With the 2012 NBA Draft now less than 3 months away and the NCAA Tournament freshly concluded with Kentucky taking home their 8th National Championship, it’s time to take our second look at the top 1st Round prospects for the upcoming NBA Draft.
Now that the collegiate season is officially over and players make their choices whether to return to school or move on to the NBA, it has become much more clear as to who will be the #1 overall selection…….National POY Anthony Davis. After that, it gets a bit murky with his Kentucky teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, UConn big man Andre Drummond, Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, and UNC SF Harrison Barnes all in the running to tound out the Top 10 selections.
As such, these Mock Draft rankings are based on potential with this year’s Draft order based on current team records from the current regular season and outstanding trades, without taking into consideration for team needs as of yet. These are only my choices and not the consensus picks of all of The Hoop Doctors writers, with that said here is my 2012 Mock Draft:Version 2.0:
|6’11 220lbs Freshman
|Few players over the past decade on the collegiate level have displayed the unique combination of athletic ability and length(7’6 wingspan) of Davis. He either dunks or blocks everything around the rim and just seems to do something amazing every game like single handedly winning games with a last second block or monster rebound. With perhaps the highest ceiling of any player in the Draft, Davis oozes potential and will undoubtedly be the top pick. While he must develop a post game to compete at the next level, he can make an immediate impact on the game on both ends with his length and energy. Many experts compare him to Marcus Camby but with a higher upside offensively. As an absolutely best case scenario, many are beginning to draw comparisons to Kevin Garnett.
|6’10 260lb Freshman
|Outside of Davis, Drummond has the most upside of any other player in the Draft. The 19 year old already has an NBA physique, but is still a work in progress on both sides of the ball. He’s an enigmatic player in that he will show flashes of greatness, then dissapear completely in big games like scoring only 2 points vs Iowa State in the Tourney. The potential is there but concerns remain about a laid back demeanor. The comparisons to Amare Stoudemire remain.
|6’7 230lbs Freshman
|Possessing an amazing amount of length(7 ft wingspan), athleticism, and strength, Kidd-Gilchrist projects as a lock-down defender with a still developing offensive game that reminds many of Gerald Wallace. Some GM’s think he could go as high as #2 because he has take-over ability without having the ball in his hands. No player played harder on the college level and is a coach’s dream with a team first mentality. With an improved offensive game, Gilchrist could be a multiple All Star and franchise cornerstone.
|6’9 240lbs Junior
|Robinson has elevated his game to a new level, almost single-handedly helping the Jayhawks make it to an improbable National Title Game. He is an physical and strong as any player in the Draft. He has added a 15 foot jumper to his arsenal, in addition to being virtually unstoppable inside the painted area. Robinson is arguably the most physically ready for the next level and has a ferociousness to his game that hasn’t been seen since Blake Griffin.
|6’8 225lbs Sophomore
|One NBA GM has been quoted as saying that only Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Barnes are the only can’t miss prospects in this year’s Draft. With that being said, Barnes hasn’t quite lived up to the hype of being a Pre-Season All American before ever setting foot on an NCAA hardwood, but has developed into a lights out perimeter shooter in the mold of Glen Rice, with prototypical size and strength to play either the SG or SF at the next level. He settled way too much from the perimeter, snagged only 2 rebounds per contest, and failed to show any signs of the killer instinct needed to become a franchise player. There’s no denying that Harrison has all the talent to be a good player in the NBA, but I question if he has the intangibles to be a superstar.
|6’4 205lbs Freshman
|In his lone season at Florida, Beal has lived up to the immense hype of being compared to Ray Allen as a HS recruit. He’s big, agile, and is much more than just a perimeter threat, showing an improved court vision and passing skills late in the season. Brad is an adept rebounder, plays the passing lanes well on defense, and will only get better with age. Some scouts think Beal now has a higher upside than Barnes.
|6’5 185lbs Sophomore
|After bursting on the scene as Kemba Walker’s sidekick in helping UConn win the National Title as a freshman, Lamb has shown tons of individual improvement in his sophomore campaign. While he can get to the rim with the best of them, he has added an All Star caliber pull-up jumper to his arsenal, a skill that usually means instant success at the next level. Many have begun to make comparisons to HOFer Reggie Miller because of his slight frame, but keep in mind Jeremy is still only 19 years of age.
|6’8 260lbs Sophomore
|Although Jared posesses skill and a basketball IQ well beyond his years, many are now questioning what position he will play in the NBA. Jared struggled against bigger frontcourts like Kansas in March Madness. Sullinger is only 6’8 but plays like a center, and despite adding the 3 point shot to his game this season, his stock has slid amidst fears of lacking outstanding athleticism and a penchant for injuries during his sophomore season. In the right situation, like being paired with a bigger center, Sullinger has potential as either SF or PF in the mold of Carlos Boozer, but is no longer considered a Top 3 pick like last season.
