The Draft is always one of the most exciting times of the year.  Whether it’s the NFL, NBA…or some other sport that has a draft, this is where teams have to judge their needs, find players that can best help their team needs & build their franchise.  Some teams have built dynasties through the draft, some teams made All-Star teams through trading their draft picks for players to try to start dynasties.  Either way, this is the closest thing to a fashion show/Soap Opera in modern sports.

    This Mock Draft is going to be chosen according to the teams in the positions right now & what they need.  There are a lot of needs, so let’s get started.  New Orleans, you are on the clock:
1.  “With the 1st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select…Anthony Davis”
        -Like there’s any other option.  The Hornets wouldn’t trade that pick for Dwight Howard right now.  He used to be a guard in high school, but shot up over the last couple of years.  He can guard on the perimeter well, he can guard in the post, he’s an amazing shot blocker & has a great attitude.  He needs to improve his mid-range shot and bulk up, but don’t be too hard on his physique…if you remember, Dwight looked a lot like that when he got drafted too.
Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal: A Top Prize in the 2012 NBA Draft

2.  “With the 2nd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select…Bradley Beal”
        -Lots of people think Thomas Robinson here, which would make sense.  Charlotte needs an inside pressence…but they are so bad and need so much right now that Robinson isn’t the answer here, especially at #2.  He’s not a guy you run your offense through in the post.  He’s going to be a garbage man.  New Head Coach Mike Dunlap has been talking about the need for outside shooters.  Charlotte recently traded for Ben Gordon…but I don’t think that he’s going to be it.  They need some more firepower and Beal is the guy that can bring that.  He can shoot and get in the lane to score.  Beal is the best option here…if they don’t trade down.
3.  “With the 3rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select…Michael Kidd-Gilchrist”
        -He may not be completely ready for the League yet, but he’s one that I don’t think Washington wants to take a chance in missing on.  They got John Wall from Kentucky & he has done well, but they don’t have enough either.  The only other option in my mind here is Harrison Barnes who is more ready now, but if don’t go with him they take MKG.  I just think that this kid will work hard to get better and will make an excellent wing for the future.
4.  “With the 4th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select…Harrison Barnes”
        -I’m not dogmatic about this pick because I think Cleveland will trade up to #2 to get Beal.  If they don’t trade up, they might go after Austin Rivers as a long shot.  Even if they don’t do those two things, they could trade back, but that’s a long shot.  If they are stuck at #4, the best option is Barnes.  He’s a smart player, he can shoot from the outside, he can post a little & he could be the best all-around player in this draft at best and be a good NBA player for a decade at worst.  The only other option for Cleveland as a team is to go after Eric Gordon to complete their backcourt, but I think they’re going to do everything in their power to move up.
Thomas Robinson
5.  “With the 5th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select…Thomas Robinson”
       –I know this doesn’t seem right, but if the Kings have Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton & DeMarcus Cousins and you can’t get a wing, why not get the best PF available to go along with your big centerpiece.  I know, I know…they still have Tyreke Evans and you’re right.  This is where you spread the floor and use him or trade him for the piece you need that you couldn’t get in the draft.  He’s got a great NBA body and will be good for whatever team he goes to.  “When life gives you lemons…”
6.  “With the 6th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers select…Andre Drummond”
        -Of course this makes sense, a franchise who has gone after big men in the past & fallen short.  Do I think Drummond will fall short? No, I think Portland will.  Drummond looks like Dwight which Portland likes, Drummond could turn into a Dwight-like player, but he probably won’t in Portland.  They have a curse with big men…so stay away!  They won’t, he’ll fall short there & they’ll miss on another player that could help turn their franchise around.
7.  “With the 7th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select…Jeremy Lamb”
        -After trading Monta Ellis away for Andrew Bogut and moving Klay Thompson to the SG position, they need a good 3…that’s where Jeremy Lamb steps in.  He can score from deep, score close, play some D and doesn’t have to carry this team which will help him come along nicely, remember his Freshman year playing with Kemba.  He’ll have a good career and Golden St will start scaring some teams in the West.  I didn’t say Playoffs…yet.
8.  “With the 8th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors select…Austin Rivers”
        -I think Jose Calderon is leaving and this guy is the successor.  Rivers can be a selfish type of player and that’s exactly what Toronto needs.  You put him with DeMar DeRozan and you have a backcourt that is going to be hard to stop.  The only other option for Toronto is Damian Lillard who is more of a PG and can score, but I think Rivers is the pick, plus…he’ll sell more tickets.  Stupid, I know, but it still is a business.
