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NBA Draft 2012: 10 Projected First-Round Picks Destined to Slide on Draft Day

Haddon AndersonAnalyst IMay 9, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 10 Projected First-Round Picks Destined to Slide on Draft Day

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    Draft day is always full of surprises. Certain players leap up the draft board while other players find their name sliding past where they thought they'd be taken.

    This year will be no different. 

    There are a handful of players who fall in the "questionable" category. Certain players come with concerns, and this could lead to them falling from where they're currently projected.

    Here's a rundown of current projected first-round picks who are destined to slide on draft day.

Doron Lamb, Kentucky

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 29 pick 

    Doron Lamb was an integral member of the Kentucky Wildcats National championship team, but he's a bit undersized and needs to add some strength.

    These concerns will likely make him fall into the second round. It likely won't be a drastic fall for Lamb, but it will at least make some wonder if he should've returned to Kentucky for another season.

Draymond Green, Michigan State

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 27 pick

    There is a lot to like about Draymond Green. He can score, rebound and even distribute—all of these talents were exclaimed at the collegiate level.

    The question is how these talents will translate in the NBA. The cause for concern is he's a bit of a "tweener." He's likely too small (6'6'', 235 pounds) to play in the post and lacks the quickness to play on the wing.

    Because of this, it wouldn't be shocking to see Green slide into the second round.

Royce White, Iowa State

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 22 pick

    Royce White's game is similar to Green's, except White has more size (6'8'', 240 pounds) and athleticism. 

    If White fulfills his potential, he has a scary ceiling because of his size and ability to handle the rock.

    The downside? He has an anxiety disorder and an apparent fear of flying, which are inevitable concerns.

    No matter what, selecting White is a bit of a gamble, and because of this, he'll very likely slide to the very late first or early second round.

Fab Melo, Syracuse

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 21 pick

    Fab Melo has the prototypical body for an NBA center. Because of this, he's surely on the radars of NBA teams.

    But Melo is incredibly raw and possesses a very low basketball IQ. These are concerns that are very tough to fix, and there's a good chance these worries will scare teams away.

    The bottom line is that Melo could very easily become a DeSagana Diop-type center—the perfect body but lack of fundamental skills.

    Don't be shocked if Melo falls out of the first round.

Austin Rivers, Duke

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 14 pick

    Austin Rivers's game is mature in a lot of ways. He's an elusive penetrator and is capable of taking over games with his scoring. 

    But he hasn't proven a great deal defensively, and there are concerns regarding his shot selection. In the NBA, he could simply translate into a quality scoring weapon off the bench rather than a player to build around.

    Because of this, there's a good chance he falls from No. 14 and lands around the No. 20 pick, perhaps with (his father) Doc Rivers's Boston Celtics.

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 12 pick

    Jared Sullinger was a force in the low post at the college level, but there are a bevy of concerns regarding his game at the next level.

    Sullinger lacks elite athletic ability and there's reason to wonder if he'll become like Sean May, the former dominant North Carolina big man who didn't last very long in the NBA.

    Sullinger's lack of athleticism was even exposed in this year's NCAA tournament, when he looked inept compared to Kansas forward Thomas Robinson.

    For reasons such as these, don't be surprised if Sullinger falls out of the lottery and into the mid-to-late first round.

Tyler Zeller, North Carolina

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    ESPN Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 11 pick

    Zeller has a likable game, and his skills are honed across the board. 

    But he doesn't look like a budding star. He looks more like a guaranteed serviceable to above-average big man.

    Overall, he's a safe pick, but teams may want to gamble and select someone with more upside, such as Arnett Moultrie or Meyers Leonard.

John Henson, North Carolina

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 9 pick

    John Henson has the length and athletic ability to be selected in the Top 10, but there's still much missing from his game, particularly muscle.

    He could be nabbed in the Top 10, but it's likely that teams will shy away because of the lingering questions surrounding his potential.

    Plus, some other North Carolina big men have yet to sniff the surface of their potential—Marvin Williams, Brandan Wright, Ed Davis and even Tyler Hansbrough.

Perry Jones III, Baylor

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 7 pick

    Perry Jones III's ceiling is off the charts. He has the body (6'11'', 235 pounds) and talent to become dominant.

    What's more, he can potentially play the 3, which would surely generate matchup problems for opponents.

    But Jones III hasn't dominated at the college level and can, at times, be passive. Therefore, he's almost surely not a Kevin Durant in the making and will likely trickle a few spots down the draft board. 

Andre Drummond, Connecticut

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    ESPN's Chad Ford's Current Projection: No. 5 pick

    Andre Drummond is another center who has the ideal body for the NBA, but he didn't show substantial production as a freshman at Connecticut.

    Because of this and the fact that teams with top picks may not be in search for a center, it wouldn't be shocking to see Drummond fall to closer to the No. 10 pick.

    He won't fall far because of his upside, but he simply may not be worth a Top Five selection.

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