Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2012 NBA Draft First Round Preview for John Hammond

The NBA Draft is more of an exact science in terms of coverage than the NFL Draft because there is a smaller pool of players to focus on since the NBA Draft involves only 60 picks while the 2012 NFL Draft had 253 picks.

I previewed some guys I thought the Bucks should target in the second round with the 42nd pick, now let's move onto the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft.

In case you missed it, the Milwaukee Bucks made a trade with the Houston Rockets.  Despite getting Samuel Dalembert, presumably their starting center now for next season as a part of the trade, the Bucks should still consider adding a center with the 14th pick.  In fact I am fine with the Bucks taking a player at any position besides point guard.

I am going to publish my "mock" draft for the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft tomorrow.  In a preview of coming attractions, I would be shocked if these guys were not the first nine players (listed in alphabetical order) selected in the 2012 NBA Draft thus they will most likely not be available at the 14th pick for the Bucks: Harrison Barnes (SF, 6'8", 228 lbs, 8'6" reach, 6'10" wingspan, UNC, 20 years old), Bradley Beal (SG, 6'5", 202 lbs, 8'3" reach, 6'8" wingspan, Florida, 18 years old), Anthony Davis (PF, 6'11", 222 lbs, 9'0" reach, 7'6" wingspan, Kentucky, 19 years old), Andre Drummond (C, 7'0", 279 lbs, 9'2" reach, 7'6" wingspan, UConn, 18 years old), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF, 6'8", 233 lbs, 8'9" reach, 7'0" wingspan, Kentucky, 18 years old), John Henson (PF, 6'10", 216 lbs, 9'2" reach, 7'5" wingspan, UNC, 21 years old), Damian Lillard (SG, 6'3", 189 lbs, 8'0" reach, 6'8" wingspan, Weber State, 21 years old), Thomas Robinson (PF, 6'9", 244 lbs, 8'10" reach, 7'4" wingspan, Kansas, 21 years old), and Dion Waiters (SG, 6'4", 221 lbs, 8'2" reach, 6'7" wingspan, Syracuse, 20 years old).

Obviously I would support the Bucks taking anyone listed above besides Lillard.  With the nine bell cows of the draft out of the way (you can read my quick thoughts on each of them tomorrow). That leaves a pool of 10 guys the Bucks should target along with another 10 guys that feel like reaches at the 14th pick in the draft.  Here are my Top 10 realistic targets in order:

#1) Meyers Leonard (C, 7'1", 250 lbs, 9'1" reach, 7'3" wingspan, Illinois, 20 years old) - My draft crush on Leonard started months ago but most mock drafts had Leonard as a borderline lottery pick.  As the player evaluation process has played out over the last few months, unfortunately Leonard has shot up draft boards and looks like a potential Top 10 pick.

#2) Tyler Zeller (C, 7'0", 247 lbs, 8'8" reach, 7'0" wingspan, UNC, 22 years old) - Perfect running mate for Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.  I question whether Zeller will ever be able to add enough muscle to be able to play with his back to the basket but he would be fun to watch as the center for the running and gunning Bucks.

#3) Austin Rivers (SG, 6'5", 203 lbs, 8'1" reach, 6'7" wingspan, Duke, 19 years old) - Don't like that Rivers is too cool to visit the Bucks because there is a very good chance that he will still be on the board at 14.  This is probably not a good time to remind people that Yi Jianlian also refused to workout for the Bucks.

#4) Jeremy Lamb (SG, 6'5", 179 lbs, 8'5" reach, 6'11" wingspan, UConn, 20 years old) - Injuries limited Lamb's ability to workout for teams the last few days but his body of work at UConn shows he is worthy of being the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft

#5) Terrence Ross (SG, 6'7", 197 lbs, 8'5" reach, 6'7" wingspan, Washington, 21 years old) - If Ross went to a bigger program than Washington I would probably have him ranked higher on this list.  Either way, Ross looks like a flat our scorer that could step in for Monta Ellis when he declines his $11 million player option for the 2013-14 NBA season. 

#6) Terrence Jones (PF, 6'10", 252 lbs, 8'10" reach, 7'2" wingspan, Kentucky, 20 years old) - Despite having what feels like 10 power forwards on the current roster, Jones looks the next Vin Baker sans the drinking problem so it might be too enticing to pass on Jones.

#7) Perry Jones (PF, 6'11", 234 lbs, 8'11" reach, 7'2" wingspan, Baylor, 20 years old) - Let's make it two Jonesi in a row.  Drafting Perry Jones would give the Bucks two former Baylor power forwards.  Although Baylor is starting to build a quality program, not sure any NBA teams needs more than one Baylor power forward.

