Top 10 Interesting Draft Prospects 2012

1.  Andre Drummond  C   Connecticut      6’10” 

Andre Drummond must be the #1 pick here!  This man-child would be the number one pick if NCAA player of the year Anthony Davis wasn’t in this class.  He’s classified “intriguing” because the lackluster freshman campaign that only left us with more questions.   The draft value is largely due to his size, age, and flashes of potential. Drummond could be the next Kwame Brown or the next dominating center.

Intriguing rating 9/10!!!!

Pro:  His size!!!! A 6’10” mammoth weighing in at 250 pounds, ESPN has him listed at 270.  The advantage Drummond has over Davis is the NBA ready body, but not the basketball skill set.   Drummond’s physical foundation allows for a quicker NBA transition.  Today’s dominating big men Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, and Tyson Chandler lacked Drummond’s size when entering the draft, which is why scout’s love this kid.

Also, he’s shown flashes of potential and domination in his sample size college career.  His best games came against ranked opponents such as Syracuse, Florida State, & Georgetown.  Almost had a triple double against Florida State and often flirted with a double double.  A season stat line of 10 ppg, 7 reb, and 2.7 blocks is solid for any first year freshman in the Big East.  In fact his freshman statistics are much better than former UCONN center Hasheem Thabeet who was the 2nd overall pick of 2009 draft.  I can promise you Drummond will have an NBA career unlike Thabeet.

Besides his mere presence his best basketball skill traits

  1. Passing ability
  2. Finishing at the rim
  3. Defense

Very underrated due to the fact Anthony Davis garnered all the attention.  Nifty hands, great patience when defending the circle, and great BLOCKER.

   4.Offensive Rebounder

Ranked 9th in country in offensive rebounding and offensive rebounding is one of those “you have or you don’t” traits.

Hall of Fame Comparison: Willis Reed

Today’s Star Comparison: Zach Randolph (on a good day)/Al Jefferson

Con:  Where to begin?  Drummond’s game is ready for the NBA, but Drummond isn’t ready for the NBA.  What do I mean?  Drummond lack’s two important traits for an NBA career: mental toughness and consistency.    The jump from college is extreme terms of living styles, maturity, and competition.  Drummond often had stretches and games where he’d go invisible or non-existent.  A lottery team that drafts him are eyeing towards making him their “big man of the future,” “not big man of the week.”

            Aspects of his game that need improvement:

  1. Free throw shooting

He shot a 27% form the charity stripe, which is mental red flag to any basketball purist.   A low free throw percentage is directly linked to focus and concentration.  His goal should be to raise that to a Shaq-like 50%.

   2.Offensive attack mind-set

There were a few times he toke over games, but it was Eddy Curry-esqe.  I highlighted his passing ability, but needs to become more selfish with the ball.  He needs to put up more shots throughout a game and become an offensive threat.

   3.Mental toughness

   4.Mental toughness

5.Mental toughness

Staying another year would have benefited his game, but I don’t believe his draft stock.  Number two is the highest he’ll go unless Anthony Davis suffers a life threatening injury in a month or if Drummond has PHENOMENAL pre-draft camp.

Worst Case scenario: Kwame Brown meets Eddy Curry.

2.  Arnette Moultrie  PF  Mississippi State   6’11”

3.  Jared Sullinger   C  Ohio State University   6’9”

4. Austin Rivers   SG  Duke University   6’4”

Doc son has made it.   Austin Rivers one of the most hyped All-Americans coming into college and was by far one of the nations best shooting guards.  Throughout his career he’s been defined by his father’s legacy, however besides their height and last name they are completely.  Rivers has the confidence to be a great shooting guard, but will his size hold him back?

Intriguing Rating 7.5/10!!!

Pro: Honestly his swagger is why I love this kid.  Since his All-American days in high school and his lone Blue Devil season he knows he can ball.  I understand a lot of NBA and talented prospects have an inflated ego or the “we own this world” attitude, but Rivers is different.  It’s not so much cockiness, but an intense confidence, which is vital in the NBA and as a shooting guard.

The explosive first step and long-ball threat are the parts of the game that are lights out.  What he lacks in the explosiveness he makes up with his dribbling prowess.  His skill set better suits a combo-guard because of his dribbling ability.  He can create his own shot off the dribble.  The best NBA shooting guards have that ability, which allow for him demand attention.  He was known for shooting NBA threes with a defender in his face (ask Tyler Zeller about that).  So range isn’t a large question for Austin coming into the draft.

   The traits that we’ll make us draft him.

  1. Shooting ability/Scorer
  2. Driving ability
  3. Wants the ball

Is Rivers the best pure shooter, not at all, but he demands the ball.  He’s an instinctive scorer and knows he can score.  This is the key trait you want out of your shooting guard.

   4.Duke guard

Duke guards have a tremendous history of being productive NBA players (Chris Duhon, Shane Battier, Leattner, & Redick).  Austin Rivers game is NBA ready and should equate into a better NBA statistical career then the previously mentioned.

    5.Coachable

Played under Coach K!!!!

