The New Orleans Hornets have the top pick in the NBA Draft.
By Michael Scotto
Monday, June 04, 2012
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis – PF, 19, 6-10, 220, Kentucky, Freshman
Davis is the franchise player the New Orleans Hornets have sought since losing Chris Paul via trade. Davis has been compared to players like Kevin Garnett, Marcus Camby, and Chris Bosh. If Davis turns out to be like any of those players he will shorten the Hornets rebuilding process. For those with conspiracy theories, my joking theory is New Orleans Hornets and Saints owner Tom Benson called his former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and ordered a "Bounty Program" hit on David Stern if he didn't get the top pick.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson – PF, 21, 6-9, 240, Kansas, Junior
Statistically the Charlotte Bobcats were the worst NBA team ever with a 7-59 (.106 winning percentage). To make matters worse the Bobcats lost their chance at the top pick in the draft and must scramble to select the next best player behind Anthony Davis. With holes at every position expect the pick to be Robinson who shined in his first year with consistent minutes at Kansas and is loaded with upside.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal – SG, 18, 6-4, 201, Florida, Freshman
Beal has risen among scouts and executives across the league because of his shooting ability. Shooting was a major weakness for Washington last year and Beal would be an instant upgrade. Beal would also be an ideal compliment to John Wall.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – SF, 18, 6-7, 228, Kentucky, Freshman
With the departure of Antawn Jamison as a free agent the Cavaliers will go with the best player on the board and fill a need at small forward. Kidd-Gilchrist reminds scouts and executives of a cross between Andre Iguodala and Gerald Wallace. Kidd-Gilchrist will be the perfect running mate for Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving in transition
5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond – C, 18, 6-10, 270, UCONN, Freshman
Sacramento is looking for the best big man available to pair with DeMarcus Cousins. Drummond will fall to the Kings just as Cousins did on draft night. Pairing both big men would form a lethal combination on the low block. Both big men are excellent rebounders and Drummond can provide shot blocking to bolster the defense.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn Nets): Damian Lillard – PG, 21, 6-2, 185, Weber State, Junior
With Raymond Felton becoming an unrestricted free agent and the lack of consistency at the point guard position the Portland Trail Blazers grab Lillard here. The combo guard has been rising up draft boards due to impressive workouts and his long range shooting ability. This pick may also be used as trade bait along with the eleventh pick.
7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes – SF, 19, 6-8, 220, North Carolina, Sophomore
Golden State is looking to upgrade the small forward position and Barnes is the best available at that position. The team loves shooters that can stretch the field and the Glen Rice comparisons make Barnes a fit here. Golden State can send Dorell Wright to the bench and upgrade their depth by doing so.
8. Toronto Raptors: Jeremy Lamb – SG, 19, 6-5, 185, UCONN, Sophomore
Toronto is looking to upgrade on the wing and moving DeMar DeRozan to his natural small forward position to make way for the versatile scoring ability of Lamb makes a lot of sense. Lamb's offense will be a welcome addition to a Raptors team that struggled to score points.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson – PF, 21, 6-11, 220, North Carolina, Junior
Pairing Greg Monroe and Henson is a match made in Heaven. Henson would be the athletic shot-blocker to complement the inside scoring of Greg Monroe. Both players are solid rebounders as well. Henson provides great length, an asset general manager Joe Dumars covets.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Kendall Marshall – PG, 20, 6-4, 188, North Carolina, Sophomore
Marshall is the best pure passing point guard in the draft and would be the perfect compliment to form the newest version of "Lob City" with top pick Anthony Davis. Marshall can be the floor general of the future and help Davis and the Hornets rebuild quickly. Marshall's size is a plus for his position as well.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller – C, 22, 7-0, 250, North Carolina, Senior
Zeller has worked out for the Portland Trail Blazers and the team is looking for an upgrade at center to pair with star forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Zeller reminds scouts of P.J. Brown and will be a solid pro player. Expect the Trail Blazers to use this pick as trade bait along with the sixth pick.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger – PF, 20, 6-9, 280, Ohio State, Sophomore
Sullinger gets downgraded around the league because of his lack of athleticism, but not enough credit for his skill set as a forward. Sullinger has improved his shooting and is a monster on the low block thanks to his strength. Sullinger would provide Milwaukee the post presence it desperately needs.
13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers – SG, 19, 6-3, 203, Duke, Freshman
Phoenix has holes at both shooting guard and point guard (if Steve Nash leaves and Aaron Brooks doesn't return). Why not take the best combo guard available here? Rivers' scoring ability will be needed in Phoenix and he can help begin the team's true rebuilding process. In an open offense Rivers has a chance to fulfill his lofty expectations.
14. Houston Rockets: Meyers Leonard – C, 20, 7-0, 240, Illinois, Sophomore
The Rockets are searching for a center to anchor them for the future and will get their man in Leonard. Big men are hard to find and Houston will be happy to grab Leonard here. This is a bit of a reach pick due to his raw skill set, but his youth and potential outweigh the risks.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Perry Jones III – PF, 20, 6-11, 235, Baylor, Sophomore
Elton Brand is in the final year of his contract and adding a power forward for the future is a need. Jones possesses gifted physical ability and raw talent, but has yet to unlock his full potential. Philadelphia grabs him here as a potential steal of the draft candidate and to bolster the frontcourt.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Terrence Jones – SF, 20, 6-9, 244, Kentucky, Sophomore
Houston may package this pick in a deal, but if not, grabbing Jones as the small forward of the future is a suitable move for Houston. Jones reminds scouts of Marvin Williams as a combo forward that doesn't have a set position. During workouts Jones has impressed scouts and reminded them of his potential as a freshman sensation at Kentucky.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Dion Waiters – SG, 20, 6-4, 210, Syracuse, Sophomore
Waiters is the perfect replacement for Jason Terry as a combo scoring guard off the bench on a contending team similar to his days at Syracuse. Waiters' ability to create his own shot would be a welcomed addition to the Mavericks offense. Dirk Nowitzki and Waiters would make for a lethal pick-and-roll combo as well.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Terrence Ross – SG, 21, 6-7, 197, Washington, Sophomore
The Timberwolves have a gaping hole at shooting guard thanks to the lack of development from Wesley Johnson. Ross reminds scouts of Eddie Jones because he has great size, is a good athlete, and can shoot the ball from downtown. This could be the type of move that puts Minnesota into the playoffs next season.
19. Orlando Magic: Moe Harkless – SF, 19, 6-8, 208, St. John's, Freshman