel Orton is NOT the answer.) I am not that high on Leonard but he is a solid value at 19.
20. Denver- Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky, 6-2, Fr.
The Nuggets have a solid core, but Andre Miller is a free agent meaning Denver could use some depth at the point so they would be looking at Tony Wroten or Marquis Teague. While Wroten has more up-side, he also has bust potential and can’t shoot the ball. I’ll roll the dice and say the Nuggets make the safer pick since “team” is valued by George Karl.
Go here for more on Marquis Teague
21. Boston- Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor, 6-9, Fr.
The Celtics could use improved depth at just about every position since they only have four players under contract for next season. Quincy Miller could have been a top ten pick in 2013 had he returned to school. He probably isn’t ready to make a major impact right away but could really be a home run pick in a couple of years.
22. Boston (from LAC via OKC)- Fab Melo, C, Syracuse, 7-0, So.
Sticking with the best available player theory, Melo is one of the true seven-footers in this draft and adds some needed size, rebounding, and shot blocking inside.
23. Atlanta- Tony Wroten, PG, Washington, 6-5, Fr.
With only six players under contract for next season, the Hawks take the best available player. They shouldn’t be sold on Jeff Teague as their starting point guard and if Wroten figures it out, he could end up being one of the top ten picks in this draft.
24. Cleveland (from LAL)- Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s, 6-8, Fr.
Grabbing Beal at four would address their need at shooting guard and Moe Harkless could be the answer at small forward. I really like Harkless due to his size, athleticism, and versatility and would love Cleveland’s first round picks.
25. Memphis- John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt, 6-4, Jr.
The Griz could use improved depth at just about every position but specifically in the backcourt. John Jenkins is a sharpshooter who provides a back-up plan in case restricted free agent O.J. Mayo leaves this off-season.
26. Indiana-Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky, 6-4, So.
The Pacers could use some size behind Roy Hibbert but with no big worth taking this high so they turn their attention elsewhere. Doron Lamb would be a solid replacement for free agent-to-be Leandro Barbosa as a scoring threat off the bench.
27. Miami- Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure, 6-9, Sr.
The Heat would probably love to add a true big man with this pick but instead settle for an inside/outside power forward like Andrew Nicholson who would provide some needed depth inside.
Go here for more on Andrew Nicholson
28. Oklahoma City- Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt, 6-7, Sr.
OKC has one of the best young cores in the NBA in Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. They don’t have any glaring needs but Jeffery Taylor is a do-it-all wing who could possibly crack the rotation.
29. Chicago- Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas, 6-3, Sr.
With Derrick Rose possibly having to miss the entire 2012-2013 season due to his torn ACL, the Bulls suddenly have to find some other options at point guard.
30. Golden State (from SA)- Royce White, PF, Iowa State, 6-8, Soph.
Due to his point forward ability, Royce White is a unique talent who could steal this late. He also fits a need as the Warriors will be looking for depth at power forward since trading Ekpe Udoh.
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.