NBA Draft 2012: Ranking Top 10 Scoring Machines in Class
The 2012 NBA draft is almost upon us, and we have a vast number of scoring machines in the class.
Some of them are top-notch point guards who can slash to the lane. Others are big men with a tendency to finish at the rim with authority. Needless to say, this draft has a number of great scorers and is loaded with incredible talent overall.
However, just knowing that there are some great scorers in this draft class does not tell us who is the best of the bunch.
Let us take a little time to figure out who, indeed, stands tallest among the rest of the group.
10. Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor
College Essentials: 14.0 points, 51% field goals, 71% free throws, 29% three-pointers
The only thing keeping Perry Jones from being much higher on this list is his often inconsistent play.
Jones has all the natural ability in the world: strength, length, great jumping ability, presence to finish at the rim and smooth shooting stroke away from the basket.
However, it's that "What if?" factor that scares some people, as it is never really known if he will produce as much as he is capable of.
In transition, Jones can either run the floor and look for the open lane, or he can handle the ball if the situation calls for it. Because of his long arms and smooth shooting stroke, he can also hit from the outside with ease when that opportunity presents itself.
Again, Jones is one of the most physically gifted talents in this draft and could be much higher on the list had he proved more in school. While he may be a bit raw in consistency, scoring is not much of a challenge for Jones when he doesn't want it to be.
9. Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt
College Essentials: 16.4 points, 49% field goals, 61% free throws, 43% three-pointers
At Vanderbilt, Jeffery Taylor was a hidden talent behind sharpshooter Jeff Jenkins during his career but should not be taken lightly when playing defense on him.
While opponents would focus on Jenkins from the outside, Taylor would do the same thing with nearly the same consistency from three-point range.
Taylor's 6'7", 230-pound frame gives him the opportunity to hit from the outside while also being a threat to dominate inside the paint when needed. He moves well without the ball and likes to sneak to the back side of the defense for easy buckets.
He also has great speed for his size and build, giving him a transition offense threat as well. Taylor isn't afraid to bang in the paint if need be, providing a nice addition to his overall production.
Inside or outside, Taylor is a constant threat to score.
8. Will Barton, SG/SF, Memphis
College Essentials: 18.1 points, 51% field goals, 74% free throws, 34% three-pointers
Will Barton showed at Memphis that he is one of the best scoring threats not only in this draft class, but in the nation.
He has the quickness and agility to slash his way through the paint and convert at the rim. If he doesn't get all the way to the rim, he has a nice jumper from short range that allows him to keep the defense off balance. His quickness also allows him to excel in the transition offense, a vital key in the NBA.
Barton could a play smaller 3 or a nicely sized 2 in whichever system he gets drafted into. With this, he will have an opportunity to provide the scoring from inside or outside, as his three-point shooting seems easy because of his strong shooting form.
He also has lengthy arms, much like Kevin Durant, which allows him to get his jump shot over taller defenders. Combine that with his ability to pull the trigger quickly on any shot, and Barton is a nice threat to have a long career in the NBA.
7. Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
College Essentials: 12.6 points, 48% field goals, 69% free throws, 36% three-pointers
Another great penetrate-and-finish style of guard in this class is Dion Waiters. At Syracuse, Waiters showed his ability to drive the lane as well as deliver from beyond the arc on a consistent basis.
Waiters brings a knowledge of playing a 2-guard position but isn't afraid to control the ball as well. Complete with great shooting range, Waiters is the total package for scorers.
Coming off the bench for Syracuse, Waiters used his time well, proving his worthiness in this stacked draft class. He uses a combination of quickness, agility and physicality to get his points, something that will do him wonders at the next level.
For Waiters, it's all about the entire game. He can play on or off the ball with great ease. These are a few of the essentials that give him an advantage over the competition.
6. Darius Johnson-Odom, SG, Marquette
College Essentials: 18.5 points, 45% field goals, 76% free throws, 39% three-pointers
Jae Crowder may have been the biggest name at Marquette, but Darius Johnson-Odom was the best overall player on the team.
Johnson-Odom brings good court speed and transition skills with him to the NBA. He has a nice ability to finish at the rim but prefers to spot-up and shoot over the defender. This is highlighted by a great step-back move to bring separation between him and his defender.
He has a great shooting touch from beyond the arc, which has made him successful during his time in school. He can also move without the ball, which helps him gain clearance from the defense, where he excels.
