[UPDATED 6/27/12] Picks changed: #10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29
Moved into the first round: PF Andrew Nicholson, SG Will Barton
Moved out: C Feztus Ezeli, SG John Jenkins, SG Doron Lamb
Biggest Movers: G Austin Rivers (11 spots up), PF Jared Sullinger (12 spots down), Perry Jones III (5 spots up), Terrence Ross (6 spots up)
It’s 6:00 am on a stuffy, hot Chicago summer day. Kevin Durant would say “Man, that’s messed up” if he knew how unwonted my sleep schedule is right now. Why am I doing this on approximately zero seconds of shut-eye? I have no idea. I spend my free time doing strange things. Here is ChiSide’s first NBA mock draft for 2012:
1. New Orleans Hornets select…
F/C Anthony Davis, 6-10, 220 lbs, Kentucky
What more do I have to say that hasn’t been said? The Chicago native will certainly be a stud at the next level, but not immediately. Davis was only a mere six feet tall five years ago and has sprouted 10 inches since then. He has yet to fill into his frame, weighing only 220 pounds, but that will come in time. His defense is NBA-ready, and fits in well with New Orleans’ defense-first style of play. Expect Davis to find his offensive game two to three years down the road in addition to perennial All-Star selections for years to come.
Ceiling: Kevin Garnett; Floor: Marcus Camby
2. Charlotte Bobcats select…
F Thomas Robinson, 6-9, 245 lbs, Kansas
Will Jordan find a way to screw this one up again? I think so. I’m not sold on the big man from Kansas, but I have a feeling MJ is. While Robinson has as much heart as anyone in the draft, I don’t see his skills translating into a game-changing player for the Bobcats. He doesn’t bring a significant defensive presence nor do I think he’s talented to score 20 a night in the association. Robinson possessed limited post moves and an inconsistent jumper in college, but was able to get by due to elite athleticism. His strengths are rebounding and heart, you can count on him to give it his all every night. He’ll be a solid pro for sure, just not worthy of a number two selection. Jordan will be kicking himself for passing on guys like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (who they should select), Harrison Barnes, and Brad Beal.
Ceiling: Derrick Williams; Floor: Patrick Patterson
3. Washington Wizards select…
SG Bradley Beal, 6-4, 200 lbs, Florida
I’ve been in love with Beal since his high school days and I believe he’ll be one of the best players to emerge from the draft. Beal didn’t put up eye-popping numbers during his freshman year at Florida (15 ppg, 7 reb, 2 ast; 44.5% fg, 34% 3pt), but showed that he plays an all-around game by making plays on both ends of the court despite playing out of position. Beal has an extremely high basketball IQ, plays unselfishly, and can knock down shots from anywhere on the floor. He has no glaring weaknesses as far as I’m concerned other than size. The Wizards desperately need a perimeter scoring threat after shipping SG Nick Young to LAC, and Beal fits the bill. Expect this guy to be a strong ROY contender from day one.
Ceiling: Eric Gordon; Floor: Marcus Thornton
4. Cleveland Cavaliers select…
G/F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 6-7, 230 lbs, Kentucky
The Cavaliers will be happier than the Nintendo 64 kid on draft day, as MKG falls right into their lap unexpectedly. I feel as if the Cavs were expecting to select UNC small forward Harrison Barnes here, but MKG’s intangibles and defense are key for the Cavs in order for them to return to the playoffs. The Cavs ranked as the fifth-worst team in points allowed per game and acquiring Kidd-Gilchrist will give them someone who can defend point guards to smaller power forwards. His offensive game is still a mystery, as he did not take many shots on a stacked Kentucky team, but he has proven that he’s an aggressive slasher and can finish with contact. The Cavs may finally reach the playoffs in 2012-2013 for the first time since Lebron’s departure thanks to MKG.
Ceiling: Gerald Wallace; Floor: Trevor Ariza
5. Sacramento Kings select…
SF Harrison Barnes, 6-8, 230 lbs, North Carolina
The Kings should outright deal this pick away and try and get as many veterans as possible. I would argue that the Kings have the best group of young talent in the NBA, but lack of leadership has this squad playing far from its potential. Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins are great building blocks, in addition to Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette who look to be solid role players. However, if the Kings can’t strike a deal, Barnes is the best choice, as he is NBA-ready and fills the only hole the Kings have, small forward. Barnes didn’t live up to his hype at UNC, as he seemed reluctant to shoot at times and unable to take control of games as he was expected to do, but showed a decent stroke from behind the line and above average defensive ability. He’ll need to work on his quickness and first-step if he wants to be considered more than a one-dimensional player at the next level. Barnes will be an interesting prospect to watch in his first few years.
