NBA Draft 2012: Top 10 Talents Who Will Come at Discount on Draft Day
The college basketball season is over.
As sad as it is may seem, it’s time to get excited about something else: the NBA draft.
With players like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes, this year’s class is considered to be one of the best ever.
While many are focusing a lot of attention on the immense talent available in the lottery, there are quite a few valuable players that will come at a discount in the second round of the draft.
Here is a list of 10.
Listed at 6’0”—but measured at 5’10”—Tu Holloway’s major weakness is his height.
Despite this, he showed that he’s a very capable scorer during his tenure at Xavier, averaging between 17 and 20 points per game in his final two seasons.
While most of his offensive production came from his jump shot, he also scored plenty of points by driving in the lane and finishing.
Holloway’s defense has also earned him praise—he is known by many as a tenacious man-to-man defender as well as a driven team defender.
While Holloway possesses quite a few good characteristics, he’s projected to be drafted in the second round at best, according to DraftExpress.com.
Holloway’s maturity and height are sources of criticism, but his ability to score is tremendous.
On the right team, Holloway can thrive as a valuable role player who can score off the bench—he can become an Isaiah Thomas-like player (of the Sacramento Kings).
Three-point marksman John Jenkins was a scoring machine at Vanderbilt, averaging close to 20 points per game on 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc in his junior season.
Currently, though, Jenkins is projected by DraftExpress to be drafted in the second round.
While Jenkins’ defense is suspect, and his offensive game is limited, there is no doubt that Jenkins can continue being a three-point threat in the NBA with his smooth stroke and very quick release.
Because three-point shooting is an extremely valuable commodity in the NBA, Jenkins can thrive in certain offenses that like to space the floor.
Although I don’t expect Jenkins to be an All-Star, it’s reasonable to believe that he can be a solid bench player in the NBA.
Festus Ezeli didn’t play much this season due to injury, and his stats showed a slight decline from the previous season.
As a result, his draft stock isn’t too high—he is projected by DraftExpress to go in the second round.
But whoever drafts him will get an athletic 6’11” center that can block shots and score with his back to the basket with a good range of post moves.
The drawbacks with Ezeli are rebounding and foul trouble.
Nonetheless, centers are far from abundant in the NBA, and Ezeli can be a valuable piece.
It’s not unreasonable to believe that, in the ideal situation, he can become a very good center—potentially a starter.
Listed at 6’6”, swingman Will Barton is projected by DraftExpress to go in the second round of the NBA draft, which seems pretty low.
Clearly, though, Barton has the tools to a good player in the NBA.
As a sophomore, Barton was incredibly efficient, shooting 51 percent from the field while leading the Tigers in scoring, averaging 18 points per game.
Barton also impressed with his athleticism, defense and rebounding—he grabbed eight per game.
If he adds to his thin frame and learns to become a more efficient perimeter shooter, Barton will thrive.
Because Draymond Green is only 6’6”, it’s likely that he will fall in the draft.
But the fact that Green was a walking double-double this season, averaging 16 points per game and 10 rebounds per game, cannot be overlooked.
Rebounding translates well into the NBA, so it is likely that he will continue to dominate the glass despite his height.
This season, he averaged 3.8 assists per game, and his ability to distribute the ball helped the Spartans win.
Green also has a very good stroke on his jump shot, and he can shoot the three with surprising ease.
In addition, Green is a leader—this season, his intangibles motivated a team that was unranked to begin the season.
The combination of scoring, rebounding, passing and leadership makes Green a very intriguing prospect in this year’s draft, and he will come at a very good price if he goes in the second round.
J’Covan Brown can score.
Although he’s not very efficient—his field goal percentage was 42 percent this season—he has a reliable jump shot and a strong will to attack the paint.
Two reasons why Brown is projected by DraftExpress to go in the late second round are his height and lack of creating for others.
At 6’1”, he doesn’t have great size to play shooting guard, but he also doesn’t possess the passing skills of a solid point guard.
Despite this, Brown has confidence, which cannot go overlooked.
Like Bill Simmons would say, every team needs an irrational confidence guy.
When a team’s offense is stagnant, Brown can check in and score in bunches like Mo Williams does for the Clippers.
Although he doesn’t get much exposure because he plays for Iona, Scott Machado has proved to be an excellent passer, averaging nearly 10 assists per game.
Not only can he pass, but he can score pretty well, too.
He posted a 50 percent field-goal percentage this past season, and he shot a very efficient 40 percent from three-point land.
Machado’s defense and lack of athleticism will hurt him in the NBA, but he will be a valuable pick in the second round of the draft.
DraftExpress projects C.J. Leslie to go in the second round of the NBA draft, and if this holds true, the team that drafts him will surely get him at a discounted price because of his high ceiling.
Leslie uses his athleticism to attack the rim and rebound. And, with a 7’2” wingspan, the 6’9” forward has the ability to block shots with ease, averaging 1.6 blocks this past season.
One of the biggest criticisms of Leslie is his lack of drive.
But in his last 11 games, Leslie proved doubters wrong. He averaged 18.3 points per game and led the Wolfpack to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Forward Kevin Jones, at 6'8" and 260 pounds, was just as important to the West Virginia Mountaineers as Draymond Green was to the Michigan State Spartans.
Using an offensive repertoire that includes a spot-up jumper, fadeaway, hook shot and a drop step, Jones averaged 20 points per game on 51 percent shooting.
His offensive efficiency is tremendous—he scores 1.241 points per possession, which is in the 95th percentile of college players.
Jones is also great on the defensive end—he averaged 11 rebounds per game.
The knock on Jones is his height. At 6’8”, he doesn’t possess the size that one would want from an NBA power forward.
In addition, his lack of lower body strength may be troubling to him in post-up situations.
Whoever drafts him at this spot will receive a valuable asset with a number of useful skills that translate well into the NBA.
Doron Lamb was overshadowed by the plethora of outstanding freshman on the Kentucky Wildcats this season.
Lamb is being overshadowed yet again, because there is so much talent available in this year’s NBA draft. In fact, he is projected to go in the early second round by DraftExpress—a tremendously discounted price.
Lamb is pretty similar to John Jenkins of Vandy—they’re both 6’4” guards who are efficient shooters and not elite athletes.
However, Lamb’s offensive game isn’t as limited. He can create his own shot and penetrate.
In addition, he has learned to be a pretty good defender and team player under John Calipari.
In the NBA, Lamb will probably not be a starter, but he can provide instant offense off the bench.