2012 NBA Mock Draft: Undersized Prospects Who Will Fail at Next Level
This year, we're hearing a lot about players who should be selected in the lottery despite being a little bit small or a little bit lanky.
Most of them are expected to do big things in the NBA anyway—possibly with the help of a new and improved training regimen—but for some, they're just too small. They may have been able to beat up on the competition in the NCAA, but the NBA is a different story, and in the case of many of these guys, being undersized will ultimately lead to becoming big old draft busts.
Here's a complete first-round mock draft that takes a special look at some of the undersized prospects destined for downfalls at the next level.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Davis, at 6'10" and 220 pounds, is obviously not undersized, nor does he stand any chance of becoming a bust. That being said, though, he still has room to get stronger and grow into that frame, which will make him all the more threatening at the next level.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Beal, technically, is a little bit undersized for an NBA 2, measuring at just under 6'5" with shoes. He still figures to have the shooting prowess—and the speed and athleticism—to make a serious impact.
3. Washington Wizards: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
At just 6'7", Kidd-Gilchrist is a bit small for a small forward, and he's also a bit on the skinny side. But the scouts rave about his motor and his toughness, and his defensive skills leave little doubt that he'll be well utilized in some vein next year.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
He has a lot of upside and can be dominant offensively—when he has a solid point guard to make him look good. If Barnes flops at the next level, it won't have anything to do with his size but rather with his ability (or lack thereof) to create offense for himself.
5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
At 6'9", Robinson certainly pales in comparison to many of the other power forward options on this board, but he makes up for it with his superb athleticism and his attitude. He'll always give his team a chance to win.
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Andre Drummond, C, UConn
Drummond has size at 6'11", but that doesn't mean he won't be a bust. Despite being the consensus top center available, he's also one of the riskiest players because he has shown a tendency to play passively, and he really needs to add strength.
7. Golden State Warriors: Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
I refuse to acknowledge that Jones might be a flop because he plays with so much heart. He's big (6'11") and incredibly fast, but like Drummond, he has a bad habit of backing off and failing to assert himself inside.
8. Toronto Raptors: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
It's a point guard-weak draft, but Lillard is the best option remaining. He has the versatility to play either the 1 or the 2, which gives the Raptors some options with DeMar DeRozan already serving as the cornerstone of the backcourt.
9. Detroit Pistons: Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Sullinger hates hearing it, but if anyone from the top 10 looks likely to be a bust, it's him. He's been hearing about his own shortcomings his whole life—as early as middle school, he says, when doubters said he was too overweight to play—so all of that talk has left him with a nice chip on his shoulder.
But at a certain point, Sullinger's lack of size—and the fact that he doesn't have the elite athleticism to make up for it—could hurt him. He's been able to overpower the competition with brute force and strength up to this point, but that's not going to work against guys in the NBA who are much, much bigger and more athletic than he is.
If he were a couple of inches taller, he'd be a sure thing in this draft. He'd probably go in the top five. But as it stands, his size makes him too much of a liability.
10. New Orleans Hornets: Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
Marshall is the perfect choice for the Hornets, especially after drafting Davis. They need a point guard to help set up the best big man in the college ranks, and Marshall is the best distributor.
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
Like his UConn counterpart in this draft, if Lamb is a bust at the next level, it will have nothing to do with his size (6'5"). In the wake of Kemba Walker's departure, he failed to commandeer a Huskies team that really needed a leader, and because of UConn's postseason futility, he didn't get an opportunity to show what he can do.
12. Milwaukee Bucks: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
He's a longer and lankier Kevin Durant type, and despite the fact that he desperately needs to add some strength, he can be a dominant defender because of his rebounding prowess and his 7'5" wingspan.
13. Phoenix Suns: Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
The Suns would be fools to pass up on Ross here, especially considering the fact that they're most likely going to have to compensate for the loss of Steve Nash's offense next season. Ross was one of the best shooters in the NCAA last season from all over the court.
14. Houston Rockets: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
There are many who believe Zeller is a less risky pick than Drummond in this draft. He has an extremely high NBA IQ and more experience, and he runs the floor very well for his size.
15. Philadelphia 76ers: Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
Jones, though he's often regarded as one of the hidden, less-heralded gems of the Kentucky roster, could go either way in the NBA. He could be a revelation, or he could be a total bust.
