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NBA Mock Draft 2012: Cavs Select Harrison Barnes, Andrew Nicholson In SI Projection

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated was one of the first to report that the Cavaliers and Chris Grant were enamored with North Carolina wing Harrison Barnes. Amick also does a mock draft for SI and he thinks that despite their love affair with Barnes, the Cavs could still have a tough choice if Brad Beal slips past the top three. Beal is considered the best two-guard in the draft, and he's certainly one of the Cavs' top targets.


More: SB Nation's Tom Ziller Projects Harrison Barnes At No. 4


But Amick still thinks the Cavs go with Barnes, who had an impressive showing at the Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Via Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated:

While nothing has changed about the Cavs' love affair with Barnes, things could get very interesting if this scenario wound up playing out on draft night. Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal is also being strongly considered, and it's worth noting that his agent, Mark Bartelstein, has agreed to workouts with only the top four teams so far while denying requests by Sacramento (No. 5), Portland (No. 6) and Golden State (No. 7). Either player would be a quality addition to the young core led by Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. Barnes helped himself at the combine. He had a maximum vertical leap of 39.5 inches (Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom had the highest mark at 41.5) and ran the fastest three-quarter court sprint at 3.16 seconds. Cleveland has four of the top 34 selections, and ESPN.com reported that the Hornets rejected Cleveland's offer of the fourth, 24th, 33rd and 34th picks for No. 1.

At No. 24, Amick tabs the Cavs with Andrew Nicholson, the dynamic front court player from St. Bonaventure. A number of projections seem to be coalescing around Nicholson as the top option and likely selection for the Cavaliers with their second pick of the first round.

For more news, analysis, and discussion on the Cavaliers Draft, visit Fear The Sword. For more on the NBA Lottery and the 2012 Draft, check out SB Nation's NBA hub.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.