1. New Orleans - Anthony Davis, PF 6-11, Kentucky
Fear the brow. Enough said.
2. Charlotte - Thomas Robinson, PF, 6-9, Kansas
The only sure thing about this draft is Davis going to the Big Easy. Here at 2, this is where things can go haywire. There are other possibilities here, but common sense points toward the Bobcats needing a power forward. Some have doubts about Robinson, while others envision him becoming a solid -- but not spectacular -- pro. Bear in mind however that Michael Jordan is unpredictable and taking Bradley Beal isn't out of the question, nor is drafting him for another team if they trade the pick.
3. Washington - Bradley Beal, SG 6-4, Florida
This draft is full of undersized 2-guards, or a more nice way of putting it, "combo guards." Beal however is the best, and a great fit in D.C. With Nene and Emeka Okafor up front for the Wizards, the natural fit is sliding Beal into the backcourt next to John Wall. The Wiz will be on pins and needles watching what Charlotte does at two.
4. Cleveland - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF 6-7, Kentucky
This should be a no-brainer for the Cavs, who will also have the choice of Harrison Barnes. But Barnes' stock has been up and down like a toilet seat since the NCAA tourney, and MKG is a good fit at the three with Kyrie Irving running the point. He'll be better on a team with somebody to get him the ball, and that team is Cleveland.
5. Sacramento - Harrison Barnes, SF 6-7, North Carolina
He fills a need for the Kings on the wing and despite his disappearing act in the tourney, nobody expects him to fall below five. He's clearly not a No. 1 scoring option, but should fit nicely on a team with youngsters like DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans.
6. Portland - Andre Drummond, C 7-0, Connecticut
Logic has the Blazers taking point guard Damian Lillard here, but in the NBA, nothing tempts front offices like a big man with raw potential. Then when you consider Portland also picks at 11, they can assume a guard will be available there. Drummond won't be. They could also go Lillard here and wait for Tyler Zeller at 11. However the Blazers have cap space as well, and that plays into the mix.
7. Golden State - Dion Waiters, SG 6-4, Syracuse
The Warriors are a big-time trade likelihood in this spot, as evidenced by their scouts attending Luol Deng's workouts with the British national team. They want a small forward, and there isn't going to be a good one available here. Failing that, Waiters is a possibility as the best player available. While I love Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse coach has said Waiters is the most NBA-ready guard he's ever coached. It's worth remembering however that outside of Sherman Douglas, the best Syracuse backcourt alum-turned NBAer in the Boeheim era is probably Jonny Flynn.
8. Toronto - Austin Rivers, SG-PG 6-4, Duke
Raptors VP Ed Stefanski said Monday that a trade is unlikely, but he also offered the caveat that a lot can change in three days. There's a natural fit perhaps in flipping the 8th pick and a contract like Amir Johnson's to Brooklyn (currently without a first-round pick) for a Raps' need in a player like Gerald Wallace, but that's all rumour and innuendo. If they keep the pick, Rivers (or Waiters) is a valid selection. Of the combo guards in this draft, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers is the best equipped to actually play both backcourt positions.
9. Detroit - John Henson, PF 6-10, North Carolina
Size, size, size. The Pistons need it and Henson, while still filling out, can help Greg Monroe. The only way this doesn't happen is if Henson somehow goes higher.
10. New Orleans - Damian Lillard, PG 6-3, Weber State
It's actually unlikely Lillard falls this low, but given that this is a mock draft not considering the unknown and inevitable trades that will happen, it's simple product placement. The Hornets would pass out from excitement if Lillard lands in their lap here, as they are still in need of a point guard to replace Chris Paul.
11. Portland - Kendall Marshall, PG 6-3, North Carolina
Again, product placement considering the Blazers should be active on the trade/free agency front. While he's coming off a wrist injury, he's an unselfish floor general whose scoring limitations are more than made up for by his passing ability. Should evolve into a nice NBA player.
12. Milwaukee - Tyler Zeller, PF/C 7-0, North Carolina
The annual batch of talented Tar Heels continues, and it's a no-brainer for the Bucks in the wake of the Andrew Bogut trade.
13. Phoenix - Jeremy Lamb, SG 6-5, Connecticut
The Suns need scorers regardless of what happens with Steve Nash, and a solid jump shooter with athletic ability like Lamb fits the bill.
14. Houston - Meyers Leonard, C 7-0, Illinois
The Rockets acquired another
first-round pick Tuesday by trading Chase Budinger to Minnesota for No. 18.
Another trade notwithstanding, they now select at 14, 16, and 18. Assuming
they're not about to package these picks for a top player or a higher
selection, a player like Leonard is sensible given that they could use some
Mississauga, Ont.'s Andrew Nicholson out of St. Bonaventure is pegged by NBA people and other mocks at landing anywhere between 18 to 28. One thing's for certain: He will be a first-round pick, and you can envision him as a quality combo forward off the bench for an already-decent team. His skill from the perimeter is where the "tweener" concerns come from given that his body is more in line with that of a power forward, but it doesn't hurt right?
At 6-9 and about 235 he could use some more strength, but appears to be a willing player in terms of working on his weaknesses. Word has been that the Thunder and the Celtics like him, and in the case of Oklahoma City (who picks at 28) it's hard to think of a better situation to go into -- but I think it's unlikely he falls that low.
Syracuse's Kris Joseph (Montreal) and Gonzaga's Robert Sacre (North Vancouver) are pegged as possible second rounders, if not free agent possibilities
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