It is an annual tradition here during the NBA All-Star break to re-do the NBA Draft lottery from the previous year. The Sports Bank’s NBA Draft Nerd, David Kay and Peter Christian will alternate re-drafting the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft taking into account what they know about the rookies based off their performances so far this season. They will factor in how each team’s roster looked at the time of the draft and give their reasons as to why the selection would be made.
(DK) Davis was the obvious top pick in June and that hasn’t changed much despite the fact that he has battled nagging little injuries throughout the year. He still has the best chance to be a star at the next level of anyone in this draft class though I did think about Damien Lillard for a brief second.
(PC) I wasn’t completely convinced that Anthony Davis was the consensus number one overall pick back in June. I’m more convinced now but it’s more a result of the rest of the draft class not being as good as I expected.
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Re-do pick: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
Actual pick: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
(PC) I’m a big believer in the philosophy that you draft the best talent available and you fill roster needs via free agency. That is why I take Lillard here even though the Bobcats already have Kemba Walker. Lillard has been fantastic this season and is my mid-season pick for the rookie of the year. Dude is definitely League and he will be for a while.
(DK) MKG is definitely the better fit for Charlotte since they already have Kemba at the point but it is hard to pass up Lillard since he is the Rookie of the Year thus far and has all the makings of being a legit lead point guard. It is the debate of best available versus need and I can’t really argue.
(DK) Despite having Trevor Ariza and Chris Singleton, the Wiz have been forced to turn to Martell Webster as their starting small forward. MKG would bring some needed competitive fire and all around ability to Washington.
(PC) I’m an MKG believer, I still think he’ll turn out to be a good NBA player. However, I don’t think he’s the best fit for the Wizards. They need scoring. MKG isn’t a true wing scoring option. Harrison Barnes is. I’d go with him here.
(PC) Waiters was drafted to be a shooter to open up space for Kyrie Irving. Waiters has struggled with his shooting but has still found a way to score nearly 15 points per game (hat tip to Uncle Drew/Kyrie Irving on that one). Barnes is shooting better than Waiters and with Irving could easily see his scoring output surpass Waiters. These are good things for the Cavs.
(DK) I don’t think anybody mistook Waiters as a shooter (you know he is my boy but even I was shocked he went this high.) I think Barnes makes sense but I’d lean towards another capable outside threat like Bradley Beal.
(DK) Though still a huge work in progress, Drummond showed signs of being a true defensive presence at the rim before suffering a back injury that has sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. With the ongoing Boogie Cousins saga in Seattle… er, Sacramento, having a big man like Drummond would make Cousins expendable and provide a real shot blocker inside.
(PC) Admittedly, I thought Drummond was going to be a joke of an NBA player. My bad. Drummond is a good pick here.
6. Portland Blazers
Re-do pick: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Actual pick: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
(PC) Without Lillard on the board, the Blazers are screwed. It worked out really well for them on actual draft day because they got the best player available (maybe overall) and filled a desperate need. Now, with the redo, the luxury of getting the best of both worlds is gone. Reverting to my philosophy from earlier (see: 2nd overall pick) I take Beal because I think he’s the most talented player left.
(DK) Yeah, Portland struck gold on draft night with Lillard and with no point guard even close to worth taking this high, the best available theory seems logical. Waiters could maybe play the point so I might lean towards taking him (man-crush aside), but probably stick with Beal.
(DK) Small forward was definitely the route to go for Golden State but with Barnes off the board, the Warriors look elsewhere. Prior to this pick, the Warriors didn’t have Carl Landry or Festus Ezeli yet so frontcourt depth was needed. I still think Robinson will be a good pro. He’s just stuck on a crummy team in Sac-town with no direction.
(PC) Oh dear, this draft is getting gross fast. Robinson is really the ONLY option left. The Warriors have surpassed expectations by finding a good mesh and having great chemistry. Robinson, by all measures, wouldn’t disrupt that chemistry with his floor minutes or his personality.
8. Toronto Raptors
Re-do pick: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
Actual pick: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
(PC) Waiters was a bit of a reach to go number 4 overall and plenty of people voiced their opinions about that fact. However, he hasn’t been a bust. He’s been a decent scoring option on a bad team, which is what Toronto is as well. By selecting Waiters, this likely means he’d be a combo guard to mesh with Jose Calderon and DeMar Derozan in multiple rotations.
