2012 NBA Mock Draft – Consensus Ver 4.0
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.
Yannis’ Notebook: All it took was spending 10 minutes at John Lucas’ training facility in Houston, Texas to notice how supportive of an environment it is. There’s a mix of high schoolers, college players, guys who have graduated and prospects for the draft. They all work together quite seamlessly, though, and do a great job of encouraging and teaching each other.
Tyshawn Taylor, Will Barton, Jarrod Jones, John Henson, Steve Tchiengang, Toure’ Murry, Rakim Sanders and Kenny Frease were in attendance this week and they all brought different things to the table.
Taylor’s speed is impressive, as is his shooting ability from beyond the arc. He really showcased a nice, reliable stroke. For a guy who supposedly had red-flag issues off of the court, he couldn’t have been nicer. He acknowledged that there may be some questions about his character, but was excited to address them and prove otherwise.
Barton can also really shoot it. He’s a legit 6’6 with shoes on. He was getting ready to work out for the Houston Rockets. The coaches there raved about his length, stating that it’s been really problematic for guys defensively.
Jones sold me on being worth a draft pick. Whether he goes in the top 60 or not, he’s got a pro’s game. When his mid range game is on, he’s a difficult guard because he can also get to the basket and finish with authority. He was working really hard on his left hand.
He looked very comfortable finishing with hit. He’s been working out there twice a day consistently over the last two and a half months. It was his battles against Henson and Samuel Dalembert that sold me on him being a pro as well.
Henson showed that he may have more offensive game than he’s been given credit for. At times Coach Lucas had to tell him to not worry about shooting too much, that he was there to work on that. He hit multiple threes from NBA range, did some good things inside the arc and of course used his tremendous wingspan. The coaches there complimented his incredible work ethic. Henson gets there early, stays late and works out in between workouts.
Tchiengang was one of the strongest players in attendance. He definitely looked like a guy capable of doing more than his stats at Vanderbilt would lead you to believe. He’ll almost undoubtedly get invited to play on a summer league team.
Murry was a guy that was specifically pointed out to me as someone to remember. He’s coming off of a nice career at Wichita State and has performed well in workouts with NBA teams already. Teams at the bottom of the second round are already planning on bringing him back to see him again.
Sanders is a 6’5 guard who is at least 230 lbs. He’s just built like a tank, but can score the basketball. He’ll definitely be playing summer league somewhere if he goes undrafted.
Same goes for Frease. Frease has NBA size and strength. He’s also got a sneaky offensive game. It’s somewhat unorthodox, but when he senses his defender going to sleep he attacks and capitalizes.
Joel’s Notebook: While I don’t believe Thomas Robinson will necessarily be the second player picked in this June’s draft, I do think he has an excellent chance to end up the second-best player of the entire class. It’s not that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist won’t be a great supporting player, or that Bradley Beal won’t be a productive scorer for his entire career, or that Andre Drummond won’t be big and tall and intimidating on the defensive end. It’s just that Robinson has the best combination of proven ability and untapped potential this side of Anthony Davis, and that, in my opinion, gives him the best chance at becoming a star.
Keep in mind that Robinson wasn’t even a starter as a sophomore, which makes sense considering he spent the entire year playing behind the Morris twins. In his first year starting, however, he immediately transformed into one of the best college players in the country. He’s physically mature, extremely athletic, and well-rounded as a player. He posts up and rebounds like a pro already, and considering he’s only a year into playing Big Boy Basketball, it’s crazy to think about what he might be.
Knowing all that, he just seems like more of a sure thing than, say, Harrison Barnes or Beal or even Kidd-Gilchrist. The draft lottery is on the 30th, so once that picture starts forming we may get a sense of where Robinson ends up, but whoever gets him is getting a star in the making.
Alex’s Notebook: Former Kansas standout Thomas Robinson had been plagued by rumors that he wasn’t really 6-9 and that he was pretty good at nearly everything, but not particularly great at anything. But now that more talent evaluators are seeing him in person, however, it turns out that he is every bit of his listed height and he’s just scratching the surface of his talent. Robinson barely shot 3-pointers with the Jayhawks (although he made 50% of his attempts last year), and now that he’s getting a chance he’s showing everyone just how good of a shooter he can be. Robinson possesses a lot of skills that that prototypical "stretch 4s" posses, but he also combines that with excellent athleticism, a 7-1 wingspan and a high motor that all coaches love. Outside of Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, there might not be a better combination of proven ability and upside in this draft than Robinson. Connecticut center Andre Drummond will be taken ahead of Robinson simply because of upside, but Robinson is a safe pick, particularly for a team like the Washington Wizards, who may already have their center in Nene Hilario. He’s a true power forward, but Robinson is athletic enough to defend some of the bigger small forwards in the league. Over time, he could turn himself into a star on that end of the floor as well.
Steve’s Notebook: The NBA announced this week the 60 players that have been invited to the 2012 NBA Draft Combine on June 7th and 8th in Chicago. Typically that’s the first step for a player to be drafted, however the Combine isn’t the end all for being drafted. Normally 85% of the 55-plus players invited end up hearing their name called, meaning roughly 6 to 9 players each year go to Chicago but do not get drafted for one reason or another opening the door for a number of international options or domestic players that did not get the invite.
PITT’s Ashton Gibbs did not get an invite, but is clearly a NBA caliber guard. His road to the NBA may be a little tougher, but a guard that can shoot the ball as proficiently as Gibbs is going to be hard to pass on. After spending a few days with Gibbs in Las Vegas at Impact Basketball, its amazing that he was not invited, however after four seasons at PITT, NBA teams may already have a read on Gibbs enough to see him drafted.
Gibbs has a full workout calendar so there is an ample amount of interest.
Villanova guard Maalik Wayns is another player who did not get a Pre-Draft invite, however Wayns clearly looks the part of a NBA guard. Measuring in a 6’2., Wayns has an uncanny similarity to Orlando guard Jameer Nelson. Wayns is not nearly as bulky as Nelson, but is a compact guard that is solid off the dribble, has a great jump shot and was a proven player at Nova.
Wayns too has a full workout calendar, so its not as if teams are not interested.
The NBA Draft process is far from perfect, and using the Draft Combine invite list as the barometer for who gets drafted is a little naive. While getting an invite surely helps a players cause. Not getting invited isn’t necessarily the kiss of death for a prospect.
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.