With the NBA lottery order set, it seems like the ideal time for a mock draft. The lottery takes place on May 30th, and then the draft is June 28th. Here’s a stab at what the draft might look like if the ping pong balls hold true to form.
1. Charlotte – Anthony Davis, C, Kentucky.
2. Washington – Brad Beal, SG, Florida. Third worst 3-point shooting team in the league adds a premier shooter. Love MKG, but I’ll lean Beal here.
3. Cleveland – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F, Kentucky. Cavs could draft for any position but PG.
4. New Orleans – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas. Like Drummond – think he’s got a higher upside – but they need scoring inside.
5. Sacramento - Andre Drummond, PF/C, UConn. With a Cousins/Drummond interior, will this team finally play defense?
6. Portland – Austin Rivers, G, Duke. Do they trade down for a point guard or reach for one? A Rivers/Matthews/Batum trio can score and defend.
7. Golden State – Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC. Warriors will need a replacement for Dorrell Wright, who only has one year left on his contract. Jury’s out on how Barnes will be as a pro, but being the No. 2/3 option should suit him well.
8. Toronto – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber St. Bit of a reach this high, but the Raptors needs are point guard and small forward, and I’m not high enough of the Joneses to grab either here.
9. Detroit – Tyler Zeller, C, UNC. The Pistons have Greg Monroe, who might be better suited to play PF. Should they go center or small forward? Zeller/Monroe is a nice C/PF tandem. If they take Perry Jones, they’ll regret it. Sleeper here: Meyers Leonard.
10. New Orleans – Kendall Marshall, PG, UNC. A backcourt of Marshall and Gordon is a strong one. Hornets play their Top 10 picks right, they should get two starters.
11. Portland – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State. I think he could be like DeJuan Blair or maybe Corliss Williamson – solid contributor in the NBA for a long time. Could back up Aldridge, or start alongside him if they can’t get a center.
12. Milwaukee – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois. Don’t need offense, but do need size inside (Brown/Udoh seem better suited for power forward). The risk – is he another Cole Aldrich or Byron Mullens?
13. Phoenix – Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn. A steal this low. Suns need to hope Steve Nash sticks around, although that seems unlikely.
14. Houston – John Henson, PF/C, UNC. With Camby’s contract up and Dalembert possibly gone too, Henson could get a chance to start in 2012 and maybe finish in the Top 15 in blocks.
15. Philadelphia – Royce White, F, Iowa State. Huge fan of White’s work, and can see him playing both forward spots in the NBA. Yes, I’d take him over Terrence Jones and Perry Jones.
16. Houston – Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse. Insurance for injury-prone Kevin Martin.
17. Dallas – Arnett Moultrie, F, Mississippi St. The Lamar Odom they never got! Well, minus the prolific 3-point shooting. Long enough to play PF or center, and will fill the void of Brandan Wright (assuming he leaves).
18. Minnesota - Terrence Ross, SG, Washington. The 3-point shooter they lack; wouldn’t surprise me if he started over Ellington/Webster early next season.
19. Orlando – Perry Jones, F, Baylor. Would love to see him workout against Terrence Jones. How can you begin to guess which version of each Jones would show up?
20. Denver – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse. With a deep but injury-prone team, I’d peg their needs at SF/SG/C, with the latter listed in the event McGee gets big bucks from Portland or someone else.
21. Boston – Moe Harkless, F, St. John’s. Innate scoring ability who could become a very nice player in a couple years.
22. Boston – Doron Lamb, G, Kentucky. He won’t be the next Ray Allen, but he’s a tremendous 3-point shooter.
23. Atlanta – Tony Wroten, PG, Washington. As I tweeted last month, Wroten wanted to stay in college but was wooed because the Hawks are enamored with him. He definitely will not get past this spot.
24. Cleveland – Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky. He’s got the talent go in the lottery, and probably will. I just couldn’t find a spot for him.
25. Memphis – Quincy Miller, F, Baylor. With no pressing needs, the Grizzlies grab a guy who was never 100% as a freshman and might have been a lottery pick if he stayed another year.
26. Indiana - Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt. A lot is up in the air for the Pacers after next season (other than Granger). Assuming they want to keep Hill, George and Hibbet, size would be a wise pick here.
27. Miami – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky. Heat have one more year with Chalmers/Cole, and Teague might be better than both of them.
28. Oklahoma City – Will Barton, G, Memphis. Not quite insurance for James Harden (who may bolt after next year), but Barton’s got a terrific skill set.
29. Chicago – Scott Machado, PG, Iona. Probably can’t afford to keep Watson, and Machado is more of a pure point guard than Lucas. Derrick Rose could miss the first two months of next season, and there’s certainly no need to rush the franchise back.
30. Golden State – Andrew Nicholson, F, St. Bonaventure. Had this pick in last mock draft, might as well stick with it.