(DK) Don’t forget about Kyle Lowry too. The Waiters/DeRozen duo on the wing isn’t a great shooting combo but Waiters can’t slide lower than this with the remaining guys left on the board.
(DK) I debated between Henson and Jared Sullinger but Sullinger’s recent season-ending back injury raises a red flag so Henson wins out in the end since he is healthy and provides the Pistons with a needed rim protector.
(PC) Sullinger’s injury sucks because he would have been a good fit next next to Monroe… I think. Henson on the other hand is a good rim protector but he’s soft and easily pushed around by NBA big men.
(PC) If you were to rank the lottery disappointments from last season, Austin Rivers would be on the podium. He got thrown to the wolves a little bit to start the season with Eric Gordon out, but it was pretty clear he was not ready. Ross, meanwhile has been able to find his shooting stroke and just seems more comfortable on the floor. BTW, I don’t feel good about this.
(DK) I don’t think we’ll feel good about any pick from here on out. Ross appears to have a higher ceiling than Rivers from what we’ve seen early on and New Orleans needed an option at the two guard since Gordon was a restricted free agent at the time of the draft. Plus, Ross could play some three alongside Gordon on the wing.
(DK) If there were a point guard on the board worth taking this high, I would do so but there is nobody even close. I’ll stick with size but avoid Leonard at all costs (though he has been more productive than I thought thus far.) This pick might make you vomit and it’s definitely need over best available but Zeller has been solid filling in at center in Cleveland for an injured Anderson Varejao and the Blazers needed size with one of their picks.
(PC) Oh my God. I don’t think I can live in a world where Tyler Zeller is a lottery pick. That said, thank God it’s not Meyers Leonard here. David, you are right Zeller has been solid. I can’t believe I just said those words. I think I’m gonna go puke. I feel like I just found out Santa Claus isn’t real.
12. Houston Rockets
Re-do pick: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
Actual pick: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
(PC) This is really difficult because so much of Houston’s 2012-13 roster was assembled (or disassembled) after the draft. On draft day they still had Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic and didn’t have Jeremy Lin, James Harden and Omer Asik. Positionally, they really needed a center (which would probably be Meyers Leonard) but going best available, I suppose it’s still Lamb. I mean Sam Presti took him back in the biggest trade he’s ever pulled the trigger on and Sam Presti is really, really, really smart.
(DK) Yeah, Houston is a difficult one… and you still get to make two more picks for them. Good luck with that. It is kind of sad that the 12th overall pick in our draft re-do has spent a good chunk of the season in the D-League but the potential is there.
(DK) Marshall seemed like a terrific fit at the time since Steve Nash was heading for free agency but the former Tar Heel has been a disappointed thus far though he has been contributing more as of late. The Suns needed wing depth as well at the time of the draft and since they are in a re-building mode. Rivers has a lot of maturing to do but if he ever figures it out, should be decent.
(PC) Saying Rivers needs maturing is like saying that Lena Dunham shows unnecessary skin on “Girls.” No duh. Speaking of “Girls” and Dunham, hey Lena, we get it, you are comfortable with your body even though it’s an atypical Hollywood body. We get it. No really. We do.
(PC) In Aaron Afflalo’s absence, Harkless has seen his PT skyrocket. He hasn’t been super consistent with the opportunity but he’s shown glimpses of being a League ball player. I must also include that Moe Harkless is a sweet effing name.
(DK) I was really high on Harkless heading into the draft and think he’ll be a top ten prospect to come out this draft. I am not sure he is a good fit for Milwaukee but beggars can’t be choosers at this point… or something like that.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
Re-do pick: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Actual pick: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
(DK) This pick ended up going to Orlando in the Dwight Howard four-team deal. (By the way, how terrible was this trade for Philly? Giving up Iggy and this pick for Andrew Bynum’s expiring contract and injury issues. Bynum hasn’t played a single game this year and probably signs elsewhere in the off-season. Suckers.) I’m not sure how Taylor slipped into the second round (oh wait, yeah I do… NBA GM’s are dumb) but he should be a solid role player in the association for a number of years.
(PC) Taylor’s been a surprise this season. Swapping out Harkless for Taylor seems good. I’m still REALLY upset about that Tyler Zeller pick. I’m thinking someone has kidnapped the real David Kay and made that pick just to mess with his life and my brain. But I like conspiracies, so it could all be in my head.
