2012 NBA Mock Draft: The Biggest Red Flag for Every 1st-Round Pick
Anthony Davis may be the presumed No. 1 pick in the draft. However, he's not a guaranteed star. Like any other player, Davis has his flaws. Those issues may keep him from becoming the perennial All-Star that some imagine him to become.
Every player who will go in the first round has some significant concern. No player who is expected to be taken in the first round is guaranteed to be a star offensively. The centers who will go in the first round all have glaring issues that could keep them from being more than just average.
Teams will have to confront the issues in their draftees' games.
Following is a breakdown of the each first-rounder's biggest red flag.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis
For his interview at the draft combine, Anthony Davis wore a shirt that reads, "Check my stats."
Checking his stats, the numbers all look good until one takes a second look at his 14.2 points per game. It isn't like Davis didn't play a ton of minutes; he averaged 32 minutes per game.
He did shoot a remarkable 62.3 percent from the field while taking just 8.5 field-goal attempts per game.
His small number of shots can be explained by his underdeveloped post game and his narrow frame. He has a lean 220 pounds on his 6'10.5" frame.
Davis can be easily contained in the post, as long as the No. 1 dunker in Division I in 2011-12 is kept from slamming it home. As his DraftExpress.com profile states, "If an opposing defense can force him to take a jump shot, put the ball on the floor or score in a post-up situation, they have a three times better chance of stopping him."
If an opposing team were to take that game plan against Davis, then they could slash his shooting percentage and shot opportunities.
Thus, Davis has some work to do to become a more versatile post player.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Thomas Robinson
At the draft combine, Thomas Robinson responded to Anthony Davis' "Check my stats" shirt by saying (via Sports Illustrated), "If you wanted to check the stats, then I'd be the No. 1 pick easily—if that's what you want to do."
Looking at his basic offensive statistics, the case can be made that Robinson might be a bit more worthy of being the No. 1 pick. He averaged 17.7 points per game in 2011-12, showing more production and aggression than Davis. Robinson shot about 12 percent worse than Davis, hitting 50.5 percent from the field, but took about five more shots per game.
Still, Robinson's offense is a work in progress. He could improve his jump shot, which is rarely utilized. Also, he needs to develop better moves in the post. A good set of moves in the post is increasingly important, as NBA interior defenders are often able to close the scoring window quickly by taking away space and putting their hands up.
If he doesn't become more versatile on offense, Robinson could become a marginal offensive player.
3. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is definitely talented enough to merit a top-five selection, but he isn’t the type of offensive player that teams look for in the first five picks. Kidd-Gilchrist didn’t shoot much in his year at Kentucky. He averaged 11.9 points per game while taking 8.2 field-goal attempts per game.
Six of his Wildcat teammates took more shots per game than he did.
That’s understandable since he isn’t a dynamic shooter. He shot 25 percent from three-point range. His mid-range jumper isn’t anything to behold.
As his DraftExpress.com profile notes, his shooting mechanics aren’t pretty. He releases the ball on his way down and flails his elbows in the process.
Seventy-one percent of his field-goal attempts came in transition, but those opportunities don’t come around often.
Hopefully, John Wall can help MKG make the most of what he can do as a scorer. The 18-year-old forward might be able to do many things on the court, but many will be watching to see if he can score.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal entered Florida as one of the most highly regarded shooting guard prospects in the country. That didn’t quite translate at Florida.
Beal did fairly well in his year at Florida. Beal averaged 14.8 points per game on 44.6 shooting and 33.9 percent from three-point range. His three-point shooting wasn’t on the mark every game. He hit fewer than 33 percent of his threes in 17 of 37 games.
That was underwhelming for a player who was expected to shoot closer to 40 percent from three-point range.
To his credit, Beal shot 54 percent from inside the arc. He did have a problem scoring at the rim, though.
If he couldn’t hit three-pointers with great reliability or finish at the rack, then Beal could be limited in his capability as a pro scorer. To offset this possibility, the Cleveland Cavaliers might want to get him to reduce the number of three-point shots he takes if he doesn’t rediscover his touch from beyond the arc.
5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond was one of the premier players at shot-blocking and offensive rebounding while at Connecticut. He averaged 3.4 offensive rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game in 2011-12.
The problem while looking at his pro potential is his lack of strength. Despite being 6’10” and 251 pounds, Drummond isn’t that great at using his strength to gain leverage inside or create space.
That lack of functional strength could make him severely limited in impact as a pro. At that, it’s hard to tell if he could be coached into using his physical tools effectively in the NBA.
