Do you remember my NBA Draft feature last season? Well, now that the NBA Lottery is over and the picks have been assigned (the Milwaukee Bucks hold the No. 12 overall pick), it's time to do some 2012 NBA Mock Draft analysis. Draft Express predicted the final results with the best accuracy in 2011, but the project will better track the changes up until draft day this time around.
Expect plenty of shifts after the 2012 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago (June 6-10) and team workouts, but at least now we have a record of where everyone started. Consider this a supplement to my ongoing 2012 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings project, where I will map the movement of draft picks to identify rising and falling prospects. To get up to speed on the lottery and listen in on our initial reactions, check out the podcast embedded below (or click here to listen to this episode on your mobile phone):
Now here's the skinny on the mock draft process:
I've selected seven quality sites for the mock draft project: (1) Draft Express (Jonathan Givony), (2) ESPN (Chad Ford), (3) NBA.com (Scott Howard-Cooper), (4) SB Nation (Tom Ziller), (5) SI.com (Sam Amick), (6) NBADraft.net and (7) Swish Scout. I color-coded the prospects, mapped out each mock, listed the current range for every player projected in the lottery and set up composite scores based on an average value from the septet of sites (where non-lottery is simply marked as the No. 15 pick because not all sites mock beyond the lottery).
Here are the results based on the first post-lottery 2012 NBA Mock Draft from each of the listed websites:
Nobody is bold (read: dumb) enough to move Anthony Davis out of the No. 1 spot, which is a good sign, but things quickly diffuse from that point of origin. Let's break things down into three categories that relate to the Milwaukee Bucks and the No. 12 overall pick.
Category 1: Only Available If The Bucks Trade Up
After unibrow, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond are all projected in the top-10 by every site. Drummond is the only one that could even conceivably bust through the basement and get to No.12, but he's is built for the workout scene and only a terrible interview tour would do the trick. None of these players will be in a Bucks uniform unless a major trade goes down on draft night. As Frank discussed on Monday, maybe the Bucks could swing a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers (they hold the No. 6 and No. 11 picks). That would be fun, right?
Category 2: Somebody Will Slip To No. 12
The next group of players after that initial set of six is the meat of the draft for the Bucks. Unfortunately, the projected order of selection is anything but orderly at this point. Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Tyler Zeller look like better potential fits than Damian Lillard and John Henson if the roster otherwise retains its odd shape, but none of those guys feel essential to me.
At 12, the best answers to questions about each player aren't really the best answers for the Bucks. Sullinger could make me feel a lot better if he measures well at the Draft Combine, but if he shows anything near prototypical size for a PF he won't be around at No. 12 anyways. If Perry Jones kills it in workouts and wows in interviews with his hidden love of basketball, he would surely get scooped up before the Bucks hit the clock. What I mean to say is that only the prospects with the most obvious warts will be left from this group by the time Milwaukee makes its scheduled pick. That's why late-lottery selections are considered the bottom of the barrel.
Category 3: Could Be A Reach, But Might Be Worth The Gamble
Here's where things get a bit interesting. If the misfit toys that drop due to serious concerns don't look attractive to John Hammond and company, the other option is to pluck a late-riser that gains some luster in the final weeks before the draft. Guys like Kendall Marshall, Austin Rivers, Dion Waiters, Meyers Leonard, Terrence Ross and Terrence Jones are among the hopefuls to win the Bucks' heart, and their noted fundamental flaws will likely prevent any more than one of them from catapulting into the top-10. I personally like this option the best -- both Rivers and Jones have caught my eye -- but maybe you think differently.
At this point, how would you prefer the Bucks approach this draft?