NBA Draft 2012: Ranking the 5 Best Power Forward Prospects
The 2012 NBA draft is set and ready to begin on Thursday, June 28.
The draft is loaded at the top, with household names like Anthony Davis, Perry Jones, Thomas Robinson and more. Despite the lack of premier guards, this year's draft is absolutely loaded with forwards who could grow into one position, or flex and play at both forward positions.
As the draft creeps closer and closer, here are five power forwards that could make noise once jumping into the NBA.
Enjoy the show!
5. Andrew Nicholson
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Despite playing in a mid-major conference while attending St. Bonaventure, Andrew Nicholson is no player to scoff at.
Yes, Nicholson played in the Atlantic 10, a conference that doesn't produce the level of talented players that the major conferences do. However, Nicholson is blessed with tremendous talents and has a ton of upside. He's been on draft radars for awhile now and this year, he could end up being one of the steals of the draft when it comes to PFs.
At 6'10", Nicholson is versatile and has a high basketball IQ. His tremendous wingspan allows him to play even bigger. He's become a better inside presence over the last couple of seasons and he's an extremely efficient scorer, taking a lot of high-percentage shots.
Nicholson is also a great pick-and-roll option. He loves to set screens and pop out for a perimeter shot, while also knowing when the time is right to roll to the bucket. If that wasn't enough, he can also take down rebounds, averaging 8.4 RPG in 2011-12.
Maybe he didn't compete against the very best the NCAA had to offer, but Nicholson is a sneaky player that scouts allowed to fall through the cracks.
Look for him go somewhere in the first round and to develop his game more and more.
4. Perry Jones
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Similar to Moultrie, Baylor's Perry Jones possesses tremendous athletic ability that has propelled him up the draft boards the last few months.
Although he still needs to develop further, Jones blossomed while at BU this past season. He has guard-like agility and small-forward athleticism that makes it difficult for NBA scouts to classify him and place him at a specific position. His 6'11" height could put him at center, but the best result may be when you place him at PF.
One major concern with Jones is his inability to come up in big games—an unflattering trait he showed during the NCAA tournament. However, a lot of that comes from things that are out of his control and the fact that he was thrown right into the fire and played probably too much, compared to where his skills are currently at.
Despite the negativity surrounding Jones, his talents are undeniable. With more seasoning, Jones could end up being one of the most underrated talents coming out.
Look for him to go high in the draft in two weeks.
3. Arnett Moultrie
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Although there hasn't been much attention being made about Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie, don't mistake his talents.
Moultrie's athleticism and ability to guard 4s and 5s consistently puts him near the top of most lottery boards. Offensively, he can score from inside and out (16.5 PPG). Listed at 6'11", he has a motor like none other and his ability to run up and down the court on the break puts him in a different class. He also took a lot of high-percentage shots last season (58 percent) and has explosiveness, even at his size.
The downside with Moutltrie is that when he moved from SF to PF this past season, he sacrificed developing his perimeter shot to help out with other responsibilities on the floor. He's not polished in the post, so he's not a true post-up player. He'll need time to grow into working on that part of his game.
Expect Moultrie to come off the board early in two weeks. It'll take time, but if the team that drafts him gives him the opportunity to work on his post game, the sky is the limit to what he can do.
2. Thomas Robinson
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Even though Anthony Davis will be drafted first overall, it could be said that Kansas' Thomas Robinson is the most polished player coming out of draft this year.
At 6'9", Robinson will be undersized at the power forward position, compared to his NBA counterparts. However, as a raw athlete, Robinson was able to really refine and develop his overall game over the last three years.
His insanely long 7'3.25" wingspan puts him in a whole different category of athlete.
Robinson was a consistent double-double guy every night out over the 2011-12 season while at KU. He averaged 17.7 PPG and 11.9 RPG while also holding a field-goal percentage of 50.5. He showed great strides in his offensive game, averaging nearly 10 more points this past season than the previous.
Robinson will go either second or third overall in two weeks. Expect him to step right in with whichever team picks him and for Robinson to make an instant impact.
1. Anthony Davis
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There's not much of an argument with Kentucky freshman sensation Anthony Davis going first overall in two weeks.
Davis—besides being blessed with all the physical talents in the world—piled up nearly every accolade you can think of during his one year in college: National Freshman of the Year, National Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player, among others.
Davis is a supreme player and showed glimpses of having the complete package while at UK. His ability to play on and off his man defensively is unparalleled. His 186 blocked shots—the record for an NCAA Division I freshman—is evidence to the fact that Davis has an uncanny ability to jump on guys when they take midrange shots.
Listed at 6'10", Davis will have the chance to be one of the most dominant power forwards in the league for years to come. Also, while the offense wasn't dictated around him at UK, Davis was a pretty good ball-handler and showed that he can, at times, take his man off the dribble and to the rim.
In high school, Davis was 6'3" and played point guard, so he's had experience at running the floor.
Davis will be a wrecking ball of havoc on the defensive end right out of the gate. His offensive game will also come along, and when it does, Davis could be one of the best players in the NBA for years to come.