Welcome to the 2012 Hater's Ball NBA Mock Draft. Tjarks and I exchanged mock draft picks and haterade jabs about guys that were ridiculously successful in college, have yet to play a minute in the NBA, and could generally squash us like infinitesimal bugs. But our motto is: "don't hate the player, hate the game." Whatever that means. By the way, these picks are who we would take, not trying to project who we think the teams will take.
JC: Let's get it started--I'll take the easy first overall pick. Other than his hirsute grooming decisions, I'd love to see what you have to say about...
JT: He's being hyped like he's the next Tim Duncan, but where is his offensive game? He was the 4rth or 5th option on Kentucky and he got most of his points on alley-oops, offensive boards and hustle plays. He may still develop into a featured player offensively, but it's more of a gamble than people are acting.
JC: I love how you ding me on the hyper-efficient Davis (O-Rtg of 133.5 was third best in CBB), then select DeAndre Jordan 2.0. Yeah, Drummond is a plus rebounder and shotblocker, and he also can't throw it into an ocean outside of three feet. By the way, Texas fans pulling their hair out about Tristan Thompson's free throw shooting will laugh heartily at Drummond's mind-boggling 29.5% (26 for 88). Ideally, Drummond needs to be drafted-and-stashed by a team that doesn't need him right away--think Andrew Bynum. He wouldn't get that opportunity in Charlotte.
3. Washington Wizards - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky Wildcats
JT: It's not going to matter how athletic a John Wall/MKG tandem would be if neither player can throw a rock into an ocean. Kidd-Gilchrist shot 25% from the college 3 and Wall shot 7% (not a typo) from the NBA 3 last year. That's a recipe for teams to pack the paint in the half-court. You can't survive at that level with two perimeter players who can't shoot unless they're named LeBron and Wade.
JC: Speaking of poor 3-point shooting percentages, for a guy purported to be the next Ray Allen, Beal shot just 33.9% from deep. He kept chunking it, too--nearly half his field goal attempts were from distance. Yeah, playing with Kyrie Irving instead of black hole gunners Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton will help, but I have my questions about whether Beal can score effectively enough to be as good as Eric Gordon, let alone Allen.
JT: Robinson can look like Blake Griffin against teams like Missouri that has no one above 6'8", but Robinson struggled to create his own shot against an NBA-caliber front-line like Kentucky's. He's a fairly raw power forward who won't be able to consistently create his own shot, make plays for others and block shots at the next level. Seriously though, how does someone w/his athleticism average less than a block a game?
JC: I knew you would snag the potential of PJ3 before me; I'm not sure I'd touch him anywhere in the lottery. I just didn't know you would draft him this early, but I guess it's fitting to give him to the franchise that drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. When ESPN puts up those player capsules during the draft, Jones' would read: "Needs Improvement: Heart, Motor, Want To." He's going to get some GM fired. I guess it would make sense that the Clippers' stench would follow new Portland GM Neil Olshey.
JT: If I'm Rick Barnes, PJ3 and Quincy Miller are exhibits 1A and 1B in why you can't trust your professional future to Scott Drew. Some very well-deserved negative recruiting right there. The question about Waiters is what position he plays, as he doesn't have ideal physical stats for either the 1 or the 2 at 6'4", 220 lbs. He was a 6th man at Syracuse and that could be his best role in the NBA, which wouldn't be a great outcome for the No. 7 pick.
JC: If you're talking terrible coaching, Jim Calhoun's mail-in job last year with two lottery picks has to rank near the top. With UConn facing a postseason ban next year, you wonder if he's done. Hey, great choice, DeAndre Daniels! Lamb is basically living off one spectacular month in two years of uninspiring college basketball. Yeah, his condor wingspan (6'11") would look great in Jurassic Park, but will it matter in the NBA? Lamb strikes me as the kind of player that will average 16 PPG, yet bounce around on a few different lottery-bound teams. And Toronto already has one of those in DeMar DeRozan.
JT: The history of super-long athletic big men with no real defined position (Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph) isn't great in the NBA. Henson better be able to knock down jumpers because he's not going to be big or strong enough to score in the paint. This is not exactly a guy built for core strength.
JC: I was beginning to wonder if you would leave me to take all my Kentucky guys. As much as I love Terrence Jones for all the little things he does that goes beyond the box score, he was never an alpha dog for the Cats. Putting him on a team with Davis and Eric Gordon looks like a team with three Scottie Pippen's and no MJ. Is that really a recipe for long-term success? This is a critical pick for NOLA. It needs to be more Russell Westbrook and less Jeff Green. I'm not convinced Jones is the right answer.
