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NBA Draft 2012: Likely Lottery Picks with Biggest Boom-or-Bust Potential

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 10:  Austin Rivers #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 10, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 30, 2012

The 2012 NBA draft is still about a month away, but the draft picture will clear up somewhat with Wednesday night's draft lottery.

While the lottery may clear up the top of the draft, there will still be some risky picks in the middle of the lottery, as teams will draft on potential—and as everyone knows, the word potential can mean one of two things: boom or bust.

Several players expected to be drafted among the top 14 picks in this year’s draft definitely fall into that category.

Let's take a look at a few guys that have the biggest boom-or-bust potential in this year’s draft class.

 

Andre Drummond, Connecticut

Drummond's ceiling is as high as anyone in the draft not named Anthony Davis, but he's the classic example of a highly touted prospect that can go either way.

He has a good feel for the game and a solid back-to-the-basket game to go along with very good rebounding and shot-blocking skills, but is Drummond capable of bringing that production out consistently?

During his freshman season, Drummond scored in single digits in 16 of UConn’s 32 games and grabbed five or less rebounds in 13 of them. That has to be concerning.

 

Thomas Robinson, Kansas

There is absolutely nothing about Robinson’s game that I don’t like, especially when it comes to production, as the Kansas product recorded 27 double-doubles on the season.

However Robinson stands at only 6’9”, which could turn into a problem playing the 4 in the NBA.

Personally I don’t think it will, but if there’s a reason that Robinson could struggle in the NBA, it would be that he’s playing against bigger competition on a nightly basis.

 

LAWRENCE, KS - JANUARY 16:  Perry Jones III #1 of the Baylor Bears controls the ball during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on January 16, 2012 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Perry Jones III, Baylor

Jones has the skill set to be one of the top players in the draft, but will be bring that out on a consistent basis?

His numbers (13.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG) at Baylor didn’t suggest a dominant player, but Jones certainly has the ability to be one. It’s just a matter of getting into the right situation and showcasing his consistent ability.

 

Austin Rivers, Duke

Rivers has star power, but he also has a lot of work to do.

He’s a natural scorer, averaging 15.5 points per game during his freshman season at Duke, but there’s no guarantee he turns into a great NBA scorer.

He has the talent to do so, but if Rivers doesn’t learn to play without the ball better and use his teammates more, he could end up struggling in the NBA.

 

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 31:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after the Buckeyes lose to the Kansas Jayhawks 64-62 during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superd
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

I love Sullinger’s post game, but there’s many concerns as well.

He’s a guy that needs to go to the right situation, preferably one with a pretty good center in place already. If he does, Sullinger has a chance to be very good.

If he doesn’t, I have concerns about his athletic ability and the way he will be able to produce against longer and more athletic big men. If that turns out to be a problem, Sullinger won’t come close to averaging the 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds he did in college.

 

John Henson, North Carolina

Henson won’t have a problem athletically, as he’s one of the best pure athletes in the draft.

If he can develop a post game to go along with his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities, then Henson has a chance to be a star.

But he’s raw offensively, and that post game may be harder to develop than some may think. If that’s the case, then Henson might not have much of a chance to be an NBA star.

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