2012 NBA Mock Draft – Consensus Ver 3.0
Each year HOOPSWORLD puts together a team of writers to look at the NBA Draft. The idea here is to illustrate how differently (or similarly) writers from various NBA markets see the 2012 NBA Draft.
Alex’s Notebook: If the Washington Wizards don’t land the first pick, they’re not a shoe-in to take Connecticut center Andre Drummond. The presence of Nene is enough to persuade general manager Ernie Grunfeld to consider Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Florida’s Bradley Beal or Kansas’ Thomas Robinson.
That’s not a surprise—Nene is signed through 2015-2016 at an average of $13 million per year—and it’s extremely good news for the Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets or any other team that gets a high pick, but isn’t lucky enough to come away with Anthony Davis.
Physically, Drummond is a lot like Alonzo Mourning when he came out of Georgetown in 1992. The Huskies big man is 6-10, 250 pounds but somehow seems to play than his listed frame.
Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end between the two.
Mourning was a proven commodity after four seasons with the Hoyas, averaging 21.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game. Drummond only played one season at UConn and he often left audiences wanting more. The Connecticut native averaged 10 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while making 53.8 % of his field goals and just 29.5% of his free throws.
This changes Drummond from someone with upside, to a great athlete who may need to be reworked from the ground up. There’s no question that he’s the top big in the draft behind Davis, but he has far more work to be done than the Kentucky superstar.
After Drummond, North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller and Illinois’ Meyers Leonard are the top true centers in the draft, but they’re far more finished products. In Zeller’s case, he’s a decent athlete and at seven-feet tall, ready to give a playoff-ready team a steady presence in the post. Zeller is the kind of player that could help the Milwaukee Bucks or Houston Rockets go from the end of the lottery to a low seed in next year’s playoffs. Drummond, on the other hand, is someone who can be a terror three or four years down the road.
Yannis’ Notebook: Every year there are a handful of guys who the masses love but I just have trouble buying into. One of those guys this year is North Carolina big man John Henson. I recently had him falling out of the lottery in my latest full mock draft, which some consider to be completely out of the question.
Henson was undoubtedly a fine college player, but I have concerns over how well his game is going to translate. The first thing that jumps out to me is the minimal improvements from his sophomore to junior year. While he did up his scoring average by a bucket, his rebounding and shot blocking decreased, albeit by very little, despite playing more minutes.
He also doesn’t look much different physically. While he’s stronger than he was when he first arrived at UNC, he’s still a long ways away from where the average power forward is at in the NBA. Some believe he cannot add much more weight to his frame without effecting his speed and athleticism, which would be disastrous if true.
In Henson lands in the right situation, with a team that likes to push the tempo, there’s a chance he could provide some help as a rookie. He does run the floor tremendously and he usually does a solid job of protecting the rim. However, I have my doubts as to whether or not Henson will ever live up to the expectations that would come with being a lottery pick – the main cause behind his fall in my most recent mock.
I’ve bumped him back up a few spots in this week’s mock because in all reality, some team in the top 17 will probably take him with the belief that they can pack some pounds on him and help him develop his all around game. Consider him high risk, high reward if you like, but I’m just not sold on the reward being that great
Joel’s Notebook: Meyers Leonard is a pretty typical middle-of-the-first round sort of pick that non-lottery teams love to get excited about because, let’s face it, he’s incredibly tall, incredibly quick, and incredibly talented. Despite all that, however, I’ve heard one person close to the University of Illinois basketball program tell me that he doesn’t consider Leonard a top-notch NBA prospect, despite all the physical tools he possesses.
In much the same way that Hasheem Thabeet came into the NBA holding all the tools for at least a decent NBA career but didn’t quite have his head in the game, Leonard apparently puts off the same sort of vibe. He truly believes he deserves a spot in the NBA but wasn’t always a great teammate with the Illini, occasionally rubbing folks the wrong way with his attitude. It’s hard to see him dropping out of the top 20 picks because certain programs can put a kid like that in his place and mold him into a pretty solid player. Other organizations will be wary, however, because they’ll have heard some of the stories about him and could perhaps instead turn to another option with a little more maturity.
Steve’s Notebook: There is no doubting that the NBA game has evolved into the point-guard game. Teams with elite point guards tend to rise to the top faster than teams with elite bigs.
As the 2012 NBA Draft approaches this year’s crop of points guards pose more questions than answers, especially with the top names on the board.
Weber State’s Damian Lillard is arguably the top point guard prospect in the class. While he played at a small school and was asked to do a lot of scoring. Lillard is coming into this process with a reputation as being a score-first guard and NBA teams are going to have to decide if he can be a playmaker too. Lillard is also a little under-sized for the NBA game listed generously at 6’2 and 185 pounds.
UNC’s Kendall Marshall is about seven weeks removed from wrist surgery to repair the scaphoid bone in his non-shooting wrist. Marshall may or may not work out for NBA teams as he was projected to need possibly twelve weeks to fully recover. Marshall has recently been cleared for on-court work, so there is a chance NBA teams get him on the court. If Marshall opts not to work out for NBA teams, he could see his stock tumble on draft night. Marshal is a known commodity, and like Boston College’s Reggie Jackson last year, Marshall may opt to skip the dog and pony show and simply work towards getting healthy for summer league and training camp and simply land where he lands.
Kentucky’s Marquis Teague could be the biggest question mark in the top three at point guard. Teams view him as a fast, athletic guard but the common question asked is can he shoot the ball? Teague shot just 8 shots per game at Kentucky and was .412 from the field, .325 from the three-point line and an underwhelming .714 from the foul line; not exactly scorching stats for a player with questions about his shooting.
IONA’s Scott Machado, Washington’s Tony Wroten, and Xavier’s Tu Hollaway are all being positioned as point guards and with so many questions surrounding the top three names it won’t be surprising to see a sleeper slide into the first round especially if NBA teams decide the top guys are more hype than substance.
So who are these guys?… Alex Raskin has covered the NBA for four years and is based in New York with the Knicks and the Nets. Yannis Koutroupis is HOOPSWORLD’s college basketball editor. He has also covered the NBA for six years and covers the San Antonio Spurs. Joel Brigham has covered the NBA for seven years and covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD including the Bulls and the Pacers. Steve Kyler is the editor and publisher of HOOPSWORLD and has covered the NBA for 12 seasons.