Now that the regular season has come to a close, we thought it was time to take another look at how the 2012 NBA draft might unfold.
The NBA lottery will be held on May 30 so we won’t know what the exact order until then so the teams are listed based on how the final standings.
1. Charlotte — Anthony Davis, PF, 6’10″, 220 lbs, Freshman, Kentucky
The Bobcats desperately need players to build around and Davis would be a huge step in the right direction. The Kentucky forward is solid at both ends of the floor, and is the only main in this draft class that could save professional basketball in Charlotte. No pressure.
2. Washington — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, 6’6″, 216 lbs, Freshman, Kentucky
With the roster that’s currently assembled in Washington, they could really an upgrade on the wing. They are slowly cleansing a messy locker room so a solid citizen and player like Kidd-Gilchrist would be the ideal addition.
It’s hard to judge a freshman centre’s future NBA value but Drummond has all of the athletic potential to be a great player as a pro. That said, Hasheem Thabeet also had all the potential in the world and has done nothing so far in his NBA career. Will the Cavaliers take the big risk?
4. New Orleans — Harrison Barnes, SF, 6’8″, 223 lbs, Sophomore, North Carolina
With new ownership, the Hornets are in for an interesting off-season. Chris Kaman, Carl Landry and Marco Belinelli all are set to come off the books while Eric Gordon becomes a restricted free agent. So the team has an excellent opportunity to rebuild the roster and should have the option of selecting the best player available with this pick.
While Robinson almost single-handedly carried Kansas to a national championship, questions remain about his true size and if his game will carry over to the pro level. Scouts wonder whether he is a tweener or as big as Kansas lists him?
6. Portland (from New Jersey) — Austin Rivers, SG, 6’4″, 203 lbs, Freshman, Duke
The Blazers are in need of a replacement for Brandon Roy as they were clearly unhappy with veteran Jamal Crawford. Meddling owner Paul Allen has crippled the franchise of late but maybe he will have a general manager in place by the time the draft rolls around. Note: If the Nets win the lottery and climb into the top three, they will get the pick.
7. Golden State — Damian Lillard, PG, 6’2″, 190 lbs, Junior, Weber St.
The Warriors won’t know until the draft lottery happens whether they will have this pick. If they end up selecting lower than seventh, the pick moves to Utah. That said, Golden State still needs a true point guard more than anything else unless they still believe Stephen Curry can play the position. Lillard or UNC’s Kendall Marshall would be a slight reach but the Warriors, when healthy, are a true point guard away from a playoff spot.
The Raptors need help on the wing and could shift Demar DeRozan to small forward to make room for Beal or use him off the bench where the second unit is also in need of more scoring. Jeremy Lamb could be another option here but Beal is tougher defensively. Already a young team, the Raptors could also use this pick as part of a package for proven, high-end talent.
9. Detroit — Tyler Zeller, PF/C, 7’0″, 240 lbs, Senior, North Carolina
With Ben Wallace nearing the end of his career, the Pistons are in need of a man in the middle to pair with Greg Monroe. If they are able to dump some of their overpriced talent, some help on the wing would have to be a consideration.
10. New Orleans (from Minnesota via Clippers) — Kendall Marshall, PG, 6’4″, 197 lbs, Sophomore, North Carolina
With a pair of lottery picks, the Hornets are primed to get a couple of nice building blocks in place. This would be a great spot to address the gaping hole at point guard left by the departure of Chris Paul. Whomever is available between Lillard and Marshall would be a wise choice.
The Blazers plan to build around LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum so everyone else will likely be available this summer. A pair of lottery picks will speed up the rebuilding process and while they could use some size inside — this may not be the place to fill that hole.
12. Milwaukee — Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio St., 6’9″ 281 lbs, Ohio State
Had Sullinger left for the NBA after his freshman season he likely would have been a top three pick. If you’re not going to hang around in college for four years, there is something to be said for stoking the fire while the iron is hot.
