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Hanrahan's Mock 2012 NBA Draft


Hanrahan's Mock 2012 NBA Draft

1) New Orleans Hornets
Anthony Davis, C-Kentucky

A no-brainer pick here as the Hornets hope Davis can immediately make an impact and change the team's fortunes around.

The 6'-10" center did it all in his only season at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to a national title, and was the national player of the year.

Davis averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and nearly 5 blocks a game as Kentucky went 38-2.

Davis is head and shoulders above the rest of the NBA draft prospects and is the clear-cut number one pick.

2) Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, F-Kentucky

Davis's frontcourt teammate gets taken by the win-starved Charlotte Bobcats. Gilchrist's stats at Kentucky weren't overwhelming, but scouts drool over his tenacious approach and competitiveness.

Gilchrist averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds in his freshman season at Kentucky.

Charlotte hopes the small forward can attack the basket and play shutdown defense.

3) Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal, G-Florida

The Wizards go for what they need instead of best available as they bypass Kansas forward Thomas Robinson and take shooting guard Bradley Beal.

Beals stock went through the roof late in his only season at Florida, where he averaged 14 points and 7 rebounds. Known for his smooth outside shot, Beal struggled, though, from 3-point land, making just 33 percent of his attempts from there.

The Wizards need players who can shoot and, hopefully, Beal fits the mold.

4) Cleveland Cavaliers
Harrison Barnes, F-North Carolina

Barnes could have been the 1 pick last year but opted to return to school and his stock dropped.

Barnes was inconsistent and appeared to play lackadaisically in his sophomore season, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game.

Barnes's game is probably better suited for the NBA, as he is a smooth, athletically gifted jump shooter.

5) Sacramento Kings
Andre Drummond, C-UConn

The Kings take a gamble and select the biggest mystery of this NBA draft in Drummond.

The 6'-11" big man averaged 10 points, 8 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks a game for an underachieving Huskies team.

Drummond could be the piece in the middle that the Kings need, but he is seen as a bit of a project.

6) Portland Trailblazers
Thomas Robinson, F-Kansas

Robinson falls back into the Blazers' lap and Portland takes the power forward.

Robinson put up 17 points and 11 rebounds a game as he led Kansas to the national title game.

Robinson is an appealing prospect simply because of his vast improvement from his sophomore to junior season. Robinson came off the bench two seasons ago and averaged only 7 points and 6 boards.

7) Golden State Warriors
Jeremy Lamb, F-UConn

The silky smooth swingman may have also hurt his stock by returning for his sophomore season with the Huskies. After helping UConn win the national title in his freshman season, Lamb was expected to have a huge sophomore season.

While his stats were pretty good at 17 points and 5 rebounds, UConn struggled through a sub-par year with a lot of the blame falling on Lamb.

At 6'-5" and 180 pounds, the wiry Lamb will have to get a little stronger to handle the rigors of the NBA game.

8) Toronto Raptors
Meyers Leonard, C-Illinois

Toronto needs help up front and, more by default, the Raptors will select the 7'-1" big man.

Leonard improved mightily to average 13 points and 8 rebounds in his sophomore season, after seeing only limited time in his freshman season and scoring only 2 points a game.

9) Detroit Pistons
Jared Sullinger, F-Ohio State

The Pistons need some bulk down low and they get that with the 6'-9", 270-pound power forward.

Sullinger had identical numbers in his two seasons at Ohio State, averaging about 17 points and 10 rebounds a game.

10) New Orleans Hornets
Damian Lillard, G-Weber State
The Hornets got Davis at center with the top pick and now they get a scoring point guard in the 6'-3" Lillard. A four-year player at Weber State, Lillard averaged 24 points and 4 assists in his senior campaign.

11) Portland Trail Blazers
Tyler Zeller, C-North Carolina
Good fit here with the Blazers in need of frontcourt help.

The 7'-0" Zeller averaged 16 points and nearly 10 rebounds a game in his senior season with the Tar Heels.

