2012 NBA Mock Draft: College Studs Who Won't Live Up to Potential

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IMay 15, 2012

The 2012 NBA draft is a fairly deep class, but there are a lot of college standouts who won't live up to their potential during their rookie season.

We saw it happen in 2011 with Jimmer Fredette and in 2010 with Wesley Johnson, and we'll certainly see it again this time around.

Pay careful attention to those guys whose names are italicized here, as the teams selecting those prospects will have to be very careful in assessing their final decision.

A good draft class goes a long way toward building the future for a needy team.


1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

There isn't a team that needs the top spot more desperately than the Bobcats following a seven-win season, and it doesn't even matter how he might fit into what Charlotte attempts to do moving forward.

A game-changing talent on the defensive end at such a young age, Davis has the potential to blossom into an incredibly special player.


2. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

I've been harping that Kidd-Gilchrist should be the pick here, but Beal could make for an especially intriguing pairing alongside John Wall.

Beal and Wall would give the Wizards a dynamic backcourt and allow Jordan Crawford to shift back to a sixth-man role, a move that would benefit Washington's depth.


3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

Kidd-Gilchrist is a phenomenal player in transition, and there is no doubt that the Cavs could sorely use help on the wing after struggling to get consistent production from the small forward position this season.

He's not afraid to attack the basket against anyone and would add to Cleveland's solid youthful core.


4. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas

Although Robinson doesn't have the size that some teams would like to see, he plays with an intensity unlike many of his fellow peers in the upcoming draft class.

With the Hornets needing a young big man who the team can build around into the future, Robinson's ability to find success beneath the basket would work well in New Orleans.


5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, PF/C, UConn

Although Drummond was not a stud based off of his production, scouts drool over his potential and some think he'll be able to make a huge impact in the NBA.

Maybe he will, but it's certainly no slam dunk.

Drummond isn't going to just walk into the league and find success immediately after struggling to produce in college, and it's definitely possible he'll never live up to his massive potential.


6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Nets): Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

The Trail Blazers will search for a point guard of the future in the upcoming draft, and if Lillard lands in their lap, this should be a rather easy choice.

Despite the fact that he'll need to improve his decision-making and the ability to set up his teammates, Lillard is someone who could very quickly turn heads at the next level.


7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC

For some reason, Barnes continues to draw (unfair) comparisons to players who had proven success in the NBA despite not seeing the UNC product play a single game in the league.

We saw questionable stretches of play from him too regularly at UNC, and he can't be prone to lapses at either end of the floor in the league.

If he's not utilized properly, Barnes could really struggle to transition.


8. Toronto Raptors: Kendall Marshall, PG, UNC

Although Calderon is still playing very well, the Raptors need to start grooming a point guard of the future considering Jerryd Bayless is not the answer.

Marshall has excellent court vision and knows how to find his teammates when they're open in the right spots, but he'll have to polish his ability to score unless he wants the defense to consistently sag off of him on the perimeter.


9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF, UNC

I've been all about Henson going to the Pistons for a long time, and he would really give Greg Monroe a nice frontcourt mate to run with next season.

Henson has the ability to rebound and block shots, but he'll need to add serious strength and improve his offensive game in order to find sustainable success sooner rather than later.


10. New Orleans Hornets (via Timberwolves): Perry Jones III, F, Baylor

There is a ton to love about the talent level of Jones, but it's the other concerns which prevent his draft stock from soaring any higher.

He's got a ton of potential, but he looked like he was uninterested at times on the floor during his tenure at Baylor.

If he doesn't land in the right situation, Jones is really going to struggle to live up to his talent.


11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller, C, UNC

Zeller has very obvious size, but he needs to add strength and be more aggressive beneath the basket if he's going to survive against bigger opposition.

It's very possible that opposing big men he'll go up against will present him with problems right away, but the Blazers are going to need to target size in the draft to prepare for the future.


12. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State

Sullinger was a double-double threat consistently during his time at Ohio State, but how will he fare when going against guys who are much more athletic?

He's defensively challenged, lacks explosiveness and isn't a shot-blocker around the basket.

In Milwaukee, Sullinger could really struggle against opposing big men in the Eastern Conference.


13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke

Rivers didn't thrive as some expected him to do at Duke, but that was a product of him being used more off the ball than he should have been.

In Phoenix, Rivers could get an opportunity to play with the ball more frequently and serve as a scorer, a role he could really thrive in if a member of the second unit.


14. Houston Rockets: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

Jones is a really intriguing prospect who has an incredibly versatile game, but he got lost in Kentucky's loaded offense this season.

