Let me start out by announcing that the period in the NBA calendar from lottery to draft night is my second favorite segment of the year behind, or course, the playoffs. This is the time when young boys’ dreams of playing their beloved game competitively at the highest level, receiving a hefty salary, and possibly becoming nationally and internationally famous becomes real enough to reduced a 7 foot man to tears on national television. It is the culmination of a college career (unless your name is Brandon Jennings or Jeremy Tyler) and the commencement of a professional career on the biggest stage possible.
NCAA basketball is both an exciting and highly competitive series of events, but also an attempt to evaluate possible emerging contributors on an NBA team. Other than the combine and/or a personal workout with a team, this is the best access to see what talents and skills these men have. Now, we can either continue breaking down Lebron’s masterful performance in the 2012 NBA Postseason ad nauseum or turn our attention towards June 28.
Even though NBA Mock Drafts are played out and weightless endeavors, they are the only exercise that previews possible fixes to team flaws before the free agency period. Thus, I will succumb to this meaningless and slightly demeaning experiment. Keep in mind, this is an attempt at placing a player with a team that has a good chance to draft him, not what I maintain would be an ideal pick for each team, whether or not I agree with the presumed draft ranges. Of course, draft day trades would shake up the accuracy of this mock draft, but assuming no trades of picks let us begin.
1. New Orleans Hornets:
Duh. Moving on.
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
2. Charlotte Bobcats
Here’s where it gets dicey. There are a multitude of players to select from and many spots to fill on Charlotte’s dreadful roster. Thomas Robinson would give them a serious lowpost presence, but they are already financially committed to Tyrus Thomas. In a shocker, the ‘Cats pick Harrison Barnes over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist seemingly in an attempt to bring UNC fans to Time Warner Cable Arena.
Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
3. Washington Wizards
Even after trading for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, the Wizards would be enticed with both Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist still on the board. However, John Wall stated his preference of drafting a shooting guard to complement him, and the face of the franchise has spoken.
Bradley Beal, Florida
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Even though the Cavs selected Tristan Thompson last year and look to be set at power forward, Thomas Robinson is too good of a prospect to pass up. He is an incredible athlete and a force to be reckoned with.
Thomas Robinson, Kansas
5. Sacramento Kings
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s slashing skills mirrors 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans’ and he can bring a much needed championship attitude to Keith Smart’s team.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
6. Portland Trailblazers
The Trailblazers need a lot after a disastrous 2011-12 season, but are able to cash in with the Nets pick by trading away Gerald “Crash” Wallace, to go along with their 11th overall pick. This could be their only chance to get an impact frontcourt-mate for LaMarcus Aldridge, and especially one with healthy knees.
Andre Drummond, Connecticut
7. Golden State Warriors
Trading away Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut signaled a desire for a longer, more defensive-minded team, but especially at shooting guard. Klay Thompson out of Washington State has shown the ability to find his shot from the paint and the outside, but the Warriors would love some more punch to go with him and Dorell Wright and another weapon for Steph Curry to utilize.
Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut
8. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors should be getting last year’s #5 overall pick, Jonas Valanciunas from overseas to pair up with Andrea Bargnani in the frontcourt. They could spring for a future replacement for Jose Calderon at point guard or try to add firepower next to DeMar DeRozan. It would probably be too much of a reach for Damian Lilliard or Kendall Marshall here, so we’ll go with the offensively smooth but tough defender from the Northwest (Klay Thompson 2.0 anyone?).
Terrence Ross, Washington
9. Detroit Pistons
Other than Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, this team lacks youth and potential in many spots. They could grab anyone at any position other than point guard. Joe Dumars will be inclined to select someone with a high ceiling to try to turn around the recent fortunes of this franchise. We’ll go with a poor man’s Anthony Davis here.
John Henson, North Carolina
10. New Orleans Hornets
Who will pair with Anthony Davis for the foreseeable future? Most see Anthony Davis as a power forward longterm, so grabbing a big man who can bang against the Andrew Bynums of the NBA world would be a prudent idea towards protecting Davis on the defensive end. Meyers Leonard is a physical specimen that fits those characteristics with an imposing 7’1”, 255 lb. frame.
Meyers Leonard, Illinois
11. Portland Trailblazers
The 2011-12 Raymond Felton/Jamal Crawford project went about as well as Greg Oden in a knee doctor’s convention. They need a point guard badly and the only question is whether to go with a facilitator in Marshall or the slashing, score-first alternative. The signs point to the latter.
