NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the Top Big Men on the Board This Year

Kyle Ramos@Kyle_RamosCorrespondent IApril 2, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the Top Big Men on the Board This Year

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    This year's NBA draft is expected to be one of the deepest in recent memory.  

    The power forward and center positions will be no exception. Led by Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, this year's class of big men could be making an immediate impact at the pro level for years to come.

    Davis, as well as the other players on this list, come from big-name programs with histories of producing successful NBA players.  

    Let's take a look at the top five bigs on the draft board this summer.

5. Andre Drummond, C, UConn

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    Going into this season, Drummond was speculated to be a potential first overall pick. However, a generally poor season at UConn prevented him from making an impact in the college basketball world. 

    While he definitely has NBA-ready size, drafting him with a top pick would definitely be based on his potential to produce on the pro level.  

    He is a defensive presence in the paint who can block shots and rebound on both ends of the floor. Drummond's offensive game could use some work due to his subpar footwork and post moves.

    Another concern for Drummond is his lack of maturity and aggressiveness. During games, when things were not quite going his way, he would mentally check out and his performance would suffer. A similar case is DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings in his rookie year.

    Drummond is a big man with a ton of potential that could be harnessed with a serious work ethic and the right coaching. 

4. John Henson, PF, North Carolina

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    Henson is a big man who knows how to use his physical attributes. He has a solid post game that utilizes his superb balance and allows him to get separation for high-percentage shots.  

    However, Henson is on the thin side and this limits his ability to incorporate power into his post moves. This is especially a concern at the NBA level, where he will not be able to get by against taller and stronger defenders.  

    Above all, Henson has shown that he is a player who improves rapidly when given the opportunity. His increase in minutes during his junior season at UNC highlighted his abilities alongside star center Tyler Zeller.  

    If Henson is able to bulk up and develop a consistent mid-range game, he should see success in the NBA.

3. Jared Sullinger, C, Ohio State

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    Sullinger has played well this year for a very good Ohio State team. He is averaging 17.5 points per contest (on 54 percent shooting) to go with 9.6 rebounds.

    His strong build gives him a fearsome presence with his back to the basket. Sullinger is also good with isolation plays, where he can successfully drive with his strength and aggressiveness. His good hands should also come in handy when having to catch bullet-passes from NBA point guards.

    However, questions remain about his defensive ability due to his lack of height (6'9") and lateral quickness. 

    Sullinger will have to learn from other undersized NBA centers like Ben Wallace and adapt to playing against taller players to thrive at the next level.

2. Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

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    With high energy and explosiveness, Robinson has the upside to become a special NBA player. 

    He has an impressive 7'1" wingspan, which, along with his size and strength, allow him to obtain position to grab rebounds. The greatest asset to Robinson's defensive game, however, is his quickness, which can lock down the paint against any opposition. 

    What Robinson lacks is a versatile offensive game. He has a typical big man post game with no other real threats. If he were to develop a jumper that defenses have to respect, he would be able to use abilities to blow past defenders and attack the basket.

1. Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

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    And then there was one. (No, I'm not talking about his unibrow). 

    There is no doubt that Davis is the top player in college basketball right now.

    He has a ridiculous 7'4" wingspan, which complements his great leaping ability and outstanding athleticism. While he is not a heavy scorer, Davis is an efficient one as he shot 63 percent on the season. Davis is also very smooth and fluid on both ends of the floor. 

    His length allows him to block a lot of shots (4.6 bpg) and create problems for opposing offenses. Davis is also a machine on the glass and is very good at turning offensive rebounds into second-chance points.

    Unlike some of his counterparts on this list, however, Davis does not have an effective post game due to his thin build. He can sometimes be pushed around by stronger and stockier players who overpower him in the post.  

    If Davis puts on some weight and adds a back-to-the-basket game to his offense, there is no doubt that he will become a force to be reckoned with in the NBA.