2012 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 16-23 (Gallery)
16. New Jersey Nets: Jeremy Lamb
Obviously a lot of what this team ends up doing is contingent on what Deron Williams wants to do, but adding a prolific scorer seems like a smart play here. The Nets don’t have a huge amount of depth at any position, but for now the moderate stability at point guard and in the post means that adding someone who knows how to put points on the board would probably be most advisable. Lamb has NBA length, a solid first step and good ball-handling. There are some questions about whether he’ll be able to be as efficient with his shooting at the next level, but that’s the case with basically all shooting guards that make the leap.
17. Boston Celtics: John Henson
PF, North Carolina
As the Celtics continue on their trek to become progressively younger, they seem to be open to drafting at any position besides point guard. When you factor in Danny Ainge’s well known love for bigger players, Henson becomes a pretty reasonable choice at this spot. Over his time at North Carolina, Henson became the poster child of sorts for what playing under a good coach can get you. He has developed a solid post game, good instinct for how to be most effective on the block, and has the athleticism that’s typically necessary to succeed at the next level. The biggest concerns about him, at this point, are whether opposing big men will simply out-muscle him in the post and whether his shooting will develop. Time will tell.
18. Denver Nuggets: Meyers Leonard
The Nuggets could use some depth at point guard, but the prospect of adding one of this draft’s few legitimate centers will prove to be too appealing. Leonard is your standard, prototypical center in just about every sense. He knows how to play back to the basket, has good footwork and has a good instinct for how to use his size effectively. There are some questions about whether his slightly passive attitude will lead to him getting bullied in the post by tougher opponents, but that’s a risk that the Nuggets will be willing to take.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Marquis Teague
The Hawks will have a lot of tough decisions to make this summer, but adding a quality point guard through the draft will be at the top of the agenda. Being the weakest link of a fearsome Kentucky unit was both a blessing and a curse for Teague. On one hand, he had an up and down season where his ability to run an offensive effectively (particularly in the half court) was always under serious scrutiny. On the other hand, under the magnified lens of the NCAA Tournament, he was able to increase his efficiency and cut down his turnovers en route to a National Title. This kid has all of the physical skills necessary for success at the next level, and Atlanta (a fan of speedy point guards) will likely be enamored enough with those skills to take a chance on a developing player.
20. Philadelphia 76ers: Arnett Moultrie
PF, Mississippi State
Given the questions about how much big man depth the Sixers will have next year, picking up a talented power forward coming off a 16 and 11 season makes a lot of sense. In terms of physical gifts, Moultrie has everything you need for NBA success. He’s athletic, fast and can finish around the basket in a myriad of ways. He’s at his best when he’s utilizing his speed and athleticism, and he’s surprisingly good at drawing contact from opposing bigs. His moves in the post are still raw and need development, but they’re pretty in line with what you would expect from players fresh out of college. His defense was solid against subpar competition, but there are legitimate questions about how it will translate at the next level.
21. Houston Rockets: Terrence Ross
Seeing as they’re going to add size with their earlier pick, adding another scorer seems to make a lot of sense for the Rockets here. Ross can play either wing position, and has the size and athleticism necessary for NBA success. A lot of his offensive production tends to be contingent on whether or not his jumper is dropping on that particular night, but he gets those jumpers in a lot of different ways which makes him tough to defend. There are questions about how Ross’ weak ball-handling and inability to really create for himself off the dribble will hurt him at the next level, but if his shooting continues to improve and he finds a way to get open looks, it really shouldn't be that big of a problem.
22. Indiana Pacers: Fab Melo
The Pacers could go one of any number of ways here, but adding some depth behind Roy Hibbert seems like the most logical play. Melo is a very raw talent, but guys who can impact the way other teams attack the basket are invaluable in the pro ranks. In terms of pure physical attributes, Melo has the size and strength to succeed in the NBA – assuming he continues to develop. His offensive game needs a lot of work, and his poor rebounding skills for a player his size are slightly shocking. That being said, you can’t teach seven foot height.
23. Memphis Grizzlies: Moe Harkless
SF, St. John’s
The Grizzlies are another team that could go in a lot of different directions, so best player available seems like the most reasonable choice. Harkless is an extremely gifted player and he was unquestionably one of the top freshmen in the nation this year. In his limited time in college, he proved that he had what it took to both score and rebound effectively against quality competition; given his size, there is no reason to assume that any of that will change at the next level.