11. Portland Trail Blazers - Tony Wroten, Washington Huskies
JT: As much as I love James Harden, I think Gordon (if he can stay healthy) is the best young 2 in the NBA. I do agree that No. 10 is the pivotal pick for NO if they're going to become a long-term threat to the Thunder. No way I'd take Wroten over Terrence Ross, his teammate at Washington. I lost a lot of money this season watching Wroten do his Tyreke Evans impression (unathletic, poor shooting ball hog) and turning the rest of his super-talented team into spectators.
12. Milwaukee Bucks - Meyers Leonard, Illinois Fighting Illini
JC: What's the historical success rate for white centers drafted after single digits? Like, negative thirty-seven percent? Taking a collegiate 5 this late in the lottery is generally a recipe for disaster--Roy Hibbert is the only one in recent memory I can recall to satisfy his original team. But I guess Leonard is a perfect fit to take over the scapegoat role from Andrew Bogut in the eyes of the Milwaukee faithful.
JT: Considering that you, me and John Hollinger are seemingly the only people out there who think Miller is worthy of a lottery pick, I can't bring myself to hate on him. How long can we punish someone for letting Scott Drew into their life? Also, where does Steve Nash go this off-season? I wonder if he stays in Phoenix, not out of loyalty but because the Suns are the only training staff that can keep him healthy.
JC: If I'm Nash, I'm taking the league minimum in Miami and gunning for that ring. I really want my Rockets to draft Q. We've both argued ad infinitum that Morey needs to land a superstar. I'm guessing (actually, I know) you don't think Harrison Barnes is that star, but at 14, he would be the house bet.
15. Philadelphia 76ers - Harrison Barnes, North Carolina Tar Heels
JT: Yea, I don't need to do a bit to hate on Barnes. He's Jordan Hamilton, which is fine, but he's not going to be a star.
JC: Ooh, that's dirty--White was going to be my pick at 17. Instead, I'll serve up a softball for your Mavericks. On White, he put on a clinic last year, but he was hardly being discussed as a first round pick until his stellar tournament performance against Kentucky. Character issues would be my other qualm--traditionally, Houston has been a city that prides itself on being on the straight and narrow when it comes to its sports franchises. But like your take on Miller, I can't muster much hate here.
17. Dallas Mavericks - Kendall Marshall, North Carolina Tar Heels
JT: Willie Funk wrote up a pretty convincing article over at SB Nation Dallas about why Marshall to Dallas would be a terrible idea. This feels like a pretty natural end-point to me. We've hit most of the area teams and the talent pool is starting to get a little shallow in the mock.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt Commodores
JC: Sounds good--speed round time. And I actually like the back nine of the first round this year. I think the playoff teams can get some immediate contributors. Oh, I also couldn't bring myself to watch game five. Happy for LeBron, though.
JT: The only way to beat Bosh at the 5 and LeBron at the 4 is to play a line-up that gets them off the floor.
JC: Wouldn't be surprised if Barton is a better pro than Barnes.
JT: I'd be surprised if he wasn't.
22. Boston Celtics - Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi St. Bulldogs
JC: Younger brother better than older brother?
JT: I am a big fan of the bloodlines, but I'm not sure about this one. Hard to evaluate him due to the fairly unique situation he was in. Next up: I'm surprised he fell this far.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers - Tyler Zeller, North Carolina Tar Heels
JC: Zeller has the lowest floor-to-ceiling gap of any prospect in this draft, in my opinion, which made him un-sexy in our mock draft. We've also totally ignored Damian Lillard.
JT: Lillard is definitely a mid-first round pick; I don't think he's a good enough playmaker to be worth taken in the lottery, though.
JC: If you're the Heat, you gotta take a flyer on either a center or a dead-eye shooter, right?
JT: Definitely. I think the guy they want is Ezeli, who I took higher than most of the other mock drafts out there. That's a perfect fit of team and player.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt Commodores
JC: Last pick for me--my favorite non-Texas, non-UK player of the last couple of years.
JT: I just don't see how he's going to be able to defend anyone at the next level. He'd be a great European player though. Overall, a really strong draft. Aside from Kyrie Irving, Jonas Valanciunas and Enes Kanter, I think the bottom 10 of this first round is as good as the top 10 from last year. One player we wouldn't get to if we did the top 45 picks is J'Covan Brown. What was he thinking?
30. Golden State Warriors - Moe Harkless, St. John's Red Storm
JC: Green put in the work to be a collegiate All-American. I think he can carve out a niche as a tweener forward that will have good Reb/40 & Ast/40 rates. As for J'Covan, did the dude even graduate? In any case, he wasn't getting major PG minutes next year, and he wasn't going to improve his body stature. Why not take the extra year of income, even if it's in Europe? Overall, a fun draft and a lot of solid picks to be had beyond Davis. I'm excited for Thursday.