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NBA Draft 2012: Ranking Potential Draft-Day Steals with Biggest Red Flags

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 31:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after the Buckeyes lose to the Kansas Jayhawks 64-62 during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on March 31, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 9, 2012

When the NBA draft rolls around in June, there will be plenty of players that will fall lower than their talent suggests that they should.

For one reason or another, red flags fly up when future NBA performance is discussed.

Here's a look at some of those guys with red flags that are potential first-round picks. You can take a look at where they are each projected by checking out my latest mock draft.

For now, though, let's take a look at some of the players with red flags and how they rank as draft-day steals.

 

6. Fab Melo, Syracuse

Melo is very raw as an offensive player, which should drop him to the lower half of the first round.

While that is true, he's got a good feel for the game and a nice touch around the rim, shooting 61 percent from the floor as a freshman and 57 percent this season. He is also a very aggressive shot-blocker, knocking away 2.9 shots per game.

It may take a year or two for Melo to reach his potential, but going late in the draft, he could become a steal down the road.

 

5. Meyers Leonard, Illinois

Leonard could go anywhere from the middle to the late first round, but he has the overall skill set to go much higher.

He will need to add some muscle, but he has size and athleticism. Leonard is a guy that can back an opponent down as well as face up and put the ball on the floor.

He's another case where he may take a year or two to reach his potential, but he could become very good before long.

 

4. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

There are plenty of red flags surrounding Sullinger's lack of athleticism and his inability to have success against longer and more athletic defenders.

I don't necessarily buy that, though, as Sullinger has as good a post game as anyone in the draft. He may not average the 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds he did this season, but he will be productive nonetheless.

He's likely to be selected between No. 10 and 15 in the draft, and at that point, could turn out to be a steal.

 

3. Andre Drummond, Connecticut

Drummond won't necessarily be considered a steal, given the fact that he's a likely top-five pick, but he comes with a ton of red flags, especially when it comes to production.

He didn't have a big freshman season at UConn, and consistent production is a big question mark, but before Anthony Davis took off, many were considering Drummond as the potential No. 1 pick in the draft.

He's got a good feel for the game and a solid post game. But Drummond has plenty of work to do, especially from the free-throw line, where he shot under 30 percent.

Down the road, he could ultimately produce like a No. 1 pick, which would make him a bit of a steal if he were drafted at No. 5 or No. 6.

 

2. Royce White, Iowa State

White has some off-court issues that include an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying, which will end up seeing him slip in the draft, but this guy is a complete player and will be a very good pro.

He averaged 13.1 points per game, while shooting .534 from the floor and .333 from behind the arc. White is also a good rebounder (9.3 RPG) and facilitator, averaging 5.1 assists.

He's very talented, and whoever rolls the dice on him will end up with a steal.

 

1. Perry Jones III, Baylor

Jones has the talent of a top-three pick and could go anywhere between No. 7 and the end of the lottery.

His skill set is rare, as he runs like a deer and can jump through the gym, but his production at Baylor was never dominant, only averaging 13.5 PPG and 7.9 RPG.

But if he reaches his potential and can bring consistent production, Jones could turn into the steal of the draft.

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