Damian Lilliard, Weber State
12. Milwaukee Bucks
(Looks at the roster and sees Drew Gooden listed as the starting center. Pans down the draft board to find the best remaining center)
Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
13. Phoenix Suns
No Steve Nash equals utter despair in Arizona. The best player remaining is Marcin Gortat and beyond that, it’s either Channing Frye or Jared Dudley. I heavily suspect the Suns will be a contender for Nerlens Noel/Shabazz Muhammad in the 2013 draft.
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
14. Houston Rockets
Despite residing in NBA draft purgatory at the end of the lottery the last two years, they have been able to find quality players in both rounds, such as Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, and Chandler Parsons. For as crafty and effective as Kevin Martin is offensively, he provides the resistance of a roll of toilet paper on the other end. The Rockets grab a two way player here.
Dion Waiters, Syracuse
15. Philadelphia 76ers
Andre Iguodala has seemingly been on the trading block for at least two years. Elton Brand will also move into the last year of his expensive contract. This is a hard team to figure out as to whether they have the ability to become an elite team in the East or should look to rebuild. They need an eventual replacement for Brand and a bigger frontcourt so look for them to address that here.
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
16. Houston Rockets
Considering their lack of high picks in the recent past, Daryl Morey might opt for a prospect who is the definition of boom or bust.
Perry Jones III, Baylor
17. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs will sign Deron Williams this summer. You heard it here first. However, Dirk isn’t getting younger and will need help in the post sooner rather than later.
Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
What’s not to like about Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love? More options around them is all they need to insert themselves into the Western Conference picture.
Austin Rivers, Duke
19. Orlando Magic
The Dwight Howard saga has engulfed this franchise, but their point guard play has dropped off the cliff in recent years. They could use a dynamic playmaker to set the table.
Marquis Teague, Kentucky
20. Denver Nuggets
Like the 76ers, this is another difficult team to evaluate. I suppose just draft an uptempo player and add water.
Jeffrey Taylor, Vanderbilt
21. Boston Celtics
Don’t count out the chances of Boston retaining either KG or Ray Allen on a cheaper deal. However, they need impact youth to pair with Rondo. Royce White may not well known, but his athleticism and raw strength will make a name for him in the association.
Royce White, Iowa State
22. Boston Celtics
Should Ray Allen leave, the Celtics will need a scoring option to spread the floor.
Will Barton, Memphis
23. Atlanta Hawks
Here we are: my and your beloved, yet frustrating Atlanta Hawks. The situation is a team with $60 million committed to 6 players and thus, no bench to speak of. Barring a trade involving the core players, the Hawks must make good use of a small salary commitment for a young player. I think the Hawks surprise most and select a semi-unknown, but versatile and effective player from a smaller college.
Moe Harkless, St. Johns
24. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers look for a backcourt mate for Kyrie Irving here, preferably one without the nickname of “Boobie”.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Rumors are floating about Rudy Gay’s availability which does a good job of complementing the years of rumors of trading away O.J. Mayo. Maybe grabbing a wing is in the cards.
Khris Middleton, Texas A&M
26. Indiana Pacers
Indiana needs some punch from the bench. Tyler Hansbrough has one move after touching the ball: diving towards the basket looking for contact. How about someone with a wider variety of moves?
Terrance Jones, Kentucky
27. Miami Heat
How do you improve the 2012 NBA Champions? Select a legitimate 7 footer to counter Dwight Howard, Roy Hibbert and Tyson Chandler.
Fab Melo, Syracuse
28. Oklahoma City Thunder City
On the flip side, the Thunder were extremely close to capturing the Larry O’Brien trophy. Their bench failed them in a big way against an elite defense, so having a sharp shooter to spread the floor for Westbrook and Durant will help them take a step forward.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
29. Chicago Bulls
Clearly a worst case scenario for the Bulls in the playoffs, Chicago still has a talented core. Priority number one is of course resigning Brian Scalabrine, but before doing that, they could use a combo guard in case Derrick Rose’s injury lingers into next season, but one that also has the ability to complement him when on the floor together.
Tony Wroten, Washington
30. Golden State Warriors
They could use a seasoned and flexible college veteran to step in and contribute early.
Draymond Green, Michigan State
Thanks for reading.
Topics: Andre Drummond, Andrew Nicholson, Anthony Davis, Arnett Moultrie, Austin Rivers, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Doron Lamb, Draymond Green, Fab Melo, Harrison Barnes, Jeffrey Taylor, Jeremy Lamb, John Henson, John Jenkins, Kendall Marshall, Khris Middleton, Marquis Teague, Meyers Leonard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Moe Harkless, Perry Jones III, Royce White, Terrence Ross, Thomas Robinson, Tony Wroten, Tyler Zeller, Will Barton