NBA Draft 2012: Comparing Every First-Round Prospect to an NBA Bust

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIApril 12, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Comparing Every First-Round Prospect to an NBA Bust

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    The NBA Draft is a risky process as NBA teams choose unproven players based on whatever potential they seem to possess. Busts are common, and every first-round draft prospect could be one.

    There have been many famous busts over the years, and many of them bear similarities to the top players in this year's draft. Here is each first-round prospect in this year's draft and one former NBA bust that they could be likened to.

1. Anthony Davis, PF Kentucky

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Sam Bowie

    Bowie was chosen by Portland over Michael Jordan in the 1984. Both Bowie and Davis are big men that hail from Kentucky and that excelled in rebounding and blocking shots. Will Davis end up like Bowie? Let's hope not.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Joe Alexander

    Alexander was a talented, athletic perimeter player that impressed all the right people leading up to the draft. Sadly, his talent ended up being a bit of a hoax at the next level. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist appears to be the real deal now, but will he still be a few years from now? That is the real question, as Kidd-Gilchrist is a similarly athletic talent to what Alexander was.

3. Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Ed O'Bannon

    While O'Bannon's career was primarily derailed by injuries, he does have some stuff in common with Thomas Robinson. Both were power forwards who led their teams to long NCAA tournaments runs right before they declared for the draft. Both played for storied programs (O'Bannon played for UCLA.). Both also were late bloomers in their junior seasons.

4. Andre Drummond, C Connecticut

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Greg Oden

    Oden had to be somewhere on here right? But actually this comparison makes sense. Both Oden and Andre Drummond were true centers with the ideal size and height to play the position. Both played freshman years only (if Drummond declares). And both appeared to have the raw ability to be defensive difference makers at the next level.

5. Bradley Beal, SG Florida

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Martell Webster

    Drafting guards this high in the draft is always risky. If you get lucky, you get a star guard who can carry your team to glory. If you don't, you get Martell Webster, a certified bust who was one of the highest drafted rookies ever sent to the D-league. Let's hope Brad Beal doesn't follow in his footsteps.

6. Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Adam Morrison

    I know, this comparison seems odd. Bear with me. Adam Morrison was a prolific college scorer who was drafted too high and couldn't replicate his success in the NBA. Harrison Barnes is also a prolific scorer who has come up small in big moments. While their games may not be that similar, their NBA fates very well could be.

7. Damian Lillard, PG Weber State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Jonny Flynn

    Like Flynn, Lillard is an undersized point guard that isn't much of a distributor. He's more of a scorer, which won't work as well in the NBA as Flynn has found out. Hopefully Lillard will be able to avoid the pitfalls that overcame Flynn.

8. Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Shelden Williams

    Both Sullinger and Williams had massive success at the college level at big-time programs. Williams found out quickly that he lacked the athleticism to be a good player at the next level. Sullinger is a polished player, but not overly athletic. He could have the same fate as Williams.

9. Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina

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    NBA Draft Comparison: Shaun Livingston

    Like Kendall Marshall, Livingston was a bigger, athletic point guard that showed tremendous promise and upside. Unfortunately, Livingston blew out his knee and never regained his previous form. Marshall broke his hand in the NCAA tournament, but let's hope that there isn't a similar result.

10. Tyler Zeller, C North Carolina

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Darko Milicic

    Tyler Zeller has the potential to be a very good role player at the NBA level. But that may be all he'll ever be. Milicic was a big man who was drafted much higher than he should have been, and he ended up being just that: a role player.

11. Perry Jones III, PF Baylor

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Brandan Wright

    Brandan Wright was another athletic big man drafted high in the draft, just like Perry Jones III probably will be. While he has redeemed himself somewhat recently, no one can deny that Wright hasn't lived up to where he was drafted. Jones may not either.

12. Terrence Jones, PF Kentucky

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Marcus Haislip

    Like Terrence Jones, Marcus Haislip was a young, athletic power forward in college who looked like he would be a star at the next level. He wasn't though, and, despite his athleticism, his career fizzled out quickly.

13. Jeremy Lamb, SG Connecticut

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Corey Brewer

    Even though Corey Brewer is another guy that seems to have revived his career, he still hasn't lived up to being drafted seventh overall in 2007. Lamb has similar athleticism, but he may not be able to live up to it.