In two years with the Wildcats, he was excellent in flashes and ineffective in others. He's also 6'8" and is billed as a power forward, which is a matchup disaster waiting to happen. Though his 7'2" wingspan and his athleticism lend him the ability to fill a variety of roles, it still remains uncertain whether he can play any of them dominantly, and on top of that, he tends to fire away from long range.
Jones might have the ability to score from anywhere sometimes, but he hasn't shown the ability to do it consistently, which could ultimately be his downfall. The Sixers should take him here if he's still available because he might be the best player left, but he's still a substantial risk.
16. Houston Rockets: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Physically, Moultrie is the perfect size—6'11", 225 pounds—and skill-wise, he leaves little to be desired. He can score and be an excellent defender. Can be, however, is the key. He still has to prove he can work hard with consistency.
17. Dallas Mavericks: Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
At 6'4", Rivers is a little bit small for the 2 in the NBA, but that's only one factor that could lead to his downfall at the next level. Not only does Rivers have to battle any height shortcomings—he's going to have to battle his selfish reputation.
Skill-wise, Rivers has everything you'd want from an NBA guard: He's quick; he's a good ball-handler; he can be lights-out offensively. So why isn't he at the top of the board? Well, his defense needs a lot of work, as does his shot selection, and he's not incredibly athletic. Rivers is already going to have to overcompensate a little bit for his size, and for someone who already has an iffy shot selection and some bad habits and is desperate to be the star, that could lead to disaster.
The Mavericks are still going to need backcourt help, given Jason Kidd's expected departure, but Rivers is definitely a risky move.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dion Waiters, PG/SG, Syracuse
Waiters, like Jones, can play a variety of positions but doesn't truly dominate at any of them. Still, he can be an excellent shooter, and given the fact that he could've been a lottery selection, the Timberwolves absolutely need to take him here.
19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
The Magic would love it if Leonard fell to them here. He was once a potential lottery selection, but he's fallen because of concerns that he's still too raw defensively. Given his upside, though, the Magic can't pass on him.
20. Denver Nuggets: Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington
Size and build are an advantage for Wroten; the fact that he has a bad reputation as a teammate is not, nor is his tendency to get a little too "Westbrook" with his shot selection.
21. Boston Celtics: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
Melo is a risk, but not because of his size; physically, he has tons of potential, but he just needs to mature and show that he's committed to being a great basketball player. The Celtics are very much in need of size and youth, so he makes sense for them here.
22. Boston Celtics: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
And in case Melo doesn't pan out, at least the C's will escape the draft with one excellent selection. Taylor has had plenty of time to hone is game at Vanderbilt; he plays terrific defense and when he gets hot offensively, he can be a huge asset.
23. Atlanta Hawks: Royce White, SF, Iowa State
In terms of physical tools, White has them all: athleticism, ball-handling skills, the ability to score from anywhere. He has an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying, however, that knock him down in the order.
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor
Given his upside, the Cavs have to take a chance on Miller, who was one of the best offensive prospects in the NCAA earlier this season before undergoing ACL surgery. If he rediscovers his form, he's a steal here.
25. Memphis Grizzlies: Moe Harkless, SF, St. John's
Harkless is a pretty safe pick here, despite being a bit undersized for the 3 at 6'8". He's quick, long and athletic, and the only problem seems to be with his motor. Once he proves he can play hard consistently, he'll be a threat.
26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Teague is very small at 6'2", but that doesn't seem to hold him back. He's extremely quick and can shoot, but he's truly valuable as a distributor.
27. Miami Heat: John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt
Jenkins proved to be one of the best shooters in the NCAA last season, and the Heat could use his scoring touch off the bench next season.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure
Who is most likely to be a bust at the next level?
Nicholson could be an excellent option for the Thunder off the bench next year: He may be a bit small for the 4 at 6'9", but he's solid defensively and has some nice range on his shot.
29. Chicago Bulls: Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
Purely in terms of shooting abilities, the Bulls can't go wrong with Lamb, who shot 46.6 percent from three last season. The biggest reason he slips this far is because he's a bit undersized at 6'5", but his offense keeps him in the first round.
30. Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State
In terms of being undersized, it may not get more extreme than Green, who's just 6'6". But on the upside, he does have four years of college experience and is an excellent shooter.
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