6. Portland Trail Blazers (from Nets): Perry Jones III
Perry Jones III is known to be a dynamic talent. He can bang it home or step back and hit a jump shot. His rebounding skills are good.
What’s also well-known about him is that he doesn’t always make the most of his skills. Jones sometimes doesn’t go as hard as he can. He even acknowledged this as he said that one of the things he needed to improve during his sophomore year at Baylor was “my motor" (from Baylor's official website).
He didn’t ratchet up his motor in 2011-12, which leaves many to wonder whether he’ll do it from game to game as a pro. If he does, then he could become an All-Star; if not, Jones will be just another streaky player who does well only when interested.
He might not get all of the opportunities he wants if he chooses when to go hard. That could leave him discouraged and even less interested in giving max effort.
7. Golden State Warriors: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is a terrific scorer who can be a big difference-maker on offense. He can hit shots from the perimeter, whether inside or outside the arc.
The issue in his offensive game is his ability to score inside. Barnes isn’t that quick or explosive, which reduces his ability to drive the lane to score. He doesn’t seem that aggressive attacking the basket, either.
In order to become a truly dynamic scorer, Barnes will have to work on driving to the basket. He might be able to develop a reliable move to help offset his lack of explosiveness or develop a sense for driving at openings in the defense.
If he can develop an inside scoring game, Barnes could become a fearsome scorer.
8. Toronto Raptors: Jeremy Lamb
Jeremy Lamb is quite the shooting talent. He can hit outside shots like few others can.
However, Lamb isn’t one of the more consistent shooters. He tends to take misguided shots and follow through with poor looks at the basket. As his DraftExpress.com profile notes, he sometimes took bad shots just to get himself going on offense, which isn’t a smart thing to do.
Lamb might have to repurpose himself to make himself a meaningful member of an NBA offense. He’ll have to focus himself on better shooting opportunities. Shot selection will be key for him.
If he refines that aspect of his game, he could have a long career.
9. Detroit Pistons: Jared Sullinger
Jared Sullinger is a good all-around frontcourt prospect. He scores and rebounds proficiently, and plays good defense.
An issue about how he'll develop as a pro player arises when looking at his size. Sullinger stands only 6'9", which is small for a center. His 7'1.25" wingspan doesn't entirely make up for that.
Being shorter than other centers is compounded by the fact that he's a below-the-rim player. This puts him at a disadvantage against centers who play above the rim with ease.
Indeed, Sullinger could make up for this loss with good positioning and timing the way Kevin Love makes up for his own deficiencies.
Sullinger could be able to overcome this weakness and become a good starting center. He'll just have to work harder underneath to make up for the couple of inches that many centers have on him.
Fortunately for him, he plays in an era in which a number of centers are 6'10" or 6'11", which diminishes the disadvantage in this area.
10. New Orleans Hornets (from Timberwolves): Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is a fine offensive player. He was the No. 2 scorer in Division I in 2011-12, averaging 24 points per game. He also showed a great ability to control the ball, turning it over just once every 10 possessions.
While his ball-handling and shooting capabilities show him to be a reliable offensive playmaker, he has to show more in terms of his ability to make it happen by passing.
Lillard averaged four assists per game. He’s definitely very capable in that department.
Lillard looks to be more of the Derrick Rose type, one who can pass to make things happen, but also scores a ton. He could certainly help a team become good by scoring a great amount, but the New Orleans Hornets would also like to see him facilitate the offense by passing.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Kendall Marshall
Kendall Marshall is an excellent pass-first point guard. He knows the game and plays his position amazingly well.
However, defense is a challenge for Marshall. He doesn’t keep opposing point guards from facilitating the offense. Also, he can get beat pretty easily on the drive.
This might be a significant concern at the beginning of his career, but the Portland Trail Blazers would probably learn to live with it as his career progresses if it continues to be a problem.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller
Tyler Zeller is an effective scorer; he averaged 16.3 points per game on 55.3 percent shooting.
One question about his game on offense is whether he can make things happen in the post. He wasn't a top option in the North Carolina offense, although he still managed 10.5 field-goal attempts per game. Many of his shots came from the top of the key or otherwise outside the battleground in the post. He doesn't have great footwork.
Also, as his DraftExpress.com profile notes, he needs to develop a sense of when defenders collapse on him and an ability to kick the ball back out to the wing.
If he can develop that part of his game, he'd have a remarkable offensive repertoire.
13. Phoenix Suns: Austin Rivers
Austin Rivers is a terror offensively. He can spot up for shots from the outside or drive it to the basket.
On the other end of the floor, he has some problems. Rivers isn’t that great or particularly committed on defense. As his DraftExpress.com profiles notes, he can lose focus on defense.