Hall of Fame comparison: Earl Monroe meets Rod Strickland

Current Player: Seth Curry

Con:  We’ll your not tall enough!  The NBA deems size as the most important thing in drafting prospects.  There’s no true young shooting guard making an impact in todays game.  Kobe’s getting old, Wade’s in his prime, and well whose coming? Tyreke Evan’s was the last notable one, wasn’t he? NBA front offices haven’t place Austin Rivers in the “who’s coming,” solely because he lacks the ideal size.  Austin Rivers size wasn’t a problem in the Duke offensive scheme, because he played the combo guard.  Golden State or Mike D’Antoni’s system fit Rivers.

Rivers is more fundamentally sound and mechanical than the typical NBA athletic, shooting guard.  He has an uncanny first-step, which will allow him to exploit defenders, but lacks true speed or leaping ability we want from todays players.  This kid still is an athletic phenom, but fellow draftee’s Jeremy Lamb and Bradley Beal will garner more attention.

Top five reasons not draft Rivers

  1. Defense
  2. Rebounding
  3. Decision-making

His ability to pull-up from anywhere or shoot over defenders often work, but not always.  Sometimes he seems to confident in his shot selection and driving ability.  Becoming a more patient shooter will help his arsenal.  

    4.Shooting percentage

Shot over .3% from the arc, but this number will only decrease as the NBA range increases. He needs to get more reps in this summer or improve his shot selection.  Improving his free-throw percentage is key if he wants the ball in late game situations.

5.  Tony Wroton   PG   Washington     6’5”

6.   Draymond Green    PF    Michigan State      6’6 

7.  Meyers Leonard   C  University of Illinois     7’1”

8. Damien Lillard  Weber State  PG 6’2”

 

This is the first year no point guards taking the top selection.  Don’t let that scare you away from this years point guards.   A point guard from Weber State, yeah you heard me right Weber State is the most interesting point guard prospect.  Kendall Marshall might be the NBA prototype producer, but Damien Lillard is a dark horse.  He’s this year Isaiah Thomas (King’s Isaiah Thomas) well I think?  Not sure what to expect from this mid-major, high scoring little man.

Intriguing Rating 8/10!!!

Pro:  A scorer, floor general, and team leader.  The only time Weber State has been mentioned in previous years it was when Jimmer Fredette would drop 40 points on them.  Weber State quietly had their own Jimmer brewing in Damien Lillard who averaged over 24 points a game for the Wildcats.  Damien is looking like a better NBA prospect than the BYU product.

First of all this kid can flat out score and do it at a high percentage.  A lot NBA point guards don’t have the range or consistent shot, but Lillard does.  This past season his long-ball was above 40% and free throw percentage near 88%.  Those numbers often translate into the NBA.

He plays with finesse and laid back style, which allows him to pick his cuts.  He doesn’t try to beat you with his athleticism, but he patiently attacks.  He understands his moments and is a high I.Q player.  He’ll be one of the few four-year players drafted in the first round, which is unheard of today.  Throughout those four-years he became the leader of Weber State.  He understands what it takes to carry a team and be the main contributor (he’ll tell you differently).

Top traits that will translate to the league.

  1. His NBA size
  2. Proven Scorer

The ability to score from all areas of the court allows him not to be one-dimensional.  He doesn’t rely on athleticism, which allows him to be a quicker producer in the league.  He can instantly be a 10 ppg point guard for any team, because his knack for finishing and ability to cover the floor.

  1. All around game
  2. Patient
  3. Cutting ability

Hall of Fame Comparison: Joe Dumars

Current Comparison: Jameer Nelson

Con:  So you couldn’t get in a big school?  The thing holding my man Lillard back is the lack of competition throughout his college career.  Unlike BYU, Weber State’s schedule lacked ranked opponents, which can put an asterisk on Lillards scoring average.   Those who choose Kendall Marshall Marshall over Lillard say he went to NORTH CAROLINA!  I completely agree that Lillards lack of true collegiate opponents will make his draft stock fall.

Questions regarding Lillards ability to dish the ball will come up.    In his defense he accounted for their scoring and had few options (its Weber State people).  He maintained a positive Assist/Turnover ratio, which shows he can maintain possession and run the offense.

Something that makes scouts cringe is injury history and Lillard struggled with a foot fracture a year ago.   Does this previous injury lead to any other ones?  Especially with the length of the NBA season compared to college.

Top reasons not to draft Damien Lillard

  1. No true competition
  2. Questions regarding passing
  3. Athleticism

Point guards are running the league Rajon Rondo, Westbrook, Rose (before injury), John Wall, and Kyrie Irving.   Damien Lillard is built for the NBA in size, but doesn’t have the pure athleticism such as his future counterparts. 

   4. Injury history

He’s battling prospects Kendall Marshall and Marquis Teague to be the first point guard chosen.  Marshall’s latest injury helps Lillard out, but Marquis Teague’s recent title run may change scouts minds.

9. Tyler Zeller C University of North Carolina 7’0”

 10.  Moe Harkless   SF    St. John’s    6’8”

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