(PC) Yep, I did it. I beat David Kay to the punch of taking the leader of his 2011-12 My Boy team. Crowder got some early run with Dallas and he didn’t crumble. He hustled, he held his own and was a solid glue guy for the Mavs. Players with those kind of attributes are those that Rockets GM Daryl Morey stockpiles. Notice how I didn’t talk about Houston’s actual pick here at all? Yeah, that was intentional. I still have a soft spot for him.
(DK) You mean Royce White? I would have still picked him and then taken the “Madden Cruiser” at 18. That’s the perfect combo, right? Obviously I love the pick. As a Marquette alum, Jae in my boy and due to his versatility should be a solid role player at the next level for a number of years.
(DK) Sullinger fell on draft night because of concerns about a lingering back issue, played great the first half of the season, and is now out with guess what… a season-ending back injury. I think he showed enough in the first half of the season to hope the injury concern isn’t long-term. Like Frank Ocean singing about Forrest Gump at the Oscars; it’s risky and could insanely backfire, but I’m willing to roll the dice at this point of the draft.
(PC) Look, I’m going to defend Frank Ocean here. “Forrest Gump” is a good track on an album that is great because it is the quintessential “whole is greater than sum of the parts” album. If the Grammy’s asked him to perform, he’s obviously going to say yes and then he’s stuck with performing a single song that barely reflects how great his entire body of work is. He probably should have performed “Pyramids” but he made a choice and went all in. I’d talk about Sullinger, but I really care more about Frank Ocean. If you haven’t listened to Channel Orange, go do it as soon as you’re done reading this.
18. Houston Rockets
Re-do pick: Festus Ezeli, C Vanderbilt
Actual pick: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
(PC) Again, at draft time the Rockets were mighty bare at center and Ezeli, much like Zeller has been forced to start due to an oft injured big man (paging Andrew Bogut). Ezeli isn’t flashy, but he plays defense which is a welcomed change in the paint for Golden State. If he could figure out the tiniest bit of an offensive game, Ezeli could carve out more than 16 minutes per game.
(DK) I feel like Crowder and Ezeli are way too safe of picks for Daryl Morey. Since I have nothing witty to add about Ezeli, I would just like to let everyone that I really enjoy potato salad. You’re welcome.
(DK) I have now selected Zeller and Leonard in this mock. If I take Miles Plumlee next, I give you permission to call me “Darko” for the rest of my life. Orlando obviously needed a big since Dwight Howard was still on the team and his exit was imminent. I still laugh at how poorly Bruce Weber used Leonard at Illinois since he spent 97% of his time on the offensive end setting picks.
(PC) Here I was, just wrapping up wiping bile from my mouth after the whole Tyler Zeller debacle and you do this to me. I thought we were friends. I’m gonna go find some college freshman with Daddy issues to talk this out.
20. Denver Nuggets
Re-do pick: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Actual pick: Evan Fournier, SG, France
(PC) I know that on draft day the Nuggets still had Al Harrington on the roster but behind him is Kenneth Faried and that’s it. Now currently with Harrington in Orlando after the 4 team summer blockbuster that landed the Nuggets Andre Iguodala, Nicholson has been able to still find minutes. In Denver, he’d probably be able to find more.
(DK) Besides potato salad, I am also a huge fan of all honey based kid’s cereal; Honey Combs, Smacks, Golden Grahams… all delicious. As for this pick; I guess?
(DK) Ray Allen was heading into free agency and Boston didn’t yet have Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, or Leandro Barbosa on the roster so there was definitely a void at shooting guard. I’m not saying he would have been the answer or even cracked the C’s rotation but dude can stroke it from deep.
(PC) Seems pretty logical. Boston already knew that Avery Bradley was out for a while too. Jenkins might have been able to get a couple minutes until Bradley came back. I guess.
22. Boston Celtics
Re-do pick: Royce F’ing White, PF, Iowa St.
Actual pick: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
(PC) Yeah, I’m picking a guy that has had confrontations with his organization and hasn’t seen the NBA floor yet. Why? Because I love him. Also, he’s really effing good. I know he is. I still believe that he can succeed in the right situation and I think the opportunity to play alongside and learn from Kevin Garnett (who he grew up watching in Minnesota) would have been ideal.