9.  “With the 9th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons select…John Henson”
        -With Greg Monroe doing most of your scoring, you need a guy that can play opposite and bring the D.  That’s exactly what John Henson has done since the first day he stepped into Chapel Hill.  He was never the #1 scoring option in the post, it was Zeller.  He’s a long, lanky garbage man that can block shots.  With his addition to Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Brandin Knight & the newly acquired Corey Maggette, Detroit could be on the upswing.
10.  “With the 10th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select…Damian Lillard”
        -New Orleans will be excited with this pick, Lillard brings scoring and passing to the Big Easy.  With him & Davis running the pick & roll, the Hornets will improve dramatically.  Lillard can score in bunches and gives them the PG of the future that they lost with CP3.
11.  “With the 11th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Portland Trailblazers select…Dion Waiters”
        -If Portland goes a different way with #6, then this will be Tyler Zeller.  If they don’t, then this will be Waiters or possibly Terrence Ross.  Waiters is a boom or bust.  If he booms, he’ll be great, but I’m leaning more toward bust.  Either way, Jamal Crawford probably won’t stay and they’ll need to find a scoring replacement because Wesley Matthews isn’t the answer.
12.  “With the 12th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select…Tyler Zeller”
        -The idea is that Houston is doing everything they can to get draft picks to send to Orlando and bring Dwight there…I don’t understand that unless they get Dwight and trade him for Bynum+1, Bosh+1, or another salivating suitor.  If Houston keeps the draft picks, then this is where I go if I’m them & McHale.  You just got rid of Dalembert and now you go younger with a good smart post player that Kev can groom and appreciate.
13.  “With the 13th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select…Terrence Ross”
        -Phoenix is shallow at the SG spot.  Shannon Brown is a great bench player, but not a starter.  The best available shooter at this spot is Ross.  Ross is 6’7″ which brings them some added height and depth at SF, with Grant Hill getting up in years.  If Waiters falls here, I think Phoenix takes him, but if he doesn’t, then I think the Suns will take Ross as their guy…and they will like what he becomes.
14.  “With the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select…Meyers Leonard”
        -At 12, I thought the Bucks would take this kid, after picking up Dalembert, they still  will be. and I don’t think it’s a good idea.  He’s 7’1″ and can fill the lane…that’s it.  I don’t think he brings much more to the table.  Dalembert brings experience, but a post presence is who they have to have for the future and they think Leonard is their guy.  You have Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis to score…you need Leonard to defend…but there are better options.
15.  “With the 15th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select…Moe Harkless”
        -Philly has good guards…they have no SF.  Enter Moe Harkless…he’s a stats stuffing monster who can play some serious D.  Philly showed their weakness in the Boston series this year and that was not having a strong 3.  Harkless is that big, strong defender (6’8″) who can score also.  I think if Philly can get him with what they already have…they’re going to be dangerous.
16.  “With the 16th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select…Perry Jones III”
        -Houston will be excited with this pick because no one knows what this kid is or what he can become.  He’s tall enough to play stretch 4, but athletic & versatile enough to play a 3 (ala Tayshaun Prince).  Jones is smart, but needs to play tougher mentally and physically.  Plus, if Houston is still trying to get Dwight, PJ3 could be a good bargaining tool.
17.  “With the 17th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select…Andrew Nicholson”
        -With the loss of Tyson Chandler, the Mavericks need a post presence on offense and defense, Nicholson is that guy.  While actively pursuing Deron Williams, Dallas is looking to spend some money, but there are no good post players that are free agents and Dallas hasn’t said much else about getting Dwight.  If they do intend to get Dwight, Nicholson could be a good trading chip.  If not, he’s great on both ends of the floor and that’s just what Dallas needs to get back toward the top of the West.
18.  “With the 18th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets select…Marquis Teague”
        -With Kyle Lowry on the trade block, Teague is a good fit.  He doesn’t have to come in & start right away…and doesn’t need to.  Playing behind Dragic is good for him.  He has a lot of potential, he just needs to start turning that into reality.  It took his brother Jeff a few years to come around, but look how he has played lately.  I think Marquis does the same.
19.  “With the 19th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select…Arnett Moultrie”
        -Orlando is stacked with guards and three point shooters, they need a guy that can score in the post…especially since they’re going to lose Dwight…one way or another, they will lose Dwight.  Moultrie isn’t the defensive presence that 12 is, but he can defend and might be a little more skilled offensively.  Orlando HAS to get a post here.
20.  “With the 20th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select…Kendall Marshall”
        -There are questions about Marshall’s athleticism and skills, but no one questions his head or passing abilities.  With Andre Miller saddling his horse ready to ride off into the sunset in the next year or two, Marshall could be a good back-up for Ty Lawson and bring a change of pace in a half court set…plus, George Karl likes those UNC boys.
