Horran Cameron and I took some time to look at each possible pick of the first round in this year’s NBA draft and hit the interwebs with a little 2-on-2 action. Without further adieu here are our picks for Roberto Gato’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft.
1. New Orleans
(Horran) Anthony Davis: He is clearly the best player in the draft. I view him as an energetic player, a la Dennis Rodman. Davis is known for his defense. He is an excellent rebounder and shot blocker.
(Bryan) Anthony Davis: There’s really no possible scenario that ends up with the Hornets not taking Davis. The kid is a monster. He’s a beast. He will become great. He was a legendary college defender with a better offensive game than people give him credit for.
(Horran) Harrison Barnes: At 6’8”, 215 lbs., Harrison has the perfect size and skill set to play the 2 or 3 in the NBA. Many people criticize his dribbling, which needs improvement. However, Harrison has the makings of a star player. He has experience taking the game-winning shot while playing at UNC. In addition, he is level-headed and not a distraction off the court.
(Bryan) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: As far as instant impact, you can’t go wrong with Kidd-Gilchrist. And that’s what Charlotte needs… Instant impact. In college his offensive rating (points produced per 100 possessions) was 115, his defensive rating (points produced allowed per 100 possessions) was 91 and he averaged 7.1 rebounds per game. Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson are nice players, but I don’t think any of them are better than Kidd-Gilchrist right now.
(Horran) Bradley Beal: Beal is an athletic shooting guard, who has earned a big reputation leading up to the draft. In my opinion, I feel that critics are comparing Beal to Westbrook, labeling him as the next best thing. I don’t think Beal will be the starting shooting guard over Jordan Crawford, but I do think that Beal will play significant minutes and average between 12 to 15 points a game.
(Bryan) Harrison Barnes: The Wizards need help in almost as many spots as Charlotte, but they really need a scoring punch from the wing position. Barnes will provide that. The biggest question surrounding Barnes is some incarnation of: “Will he ever be better than he is right now?” He’s a young guy, so the answer is probably “yes”, but how much better he can be is a whole different question.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
(Horran) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: This guy is an athletic freak. He is a jack of all trades, but he is a master on defense. His rebounding is exceptional for someone his size. I view MKG as the second coming of Shawn Marion. I expect MKG to guard the opposing team’s best offensive player. Although he is not an excellent shooter, he has the ability to out-hustle anyone on the court. His intensity and athleticism will be a great complement to Kyrie Irving.
(Bryan) Bradley Beal: This team needs a shooting guard. Even though Beal might be a little undersized (despite what the Florida athletic department wants you to believe), he’s still got the potential to become a solid NBA 2-guard. Pairing him with Irving and Tristan Thompson seems like a no-brainer.
(Horran) Thomas Robinson: T-Rob may not start, but he will be a solid 6th man or 7th player off the bench. The Kings’ backup power forward is Chuck Hayes, who is 6’6” 240. T-Rob has the size to play power forward. Playing along with DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson will help T-Rob develop his low-post game at the NBA level. This pick could possibly be traded.
(Bryan) Thomas Robinson: The Kings might look a little too stacked at the PF spot if they draft Robinson, but how can they pass up pairing him with Cousins? In a few years a Cousins/Robinson tag team at C/PF is going to look mighty scary.
(Horran) Kendall Marshall: Portland needs a floor general. Kendall was the best point guard in the nation last season. He is also the best point guard in the draft. He is a pass-first point guard, who shoots when he needs to. His passing skills will automatically boost LaMarcus Aldridge’s points per game average. Nicolas Batum is poised to have a breakout season, with Kendall as his point guard. Throw in Wesley Matthews and Marcus Camby, and the Blazers are the next big thing.
(Bryan) Kendal Marshall: I don’t necessarily think this is who they’ll take, but it’s who they should take. Marshall was the best point guard in college basketball last year (all things considered, like conference, level of competition, etc.), and as Horran said, Portland NEEDS someone to run that team on the floor.
7. Golden State
(Horran) Tyler Zeller: Golden State needs a center. Zeller has the size, but his agility at as a center will be a great asset for the run and gun offense that Golden State uses. In addition, I see a lot of pick and roll between Tyler Zeller and Stephen Curry.
(Bryan) Andre Drummond: He’s only 6’10″, but he’s strong enough to play center in the NBA. He’s a little raw (horrible, overused draft cliche, I know), but with a little work, he could become a very good player.
