College basketball columnists Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman spent part of last week projecting the 2011 NBA Draft by alternating picks through the first round. They got the first three picks right and correctly identified 25 of the 30 players ultimately selected. Not bad. So this week they decided to also try to project the 2012 NBA Draft even though it's a year away.
With Parrish picking first and Goodman second, here's how the first round went:
1. Harrison Barnes (North Carolina)
Parrish: Barnes would've been a top five pick in this draft and in the conversation for No. 1 overall. Yes, he struggled early last year on a big stage. But he finished strong and, by the end of the season, looked exactly like the one-and-done star most predicted he'd be ... except then he decided he didn't want to be a one-and-done star. So the updated prediction is that Barnes will be a two-and-done star and the first pick next June.
2. Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
|The 2011 Naismith Prep Player of the Year and son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers will play for Coach K at Duke. (Getty Images)|
3. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
Parrish: All smart-aleck replies aside, you might be right about Davis. He certainly has star potential. If you don't mind, I'll reserve the right to switch next June. I acknowledge I might want and need to. Either way, I think the right two picks are off the board (in whatever order), and I'll take Sullinger third. He's undersized for his position. But he's smart and he's awesome and he'll figure it out. Some of the same knocks folks have on Sullinger as a pro are the ones they had on Kevin Love as a pro. And though I'm not suggesting Sullinger will be the next Love, what I am suggesting is that the knocks shouldn't be enough to outweigh all his negatives and push him past here.
4. Austin Rivers (Duke)
Goodman: Sully is a solid pick, but I am going with a stone-cold killer -- Doc Rivers' kid. The younger Rivers can score in every way, and he's got the swagger you need to be a star at the next level. Thus far, I feel like I'm taking candy from a baby. You need to step your game up quickly or I'm going to send you some diapers.
5. James McAdoo (North Carolina)
Parrish: You sure do talk a lot for a guy who spent last week projecting Josh Selby to go 17th to the Knicks. Regardless, I'll keep going and take a freshman from UNC who will come off the bench. Yes, the Tar Heels will have a top-five pick coming off the bench. That's among the many reasons they'll be almost everybody's preseason No. 1.
6. Perry Jones (Baylor)
Goodman: Selby will be a star someday. It just may wind up being in Turkey. Anyway, I'm not letting Jones get past No. 6. Again, this is a kid who is gushing with potential and length, and we all know how much NBA folks love length. Jones needs to become more assertive -- and he also needs to stay away from his AAU coach -- but talent-wise, there may be no one better in this draft.
7. Mike Gilchrist (Kentucky)
Parrish: I first met Gilchrist when he was 13, became fascinated with his talent and he's never disappointed. Solid kid on and off the court who plays hard all the time despite the fact that he's more physically gifted than almost everybody he plays against. Davis is the UK freshman with the most upside, no doubt. But Gilchrist should be great, too.
8. John Henson (North Carolina)
Goodman: Actually, I'm a huge Gilchrist fan as well -- plays hard, talented, high-character. My pick here is Henson, who reminds me a little bit of Plastic Man. I love length. Thus, I love Henson.
9. Brad Beal (Florida)
Parrish: Beal might be a tad undersized to play shooting guard in the NBA, but maybe he'll grow between now and then. Either way, he's a tremendous shooter and scorer and the guy who will add a reliable presence to the Gators' backcourt next season. Just think if Rivers would've never decommitted from Florida. Billy Donovan might've been on track for a third national championship.
10. Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
Goodman: This means Kentucky will have three guys go in the Top 10, which also means the Wildcats will be pretty darn good. Jones will benefit from another year of college even though his numbers almost certainly will drop. I'd be shocked if he doesn't go in the Top 10 next year.
11. Quincy Miller (Baylor)
Parrish: I will now take a freshman for the fourth straight time -- this time a freshman who is recovering from an ACL injury. But in the spirit of upside, I feel confident there aren't 11 prospects in this draft with more upside than Miller. This might look like a great pick come March provided there are no other ACL injuries between now and then.
12. Mason Plumlee (Duke)
Goodman: The middle Plumlee finally will be able to show what he can do now that Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith are gone. He, along with Rivers, should be the focal point of Coach K's offense. He's skilled, athletic and tough.
13. Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut)
Parrish: Lamb came on strong during UConn's title run and showed why he'll be the Huskies' leading scorer now that Kemba Walker is in the NBA. He's long, skilled and smooth. He needs to add some weight, sure. But that'll come in time.
14. LeBryan Nash (Oklahoma State)
Goodman: If I'd have known you were going to take Lamb, I would have traded up and thrown in a free haircut to get the deal done. Anyway, I'm going with a big-time talent here in Nash. I'm not sold on the intangibles and the other stuff, but I think Nash is a stud in terms of natural ability. He's a big, strong, athletic forward who should be able to hold his own physically in the league right away.
15. Patric Young (Florida)
Parrish: You just took the wrong big, strong, athletic forward. And I just took the right one.
16. Meyers Leonard (Illinois)
Goodman: Leonard may not be ready, but he's a freak and he'll do enough next year to have NBA guys salivating over what he's able to do at his size. He's a legitimate 7-footer who should have plenty of opportunities in Champaign with the departure of Mike Davis and Mike Tisdale.
17. Adonis Thomas (Memphis)
Parrish: Thomas has a perfect blend of size and athleticism to play small forward at the NBA level. He's a rock-solid kid who doesn't need the ball to be great. He guards and rebounds and stickback-dunks. He won't be the Tigers' leading scorer next season but he might be the reason they win 30 games.
18. Marquis Teague (Kentucky)
Goodman: Another Kentucky player coming off the board. I'm thinking of taking Jon Hood with the final pick of the first round, also. In all seriousness, Teague will quickly become one of the elite point guards in the country.
19. Myck Kabongo (Texas)
Parrish: Remember how you took the wrong big, strong, athletic forward earlier? You just took the wrong freshman point guard, too. Kabongo's better than Teague. Plus, anybody who plays for Rick Barnes automatically goes higher than most anticipate. And that Kabongo won't have Dogus Balbay on the roster will almost certainly help.
20. Josh Smith (UCLA)
Goodman: This kid is unstoppable in the post. I know he's got some extra baggage and he doesn't play above the rim, but I don't care. He's got great hands and footwork, and if he drops some weight he could be a much-better version of Glen Davis because he knows where he needs to be, and that's down on the block.
21. Jeff Taylor (Vanderbilt)
Parrish: Taylor is one of three Commodores who could go in the first round next year. He's also one of the reasons Vandy could go to the next Final Four.
22. Will Barton (Memphis)
Goodman: Barton needed a year in college to mature, but he's got the physical tools and could wind up going higher than here. He's long. He can score. He's a capable defender when he wants to be.
23. Kendal Marshall (North Carolina)
Parrish: Marshall has tremendous vision and passing skills. You could argue that he was UNC's MVP last season. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for by just being the truest of true point guards. I recognize his flaws as a prospect, but I love his strengths.
24. Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut)
Goodman: With Walker gone, Oriakhi will need to become more consistent. He's a strong and athletic big man with high-character who should put up more than his share of double-doubles this season.
25. Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
Parrish: Robinson was stuck behind the Morris twins at Kansas last season, which is fine because both were first-round picks. Now Robinson will be KU's primary big. Then he'll go in the first round, too.
26. Michael Snaer (Florida State)
Goodman: Snaer is a guy who didn't quite live up to the hype a year ago. But he's got good size and he can score in a variety of ways, and there just aren't a ton of quality shooting guards in this draft.
27. Tyler Zeller (North Carolina)
Parrish: This is the fifth Tar Heel taken in the first 27 picks. You see why they'll be preseason No. 1, right?
28. Elias Harris (Gonzaga)
Goodman: Harris had a rough season a year ago, but he should come back strong -- especially if he's healthy. The Zags have learned to utilize Harris in the post, but he can step out and shoot it as well. Harris will also benefit from an improved point guard situation in Spokane.
29. Tarik Black (Memphis)
Parrish: Black wasn't the highest-rated prospect in the Tigers' recruiting class last year, but, in my opinion, he's the second-best pro prospect on the roster. Thomas and Black should give Josh Pastner a terrific frontcourt.
30. Shabazz Napier (Connecticut)
Goodman: Love this kid. He guards, can shoot the ball and will become a better point guard this season now that Walker is gone.