After winning a national title as a freshman, there was nowhere to go but down for Lamb and much like his team, he had an inconsistent season. That said, he is a deadly shooter but his selection in the draft will be all filling the Suns’ needs.
Someone always seems to fall into Houston’s lap. Jones has all of the talent in the world but his motor has been questionable. He was playing out of position at Baylor so as a pro, he may be a better producer.
15. Philadelphia — Arnett Moultrie, PF, 6’10″, 230 lbs, Junior, Mississippi St.
The Sixers are covered on the wings and in the backcourt so they could use another big body up front in case Spencer Hawes exits as a free agent this summer. Elton Brand’s massive contract also expires after next season so Moultrie could spend a year learning behind Brand before being ready for a bigger role.
16. Houston (from New York) — Terrence Ross, SG, 6’6″, 197 lbs,
Once again, the Rockets will take the best athlete available regardless of position just to have that extra trade chip. They would love to get involved in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes but the Magic Centre is not very interested.
Wonder if the T-Wolves finally realize that Darko Milicic isn’t the answer at centre? If they don’t draft another point guard here, Leonard would a make a lot of sense. GM David Kahn’s draft record has been a little sketchy when you consider how many picks he has made over recent years.
If the Magic move Dwight Howard, they will likely try and shed Hedo Turkoglu’s contract as well. That would free up a spot for a new small forward behind Ryan Anderson. They could also go bigger and try and find someone to help replace Howard as well. This is not a team that requires a ton of talent if Howard stays.
The Nuggets don’t have a wide variety of needs so they are in a nice position to take the best player available. Waiters would give the team added depth in the backcourt but it remains to be seen if he can ever be a point guard at the pro level.
21. Boston — John Henson, PF, 6’10″, 220 lbs, Junior, North Carolina
Garnett and Ray Allen will be free agents this summer and may leave. Either way, the Celtics need some young talent in the frontcourt to throw into the rotation.
22. Boston (from L.A. Clippers via Oklahoma City) — Doron Lamb, SG, 6’4″ 200 lbs, Sophomore, Kentucky
The Celtics need to find an eventual replacement for Ray Allen so a shooter like Lamb would be the right fit.
23. Atlanta — Royce White, SF/PF, 6’8″, 249 lbs, Sophomore, Iowa St.
The Hawks need to cut the budget this summer meaning that they may try to move Josh Smith or Joe Johnson if they can find a taker. A trade would open a spot in the rotation for someone like White.
The Cavaliers have all sorts of holes but definitely could use some shooters to help spread the floor for Kyrie Irving. Jenkins would be just the right man although they could still use more size as well.
25. Memphis — Tony Wroten, PG/SG, 6’5″, 204 lbs, Freshman, Washington
The Grizzlies have been shopping O.J. Mayo for a while now so why not draft a similar talent as his eventual replacement?
The Pacers can pretty much head in any direction with this pick. Teague will provide them with insurance in case Leandro Barbosa leaves at season’s end.
27. Miami — Andrew Nicholson, PF, 6’9″, 220 lbs, Senior, St. Bonaventure
The Heat need some young inexpensive bigs that can play right away. This young Canadian carried the Bonnies into the NCAA tournament this season.
28. Oklahoma City — Evan Fournier, SG/SF, 6’7″, 206 lbs., International
It’s a weak crop of international players in the draft this year so we could see Fournier being the only player from across the pond to be snapped up in the first round.
29. Chicago — Fab Melo, C, 7’0″, 255 lbs, Sophomore, Syracuse
Melo may be a little bit immature but he is a big body and after losing some weight before his sophomore season he was a ferocious shotblocker who got up and down the floor nicely. Good value pick here.
30. Golden State (from San Antonio) – Fetus Ezeli, C, 6’11″, 255 lbs., Vanderbilt
If the Warriors address the point guard need with their top pick, they should go big here. A big body to back up David Lee and Andrew Bogut would make plenty of sense.