Ceiling: Luol Deng; Floor: Aging Stephen Jackson
6. Portland Trailblazers select…
C Andre Drummond, 7-0, 280 lbs, UConn
Drummond is the biggest risk/reward prospect in the draft by far. He has a very appealing, NBA-ready body and out-of-this-world athleticism, but hasn’t seemed to figure out what to do with it. The Blazers are a perfect fit for Drummond, but with their luck, he’ll either turn into the next Hasheem Thabeet or he’ll dislocate both of his knees on his way to the stage. All jokes aside, Drummond is nearly as dominant defensively as Anthony Davis, but his offensive game is a long way from developed. Teams know for a fact that they’ll be getting a shot-altering big man who is deceptively quick, but I am very concerned with his motor. How was this guy not bowling over much smaller defenders in college? Ten points per game with his height and athletic ability is a red flag, even if he was a freshman. How many big men who were as raw offensively as him ended up making significant strides? Not many. I don’t agree with scouts’ comparisons of Amar’e Stoudemire. He’ll be more of a defensive presence than anything else.
Point guard is also a huge need for Portland, but they will likely address it via free agency (Goran Dragic, anyone?) and/or through the 11th pick in the draft.
Ceiling: Serge Ibaka; Floor: DeAndre Jordan
7. Golden State Warriors select…
PG Damian Lillard, 6-3, 190 lbs, Weber St.
This will come as a surprise to many, as the Warriors are a hard team to gauge in the draft. They have no immediate needs at any position, so I believe that they’ll draft Lillard as insurance due to Stephen Curry’s chronic ankle problems. Lillard is what the Warriors tend to look for in players in recent drafts: great shooter, phenomenal scorer. Lillard shot 41% from behind the arc while attempting seven threes a game, all while racking up the second-best scoring average in the nation at 24.5 points per game. Watching him in college, he reminds me of Russell Westbrook. He won’t have the ability to get to the rim as easily at the next level, but he certainly contains the same “reckless abandon” Westbrook has when driving to the hoop. Lillard’s shooting is a lot better than Westbrook’s, though, and he’ll likely revert to using his shooting ability more. If the Warriors do indeed draft Lillard, it may be a signal that starter Steph Curry will be headed to the trading block. However, I can see the Warriors either reaching for a defensive PF such as Meyers Leonard/John Henson, or simply trading down for additional picks and grabbing either of the two.
Ceiling: What Jay Williams could have been; Floor: Jerryd Bayless
8. Toronto Raptors select…
SG Jeremy Lamb, 6-5, 180 lbs, UConn
Toronto seems like a team that could move down in the draft and get a few mid-to-late first round picks in exchange for the eighth selection. However, if this isn’t the case I think the Raptors will select Lamb, who they are reportedly high on. Lamb has fallen under the radar ever since winning the National Championship with UConn in 2010. The year 2011 was a down year for Lamb, but he still oozes potential thanks to his sweet stroke. Demar DeRozan seemed to be the team’s only scorer when center Andrea Bargnani went down and Lamb will provide further insurance for the offense.
Ceiling: Kevin Martin/Ray Allen; Floor: Kerry Kittles
9. Detroit Pistons select…
PF John Henson, 6-10, 215 lbs, North Carolina
Henson gives the Pistons an instantaneous low-post defensive presence that is desperately needed. Greg Monroe’s skills on the offensive end make up for Henson’s lack thereof which is why he’s the perfect complement to Monroe. Henson is a poor man’s Anthony Davis, a great shot-alterer who’s offensive game is still a bit undeveloped and who is undersized. Henson may have loads of trouble gaining good post position in order to utilize his patented left-hand hook shot that he sunk over smaller college defenders.
Ceiling: Marcus Camby; Floor: Samuel Dalembert
10. New Orleans Hornets select…
SG Austin Rivers, 6-5, 200 lbs, Duke
I think the Hornets reach and grab the young Rivers here. He has huge boom-bust potential, as he is as confident in his game as anyone in the draft. However, I feel as if he plays most of the game with tunnel vision and looks to pass only 30 percent of the time. This could ruin his career in the early goings by killing his confidence when he gets a taste of the increased size and speed of the NBA game. Hard pick to gauge.
Ceiling: O.J. Mayo; Floor: Nick Young
11. Portland Trailblazers select…
PG Kendall Marshall, 6-4, 200 lbs, North Carolina
The Blazers had a nightmarish season at the point guard position. Jamal Crawford barely contributed and Raymond Felton looked like he could’ve have played “Fat Bastard” in the next Austin Powers movie. Hell, the guy was doing press conferences with a cupcake! Marshall plays an old school style of play back into a new age NBA where point guards are primary scorers. Marshall likely won’t average over 10 points per contest, but he’s got the best vision in the draft and can rack up 10+ assists easily. Marshall did test surprisingly well at the combine, attaining an impressive 37-inch vertical.
