As we approach the 2012 NBA Draft, it’s plain to see that the Celtics are in a unique situation, having significant cap space to swallow a bad contract to move up in the draft, or to stand pat and pick up one or two of the players that no doubt slide out of the lottery. To come up with a comprehensive mock draft, I created and reviewed a consensus mock from multiple websites, watched hours of film and game tape over the course of the season, and have combed through countless rumors and articles. I’m In the process of creating a formula that measures player activity, that should help explain the difference between prospects like JaJuan Johnson and Marcus Camby. Similar prospects in terms of body types and stats at a quick glance. I’ll try post this along with elite skill (and NBA level skill ratings) on my final mock.
This mock draft will be updated weekly up until the night of the draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis
Picking Davis over the field is as easy as picking Marcia over Jan. The Hornets have a gaping hole at power forward unless you figure Gustavo Ayon to develop into something more than the second coming of Eduardo Najera. Davis and Gordon will make a solid foundation moving forward for new owner George Shinn. Davis has many elite skills, and will only need to bulk up and add offensive polish to be a real player in this league.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Thomas Robinson
Robinson, not Kidd-Gilchrist, is the consensus number 2 pick according to all other mocks, and he’s the 2nd best player to me as well. He can make an immediate impact like a Paul Millsap kind of player, and he has a very high ceiling to boot. The Bobcats’ roster looks like Swiss cheese, it’s full of holes. MJ and the Bobcats need players that can play now, and they need the best player available. Robinson fits both descriptions. Robinson has a developing face up game, and shouldbe able to out muscle a lot of NBA power forwards the moment he steps onto the court.
3. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal
The Wizards are currently trying to choose between Beal, Robinson and Kidd-Gilchrist. Any of these 3 guys would be a great pick for the Wizards, but Beal helps shore up their anemic shooting. Kidd-Gilchrist would be a nice add due to his winning personality and relentless motor, but he mimics a lot of the same deficiencies as John Wall (poor shooting), and Jan Vesley (can’t create his own offense).
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Harrison Barnes
The Cavs are heavily rumored to be after Barnes at pick 4. He is great friends with Kyrie Irving, they share the same agent, and he should be able to start at small forward from day one. Barnes doesn’t have the high ceiling that some other picks have (Drummond, Kidd-Gilchrist, Waiters) but at worst, he should be a solid NBA starting small forward. He projects to be a good shooter and defender right away, he has an NBA ready body and he isn’t lacking in confidence.
5. Sacramento Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Kings say they love the idea of pairing Drummond with Cousins – I smell a rat. It’s either a smokescreen, or they are trying to raise interest in the pick, implying that Drummond will be available at 5. I don’t see them wanting to team two knuckleheads – Kidd-Gilchrist is the correct pick if his is on the board, allowing the Kings to explore a trade of Tyreke Evans. MKG is very active all over the court, if I were to add up his activity points I would see that he would survive in the NBA on effort alone, however being a lottery pick carries loftier expectations. He better develop some part of his game (other than man to man defense) to an elite level if he wants to not be called a reach.
6. Portland Trailblazers – Andre Drummond
If Drummond is available here, then Billy King looks even stupider. Trading a potential franchise big man for potentially a one season rental of a past his prime Gerald Wallace. The only thing that might make Billy feel better is knowing that the Blazers curse will probably ruin Drummond, thus deferring any criticism his way. At best Drummond can be on Dwight Howard’s level. He is as aloof as him, but I don’t know if he has his drive.
7. Golden State Warriors – Jared Sullinger
The Warriors would be quite upset at this scenario. They really wanted an upgrade at small forward, but Barnes and Kidd-Gilchrist will both be off the board. I really think the Warriors will turn this pick into Andre Iguodala – with the 76ers selecting Waiters, Rivers, or Lamb. However, if the Warriors keep the pick, it has to be the best player available – Jared ‘Tubby’ Sullinger.
8. Toronto Raptors – Dion Waiters
The Raptors have a hole at small forward – I actually think Gary Forbes is deserving of more minutes – he played very well in limited minutes. Waiters has a lot of value around the league, there will be teams trying to take this pick from the Raptors. Waiters’ best skill coming in to the NBA will be his ability to get to the hole and finish acrobatically ala Dwayne Wade and Russell Westbrook – two players who happen to be duking it out in the finals. If the Raps take Waiters, it doesn’t spell the end of DeRozan….. yet, he comes in as a Barbosa replacement.
9. Detroit Pistons – John Henson
Henson has the largest draft range other than Terrence Ross. He’s rumored to go as high as 5 to the Kings, and could possibly still be on the board at 20. The Pistons are after good character guys, and Henson is just that. Henson is the perfect complement to Greg Monroe, but with Prince, Daye and potentially now Henson on the roster, the Pistons are starting to look like anorexic as an episode of America’s Next Top Model.