14. Austin Rivers, SG Duke

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Reece Gaines

    Like Austin Rivers, Gaines was a shooting guard who was drafted high after leading a top-notch college program to a good season. The last he was heard of, his contract was expiring with a team in Austria. Rivers has an NBA pedigree, but that alone won't be enough to save him.

15. John Henson, PF North Carolina

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    NBA Draft Comparison: Marvin Williams

    Marvin Williams was drafted No. 2 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2005. He played for Roy Williams at North Carolina, at the same position as Henson has played there. Williams hasn't panned out as the Hawks had hoped, and there's reason to believe that Henson might not either.

16. Terrence Ross, SG Washington

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    NBA Draft Comparison: Reece Gaines

    I know that I've used this guy before, but he fits here too. Terrence Ross is a big, athletic guard just like Gaines was. We'll see if he fares better than Gaines did.

17. Meyers Leonard, C Illinois

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Robert Swift

    Robert Swift is the biggest, goofiest-looking player I have ever seen in the NBA. Meyers Leonard has the potential to rival him. Swift was a huge NBA bust as a center, and Leonard could very well be too.

18. Tony Wroten Jr., PG Washington

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Troy Bell

    Wroten is a very good college point guard, much like Troy Bell was. Bell played in just six NBA games in his entire pro career, after seeming like an elite talent in college. Wroten doesn't seem as good as Bell did, which may work in his favor.

19. Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Stromile Swift

    Moultrie is a big, athletic power forward that appears to be able to add serious strength and athleticism to any team's front line. Swift was the same guy coming out of LSU, and he fell flat on his face.

20. Royce White, SF Iowa State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Terrence Williams

    Much like the Louisville product Williams, Royce White is an athletic wing man who does a bit of everything well. However, Williams' fate may befall him, where his skills prove too difficult to transfer to the NBA level.

21. Fab Melo, C Syracuse

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Hasheem Thabeet

    Thabeet was an athletic 7-foot center much like Fab Melo who played at a big time program and left earlier than many thought he should for the NBA. Thabeet's career has gone nowhere, and I fear that the same may happen to Melo's.

22. Jeff Taylor, SF Vanderbilt

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Marcus Fizer

    Marcus Fizer was a big-time player in college for Iowa State. After being drafted really high by the Bulls, he never panned out. Jeff Taylor is a very good player, and the fact that he won't be drafted too high may keep him from being a bust.

23. Dion Waiters, SG Syracuse

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Javaris Crittenton

    Crittenton was a talented shooting guard out of Georgia Tech who was one of the most talented high school players to come out of Georgia. His career faltered, especially after he was charged with murder last August. The off-court-issues aren't a problem with Waiters, but the not being able to play well in the NBA might be.

24. C.J. Leslie, PF N.C. State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Stromile Swift

    Another guy that I've used before, but another really good fit. Leslie is extremely athletic but also extremely raw in the same ways Swift was.

25. Marquis Teague, PG Kentucky

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Jonny Flynn

    Teague is a bit bigger than Flynn, but, like him, he isn't a pure point guard. His ability to run an offense and create have been under question enough to seriously question his NBA readiness to play the point.

26. Moe Harkless, SF St. John's

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Terrence Williams

    Like Williams, Harkless can defend and score in the college game but lacks a decent jumpshot. That lack of a jumpshot might be his undoing, especially combined with the increase of athleticism and talent he'll face.

27. Draymond Green, SF Michigan State

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Shelden Williams

    I know I'm recycling guys here, but this one makes sense. Williams was a hard-worker and good guy for a great coach at a great program. Green is the same. I'd love to see him succeed, but he may just not be talented enough.

28. Andrew Nicholson, PF St. Bonaventure

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Cedric Simmons

    Simmons, like Nicholson, was a talented young post player who looked like he had room to grow in the NBA. However, he bounced around and never really got his career going.

29. Evan Fournier, SG France

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    NBA Bust Comparison: None

    I know nothing about this kid other than that he is young and having success in Europe. He's probably a pick and stash prospect for a team like Chicago, Oklahoma City or Miami.

30. Doron Lamb, SG Kentucky

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    NBA Bust Comparison: Luke Jackson

    It was tough to find one for Doron Lamb. I like him, especially as a shooter at the next level. The best I could come up with was Jackson, another sharpshooter in college who didn't pan out in the NBA.