Ceiling: Mark Jackson; Floor: Aging Jason Kidd
12. Houston Rockets select…
G/F Terrence Ross, 6-7, 200 lbs, Washington
Can’t imagine the Rockets using all of their selections in this draft, but if they do, I think Washington’s Terrence Ross is the answer. He is one of the most underrated players in the entire draft. He has a great shot, has fantastic athleticism, and plays smart, fundamental defense. Good fit for the Rockets who just dealt Chase Budinger away and who may likely be losing starting SG Kevin Martin after the year. Dark horse for ROY if he earns the playing time (which I think he will thanks to his defense). Can’t see him being any worse than an average starting combo guard-forward.
Ceiling: Arron Afflalo; Floor: J.R. Smith
13. Phoenix Suns select…
SG Dion Waiters, 6-4, 220 lbs, Syracuse
Reports from CBS are saying that the Suns have pinky promised to draft Waiters at 13. Waiters is a pure slasher who loves to drive full speed to the rim. He’s got the ideal body to continue to do this at the next level. He has a ton of strength and explosion off the dribble. He’s not the best shooter, but can get hot from time-to-time from midrange. Instant offense, should be an above average sixth man in the NBA.
Ceiling: Rodney Stuckey; Floor: Dominique Jones
14. Milwaukee Bucks select…
C Meyers Leonard, 7-1, 250 lbs, Illinois
The young Bucks lost a defensive mastermind in the paint after trading Andrew Bogut for Monta Ellis. Leonard is the best prospect available who fulfills this need. As a current Illini student, Leonard has an NBA-ready body for sure, but his overall skill is still very untapped. He was able to have a few big games against inferior competition, but would only occasionally rise to the occasion in big games. I’m not sure Leonard will ever be an offensive threat in his career, but he can be taught to play hard-nosed defense.
Ceiling: Robin Lopez; Floor: George Lopez
15. Philadelphia 76ers select…
PF Arnett Moultrie, 6-11, 230 lbs, Mississippi St.
Moultrie may not be a familiar name to the casual fan, but he’s the real deal. The junior from Mississippi St. is a high volume scorer/rebounder who will take over the reigns once Elton Brand is out of town. Moultrie could be one of the big surprises of the draft.
Ceiling: Kris Humphries; Floor: Jason Thompson
16. Houston Rockets select…
C Tyler Zeller, 7-0, 250 lbs, North Carolina
Zeller goes to a Houston team that desperately lacks youth at the five spot. Marcus Camby won’t be around much longer and Zeller is one of the few seven-footers left in the draft. The 16th pick is pretty good value for Zeller, who can get up and down the court quickly and provide some offense with an array of post moves. Zeller’s downfall will definitely be his strength. Expect him to be a defensive liability against some of the more skilled big men at the next level.
Ceiling: Roy Hibbert; Floor: Byron Mullens
17. Dallas Mavericks select…
PG Tony Wroten, 6-6, 200 lbs, Washington
I really like Wroten, even if he is the draft’s biggest enigma. Wroten is in the same mold as Tyreke Evans: unsure of his true position. Is he a playmaker or a scorer? Like Evans, Wroten is oversized for his position and can’t really shoot the rock. The Mavericks are forced to take him after the loss of Jason Kidd and Delonte West to free agency, leaving the tiny Roddy Beaubois as the team’s only “point guard” (more of a scoring combo guard). Hopefully Wroten can figure things out faster than Evans is currently and mesh with Dirk and co.
Ceiling: Tyreke Evans; Floor: Lance Stephenson
18. Houston Rockets select…
F Perry Jones III, 6-11, 235 lbs, Baylor
Jones is in the same boat as Terrence Jones: top flight talent, questionable heart. Jones is another prospect with ability that doesn’t match up with his size. Only an inch away from being seven feet, Jones has phenomenal ball-handling skills and can even drain shots from behind the arc. He didn’t step it up when it counted in the NCAA however, which is a red flag for possible suitors. The Rockets may not end up picking here, but they can add PJ3 to their stock of young players.
Ceiling: Josh Smith; Floor: Donte Greene
19. Orlando Magic select…
F Terrence Jones, 6-9, 250 lbs, Kentucky
Jones is a guy someone has to roll the dice on, because he has a ton of talent, but not a lot of heart. If the Magic had kept Stan Van Gundy, he may have been able to motivate Jones to become the star everyone expects him to be but we’ll have to wait and see if Jones can pull it together with whoever steps in as Orlando’s head coach. When he’s on, he can do it all. He has an average, but inconsistent shot with some range, he can work in the post, and he can get blocks on opposing SFs and PFs. When his mind is not in the game, he needs to be taken off the court and benched immediately. I think 19 is a fair spot to take the risk.
