NBA Mock Draft 2012: Breaking Down Prospects Who Will Struggle to Transition
The 2012 NBA draft is right around the corner, and many prime prospects are preparing themselves to play basketball professionally. However, many of these players will not be ready and will struggle to make the transition to the NBA game.
Despite their success in college, some players simply aren't made for the NBA or are not ready for it when they declare themselves eligible for the draft. It is always difficult to tell whether or not a player can make that transition, but there are certain warning signs that will give it away.
This mock draft of the first round includes a breakdown of which prospects will struggle to be truly ready to make an impact in the NBA.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 4.7 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'10", 220 pounds
No struggling to fit in here. Anthony Davis may struggle at first to find his pro game offensively, but he'll be right at home from the very beginning on defense. Davis will be an impact player from the start.
2. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists
Height/Weight: 6'7", 232 pounds
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a player that will struggle to transition into the NBA. Despite his ridiculous athleticism and defensive ability, Kidd-Gilchrist has the potential to be an offensive liability when he first starts out in the league.
His lack of a perimeter shot will allow opponents to play off of him and guard against the drive. In college, he could simply use his athleticism to bull his way to the hoop. That doesn't work as well in the NBA.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists
Height/Weight: 6'3", 207 pounds
Bradley Beal will have no trouble transitioning to the professional game. He's a good outside shooter and can also create his own shot. He'll be just another weapon to help Kyrie Irving make Cleveland a winner again.
4. New Orleans Hornets: Thomas Robinson, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists
Height/Weight: 6'10", 237 pounds
Thomas Robinson was a workhorse for the Kansas Jawhawks this past season, carrying them to a national championship appearance.
He will struggle at first in the pros, but it won't be any more than the normal young big man. Once he is acclimated, he'll be a great post player for the Hornets.
5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'10", 270 pounds
Like many talented young big men when they first enter the league, Andre Drummond will struggle. While he does have the legitimate size and length for a center in the NBA, he's still very raw and lacks the post skills necessary to be an immediate difference-maker.
He'll catch on defensively eventually, though, and he'll still make an impressive frontcourt tandem when paired with DeMarcus Cousins.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Harrison Barnes, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists
Height/Weight: 6'8", 215 pounds
Harrison Barnes may not be going as high as we thought he would six months ago, but he's still one of the best players in this draft.
The Trail Blazers need someone like Barnes who can stretch the floor for Raymond Felton, LaMarcus Aldridge and J.J. Hickson. The former North Carolina forward can step into that role immediately.
7. Golden State Warriors: Perry Jones III, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 pounds
Perry Jones III is one of the most talented players in this draft. However, he will struggle to come into his own in the NBA for a couple of reasons.
While there have been questions about how hard he plays and his inconsistency, the biggest concern will be his position. Jones is the size of a power forward, but he has more of the skills of a small forward. Tweeners like Jones can be problems in the pros.
8. Toronto Raptors: Terrence Jones SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 6'9", 252 pounds
Terrence Jones is another combo forward coming out of school after his sophomore season. Unlike the man who preceded him in this mock draft, this Jones is much more ready to play at the next level. His ability to bang inside and be tough is what makes him different.
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.9 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'11", 220 pounds
John Henson is big, athletic and long, which is exactly what the Detroit Pistons need down low alongside Greg Monroe. Henson might be a bit of a reach this high, but he'll be ready to play immediately in the NBA thanks to his athleticism.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Kendall Marshall, PG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 9.7 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 pounds
Kendall Marshall is the surest bet as far as point guards go in this draft. He has great size for the position and is a very good passer. He also proved that he could lead a team. He'll be a starting point guard by the halfway point of next season at the latest.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Tyler Zeller, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks
Height/Weight: 7'0", 250 pounds
A legit seven-footer, Tyler Zeller has a soft touch and runs the floor very well. He'll be ready to help his team immediately, especially if that team is the Blazers.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Sullinger, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Height/Weight: 6'9", 265 pounds
Despite having ideal size for his position at the NBA level, Jared Sullinger is another player who will struggle with the transition to the pros.
While he is a very skilled big man, Sullinger lacks the athleticism that he'll need to be immediately effective. He'll be a good player, but not right away.
13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 pounds
Austin Rivers is not a complete enough player to be a great player immediately at the next level. He'll score, but his game needs some rounding out in order to achieve its full potential.
Rivers needs to develop his left hand better, learn more discipline on defense and improve his shot selection. His questionable athleticism and jumping ability will also be things he'll need to overcome.
14.Houston Rockets: Jeremy Lamb, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Height/Weight: 6'5", 180 pounds
Jeremy Lamb is a very athletic shooting guard who will provide an instant boost to whoever nabs him in this draft. He has the potential of a top-five draft pick with his length and athleticism.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Ross, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Height/Weight: 6'6", 190 pounds
Terrence Ross is a very good all-around player. He plays good defense, is athletic and is a very good long-range shooter. His athleticism and defense will make him at home in the NBA, and his shooting ability will answer a need for a team like Philadelphia.
