NBA Draft 2012: 6 Rookies Who Won't Live Up to Expectations

Andrew Wallock@andrewwallock8Contributor IJune 19, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 6 Rookies Who Won't Live Up to Expectations

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    While many NBA draft prospects players are highly touted as being sure-fire prospects (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), others have numerous question marks surrounding them. They are the players with high expectations and potential, but for some reason or other, will fail to impress in the NBA and ultimately disappoint. 

    This slideshow isn't dedicated to players who will be busts, but merely to players who won't live up to any high expectations placed on them. They could end up being decent players, but not the type of players that many hope them to be. 

    In the following slides, I have picked a list of six players who will disappoint this year. These are the guys I envision will struggle early and often in their NBA careers. 

Austin Rivers

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    While it is definitely true that Austin Rivers was made for the NBA and has been preparing for it his whole life, I still don't see him succeeding at the next level.

    Keep in mind, he'll be a valuable role player a la J.J. Redick, but I don't see him being a star in the league. For one, his decision making can be a bit erratic and selfish at times. But that hasn't stopped players like Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant from succeeding in this league.

    While yes, he is an athlete, he's not an elite athlete. That is something that could definitely be his undoing at the next level.

     In college he averaged a decent 15.5 points per game, but only contributed 2.1 assists and a mere 3.4 rebounds.That won't win him any fans no matter where he's drafted. His overall game needs to improve. 

    The son of Doc Rivers has a lot to work on if he hopes to become a superstar in the NBA. At this point, I still think he should have spent another year at Duke, but now all we can do is watch and see what he makes of his career. The bright lights and fame were too much for him to resist. 

Thomas Robinson

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    I sincerely hope that this prediction ends up being wrong and that Thomas Robinson becomes a superstar in the NBA. I fell for the guy in the tournament; I love his story and his passion.

    But at the next level, the NBA is a whole new ball game. Not known for being dominant in any one area (6'9" is also a bit undersized for his position), he relies on his athleticism a bit too much and needs to find better footwork in the paint. 

    Defensively, he's not horrible, but it could use some work, as he's a bit prone to fouls. 

    On the plus side, the guy plays with a lot of passion and heart. He's been through a lot in his life, and there's no reason he can't transfer all that passion into becoming a decent star in the league. 

    I do see him becoming a great first man off the bench and quite possibly a Paul Millsap type of player, but that is not what his top-two pick status projects. 

Harrison Barnes

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    Remember in the 2012 March Madness Tournament, when Kendall Marshall went down and the North Carolina Tar Heels basically disappeared on the floor?

    Yeah, I do. I'm sure NBA teams do as well. 

    And that's something that has certainly scared me as well as damaged Harrison Barnes' stock. He's a guy we've been waiting to see in the NBA for a long time; a guy who at one point was projected to be a top five pick. 

    While that may not be the case anymore, there are a few things that could hurt him at the next level. He will definitely not be the top scoring option on any team, especially now that we've seen what happens when his top playmaker goes down. The guy can't create shots for himself. 

    If he ends up on a team with a Steve Nash or pass-first point guard, I see him succeeding. But from what I hear, he'll be ending up on the Golden State Warriors. That thought really makes me cringe; he'll just become another so-so forward on a mediocre Golden State team. 

    Here's hoping that Golden State passes on Barnes, and that a team like the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers gets a shot at him. 

Meyers Leonard

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    Meyers Leonard is going to get pushed around and eaten alive once he makes it in the NBA. For some reason, his draft stock keeps climbing. That's all well and good, he may be doing well in workouts.

    Workouts are one thing. Real games are another. I mean, we're talking about practice...not a game. 

    There are numerous big men in the league that will absolutely dominate the young center out of Illinois. Leonard does not yet have the frame or muscle to measure up against those guys.

    Plus, has his NBA comparison as Robin Lopez. I'm not sure if that's a good thing. 

    Even so, I do believe he'll still be a fairly good player at the next level. Perhaps even a starting-caliber center. But he still needs a lot of work offensively, plus he needs to bulk up. 

    I have his ceiling as a Nick Collison-type player, with the basement being Cole Aldrich (both Thunder players, I know). 

Jared Sullinger

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    I don't get why teams still attempt to draft based on potential. Haven't we learned from the likes of Marvin Williams, Hasheem Thabeet and others? 

    But it seems that people are starting to catch on to Jared Sullinger, and unfortunately his stock continues to plummet down draft boards.

    As of today, has him going No. 19 to Orlando. That's quite a fall for a guy who was once projected to be a top 10 pick. I honestly don't even think he's worth a first-round pick.

    If Sullinger wants to do anything in the NBA, he needs to work and work hard. Many people are already starting to write him off as a player. I'd say his ceiling at this point is a Paul Millsap-type player (I know, I always use Millsap as a comparison).

    The main crack against his game is his overall lack of physical gifts that other prospects have. Also, he won't measure up defensively to other undersized 4's in the league.

    His last game in college didn't really help his status either. This story also hurt him pretty bad. 

    I don't see Sullinger being anything more a eighth or ninth guy off the bench, if he even makes it at all. He's a poor, poor man's Carlos Boozer, and that's not much of a compliment in itself.

Tyler Zeller

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    I know what you're thinking: another seven-foot white guy that won't make it in the NBA?

    Yep. As of now, Zeller is projected to go in the top 12, and I can't for the life of me figure out why.

    When describing Zeller's weaknesses, put it this way (this description just makes him sound terrible):

    Even though Zeller has good height for the C spot, he certainly doesn’t have very good strength …When he faces strong big men down low, they can easily seal and establish position on him for pretty easy shots … He’s also not the toughest guy down low, and struggles with defensive rebounding and physical play inside on both ends.

    If he is terrible against opposing centers, than what qualifies him as a top 10 pick? Teams would be safer going for a guy like Arnett Moultrie, John Henson or Perry Jones III (future superstar). 

    Zeller does have a good scoring game and would succeed in a faster-paced offense. Here's to hoping he can find that team, establish his role and stick with it. He's nothing more than a solid role player. 

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