(Horran) Moe Harkless: Harkless gives Toronto a legitimate small forward, but DeMar DeRozan would have to move to the shooting guard position. This could give Toronto a solid one-two punch at the 2 and 3. However, I could see Toronto going after a point guard here, also.
(Bryan) Damian Lillard: Toronto already has two solid point guards on its roster (Jose Calderon, Jared Bayless), but if Lillard falls this far, the Raptors won’t pass on him. He’ll have time to develop his “point guard skills”, but he’s already a sick athlete, and he can shoot the lights out, which Toronto likes.
(Horran) John Henson: Detroit is excited about Henson. He gives them a shot blocker, excellent rebounder, and underestimated shooter at the power forward position. Pairing Henson and Greg Monroe could possibly place Detroit back into the playoffs.
(Bryan) John Henson: Most mock drafts have the Pistons taking Henson, and it makes sense. A possible big three of Brandon Knight (if he pans out), Greg Monroe (will/has panned out) and Henson (monster status on defense already)? Count me in.
10. New Orleans
(Horran) Terrence Jones: Drafting two Kentucky Wildcats would be “wild” for New Orleans. Jones is a combo forward, who would give N.O. a boost off the bench. Jones is quite an enigma because he has the size to play power forward, but he prefers to be a perimeter guy. I compare him to Antoine Walker.
(Bryan) Perry Jones III: The Hornets are low on small forwards and they’re even lower on small forwards who can score. Jones can do that. If it weren’t for the questions about his drive (unfounded), he’d probably be a top five pick.
(Horran) Fab Melo: He is ready to bang down low in the NBA on the defensive end. Although being an offensive juggernaut is not his forte’, it’s not going to hurt him; Batum and Aldridge will get the majority of the shots. Picking a center with this pick will solidify a starting five for Portland.
(Bryan) Terrence Ross: Some people think this sophomore out of Washington might turn into the best shooting guard of this draft class. All I know is, Jamal Crawford isn’t getting any younger, and after him and Wesley Matthews, the Blaizers aren’t what most people would call loaded with quality two-guards.
(Horran) Perry Jones III: Some people believe that Jones III will play the small forward position in the NBA. At 6’11”, he needs to play down low in my opinion. His laid-back demeanor should not be a bad thing. He has the skills to start at the power forward or center position in Milwaukee. However, some people including myself question his intensity.
(Bryan) Tyler Zeller: No more Bogut. That’s the main reason Milwaukee should draft Zeller. He’d look great paired with a (resigned) Ersan Illyasova, too. He’s long, athletic, smart and runs the floor extremely well; All things Milwaukee needs from a new center.
(Horran) Dion Waiters: Waiters is a combo guard. He was the best player on Syracuse’s roster last season, and he was the 6th man. If Nash is still wearing a Suns’ uniform next season, Waiters would be a great complement to start at the shooting guard position.
(Bryan) Austin Rivers: He wasn’t great defensively, and he wasn’t as good offensively as some people thought he’d be at Duke, but Rivers can shoot the basketball, and he’s got some humungous stones (ice-water runs through his veins). If Marshall or Lillard are available, the Suns would take one of them, but I don’t think either of them will be. Still, they should take a guard either way and Rivers will probably be the best available.
(Horran) Meyers Leonard: Houston lacks a center. After the Hasheem Thabeet bust, I do not see Andre’ Drummond taken here due to similarities between the two players. Meyers fits the Chris Kaman mold, a solid low post player who could make one or two all-star appearances in the future, but for the most part he will be a solid role player.
(Bryan) Meyers Leonard: Meyers probably won’t turn into a perennial All Star, but he will be a solid force in the post. His numbers did shoot up in his second season, though, and he finished his sophomore year with a true shooting percentage of 62 percent and an offensive rating of 115 (compared to 52 percent and an 80 rating last year), so he’s definitely still improving.
(Horran) John Jenkins: Jenkins is a three-point specialist. He shot 44% from the arc last season. Philly lacks consistent outside shooting. Since Andre’ Iguodala will most likely be traded soon, playing time will open up at the shooting guard and small forward positions. Evan Turner as the shooting guard, and John Jenkins at small forward spells trouble for the Eastern Conference.
