With just slightly more than a month before the 2012 NBA Draft, I updated the first round of my mock draft.
The NBA lottery will be held on May 30th, which means the order will (likely) change and I will update my mock at that point to reflect that change and then at least weekly until the NBA Draft.
Here is how I see things shaking out:
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
This is such a no-brainer pick that, as Kyle Baillargeon points out in his mock, GM Michael Jordan "can't mess this up."
2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Aside from his outside shooting, there are virtually no holes in Kidd-Gilchrist's game. MKG is a tough-minded, versatile defender with good size and strength on the wing. With intangibles, leadership and a great feel for the game, MKG will make his teammates better.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andre Drummond, PF/C, UConn
Drummond has the ability and physical tools to dominate yet the propensity to disappear at times as well. With plenty of upside, Drummond has the size, strength and athleticism to contribute right away on the defensive end but is a work-in-progress on the offensive end.
4. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Like Drummond, Robinson has good strength, size and athleticism. Unlike Drummond, there is no questioning Robinson's motor and his offensive game is much more advanced.
5. Sacramento Kings: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Both of my counterparts -- Kyle Baillargeon (view mock) and Brendan Donahue (view mock) -- have Beal going within the top three picks as do many other sites. If he is still on the board at this spot, Beal gives the Kings a shooter with great range and a good all-around offensive game.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
Rivers, the son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, can provide the Blazers with instant offense. Many of Portland's guards become free agents or can opt out this year: Nicolas Batum, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton and Johnny Flynn.
7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Barnes did himself no favors in the tournament, but I don't have him slipping as far as Kyle has in his mock. Barnes has plenty of offensive skill, but often settles for jumpers and does not get to the line as much as you would expect for a wing player with his size and strength.
8. Toronto Raptors: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
Although he needs to add strength and bulk to his frame, Henson is an NBA-ready defensive player with the wingspan (7-foot-4) and athleticism to alter, affect and block plenty of shots. He will need to continue to improve his game offensively, however, but he has continued to improve on the offensive end at Carolina.
9. Detroit Pistons: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Returning for his sophomore season means Sullinger will likely be selected (much) lower than he would have been in 2011. While he is not the most athletic player (or tallest for his position), Sullinger has great strength, polished moves in the post and was a dominant rebounder in college.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
Lamb has all the physical tools to be successful at the next level and he led the Huskies in scoring with the departure of Kemba Walker. That said, Lamb disappeared at times for a team that was a major disappointment given its talent and expectations.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
A skilled seven-footer, Zeller improved his game in all four seasons in Chapel Hill posting career highs across the board last year: 16.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 0.9 steals per game with 55.3 percent from the field and 80.8 percent from the line.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
One of the more naturally-gifted players in the draft, Jones has the length and athleticism you can't coach. On the other hand, Jones has been often criticized, and rightfully so, for his inconsistent motor.
13. Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
With Steve Nash, the former "MP3," about become a free agent, the Suns may need to find his replacement. Marshall is arguably the best point guard in this year's draft class.
14. Houston Rockets: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Jones, who was a point guard early in high school, has the versatility to play and defend a variety of positions due to his length and athleticism.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie, PF/C, Mississippi State
After sitting out a year since he transferred from UTEP, Moultrie averaged a double-double (16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game) for the Bulldogs last year. Athletic with a high motor, Moultrie would fit well with the athletic Sixers squad.
Click here to see picks 16-30.
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