|7’0 255lbs Senior
|The reigning ACC Player of the Year has seen his stock rise after leading the Tarheels in scoring and helping lead them deep into March Madness. Finding a legit 7 foot low post scorer is rare these days, especially with the toughness and end-to-end hustle that Zeller provides. He won’t block a ton of shots but is multi-skilled in the painted area and is a potential double-double machine at the next level. Think Joaquim Noah without the emotion.
|6’9 230lbs Sophomore
|Despite continued erratic play during his sophomore season, many still think Jones will be a better pro player than in college. He has all the skills and athleticism to play either the SF or PF, but at times seems to lose focus. When motivated, Terrence has takeover ability, scoring, rebounding, or on the defensive end blocking shots. At 6’9, he’s capable of stretching the defense as a decent 3 point shooter and could be deadly as a pick-and roll type player. The comparisons to Lamar Odom aren’t far off.
|6’10 225lbs Junior
|John made excellent strides in his offensive arsenal to add to his already dominant defensive prowess. Despite lacking outstanding strength, Henson is an elite level shot-blocker and an above average rebounder. He will need to bulk up to be a starting player but many think he has Lottery potential in spite of a recent rash of injuries late in his junior season. His impressive wingspan make him a defensive force in the mold of Sam Dalembert.
|Perry Jones III
|6’11 220lbs Sophomore
|There’s no doubting Jones has Top 5 talent but has yet to show the intensity and desire to be a superstar talent. He returned to school for his sophomore season to improve his game but his stats look eerily similar to his freshman season. Similar to Terrence Jones, Perry is a physical specimen that has all the athletic ability to become a star but must get rid of the all too nice off the court persona. With that being said, he has Top 3 abilities and will be given a chance by some team by mid 1st Round at the latest.
|7’1 240lbs Sophomore
|Similar to Tyler Zeller, Meyers is a skilled and fluid 7 footer, a rare commodity that is in high demand. Leonard is a hot prospect in spite of Illinois failing to make the Big Dance, mainly because of his big jump in production from freshman to sophomore seasons. He would definately benefit from another year in school but should be gone by the end of the Lottery. Think Tyson Chandler without the nasty streak.
|6’4 180lbs Sophomore
|Despite a serious hand/wrist injury forced him to miss time during March Madness, Marshall remains the top PG prospect on the board. In his two seasons at UNC, Marshall has developed into the best pure passer in the college ranks. He excels at pushing the tempo from 3/4 court and has already drawn comparisons to future HOFer Jason Kidd. Because of a lack of overwhelming athleticism and defensive prowess, Mark Jackson may be a better comparison.
|6’2 185lbs Junior
|While many haven’t heard of Lillard, he finished ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring and exudes athleticism that belongs at the next level. Right now he’s a better scorer than passer but in a less than spectacular point guard crop in this year’s Draft, Lillard may sneak into the late Lottery or middle of the 1st Round. Many have compared him to the offensive minded Mo Williams.
|6’7 200lbs Sophomore
|A former HS teammate of Terrence Jones, Ross is an elite level perimeter shooter that excels in catch-and-shoot situations. He has above average athleticism, and can get to the rim in highlight reel fashion despite only average ball-handling ability. Ross reminds may of Rudy Gay but must add weight to play at the next level. Defense is only average at this point, but many think Ross can be one of the sleepers of this year’s Draft, a la Klay Thompson this season.
|6’4 200lbs Freshman
|The former #1 rated HS prospect has gone through some growing pains in his freshman season at Duke. Although he could use another year or two of seasoning, he has unlimited 3 point range and excels at getting to the rim. With that being said, he’s a bit undersized for SG and lacks outstanding PG skills. Right now, he’s a one-on-one player but has potential as a pick-and-roll/pop player in the NBA. If he’s still available, surely his father Doc with the Celtics would love to Draft Austin, who reminds many of a young Gilbert Arenas, but before the injuries.
|6’11 220lbs Junior
|In his lone season at Miss State, Moultrie emerged as one of the best rebounders in the country. He has outstanding size, length, and athleticism and may go as early as the Top 10 selections. Moultrie is also versatile offensively as he can drain 3 point shots on occasion to keep defenses honest. He reminds many of a young Jermaine O’Neal.
|6’4 215lbs Freshman
|Despite almost being booted off the Cuse roster for being in Coach Boeheim’s doghouse between freshman and sophomore seasons, Waiters was undoubtedly Syracuse’s best offensive player this season. He uses his impressive strength off the dribble to slash and drive to the rim and projects as a volume scorer. He has Philly swagger that adds to relentless open court finishing ability but is a bit undersized and lacks above average ball-handling. Another year in school could see him become a star on the collegiate level.
|6’4 200lbs Sophomore
|Playing on such a loaded Kentucky team, Lamb is a bit underrated and under-utilized, considering his ability to play point guard. He was the Wildcats’ most consistent player all season and has elite level 3 point shooting skills. Doron has been a clutch performer and has potential as a 6th man/combo guard at the next level, a la Ben Gordon.