10. New Orleans Hornets – Damian Lillard
Lillard is shooting up draft boards, so I don’t think he will end up sitting her in a few weeks time. He has an impressive all around game – I’m interested to see if he can play point guard at the next level, or if he’s a combo guard like Steve Francis or Russell Westbrook.
11. Portland Trailblazers – Kendall Marshall
The Blazers replace slow out of shape shoot first point guard with slow out of shape pass first point guard. Didn’t Andre Miller already play in Portland?
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Meyers Leonard
The Bucks need to hit a home run, and Leonard is just that. He can step in and start at center almost straight away. He is athletic and will enjoy running with Ellis and Jennings. Skiles and his staff need to spend a lot of time working on instincts and fundamentals with Leonard.
13. Phoenix Suns – Austin Rivers
The Suns are looking for someone that can create their own offense because Nash is obviously leaving. Rivers has superstar potential, however I smell a OJ Mayo – Jason Terry hybrid at best.
14. Houston Rockets – Jeremy Lamb
The Rockets have been trying to move Kevin Martin, and Lamb is a very good replacement player that can do a lot of similar things (minus the nasty 3 point shooting). Lamb is a signal of change in Houston, no doubt they’ll be looking to nab a big like Gasol again this off-season again.
15. Philadelphia 76ers – Terrence Ross
Ross is a need pick. I think there are more talented players left on the board, but the 76ers desperately need an outside presence. I think Iguodala is as good as gone, and that Turner will take over his minutes. Ross could slide in nicely behind Meeks at shooting guard, with an eye on developing him for the future. He is rail thin right now, and is not a very strong player. He is strictly a jump shooter and back door lob bandit until further notice.
16. Houston Rockets – Tyler Zeller
A poor man’s Pau Gasol. A more skilled version of Jeff Foster. I’ve heard a few different comparisons for Zeller and they’re all white (yeah, I called a Spanish guy white – he’s closer to Pete Chilcutt than Ivan Johnson). Zeller does a lot of things well, but fails to demonstrate an elite skill.
17. Dallas Mavericks – Perry Jones III
Huge slider! What better way to signal the end of the Dirk era buy drafting his heir apparent – a soft power forward that believes he’s a small forward that should be able to shoot over all big forwards as well as being able to handle the ball and take it to the rack. Or he’s going to be Nikoloz Tskitishvili meets Jon Bender. I smell bust.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Moe Harkless
If one of the top shooting guards doesn’t slide to this pick, I can see the T-Wolves trading out. Harkless is an interesting prospect, but how many small forwards do they need? Johnson, Webster, Beasley, potentially Williams? What I can see actually happening is the Wolves packaging Williams, Pick 18 and some other assets for the Bobcats pick 2 (mentioned by Basketball Prospectus’ Doolittle today) – perhaps the Cats would look to offload a horrid contract like Tired Thomas. Anyway, Harkless projects to be a good role player in the mold of James Posey or Trevor Ariza (according to two major draft sites).
19. Orlando Magic – Marquis Teague
Jameer is as good as gone. The Magic are looking to rebuild, and Teague is a nice change of pace point guard for them. Teague projects to be his brother’s doppelganger. Hey, not bad at all. Jeff started for a playoff team and is improving each year, perhaps by 2020 he will be able to run a basketball team effectively. In that case, peg Marquis in as a capable point guard by 2024.
20. Denver Nuggets – Terrence Jones
All rookie first team for sure. Jones is the only other than Thomas Robinson, and Royce White that I see making an immediate impact in the league. All three measure well, have great strength and an array of face up moves for power forwards. Jones can effect a game defensively, and projects to be a more complete version of Lamar Odom – but with the same faulty starter motor.
21. Boston Celtics – Arnett Moultrie
Another slider. Moultrie didn’t help himself out by not working out against centers – he could have shown off his quickness, rebounding ability and mid range jumper. Instead scouts are questioning him, when he should slot in at Pick 9 to the Pistons. Moultrie should eventually be able to emulate a lot of the things that average Joe Smith could do as a rookie.
22. Boston Celtics – Royce White
My man, my man. Royce White is the crème de la crème. I’ve missed Antoine Walker’s herky-jerky game since we dealt him for the second time to Miami (first time to the Mavericks for Jiri Welsch…. *puke*). I’m the first to admit that Antoine had his flaws and needed to come off the bench in a 6th man role, to either shoot you out of the game, or play some miraculous hero ball. Royce White is similar to Antoine, but he doesn’t have the habit to take stupid shots – like a hybrid of Antoine and Anthony Mason, all the good parts rolled into one player. I don’t care about his anxiety issues, they are non-issues. He is well spoken, thoughtful, honest, a team guy, and Fred Hoiberg is going to miss him BIG time. I’ll say it now, if we get White, we don’t need to bring back Bass.
