Originally Published: April 30, 2012
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
Now that the NBA regular season has ended, the draft order from 15-30 is finally set and the NBA's deadline to declare for the draft has passed, it's time to check back in with our fourth Mock Draft of the season.
(If you want to see what your team would do with the No. 1 pick, check out our Lottery Mock Draft with more than 2,000 scenarios).
Here's our best stab at a first-round mock draft after taking into account team needs.
(The Bobcats have a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: Well, that 23-game losing streak combined with the worst winning percentage in the history of the NBA better pay off. If the Bobcats land Davis, they have their frontcourt of the future and a young point guard, Kemba Walker, to start building around. If they miss out on Davis, the task becomes much more difficult.
(The Wizards have a 19.9 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Wizards desperately need Kidd-Gilchrist's leadership, toughness and work ethic. But they could also really use Brad Beal's shooting ability. I think the Beal versus Kidd-Gilchrist scenario is a toss-up right now, but I'd be surprised if there's anyone else seriously in the mix for the Wizards at No. 2.
(The Cavaliers have a 13.8 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: If the Cavs can stay in the top 3, it's a huge outcome for them. The Cavs scored big time when they landed Kyrie Irving last year. They would complete their backcourt overhaul if they could put Beal next to him. That would give them two high-octane scorers who can both handle the ball, get to the rim and shoot it -- an ideal scenario for the Cavs.
(The Hornets have a 13.7 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Hornets need both size and a point guard. But since there isn't really a point guard worthy of going this high in the draft, their choices are Robinson or Drummond. While Drummond might be the sexy pick here, Robinson is more of a sure thing and brings a toughness that the Hornets value.
(The Kings have a 7.6 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: I can't really think of a more ideal pick for the Kings. Every year they tend to get the really huge upside guy who other teams pass on because of major red flags. In Drummond's case, the red flags are production. He has the physical talent to be a dominant pro, but only showed it in flashes as a freshman. If he puts it together, Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins would be a devastating front line.
Portland (via Nets)
Weight: 210 pounds
School: North Carolina
(The Blazers have a 7.5 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Blazers grabbed this pick from the Nets as part of the Gerald Wallace trade. It's top 3 protected so if the Nets win one of the top three spots in the lottery, the pick will revert back to New Jersey/Brooklyn.
The Blazers need help at both backcourt positions and at center. Not sure that Barnes really qualifies as a 2-guard and, in some ways, he duplicates what the team has in Nic Batum. But Portland needs shooters and players who can score the basketball and Barnes is terrific at that.
(The Warriors have a 3.6 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Warriors dodged a huge bullet on Friday when they won the coin toss and landed the No. 7 pick. Unless a team ranked No. 8 or below leapfrogs them in the lottery (there's roughly a 29 percent chance of that) they won't have to send this pick to the Jazz. I guess tanking pays off sometimes.
Jones has the talent to be a top 3 pick and many scouts believe his best pro position will be at the 3, which is a need for Golden State. If he lives up to his potential, this is a home run of a pick. But the Warriors have had their share of athletic, underperforming tweeners (Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright) in the past.
(The Pistons have a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Pistons really need both length and athleticism in their frontcourt. We've had Jared Sullinger in Detroit the past few mock drafts, but I'm getting a sense that a player like Henson, or even Arnett Moultrie or Meyers Leonard, may have a better shot. All three seem like a bit of a reach at No. 9, but long athletes don't grow on trees and the Pistons might have to just take a risk here.
(The Hornets have a 1.1 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: We have the Hornets taking a power forward with their first pick (No. 4). The question here is whether they go for a point guard like Kendall Marshall or whether they add some help in the middle. Marshall is a pass-first point guard who makes everyone around him better.
Weight: 235 pounds
School: North Carolina
(The Blazers have a 0.8 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Blazers don't have much of anything in the middle. Although Zeller doesn't project to be a star, he is big, runs the floor well and has a soft touch around the basket.