He’ll gamble, but doesn’t make those gambles worthwhile since he isn’t much of a playmaker on defense.
This could only be a concern that coaches keep in the back of their minds while watching Rivers. The Phoenix Suns will likely be satisfied with the fact that he’s such an intriguing offensive player.
14. Houston Rockets: John Henson
John Henson showed himself to be a capable scorer and solid rebounder, as well as a dynamic shot-blocker while at North Carolina.
However, his lack of strength may hinder his ability to transfer those qualities into the pro game. Henson has only 220 pounds on his 6’10.5” frame that holds a 7’5” wingspan. Someone who’s that tall and that long needs more mass to be relevant in the pros.
To his credit, Henson did add 37 pounds from his freshman to sophomore year, according to DraftExpress.com.
Hopefully, Henson will be able to add more muscle. Otherwise, he could become an ordinary NBA player.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Ross
Terrence Ross is a nice scorer. He averaged 16.4 points per game on 45.7 shooting.
The hitch in his game occurs in his predictable shot-taking. Ross is predominately a jump-shooter. At that, according to DraftExpress.com, Ross generally takes the same kinds of perimeter jump shots much of the time. He takes one or two dribbles, pulls up, gets his feet set and pulls off a very mechanical, sometimes off-balanced shot.
That often works for him. However, he might encounter problems in the pros, as teams could game-plan for him to approach particular spots in that fashion and force him out of his comfort zone.
Also, Ross isn't very good at driving to the basket since he isn't that great of a ball-handler.
With his limited skills, the Philadelphia 76ers will have to worry about how to get him in his best spots on the floor.
16. Houston Rockets: Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters is a remarkable defensive stopper. He averaged 1.8 steals per game in 2011-12.
On offense, Waiters was relatively inconsistent. He shot 47.6 percent from the field, but wasn't always on key with his shots. Waiters displayed underwhelming shot selection. As his DraftExpress.com profile notes, Waiters sometimes rushed or took off-balanced shots.
Generally, his decision-making ability isn't impressive.
Waiters could work on his timing with shots or develop an ability to visualize shots to avoid these problems in the pros.
If he can shape up his shot selection, he'll be a valuable player on both ends.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard generally has a good skill set. He can use his big body well and also runs well.
One thing he doesn’t do effectively is play the post on offense. Leonard doesn’t get good positioning in the low post. As his DraftExpress.com profile notes, he doesn’t have good post moves or footwork to position himself to score once receiving the ball.
He’ll be able to offset this weakness in the pros by working off screens and otherwise playing outside the key.
Thus, it isn’t a terrible weakness for Leonard, who’s generally a good prospect.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Jazz): Moe Harkless
Moe Harkless could be a good scorer. He's good at driving the lane and creating shots for himself in general.
Harkless hasn't developed an accurate outside shot yet. He hit 20.5 percent from three-point range last season and his mechanics are funky. As his DraftExpress.com profile notes, he takes time to pull up and prepare to shoot.
That could kill his ability to become a versatile shooting threat in the NBA.
Harkless will have to work on his mechanics to succeed as a pro. He won't be able to live off the drive because he'll get beat up often on the inside due to his lean build.
19. Orlando Magic: Terrence Jones
Terrence Jones is an amazing talent who shoots well and rebounds fairly well. However, his 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game show a significant issue.
Jones had a hard time playing consistently. This was largely due to focus and demeanor. Sometimes, Jones would drift or become upset with the direction of plays. He'd occasionally have to sit down due to his behavior on the court.
The next Orlando Magic coach will have to guide Jones in a way that he stays involved in the game and doesn't become complacent.
As long as he stays involved, Jones should become a solid player.
20. Denver Nuggets: Quincy Miller
Some players have injuries that stall their development at a relatively early stage. The recovery from those injuries should be realized before the player reaches the pros whenever possible.
Quincy Miller should have taken extra time at Baylor to ensure that he fully recovered from an ACL tear he suffered during his senior year in high school. He didn’t have all of his strength or explosiveness in his year at Baylor since he was still recovering from the injury.
However, he was still able to average 10 points per game.
Miller will likely still be recovering at the beginning of his first NBA season.
This will be a huge red flag hanging over his head on draft day. Teams don’t want to spend a pick on a player who is an injury risk. However, the Denver Nuggets will take him based on his potential once fully recovered from the tear.
21. Boston Celtics: Arnett Moultrie
Arnett Moultrie is a powerful player who can block shots and rebound effectively.
