The one sure thing about the 2012 NBA Draft is this – Anthony Davis, who spent one season with the Kentucky Wildcats, winning the national title and every possible player of the year award, will be the number one pick, making him a New Orleans Hornets player. Beyond that? No one is sure, no one knows.
When teams are trying to pick their high draft picks, you know that GMs don’t have any idea about what to do with their picks. Thomas Robinson is projected by many to go at no.2, but the Charlotte Bobcats are quietly, or less than quietly, are looking to shop for the pick, and that might make someone else, like Florida’s Bradley Beal as the number two player.
Robinson himself thinks he’s a better player than Davis, and deserves the top spot in the Draft. He averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds in his Junior year. But Robinson is also projected to go third (Wizards) or fourth (Cavs). Bradley Beal seems to be the big riser during the last week, like every year. There’s always someone making a late surge, sometimes for good reason and sometimes for no reason at all.
Who else is a sure thing in the top 5? Former Tar Heel Harrison Barnes is projected to go 4 or 5 in the draft, taking the spot of another Kentucky player, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who’s limited offensive abilities are worrying to some teams who thought about selecting him before Barnes. Either way, the top 5 should look like this – Davis, Robinson, Beal, Barnes, Kidd-Gilchrist.
Next up? Damian Lillard is somewhere between 6-10. It all depends if you want a point guard or something else. The Blazers (6) and the Hornets (10) need someone like that, but the Blazers have other needs as well, like Center, which might make them go for Andre Drummond (Uconn) who looks like a long term project after spending only one year in college.
Dion Waiters has a few teams interested in him. He looks like the kind of guard who’ll have an easy time creating points through penetration, although his shooting ability is suspect at the time, averaging 12.6 points for Syracuse last season. He seems like a definite top 10 pick as well. Along with him Austin Rivers (Duke) looks like another shoe in for a top 10 pick.
John Henson (UNC) is somewhere between 8-14, and it probably depends on who needs a shot blocker and paint presence. Henson also really impressed in his Detroit workouts, who would like to have him next to Monroe. The Houston Rockets, who shipped Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the 18th pick (giving them 14, 16 and 18) might go for Henson if he’s still available.
Tyler Zeller will be a top 15 pick, and so will Meyers Leonard. Some even project Leonard will go as high as the top 10, as teams rarely give up on a 7-1 player coming out of college, averaging 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds last season with Illinois. Jeremy Lamb out of Uconn is someone the Suns are after, probably taking him at 13.
Perry Jones III out of Baylor is in the top 20 for sure, as is Terrence Ross who the Philadelphia 76ers are really high on. Moe Harkless (St. John’s) is a tempting pick for the New York Knicks, bringing in home grown talent. Problem is they owe their pick to the Houston Rockets, but trades are going to happen in the coming days anyway.
Rest of the first rounders – Terrence Jones of Kentucky will be in the top 20, Arnett Moultrie in the top 25. Jared Sullinger, who worried a lot of GMs with his back problems, will be in the 15-20 zone. Kendall Marshall will be in the top 20 as well. Royce White will be in the top 25, and so will Andrew Nicholson. Someone will go for Fab Melo by the end of the first round, and also for Marquis Teague, Draymond Green, Jeff Taylor, Evan Fournier of France and Will Barton.
The other two? Will go with Mike Plumlee (Duke) and Quincy Miller from Baylor.