The NBA Draft takes place next Thursday, June 28.
By Michael Scotto
Friday, June 22, 2012
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis – PF, 19, 6-10, 222, Kentucky, Freshman
Davis will be the franchise player the New Orleans Hornets have sought since losing Chris Paul via trade. Davis is an elite shot-blocker and rebounder thanks to his wingspan and leaping ability. On offense, Davis can beat his man off the dribble and he's improved his post game. As a result, the Hornets traded Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to the Wizards for Rashard Lewis and a second round draft pick (No. 46 overall). The team also saved roughly $8.3 million in cap space to help re-sign shooting guard Eric Gordon to pair with Davis as the cornerstones of the franchise.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson – PF, 21, 6-9, 244, Kansas, Junior
The Bobcats have a new coach in Mike Dunlap, new uniforms, and will soon have a top draft pick. The Bobcats have explored trading this pick for a high price, but if no deal is reached Robinson will be the pick. Robinson is an athletic specimen that has a high motor and can leap through the roof making him an exceptional rebounder and dunker in traffic.
3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal – SG, 18, 6-5, 202, Florida, Freshman
The Wizards need a shooting guard here after acquiring Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza to pair with Nene and John Wall. Beal has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen and has good size for his position. The Wizards hope to pair Beal and Wall as the backcourt of the future. Beal can help stretch the floor for Wall to penetrate or create his own shot off the dribble when Wall is on the bench.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – SF, 18, 6-7, 233, Kentucky, Freshman
Cleveland needs a small forward and will have a tough decision between Harrison Barnes and Kidd-Gilchrist. Reuniting Kyrie Irving and Kidd-Gilchrist from their high school days appears to be the thinking here. Kidd-Gilchrist is a cross between Gerald Wallace and Andre Iguodala that would be an ideal running mate to pair with Irving in transition. Kidd-Gilchrist has the potential to be a top defender thanks to his size, strength, and lateral quickness. On offense, Kidd-Gilchrist is a work in progress and raw.
5. Sacramento Kings: Harrison Barnes – SF, 19, 6-8, 228, North Carolina, Sophomore
The Kings lack shooting and need an upgrade at small forward. Barnes can stretch the defense and has the ideal size to play small forward in the NBA similar to former NBA player Glen Rice. Barnes can spread the floor for Tyreke Evans to penetrate and draw attention away from DeMarcus Cousins who routinely faced double-teams last season.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn Nets): Andre Drummond – C, 18, 7-0, 279, UCONN, Freshman
Portland has gaping holes at point guard and center. In a draft that is deep with point guards expect the Trail Blazers to role the dice with Drummond here. New general manager Neil Olshey will make the selection and sources say he wants to find a big man to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge. Drummond has the body of a true NBA center and is gifted with athleticism and agility. The biggest holes in Drummond's game are his foul shooting and maturity.
7. Golden State Warriors: Terrence Jones – SF, 20, 6-9, 252, Kentucky, Sophomore
The Warriors are actively trying to trade this pick, but if the team remains here Jones could fill a void at small forward. Jones can play both the small and power forward position and his versatility is something the Warriors covet. Jones is a lesser version of Lamar Odom and his lack of a true position has drawn comparisons to Marvin Williams.
8. Toronto Raptors: Dion Waiters – SG, 20, 6-4, 221, Syracuse, Sophomore
Waiters is the trending name amongst NBA executives. Toronto wants to draft a shooting guard and move DeMar DeRozan to small forward to better suit his skills. Waiters can provide the Raptors with the scoring ability they desperately need. Waiters can score by breaking down his defender off the dribble, shooting, or coming off ball screens.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson – PF, 21, 6-10, 216, North Carolina, Junior
Henson is an athlete that can jump through the gym. Henson's leaping ability allows him to block shots and rebound at a high rate. Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars is known to covet players with tremendous wingspans and size like Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. Dumars hopes to pair Henson's defensive skills with emerging center Greg Monroe and his polished offensive game.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Damian Lillard – PG, 21, 6-3, 189, Weber State, Junior
New Orleans has dabbled this pick as trade bait, but the Hornets are expected to keep the pick and look for the best guard available. Lillard significantly improved his draft stock at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Lillard can shoot, score off the dribble, and has improved his passing as a point guard each year while at Weber State.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeremy Lamb – SG, 19, 6-5, 179, UCONN, Sophomore
Sources say the Trail Blazers hope Damian Lillard is still on the board here, but if not the team will either trade the pick or upgrade on the wing. Lamb won a national title at UCONN and performed well on the U-19 USA National Team. Lamb has NBA three-point range and has the size to drive and draw fouls on smaller defenders.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Meyers Leonard – C, 20, 7-1, 250, Illinois, Sophomore
Leonard is one of the most intriguing raw prospects in the draft and performed better than expected at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Leonard showed great athleticism and has the size to replace Andrew Bogut who was traded for Monta Ellis. Milwaukee took a gamble on Brandon Jennings a few years ago and could do so again with Leonard.
13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers – SG, 19, 6-5, 203, Duke, Freshman
Phoenix wants to add a shooting guard to begin the rebuilding process with, or without, Steve Nash. Rivers can provide the Suns with perimeter scoring, shooting, and comes from a winning program at Duke. The Suns open transition system would be an ideal fit for Rivers.
14. Houston Rockets: Tyler Zeller – C, 22, 7-0, 247, North Carolina, Senior
Zeller is one of the most matured and developed prospects in the draft. Houston wants to upgrade at center and Zeller is a solid option that can run and score around the basket. Zeller is expected to have a long NBA career as a role player despite not having as much potential as younger players.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Perry Jones III – PF, 20, 6-11, 234, Baylor, Sophomore
Jones arrived at Baylor with unlimited potential, but he failed to channel that potential into results. Scouts have soured on Jones and have compared him to Tim Thomas and Anthony Randolph. However, there is no denying his raw talent and Philadelphia is thin in the frontcourt. Jones could replace Elton Brand long-term and he won't deal with the inflated expectations that weighed him down at Baylor.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York Knicks): Terrence Ross – SG, 21, 6-7, 197, Washington, Sophomore
Houston has depth at every position except shooting guard. Ross reminds scouts of Eddie Jones thanks to his athleticism, shooting ability, and size. Ross would also be an insurance policy for Kevin Martin who will become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Kendall Marshall – PG, 20, 6-4, 198, North Carolina, Sophomore
Marshall reminds scouts of a young Mark Jackson and is regarded as arguably the top passing point guard in the draft. Despite a lack of athleticism and speed, Marshall can thread the needle into tight passing lanes. With Jason Kidd turning 39 and entering the twilight of his career this would be a match made in Heaven for Dallas.