NBA Draft 2012: 6 College Studs Sliding Down Draft Boards
With the 2012 NBA draft quickly approaching, teams are evaluating potential picks, and draft experts are putting together mock drafts.
With all of the evaluating every aspect of a players' character, there are sure to be a few players who see their stocks rise rapidly. But on the flip side, there are always those that fall out of favor and start sliding down draft boards.
Here are six college stars who are seeing their draft stock drop with the draft only three weeks away.
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Thomas Robinson was a consensus All-American pick at Kansas his sophomore season and led his Jayhawks squad all the way to the NCAA championship game.
But that hasn't stopped Robinson from slipping down draft boards.
Once considered a lock for the second overall pick behind Anthony Davis—much like he finished behind him in the Player of the Year voting—Robinson has started to slip to picks four and five in many mock drafts behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bradley Beal.
In Robinson's defense this slide isn't due to any mistakes he has made. Robinson is still the same explosive prospect he was during the season, with a large and athletic 6'8" frame and 7'1" wingspan.
It has a lot more to do with the way the lottery fell and the teams that are picking in the two, three and four slots. The Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavilers each have more pressing needs than the power forward position which is the position Robinson will play in the NBA.
Plus, Robinson still needs some work to become a polished scorer. He won't be able to get by on just pure athleticism in the NBA as he did in college, and the three teams that are sitting in the middle of the top five need immediate scoring assistance.
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When Austin Rivers arrived at Duke he was the top rated recruit in the country, according to rivals, and the hype was astronomical for Doc Rivers' son.
For the most part, Rivers lived up to the hype. He averaged 15.4 points a game for Duke, and late in the year he really became the go-to scorer guy for a talented Blue Devils squad.
However, Rivers did look a bit overwhelmed at times during his freshman season. There were times in games where he would disappear, and too often he would settle for a long three instead of using his quick first step and athleticism to get to the basket.
Rivers is still a highly capable scorer with a dead-eye shot from distance, quick first step and sound dribbling ability. He is good in isolation and should be able to put up points right away in the NBA.
It was widely considered that Rivers would have been a lottery pick had he been able to enter the draft straight out of high school. But, as he exits Duke after his freshman season, he has slipped on many draft boards out of the top ten and into the latter parts of the teens.
This is due to questions about his overall NBA readiness and a gluttony of lottery talent in this season's draft.
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Terrence Jones came back to Kentucky for his sophomore season for one reason—to win a national championship.
He accomplished that goal this past NCAA tournament and afterwords, along with four of his teammates, he declared for the NBA draft.
Most players only improve their draft stock when they stay an extra year in college, but Jones may have hurt his draft position by staying for a second season at Kentucky.
Due to the large amount of talent that was on the Kentucky squad, Jones' numbers fell from his freshman to his sophomore season. He averaged three points less a game and one rebound less as well.
If Jones would have come out after his freshman season, he would have likely been a top 10 pick in a weak draft class at the power forward spot. If you need proof of that, you can look at the Cleveland Cavaliers' selection of Tristan Thompson—a player rated well below Jones—at No. 4 overall.
Instead, Jones is a part of one of the deepest draft classes in recent memory, and as a result his stock has rapidly fallen. In many mock drafts he has dropped out of the lottery and into the late teens and early 20s.
Jones still has the prototypical size and athleticism that teams look for at 6'9" and 242 pounds, but his lack of a touch from the outside and and off and on aggressiveness on the court has has caused him to fall down many big boards.
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Doron Lamb was the other sophomore, along with Terrence Jones, on Kentucky's starting five this season, and just like his fellow sophomore teammate—his draft stock is falling.
Lamb made the decision to come back to school so he could win an NCAA title, just as Jones did. But just like Jones, his draft stock took a hit by coming back for a second season.
In the 2011 draft, Lamb would have been a sure-fire first-round pick—most likely in the middle to late portion of the first round. Instead, in this year's draft, Lamb is projected as a late first early second round pick, falling into the second round in just as many mocks that have him being selected in the first.
Lamb is a great shooter from distance and a solid defender, but he doesn't have the prototypical size to play shooting guard in the NBA and also struggles to create his own shot.
For those reasons, Lamb could find his name being called one round behind all of his Kentucky teammates in New York City this June.
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Kendall Marshall really showed his value as a point guard when he wasn't playing in 2012, as the Tar Heels struggled mightily without him during the NCAA tournament when he was lost to a wrist injury.
Marshall was the centerpiece of the North Carolina offense; he made it flow and had the ability to always get the ball to the right spot, something that is essential to playing the one position.
That ability is why Marshall was widely considered to be college basketball's best point guard and made him an almost sure-fire lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
However, over the past few months, Marshall has been slowly slipping down draft boards. He has fallen out of the top 10 in many mock drafts and into the late lottery portion and even into the late teens in some projections.
His falling stock can be attributed to two things—his questionable shooting ability from the outside and the emergence of Weber State's Damian Lillard, who is flying up draft boards due to his scoring ability and uncanny knack for not turning the ball over.
Top flight point guards are still in short supply in this draft, so Marshall could still become a lottery pick. But in a deep and talented draft pool, he could find himself on the outside looking in at the lottery on June 28.
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In the 2011 draft Jared Sullinger was a projected top five pick, but he surprised many by returning for his sophomore season at Ohio State to win a national championship.
This isn't due to any character issues or a lack of work ethic—it is based solely upon his lack of prototypical power forward size and athleticism. Sullinger is only 6'9", and while he is one of the strongest low post players in this draft at 280 pounds, his inability to get high off the ground will hurt his draft stock.
Sullinger has one of the most complete skill sets of any big men in this year's draft class with a myriad of hooks and up and under moves that allowed him to score 20 points a game in the Big 10.
But NBA scouts and GMs worry that that those moves won't translate as well to the NBA game where every defender he comes against will be bigger and just as strong as him. Sullinger is one of the hardest working players in this year's class, but that can't make up for his lack of size to scouts.