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Top 5 Potential Booms of 2012 NBA Draft
Posted By Joel Brigham On April 25, 2012 @ 4:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
We’ve been waiting for the 2012 NBA draft to happen for a really long time, knowing that several of the players available could potentially alter the course of a franchise. But as we get closer and closer to the event itself, it becomes clear that this a draft class comprised of Kentucky standout Anthony Davis… and everyone else.
There are players in this class that will be All-Stars someday. At the very least, there are a ton of guys here that will eventually be tried-and-true starters for NBA teams most of their careers. But every year there are lottery picks that boom and lottery picks that bust. Today, we’re going to look at the guys in this draft who have the best potential to immediately transform a team and eventually find themselves in the discussion for All-Star and All-NBA teams. Not including Davis, that is.
In other words, these are the top 5 booms of the 2012 NBA Draft class:
#5 – Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard, Florida – There’s something distinctly Eric Gordon-esque about Brad Beal, and that’s a good thing if he comes anywhere close to the success Gordon has had in his own young career at this point. At 6’4, Beal isn’t huge for a shooting guard and he isn’t particularly athletic either, but he’s a tremendous scorer, both in the halfcourt and in transition. He’s got some work to do defensively, but if his new NBA team gives him the opportunity to score and create, he could thrive.
#4 – Kendall Marshall, Point Guard, North Carolina – There aren’t a lot of NBA-ready point guards available in this draft, but Kendall Marshall is definitely one of them. He might be the one, actually, although Damian Lillard of Weber State is higher on a lot of people’s draft boards. Despite that fact, Marshall is a fantastic prototypical point guard who really knows how to find his teammates and make them better. He can run a halfcourt offense, and he’s great in transition. He doesn’t turn the ball over, and he’s even great under pressure, which makes you wonder how the NCAA tournament might have turned out differently had he not gotten hurt. He’s going to be a great pro, but then UNC point guards have done generally well in the last ten years. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to think Marshall won’t do well too.
#3 – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Small Forward, Kentucky – Despite the fact that Gilchrist isn’t a particularly prolific scorer, he is an extremely versatile defender, he’s great in transition and he’s got a winning drive that so many other players projected to be selected in the lottery simply don’t have. He’s also the youngest player in this draft (he won’t turn 19 until the end of September), meaning there’s still plenty of time to develop a little more of a midrange jumper. The fact that he’s already so mature as a player at so young an age is a great sign, and while he’s never going to contend for a league scoring title, he could eventually be the second-best player on a championship team. MKG might not ever be great on the NBA level, but there’s little question that he is at least going to be very, very good.
#2 – Jared Sullinger, Power Forward, Ohio State – While Sullinger is more experienced than the guy listed at #1 on this list, he’s not quite as athletic or explosive. Still, he’s more polished around the basket, has a more versatile midrange game, and has a whole extra year of experience being The Man for a big-time NCAA program. It just doesn’t seem possible that Sullinger flat-out fails in the NBA. It’s not in his DNA, so even if he falls short of ever becoming an All-Star, he’s going to succeed on some level. He’s simply too experienced, too skilled and too smart not to find his way in the NBA. Hopefully he finds the right fit to do so.
#1 – Thomas Robinson, Power Forward, Kansas – There is so much to love about Robinson that it’s hard to begin deciding where to list it all. He’s built like an NBA player already at 6’10 and 240 pounds, chiseled and athletic, and his growth from his sophomore year to junior year was so monumental that one has to wonder where he’ll be two or three years from now with ample playing time. He’s a great rebounder, excellent with his back to the basket and very quick for a guy his size. Plus, he made what looked like a middle-of-the-road Kansas team in the preseason into a championship contender by season’s end. He’s got the body, athleticism and skill set to be a big deal in the NBA, and he could very well be the best non-Anthony-Davis player available in this draft.
Andre Drummond, Center, UConn – The fact that Drummond is 6’11 and undeniably talented means he’ll be a high lottery pick, most likely selected in the top five. Not everyone is sold on him as an NBA prospect, however, due to the fact that he’s not a very physical player and he won’t even turn 19 until August. While youth in some is viewed as a good thing, Drummond’s game still has a lot of maturing to do, and there’s a certain mental toughness he needs to build up before he can be considered the stuff of elite NBA centers. The size and raw talent is there, but he doesn’t seem like as much of a sure thing as other guys on this list.
Harrison Barnes, Small Forward, North Carolina – We’ve waited a long time for Barnes to throw his name into the NBA pool, and now that he’s finally done it, nobody is particularly excited. His NCAA tournament wasn’t all that impressive, and the fact that Barnes is so one-dimensional doesn’t bode well for his potential as an NBA player. He’s supposed to be a star, but he just doesn’t feel like one. Too many weaknesses, despite the supposed upside.
Austin Rivers, Shooting Guard, Duke – Like his father, Rivers has a certain charisma that practically begs for him to become an NBA star, but Austin’s game is a big enough question mark that he’s dropped quite a ways in some mock drafts. Some even have him outside of the lottery, even though that he was a top-two high school recruit a year ago. The kid can score, though, and his confidence on the court could be enough to compensate for his lack of size and strength on the NBA level. It’s hard to pin this kid because he has that “it” factor, but he was inconsistent at Duke and definitely needs to bulk up. He’s a terrifying mix of star quality and bust potential, but he seems more likely to succeed than not.
There are certainly players not on this list that could turn into NBA stars (or even just NBA starters), but these are the names most often talked about, and that means they’ll be the ones that require some teams to take risks with their lottery picks to take one of them. The whole point is to find a star, but they can’t all be; this list just shows which guys have perhaps the best possibility of working out.
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