NBA Draft 2012: Which Projected First-Round Picks Will Flame Out?
NBA franchises that draft well in the first round tend to be the ones that are more successful in the long run.
Just look at the San Antonio Spurs, their four leading scorers were all acquired via the draft. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard were all chosen in the first round, while Manu Ginobili was taken with the 28th pick in the second round.
It is no surprise that the Spurs had an excellent season, they consistently draft players that fit their system and teach their draftees how to play Spurs basketball. For the most part, they avoided picking players that flamed out, which contributed to their continued success.
The Spurs also found success late in the first round, as Parker was chosen with the 28th pick in 2001 and Leonard with the 15th pick in last year's draft.
Unfortunately, not every first round selection makes it in the NBA. Sometimes it seems like specific teams wind up drafting more busts than others.
Becoming a consistent performer as an NBA player is very difficult, and much of a player's success is determined by the situation and system that they are put into.
Players on this list could go on to have very good NBA careers, but if they are not drafted into a favorable situation then all bets are off.
Royce White led Iowa State to the third round of the NCAA tournament last year, beating a Connecticut team that will probably see two of their players, Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, get drafted ahead of White.
White led the Cyclones in points scored, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks last season and can do it all. He was the only player in the country to lead his team in each of those statistics, which speaks volumes on how impressive he can be.
He will probably be more of a point-forward in the NBA, as that role would best showcase his all-around talent.
So why is White on this list?
White suffers from anxiety, which could derail his career at any point. He doesn't like to fly on planes, which is a must for any NBA player, as they spend a lot of time on airplanes on road trips.
He said the following to the Des Moines Register:
"Anxiety isn't really something you can measure. That's why it's so hard to diagnose, so hard to pinpoint. If I didn't take my medication, any number of things could happen: It could affect my mind and my body. I could get the sweats."
Hopefully White will be able to deal with his anxiety and will have a good career in the NBA, but it is easy to think worst case scenario in which drafting him would be a bad idea.
He is also a terrible free throw shooter, as he shot just 49.8 percent from the charity stripe.
White may be the most versatile player in the draft, but taking him the first round is still a major risk.
Meyers Leonard is a long athletic big man who has a lot of potential, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
He is a already a good rebounder and appears to have the athleticism and ability to become a good shot blocker in the NBA.
That being said, Leonard may end up being drafted inside the lottery, which would be a reach. He impressed a lot of people at the NBA Draft combine, and the momentum that he is gaining could very well have him taken in the lottery.
The Milwaukee Bucks, who are in desperate need of a center after trading Andrew Bogut, are rumored to have interest in taking him with the 12th pick.
His offensive game is very raw, and it is going to need a lot of work if he hopes to become a consistent scorer.
Leonard could become a poor man's Marcus Camby, as his defense has a chance to be very good. However, if he doesn't add to his offensive repertoire then he will be a liability on that end of the floor.
He is a hit or miss prospect, and we may not know which one he is for a few years.
Jared Sullinger led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Final Four last season, and he was one of the best college basketball players in the country.
If he had chosen to declare for last year's draft, Sullinger probably would have been a top five pick.
The problem with Sullinger lies in his lack of athleticism. In Sullinger's defense, he plays a technically solid game and is a very smart player. He rarely turns the ball over and is a true team player, who rarely takes bad shots.
In college, Sullinger was one of the best in the country with his back to the basket, and when he received the ball in good position was solid at converting.
That being said, defenders in the NBA are far better than they are in college. Sullinger won't be getting the ball in a good position as often as he did while in school.
NBA defenders are faster, stronger and make fewer mistakes, and Sullinger will have a hard time consistently outplaying more athletic opponents.
Another concern about Sullinger is his size. He is 6'9", which is a bit too small to make him a center but he may not be quick enough to be an effective power forward.
There are too many questions surrounding Sullinger for him to be a lottery pick, but that is where he is likely to be selected.
Perry Jones III
Perry Jones III is about as talented as they come, yet many scouts question his motor and what position he should play in the NBA.
He shies away from contact and is very comfortable with the ball in the hands. In fact, his ball handling and passing skills are more similar to a guard than a big man.
He has a nice jump shot and plays like a shooting guard in a power forward's body. His versatility is something that should benefit him in the NBA, but if he is put into the wrong situation, his career could go downhill quickly.
If Jones III is put in a system that forces him to spend most of the time banging with other big men in the paint, then he won't be a first round success story.
Like Meyers Leonard, Jones III is one of the biggest hit or miss players in this year's class. He has huge upside but his apparent lack of desire and passion threaten to stop him from reaching his potential.
Jones III recently worked out with the Golden State Warriors and he is one of the players that the team is considering.
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