NBA Draft 2012: 7 Players Who Aren't Ready for NBA
Anthony Davis is going to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Barring some unforeseen circumstances, it appears that the lowly Charlotte Bobcats will be the team adding the unibrow.
Each year there are few players labeled "can't miss" prospects. Davis carries that label.
However, there are also a few players in each draft who would probably benefit more from staying another year in college to polish their game. More often than not however, players make themselves eligible in order to make their dream of making the NBA a reality.
Here are seven players in the 2012 NBA draft who will still need to improve before they make a meaningful impact in the NBA.
Andre Drummond, Freshman, UCONN
Andre Drummond is the definition of the term "man child." Physically, he's exactly what you want in an NBA center.
At 6'11" 270 pounds, it's a marvel to behold Drummond's athletic ability given his size. Drummond will almost certainly be drafted within the first five draft picks because of just that.
However, as a basketball player, Drummond still has to work on his game.
I see Drummond as a much more skilled version of DeAndre Jordan. Jordan came into the league extremely raw in terms of basketball IQ, but he is scary-athletic for his frame and is a great shot blocker despite mediocre defensive instincts.
Again, Drummond is a far better talent coming into the NBA when compared with Jordan. Nevertheless, if he comes to the NBA, cashes a paycheck and decides he doesn't have to work hard anymore, that could become a problem.
Drummond will need to develop post moves and a more polished offensive game in the NBA.
The problem with Drummond as a prospect is that he has the tools to be a great player in the NBA without improving on much. He could become a top five center in this league if he pushes himself to get better.
Will he become a player like Dwight Howard, or a headcase like DeMarcus Cousins? We'll have to wait and see, hopefully he's motivated.
Austin Rivers, Freshman, Duke
The son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers certainly has the NBA pedigree.
Nonetheless, I honestly think that Rivers would benefit from another year at Duke.
He's an extremely confident and cocky player, which I think is his biggest asset. As an NBA prospect, you have to be able to seize big moments and not shy away from the big stage.
Rivers will be able to do that without much of a problem.
Something that's never good as an NBA prospect, is questions about your true position. Rivers probably fits best as a shooting guard in the NBA, but at 6'4" 195 pounds, he'll benefit from bulking up.
Rivers is a cold-blooded sniper from long-range and will only improve as he gets older.
Despite being a solid shooter, Rivers' numbers at the charity stripe have me scratching my head. He shot just 65.8 percent from the free throw last season, not a quality you want in an NBA guard.
At this point, I see Rivers panning out as a Jimmer Fredette or a JJ Redick. Basically a guy who can come into the game and knock down some three pointers, but won't develop into someone who will do much else.
At best, Rivers could become a player like Reggie Miller, an extremely confident shooter who will develop other parts of his game.
Only time will tell what direction his career will now take.
Tony Wroten, Freshman, Washington
At 6'5" 205 pounds, Tony Wroten is more of a physical specimen than Austin Rivers.
Don't get me wrong, I think that Wroten will develop into a great player in the NBA, but he will really have to develop.
Wroten is another player who would benefit from staying in school for another year.
If he chose to do so, I think he would have been a top 10 choice in next year's draft. Not to mention, we would also know for sure whether he's a point guard or a shooting guard.
As for his game right now, there are some major concerns.
Wroten has very limited range as a shooter, not a quality you want in an NBA guard, unless that guard is Tony Parker. Even so, Wroten makes Parker look like a three-point sharpshooter.
Wroten shot just 16.1 percent from three point range last season. That number is scary, but there's another number of Wroten's which is even worse: 58.3.
That number depicts Wroten's free throw percentage. At this point he's closer to competing with Dwight Howard for the worst free throw shooter in the league, instead of being one of the best.
That's a scary thought for a player who may develop into an NBA point guard.
Also, at 3.8 per game, Wroten turns the ball over a lot.
I certainly think that Wroten is coming into the league at least a year early, which will hurt his stock. However, someone in the middle of the first round will grab him for his explosive drives to the basket and his ability to finish at the rim... just pray he doesn't get fouled.
John Henson, Junior, North Carolina
John Henson hasn't developed nearly as quickly as scouts hoped he would.
He just finished his junior year at North Carolina and he's still only projected to be a mid-first round pick.
Henson has two big red flags holding him back as an NBA-ready prospect.
First, is his size. Yes, Henson is 6'11" and has the height needed to play power forward or even center at the NBA level, but he's still only 220 pounds. An unwanted gust of wind could probably blow this guy off his feet.
There are concerns that he can never put on the pounds he needs because of his narrow shoulders.
One thing is for sure, if Henson tries to become a back-to-the-basket scorer in the NBA, he's going to have a very hard time backing down bigger, stronger NBA players.
Secondly, is Henson's woeful free throw shooting.
He shot free throws at just 51.1 percent last season. Making free throws is starting to become a mental battle for Henson and if he can't overcome that, he simply won't be a starter in an NBA frontcourt.
Dmitry Kulagin, Russia
At 6'5" this 19-year-old prospect projects to be a point guard at the NBA level.
Kulagin will likely be drafted in the late-first or early-second round, but won't see court time right away. He'll likely be stored in the meat freezer of Russia for a few more years before he's brought over to help an NBA team.
Kulagin got off to a rough start playing in Russia, but has developed more consistency.
The biggest positive going for the international point guard is his ball-handling ability, which apparently is stellar.
Something that he needs to improve upon though, is his free throw shooting.
His free throw percentage is very mediocre at 67.7 percent.
(Sidenote: Why can none of these guards shoot free throws? It's not that difficult. I'm not an NBA prospect by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll still knock down nine out of 10 more often than not).
Fab Melo, Sophomore, Syracuse
As a late-first round selection, I like Fab Melo a lot more. However, that doesn't change the fact that he's extremely raw on the offensive end.
Melo is probably two or three years away from developing a decent offensive game, but if a team does draft him, they're doing so for his defense.
At 7' with a huge wingspan, Melo will likely be a shot blocking machine at the next level.
If he's still on the board when the Miami Heat are on the clock, I think he would be the perfect fit for them, but I digress.
In addition to his less than polished game, Melo's suspensions should be seen as a concern.
Whether or not Melo will even have the work ethic needed to become a solid NBA center remains to be seen.
Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic
An international point guard with a lot of upside due to his size. The 6'7" point guard ranks 39th according to Draft Express' top 100 prospects.
I'm still not convinced that the photo of him isn't just Zac Efron playing overseas, but we'll roll with it.
Much like the majority of international prospects, Satoransky will be a guy drafted in the second round for a team to have waiting in the wings.
If he pans out, the 6'7" guard will certainly be interesting to watch.
However, we likely won't see him in the NBA for a few years while he polishes his game against international opponents.