For the Rockets, Jones would add a very skilled player on the wing, an area where the club will certainly need help before next year begins.


15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

Jodie Meeks has flirted with the back-up shooting guard role for the Sixers, but he's just not a long-term answer for the team.

Ross is a solid shooter from deep with the ability to contribute right away, and he's a pick that would make this team even deeper.


16. Houston Rockets (via Knicks): Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

Moultrie deserves consideration to go inside the lottery, but he's going to have a tough time being ticketed as a top-14 pick.

Regardless, Moultrie has the skills to make an impact a lot sooner than many might imagine, and he could wind up being one of the best value picks of the draft in 2012.


17. Dallas Mavericks: Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

Dallas needs to find help in the backcourt regardless of the Deron Williams situation, and Waiters would be a real nice pick this late in the first round.

He's got a nice touch on the offensive end of the floor, but he'll need to assert himself at one of the guard positions in order to see consistent minutes.


18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Jazz): Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn

Can we stop the charade of having a point guard playing shooting guard for the Timberwolves? It's about time that happened.

Lamb may not be the player that some are making him out to be, but he will be able to step in and play minutes right away during his rookie season.

He needs to add strength to defend bigger players at his position, but Lamb should be able to find a solid role before long.


19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

It's hard to see the allure with Leonard beyond the obvious (his length), as he just doesn't look like someone who is going to fare all that well against stronger players in the low post.

If he can't defend beneath the basket, this big man is going to need a lot of development time in practice before he sniffs minutes in the league.


20. Denver Nuggets: Tony Wroten, G, Washington

One of the knocks on Wroten is that he's incredibly young, but this guy would have been a guaranteed lottery pick in 2013 had he returned to Washington for the upcoming season.

There is a lot to like about what Wroten brings to the table, but his development will be highly dependent on where he ultimately lands.


21. Boston Celtics: Royce White, SF, Iowa State

Based on talent alone, White is an absolute steal after 20 guys have already been plucked off the board.

However, there are concerns about anxiety-related issues, and that's causing him to slide down the board for teams unwilling to take a gamble.


22. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

The Celtics must improve in the big man department during the offseason, and adding Nicholson would be a solid step in the right direction.

After improving every season during his time in college, Nicholson could flourish if guided under the proper veteran leadership.


23. Atlanta Hawks: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's

Harkless is young, so there is uncertainty with how he may develop, but that can be said about a lot of prospects at this stage of the draft.

Considering how sorely the Hawks need to get some help at small forward, Harkless makes plenty of sense for Atlanta.


24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

The Omri Casspi trade didn't exactly work out as the Cavs had expected. It would not surprise me to see the team target help at small forward in the draft.

Although Cleveland will look to re-sign restricted free agent Alonzo Gee, adding Miller would help the second unit and reduce the need to utilize Luke Walton in any capacity.


25. Memphis Grizzlies: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

Although it's not a secret that the Grizzlies need to find help behind Marc Gasol, the team continues to largely ignore a very legitimate need.

If Melo falls to Memphis this late, it's a gamble worth taking.

There are certainly concerns about how raw he is, but if the Grizzlies can develop him properly, this will be a ridiculous steal.


26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

Teague needs to find a home where the team needs a point guard, and depending on Indiana's offseason plans, this pick would make a lot of sense.

I refuse to give up on the idea of Steve Nash giving up on the Pacers, and he would be an insanely good mentor for Teague to reach new heights as a player.


27. Miami Heat: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Taylor is incredibly athletic, but as we've seen previously, athleticism can often be overrated when considering how a college player will transition to the league.

With constant health concerns troubling Mike Miller and Shane Battier not getting any younger, adding Taylor to learn under two veterans would be a good move for Miami's future.


28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Evan Fournier, SG, France

Fournier isn't getting a ton of love in a lot of draft circles because he's an international prospect, but he's someone who could really help right away.

Despite Oklahoma City not needing much help on an already very deep team, Fournier would add even more depth at shooting guard, potentially allowing James Harden to play more point guard with the second unit.


29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

Lamb should have stayed in school beyond this season, but it shouldn't prevent him from becoming a first-round selection.

There is no doubt that Chicago is going to need help at shooting guard after the season, and Lamb could ultimately fit nicely behind Rip Hamilton in that role.


30. Golden State Warriors (via Spurs): Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State

Golden State has a lot of decisions to make about the future of the franchise, but adding Green is a logical move if the team is really looking for help on the wing.

Green is going to work hard for whatever team nabs him off the board, but he could quickly struggle on the defensive end against those who are bigger and stronger than he is right now.


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