His potential might go unfulfilled if he doesn't become strong enough to do those things well at the pro level. Moultrie isn't that thick, with a 6'11" and 220-pound frame. Fortunately for him, he had a wide frame that will allow him to build muscle and fill out.
If he can bulk up, then Moultrie can become just what the Boston Celtics need in the post-Kevin Garnett era. He'll be able to play the strong defense that Garnett has given them in the past five years.
22. Boston Celtics (from Clippers): Evan Fournier
Scoring is the name of the game for Evan Fournier. He can score in bunches, and he can do it both inside and out.
Despite his strong shooting ability, Fournier doesn't always think about whether his shot is the right one. Also, as his DraftExpress.com profile notes, he doesn't stay consistent with his mechanics.
Improving his mechanics alone would help him develop his shooting ability. If he can do that and remain aware of his shots, then he could become a dangerous all-around shooter.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Marquis Teague
Marquis Teague is a strong passer with a good feel for the game. He knows how to distribute the ball in most instances.
However, he has problems with turnovers; he committed 2.7 per game in 2011-12. As his DraftExpress.com profile points out, he struggles with decision-making, often stalling to decide where to pass the ball in a slow-paced offense.
He also may allow the defense to attack before he makes his move.
If Teague gets experience doing different things in the Atlanta Hawks offense, then he could develop a better feel for running the halfcourt offense.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers): Fab Melo
Fab Melo is a terrific shot-blocker, and hat's largely what the Cavaliers will be looking for from him.
Any offense from him will be a bonus.
Melo isn't much of a factor on offense; he only took 5.8 shots per game in 2011-12. He doesn't post up well or move well on offense. It would be nice if he created more space for himself.
It's not likely that Melo will become a threat on both ends, but if he can improve his positioning, he could become a truly dynamic player.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Tony Wroten
Tony Wroten is a dynamic scorer. He’s aggressive and can put up numbers in bunches.
The problem with that aggressiveness is that it comes at a cost. Wroten turns it over with high frequency. In 2011-12, he coughed up the ball 3.8 times per game.
That number can’t be repeated in the NBA. Otherwise, Wroten will lose numerous opportunities to score. Teams could use this weakness of his to take him out of games.
In order to avoid being abused by opposing defenses, Wroten will have to learn to control the ball better.
26. Indiana Pacers: Doron Lamb
Doron Lamb is a pretty nice player who could help boost scoring for the Indiana Pacers. Lamb can drive to the basket and hit three-pointers.
Now, the question is whether that cutting ability will translate due to his slight build. Lamb is 6'4" and weighs just 170 pounds. Since he has a thin frame, he might not be able to add a great deal of muscle.
If he can, then he could become a dangerous slasher.
27. Miami Heat: Andrew Nicholson
Andrew Nicholson is a truly remarkable player who shouldn’t be discounted. He can shoot from various spots on the floor, both inside and out. He rebounds and blocks shots effectively.
One issue that can lessen his impact on a game is his tendency to foul. Throughout his St. Bonaventure career, Nicholson tended to take himself out of the game in the first half with two early fouls. He even had to sit down with two early fouls in this year’s NCAA tournament game against Florida State.
Nicholson has the potential to make a significant impact on an NBA team. He’ll have to learn to carry himself with more self-control on the court in order to fulfill his impact.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Draymond Green
Draymond Green is a strong talent who can shoot from midrange.
His size is a significant issue. With his 6'7", 230-pound frame, Green runs in between small forward and power forward size despite being listed as the latter. He's small for a power forward, but has power forward thickness.
Green has the tools to be good in the NBA, but his size is a significant hindrance. It's hard to tell how the Oklahoma City Thunder would make him work out, but there's potential if they're able to fit him in a role.
29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton
Will Barton is a strong scorer. Barton averaged 18 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field. He could work out as a shooting guard or a small forward.
The issue no matter which position he plays is whether he can build the muscle to be a strong slasher. Barton is 6'6" and weighs 175 pounds. He needs to put on a considerable amount of weight to fill out his frame.
He certainly has the room, as his frame is wide enough to sustain some added muscle.
If he can add muscle, then he'll be a strong scorer attacking NBA interior defenses.
30. Golden State Warriors (from Spurs): Darius Miller
Darius Miller has a great ability to score. He shot a nice 47.4 percent from the field while scoring 9.9 points per game in 2011-12.
His problem lies on the other end of the floor; Miller isn't much of a defender. One might wonder how interested he is in this aspect of the game. His DraftExpress.com profile notes that he often loses concentration on defense.
Miller could be a good defender since he's big and quick. If Mark Jackson can get into his head or if he can realize his potential in this area, he could be a reliable defender.