NBA Draft 2012: 6 Players Who Will Be Surprise Lottery Picks

Marques EversollAnalyst IJune 1, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 6 Players Who Will Be Surprise Lottery Picks

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    We know the "big names" of the 2012 NBA Draft.

    It's safe to say that Anthony Davis will go to New Orleans as the top pick, and it won't be much longer after that before Thomas Robinson, Brad Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes come off the board.

    However, once ten or so picks have been made, the name recognition among most fans will begin to diminish.

    The NBA Draft Lottery took place on Wednesday night, in which the order of the first 14 picks was revealed.

    Some well-known players will be drafted higher than most expect, while several "surprise" names will likely sneak into the lottery.

    Although many of the NBA's star players were drafted in the top five, there's always a handful of players selected a little later that make an immediate impact as rookies.

    In last year's draft, Denver got more than they could have hoped for when they used the 22nd pick on Morehead State, big man Kenneth Faried. Faried started 39 of 46 games as a rookie and averaged a double-double in the Nuggets' seven game series against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Prior to Faried coming off the board, Kawhi Leonard was selected 15th overall, one pick after the "lottery" had ended.

    Leonard has proven to be a perfect fit with the selfless, team-first San Antonio Spurs.

    Who could be the "hidden gems" of this year's Draft? Let's take a look.

SG Terrence Ross, Washington

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    The Ross Profile

    • College: Washington (SO)
    • Height/Weight: 6'7" 197 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Late Lottery

    2010-11: 8.0 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.0 APG

    2011-12: 16.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG

    Entering the draft after his sophomore season, Terrence Ross fits the "high ceiling" label perfectly. Outside of the first several picks, there are only a handful of players that have the potential to develop into stars at the NBA level - and in my opinion, Ross is one of them.

    At 6-foot-7, his length only adds to his elite athleticism. Combine his ability to rise up and play above the rim with his range from behind the 3-point arc, Ross has the tools to develop into a reliable starter at the professional level.

PF Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State

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    The Moultrie Profile

    • College: Mississippi State (RS JR)
    • Height/Weight: 6'11" 220 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Late Lottery

    2008-09: 8.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 0.9 BPG

    2009-10: 9.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 0.8 BPG

    *Transferred from UTEP to Mississippi State

    2011-12: 16.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.8 BPG

    In a league full of incredible athletes, post players need to be athletic enough to play away from the basket on both sides of the ball. That's good news for Moultrie, who is a great athlete at 6'11" 220 lbs.

    An alley-oop machine, Moultrie would certainly love to play with Clippers PG Chris Paul, who currently makes a living by tossing lob passes to Blake Griffin. On top of being a strong finisher around the basket, Moultrie is a force on the glass, as he averaged 5.2 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes last season.

SG Dion Waiters, Syracuse

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    The Waiters Profile

    • College: Syracuse (SO)
    • Height/Weight: 6'4" 210 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Mid-Late Lottery

    2010-11: 6.6 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.5 APG

    2011-12: 12.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.5 APG

    Dion Waiters failed to hold a spot in Syracuse's deep and talented rotation as a freshman. However, his production improved dramatically during his sophomore campaign.

    He's now being mentioned as high as eighth overall to the Toronto Raptors, and it's very unlikely that he'll fall out of the lottery. Waiters has an NBA-ready sturdy build and a complete offensive game, so whoever drafts him will expect an instant impact.

PG Kendall Marshall, North Carolina

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    The Marshall Profile

    • College: North Carolina (SO)
    • Height/Weight: 6'4" 190 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Late Lottery-Mid 1st

    2010-11: 6.2 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 6.2 APG

    2011-12: 8.1 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 9.8 APG

    Once the draft reaches the end of the lottery, Kendall Marshall will be one of the more familiar names to come off the board. Last season, the Tar Heels looked like the only team that could give Kentucky a run for their money in the Tournament; however, Marshall was forced to sit due to a wrist injury.

    When he's been healthy, he's been the best floor general in college basketball. As point guards should, Marshall truly makes everyone around him better—as evidenced by his 9.8 assists per game average.

SG Austin Rivers, Duke

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    The Rivers Profile

    • College: Duke (FR)
    • Height/Weight: 6'4" 190 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Mid Lottery-Mid 1st

    2011-12: 15.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG

    There is a wide variety of opinions surrounding Austin Rivers at the NBA level. As an undersized shooting guard, teams would like to see Rivers improve as a ball-handler so he can play point guard as well as shooting guard.

    His name has been mentioned as a potential top ten pick, but others consider him to be a mid 1st round pick at best. I'm guessing he'll come off the board somewhere between the 10th and 15th pick, but his high basketball IQ and elite scoring ability could make him a great value to one lucky NBA team.

PF Terrence Jones, Kentucky

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    The Jones Profile

    • College: Kentucky (SO)
    • Height/Weight: 6'9" 245 lbs
    • Draft Projection: Late Lottery-Mid 1st

    2010-11: 15.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1.6 APG

    2011-12: 12.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.3 APG

    Terrence Jones was a key piece to Kentucky's National Championship team. Fellow Wildcats Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are sure-fire top-five picks, and Terrence Jones could sneak his way into the lottery as well.

    At 6-foot-9, Jones is slightly below average for an NBA power forward, but his 7'2" wingspan gives him the ability to guard taller players. Like most on John Calipari's teams, Jones was very highly recruited coming out of high school. During his time in Lexington, he did nothing to disappoint and surprised many when he decided to return to school and chase a Championship as a sophomore. If I'm a team like Milwaukee picking late in the lottery, I'd feel comfortable taking a chance on Terrence Jones.