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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mock Draft 1.0 (Post-Unibrow Sweepstakes Edition)

1. New Orleans Hornets - Anthony Davis
Move over Miami, there's a new Big Three in town: Eric Gordon, Anthony Davis, and The Unibrow. Is The Big Easy ready for the NBA's newest triumvirate? (Nickname suggestion: The Big Threesy?)

2. Charlotte Bobcats - Harrison Barnes
Though Barnes has been slipping on draft boards, Michael Jordan isn't shy about taking fellow Tar Heels and this is his opportunity. Luckily for Jordan and his less-than-impressive track record, Barnes should be a solid pro even if it is a reach to take him at #2.

3. Washington Wizards - Bradley Beal
The Wiz could definitely use a big man here. But drafting the high-upside Andre Drummond and putting him with one of the league's foremost models of inconsistency and lack of focus (Andray Blatche) is a pretty good way to ensure he'll be a bust. A backcourt-mate to pair with John Wall is also a high priority and Beal's shooting ability makes him the best candidate.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Alonzo Gee was the Cavs' starting small forward last year. You don't win championships with Alonzo Gee starting at small forward. If Dan Gilbert wants to make good on his guarantee to win a championship before LeBron James, he needs to not start Alonzo Gee at small forward. MKG can fix this.

5. Sacramento Kings - Thomas Robinson
As with many of the teams at the top of the lottery, they could afford to upgrade at a few different spots.  Another big man to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins could be useful with the backcourt of Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas seemingly set.

6. Portland Trailblazers - Andre Drummond
A player with an NBA body and athleticism but questionable skills and determination, Drummond is the biggest enigma of the draft. Then again, Oden was supposed to be a sure thing and we all know how that turned out. Maybe this time the Blazers score big with their lottery center. Hasheem Thabeet is on the roster, so at least Drummond is guaranteed to avoid the title of worst center in Portland.

7. Golden State Warriors - John Henson
The Warriors were willing to take Ekpe Udoh with the 6th pick two years ago to provide a defensive presence inside. After sending him off to Milwaukee with Monta Ellis they should have no problem taking Henson, a player with the same shot blocking prowess but a higher offensive ceiling. Though he struggled to put on much-needed weight while at North Carolina, I see one exquisitely tasty reason why that won't be a problem for him in California.

8. Toronto Raptors - Damian Lillard
The Jose Calderon era in Toronto seems to be winding to a close. By all accounts Lillard has impressed  in workouts, and his elite ability to score the rock is unique among the point guards in the draft. (Irrelevant factoid: Lillard will become the first Weber State player in the league since Willard Sojourner in 1975.)

9. Detroit Pistons - Perry Jones III
Joe Dumars has both been hailed as a genius and ridiculed as a buffoon in his time as Pistons' GM. Perry Jones is a selection that will certainly reinforce one of those schools of thought. He's got the size and skill to be the best player in the draft, but his lack of heart and assertiveness have made him a major question mark.

10. New Orleans Hornets - Jeremy Lamb 
After taking Davis with the top pick, the Hornets will want to improve at point guard in particular. But if Jeremy Lamb is available at 10, he is too talented to pass up, especially with Eric Gordon's health always in question.

11. Portland Trailblazers - Kendall Marshall
With all the mystery surrounding Andre Drummond, the one thing we know is that he can finish alley-oops. Portland would be wise to take college basketball's best passer, a player who can get Drummond the ball in position to score. As is, the three-headed monster of Raymond Felton, Nolan Smith, and Jonny Flynn doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opponents, so Marshall's presence would be welcomed with open arms.

12. Milwaukee Bucks - Tyler Zeller
For three painful months since the Andrew Bogut trade, there has been a white, 7-foot, somewhat athletic, fairly offensively-skilled void in Milwaukee. Tyler Zeller simply  has all the requisites to fill that void.

13. Phoenix Suns - Terrence Ross
It remains to be seen whether Steve Nash will return to the Suns, and they would probably prefer to bring in his protegĂ©, but both point guards worth selecting at 13 will likely be off the board. Grant Hill won't be able to play forever (unless he is the next Kobe robo-knee surgery recipient) so they'll need help on the wing. Ross is an excellent shooter and slasher and should fit well in an uptempo system.

14. Houston Rockets - Austin Rivers
Kyle Lowry appears to be on his way out of Houston, and there is no guarantee Goran Dragic will be re-sign in free agency. Rivers isn't a prototypical point guard -- if he can even be considered a point -- but he's got a rare ability to get to the hoop and has good potential for a #14 pick.

More mock drafts to come as the draft approaches.

Court adjourned.

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