Published on May 31st, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Mock #6: First Post-Lottery Edition
The New Orleans Hornets have officially won the unibrow sweepstakes and get the distinguished honor to draft Anthony Davis. As for the rest of the draft…
The Hornets leapfrogging from fourth to first was the only swap in the order, pushing down Charlotte, Washington and Cleveland. The rest of the squads stayed put, meaning that for now the mocks will pretty much look the same.
With less than a month to go before the actual draft on June 28th, the big changers now are the workouts. Will Andre Drummond wow a team a go in the top four? Can Perry Jones work out against something other than chairs?
Let’s take a look at my final mock before the workouts commence.
1. New Orleans Hornets (21-45): PF/C Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Congrats to New Orleans, who deserve this pick. I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I reject the idea that the Hornets don’t deserve this because the NBA owned the team for a year. The city saw their superstar point demand a trade, had to watch the whole bounty gate destroy their Saints… and now they get Anthony Davis, which almost assuredly brings guard Eric Gordon back as well. Davis/Gordon is an incredibly nice foundation.
2. Charlotte Bobcats (7-59): SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
Let’s take a time machine back in time for a moment. There was once an NBA conundrum on draft day. A can’t miss big man had gone off the board at number one, leaving one NBA franchise a choice between two players. In one corner, there was player A, a hard working athletic swing man who needed to improve his jumper but had a determination unmatched in the league. Player B was another big man with excellent potential according to scouts, but came attached with serious red flags.
So who did the franchise pick? That year was 1984. The team was the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers took Player B, the big man, who ended up being Sam Bowie and his horrible health record. Player A was taken by the Chicago Bulls. He was Michael Jordan.
Before I get covered in flabbergasted responses, no, I’m not saying Kidd-Gilchrist is MJ. What Kidd-Gilchrist shares with Jordan, other than first names, is an unrivaled work ethic. That work ethic will take Kidd-Gilchrist far above what many expect him to be. His jumpshot is not great now, but there is no doubt that with his determination he can fix it.
Or Jordan can selection Andre Drummond, the big man who looks like Dwight Howard with an extremely questionable work ethic. He’d be a safer pick than Sam Bowie was, because at least Drummond is healthy. But you’d hope that MJ would know you don’t pass on star talent with a great work ethic over star talent with no work ethic just because of size.
I can see Jordan taking Drummond here though. And then he’d be drafting himself Kwame Brown 2.0.
3. Washington Wizards (20-46): PF Thomas Robinson, Kansas
If Charlotte takes Drummond, Washington will take Kidd-Gilchrist and Robinson’s fall will start. Of course, some experts (ESPN’s Chad Ford being one) think that Washington would take Bradley Beal here. I’m 50/50 on Robinson/Beal being the pick here, but I’ll go with Robinson, who I have higher on my big board. Robinson was raised just outside of Washington, so the chance to bring the hometown boy (who is also an incredibly tough and hard working player) shouldn’t be one the Wizards pass on.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45): SG Bradley Beal, Florida
Cleveland dropped a pick but still get the best fit aside from Davis. Beal and Kyrie Irving are a match made in heaven.
5. Sacramento Kings (22-44): SF Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
Could Sacramento take Drummond? Yes, it’s certainly possible. But I see Barnes as a more likely alternative. The Kings need a wing more than they need more questionable big help, and Barnes could be a solid fit if he plays off the ball and learns to play defense. This pick will be locked in for me unless Drummond leapfrogs to #2 or #3, which pushes Robinson to #5.
Why would I see the Kings taking Robinson and not Drummond? Robinson doesn’t have Drummond’s serious red flags. He’s a tough worker when Drummond isn’t, and while he may not have Drummond’s size, he’ll be the All-Star when Drummond is on the bench.
6. Portland Trailblazers (From New Jersey Nets) (22-44): C Andre Drummond, UConn
I absolutely believe Drummond will never being more than a satisfactory starting defensive center. You can point to all the young bigs who worked hard and became great (Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire are the two most recent) but I won’t buy it with Drummond. Drummond failed to impress much at all in UConn when he absolutely had the chance to dominate. He’s a good defender, but he’s FAR from even Dwight or Amare’s raw levels when they came into the league. He’ll make those two’s rookie years look like Shaq in his prime.