|6’7 235lbs Senior
|Even though the stat-stuffing big man was one of Coach Izzo’s all time favorite players and helped State to 107 wins during his 4 year career, he’s a bit of a tweaner without a position(SF or PF). Draymond exudes leadership and has the heart of a lion, but lacks overwhelming athleticism. Green has potential as a face-up low post and mid-range scorer, as well as a double digit rebounder in a back-up role. Many compare him to Carl Landry or a more offensive minded DeJuan Blair.
|7’0 250lbs Sophomore
|Outside of Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the nation’s most feared shot-blocker was Fab Melo. He helped anchor the Cuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone, helping the Orange to a 34-2 record this season. After a subpar freshman campaign, Melo returned this season much more svelte and with a focus on becoming an elite level defensive force. There aren’t many skilled 7 footers left in the NBA any more and Melo definately fits the bill. Although he may never be a superstar, he’s only 21 years old, and could be a potential starter for a team needing a game-changing shot-blocker.
|Tony Wroten Jr
|6’5 190lbs Freshman
|Washington Coach Lorenzo Romar has already been on record comparing Wroten’s skill set to that of Magic Johnson after having him on campus a few months. While on the surface the comparison is just silly, Wroten does have immense potential because of his outstanding size as a true natural PG. He scores well, is a walking highlight reel, and has outstanding vision but must cut down on turnovers. Another year in school would have done wonders as some GM’s have concerns about maturability and readiness for the NBA game. Think a poor man’s John Wall.
|6’9 250lbs Senior
|Former UCLA recruit Drew Gordon has taken his game to a new level at New Mexico, becoming one of the nation’s best double-double performers in his 2 seasons playing at the Pit. Coach Alford brags of Gordon’s motor that propels him towards prolific rebounding numbers and physical low post play. Drew is every bit as physical and determined as Kansas’ Thomas Robinson but with less upside. Many have compared him to a slightly less athletic Blake Griffin because of a nasty streak to his game.
|6’2 190lbs Freshman
|In a weak PG Class, Teague would be wise to declare, especially after winning a National Championship in his freshman season. He faced an insane comparison to his predecessors to Calipari coached PG’s in Knight, Wall, Evans, and Rose, but was arguably the key piece in the Cats title run. Similar to Brandon Knight last season, Teague got better as the year went on, becoming a more focused floor general, cutting down on turnovers, and a rare physicality on drives to the rim. His perimeter shooting remains a work in progress, but is on the rise. The obvious comparison is to his brother Jeff, but he reminds some of Jrue Holiday.
|6’8 260lbs Sophomore
|Possessing through the roof skill and athleticism, White has always been on the radar of NBA scouts since high school. He’s a physical all around talent that led Iowa State in scoring, rebounding, assists, and blocks but had problems with attitude and a nasty anxiety disorder that forced his transfer from Minnesota. Royce has an amazingly versatile skill set enabling him to play PG at times as the Cyclones’ best ball-handler. He shined against an NBA caliber frontcourt vs Kentucky in the Big Dance, making scouts take notice. If he can prove he has his problems behind him, White could be the sleeper of the Draft.
|6’8 205lbs Freshman
|While many were surpised that Harkless left school after just one season, he definately has a future at the next level. Many like to project him as the next Rudy Gay, but Harkless doesn’t quite shoot the 3 as well as the Memphis star. He was named Big East Freshman of the Year and brings elite athleticism with a scoring punch to the wing position. Moe is also a decent defensive player, a skill always in demand in the pros. Another year in the Big East could have made him a Lottery selection.
|6’8 250lbs Senior
|As one of the hardest working, under the radar prospects in this year’s Draft, Jones projects as a player that will rebound, defend, and do all of the dirty work that doesn’t show up in the stat line. Many thought Jones should have been Big East POY, but his lack of team success this season probably hurt his chances. Jones plays on a pogo stick, has outstanding fundamentals, and scores most of his points off rebounds, and nasty and-one put-backs. He has a motor that doesn’t quit and should be a quality frontcourt rotation player for years to come. On the downside, despite putting up prolific rebounding numbers his senior season, Jones will frustrate coaches by falling in love with the 23 point shot.
|6’6 235lbs Senior
|There’s no denying that reigning Big East POY Crowder has outstanding basketball skill, but he may not have a position in the NBA. Too small for PF and SF, yet too big for SG, Crowder will have to prove to GM’s that he won’t be a liability against bigger players in the NBA. The recent success of former Marquette players Wes Mathews and Lazar Hayward bodes him well, but Crowder arguably has more talent than either player without overwhelming athleticism. He relies on a high hoops IQ, strength, and determination to score well in either the low post or perimeter where he connected on nearly 40% from behind the arc. Think Kenneth Faried with an offensive game.
|6’6 185lbs Sophomore
|Despite failing to lead the University of Memphis deep into post-season play, Will “The Thrill” has proven to have an offensive game that belongs on the NBA level. While he remains wiry thin, he scores effortlessly from anywhere on the court, including deep NBA range on 3’s. He rebounds especially well, has above average handles, and passes well for being such a prolific scorer. While he plays the passing lanes well, one area of concern is if Barton can keep opposing perimeter players under wraps defensively. Instant comparison’s to the always offensive mined Jamal Crawford come to mind.
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.