(Bryan) Dion Waiters: Some say they see a little Dwayne Wade in him. Others say he’ll probably end up being a nice role player off the bench. He’s a Philly native, and, even though the Sixers are pretty set in their guard rotation, they’re in desperate need of some instant offense.
(Horran) Arnett Moultrie: This guy plays inside and out. I assume that the Rockets will look for a power forward and a center in this draft. Leonard and Moultrie would make a nice tandem in the paint for the Rockets.
(Bryan) Arnett Moultrie: He can score in a number of ways, he pounds the glass, and he’s athletically gifted (to put it mildly). Houston needs to get bigger, and even though there are some questions about his size, he’s got the frame to add more weight once he’s in the NBA.
(Horran) Andre Drummond: I think Drummond’s stock will fall tremendously. The buzz around this player is that he is an underachiever. His numbers at UConn last season did not stand out. However, Drummond is a physical specimen that could blossom into a future star. I think that teams will pass on him, because they do not want to take this risk. Mark Cuban has no problem doing this.
(Bryan) Royce White: White was the do-it-all man at Iowa State. He averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and five assists per game last year. I’m sure Dirk can teach him a few tricks to become a better scorer, but he’s already a deadly-efficient player; His true-shooting percentage was 54 percent and his offensive rating was 103 last year. He wasn’t a slouch on defense, either, finishing 2012 with a defensive rating of 95.2.
(Horran) Andrew Nicholson: Nicholson comes from a small D1 school in St. Bonaventure, but this should not be held against him. Nicholson is a solid player, who can play inside or out. Minnesota needs help down low. There is a plethora of guards in Minnesota.
(Bryan) Jeremy Lamb: His stock has fallen over questions about consistency and effort after not being able to take over for Kemba Walker in 2012. Still, the kid can put the ball in the basket. He averaged over 17 points a game last year and had a true shooting percentage of 58 percent. Lamb could go anywhere from the 9/10 slot, to the late teens in this year’s draft.
(Horran) Jeremy Lamb: I think that Orlando will look to get younger next season. Everyone assumes that Dwight Howard will be traded. Howard’s departure will leave a scoring void. Lamb will fill this void. He can play either wing position. In addition, his athleticism would be a great complement to Jameer Nelson. Lamb has the opportunity to compete for a starting job in Orlando, due to the number of veterans on the Magic.
(Bryan) Jared Sullinger: Why not? The Magic are about to lose Dwight Howard, so they need to add a solid post presence to their roster in the draft. Sullinger would’ve been a top five pick last season, so at 19, he’d be one heck of a steal.
(Horran) Jared Sullinger: Sullinger will play either the power forward or center position in the NBA. Some people may feel that he is undersized to play center, but there have been exceptions to this (e.g. Alonzo Mourning, Ben Wallace, Boris Diaw). Sullinger has been NBA-ready for two years. He will get plenty of playing time in the Mile High city.
(Bryan) Maurice Harkless: He might not be ready to contribute too much right away, but this young gun could turn into one of the better players to come out of the 2012 NBA draft. He scored 15.5 points and grabbed more than eight rebounds a game last year and Denver is a little thin at the small forward position. The Nuggets have a successful recent history of developing talent, so this might be the perfect place for him.
(Horran) Austin Rivers: I see Rivers falling in this draft because there are questions surrounding what position he can play in the NBA, and his selfishness with basketball. Austin River’s had one of the best first steps in college basketball last season. I truly think that Boston is the best situation for Austin Rivers because his father and Boston’s head coach, Doc Rivers, will have him under control. In addition, Boston needs to get younger, especially in the backcourt.
(Bryan) Terrence Jones: At first glance it looks like his numbers went down during his sophomore season. That might be true on the surface, but it really isn’t the whole truth. His offensive rating went up six points to 115.3 this year. His defensive rating dropped to 88. His shooting percentage increased as well. Jones might just end up being the super sleeper of this year’s draft.
(Horran) Royce White: White increased his stock with a breakout performance against Kentucky in the postseason last March. White possesses the size and ability to play the small forward or power forward position in the NBA. Boston needs to get younger in the low post, also. White would provide a spark off the bench for Boston.
(Bryan) Doron Lamb: Ray Allen was on the trading block before the All Star break this season, and he isn’t getting any younger. He hit threes at a 47 percent clip last year and had an offensive rating of 131. He’s another one of those instant offense guys off the bench, but he very well could develop into a constant offense guy in the starting lineup.