23. Atlanta Hawks – Fab Melo
The Hawks need to swing for the fences to draft a center. Horford is not a full-time center, and Melo should be a good complement to Big Al some day. Melo will be drafted on potential, but to me he seems like a Hasheem ‘The Daydream’ Thabeet. He’s a big guy that was pushed into basketball that really doesn’t care for the sport.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Draymond Green
Draymond Green is that hard working college star you want to succeed, no matter how under-sized and over-matched he is. Like Ed O’Bannon, Miles Simon, or my personal favorite, Marco Killingsworth. Green may carve out a career that spans 5 seasons, but the rest of his career should be spent overseas. That’s stil la step up from used car salesman, O’Bannon.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Will Barton
Will Barton is being slept on, well not literally, he’d probably snap in two if anything actually slept on him, but he’s an amazing mid-range scorer. I caught a cuple of Memphis games this past season, and Barton impressed me with his basketball IQ and his timing. Mark this down right now. Will Barton is the next Kevin Martin – hyper efficient scorer.
26. Indiana Pacers – Doron Lamb
Doron Lamb is a far cry from every Indiana fan’s fantasy, Eric Gordon, but Lamb is a solid if not spectacular. He is a solid rotation player who seems to be the guy that everyone forgot about on Kentucky. On most other teams, he would have been a 20ppg scorer. A good thing for Lamb is that he measured well in the combine, maybe he was wearing platforms imbedded into his feet because I swore he was 6’2” all season long – maybe I need glasses.
27. Miami Heat – Andrew Nicholson
Nicholson seems to be everyone’s favorite hard work, low-ceiling player. Miami needs guys who can play, and Nicholson projects to be a poor man’s David West at best. He should make for a decent replacement, and can probably play spot minutes in the rotation straight away.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Jeff Taylor
Many ‘experts’ claim the Thunder will pick Fournier and stash him away, however I see a glaring hole at small forward behind Durant. Dequan Cook does not have anything other than 3 point shooting, and should be a 12th man. Taylor is very athletic, plays excellent defense, and can hit open 3 pointers at a consistent clip. I have read many forum users claim Taylor to have lottery talent, this is true, but he is 23 years old and has a very low ceiling offensively.
29. Chicago Bulls – Tony Wroten Jr.
The Bulls need a dynamic player to give them minutes at point guard while Derrick Rose is out. Wroten is a real feast or famine player. Too many times last year he left me scratching my head at some of the stupid turnovers he made, or freezing out Terrence Ross. He has a lot of learning to do, Thibs is going to like his defense and intangibles from day 1, but Watson and Lucas should get the majority of minutes until he starts making better decisions.
30. Golden State Warriors – Quincy Miller
Miller poses too much upside not to be drafted in the first round. Golden States gets a lottery type talent with the 30th pick. My problem with Miller is that I think he has about a 95% bust factor. Like Perry Jones III, he is soft. I watched a lot of Baylor games, and I thought Quincy Acy and Pierre Jackson were the team’s best players – that doesn’t say much for Jones and Miller.
2nd round run down
31. Charlotte Bobcats – Darius Miller
32. Washington Wizards – Tyshawn Taylor
33. Cleveland Cavaliers – John Jenkins
34. Cleveland Cavaliers – Festus Ezeli
35. Golden State Warriors – Orlando Johnson
36. Sacramento Kings – Miles Plumlee
37. Toronto Raptors – Evan Fournier
38. Denver Nuggets – Jared Cunningham
Cunningham is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is going to be a very good NBA player, he is improving daily as a shooter and ball handler, and projects to be an elite defender. He has a lot of Iman Shumpert to his game.
39. Detroit Pistons – Kyle O’Quinn
40. Portland Trailblazers – Kostas Papanikolaou
41. Portland Trailblazers – William Buford
42. Milwaukee Bucks – Tomas Satoransky
43. Atlanta Hawks – Hollis Thompson
44. Detroit Pistons – Scott Machado
45. Philadelphia 76ers – Kevin Jones
46. Washington Wizards – Khris Middleton
47. Utah Jazz – Furkan Aldemir
48. New York Knicks – Mike Scott
49. Orlando Magic – Kevin Murphy
50. Denver Nuggets – Kim English
51. Boston Celtics – Tony Mitchell
We need all the athletic wings we can get our hands on. I don’t see Mitchell doing much at the NBA level, but the 2nd round is the place to gamble.
52. Golden State Warriors – Jae Crowder
53. Los Angeles Clippers – Drew Gordon
54. Philadelphia 76ers – Tu Holloway
55. Dallas Mavericks – Kris Joseph
56. Toronto Raptors – Nihad Djedovic
57. Brooklyn Nets – Bernard James
58. Minnesota Timberwolves – JaMychal Green
59. San Antonio Spurs – Leon Radosevic
60. Los Angeles Lakers – Quincy Acy
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