#8) Fab Melo (C, 7'0", 255 lbs, 9'2" reach, 7'2" wingspan, Syracuse, 22 years old) - More of a positional pick than a talent pick but an interesting selection if the Bucks think they can motivate Melo.

#9) Quincy Miller (SF, 6'10", 219 lbs, 9'1" reach, 7'1" wingspan, Baylor, 19 years old) - Miller has a huge upside much like his collegiate teammate Perry Jones but is coming off a serious knee injury, which makes me very nervous.

#10) Moe Harkless (SF, 6'9", 207 lbs, 8'8" reach, 7'0" wingspan, St. John's, 21 years old) - There are certain guys in every draft that I can't put my finger on why I dislike.  Harkless is that exact guy for me this year.  If the Bucks end up taking Harkless I can make one guarantee, I will never buy his jersey on principle alone.  Even if Harkless turns into a First Team All-NBA player, it will always bother me that I didn't see it so I will be forced to shun Harkless forever just because of this short paragraph about him.  If you are wondering, yes I am hoping I just reversed jinxed Harkless into becoming an NBA superstar for the Bucks.

I would be shocked if the Bucks passed on any of the aforementioned 19 players described in favor of any of the next 10 guys.  Just in case, here are my quick thoughts on the "next 10" guys:

- Marquis Teague (PG, 6'2", 180 lbs, 8'3" reach, 6'7" wingspan, Kentucky, 19 years old) - I almost included Teague in the Top 10 players to target despite Brandon Jennings being the best player currently on the roster. Teague could be the next Rajon Rondo a few years down the road but the Bucks need to win now so I can't see them reaching for Teague. 

- Tony Wroten Jr. (PG, 6'6", 203 lbs, 8'5" reach, 6'9" wingspan, Washington, 19 years old) - Like his teammate Terrence Ross slightly more but Wroten seems like a boom-or-bust prospect that should go in the early 20's.

- Draymond Green (SF, 6'8", 236 lbs, 8'10" reach, 7'1" wingspan, Michigan State, 22 years old) - The definition of a non-sexy first round pick will be productive early in his NBA career because of his ability to score.

- Arnett Moultrie (PF, 6'11", 233 lbs, 8'11" reach, 7'2" wingspan, Mississippi St., 21 years old) - If Moultrie played for a bigger program I would have given him more credence but I frankly didn't see him play enough against legitimate competition to get a good enough feel.

- Royce White (SF, 6'8", 261 lbs, 8'9" reach, 7'0" wingspan, Iowa State, 21 years old) - Apparently the Celtics love White and I actually share their sentiments.  Keep in mind that unless the Celtics make a trade they own the 21st and 22nd picks in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft.  That is a long way of saying that White may be a good pro but taking him 14th overall feels too early.

- Evan Fournier (SG, 6'7", 206 lbs, 8'7" reach, 6'8" wingspan, France, 19 years old) - Intriguing prospect that the Bucks should target if they trade back in the first round. 

- Kendall Marshall (PG, 6'4", 198 lbs, 7'11" reach, 6'6" wingspan, UNC, 20 years old) - Teague and Wroten seem to have a ton more potential than Marshall so if the Bucks are going to take a point guard, I hope they swing for the fences with Teague or Wroten instead of Marshall. 

- Andrew Nicholson (PF, 6'10", 234 lbs, 8'11" reach, 7'4" wingspan, St. Bonaventure, 22 years old) - As I said earlier, its always hard to project how small school guys will do in the pros so I say pass on Nicholson until models can better account for how small school guys project at the next level. 

- Jared Sullinger (PF, 6'9", 268 lbs, 8'11" reach, 7'1" wingspan, Ohio State, 20 years old) - Injuries aside I would not touch new-school Tractor Traylor with a 10-foot pole.

- Will Barton (SG, 6'6", 174 lbs, 8'7" reach, 6'10" wingspan, Memphis, 21 years old) - A guy like Barton, much like Ross and Wroten, are intriguing because they all bring length to the shooting guard position but again Barton is not worth the 14th pick...may be the 24th pick...not the 14th pick.

Thanks for sticking around to hear my rambling thoughts on the 20 most likely guys that the Bucks should target.  Check back tomorrow for my full first round "mock" draft, which is a depiction of what I would do if I were the general manager of each team and had to make a selection instead of trading the pick.

Related Posts:
- Quick Thoughts - Bucks/Rockets 2012 NBA Draft Day Eve Trade
- Wednesday What (Might) Happen - 2012 NBA Draft Second Round Preview for the Bucks
- Wednesday What (Should) Happen - Advice for John Hammond

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