NBA Draft 2012: 10 Major Conference Players Who Will Help Immediately
The 2012 NBA Draft is loaded from top to bottom with talent. A large number of those players are from major conference schools.
The Kentucky Wildcats are likely to send six players to the draft alone.
Along with the National Champion Wildcats, the North Carolina Tar Heels will send several players to the draft as well.
These teams play elite competition, preparing their players for the next level.
Here are 10 players from major conferences who will immediately help their new NBA teams.
10. Tyler Zeller, North Carolina (PF/C)
At 6'11" and 240 pounds, you have to love Tyler Zeller's game.
He can run the floor, which is always an added bonus at the center position.
He has great touch around the rim, is extremely polished and is fundamentally sound. Zeller shoots well from the free throw stripe—right around 75 percent.
At times he also showed the ability to hit the mid-range jumper, which is invaluable at the next level. He had a solid season in averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 boards per game.
What is intriguing about Zeller is his versatility—he can be a nice pick and pop option, or be a low-post threat. He has a lethal right hook that is near impossible to stop.
Any team that drafts Zeller will get a big man who can play big minutes. Zeller has the potential to be a difference maker.
9. Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (PG)
Marshall was the heart and soul of the North Carolina Tar Heels last season.
When he went down with a wrist injury in the postseason, Roy Williams and company saw their title hopes dwindle.
Marshall is just that good.
At 6'4" and nearly 200 pounds, he is a beast of a point guard. He also has great vision.
He possesses every quality you want out of a point guard: he is unselfish, makes everyone better and can penetrate the basket.
He may not "wow" you with his jump shot, but it improved drastically down the stretch of last season. It is also that is something that can improve over time.
Bottom line, he is the best point guard in the draft. He will make any team better without a doubt.
8. Austin Rivers, Duke (SG)
Austin Rivers has the talent to make an immediate offensive impact for any NBA team. At 6'4", he has solid size.
He also possesses a 6'7" wing span.
He is very quick and has proved to be an explosive scorer when his jumper is falling through the hoop.
His shot is a bit streaky, but what I like about him is his willingness to take the big shot. Note his game-winner at North Carolina.
His first step is absolutely lethal, and he will be a threat right away scoring the ball.
With having a head coach as a father, Doc Rivers, you know that the younger Rivers has had an outstanding understanding of the game since day one.
He will be easy to coach, and, when he takes pride in his defense, he will be a threat on that side of the game as well.
Every NBA team needs a shooting guard that can fill it up, and Rivers can give them that.
7. Jeremy Lamb, UConn (SG)
One word describes this player: smooth.
He has that old-school type of game—he almost lulls you to sleep when you watch him play.
Don't let that fool you. This kid can play.
He is 6'5" with a monster wingspan of 7'1". He has solid up's as well.
Lamb is a great athlete and he was a standout as a freshman on the National Champion UConn Huskies team from two years ago.
Lamb reminds me a bit of former Husky great Rip Hamilton. He has a great shot with solid range, and he also shows the ability to shoot well coming off of screens.
What NBA scouts have to love about Lamb is his potential to defend at the NBA level. His wingspan will cause other shooting guards significant problems.
With his ability to score, he is a huge threat.
6. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina (SF)
Another Tar Heel makes this list. Barnes was a former No.1 recruit coming out of Iowa, and was one of the premier players in the nation a year ago.
He is a great shooter, and is lethal off the dribble—but off one bounce, generally.
At 6'8", you can't ask for better sized small forward.
His shot is streaky at times, but he has a short memory when it comes to his jumper. Barnes also has the willingness to take big shots.
Under the right coaching, Harrison Barnes will be a great fit on the right NBA squad.
5. Andre Drummond, UConn (C)
It is scary that this kid is 6'11" and 270 pounds leaving college after his freshman year.
That is unbelievable. Andre Drummond is one of the better athletes in the entire 2012 draft heading.
He can be unpolished, and, aside from catching lobs, doesn't have much of an offensive skill set.
He reminds me a bit of DeAndre Jordan at this juncture in his career, but he has the potential to be better in the long run.
He is a ferocious shot blocker and will be an imposing big man from day one in the league.
4. Thomas Robinson, Kansas (PF)
Thomas Robinson was a beast in the Big 12 for Kansas a year ago.
He averaged 18 points and and 12 boards per game in his last season in a Jayhawk uniform.
Robinson has great hops and is aggressive around the rim. He also has a solid jumper, which he can work on to make it another lethal aspect of his game.
With a 7'1" wingspan, he will be a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. He averaged one block a game last season.
Without a doubt, there is no player that I hope reaches his potential in the NBA— particularly with all the off-court family issues he has had to deal with.
3. Bradley Beal, Florida (SG)
Beal is my highest rated shooting guard in this draft. He has an insane jumper to back that assessment.
He reminds me of a young Ray Allen. Although he shot only 36 percent from distance a year ago, he was one of the purer shooters in all of college basketball.
He had a solid year for the Florida Gators, particularly as a true freshman. He averaged 15 points and seven boards per game.
Beal is another player who is only going to get better as time goes on, which should scare shooting guards around the league.
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky (SF)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was fantastic in his freshman season at Kentucky.
He was Mr. Do Everything for the Wildcats, and his intangibles are unprecedented.
His athleticism is second to none, and he has great hops.
Time after time I was shocked when watching Kentucky. Down the stretch, it was Kidd-Gilchrist who often came up with a timely bucket to seal the game.
He is fearless when he attacks the rim. With his jumping ability, he finishes with ease.
At the NBA level he will be great on both offense and defense, and will be an early coach favorite.
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky (PF)
No surprises here.
Anthony Davis is one of the best prospects to come to the NBA draft in the last several years. Davis is a freakish athlete at 6'10" with a 7'6" wingspan.
As a freshman, he averaged 14 points, 10 boards and a ridiculous five blocks per game. Since he was a guard for most of his time playing basketball, he has very quick feet.
His ability to guard just about any position on the court is what separates him from other players in this draft.
Davis is one of the few players who can dominate a game without scoring a basket.
From day one, Anthony Davis will be a starter in the NBA.
And, for many years to come.
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