2012 NBA Draft: Top 5 NCAA Superstars Likely to Fall Flat in the NBA

Kevin HolzContributor IApril 20, 2012

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels sits dejected in the locker room after they lost 80-67 against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Last year's NBA draft likely contained two, maybe three, future All-Stars.  That’s likely generous.  Dating back to last year’s draft, we have repeatedly heard about how deep this year’s draft would be.

The talent pool is most certainly deeper but, as in any draft, there will be some flops.  These are the most likely candidates:

Harrison Barnes

I hesitated to include him because I’m not even sure many people think of him as a college superstar after his woeful performance in the NCAA tournament.  However, many mock drafts not only having him going in the lottery, but in the top five. 

Barnes is a scorer who can’t create his own shot and even when he does, he misses quite a bit (68 percent of the time in the NCAA tournament in fact).  Another red flag is that his scoring actually went down this season from 17.1 points a game to 15.7. 

Barnes, who is still only 19, is a small forward who can’t create his own shot, score with regularity, and did not record one assist in his last three NCAA tournament games. 

If I were drafting a player in the top five in this deep pool, I would prefer someone with a history of taking over a game late and sealing the deal in a big game.  I’m not saying Barnes is completely incapable of this, but I did not see this last year.

Austin Rivers

Rivers is a sharp shooting guard who shot 66 percent from the free throw line, 36 percent from three, watched his team get bounced by a 15-seed in the first round, and there is little evidence he can play without handling the ball.  Other than that…

Perry Jones III

I believe PJ3 will be a fine rotational player in the NBA.  He’s 6-foot-11 and can finish at the rim.  But it is long thought that he does not have the motor or general skills to play at that height.

One scout has said, "Perry Jones thinks like a point guard, not a big man. That's where his heart is. Embrace that and he's going to be amazing. Fight it and he could be a huge disappointment." 

It is always worrisome when a player is drafted without a set position and Jones is going to be a 6-foot-11 experimental pick.  Jones is a draft bargain if taken low, but a potential bust if taken high.

Kendall Marshall

As has been said before, 2012 may become the year of the point guard: Irving, CP3, Westbrook, Rose (when healthy), Rondo, etc.  With the notable exception of Rondo, that is one potent group of scorers. 

The word on Marshall as that he is neither a terrific athlete nor a scorer and he projects to go much earlier than he usually would due to a weak point-guard class.  Not a thrilling equation.

Tyler Zeller

Zeller is a 7-foot center: jack of all trades, master of none.  He also has injury concerns and is not a known leaper.  When going up against athletic big men like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Tyson Chandler does Zeller even have a chance to be effective?