21.  “With the 21st pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select…Jared Sullinger”
        -Danny Ainge isn’t stupid and he knows how to build a team, he’s added the right pieces around “The Big 3” since ’06.  Sullinger is going to be a double-double garbage man at worst!  He had health concerns, fine…but Sullinger is too good to let pass by.  And Ainge won’t dare let him.  He can’t handle the post alone offensively, but I think he’s going to be a good player for a long time.  Just watch what this kid can turn into…he’s determined to prove himself and he will.
22.  “With the 22nd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select…Fab Melo”
        -It’s no secret that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge believe in good team defense…since they do, they’ll draft Melo.  This guy doesn’t bring you a lot of offense, but he brings you some serious defensive presence in the middle.  If the Cs don’t go with Melo or Sullinger, then I can see them taking Terrence Jones, Royce White, Jeffery Taylor or Festus Ezeli.  With the jury still out on KG and if Jeff Green can come back healthy, the Celtics HAVE to take care of their presence in the paint.  I think Boston can do that with these two picks…and to take away from #23.
23.  “With the 23rd pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks select…Festus Ezeli”
        -The Hawks really need a post presence on defense so that Josh Smith can play his natural position of SF and Al Horford can play his natural of PF.  Since they missed out on Melo, they will add Festus Ezeli.  He will bring strength in the paint and a hard-nosed defender.  He is a good weak-side offensive rebounder and will help Atlanta be tougher.  Look for a post presence here.
24.  “With the 24th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select…Tony Wroten”
        -Irving, Barnes, Tristan Thompson & now Wroten…Cleveland is setting themselves up to really be a great young team.  Wroten can play 1 or 2, and though he doesn’t have a great jump shot, he could be the pass first option and let Irving be the scorer.  I see Wroten as being the same type of player as James Harden…maybe not as good, but similar.  If he lives up to that, Cleveland will be happy with their pick.
25.  “With the 25th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Memphis Grizzlies select…Royce White”
        -This was one of my favorite players to watch last year.  He played point-forward for Iowa St and was like a bull in a China shop with the ball at the top of the key.  He’s big, thick, strong, smart and will fit in perfectly with Memphis’ blue collar style of play in “The Grindhouse.”  Though, he’s not a good free throw shooter, he’s good at everything else.  You put him, Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol together and that is the toughest, strongest & biggest frontcourt in the League.  This can be a risky pick, but a big payoff if it works out.
26.  “With the 26th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Indiana Pacers select…Terrence Jones”
        -With the idea of putting Jones at the 3 and going big, or having him be the stretch 4, I don’t see how Indy can pass on him at this stage of the draft.  He never took the country by storm with his play, but he always contributed whether down on the block, shooting the 3, taking a player off the dribble, or getting offensive boards.  He did it for Coach Cal and will do the same for Coach Vogel & the Pacers.
27.  “With the 27th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat select…Draymond Green”
        -He is an excellent fit for the Heat.  He’s very intelligent, played for a winning program at Michigan St, knows how to play the game right, will take on whatever role given to him and has no attitude.  He can play on the block, hit from the outside and will mix it up with anyone.  He’s a coach’s dream come true…and he’ll be Spoe’s at #27.
28.  “With the 28th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select…Doron Lamb”
        -OKC needed guys to step up and knock down shots in the Finals…Doron Lamb can do that.  Lamb isn’t just an outside shooter, he can drive, dish and defend.  He wasn’t the most heralded member of the National Championship Wilcats team, but they couldn’t have got there without his timely shooting.  If OKC would’ve had him this year, it would’ve been a different series.  Lamb gives them one more athlete that can score & defend.  It looks like the rich do get richer.
29.  “With the 29th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select…Jeffery Taylor”
        -Chicago needed guys to step up and hit shots in the playoffs, that’s what this guy does.  Taylor is one of the country’s best outside shooters.  The only way Chicago doesn’t go with a shooter here is if they are looking for a replacement for Deng, who is on the trading block.  If they are, then look for Quincy Miller or maybe Kim English, but if not, Taylor could be their man.
30.  “With the 30th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select…Quincy Miller”
        -Here’s a guy that is played great as a Freshman at Baylor and now has the chance to play on one of the up & coming young teams and make an immediate impact.  When I say make an immediate impact, I mean coming off the bench and bringing some energy.  He’s going to be a great pick here and has a bright future ahead of him.
I’m not sure how close I will be because I’m not an insider, but I think I brought to you some educated guesses based on the team’s needs and the players available.  Watch for guys like Will Barton, Evan Fournier, John Jenkins, Kim English & Miles Plumlee to possibly make a late 1st round splash.  I hope you enjoyed the Mock Draft, now get your TV ready for the real deal.