Davis tops first-round mock draft
As college players decide whether to enter the NBA draft or stay in school, three of NBADraft.net's talent evaluators took a break from scouting to put together a first-round mock draft. We took turns, taking into account team needs for every selection. Tyler Ingle went first, Mike Visenberg second and Aran Smith third.
1. Charlotte: Anthony Davis, power forward, Kentucky
There's simply no question about this one. Davis is the best overall talent in the draft by far, and — if everything goes right, the Unibrow will eventually form an intimidating duo with Bismack Biyombo in Charlotte's frontcourt.
2. Washington: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
The Wizards need a fresh look and Robinson seems like a good starting point. He has an NBA-ready body, plays with excellent energy and should help right away with rebounding.
3. New Orleans: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, small forward, Kentucky
MKG's stock is through the roof after such an incredible freshman season. He might lack the upside of some of the other options available, but he's a winner and viewed as a surefire NBA contributor. New Orleans could use some personality/character after Chris Paul fled town.
4. Cleveland: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Andre Drummond has significantly more potential, but I get the impression the Cavs are looking to rebuild as quickly as possible. Barnes would fit in well with Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson and give the team a nice core to build around.
5. Portland: Andre Drummond, center, UConn
At one point considered a possible candidate for the top pick in the draft, sliding down to No. 5 might be a blessing in disguise for Drummond. He had an inconsistent freshmen year at Connecticut, but if Drummond is available here, he should be a worthwhile roll of the dice.
6. Toronto: Jeremy Lamb, shooting guard, UConn
The Raptors could use an upgrade at the point guard position, but it's unlikely they would be willing to reach for one here. Lamb struggled to embrace the spotlight and struggled some after being a key piece to the Huskies' national championship run as a freshman. He's an upside pick and it will take the right general manager to pull the trigger on him because of a perceived lack of intensity.
7. Sacramento: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
I tried to get in the Kings' head for this pick. They have a habit of drafting for positional need, and they've invested too much in their backcourt prospects to give up on them now. I have them going with somebody to pair with DeMarcus Cousins in Moultrie.
8. Detroit: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
After having Brandon Knight slide to this pick last year, getting Beal could pay equal dividends. The Pistons have other needs, but Beal’s value might make Dumars completely revamp his backcourt. Forced to play the 3 spot in his freshman year at Florida, Beal led the team to a surprising Elite Eight run and impressed scouts with his scoring ability.
9. Utah: Kendall Marshall, point guard, North Carolina
Every draft has a few curveballs, and I decided to throw the first one here. While Damian Lillard is the consensus choice as the top point guard among NBA scouts, this pick is based on the fact Marshall and Utah are a match made in heaven. The Jazz could roll the dice that they can select him with their later pick (then again, they might end up with no lottery picks).
10. New Orleans: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
It's becoming a trend to project Sullinger falling out of the top 14, but I think he'd be a great pickup for the Hornets late in the lottery. With Eric Gordon, Kidd-Gilchrist and Sullinger, the team would have a great core to build around.
11. Portland: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
With Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford likely finding new homes in the offseason, the Blazers could seek to prepare for the future by drafting a scoring guard in Rivers. While he does not seem to project to the PG position, his ball-handling ability and isolation skills should make him an immediate rotation piece.
12. Milwaukee: Tyler Zeller, PF/C, North Carolina
After moving Andrew Bogut in the trade that brought them Monta Ellis, Milwaukee would likely pounce on Zeller if he's available here. Though Tyler has had injury concerns in his own right, he is younger and runs the floor exceptionally well, which would fit their jet-quick backcourt.
13. Phoenix: Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
I could actually see the Suns going with a point guard here, which would make Lillard the ideal pick. However, they still own the rights to Aaron Brooks, and I'm sure they'll be interested in at least trying to keep Steve Nash. Therefore, I have them going with the high-upside prospect, Jones.
14. Utah: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
With the Jazz having already picked Kendall Marshall in this mock draft, the thought turns to the wing. They have already spent lottery picks on Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks the past two drafts, but this team obviously doesn't need size and this pick might not be theirs if they make the playoffs.
15. Houston: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
The Rockets have displayed no reservations when it comes to drafting the best player available. Despite already having Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic at the point guard position, they get a great value pick in Lillard.
16. New Jersey: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
The Nets go with the long-limbed Henson, who, despite being slight in frame, shows solid rebounding and shot-blocking ability. If Kendall Marshall or Damian Lillard somehow fell to their pick, they might have to consider getting a point guard with Deron Williams' future with the team up in the air.
17. Denver: Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky
The Nuggets seem to have a thing for versatile, multifaceted players. It is still uncertain exactly what position Jones falls to, but he has strength and talent that warrant getting taken at this portion of the draft.
18. Philadelphia: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
The Sixers could be losing starter Jodie Meeks in free agency and Lamb would be a solid long term upgrade at the position. Lamb's tournament run with Kentucky showed that he's a clutch performer who can handle pressure as a ball handler.
19. Houston: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
The Rockets are known for taking value at their picks no matter the position. While not expected to contribute much immediately, Leonard gives them a promising center for the future.
20. Atlanta: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
The somewhat under-the-radar Big East freshman of the year is a major athlete with great size for the wing spot. For a team that might be losing Marvin Williams, the hope would be that Moe can provide a defender and slasher who turns into a solid rotation player.
21. Boston: Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Ezeli never broke out as a star at Vanderbilt, but there are few big men with his combination of size, strength, fluidity and touch. He is a bit of a reach here, but with Boston's aging frontcourt, a young center who can provide strength and toughness down low would be a welcome addition.
22. Memphis: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
The Grizzlies have nearly $200 million committed to four of their starters over the next four seasons. There won't be a ton of room to resign O.J. Mayo this offseason, so the team might be looking for someone to fill his role off the bench.
23. Orlando: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
The floor general for the NCAA champs benefits from a down year for floor generals. Teague improved a great deal with decision-making as the year progressed and would probably benefit from learning behind a player like Jameer Nelson.
24. Indiana: Royce White, SF, Iowa State
The Pacers have done a tremendous job with draft picks and trades recently, and their record shows exactly that. Teams are afraid of White because of his anxiety disorder, but the risk is minimized in the mid-20s. He would give them a combo forward with tremendous versatility.
25. Boston: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Nicholson might ultimately go quite a bit higher than this as he's one of the more polished post players available. Boston continues to bolster its aging frontcourt by adding a player with readiness and potential.
26. Cleveland: Evan Fournier, SF, France
He definitely displays a competitive attitude and scoring ability that make him a very intriguing prospect. This draft might end up with no international first-rounders, but Fournier stands a chance and could be a nice scoring option for Kyrie Irving to work with and fit into Cleveland’s rebuilding plan.
27. Golden State: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
Taylor was a four-year contributor for Vanderbilt, displaying great athleticism and defensive ability. The Warriors have an aging Richard Jefferson at the position, and Taylor would give them a young 3 to groom behind him.
28. Miami: Kevin Jones, PF, West Virginia
The Heat don't really have any positional needs. They might consider a center like Fab Melo if they're looking for a project, but Jones offers depth and the leadership that no team can ever have enough of.
29. Oklahoma City: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Jenkins was the top shooter on the college level and potentially gives the Commodores three first-round picks. The Thunder could use a specialty shooter off the bench to help spread the floor.
30. Chicago: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
The Bulls are in solid shape at the center position with Joakim Noah and Omar Asik. Melo is going to need time, but his strength, athleticism and shot-blocking potential make him an intriguing option with a late first-round pick.