7. Golden State Warriors (23-43): SF Perry Jones, Baylor
Another pick likely to change with time. Golden State needs interior defensive help, so perhaps they’ll take John Henson to play the Epke Udoh role, but Jones’ stock is likely to rise quickly if he doesn’t play wing.
8. Toronto Raptors (23-43): PG Damian Lillard, Weber State
A Toronto fan pointed out to me that the Raptors have Jerryd Bayless as a reason why the Raps shouldn’t draft Lillard, but instead should take Lamb. Saying Bayless as a reason to not draft Lillard is like saying you have Glen Davis so you shouldn’t draft Paul Milsap.
9. Detroit Pistons (25-41): PF John Henson, North Carolina
Can’t get over how solid a fit this is. A Tar Heels fan told me the other day that he thinks Henson will never gain sufficient weight, though (He’s 6’11 but stuck at 220 lbs). If the kid’s metabolism is too tough for even an NFL/NBA diet, then Pistons fans will just have to love him for his incredible defense.
10. New Orleans Hornets (From Minnesota Timberwolves) (26-40): PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
Some have Marshall as a top 8 pick. Some have him falling down to around #18. Me? If I was New Orleans I’d lock him up here and start working him and Anthony Davis out until they build chemistry. That TRULY is a Stockton/Malone waiting to happen.
11. Portland Trail Blazers (28-38): SG Jeremy Lamb, UConn
Another perfect fit. Portland needs a true #1 scorer, and while I’m not positive that is what Lamb will become, he’s the best chance left to become one. As long as he works on his defense, he’s easily worth this pick here.
12. Milwaukee Bucks (31-35): PF/C Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
Sullinger could go as high as #7 to Golden State, or as low as #14 to Houston. Milwaukee just makes a lot of sense. He’s a good low post scorer, which the Bucks really lack, but with his limited athleticism and average defense, he’s a risk for sure. Of course, they could do with the equally skills/less risky/less reward pick of North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller.
13. Phoenix Suns (33-33): PF Terrence Jones, Kentucky
I’ve had multiple people tell me they can’t see Phoenix passing up Duke’s Austin Rivers here, but I’m sticking with Rivers falling out of the lottery. Rivers would give Phoenix the excitement factor they need, but his attitude/efficiency problems will, in my book, keep him out of the lottery. Jones has underappreciated talent and would be a top 6 pick in any other draft.
14. Houston Rockets (34-32): PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
Houston needs to leave the draft with a wing and a big. They have picks #14 and #16, so they can fill both. They could snag Moultrie here and maybe Austin Rivers at #16? Or they could take the safer wing in Washington’s Terrence Ross at #14 (I can’t see sharpshooting needy Philadelphia passing on Ross) and maybe snag Moultrie at #16.
Extra Thoughts –
- Chad Ford (publically on Twitter, not just in his Insider article on ESPN) posted the following early picks. He believes that Davis will go to New Orleans (obviously), Kidd-Gilchrist will go to Charlotte, Bradley Beal will go to Washington… and Harrison Barnes will go to Cleveland at four. Barnes over Robinson is VERY hard to swallow, and while it somewhat makes sense (the Cavs need a wing, not a forward) I just can’t see Cleveland taking Barnes over Robinson.
- A ton of the draft will depend on what happens with Drummond. I can see the Bobcats taking him at #2, Washington taking him at #3, Sacramento taking him at #5, and his floor would be Portland at #6. If he goes #2, that pushes Kidd-Gilchrist back to Washington (a great fit), Bradley Beal to Cleveland at #4, and Thomas Robinson to Sacramento at #5.
- With two picks in the first round each, I could see both Portland AND Houston trying to move up, especially to a team like Sacramento who needs more proven talent.
- Of course, my mock will change much over the next few weeks. If the news pops out that Michael Jordan loves Andre Drummond, then expect this basic mock to be blown to pieces.