We’re now less than two weeks away from the 2012 NBA Draft and things are beginning to be a little clearer. OK not really but we still know who’ll go number one overall. After that, it’s still very much up in the air. Teams held the Chicago Pre-Draft Combine last week and had a chance to interview and workout prospects. Teams are also still very much testing the trade markets, seeing what can be done. Let’s see where we are now..
1. New Orleans Hornets select Anthony Davis, PF Kentucky Fr
This will not change. Davis is going to NOLA and the Hornets could not be happier. NOLA could still make a move at #10 if the deal is right. Rumor is they want to unload some veteran contracts and acquire cap room to build along side Davis and Eric Gordon.
2. Charlotte Bobcats select Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina So
Some will consider Barnes a reach at 2 and he may be. But he had a great combine, measured very well. Scouts are beginning to think his game will be much better suited in the pros than college. Robinson and MKG are in the mix here as well, if Charlotte keeps the pick, but I think Barnes wins out as of now.
3. Washington Wizards select Bradley Beal, SG Florida Fr
I had the Wizards taking Robinson in 1.0 but Beal was off the board. With Charlotte now going with Barnes, Washington goes with the freshman Beal and will have an excellent backcourt for the future. Beal is a lights out shooter but is a bit undersized. That could hurt his draft stock.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers select Andre Drummond, C Connecticut Fr
The Cavs will think long and hard about taking MKG here and may very well do it. But Drummond’s size and potential becomes just too much to pass on. Size will always be a premium in the draft and Drummond has not only size but has freakish athleticism to go with it. He could develop into a dominate big man in the pros but is still very raw. Certainly a risk pick.
5. Sacramento Kings select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky Fr
Dream scenario for the Kings. I think they’d be thrilled with either MKG or Robinson but they take a chance on MKG at the end of the day. MKG is a winner with a high motor and could emerge as a leader and someone who can act as the glue on a young Kings team. He may not be a home run, all-star prospect but he should be a solid NBA player for a while.
6. Portland Trailblazers select Damian Lillard, PG Weber State Jr
Lillard helped his cause quite a bit at the combine and will simply not be there at 11 now for the Blazers. With Aldridge in place at the 4, Robinson is out here as well. The Blazers have admitted they want to get better at the point guard position and this pick makes the most sense of any. If Drummond is still on the board, they may go that route as well though.
7. Golden State Warriors select Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas Jr
The Warriors probably didn’t expect Robinson to fall all the way to 7 and will take the best player on the board even if they have David Lee. Certainly could make moving Lee later on a lot easier if Robinson pans out. GS could also look at going wing and are rumored to be looking to move the pick for a vet but if they stay it will be next to impossible to pass on Robinson.
8. Toronto Raptors select Dion Waiters, PG/SG Syracuse So
Raptors will try very hard to move this pick and may do it, but if they stay I think Waiters or Rivers is the pick. Toronto needs help in the backcourt and either of these combo guards should be great scorers at the next level. Waiters seems like the safer bet.
9. Detroit Pistons select Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut So
Dumars will continue to build around his young core of Monroe and Knight, Lamb seems to pair well with Knight. The Pistons will be tempted to pursue another big to add with Monroe but will ultimately choose to set up their backcourt for years to come. The Bad Boy Pistons Dumars came up with had the all-star backcourt and the workhorse, blue-collar frontcourt. I like Lamb here.
10. New Orleans Hornets select Meyers Leonard, C Illinois So
Leonard killed it at the combine. His stock is at an all-time high and should easily be a lottery pick. Davis will be more of a PF and will have the ability to even come out and guard the likes of Kevin Durant. Leonard will give the Hornets a tradition center to protect the paint and allow them to fully utilize Davis.
11. Portland Trailblazers select Tyler Zeller, C North Carolina Sr
Last week I had Portland taking Lillard and Zeller, this week they still get them. Just Lillard 6th and Zeller 11th this go around. Zeller seems to fit Portland well and should play along side Aldridge well and Portland is well on its way to a great young core.
12. Milwaukee Bucks select Terrance Ross, SG Washington So
Milwaukee is said to covet a big guard and will also miss out on the top center prospects, so they decide on Ross. Ross is a big shooting guard who is a scoring machine. Will be off the bench at first but could eventually replace Ellis if he bolts in FA after next season.
13. Phoenix Suns select Austin Rivers, SG Duke Fr
Phoenix will need a lot in rebuilding their team and with Rivers they’ll get a fearless scorer. Rivers can shoot it well and create his own shot and his game should be much more suited for the pro game. Waiters could also be an option here if he’s available.
14. Houston Rockets select Terrence Jones, SF/PF Kentucky So
Jones measured out well at the combine and should have enough size to play PF as well as SF in the NBA. He’s considered as high as 7 to GS but he’s had some up and down workouts. Some teams consider him a project but none question his talent. He may be the best player on the board and Houston takes him.
