The New Orleans Hornets won the most important NBA Lottery since Lebron James was available. Anthony Davis was going #1 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft no matter which team won the lottery. He will direct the Honets in the right direction. They had the fourth best odds of winning the first pick.
I feel sorry for the Charlotte Bobcats, who had the best odds of wining the #1 pick. They had the worst winning percentage in NBA history and missed out on the biggest prize. They will still get a good player, but all their fans wanted Davis.
The order of the NBA Lottery is officially set in stone and the teams are looking towards to the future. Who will your team pick and how will that player improve their team? I breakdown the NBA Lottery and present you with my first 2012 NBA Lottery Mock Draft.
1. New Orleans Hornets – PF/C Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
This is the easiest pick to forecast in my mock draft. New Orleans won the Anthony Davis lottery. They will enjoy this more than a Mega Millions purse. The Hornets are a team that lack identity. They had to part ways with Chris Paul and David West because of salary cap issues and the team being owned by the NBA. Tom Benson stepped in and will be the future owner. Davis is the new face of the franchise and a new beginning for fans. He is the best low-post defender to come out of the draft in many years. He needs to add a lot of weight. A 220 lb. 6’10 power forward/center isn’t going to be able to do everything that he wants.
2. Charlotte Bobcats – SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
I feel sorry for Charlotte fans. They have struggled over the last few years and their team lacks a star. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the Bobcats star of the future. As soon as he puts on a Charlotte uniform, he will be the team’s best player. He is a nice complement to Kemba Walker and Bimack Biyombo. He can defend well and out-hustle everyone on the court. He is a proven winner and will continue to improve.
3. Washington Wizards – PF Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
Washington fell a bit short and missed out on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG would have been a good fit on their team, but Thomas Robinson is more of a finished product. He can help the Wizards instantly and will be an impact player and starter in his first game. He will help in every facet of the game. John Wall will love having an inside scorer to feed all game.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – SG Bradley Beal (Florida) (or Drummond if Beal is gone)
Cleveland was leapfrogged and fell to #4, but will still get their guy. Bradley Beal is the first tweener in the draft and fills a need for the Cavs. He is a prototypical shooting guard and has some ball handling skills if they wanted to pair him up with the second unit as point guard. He is only a year removed from high school, so he will need some molding to become a franchise player.
5. Sacramento Kings – C Andre Drummond (UConn)
The Kings have Demarcus Cousins, why would they need Drummond? Drummond is a true center and Cousins has the skills to better fit at power forward. He’s a freak athlete with a 7-foot-5 inche wingspan. He is a shot blocker and can pass out of the post. If he hits his ceiling, he could be the steal of this NBAdraft.
6. Portland Trailblazers – SF Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
Why didn’t Harrison Barnes dominate in college? This is the question that every NBA team will ask themselves while evaluating him. He has a nice outside jumper and a high basketball IQ. He doesn’t have the athletic ability that jumps off of the paper like most #6 picks and higher have. Portland can really improve their team in this draft with two lottery selections. They can afford to gamble a little by picking Barnes at #6.
7. Golden State Warriors – PF Perry Jones III (Baylor)
Perry Jones III is listed as a power forward, but he plays more like a guard. I would compare him to Lamar Odom, since he still has rebounding ability. He is very streaky and should have dominated in college. He is a guy that scouts have mixed feelings about. He disappears in games, but with the right coaching, he can get rid of those issues.
8. Toronto Raptors – SG Dion Waiters (Syracuse)
If a player is getting comparisons to Dwyane Wade and Tyreke Evans, he definitely has a shot at being a star in the NBA. He is an explosive scorer who is a bit undersized for his position (i.e. Wade & Evans). The Raptors are in need of a player like Waiters. They struggled to put points up on the scoreboard. He needs to improve his jumper…a recurring theme in this draft.
9. Detroit Pistons – C Tyler Zeller (North Carolina)
When he chose to play at North Carolina, Tyler Zeller was a lock to leave school after his freshman year. He had all of the accolades and talent, but he lost most of his freshman year to injury. He waited his turn and developed into a better player by staying in school. The Pistons need another big to put besideGreg Monroe. They have different styles and it would be a nice marriage in the paint.
10. New Orleans Hornets – PG Damian Lillard (Weber State)
A lottery pick from Weber State?! Don’t let the small school throw you, Lillard has NBA talent. He can shoot from long-range and limits turnovers on the offensive end. The only knock on him would be that he is a tweener. The emergence of Russell Westbrook has definitely helped his stock. Every team is looking for his clone.
11. Portland Trailblazers – SG Jeremy Lamb (UConn)
You first heard of Lamb last season when his UConn Huskies won the NCAA Tournament. He could have went out last year and been a higher pick in a much weaker draft. He is a talented two-guard that impresses with his defensive ability. He has a long wingspan and reminds me of a Tayshaun Prince coming out of college. Portland will always miss Brandon Roy, Lamb can help them move on.
12. Miluwakee Bucks – PF Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
He’s one of the best low-post scorers and rebounders in this draft. He is too small to play center (6’9) and plays low to the ground. He has a low center of gravity and can defend players taller than him. He struggled against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. If he had a solid game, you would be picked higher in the draft. His talent ceiling is Charles Barkley to Anthony Mason and his basement is Sean May.
13. Phoenix Suns – SG Austin Rivers (Duke)
If high school players were still allowed to be eligible for the NBA Draft, Austin Rivers would have been the #1 overall pick last year. He will help the Suns get back to their old offensive ways. He is great at going to the hoop, but is very streaky. His free-throw shooting percentage is not where you would like it to be for his position. Rivers has all of the tools to be an star in the NBA, but he’s very young and will need some molding.
14. Houston Rockets – PF Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
Next 10 Best Players Available:
PG Kendall Marshall (North Carolina)
PF John Henson (North Carolina)
SF Terrence Ross (Washington)
SF Quincy Miller (Baylor)
SF Moe Harkless (St. John’s)
PG Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
C Meyers Leonard (Illinois)
SG/SF C Evan Fournier (International)
PF Royce White (Iowa State)
C Fab Melo (Syracuse)