Something that keeps him from being higher on the list is his tendency to settle for the jump shot rather than converting at the rim. This is something he could improve upon, but he still has the capabilities to be a nice scoring option in the NBA as he was at Marquette.
5. Austin Rivers, SG/PG, Duke
College Essentials: 15.4 points, 43% field goals, 65% free throws, 36% three-pointers
Austin Rivers may have actually benefited from returning to school for another year to refine the rest of his game, but his scoring presence is not in question.
Rivers works best when he is operating with the ball, creating his own shot. He showed on a number of occasions that he can pull up from three-point range over any defender with ease.
Rivers also has the tendency to drive to the rim quite frequently, which is good or bad depending on the team preference and system.
Still pretty raw in overall ball-handling ability, Rivers has shown some great skills when dribbling through the defense. Especially in isolation, he excels in the one-on-one environment, which his skill set proves to be centered around.
He has no lack of self-confidence, which is great for young prospects such as Rivers.
While he still has plenty to work on in his overall game, Rivers is one of the best in this draft class when it comes to creating offense and excelling in certain situations. There's a reason he's projected to go in the lottery.
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SG, Kentucky
College Essentials: 11.8 points, 49% field goals, 75% free throws, 25% three-pointers
While Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was playing with the loaded Kentucky squad, he showed flashes of brilliance as well as flashes of discomfort.
He has an ability to get to the rim that is uncanny but hasn't really proven to be a true guard that would do well in the NBA.
However, Kidd-Gilchrist brings with him some great room for improvement, so his weaknesses will ultimately be what make him a success.
During his time at Kentucky, he brought to the table a great array of slashing ability and the knowledge of how to finish at the rim. When he does get contested, though, MKG has the physical ability to maneuver around the opposition to get his points.
Soft hands and taking contact to his advantage to finish give Gilchrist the intangibles to build off of his rather lackluster freshman season at school.
In his case, the stats are rather deceiving when it comes to his scoring prowess, as well as his knowledge for the game. Kidd-Gilchrist's abilities to score will be elevated once he gets to the NBA.
3. Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
College Essentials: 17.7 points, 48% field goals, 81% free throws, 33% three-pointers
Jeremy Lamb spent his first season at UConn playing second fiddle to Kemba Walker on the team's run to a national championship. Many felt that once Walker left, Lamb's production might falter, as he would be the primary focus for opposing defenses.
Those people were wrong.
Lamb came out and had a splendid season playing in the Big East, making it known he would no longer be living in Walker's shadow.
Throughout the year, Lamb relied heavily on his ability to penetrate and knock down the mid-range jumper. He isn't afraid to shoot the three-point shot either, allowing for a very versatile style of scoring options for the 2-guard.
Lamb also likes to have the ball in his hands when he wants to shoot, as he produces well off the the dribble-drive form of shooting.
One crucial factor for him, since he is not a point guard, is his ability to come off of curls and flashes to get himself open for shots.
Shockingly, Lamb is still in a bit of a developmental stage in the rest of his game, but his scoring ability is unquestionable.
2. Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
College Essentials: 24.5 points, 46% field goals, 88% free throws, 40% three-pointers
Weber State is not often mentioned in the discussion of great players, but rarely do we get a Damian Lillard playing for such a small school.
Lillard's natural confidence and body control make him a consistent threat at the point guard position. He's gained a lot of respect from defenders for his ability to spot up and drain the jumper in their face.
Despite great shooting ability, Lillard isn't afraid to dribble around the defender to make his way to the rim.
Three-point range is no problem for the little man, as his shooting ability from beyond the arc is unmatched from his position. He knows he can beat you in a number of ways on the court and make you look foolish in attempting to stop him.
If he does get to the rim, he has the ability to draw fouls as well as convert free throws. Lillard is the ultimate scorer but loses out on this list to...
1. Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
College Essentials: 14.6 points, 44% field goals, 77% free throws, 32% three-pointers
Complete with a strong body, soft hands and solid shooting touch, Bradley Beal is the ultimate package in terms of scoring ability.
While playing in the guard-heavy Florida system along with Kenny Boynton and Earl Walker, Beal rose above the pack with his ability to create for himself.
His shooting touch is silky-smooth and often seems effortless. He can spot up, penetrate or catch-and-shoot without so much as a lag in his overall game.
Beal likes to live in the corner at times, something a lot of NBA talent has problems with today. His strong body allows him to penetrate the lane and draw contact as well.
He is a natural scorer through and through and will make any team count its lucky stars for landing the gifted scoring machine.