Trail Blazers radio play-by-play man Brian Wheeler gives his 2012 NBA draft predictions. You can view his full mock draft here and complete your own to enter the Mock Draft Contest for a chance to win a night with the broadcasters during the televised Draft Night Special.
Wheels' Mock Draft
By Brian Wheeler
Well, my esteemed broadcast colleagues have thrown out some ideas about how they think the 1st round of the upcoming NBA draft will play out. Figured I might as well provide you with my mock draft out to be smarter, than the rest!
So here we go with my mock draft for the 1st round. This is of course not taking into account any trades that could be made, and I have a feeling there are going to be a few. But for our purposes, we will assume every team is going to stay where they are right now.
So with the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, I predict…
1.) New Orleans – Anthony Davis PF (Kentucky) 6-11, 222 lbs. Worst kept secret that this will be the #1 overall selection. In a draft that could feature some wildly different opinions as to the value of certain players, everyone seems to be in agreement that Davis is the consensus best player. He figures to be an immediate force at the defensive end of the floor. His offensive game is much more raw, but all scouts love his potential to become a superstar. Just what an ailing Hornets’ franchise needs to get folks down South excited again!
2.) Charlotte – I think it’s very possible the Bobcats trade out of this spot, but as I said earlier for our purposes here, we’ll assume they’re keeping the pick. And if they do, I could see them taking…. Thomas Robinson PF (Kansas) 6-9, 244 lbs. The Bobcats have many needs, and Robinson will help solidify the power forward spot for years to come. Strong and athletic, some scouts say when all is said and done, he could be the best player in this draft.
3.) Washington – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SG (Kentucky) 6-8 233 lbs. Despite being only 18, many felt Kidd-Gilchrist was the true leader of that multi-talented Kentucky National Championship squad. And the Wizards could definitely use someone to show them the way. This is a guy that loves to play defense. He’s a fearless driver to the rim on offense, but his perimeter game will need some work. Still, he’s a solid pick at this spot.
4.) Cleveland – Harrison Barnes SF (North Carolina) 6-8, 228 lbs. Barnes was one of the guys who really helped himself at the Chicago pre-draft combine. His maximum vertical leap was measured at 39 ½ inches, and he had the fastest three-quarter court sprint of anyone there. Beyond that, he has a high basketball I.Q., and some scouts think he’s the surest thing in this draft after Davis. Not to mention, he’s good friends with Cavs’ star and reigning NBA Rookie-of-the-Year, Kyrie Irving.
5.) Sacramento – Bradley Beal SG (Florida) 6-5, 202 lbs. It’s not as if the Kings are lacking in perimeter players, already featuring Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, John Salmon, and Jimmer Fredette, but I still think Beal could be the choice here. He really came on towards the end of his 1 season in college. Some have compared him to Eric Gordon on the pro level. Some mock drafts have him going even higher than this, but for ours, we’ll put him right here.
6.) Portland – Damian Lillard PG (Weber State) 6-3, 189 lbs. This might turn out to be a case of “best player available” meets “addressing a team need” as the Blazers clearly want to upgrade the point guard position, and there are many who think Lillard is the best prospect out there at that spot. He’s clearly a better scorer right now than he is a distributor, but has an outstanding work ethic. He also impressed everyone by participating in every one of the drills at the Chicago combine, while many other top prospects sat on the sidelines on the advice of their agents. Lillard’s stock is definitely on the rise. If the Blazers do indeed take him, you can bet they feel he’ll be their point guard for a long time to come!
7.) Golden State – Terrence Jones PF (Kentucky) 6-10, 252 lbs. Many believe the Warriors will be strongly looking to move this pick for an established player more ready to help right away. But if they keep it, Jones could get the nod here. He’d be a nice fit alongside Andrew Bogut. Jones is a solid rebounder and shot-blocker, and most scouts believe he has a tremendous upside.
