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2012 NBA Draft: Best and Worst Case Pro Comparisons for the Top Prospects

Bruce ChenAnalyst IMay 25, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: Best and Worst Case Pro Comparisons for the Top Prospects

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    Through every NBA Draft, you find guys who lived up to the hype, were busts, and outperformed their draft stock. 

    And when it comes to predicting who will turn out to be a stud or dud, there is no better way to illustrate this than comparisons to a current NBA player. 

    A best-case scenario comparison to Kevin Garnett tells you this kid has the raw physical tools, and the sky is the limit. 

    A worst-case scenario comparison to Eddy Curry tells you this guy has attitude problems that could manifest into developing bad habits, leading to injuries and weight problems.

    Here are some comparisons for the top prospects in this draft. 

Anthony "The Unibrow" Davis

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    Best Case Scenario: Kevin Garnett

    Worst Case Scenario: DeAndre Jordan (shorter)

    Not a slight to DeAndre, I swear! However, the main knock on Davis is that his game is incredibly unpolished on the offensive side of the ball. 

    His jump shot is very flat, and not his strong suit. His length would definitely help him develop into a nice low-post threat, if he ever bulked up enough to allow it.

    If this doesn't improve, his offensive production as a rookie may be limited to lobs from Kemba Walker in Charlotte.

    That said, he has Garnett-like qualities on the defensive end.

    He shows excellent instincts, an unstoppable motor, and quick leaping ability not common for a man of his height. He will average 10 rebounds and three blocks a game at a minimum.

    I'm optimistic about the Brow. He can handle the ball a bit, and once he bulks up and works on that J, I think he'll be closer to KG than not. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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    Best Case Scenario: A more athletic Paul Pierce

    Worst Case Scenario: Gerald Wallace

    This is a little bit weird, Gerald Wallace isn't that much worse of a player than the Truth, right? 

    I'd say this is more a testament to MKG himself. The guy has a classic "jack of all trades, master of none" skill set infused in an NBA-ready body (6'7", 220) and good athleticism.

    Nothing about MKG is elite, or makes you use superlatives like you did with guys like a LeBron James or Derrick Rose

    But too often, teams fall in love with measurables, athletic ability, and physical tools. For example, Brandan Wright is a guy who had tremendous length and athleticism, but never turned out for the reason that they he just wasn't really a basketball player.

    Kidd-Gilchrist is just a basketball player, period. He has work to do on his jump shot, but other than that, I see a guy who can contribute all over the floor. He has explosion on his way to the rim, he has handles, and has great off-ball ability. 

    And it's never a bad thing when a guy with an NBA body, length, and size projects to be a guy who will work his butt off on D.

    This guy doesn't have the highest ceiling. He also has a low floor, and presents no risk at all. I think if he ever ends up on a championship contender, you could win with him as your second- or third-best guy. 

Thomas Robinson

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    Best Case Scenario: Kevin Garnett/Amare Stoudemire (with defense)

    Worst Case Scenario: Patrick Patterson

    Okay, I hate to use the same player twice. But this is warranted, given that Robinson is 6'9", but has a seven-foot-plus wingspan. He's also got a bit more muscle on him, so his body is further along than the Brow's.

    Like Davis or KG, he finished extremely well around the rim. He's got quick feet for a big guy, is aggressive and welcomes contact. He can be a guy who will shoot 10 to 12 free throws in some games. 

    He's fearless on the glass, and doesn't care if the other guy is taller than him. He loves using his physical ability to try and knock guys around.

    That's also a huge weakness for him.

    In college, guys aren't as developed in the upper body as he, nor are they as athletic. In Robinson's game, a lot of his offensive production is too heavily reliant on his physical tools.

    He can get away with that in college. Guys in the NBA will have none of it. 

    However, like MKG, I don't see too much downside in his game. His success on the offensive side of the ball will depend primarily on how dedicated he is at perfecting his low-post moves and jump shot.

    Relentless rebounding will always translate to the pros. He might not become KG or have Amare's prolific scoring ability at this point, but the 20-10 potential is there.  

Andre Drummond

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    Best Case Scenario: Dwight Howard

    Worst Case Scenario: JaVale McGee with more muscle

    Every draft has the "upside" guy. Drummond fits that bill.

    At 6'11", 270, and an otherworldly array of physical tools, the UConn product has scouts and lottery teams alike salivating at adding a potential franchise big man.

    But this guy is a project. He has maturity issues and if he goes to a place like Charlotte where losing is the culture, he may never develop the drive or intangibles it takes to be a major star at the NBA level.

    He's had limited offensive development, partially due to UConn not using him a lot on the low block. He also had an awful showing in the NCAA tourney, fouling out in 26 minutes while his team lost in the first round.

    He hasn't shown anything to me beyond strength and physical tools. He's never really shown a killer instinct to take the outcome of the game on his shoulders. 

    If we're talking bust candidates, Drummond is the first I'd think of in this draft class.

    If he grows up and commits himself on defense, and really works on developing a hook shot or some spin moves though, watch out.  

Bradley Beal

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    Best Case Scenario: Eric Gordon

    Worst Case Scenario: Marcus Thornton

    This guy reminds me so much of Eric Gordon, it's kind of scary. They are the same size, have the same tantalizing athleticism and, most importantly, the guy's jump shot is silky smooth, just like Gordon's. 

    I have no doubt in my mind that this guy can average 15-20 points right away, especially since he'll be on a lottery team where his offensive skills will be among the best on the team. Plus, the guy's basketball IQ is really high, and he'll pick up tricks to draw fouls in the NBA very quickly.

    The knock on him is obviously his size. Unlike Gordon, he's not known for freakish jumping ability. His struggles in traffic may be attributed to the fact that his inferior competition have let him get away with not facing too many big guys in the lane.

    Beal should work on adding some teardrops to his game, and he will be fine as a scorer. He will work perfectly on a team that moves the ball well and already has a dominate ball-handler—so he can focus on what he does best—shooting. 

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