Ceiling: Josh Smith; Floor: Marvin Williams
20. Denver Nuggets select…
PG Marquis Teague, 6-2, 180 lbs, Kentucky
Teague made a huge mistake by entering early. He could have easily been a top ten selection the following year, but he’ll get picked up a little earlier than he should due to the fact that there are not many talented point men in the entire draft. Teague is cut from the same cloth as his brother, Jeff, but possess a little more athleticism and leadership ability. The Nuggets will lose Andre Miller via free agency this offseason and Teague will be the guy to backup Ty Lawson.
Ceiling: Kyle Lowry; Floor: Jeff Teague
21. Boston Celtics select…
F Royce White, 6-8, 260 lbs, Iowa St.
White is an insanely intriguing prospect in a class full of intriguing players. White has power forward size and strength, but has point guard handles and vision. He’s a very poor man’s version of Lebron (not as fancy or strong and lacks a jumper completely). He has a anxiety disorder that has scared some teams away, but I think he’s worth a shot anywhere from 15-20. He will be the successor to Paul Pierce and I’m sure Doc Rivers would find a way to properly utilize his talents with Rondo around. The Celtics may end up with a top three draft class in the years following if they get both White and PJ3.
Ceiling: ???; Floor: Boris Diaw
22. Boston Celtics select…
PF Jared Sullinger, 6-9, 270 lbs, Ohio St.
The Celtics can afford to take a flier on Sully after doctors red-flagged him for an injured back. Sullinger brings a mean streak to the offensive end of the court and finds ways to put the ball in the basket despite his height and speed disadvantage. I’m not a huge fan of Sullinger’s game translating to the next level, unless he can get his jumper to be very consistent.
Ceiling: Carlos Boozer; Floor: Glen Davis
23. Atlanta Hawks select…
G/F Moe Harkless, 6-9, 210 lbs, St. Johns
The Hawks can afford to sit and wait on a prospect like Harkless to develop while the contracts of failed lottery pick Marvin Williams and Josh Smith run out. Harkless was a breakout freshman last year, playing 36 minutes a game for St. Johns and showing signs of a future lockdown defender at the next level. His offensive game is a work in progress as he can only score on cuts and transition buckets in the paint, but his defense will keep him on a roster no matter what.
Ceiling: Trevor Ariza; Floor: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
24. Cleveland Cavaliers select…
C Fab Melo, 7-0, 255 lbs, Syracuse
I think this guy is useless, but some team will draft him based on his height and shot-altering technique. Average backup role player.
Ceiling: Brendan Haywood; Floor: Hasheem Thabeet
25. Memphis Grizzlies select…
PG Tyshawn Taylor, 6-3, 185 lbs, Kansas
Josh Selby doesn’t look like the answer behind Mike Conley as the team’s quarterback. Taylor, a senior, will be able to step in and run the offense immediately.
Ceiling: Stronger Darren Collison; Floor: Jonny Flynn
26. Indiana Pacers select…
PF Andrew Nicholson, 6-9, 230 lbs, St. Bonaventure
This guy is basically David West 2.0. Can hit shots from mid-range to deep and can also bang down low. Why not draft him and get similar production to West at a fourth of the cost? West’s contract expires after this year, too, coincidentally. Could also see the Pacers moving this pick and Hansbrough for New Orlean’s 10th pick.
Ceiling: David West/Ryan Anderson; Floor: Craig Brackins
27. Miami Heat select…
F Quincy Miller, 6-10, 220 lbs, Baylor
Miller could be a steal for the Heat here. Very raw player who can shoot the midrange and college three. Poor man’s Chris Bosh.
Ceiling: Poor man’s Chris Bosh; Floor: Austin Daye
28. Oklahoma City Thunder select…
G/F Evan Fournier, 6-7, 205 lbs, France
Obviously the Thunder are not lacking any talent. Fournier could come over if they fail to resign James Harden after this upcoming season and make a huge impact if he reaches his potential.
Ceiling: Nicolas Batum; Floor: Courtney Lee
29. Chicago Bulls select…
SG Will Barton, 6-6, 175 lbs, Memphis
Barton’s stock rises as he sneaks into the first round. The hometown Bulls are looking desperately for another scoring option and Barton is just that. He can run the floor quite well in transition and can knock down open shots. He reminds me of a poor man’s Rip Hamilton due to his lack of weight. Has underrated passing ability. Will need some time to mature and gain strength.
Ceiling: Poor man’s Rip Hamilton; Floor: Eliot Williams
30. Golden State Warriors select…
SF Jeffery Taylor, 6-7, 215 lbs, Vanderbilt
The Warriors can use some extra defending at the three. Good value at the last selection of the first round.
Ceiling: Poor man’s Wilson Chandler; Floor: Thabo Sefolosha