Zeller won't be a star but he should be a reliable post-player.

12) Milwaukee Bucks
John Henson, F-North Carolina

Henson is 6'-10" with a huge wing span and can bring defensive help to the Bucks.

Henson can run the floor and finish around the rim, which would also make him an ideal fit with Milwaukee's style.

Henson averaged 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in his junior season for the Tar Heels.

13) Phoenix Suns
Dion Waiters, G-Syracuse

With Steve Nash's future up in the air, Phoenix needs guard help and they get it with the 6'-4" Waiters who can play either point or shooting guard. Waiters said the Suns guaranteed him they would take him here. We shall see.

14) Houston Rockets
Kendall Marshall, G-North Carolina

With point guard Kyle Lowry's future in doubt, the Rockets should nab Marshall out of North Carolina. Marshall is a true floor general who averaged 8 points and 9 assists in his sophomore season for the Tar Heels.

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Friday's trade for Trevor Ariza was wild, but nothing surprises Scott Brooks or John Wall

Friday's trade for Trevor Ariza was wild, but nothing surprises Scott Brooks or John Wall

Follow the NBA long enough and one learns to expect the unexpected. Participating inside the lines removes the shock value almost entirely.

The three-team trade between the Wizards, Suns, and Grizzlies, an otherwise ordinary deal involving good but not All-Star-level players became social media’s favorite child for a stretch Friday night. The deal died on the vine because of miscommunication over which player with the same sir name was included in the deal.

Unusual, certainly. Awkward because the report broke publicly mere moments after the Wizards’ latest road loss, unfortunately.

“The first time I've ever seen a trade go dead and guys are on a bus talking about it,” Wizards guard John Wall said Saturday. “Kind of devastating for those guys.”

That doesn’t mean the situation moved the needle on Wall’s personal Richter scale of shock.

“Nothing surprises me now, nine years in,” Wall said. “I’ve seen a guy get traded at halftime. Nothing can surprise me now.”

That guy wasn’t Wall’s current head coach, Scott Brooks, but former Wizard guard Kirk Hinrich. Turns out Brooks has his own personal traded-at-halftime tale from his playing days. He’s also been on teams that entered a season with high expectations only to struggle with reaching those forecasted heights. That’s happening now for the 11-18 Wizards.

Friday’s failed trade resurrected Saturday morning as Washington traded Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix for ex-Wizard Trevor Ariza.

Some crazed situation that left Brooks speechless? Actually at the moment, yes, but only because the coach was not at liberty to discuss the transaction. The trade remains unofficial until the league office reopens Monday.

It’s unclear what level bombshell must occur to astonish Brooks. Even the current frustrations, while disappointing, aren’t revelatory for a man now in his 25th NBA season as a player and coach.

“I've been in the league long enough. Nothing surprises me,” Brooks said moments before his point guard uttered almost the exact same phrase. “That's part of being in this league. You have to expect things not to always go your way. I know one thing. The only way to get out of it is doing it together, figuring it out together. Nothing surprises me. It's just part of the business.”

The Houston Rockets conducted some business on Feb. 23, 1995 by trading Brooks to the Dallas Mavericks for guard Morlon Wiley and a second-round draft pick. Deals happen. This one stood out for the timing.

“That was one of the bad days of my life in the NBA,” Brooks revealed on a radio show last year. “At halftime of the game, we go back, Coach [Rudy] Tomjanovich makes some halftime adjustments. … We come onto the court and we’re in the layup line, and all of a sudden the general manager grabs me out of the layup line and says, ‘Hey, Scott, I gotta talk to you.’ So he pulls me out of the line, brings me back to the locker room and he says, ‘Hey, you’ve been traded.’ I was like, ‘What?’ ”

That personal experience altered Brooks’ surprise quotient going forward.

“I look at things different,” he said Saturday. “There a lot of tough things in the world right now. I was traded at halftime. That was tough on me, but that’s really not tough on me. I was still making a lot of money and the next team, Dallas, still paid me in cash.”

