Anthony Davis: PF, 19, 6-10, 222, Kentucky, Freshman
While Davis continues to insist "nothing is set in stone" yet, the Hornets' front office has done little to hide that their mind was made up immediately upon learning they will select No. 1. Davis is far from a finished product, particularly on the offensive end, but he will be a strong Rookie of the Year contender thanks to his length, athleticism, intensity and instincts.
Thomas Robinson: PF, 21, 6-9, 244, Kansas, Junior
The Bobcats and their fans were disappointed not to end up with Davis after the miserable season they endured, but they should get over that quickly when they realize they're about to add an important piece to their roster who is arguably more ready to compete from Day 1 than Davis.
Robinson will bring a blend of strength, athleticism and competitiveness that the team sorely lacked this season inside the paint. He will pair well with 2011 draft pick Bismack Biyombo to form one of the longest and most explosive interior frontcourts – certainly defensively – in the NBA.
Bradley Beal: SG, 18, 6-5, 202, Florida, Fresh.
After adding two significant contracts to their books this week in a controversial trade, the Wizards' biggest position of need appears to be at shooting guard. Beal has the perfect skill set and demeanor to complement the ultra-quick but mediocre perimeter shooter, John Wall. This should make him an excellent fit on Washington's roster.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: SF: 18, 6-7, 233, Kentucky, Fresh.
The Cavs have virtually nothing on the wing going into next season and would be happy to see Kyrie Irving's former high school teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist available right here. Kidd-Gilchrist could fill an immediate hole, bringing intensity and toughness that will immediately improve Cleveland's shaky perimeter defense. He's one of the most competitive players in this draft. Still very much a work in progress offensively, he would form a formidable transition duo with Irving and athletic forward Tristan Thompson.
Harrison Barnes: SF, 19, 6-8, 228, North Carolina, Soph.
Sacramento's front office and coaching staff are reportedly leaning toward picking the player who can help the most next season. They do not have the job security to wait on a prospect like Andre Drummond who could take two to three years to develop. With that in mind, Barnes is both the safest and most logical pick here considering how weak the Kings are at small forward, despite the fact he refuses to work out for them (like everyone else in the top five).
Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn)6.
Andre Drummond: C, 18, 7-0, 279, Connecticut, Fresh.
The Trail Blazers have been looking for a strong interior option to pair with LaMarcus Aldridge for quite some time. Going into next season with only Kurt Thomas and Aldridge under contact, Drummond appears to be an attractive pick here. His terrific combination of size, length, athleticism and strength give him more upside than any big man in this draft outside of Davis.
New general manager Neil Olshey has come into Portland saying all the right things about realizing the importance of building slowly with a solid long-term foundation. Drummond presents little risk at this stage of the draft and could be a home run pick with proper patience and development.
Damian Lillard: PG, 21, 6-3, 189, Weber State, Junior
Breaking the draft down into tiers, it's clear there are a few large dropoffs in value. One is between picks Nos. 1 and 2. Another is here. The player who is picked at No. 7 could very well have been drafted at 17 under different circumstances. The Warriors have a group of about 10 players to choose from, and don't have any type of consensus at this point about who they might take. Lillard appears to be the best long-term prospect on the board in terms of value, and should see minutes alongside Stephen Curry thanks to his excellent size and perimeter shooting ability.
Jeremy Lamb: SG, 19, 6-5, 179, Connecticut, Soph.
While the Raptors anxiously await the arrival of their 2011 lottery pick, Jonas Valanciunas, next season, they have a chance to plug another hole. Finding a successor to starting point guard Jose Calderon, who is entering the final season of his contract, is a priority, especially considering that Valanciunas will need to have offense created for him, at least initially. The Raptors' wing rotation also looks unsettled with DeMar DeRozan still unable to find a consistent jump shot. One solution might be to pick Lamb, one of the most talented scorers in the draft, and move DeRozan to small forward.
John Henson: PF, 21, 6-10, 216, North Carolina, Junior
The Pistons struggled on both ends of the floor last season, ranking 29th in offensive efficiency and 24th on defense, meaning this lone pick will surely not solve all their problems. Pairing Greg Monroe with a long and athletic shot-blocker/rebounder like Henson could be a good start. The two seem to complement each other fairly well.
Detroit seems committed to going big here with this pick. Drummond, Tyler Zeller and Arnett Moultrie are all options as well.
New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota)10.