(Horan) Doron Lamb: Lamb is one of the savviest players I have ever seen. He can play either guard position. However, his strength is his deadly outside shooting. Atlanta is set at the point guard position. Lamb’s shooting and underrated athleticism could be beneficial for the Hawks.
(Bryan) Andrew Nicholson: Nicholson played four years at St. Bonaventure and he put up solid numbers in the tough Atlantic 10 conference. He scored 18 points per game on 57 percent shooting, snatched 8.4 rebounds per game and finished the season with a defensive rating of 94.
(Horran) Tony Wroten: Wroten has high upside. His athleticism is off the charts. He almost led Washington to an upset of the Duke Blue Devils early last season. In that game, Wroten was practically un-guardable. His athleticism will be matched in the pros. I think that he will be a hidden gem in this draft. He reminds me of Jamal Crawford, a savvy player who can put up 20 to 30 points any given night.
(Bryan) Jeffrey Taylor: I would love to see this guy teamed up with Kyrie Irving. Taylor can score from anywhere on the floor, can guard any position except for maybe center and is a great leader. I’m not sure he’ll ever be an All Star, but he’ll be a fan favorite wherever he’s drafted and before long he’ll become a mainstay in the starting lineup wherever he goes.
(Horran) Marquis Teague: Teague is another athletic freak. He is not a pure point guard, but he has the ability to handle the position. I compare him to Russell Westbrook, because he will play point guard by default. He will be a decent backup to Mike Conley Jr., and will possibly see time at the shooting guard position with the second team.
(Bryan) Marquis Teague: Memphis needs another point guard and Teague will be the best available this late in the draft. He’s got a ton of upside, and should see some decent playing time next season wherever he lands.
(Horran) Jeffery Taylor: Taylor is known for his defense. However, last season was a breakout one for him on the offensive side. Taylor and Jenkins formed a high-scoring tandem at Vanderbilt last season. Indiana lacks depth at the small forward position when Danny Granger gets a breather.
(Bryan) Quincy Miller: Like Horran said, the Pacers lack depth at small forward. Miller played in the shadow of Perry Jones III at Baylor, but he still put up decent numbers.
(Horran) Terrence Ross. Ross can play the shooting guard and small forward position. Playing alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will increase this player’s confidence, who is already accustomed to playing above the rim. Terrence would be a huge spark off the bench. He could be the Robin #3 or #6.
(Bryan) Fab Melo: Miami needs to get bigger in a hurry. Even though he’s about as raw as a player can get, he’s still so good defensively and on the glass that he could be a starter after the All Star break if Miami picks him up.
28. Oklahoma City
(Horran) Damon Lilliard: Lilliard is a scoring point guard. OKC could use a scoring point guard to take the pressure off Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. Many teams will be calling for Harden’s services. If he departs OKC, more playing time will open for another player. If Harden stays, Lilliard would give OKC a very, quick team high-scoring small ball lineup.
(Bryan) John Jenkins: This dude can flat out shoot the basketball. He hit treys at a 47 percent clip last year, finished 2012 with a 66 percent true shooting percentage and figured out how to get the ball in the basket other ways when he needed to. The next Reggie Miller? I don’t know about that, but never say never.
(Horran) Draymond Green: Green is a hustler. He bangs. He plays inside and out. He earned the Big Ten Conference player of the year last season, because he outplayed everyone else on the court EVERY game. He is a jack-of-all-trades, who will contribute in a variety of ways. Chicago could use his versatility in playing multiple positions and guarding multiple positions.
(Bryan) Festus Ezeli: The Bulls found out just how hard it is to get things done in the playoffs when your main big man and point guard go down. They probably would’ve been ok if they had anyone other than Carlos Boozer to rely on down low, though. The Bulls should stack their front line by taking Ezeli, and maybe even look to trade Boozer this year.
30. Golden State
(Horran) Kevin Jones: Jones went from being a role player to the go-to player for West Virginia. Jones played three positions during his tenure at WVU. In the NBA, he will play power forward, most likely. His size and athleticism would give the Warriors another energy guy to play in the low post.
(Bryan) Draymond Green: As a Bobcats blogger, I really hope this guy falls into the second round, because he is the quintessential glue guy. Whether it’s chemistry, basketball skill, or leadership ability, Green has it all. If the 10 teams at the bottom of this draft let him fall through their hands, they will regret it one day.