With the NBA season winding down, and the 2012 NBA draft drawing ever closer, NBA teams are trying to find their next franchise player or the final piece in helping bring an NBA championship to their team.
With numerous NBA draft mocks being released and modified every week after athletic measurements and individual workouts with prospective NBA teams, some players will be identified as a potential high-risk/high-reward picks because of their attitude or their lack of offensive or defensive prowess.
Here are my five high-risk/high-reward picks in this years NBA Draft.
A 6'5'' freshman combo guard coming out of Washington, Tony Wroten Jr. has the tools to become a quality NBA player. With a great court vision, a nasty crossover and excellent defense, Wroten Jr. already has the fundamentals to be a solid player in the league.
The major issue for Wroten is his well-documented shooting.
His field-goal percentage of 44.3 does not tell you the whole story. He mostly gets his buckets from blowing past his defender for a layup or a dunk. His 16 percent three-point field goal percentage and 58.3 percent free-throw shooting are what is alarming.
A guard simply cannot shoot that atrociously in the NBA.
Wroten is projected to go anywhere from mid-first to late first/early second round. An NBA team who is willing to draft the guard will certainly have to polish his jump shot and perhaps his half-court game.
If those improvements are made, Wroten will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. His shooting can be the difference between him becoming a solid NBA PG like Andre Miller, or an elite one like Russell Westbrook.
After winning the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament, Kentucky's freshman point guard Marquis Teague opted to list his name in the 2012 draft. Teague certainly has the athletic capabilities to be a solid PG, but there are other areas that he can work on.
Teague highlighted his explosiveness and ball-handling abilities in the NCAA tournament. However, like nearly all point guards, Teague does not have a solid jump shot that he can rely on when defenders play off him.
Also, his decision making and his ability to play in the half court has also worried some scouts. Another facet of his game that is worrying is his defense. Teague has the lateral speed and the quickness that can make him a lockdown defender. The issue with Teague though is that he is a gambler on the defensive end, where he will just swipe at the ball instead of playing to his full defensive potential and playing solid on-ball defense.
The Kentucky product will most likely be drafted in the middle or late first. Teague will certainly dazzle you with his athleticism, but he is an unfinished product. Teague plays like his brother, current starting Atlanta Hawks PG Jeff Teague. If he reaches his potential, Marquis can certainly become a clone of the high-flying Steve Francis.
Iowa State SF Royce White is probably the most NBA-ready player in this year's draft. The size, strength, basketball IQ, ball handling, passing ability—there is much to like about White.
There are, though, a couple of improvements that he can make to become a very good NBA player.
White's mid-range shooting and his three-point shooting is not that all of a concern. For some odd reason though, his measly free-throw shooting percentage of 49.8 is damning. Even Shaquille O'Neal shot better than that throughout his career. If he improves from the charity stripe, he will certainly get more points and not be one of those "Hack-a-Shaq" targets.
His off-court problems are also somewhat concerning. The assault and theft charges against him as a freshman at Minnesota will certainly not help his cause when NBA teams are looking for high reputation players. White was also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which makes him scared of getting on flights.
White is predicted to go in the middle to latter parts of Round 1. If White improves his free-throw shooting and his team is able to handle his anxiety disorder correctly, White can certainly become a mini version of Paul Millsap or a poor man's LeBron James.
Once touted as a top five draft pick, Perry Jones III has fallen down the ladder considerably. With a 6'11'' frame and excellent skill set, Jones III had a somewhat lackluster two years at Baylor University.
Scouts raved about his explosiveness, ability to shoot and his ball-handling ability. The problem for Jones is that he does not have the strength to hang with the elite power forwards in the game, nor the mentality of an NBA player.
It goes without saying, there is a drastic difference between the college and NBA game. If Jones works on his strength and adds a bit of muscle to his current lanky frame, he will have the ablility to hang with the power forwards and have the strength to drive past small forwards.
His mentality has also alarmed some scouts. He has been often questioned about his attitude toward the game ever since high school.
Jones is expected to be a late lottery pick to a mid- to late first-rounder. A team with a player like Jones definitely becomes a better team. If he develops his strength and is able to get his mind right, he can become similar to a Lamar Odom or a bigger version of Rudy Gay.
A physical specimen like Andre Drummond doesn't come along every year. At 6'11'' and with a massive wingspan of 7'6'', Drummond has the physical requirements to become a great center in the NBA.
His defense is certainly up to NBA standards, with scouts likening him to LA Clippers starting center DeAndre Jordan.
Unfortunately for Drummond, his offense resembles DeAndre Jordan's as well.
Most of Drummond's points come from offensive tip-ins or his playmaker's dishing it to him in the paint (a la Chris Paul to DeAndre Jordan). Drummond does not really have a go-to move down in the low post, nor does he have a face-up game that can worry defenders. There are also questions about his motor and whether he has the commitment to excel.
Drummond will most likely be selected in the No. 2 to No. 6 range. Teams that are willing to take a bet on him will most likely end up with DeAndre Jordan's offense and defense. If the former UConn star develops his offense and regularly puts in the effort to eventually become an elite player, Drummond will most likely become a player in the likeness of a Andrew Bynum or Amar'e Stoudemire.