2012 NBA Draft: 6 Late-Round Gems to Keep an Eye on

Adam Friedgood@AfriedgoodContributor IIIFebruary 8, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: 6 Late-Round Gems to Keep an Eye on

0 of 6

    The 2012 NBA Draft class is looking like it will be the deepest class since the 2003 class, which featured LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

    This draft class will be full of underclassmen like Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes and Perry Jones, who will most likely be the players selected in the lottery portion of the first round.

    With all the freshman and sophomores set to enter the draft early, it’s easy to forget about how many good juniors and seniors will be available in the draft late in the first round and also in the second.

    When these players come into the NBA, especially the ones who played in major conferences, they are usually better prepared to play right away because they’ve gained so much experience already.

    They are often vocal leaders as well since that is the role most upperclassmen take on in their final year with their respective teams.

    Here are six gems who will be available late in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Draymond Green

1 of 6

    Best Fits: Hawks, Hornets, Rockets

    Pro Comparison: Paul Millsap

    Projected: Late First to Early Second


    Strengths: Green loves to play physical and do the dirty work for his team. Even at only 6'6", he can rebound with anyone in the country, averaging 10.3 RPG. Green is also a very versatile scorer who can use his strength to get to the basket or shoot from long-range. He doesn't take many bad shots.

    Weaknesses: Undersized for the NBA, Green is too small to guard most PF and not fast enough to guard most SF. He will have a much harder time scoring inside in the NBA than he does in college and will need to rely more heavily on his outside shot. 

William Buford

2 of 6

    Best Fits: Bobcats, Bucks, Cavaliers

    Pro Comparison: James Harden

    Projected: Late First to Early Second


    Strengths: Buford does an excellent job of finding his shot in the flow of the offense and rarely puts up a bad shot. He has one of the quickest releases in the NCAA, which helps him get his shot off before the man guarding him is ready to defend. Buford is also a pretty good defender because of his long arms and quick feet.

    Weaknesses: He struggles at times creating his own shot. Buford is much more comfortable shooting in rotation as opposed to off the dribble. His ball-handling and ability to finish at the rim need to be improved as well if he wants to succeed at the next level. 

Reggie Johnson

3 of 6

    Best Fits: Grizzlies, Knicks, Warriors

    Pro Comparison: Bigger DeJuan Blair

    Projected: Early to Mid Second


    Strengths: Reggie Johnson has a massive body and he knows how to use it to his advantage. On offense, he is very efficient at clearing space for himself to go up strong in the paint. On defense, he blocks out fairly well and is one of the better rebounders in the NCAA.

    Weaknesses: At his size, conditioning has always been an issue for Johnson, forcing him to play fewer minutes than he may like. He also doesn’t have many post moves on offense, so it may be tough for him to score over bigger defenders in the paint once he gets to the NBA. 

Ricardo Ratliffe

4 of 6

    Best Fits: Kings, Magic, Nets

    Pro Comparison: Hakim Warrick

    Projected: Early to Mid Second


    Strengths: Ricardo Ratliffe’s biggest strength has to be his strength itself. He is a beast in the paint on both ends of the floor because of his superior athleticism and instincts. Ratliffe is shooting a ridiculous 75.5 percent from the field this season since he takes most of his shots from right at the rim.

    Weakness: His skills are still very raw and his jump shot can use a lot of work. Ratliffe scores most of his points just because he is more athletic than the competition.  

Darius Miller

5 of 6

    Best Fits: Celtics, Suns, Timberwolves

    Pro Comparison: Arron Afflalo

    Projected: Mid to Late Second


    Strengths: With all of the young talent Kentucky has brought in the past two seasons (Knight, Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist), it’s easy to forget about how good Miller has been playing over this time. Even though he hasn’t been a main option, he’s been a very efficient scorer, averaging double figures the past two seasons. He’s very tall for a guard, 6’8”, and uses his height advantage well to get a lot of blocks and steals on defense.

    Weaknesses: It doesn’t seem like Miller has that killer instinct to lead a team. He’s a very talented player, but takes a back seat to his underclassmen even though he’s the only senior on the team who plays a significant role. Miller doesn’t have great passing instincts either, causing him to be very one-dimensional on offense. 

Tyshawn Taylor

6 of 6

    Best Fits: Jazz, Lakers, Raptors

    Pro Comparison: Josh Selby

    Projected: Late Second to Undrafted


    Strengths: Tyshawn Taylor is extremely quick on both ends of the floor. He is a four-year starter who has proven he can run an offense, leading the team in assists the past three seasons. This season he has shown he can be a dominant scorer too, averaging 16.9 PPG while shooting 48.7 percent from the field.

    Weaknesses: Taylor has been very inconsistent during his college career. He has never averaged double figures until this season and is a below-average free-throw shooter. Taylor also needs to get his 3.7 turnovers per game average down if he wants any team to seriously consider him for their starting PG.