Austin Rivers: SG, 19, 6-5, 203, Duke, Fresh.
Jarrett Jack exceeded expectations for New Orleans this season, but may not be a long-term solution. He has only one year left on his contract, meaning a potential upgrade at point guard could be in order. Hornets head coach Monty Williams reportedly sees Rivers having lead guard potential in the NBA, and thinks he can make a backcourt consisting of him and Eric Gordon work.
Dion Waiters: SG, 20, 6-4, 221, Syracuse, Soph.
The Trail Blazers had a disappointing season, partially because of injuries and lackluster performance from their backcourt. Offseason acquisitions Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford both struggled, while Wesley Matthews regressed after a promising sophomore season. Both of the top point guard prospects, Lillard and Kendall Marshall, will get extended looks here, but it's Waiters who has reportedly caught the eye of Olshey.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
Tyler Zeller: C, 22, 7-0, 247, North Carolina, Senior
After trading Andrew Bogut to Golden State and with Ersan Ilyasova an unrestricted free agent, Milwaukee is woefully thin in the frontcourt. Seven-footer Tyler Zeller has the size, polish and experience to step in and play significant minutes inside the paint right away.
13. Phoenix Suns
Kendall Marshall, PG, 20, 6-4, 198, North Carolina, Soph.
The Suns are in a serious transition phase with many key roster pieces entering free agency, making it difficult to pinpoint just one area of need. With Steve Nash possibly leaving, their backcourt could use a serious upgrade, which could make a pure point guard like Kendall Marshall very attractive.
Jared Sullinger: PF/C, 20, 6-9, 268, Ohio State, Soph.
Sullinger was likely to be selected in the top 10 until red flags uncovered in his combine physical put a damper on his stock. One of the keys to Rockets GM Daryl Morey's philosophy revolves around maximizing the value of his assets, and Sullinger could be a major steal here at the end of the lottery. He would be able to see minutes at both power forward and center in Houston's rotation and could give them the flexibility to move Luis Scola's hefty contract if the opportunity arises down the road.
Perry Jones: PF, 20, 6-11, 234, Baylor, Soph.
The Sixers are in a position to pick the best player that drops to them at 15, and Perry Jones is one of the most talented prospects in this draft. He can play alongside any of the frontcourt players the 76ers have at the moment, and would benefit greatly from the tough love of head coach Doug Collins.
Houston Rockets (via New York)16.
Meyers Leonard: C, 20, 7-1, 250, Illinois, Soph.
This pick is widely assumed to be in play, as the Rockets have a number of young prospects on their roster and may not be looking to bring two more rookies into the fold. Regardless of whether it's Houston making the pick, Meyers Leonard is a safe bet to come off the board at this stage. He's too big, talented and athletic to fall much further, and the Rockets can afford to be patient with him as his frame fills out and his feel for the game improves.
17. Dallas Mavericks
Terrence Jones: PF, 20, 6-9, 252, Kentucky, Soph.
While almost certainly a top-10 talent, Jones (or one of his power forward counterparts) could pay the price for how deep this draft is at his position. Six power forwards have already come off the board at in this mock draft. The Mavericks have other needs, but could have a difficult time passing on a player like Jones, who can do a little bit of everything on the floor and looks ready to play from day one.
Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah)18.
Terrence Ross: SG/SF, 21, 6-7, 197, Washington, Soph.
After eight straight years of missing the playoffs, and with general manager David Kahn entering the final year of his contract, Minnesota will need to make some moves this summer to improve its roster and finally break its postseason drought. The Timberwolves are especially weak at the wing positions, where they could use some additional scoring to take the heat off Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio.
Terrence Ross has excellent size for the wing at 6-foot-7 and a picture-perfect stroke to go with it. His athleticism would make him a favorite for lob passes from the likes of both Love and Rubio, making this a no-brainer selection if he falls this far.
19. Orlando Magic
Moe Harkless: SF, 19, 6-9, 207, St. John's, Fresh.
Orlando has no coach at the moment and just hired a GM, making it difficult to pinpoint which direction the team might head. Dwight Howard's status with the team will surely play a major role in future plans. It's safe to say that small forward was the weakest position on the Magic last season, and Moe Harkless could very well be deemed the most talented prospect on the board here, even if he'll need time to contribute.