Brooks keenly remembers his halftime trade. Wall didn’t have the exact details correct on Hinrich’s departure; he recalled his backcourt partner playing in the first half of the Feb. 23 contest against the Philadelphia 76ers but the box score says otherwise. Hinrich did learn about the trade to the Hawks between the second and third quarter. That’s wild enough.

“I’ve seen everything you basically can see,” Wall said.

That now includes a trade falling through in such a public and awkward way. Once Ariza joins the squad, all that matters is whether his old/new team turns around this clumsy season that began with high hopes. It won’t surprise anyone if Ariza’s veteran presence sparks a rally. After watching the opening 29 games, who can say for sure.

“We're not playing nowhere near what we're capable of,” Wall said. “Maybe that's the move we should have made to make it happen, I don't know. We don't know until we get out there.”


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Wizards' rivalry with LeBron James begins new chapter with Lakers in town

Wizards' rivalry with LeBron James begins new chapter with Lakers in town

LeBron James' dominance for the better part of two decades has had a ripple effect around the league, to where just about every franchise has been directly or indirectly altered one way or the other over the years. The Wizards, being in the Eastern Conference, have seen their relation to James evolve quite a bit.

Early on, they had a defined and entertaining rivalry with James and his first edition Cavaliers. From his days with the Heat through his second tenure in Cleveland, James operated as a big brother in the conference.

Now, with James in Los Angeles, their head-to-head rivalry will enter a new chapter, beginning with their first meeting on Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

James has left the East and therefore does not affect the Wizards as much as he used to. But he still remains a marquee match-up and playing for the Lakers certainly helps that cause.

"Playing against LeBron always brings out the best in everybody," guard John Wall said. "Why wouldn't you get up for a game like that?"

James, 34, remains arguably the league's best player. He is third in points per game (28.4) while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from three. He's also averaging 7.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Those are MVP-type numbers, especially on a Lakers team that doesn't have another All-Star.

Exciting games always seem to happen when James plays the Wizards, no matter the stage or the team he's playing for. He had legendary playoff battles with the Wizards in the mid-2000s, famously duking it out with Gilbert Arenas. His Cavs and the Wizards played in the first round of the postseason three straight years, from 2005 through 2008, with James taking each series.

As the Wizards went through a rebuild and missed the playoffs from 2008 through 2013, their meetings with James' Cavs and then the Heat were always marked on the calendar. In December of 2012, when the Wizards were en route to a 29-win campaign, they beat James' Heat in Washington. It was their biggest win of the season and the game drew extra attention with Robert Griffin III, then the talk of the town, in attendance.

The Wizards haven't met James in the playoffs during Wall's era, but they had some memorable regular season battles. The one that comes to mind first was in February of 2017.

James' Cavs had won the title the summer before and the Wizards were playing their best basketball since drafting Wall. They went to overtime on national television with James hitting a circus three-pointer while fading out of bounds (:50 mark) to help Cleveland earn the victory. The game was described as an "instant classic" by head coach Scott Brooks.

So much has happened for both James and the Wizards since. Now, James is a Laker and in the beginning of what will likely be the home stretch of his prime. The Wizards, meanwhile, are stumbling and making trades to shuffle their roster.

The Wizards will enter this match-up fresh off a trade with the Suns, one that brought Trevor Ariza to Washington. Ariza, though, won't be available because the trade isn't official and that will leave the Wizards with a depleted roster.

Dwight Howard remains out due to a back injury and Otto Porter Jr. missed their last two games, plus Saturday's practice, with a knee contusion. The Wizards practiced with eight players and are expected to bring Troy Brown Jr. and someone else in from their G-League affiliate.

"It's a tough task. We're probably gonna have to play a lot of minutes," Wall said.

"We've gotta make sure we're ready to go," Beal added. "We have no choice, or else we're gonna lose."

The supporting cast continues to change year-to-year and, for the Wizards lately, week-to-week. But there remains a lot of history between them and James, with Sunday gearing up to be the latest installment.