NBA Draft 2012: Unheralded Point Guards with Tremendous Upside
Guards Brandon Roy, Randy Foye, J.J. Redick, Thabo Sefolosha, Ronnie Brewer and Quincy Douby were all selected before Rajon Rondo in the 2006 NBA draft.
While those players have enjoyed varied success in their professional careers, don't you think the general managers of the six teams that selected them would like another chance to draft the quirky and rather unproductive Kentucky point guard?
Rondo was taken with the 21st pick. The Celtics saw his immense upside, so they took a chance and traded for the Phoenix Suns' selection.
It's safe to say their gamble paid off.
These are the point guards with the most upside in the 2012 draft class.
Damian Lillard, Weber State
Coming from a mid-major school, Lillard isn't a well-known name. At least, he wasn't until the stringent pre-draft process.
The 6'2'' point guard from Weber State is an intriguing prospect who has NBA talent—but because he played in the Big Sky Conference, some teams may pass on him.
Lillard averaged 24.5 points for the Wildcats last season.
He's a sneaky slasher and has the athleticism and body control to effortlessly finish at the rim. Due to impressive skills that help him dart into the paint, he frequently draws a crowd of defenders and exhibited fine passing skills during his collegiate career.
However, his trademark stroke from the outside is his most enticing attribute.
He averaged 41 percent from distance while shooting more than seven three-pointers per game. The one knock on Lillard is that he may not be a true point guard because he looks for his shot first, but if he's put in a position where he needs to distribute more, it'll be interesting to see what type of player he can be converted into.
The offensive skills are undeniable and can't be coached.
Marquis Teague, Kentucky
What kind of PG will Teague become in the NBA?
At the beginning of the 2011 season, there's no way Teague would have been considered to go in the 2012 draft. Fortunately for the 19-year-old, he improved substantially throughout the winter months and was an exquisite maestro for the national champion Wildcats, playing alongside lottery locks Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The fact that he played with legitimate NBA talent will help Teague in the future. In early 2012, he developed a great feel for the game, shooting when he saw openings but primarily deferring to the more offensively skilled Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist and Terrence Jones.
Because he's still raw and won't be 20 until next February, Teague certainly possesses a great deal of upside.
If he's picked late in the first round and can be taught the subtleties of the position from a veteran, he could transform into a fine professional point man.
Tony Wroten, Washington
At 6'5'', Wroten has the best size of any of these prospects. He emanates potential and upside at 19 years old, and he's one of the safer point guards entering the NBA.
He's a crafty lefty when getting to the hoop and he utilizes his quick first step to blow past defenders on the perimeter. He has NBA-caliber agility and adequate athleticism relative to most pro point guards.
He's a clean prospect in that he doesn't rely on any one aspect to carry his game. Wroten could improve his jumper from deep, but has a nice mid-range game.
Also, the Huskies prospect isn't worried about making the flashy, no-look pass. He simply finds open teammates and puts them in great positions to score.
If he develops a more reliable jump shot, he could be a sound contributor in the NBA.
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