NBA Draft 2012: 7 Overrated Players Teams Will Reach for
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The NBA draft is less than two weeks away, and we're starting to get a good sense for how it's all going to shake out, or so we think, at least. We've known for a while, perhaps since March Madness, where certain players would go in the draft. Anthony Davis, for example, is one player from Kentucky who we all knew would be the consensus No. 1 overall pick.
But there's a few surprises in the draft, and not the good kinds of surprises. Some players are even projected to go as lottery picks when they may not even be a top-five player from their class a few years from now.
Here's a look at seven players who teams may be too high on:
Remember the last time Portland drafted a big man?
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Most mock drafts have UConn's Andre Drummond going to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 6 pick. But will he really pan out to be one of the be top 10 players of his class?
With LaMarcus Aldridge as their only big man (Kurt Thomas doesn't really count. He's older than dirt, with all due respect, of course. In fact, he's the oldest player in the league.), the Blazers are picking Drummond because he's the biggest man available. But the case could be made to pick up the best player available, and not just the biggest body.
In that case, the Blazers would look at possibly taking Damian Lillard, who has received outstanding reviews in his pre-draft workouts, Perry Jones (ditto) or John Henson, who is just as tall as Drummond but has much more of an upside. Hold on to one of these guys for a year or two, let them showcase their talent, which is probably more impressive than anything Drummond has to show, and then use said draft pick as bait to get a proven big man.
I know big bodies are hard to come by, but that reason alone shouldn't be enough to take Drummond and overlook the other talent. Just look at Portland the last time it decided to take a big man, opting to select old man Greg Oden over some kid who is now putting Oklahoma City on the map.
In other words, let it be a lesson to the franchise that while they select No. 6 in this year's NBA draft, Oklahoma City is just a few wins away from winning an NBA Championship.
What was it that Einstein once said?
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Sullinger's stock is dropping faster than Facebook.
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Ask me two weeks ago if Jared Sullinger is a top-10 pick, and I probably would've said yes.
But if the mock drafts are correct, the Toronto Raptors are doomed for another year of mediocrity if they think that their No. 8 pick will bring in a guy who's one of the top 10 players in this year's draft for years to come. Sorry to say, Sullinger's health issues, specifically his back problems, are too much of a liability right now after ESPN reported that doctors have told teams that Sullinger should be "red flagged."
Could it just be a lot of hype? Eh, I'd listen to the doctors. And besides, with the No. 8 pick, the Raptors have plenty of options, namely Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb or Dion Waiters if they're still available.
Sorry to say, and I wish him well, but Sullinger, who once was a projected top-5 pick, doesn't even belong in the top 25 at this point.
Is Beal really worthy of a lottery pick?
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I don't think you can go wrong with selecting Bradley Beal, but it's a waste if you have a top-five pick because I think there are players in the draft who will prove to be better down the line.
According to most mock drafts, Beal is slated to go No. 4 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Will he fit in nicely with the Cavs? Sure, they're in need of someone at virtually every position except for point guard, where Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving runs the show.
Problem is, Beal is 6"3' and really can't be looked at as more than a combo guard. Is using the No. 4 pick in the draft to select a combo guard really the wisest choice? I'd rather pair Irving with a big man, which at this point, they can't say they have, to give the Cavs a formidable inside-outside game. Tristan Thompson is unproven and shouldn't be counted on for much right now.
I usually stay away from taking big men early on in the draft, unless it's something obvious like Shaq, but the Cavs have a future All-Star in their point guard, and they should give him someone to work with, much like the blueprint for the Clippers' recent success in pairing Chris Paul with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
I know I dismissed Andre Drummond earlier, but pairing him with a great point guard, or even pairing another big man like Perry Jones, could prove to be a worthy investment for the Cavs.
Taking Beal with the No. 4 pick just doesn't make sense. Will he be good? Yes. But he's not the right fit for the team. The Cavs can do better.
Damian Lillard to the Golden State Warriors? They don't need him.
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Damian Lillard has been getting rave reviews during pre-draft workouts, but he's projected to go to the Golden State Warriors with the seventh-overall pick in the draft. It wouldn't be a bad pick, but the Warriors can do better.
The Warriors already have Stephen Curry, Brandon Rush and lil' Nate Robinson in the backcourt. While the team is definitely in need of other guards, the seventh pick in the NBA draft is not the time to select someone who will probably end up being a backup.
Lillard is a combo guard, and it's not certain he'll be able to make the transition to the NBA if he's asked to the run point or solely camp himself out on the perimeter, much less do it for 35 or 40 minutes a game. He's a solid pick, but not someone the Warriors should be choosing with the seventh-overall pick.
Tyler Zeller to the Bucks? They desperately need a center, but he's not the answer.
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Tyler Zeller is projected to go No. 12 to the Milwaukee Bucks, a pick that I think once again, like others I listed, can't be bad, but the Bucks can do better. John Henson will be the better player, and most mock drafts have him going to the Rockets with the No. 14 pick.
Henson will be the better defender at the NBA level because of his length, but what the Bucks really need is a swingman who can spread defenses. Besides the skin and bones of Mike Dunleavy, Jr. and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Bucks don't really have anyone at small forward.
If Jeremy Lamb is still on the board, the Bucks would be in much better shape to take him than draft Zeller. Then package Dunleavy or Mbah a Moute for a proven big man who already knows how to anchor a defense, and the team would be in much better shape than if it takes the fourth-best big man in the draft.
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Detroit is supposedly looking at Meyers Leonard with the No. 9 pick, according to a few mock drafts. While I agree with the logic of drafting a big man, Leonard is too soft to be picked in the top 10. He spent a good part of his time at Illinois floating around outside the paint and won't be able to hold his own against bigger centers since he doesn't have a go-to post move. His ball-handling isn't great, either.
There's just too many weaknesses here to consider him a top-10 pick. The safer pick would be Perry Jones, who is an impressive shot blocker, can score from the inside as well step out and hit the jumper and is much more versatile as a defender. Leonard, on the other hand, isn't a spectacular big man, yet he's limited to pretty much the center position.
It'd be a reach if Leonard lives up to expectations as a top-10 pick.
Austin Rivers is one of the most overhyped players going into the draft.
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Austin Rivers going No. 10 to the New Orleans Hornets would be such a waste. Best-case scenario, he's a J.J. Reddick, who still hasn't convinced me he'll have a long NBA career. And both of them are too confident despite their limited ability. Don't be surprised if Rivers makes headlines for not getting enough playing time like Reddick when he complained about riding the pine in his first few years in Orlando.
If he didn't have that game-winning shot against UNC this past season, which was definitely one of the biggest college shots I've seen in the past few years, there wouldn't be as much hype. Teams shouldn't be seduced by his scoring ability; he needs to ball too much and can't score off the screen in a pick-and-pop situation. He's also going to be a liability on defense, with teams like Miami exploiting the matchup he'll have with a player like Dwyane Wade. If he can't get it done on defense, is a ball-stopper on offense and complains about not getting enough shots the whole time, why even consider him as a top-10 pick?
New Orleans is better off with Kendall Marshall, or even Jeremy Lamb if he's still available. Austin Rivers may be the most overhyped player going into the draft.