2012 NBA Mock Draft – Consensus Ver 5.0
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: The chances of Kentucky sensation Michael Kidd-Gilchrist joining former Wildcats star John Wall in Washington are looking good. The Wizards hold the third pick in June’s NBA Draft and if Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats continue their emphasis on players with multiple years of college experience, Thomas Robinson should be the second overall pick. That’s ironic because it was Jordan’s selection of Kwame Brown with the Wizards in 2001 that may have turned him off to drafting guys with little or no college experience (the Bobcats traded for Bismack Biyombo at last year’s draft, and while he never attended college, he had already been playing professionally since 2009).
Since the Wizards traded for Nene during the season, it’s unlikely they would use their first-round pick to take Connecticut center Andre Drummond, and that leaves Florida freshman Bradley Beal and Kidd- Gilchrist on the table for the third pick.
The biggest advantage Kidd-Gilchrist has in this situation is his size and versatility. He could end up playing small forward or shooting guard, and because he’s 6-7 with tremendous athleticism and a 6-10 wingspan, Kidd-Gilchrist figures to be able to defend both positions as well.
Beal, on the other hand, is just 6-4, and while he’s a slightly better perimeter shooter than Kidd-Gilchrist, he doesn’t have the New Jersey native’s ability to drive to the hoop.
If the Wizards do take Kidd-Gilchrist, that should leave the Cleveland Cavaliers—who pick fourth—with a choice between Drummond, Beal and North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes. Most Ohioans would hope for Jared Sullinger with the fourth-overall pick, but years from now they’ll be happy that their team went in another direction. Generously listed at 6-9, Sullinger isn’t just undersized at center. He’s undersized at power forward as well. His foot speed isn’t bad, but there are 4s in the NBA that are simply too fast for him and that makes Sullinger a hard fit into the league
Yannis’ Notebook: As if I wasn’t excited enough about the 2012 NBA Draft already, the lottery only managed to increase my excitement level even more. Had things gone according to the percentages, we probably would have seen the draft take a clear shape prior. Now, with the New Orleans Hornets defying the odds and winning the top overall selection, a whole other realm of possibilities have surfaced.
The Charlotte Bobcats are in a very precarious position. Their job went from practically being done for them to actually quite difficult. They’re going to have to make a tough decision at two. They should probably go with either Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but no matter who they go with – he’s going to be constantly compared to the guys they passed on for him. And due to Michael Jordan’s draft history there will be no shortage of criticism if he struggles.
The Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers have to like where they’re at despite being outside the top two. Odds are they’re going to end up with Robinson, MKG or Beal, all upgrades and major additions.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the team I’m expecting to make something happen. With picks number six and 11 they should be able to walk away with either two starters, some veteran talent, or a higher selection. They have a wide variety of options, making it even more pressing for them to get a general manager hired so they can start formulating a game plan.
Still, there’s no denying that the Hornets are going to walk away as the biggest winners even this far out. With Davis and another lottery selection they’re going to have the cornerstones to their rebuilding movement. While there will be other winners, nobody will benefit as much from this draft class immediately than they will.
Joel’s Notebook: Every year there are guys that we expect to get drafted really high (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson), as well as a handful of guys we expect to get selected somewhere in the lottery (Andre Drummond, Brad Beal, Harrison Barnes, and Jared Sullinger). But then there are those two or three guys who creep up into the top 5-10 picks to surprise a lot of casual fans who didn’t necessarily expect them to get selected higher than a more name-brand guy.
This year, those players could very well be Weber State’s Damien Lillard and Baylor’s Perry Jones III.
Jones is still a pretty raw player, but while his inconsistency at Baylor last year was frustrating, it’s impossible to deny the young man’s physical gifts. His size and wingspan could make him a stretch four in the NBA, but he’s got the range of a really versatile three. The talent and size are certainly there, and if he can convince a high lottery team his work ethic can keep up with those things, it’s possible to see him going as high as #7 to Golden State.
Lillard, meanwhile, doesn’t have the household familiarity to his name as Kendall Marshall or Marquis Teague, but it’s all but certain he’ll be the first point guard taken in this draft, perhaps as high as #6 to Portland. He’s an incredibly gifted offensive point guard, and he can score the ball as well as anybody at his position in the country. He’s got a good build, is incredibly athletic, and can also play both ends of the floor. The name’s not as flashy as the guys we saw go deep into the tournament, but he could very well be the best pro point guard of this crop.
These are obviously ceilings for these guys, but it’s very possible that they go higher than players like Sullinger or Barnes in this draft. If there are potential big risers in the lottery this year, Lillard and Jones are probably it.
Steve’s Notebook: They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder… in talking with talent evaluators around the NBA two names continue to polarize the top of the draft board – Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Florida’s Bradley Beal.
Both players are likely off the board in the top eight selections, but like Kentucky guard Brandon Knight last year, fans seem to be more enamored with both players than NBA teams – or at least as it stands now.
One talent evaluator pointed to MKG’s skill set as being somewhat average by NBA standards, but the fact that he had such a developed NBA body in college is why he was hands down one of the best players in the country. When compared to current NBA star small forwards like Paul Pierce, Danny Granger and Andre Iguodala – MKG becomes somewhat average quickly. The same evaluator said he is clearly a top 10 pick, but warned that a team that believes MKG will have the kind of personal success of he had at Kentucky in the NBA, will likely come away disappointed.
Ask another evaluator and you’ll get a polar opposite read, one where MKG is the hands down best pro-ready player in the class and could be one of the top players in the draft in five years.
Bradley Beal draws similar comments. One evaluator, who was high on Kidd-Gilchrist said Beal was the best pure scorer in the draft and that his jump shot was as close to perfect as we’ve seen in the NBA since Ray Allen.
Another evaluator questioned Beal’s shot selection; his size and his ability to defend NBA two guards asking "How many points does Kobe Bryant or Dwyane Wade get off of Beal?".
It is still very early in the process and teams have not had many top level guys in their buildings yet as agents like to wait until the lottery field is set and play the numbers game.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will meet with just New Orleans and Charlotte. Kansas big man Thomas Robinson will likely see just four teams in the workout process. Kidd-Gilchrist will likely see the same four as Robinson and Beal likely only sees teams in the top six.
The only sure-thing in this draft is that Anthony Davis will go number one overall. From there don’t bookmark Kidd-Gilchrist or Bradley Beal into the top five just yet, they still have to get someone to fall in love.
Both players are very easy to like, but believing that they are assured the top five might be a mistake.
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.