Anthony Davis: PF, 19, 6-10, 220,
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.
2. Charlotte Bobcats:
Thomas Robinson: PF, 21, 6-9, 240, Kansas, Junior
Although the Bobcats and their fans will certainly be disappointed not to end up with Davis after the miserable season they endured, they should get over that fairly quickly when they realize they are 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.
Robinson is scheduled to visit Charlotte on June 22 and remains the clear frontrunner at No. 2. Despite reports to the contrary, it appears highly unlikely that they will move the pick at this stage.
3. Washington Wizards
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: SF: 18, 6-7, 228, Kentucky, Fresh.
A very exciting piece in the Wizards' rebuilding process is on the way in Kidd-Gilchrist, who appears to be ahead of Bradley Beal on Washington's board according to reports we've received.
With the Wizards sporting the worst small forward rotation in the NBA this season, Kidd-Gilchrist could fill an immediate hole, bringing intensity and toughness that will immediately improve Washington's 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 speedster John Wall, as well as the hyper-athletic Jan Vesely.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
Bradley Beal: SG, 18, 6-4, 201, Florida, Fresh.
Sporting virtually nothing in their backcourt going into next season outside of Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, the Cavs need immediate help at shooting guard. Beal has the perfect skills and demeanor to complement Irving, which should make him an attractive pick. Harrison Barnes will likely also get a long look here, even if he's reportedly not quite as close with Irving as some have made them out to be.
5. Sacramento Kings
Harrison Barnes: SF, 19, 6-8, 223, 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.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn)
Andre Drummond: C, 18, 6-10, 251, 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 option 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.
7. Golden State Warriors
Jared Sullinger: PF/C, 20, 6-9, 280, Ohio State, Soph.
Breaking the draft down into tiers, it's clear there are a few large drop-offs in value. One is between picks one and two. Another is right here. The player who is picked at seven could very well have been drafted at 17 under different circumstances. The Warriors have a group of about 10 prospects to choose from, and don't have any type of consensus at this point about who they might take. The next week will start to clear that up.
8. Toronto Raptors
Jeremy Lamb: SG, 19, 6-5, 185, 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 Jeremy Lamb, one of the most talented scorers in the draft, and move DeRozan to small forward.
Other options include Dion Waiters, Damian Lillard and Jared Sullinger.
9. Detroit Pistons
John Henson: PF, 21, 6-11, 220, 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.
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota)
Damian Lillard: PG, 21, 6-2, 185, Weber State, Junior
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. Lillard would complement the likes of Davis and Eric Gordon extremely well.
Already a pretty young team, the Hornets are also reportedly open to moving this pick.
11. Portland Trail Blazers
Dion Waiters: SG, 20, 6-4, 210, 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 to live up to expectations, 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 Waiters who has caught the eye of Olshey. Many teams around the league are speculating that it's Portland who actually gave Waiters a guarantee he'll be selected if he drops to No. 11, causing him to cancel his remaining workouts.
12. Milwaukee Bucks
Meyers Leonard: C, 20, 7-0, 240, Illinois, Soph.
After trading Andrew Bogut to Golden State and with Ersan Ilyasova an unrestricted free agent, Milwaukee is woefully thin in the frontcourt. Seven-footer Meyers Leonard has a terrific combination of size and athleticism and huge upside. He and Tyler Zeller are the early favorites here.
13. Phoenix Suns
Austin Rivers: SG, 19, 6-4, 203, Duke, Fresh.
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. Regardless of whether Steve Nash and Aaron Brooks return, their backcourt and wing rotation could use a serious upgrade, which could make a prolific shot-creating guard like Austin Rivers very attractive.
14. Houston Rockets
Kendall Marshall, PG, 20, 6-4, 180, North Carolina, Soph.
With starting point guard Kyle Lowry demanding to be traded if free-agent backup Goran Dragic returns, the Rockets' point guard situation looks tenuous at best. General manager Daryl Morey knows how difficult it is to acquire playmakers of Kendall Marshall's stature in free agency or via trades, which gives him very good value at this stage in the draft.
Perry Jones: PF, 20, 6-11, 220, 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.
16. Houston Rockets (via New York)
Tyler Zeller: C, 22, 7-0, 250, North Carolina, Senior
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, Tyler Zeller is a safe bet to come off the board at this stage. He's too big, talented and productive not to have an impact on someone's rotation.
17. Dallas Mavericks
Terrence Jones: PF, 20, 6-9, 249, 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 this point 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 1.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah)
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 Ross falls this far.
19. Orlando Magic
Arnett Moultrie: PF/C, 21, 6-11, 220, Mississippi St., Junior
Orlando has no coach and no general manager at the moment, making it difficult to pinpoint which direction the team might head. Dwight Howard's status will surely play a major role in future plans, as will the fact the Magic's second-most productive player, Ryan Anderson, is a free agent. With so much uncertainty in the frontcourt, a player like Moultrie could be a great pick.
20. Denver Nuggets
Quincy Miller: SF, 19, 6-9, 200, Baylor, Fresh.
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. Miller was considered the No. 1 prospect in his high school class before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. His terrific combination of size, length and scoring instincts could make him a steal for Denver.
21. Boston Celtics
Moe Harkless: SF, 19, 6-8, 208, St. John's, 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. Harkless fits that description.
22. Boston Celtics (via LA Clippers)
Fab Melo: C, 21, 7-0, 250, 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, 270, 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.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via LA Lakers)
Andrew Nicholson: PF/C, 22, 6-9, 220, 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
Marquis Teague: PG, 19, 6-2, 179, Kentucky, Fresh.
With luxury-tax problems looming for the Grizzlies, the team's backcourt has plenty of question marks entering next season. Memphis struggled to find a consistent backup for point guard Mike Conley, while former top-five pick O.J. Mayo is entering free agency and likely expecting a big raise. Teague isn't ready to step into a playoff rotation right now, but has a great deal of talent which might be harnessed down the road.
26. Indiana Pacers
Evan Fournier: SG/SF, 19, 6-7, 206, Poitiers, International
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 right now, with the most pressing need likely being on the wing where the Pacers could use another player to put with Paul George and Danny Granger. Fournier is one of the most experienced players in this draft despite being only 19. He could develop into quite an asset if he improves his perimeter shot.
27. Miami Heat
Jeff Taylor: SF, 23, 6-7, 226, 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. Taylor could be a good fit. He's 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.
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
Tyshawn Taylor: PG, 22, 6-3, 180, Kansas, Senior
With Derrick Rose likely out for a big part of the regular season and C.J. Watson not expected to be retained, the Bulls will have a shortage of ball-handlers. A battle-tested senior like Taylor could provide some temporary relief. He has the size, athleticism and talent to develop into an excellent backup once Rose returns.
30. Golden State (via San Antonio)
Tony Wroten: PG/SG, 19, 6-5, 180, Washington, Fresh.
With four draft picks at their disposal, the Warriors can afford to swing for the fences this late. Wroten has the size, 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. Given Wroten's excellent size, the Warriors could find a way to play him and Stephen Curry together at times.
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