8.) Toronto – Andre Drummond C (Connecticut) 7-0, 279 lbs. I’m probably in the minority thinking Drummond can drop this far, and I could be dead wrong. I think some teams will shy away from him based on the rep he already has of a questionable work ethic. Others think his up and down 1 season at UCONN had more to do with the instability of the coaching he received from Jim Calhoun, who missed portions of time recovering from illness. What can’t be denied is Drummond’s physical prowess…he’ll look good walking through airports that’s for sure. Those who love his potential say he can be another Dwight Howard. Those who aren’t sure he’ll put in the time necessary to make it on the pro level think he’ll be lucky to be another Kwame Brown…OUCH!
9.) Detroit – Tyler Zeller C (North Carolina) 7-1, 247 lbs. The Pistons have a front court keeper for many years to come in Greg Monroe. Everyone now feels he needs a running mate. Lots of ways they could go to accomplish that, but Zeller seems to be the safest pick, and perhaps the most ready to help from day 1. He was the ACC Player-of-the-Year last season, and the ACC Defensive Player-of-the-Year the last two seasons.
10.) New Orleans – Jared Sullinger PF (Ohio State) 6-9, 228 lbs. Another guy who somewhat epitomizes this draft. Some teams love him, others won’t touch him, especially in the Lottery. But the Hornets reportedly do like his potential, and a frontcourt of Davis and Sullinger could be together a long time. Sullinger averaged a double-double in each of his 2 seasons at Ohio St. Some are concerned, however, that he didn’t grade out well in many of the drills he went through at the Chicago pre-draft combine. Monty Williams does seem like the kind of coach that can get the most out of any young player, and that’s another reason why Sullinger could be taken here.
11.) Portland – Dion Waiters SG (Syracuse) 6-4, 221 lbs. With Lillard already in the fold, the Blazers could add another potent backcourt scorer in Waiters. He was instant offense in college, and depending on other additions, could either be an ideal 6th man for the Blazers with Jamal Crawford opting out of his contract, or he could even compete for a starting spot. Whatever the case, he’d figure to be a meaningful part of the guard rotation from day 1 of training camp. He’s a confident player who can score in a variety of ways, including creating shots off the dribble, a quality the Blazers don’t have with most of the guys on their roster right now.
For the rest of the 1st round, I’ll go in capsule form now that the Blazers have used their two picks.
12.) Milwaukee - Meyers Leonard C (Illinois) 7-1 250.
13.) Phoenix – Austin Rivers G (Duke) 6-5 203.
14.) Houston – Arnett Moultrie PF (Mississippi State) 6-11 230.
15.) Philadelphia – Jeremy Lamb SG (Connecticut) 6-5 179.
16.) Houston – Moe Harkless SF (St. John’s) 6-9 207.
17.) Dallas – Kendall Marshall PG (No. Carolina) 6-4 198.
18.) Minnesota – John Henson PF (No. Carolina) 6-10 216.
19.) Orlando – Marquis Teague PG (Kentucky) 6-2 180.
20.) Denver – Terrence Ross SG (Washington) 6-7 197.
21.) Boston – Perry Jones III PF (Baylor) 6-11 234.
22.) Boston – Royce White SF (Iowa State) 6-8 261.
23.) Atlanta – Andrew Nicholson PF (St. Bonaventure) 6-9 234.
24.) Cleveland – Fab Melo C (Syracuse) 7-0 255.
25.) Memphis – Tony Wroten, Jr. PG (Washington) 6-6 203.
26.) Indiana – Will Barton SG (Memphis) 6-6 174.
27.) Miami – Draymond Green PF (Michigan St.) 6-8 236.
28.) Oklahoma City – Jeff Taylor SF (Vanderbilt) 6-7 225.
29.) Chicago – John Jenkins SG (Vanderbilt) 6-4 212.
30.) Golden State – Evan Fournier SG (France) 6-8 206.
So there you have it. Should be a fun night on the 28th…hopefully, I’ll get a few of these right!