15. Philadelphia 76ers select John Henson, PF North Carolina Jr
Henson could come in start right away for Phila. He’s a 6-10 shot blocker and a great athlete. He’ll be tasked with stopping Bosh if the Sixers can get past the Heat and he may be up for the challenge.
16. Houston Rockets select Tony Wroten Jr, PG Washington Fr
This would be a very high risk/high reward pick for the Rockets. Marshall is considered the more proven/solid PG prospect but has some injury concerns and isn’t considered very athletic. Wroten is a firecracker, who can come off the bench and lift off the Rockets.
17. Dallas Mavericks select Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi State Jr
Sullinger, Marshall, and Harkless would all be considered here for the Mavs. But at 6-11, Moultrie bigs a lot of size and athleticism to the table for a team that lacks it. Moultrie didn’t work out at the combine and that might hurt him, but he’s still considered a prospect who can rebound well at the next level and can score. He can shoot it a bit for his size.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves select Perry Jones III, SF/PF Baylor So
Jones III probably has too much talent to slide into the 20’s of the draft. I liked White here last week and I still believe White could be the pick (or even higher) but Jones has a greater upside than anyone on the board. He could be a home run. Can he develop and figure it out will be the question.
19. Orlando Magic select Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina So
Marshall could slide further because of questions of his injury and athleticism but the Magic are facing the possibility of losing Nelson in FA and should go point guard. Marshall is a pure point guard, has great size and should have no trouble creating for Howard or the Orlando shooters. Good fit.
20. Denver Nuggets select Marquis Teague, PG Kentucky Fr
Word is Denver wants to go point guard in the first round and prefer Teague. They’ll need to replace FA Andre Miller and Teague will have plenty of time to develop behind Ty Lawson and give Denver a young, deep backcourt.
21. Boston Celtics select Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio State So
Sullinger didn’t workout great at the combine and teams really question his athleticism at the next level. Can he defend in the NBA? But at 21 and with the Celtics needing size, this could be a great value pick. Sully should be able to rebound and score on the block in the NBA.
22. Boston Celtics select Andrew Nicholson, PF St. Bonaventure State Sr
The C’s want size in the draft and wouldn’t shy away from taking two bigs. Nicholson is quiet different from Sully, at 6-11 and has three-point range. Some say he’s a 3 in a 4’s body. Maybe could become a Jamison sort.
23. Atlanta Hawks select Royce White, SF Iowa State So
White improved his stock at the combine and should be considered in the low 20’s by most teams. He makes more sense for the Hawks then Harkless because of his ability to handle the ball. With White playing point forward, the Hawks will have more of a flexible line-up.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers select Moe Harkless, SF St. John’s Fr
Harkless probably won’t slip this far but the Cav’s would be thrilled. He could go as early as late lottery and as late as right here. He’s very young and needs to develop but has a ton of upside. Could develop into an all-star for a team with the patience.
25. Memphis Grizzlies select Evan Fournier, SG France
Word is Memphis wants a Euro to stash overseas and develop and Fournier fits the bill. He’s easily considered the best foreign player in the draft and could help Memphis in a year or two.
26. Indiana Pacers select Jeffery Taylor, SF Vanderbilt Sr
Indiana won’t really fill a need here by picking Taylor but he might be the best player on the board. I would compare him to OKC’s Thabo Sefolosha, Taylor can really defend and shoot it. Could be a great help defender for Lebron.
27. Miami Heat select Kyle O’Quinn, PF Norfolk State Sr
Miami needs size. They likes their guards in Chalmbers and Cole but need depth in the froncourt. Quinn is widely considered a second round pick but he has great size, experience and character. O’Quinn can rebound and shoot it too.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder select Draymond Green, PF Michigan State Sr
OKC will likely try to trade out of this spot, look for maybe Brooklyn to buy this selection. But if they stay, Green makes a lot of sense. He’s a versatile player with size and experience. Green was well coached in college and should be able to defend and rebound at the next level. Word is he’s having great interviews with teams thus far.
29. Chicago Bulls select Jared Cunningham, SG Oregon State Jr
The Bulls should try to fill the void of Derrick Rose in a veteran this offseason and grab a project here at 29. Cunningham is a big (6’5”) athletic shooting guard who can run, get to the basketball at ease and a good defender. Needs to hit the weight room but could pan out to be a steal at 29.
30. Golden State Warriors select Fab Melo, C Syracuse So.
Melo will slip but GS should take him at 30. Fab should be a great back-up to Bogut and could develop his skills in the D-league. He should be a good shot blocker right away but is still very raw. But as they say, you can’t teach 7-foot.