16. Houston Rockets: Arnett Moultrie, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists
Height/Weight: 6'11", 230 pounds
Arnett Moultrie is one of the most ready prospects in this draft. His athletic ability and rebounding prowess are making teams drool over him. His true value may lie closer to the top 10.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Meyers Leonard, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists
Height/Weight: 7'1", 245 pounds
Meyers Leonard isn't as ready as other players in this draft, but he does have the potential to make an immediate impact for whichever team drafts him. He's big and talented, despite being a bit raw.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tony Wroten PG/SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists
Height/Weight: 6'5", 205 pounds
Tony Wroten will have immediate success in the NBA for a few reasons. He has great size for the point guard and shooting guard positions. He is also extremely athletic and very good at getting his own shot. Those are attributes that make him ready to play now.
19. Orlando Magic: Dion Waiters, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 12.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 pounds
Dion Waiters is against the grain for the Orlando Magic. On a team with guards who all shoot the three, Waiters would be a guy who could get to the rim and create his own shot. In a situation like that, he could contribute immediately.
There are others that would not benefit him as well. His success will depend on who drafts him.
20. Denver Nuggets: Quincy Miller, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Height/Weight: 6'9", 210 pounds
Quincy Miller will struggle at first in the NBA simply because he isn't ready yet to make the jump. He's a very good young player, but he would have benefited majorly from another year in school. He needs to get stronger and learn to not rely so much on jump shots.
He has star potential, but this early exit may stunt his growth.
21. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo, C
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks
Height/Weight: 7'0", 255 pounds
Fab Melo is extremely athletic and has the size to be a force in the NBA. He's pretty raw, but going later in the draft to a better team will allow him to grow slowly and learn. Being drafted by the Celtics would be ideal for both him and Boston.
22. Boston Celtics: Royce White, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists
Height/Weight: 6'8", 270 pounds
Royce White might be one of the most talented players in the draft. However, he will struggle to transition to the NBA game. Unlike most players, the reasons will mostly be off the court.
White suffers from an anxiety disorder and is specifically afraid of flying. While he was still able to perform well at Iowa State in spite of these fears, he will be tested further in the NBA when he has to fly three or four times per week during certain stretches. He'll get there eventually, but it will take him time to overcome this personal obstacle.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Damian Lillard, PG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 24.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 pounds
Damian Lillard will struggle at the point guard position in the NBA at first. While he put up very impressive numbers at Weber State during his senior year, Lillard does have a few question marks surrounding his game.
His court vision and the lack of elite competition he played in college are factors. He will have difficulty adjusting to the speed and athleticism he'll face in the pros.
24. Moe Harkless, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 15.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists
Height/Weight: 6'8", 208 pounds
Moe Harkless is young but shows a maturity beyond his years that will help him play well immediately in the NBA. He's not a star, but he has the potential to be a starter on a playoff team.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Jeff Taylor, SF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists
Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 pounds
Jeff Taylor won't be a star in the NBA, but he'll be ready to play the role that will be asked of him. He's incredibly athletic and a great defender who can get to the rim and has shown much improvement in his shooting. He'll be a role player at first but may be more as he grows.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 10.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists
Height/Weight: 6'2", 178 pounds
Marquis Teague is the player from this current Kentucky championship team that will struggle the most at the next level. He's incredibly quick and get can to the rim, but he plays out of control at times and lacks the perimeter shot necessary to keep teams from staying back off of him.
27. Miami Heat: Draymond Green, SF/PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists
Height/Weight: 6'7", 230 pounds
Draymond Green is a high character player who does a bit of everything for his team. That's exactly why he'll be able to contribute immediately in the NBA.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Evan Fournier, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists (France)
Height/Weight: 6'6", 200 pounds
Evan Fournier will not be ready to play in the NBA for a few years. He must develop more strength and isn't quick enough laterally to defend as well as one would like. He'll get picked in the first round, but he won't come play in the U.S. for a few years.
29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, SG
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 13.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists
Height/Weight: 6'4", 195 pounds
Doron Lamb could be the biggest steal in this draft. He's a great scorer off the perimeter and also an excellent three-point shooter. He could be good on any team, but the perfect fit would be with Derrick Rose in Chicago.
30. Golden State Warriors: Andrew Nicholson, PF
2011-12 Stats Per Game: 20.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks
Height/Weight: 6'9", 220 pounds
Andrew Nicholson will be an immediate impact player at the next level. He plays tremendously hard, has a decent offensive game and can defend very well. Look for him to be turning heads early in his career.