NBA Draft 2012: Top Players with the Most to Prove

Zack AlspaughContributor IIIMay 29, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Top Players with the Most to Prove

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    With the draft around the corner, young NBA hopefuls find themselves under the microscope more than ever before. With a hysteria of mock drafts and constantly fluctuating evaluations, some players will enter the league with a chip on their shoulder, ready to prove critics, GMs and coaches exactly what they're worth. 

Austin Rivers

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    Son of Celtics head coach, Doc Rivers, enters the draft at a projected 8th overall.

    He's quick, aggressive, and finds ways to score off of the dribble. He certainly has the NBA bloodline. In many ways he reminds me of Rajon Rondo during his rookie season: always looking to penetrate and an up-tempo player with the ability to find the open man when needed.

    At times, however, he can be headstrong and selfish with the ball. Sometimes his body language is poor, and he comes across as self-indulgent—a "prima donna" of sorts.

    He needs to prove to scouts and fans that he has a certain level of maturity and act like an NBA player, not like daddy's little boy.  

Perry Jones

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    Projected to go 9th overall, Perry Jones is one of the draft's natural talents at power forward.

    He is real smooth in every motion, can catch the ball in traffic and is a strong finisher around the rim.

    His main critique is that he is raw. He needs to prove that he's a diamond in the rough and not a project.

    There are also concerns about Jones' physicality. Players bang for boards a lot harder in the NBA than in college and no one wants to be accused of being soft.

    His 6'11 lanky frame isn't necessarily a disadvantage, however.

    Players such as Durant, Garnett, and Bosh all use their length to an advantage. Jones needs to prove he can use his body and won't shy away from contact in the paint. 

Jared Sullinger

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    It feels like Sullinger has been at Ohio State for a full four years because he hit the ground running when he reached college. GMs would love to see him do the same when he's drafted early in the first round.

    Sullinger isn't afraid of contact. He uses his body to his advantage and is a well polished post player.

    However, he is undersized for a typical NBA center, even though that never stopped successful centers like Carlos Boozer.

    A bigger issue is his lateral movement and ability to work off of screens. NBADraft.com's Adam Ganeles describes him as "stuck in glue at times."

    Sullinger needs to prove he can keep pace with NBA centers and shift over to disrupt penetrating guards.

Terrence Jones

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    Kentucky small forward Terrence Jones will have an uphill battle playing the 3 position in a league increasingly obsessed with jump shots and perimeter shooting.

    His strong suits are an absurd wingspan and the ability to snatch up rebounds.

    However, his mid-range shot-put floaters are unorthodox to say the least. He will have to work hard on developing a shot or will forever be awkwardly placed between small and power forward.  

Draymond Green

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    Draymond Green is a strong basketball player in all faucets of the game. He passes well, excels on defense, can score in the paint and gobble up rebounds. He was a team leader and a major component to the Spartans success.

    However, he needs to prove to scouts that he's an NBA player and not just a really good college player.

    No one wants to waste a first round pick on someone who will be a background player at best at the next level. Green needs to find a niche within a team and contribute by any means necessary. 

Jorge Gutierrez

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    Jorge is a versatile point guard with an incredible work ethic and drive.

    He is a work horse. He's the kind of player who refuses to leave anything on the court and thrives on defense—both rare qualities in a top prospect.

    He was Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year this season.

    One major criticism, besides having played in the Pac-12 (an overlooked conference) is his inconsistency to make jumpers.

    Jorge reminds me of a stronger Tony Parker: good vision, loves to drive and a hustler through in through. Everyday he is going to have to fight, scratch and claw to prove he's worthy of a spot on an NBA roster.