NBA Draft 2012: 7 Players Who Are Sure-Fire Stars
Two things are certain in the summer: People will run to air conditioning quicker than Bieber in a girl-scout encampment, and the NBA draft will be chock-full of busts. However, a select few will skyrocket to stardom.
From top-five no-brainers to late-round diamonds in the rough, 2012's rendition of the NBA draft is crammed with household names.
On June 28, futures will be dictated, and franchises will be transformed for better or worse.
Out of the 30 first-round selections, the following seven will stand out amongst the crowd before their careers reach the finish line.
7. Draymond Green (SF, Michigan St.)
One word perfectly describes Draymond Green: "Intangibles."
Green is an on-court general whose biggest asset is his basketball IQ.
A jack of all trades, "The Dancing Bear" boasts a motor that never runs out of gas and consistently showcased a form of Spartan leadership that would earn the applause of Leonidas, himself.
His situational awareness also reflects that of a polished veteran.
Green has the build of a small forward, but plays with the mentality of a versatile 6'6" power forward.
Alongside his intangibles, Draymond Green will provide a team with an extra rebounder that's capable of stepping out and knocking down jumpers from the elbow.
He won't be snagged off of the board quickly, but he could potentially have the longest NBA career amongst his 2012 cohorts.
6. Kendall Marshall (PG, North Carolina)
When looking at the 2011-2012 North Carolina Tarheels roster at the beginning of the season, most casual basketball fans knew the preeminent names: Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, Dexter Strickland and the coveted freshman James Michael McAdoo.
However, the name "Kendall Marshall" rarely resonated with people outside of Chapel Hill.
Of course, if an outsider's only exposure to the young point guard derived from SportsCenter highlights, one couldn't blame them for raising eyebrows when his name infiltrated conversations.
Fans flipped their calendars to March, and by the end of the month, everybody understood how pivotal Marshall's role was pertaining to a well-oiled TarHeel's offense.
In an era where scoring point guards have become prevalent, Marshall offers a refreshing pass-first mentality.
He's a creative facilitator that demonstrated an improved perimeter shot throughout the season which demanded respect.
When he jumps to the NBA, he may not conclude an abundance of top-10 highlights, but he'll initiate them.
5. Royce White (F, Iowa St.)
If mid-first-round mock projections are correct, Royce White could be the most valuable pick of the draft.
With the exclusion of free throws, there's nothing that the Iowa State Cyclones star can't do.
He's a 6'8" power forward that demonstrates a nimble handling of the ball on the break, a ravenous rebounding attitude, crafty postgame footwork and impressive range that spaces the floor.
Although he was surrounded by inferior talent, White still managed to average nine rebounds, five assists, one block, one steal and 13 points per game.
4. Austin Rivers (SG, Duke)
Although the consensus amongst insiders may claim that Austin Rivers prematurely declared for the draft, he will eventually become a household name.
Considering his father is Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Austin undoubtedly understands the intricacies of the game.
He's a playmaking shooting guard who has a knack for driving and finishing at the rim.
Much like Stephen Curry, he negates his lack of ideal size for a two-guard with explosiveness that allows him to create his own shot.
Rivers exudes confidence and showcased that his DNA unquestionably contains the clutch gene throughout the season.
If the freshman slides in the middle of the first round, he'll be a steal for playoff contender.
3. Bradley Beal (SG, Florida)
Bradley Beal should be the first shooting guard plucked from the 2012 draft board.
However, his stats can be deceiving.
Although he only shot 34 percent from three-point land, Beal's stroke from behind the arc is buttery smooth and was renowned for it in high school.
He won't be mistaken for the second-coming of Vince Carter, but his ability to drive and finish will be sufficient for NBA standards.
Besides his three-point shooting, the most distinguishable trait he displays is his uncanny ability to rebound for somebody of his stature—he averaged 6.7 rebounds per game at Florida.
For his respective position, Beal is the safest pick come June.
2. Thomas Robinson (PF, Kansas)
Thomas Robinson is the textbook definition of "tough."
He wasn't a highly touted McDonald's All-American and faced unthinkable adversity in the wake of a well-documented family tragedy during his sophomore season.
However, the afflicted hardship lit an internal fire doused by diesel fuel, and Robinson evolved into the personification of a Mack truck on the hardcourt.
The first unanimous AP All-American since Blake Griffin, the intimidating power forward led an unusually thin Kansas roster to a national championship appearance.
He averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game which ultimately led to a NCAA-leading 27 double-doubles.
Although he's revered for his inside presence, Robinson also shot 7-14 from beyond the arc.
There's no "quit" in Robinson's blood, and his acquired work ethic won't allow him to fail in the NBA.
He's a top-five pick that is destined to become a perennial All-Star.
1. Anthony Davis (PF, Kentucky)
Larry Brown is on record as saying that the team which drafts Anthony Davis will be capable of winning 50 games next season.
Brown may be certifiably senile, but his underlying point is well-taken.
Anthony Davis is a game-changer that will make an immediate impact in the league and his potential is unparalleled by any rookie in recent memory.
Remember, he played the majority of his high school career as a guard before enduring a freakish growth spurt of seven inches in one year.
Now, at 6'10", he still possesses attributes of a guard with an intimidating inside presence.
His offensive postgame will assuredly improve as he becomes more accustomed to his lengthy frame, but his unrivaled shot-blocking already separates him from his peers.
Davis' team may not win 50 games in the 2012-2013 season, but he's the definitive big-man building block that could enable a franchise to become championship contenders down the road.