Hold on, folks. This is it. The grand finale of our four-part mock draft/podcast extravaganza. If you’re just catching on now, play catch-up with these links:
Quick mock draft recap:
1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis, Kentucky
2. Charlotte Bobcats – Michael-Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky
3. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal, Florida
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Harrison Barnes, UNC
5. Sacramento Kings – Andre Drummond, UConn
6. Portland Trailblazers – Damian Lillard, Weber State
7. Golden State Warriors – thomas robinson, kansas
8. Toronto Raptops – Jeremy Lamb, UConn
9. Detroit Pistons – Tyler Zeller, UNC
10. New Orleans Hornets – Austin Rivers, Duke
11. Portland Trailblazers – Dion Waiters, Syracuse
12. Milwaukee Bucks – Terrence Jones Kentucky
13. Phoenix Suns – Kendall Marshall, UNC
14. Houston Rockets – Marquis Teague, Kentucky
15. Philadelphia 76ers – Jared Sullinger, Ohio State
16. Houston Rockets – Meyers Leonard, Illinois
17. Dallas Mavericks – John Henson, UNC
18. Minnesota Timberwolves – Terrence Ross, Washington
19. Orlando Magic – Moe Harkless, St. John’s
20. Denver Nuggets – Perry Jones III, Baylor
21. Boston Celtics – Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
22. Boston Celtics – Fab Melo, Syracuse
2012 SpreeGoogs NBA Mock Draft picks 23-30
23. Atlanta Hawks – Tony Wroten, G, Washington
Wroten is a bit of a mystery for the pro game. Is he a 1 or a 2? Does he have the maturity to turn some of his potential into pro-level skills? We don’t really know. But the Hawks can take a shot at him, knowing that his ceiling is high. There are a lot of flexible players on the Hawks, but 2,4 and 5 are positions with some serious star power and contract weight, so Wroten might be a point guard project, but if he turns out to be as good as some are projecting, this team could have a solid lineup foundation.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Royce White, PF, Iowa State
White was one of the best individual players in the NCAA game last year, and the negatives on him are so strange they sound invented. Anxiety disorder? Afraid to fly? I don’t know if I’m sold on those as legitimate concerns. With a scoring 1 like Kyrie Irving on the team, the Cavs can use elite passers at the other positions and White is perfect for that structure. A smaller lineup with White and Tristan Thompson down low could run the floor and create some impossible perimeter matchups. Look for the Cavs to draft the BPA here and fit any specific needs with the two early second-rounders they have this year.
25. Memphis Grizzlies – Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
If the draft shakes out this way, Taylor could be the steal of the whole thing. He’s got the right body for the NBA and his length will come in handy when he has to guard the pro wings. Taylor’s got a super-high ceiling and should be a pretty safe pick. He’ll get plenty of burn off the bench for the Grizz and might develop faster on a team that doesn’t him to be the guy on Day 1. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he’s the first of three Vandy guys with first round potential in this class.
26. Indiana Pacers – Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Maybe the best part about the Pacers is the first string of post players. David West and Roy Hibbert can score and defend plenty and there isn’t much room for improvement. That second string though…. Needs work. That’s where Nicholson comes in. He can plat the 4 when West comes out and can probably even play the 5 when Hibbert needs a breather. Nicholson can rebound the ball and runs the floor well, he should fit nicely on this team.
27. Miami Heat – Festus Ezeli, PF, Vanderbilt
Here’s the thing about the Heat: They already have a ton of guys like Ezeli. Udonis Haslem, Dexter Pittman, Joel Anthony, and what remains of Juwan Howard are similar to Ezeli’s skill set. But here’s another thing about the Heat: they won the whole thing last year with that lineup. There aren’t minutes to go around on the wing, and with no real point guard talent left, Ezeli fits the best. He’s just as good as a couple of guys in that logjam and he’ll be way cheaper, so he addresses a couple of the minor flaws in an otherwise solid lineup.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder, Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
I know, I know. Why would the Thunder take a 3 when they already have one of the best players in the game in front of him? There won’t be minutes for him to develop and they don’t need depth at that position. All that is true, but where else are there minute on this roster? They’re set almost everywhere and in the perfect position to gamble on a player with a high upside like Miller. If he doesn’t work out, they can bench him and dump him when his contract is over. If he does work, out, they could be at the top of the Western Conference for a loooong time.
29. Chicago Bulls, Will Barton, SG, Memphis
For a team picking 29th, the Bulls are pretty questionable looking forward to next season. Derrick Rose’s health is going to be a dark cloud hanging over the team for couple of years and even though the coaching can make up for a decent portion of that, it’s hard to play without your star. Assuming Rose is still the centerpiece of this team’s long-term plans, they have some excellent (and fairly young) talent everywhere except for the two. Barton is a great pick at this spot, especially looking at a year without Derrick Rose; he can create his own shot and should be able to fit into the Bulls’ defensive system.
30. Golden State Warriors, Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M
The first round closes with the GSW adding some wing scoring with Middleton. This roster seems to have a ton of turnover every year, and returns a couple of shooters in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but needs a wing who can create his own shot and slash it up a little bit. It’s hard to find a spot on this roster that doesn’t need depth, and after taking thomas robinson 7th, the Warriors are looking for the best wing available here.