(DK) In theory, that’s great reasoning… until KG punches White in the face and knocks him out on his first cross country flight from Boston to the west coast when White starts freaking out. I’m not making fun of his condition and I know he’s your dude, but no team touches White after what’s already transpired this season.
(DK) The Hawks hadn’t yet shipped Marvin Williams to Utah but they obviously knew he was not the long-term solution at the three. I’m not saying Draymond is but at this point, in this draft, if you can get a guy who can play 12 minutes a night off your bench; it’s a bigger success than getting your favorite athlete to re-tweet after begging him to do so. (I hate when people do that.)
(PC) Great pick. I really love it. I think Draymond playing with a front court of Josh Smith and Al Horford would really grind the piss out of other teams. Draymond brings it every second he’s on the court. You just made up for making me throw up and “talk” to that college freshman for two and a half hours.
24. Dallas Mavericks
Re-do pick: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Actual pick: Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State
(PC) At this point Fab is just a D-League stud, but on draft day the Mavs had Brendan Haywood as their starting center. Even in the D-League, you don’t get 334 blocks (or whatever it was) in a game without being pretty damn good. I don’t think I need to remind anyone that this draft blows.
(DK) Since Fab is probably a poor man’s version of Haywood, why the hell not? As I’m typing this, I’m watching a DVR’ed UNLV game versus Portland from December to get some more scouting on Anthony Bennett. I’m a huge nerd.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Re-do pick: Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
Actual pick: Tony Wroten, PG, Washington
(DK) Anyone Memphis ended up taking here wasn’t cracking the rotation so why not still pick Wroten who will either develop into a difficult match-up because of his size or be a stud on the And 1 Tour. Do they still have the And 1 Tour?
(PC) Do they still make And 1 shoes? I feel like I should google this, but I’d rather not. Instead I’m gonna go listen to some Indie Rock on Spotify and tell myself I’m better than people who don’t listen to Indie Rock on Spotify.
(PC) I know it seems like Plumlee HAS to be the pick for Indy because picking the best avaialble white guy is what the Pacers do, but Fournier is just the best available pick. I don’t really have much to say about Fournier because he sees less than 9 minutes a game for Denver but his stats aren’t terrible.
27. Philadelphia 76ers
Re-do pick: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Actual pick: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
(DK) This would be huge for Jones. Rather than being the fifth string power forward in Houston, he’d be fourth on the depth chart in Philly.
(PC) You’re right, big step up for Jones here. Obvious choice for both parties. Let’s move on. I hear there’s cake when we’re done. Did you hear about the cake?
(PC) Look, there’s no way OKC doesn’t take Perry Jones. Prior to June of last year, the kid was a lock to be a lottery pick. Then some injury red flags popped up and he went on a slip and slide down the draft board. If he pans out, the Thunder have a great bench scorer behind the best scorer in the league. If he doesn’t pan out, it’s a late 1st round pick and they still have the best scorer in the league.
(DK) OKC’s D-League affiliate appreciates this pick.
(DK) I’m not giving up on Marshall. Yet. It was a tough choice between two young point guards who don’t sniff the floor but still; had to go with a point guard because of the D-Rose injury. Shoutout to Jimmy F’n Butler who has really emerged into a quality role player for Chicago.
(PC) How about Jimmy Butler. He’s been legit. As for Marshall, I don’t care. He could be good I guess, but there have been some games for Phoenix where Goran Dragic has been straight terrible and Marshall still can’t get PT.
30. Golden State Warriors
Re-do pick: Robert Sacre, C, Gonzaga
Actual pick: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
(PC) Guy was the last pick of the draft now gets taken with the last pick in the first round. He’s bounced between the League and the D-League for the Lakers, but I haven’t been unimpressed by him. I don’t think he’s great but if desperate, I think he’s serviceable. Is there some champagne we should pop or something?
(DK) One guy who probably should have found a spot in the first round is Mike Scott. But choosing between guys like Scott, Perry Jones, and Sacre at this point is like choosing between having your nuts kicked by a horse or having an anvil dropped on your crotch. Champagne gives me headaches kind of like weakness of this draft class. Still, it’s been a blasty blast. Easily one of my favorite articles to write. Til next year…
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 and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.