This is not a mock draft. Mocks suggest some inside knowledge of how the draft will transpire. I have no such knowledge other than what I might read here and there. This is the order of how I would draft this group of players.
This is an incredibly difficult bunch to rank after the top pick. After Davis every player has major concerns and isn’t a guy I’d want in the top 2-10 of most drafts. What this draft does have going for it is what I’ll call journeyman depth. There will be players available well into round two who look like they can become decent journeymen. That means the teams with the best chance to make a big score, other than the Hornets, are the teams with multiple picks after #10.
The previous draft that this one best compares to is 1969. That one had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor at the time) at the top and not much after that. Draft picks like Bobby Dandridge, JoJo White, Norm Van Lier and Bingo Smith eventually emerged as solid NBA players as I expect a few drafted after Davis to.
- Anthony Davis PF-C, Kentucky: The sky is the limit for Davis. Everything about him says he’ll become a legendary player.
- Dion Waiters G, Syracuse: Someone has to be #2. I went with Waiters because of upside. He has star ability and might even be able to play some point. In 5 years it might seem really silly to have Waiters at #2, but I suspect most other current mocks will look just as silly. Know that the gap between Davis and Waiters is greater than the gap between Waiters and Jesse Sanders at #60.
- Andrew Nicholson PF, St. Bonaventure: I don’t envy teams drafting in spots 2-5. Nicholson seems like a reach here and he is. But other than Davis he was the best big guy in the nation for the final 3 months of the season. That’s why I have him ahead of Robinson.
- Thomas Robinson PF, Kansas: He reminds me of Jordan Hill from a few years ago. Like Hill his numbers scream journeyman despite that high-revvin’ motor of his.
- Brad Beal SG, Florida: Beal would be the safe choice at #2. I feel he’ll become a pretty good SG, possibly a borderline all-star. I’m just leery about using too high a draft pick on any SG other than a Wade or Kobe clone.
- Evan Fournier SG, France: What can I say here other than I love his stats. He’s young, tall and has great production.
- John Henson PF, North Carolina: The appeal of Henson is that there aren’t many concerns about what he will and won’t be able to accomplish. He’ll be a solid rebounder and defender who struggles on offense.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF, Kentucky: He’s a hard guy to figure. There isn’t anything here that says he’ll become an impact player. But his situation may have suppressed his numbers.
- Terrence Jones F, Kentucky: My opinion of Jones has risen quite a bit throughout this process. When it started I considered him a somewhat overmatched PF. Now I see a multi-skilled forward who could be effective at either position off the bench.
10. Andre Drummond C, Connecticut: A talented big guy can’t last too long, no matter how far away he is from contributing.
11. Jeremy Lamb SG, Connecticut
12. Tony Wroten G, Washington: Draft him, hope he works hard and becomes something similar to Chauncey Billups in a few years. Wroten does possess that type of ability. What must scare the people who actually have to make these decisions is the same thing could have been said about Javaris Crittenton a few years back.
13. Will Barton SG, Memphis
14. Jae Crowder SF, Marquette: I’ve been on his bandwagon all year and I’m not going to bail because of a silly measurement.
15. Jared Sullinger PF, Ohio State: I’d have him in the top 5 if not for the red flag.
16. Royce White F, Iowa State
17. Terrence Ross SG, Washington: I don’t like the idea of two players from the same non-tournament team going in the top 20, but such is life with the 2012 draft class. Everything is a crapshoot after #1.
18. Fab Melo C, Syracuse: A raw center who blocks shots is never a terrible investment.
19. Draymond Green F, Michigan State
20. Damian Lillard G, Weber State
21. Kendall Marshall PG, North Carolina
22. Ognjen Kuzmic C, Bosnia and Herzegovina
23. John Shurna SF, Northwestern
24. Marquis Teague PG, Kentucky
25. Tony Mitchell SF, Alabama
26. Ken Horton SF, Central Connecticut State
27. Moe Harkless SF, St John’s: My gut tells me he should go higher, but I don’t listen to my gut much. He’s an athletic, but small and overmatched PF trying to play SF. That just isn’t a great prospect.
28. Harrison Barnes SF, North Carolina: I’ve been debating plugging him in since about #15. That’s the “what if the others are right?” voices in my head talking. Barnes just doesn’t rate very well as a prospect and this is where I feel he belongs. What Barnes, Jones III, Rivers and some others have going in their favor is they’re going to be drafted high and will get every opportunity to succeed or fail. Most players won’t be that fortunate.
29. Quincy Miller SF, Baylor
30. Perry Jones III F, Baylor
31. Meyers Leonard C, Illinois
32. Scott Machado PG, Iona
33. Marcus Denmon SG, Missouri
34. Kyle O’Quinn C, Norfolk State
35. JaMychal Green PF, Alabama
36. Herb Pope PF, Seton Hall
37. Orlando Johnson SG, UCSB
38. Mitchell Watt PF, Buffalo
39. Robbie Hummel SF, Purdue
40. Arnett Moultrie PF, Mississippi State
41. Dusan Cantekin C, Serbia
42. Tyshawn Taylor G, Kansas
43. Kostas Papnikolaou SF, Greece
44. Festus Ezeli C, Vanderbilt
45. Doron Lamb SG, Kentucky
46. Jeff Taylor SF, Vanderbilt
47. Ricardo Ratliffe PF, Missouri
48. Scoop Jardine PG, Syracuse
49. Jared Cunningham SG, Oregon State
50. Drew Gordon PF, New Mexico
51. Tyler Zeller C, North Carolina
52. Austin Rivers SG, Duke
53. Bernard James C, Florida State
54. Kevin Jones F, West Virginia
55. Garrett Stutz C, Wichita State
56. John Jenkins SG, Vanderbilt
57. Cameron Moore PF, UAB
58. Miles Plumlee PF-C, Duke
59. Quincy Acy PF, Baylor
60. Jesse Sanders PG, Liberty