20. Denver Nuggets
Arnett Moultrie: PF/C, 21, 6-11, 233, Mississippi St., Junior
The Nuggets have good depth at pretty much every position. This should allow them to draft the most talented player that falls to No. 20. Moultrie has the skill level and athleticism to see minutes at power forward alongside Denver's bevy of centers, but is also big enough to play alongside Kenneth Faried and Al Harrington.
Quincy Miller: SF, 19, 6-10, 219, Baylor, Fresh.
The Celtics are ushering in a new era, with a big chunk of their roster entering free agency and considerable cap room opening up. Celtics president Danny Ainge has never had a problem swinging for the fences for a talented prospect with significant long-term upside. Miller fits that description.
Boston Celtics (via LA Clippers)22.
Fab Melo: C, 21, 7-0, 255, Syracuse, Soph.
Boston's entire frontcourt is entering free agency, making a physically developed 7-footer like Melo an attractive proposition at this stage in the draft. His defensive mentality will fit in well with Boston's culture.
23. Atlanta Hawks
Royce White: PF, 21, 6-8, 261, Iowa State, Soph.
Atlanta might want to address its frontcourt rotation, which was depleted for much of the season because of injuries. White would give the Hawks size, playmaking and rebounding.
Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Lakers)24.
Andrew Nicholson: PF/C, 22, 6-9, 234, St. Bonaventure, Senior
The Cavs seemingly need everything except a starting point guard at this stage, and adding some size to the frontcourt wouldn't be a bad idea. Nicholson is big enough to operate alongside Tristan Thompson and a good enough shooter to play with Anderson Varejao.
25. Memphis Grizzlies
Evan Fournier: SG/SF, 19, 6-7, 204, Poitiers, International
With luxury-tax problems looming for the Grizzlies, Memphis might opt for the flexibility of picking an international prospect who has the option of staying in Europe for another season, depending on how things shake out over the offseason. Despite being only 19, Fournier is ready to step into a NBA rotation, and could give the team another weapon on the wing alongside Tony Allen and Rudy Gay. With O.J. Mayo entering free agency, the Grizzlies could always use another ball-handler, which Fournier certainly is.
26. Indiana Pacers
Tyshawn Taylor: PG, 22, 6-4, 177, Kansas, Senior
With a couple of key pieces in George Hill and Roy Hibbert entering free agency, Indiana has some big decisions to make this summer. The team has solid depth at every position, but might not be ready to break the bank on both Hill and Darren Collison, who will be looking for big raises soon. One of the most experienced college players in this draft, Tyshawn Taylor is ready to see minutes right away and is big enough to guard multiple positions, which gives added versatility alongside the Pacers' existing backcourt rotation.
27. Miami Heat
Festus Ezeli: Center, 22, 6-11, 264, Vanderbilt, Senior
The Heat have had a hard time surrounding Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James with complementary rotation pieces, but have a chance to add another talented young player to the mix with this pick. Pat Riley has reportedly been looking hard at all of the big men in the draft trying to see if he can add a center who can develop into a serviceable role player. Ezeli has the size, length and athleticism to warrant being picked here.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder
Draymond Green: PF, 22, 6-7, 236, Michigan State, Senior
The Thunder have one of the most stacked rosters in the NBA, which should allow them to take the best talent available. Green has more wins under his belt than any other player in this draft – as well as the type of character the Thunder covet. He could provide some of the mismatch potential OKC lost at the power forward spot with Jeff Green, even if the Thunder look toward someone like Andrey Vorontsevich in free agency to fill that role.
29. Chicago Bulls
Jeff Taylor: SF, 23, 6-7, 213, Vanderbilt, Senior
The Bulls have been in a perpetual hunt for a floor-spacing 3-point-shooting wing, and Jeff Taylor could well fit the bill here. With Derrick Rose likely out for the season, another ball-handler could certainly be in order, but it might be tough to find one here that can also play the type of defense Tom Thibodeau expects. Taylor is big enough to guard multiple positions, can space the floor as a 40-plus percent outside shooter and he has the athleticism to make plays and get out in the open floor.
30. Golden State (via San Antonio)
Marquis Teague: PG, 19, 6-2, 180, Kentucky, Fresh.
With four draft picks at their disposal, the Warriors can afford to swing for the fences this late. Teague has the physical attributes, ball-handling skills and instincts to develop into an asset down the road. Having a former point guard in head coach Mark Jackson to mentor him could speed up his development.
See DraftExpress.com for in-depth scouting reports on all of the prospects and more.
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