NBA Draft 2012: Debunking NBA Draft Smokescreens

Garrett JochnauCorrespondent IIMay 4, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Debunking NBA Draft Smokescreens

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    The 2012 playoffs are officially underway, which draws us closer to draft day. While the lottery order is yet to be announced, mock drafts and previous standings give us a fairly good idea of where each player will fall.

    While many of these mocks are created through consulting with NBA executives, not all of the players will be selected at their projected pick.

    Here's a list of those overrated players who will be taken lower than expected.

Damian Lillard

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    If you aren't a devoted NCAA fan, the name Damian Lillard may seem out of place in a list surrounded by names like Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones.

    However, the young guard out of Weber State is ranked as one of the top draft picks in this year's class. NBADraft.net currently has Lillard being picked tenth by the New Orleans Hornets.

    However, the odds of Lillard's name being announced that high on draft night are slim-to-none. While at first look, his stat line may appear impressive, once you delve deeper, you'll notice how little there is to be impressed by. 

    Weber State is a small school in a small conference. This does not allow players like Lillard to face competition that other stars—Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, etc.—do on a nightly basis. His 24.5 points per game are a result of the simple schedule, which can be proved when looking into competitive games.

    In his schedule, only two opponents finished with record high enough to earn them a spot in March's tournament—BYU and California. In those games, Lillard shot a combined 9-for-29, averaging just 14.5 points between the two.

    While Lillard may possess raw talent, his lack of experience against competitive opponents will cause teams to stay clear of him on draft night.

Arnett Moultrie

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    Arnett Moultrie, a 6'10'' power forward from Mississippi State, is another player whose name is a little too high up on the draft board. 

    Currently, NBAdraft.net has Moultrie as the ninth overall pick, which is too high for someone with limited abilities. Moultrie is a very two-sided player, whose bad side brings with it some very negative aspects.

    Like Lillard, Moultrie has failed to produce in big games. In games against competitive opponents, he failed to showcase the range of his talents, giving only a mediocre performance on certain nights.

    Against 18th-seeded Texas A&M, he scored only eight points on .250 shooting.

    Against Baylor, the seventh seed, he scored eight points on a mere .375 field goal average.

    Against the top-seeded Kentucky Wildcats, Moultrie scored only 13 points, and against the 13th-seeded Florida Gators, he scored only 12.

    He feasted on weak opponents, using those games as building blocks to formulate a stat line impressive enough to land him a top spot in the draft. However, teams will realize that he disappears in competitive games, which will steer them away from him during the top 10 selections.

Bradley Beal

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    Beal is one of the best players entering the draft, make no mistake of that. However, Chad Ford holds him to a standard that he in no way can live up to.

    Ford's analysis of him is "Ray Allen meets Eric Gordon" which is overrating Beal to a very high extent. Though he is a deadly shooter, his offensive game is very limited. In the pros, a strong perimeter defender could easily shut Beal down, as he does not have the ball-handling skills nor the driving skills to be a major threat in the paint.

    He also is a "catch-and-shoot" player and struggles heavily to create his own shots. 

    Beal will undoubtedly be a top 10 draft pick—probably top five—however, seeing him placed above Thomas Robinson and Harrison Barnes is overselling his stock.

Tyler Zeller

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    On Chad Ford's big board, Tyler Zeller finds himself predicted to be the 10th overall pick. Zeller was a fantastic college player, however his basketball dominance will end in UNC. The transition into the pros will be harder on Zeller than anyone else in the 2012 class, and teams will recognize that.

    Zeller is not a very assertive player. His lack of strength and toughness is a major liability on both the offensive and defensive end. Against bigger opponents, Zeller finds himself being pushed around while crashing the boards.

    While he may have been able to survive with this weakness in college, his weak physique will cause him to struggle in the NBA. With stronger, bigger and better opponents, Zeller will find himself being pushed around down low very often.

    Teams will pass on Zeller on draft night for his lack of toughness, and it would be very surprising to see him stick around in the league for more than a few years.

Thomas Robinson

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    Robinson is almost the complete opposite of Zeller. While Zeller lacked the athleticism to be an efficient pro, Robinson relies on that entirely.

    His offensive game is a bit raw, and his talent alone does not stand out. While Robinson is very athletic, the other aspects of his game are too unpolished to consider him a threat.

    In college, strong power forwards were able to shut him down down low, and in the NBA, these matchups will be common every game.

    Robinson may be able to become a good player one day, but his draft stock is definitely hurt by his reliance on athleticism.