(The Bucks have a 0.7 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: Ersan Ilyasova had a breakout year for the Bucks at the power forward position this season, but he's a free agent and Milwaukee may not be able to afford to keep him. Sullinger might be a terrific alternative. He's a bit undersized, but his rebounding ability and offensive prowess make him a very attractive option at this point in the draft.
(The Suns have a 0.6 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Suns need a little bit of everything, but what they really need is star power. With Steve Nash possibly on the move this summer, someone has to sell tickets. If Rivers ever lives up to his potential, he could be a great get this low. He's going to have to rein in his game and get comfortable with who he is at the NBA level, but the talent is definitely there.
(The Rockets have a 0.5 percent chance of winning the lottery.)
Analysis: The Rockets drafted in the same spot last year and came away with Marcus Morris. Jones has some similar talents, but with more upside. At this point, the Rockets take the player with the most upside.
Analysis: Moultrie has been steadily rising on draft boards the past few weeks as GMs and scouts go back and look at tape. His size, elite athletic ability and rebounding prowess make him worth the risk. In fact, I wonder if he'll really go this low. The Pistons could grab him at No. 9.
Analysis: This would be a very surprising slide if Lamb drops this far. A few GMs believe he's a top 7 or 8 talent. But his laid-back nature and so-so shooting ability have given some teams pause. If he went 10 spots higher I wouldn't be surprised. But if he slipped this low I wouldn't be shocked, either. With the Mavs looking to shore up young talent just about anywhere on their roster, Lamb is a great get at 17.
Analysis: The Wolves' biggest need is at the 2-guard spot right now. While I'm sure they'd prefer a better shooter, Waiters' ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket should make him a coveted pick here. Like Moultrie, Waiters has been moving up draft boards the past few weeks. I could easily see him in the lottery by draft night.
Analysis: The Magic are in serious danger of losing Dwight Howard in the next year. Leonard is a far cry from Howard, but he's big, he's athletic and he has shown some raw promise, especially on the defensive end.
Analysis: The Nuggets don't have any real glaring needs right now, which gives them the luxury of taking the best player left on the board. Had Miller stayed in school another year, he would've likely been a top 10 pick in 2013. He's great value here.
Analysis: The Celtics are in desperate need of size. While Melo is miles away from being ready, he is big and can block shots and rebound. If he stays focused and in shape, he could be good value here.
Boston (via Clippers)
Weight: 240 pounds
School: Iowa State
Analysis: White is an enigma. He's clearly one of the most talented players in the draft, but concerns about an anxiety disorder and fear of flying will lower his stock. Celtics president Danny Ainge hasn't been afraid to gamble in the past and White could be worth the risk at this point in the draft.
Analysis: The Hawks have been cursed at the point guard position ever since they decided to pass on Chris Paul to draft Marvin Williams. Wroten is no CP3, but he may have the most talent of any point guard in the draft. He's big, he's athletic and he can get to the basket. If his shot wasn't broken and if he had a better rep as a teammate, he'd be a top 10 pick.
Cavs (via Lakers)
Weight: 190 pounds
School: St. John's
Analysis: Harkless reminds me a little of Trevor Ariza. He is a terrific scorer and defender who needs to get a more settled jump shot. Put him on the floor with Kyrie Irving, Brad Beal, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao and the Cavs suddenly have a team that should be fighting for the playoffs again.
Analysis: Not only do the Pacers need more help at the point, but Teague is an Indy native who would be a great get here. He's not the pure point guard the Pacers really need, but he can push the ball effectively, get to the basket and create problems as a defender.
Weight: 235 pounds
School: Michigan State
Analysis: The Heat need players with experience who excel in bringing out the best in their teammates. Green can be a point-forward type who does a little of everything. Think of him as a better-passing Udonis Haslem.
Analysis: This draft is pretty thin on international players, with Fournier the only player with a serious shot at landing in the first round. He's a scorer who is putting up impressive numbers in Europe at a young age, making him a nice pick-and-stash prospect for the Thunder.
Analysis: The Bulls are always looking for shooters and would have a tough decision between Lamb and Vandy's John Jenkins here. Both are lights out from long range, but I give Lamb the nod because he has a little more versatility than Jenkins.