2012 NBA Draft: Predicting Whose Stock Will Fall Furthest

Scott Cournoyer@MDC_CournoyerContributor IIIJune 26, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: Predicting Whose Stock Will Fall Furthest

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    For some college players, the NBA draft on Thursday will be a dream come true. For others, it will be a reminder of what was supposed to be.

    Players have been working tirelessly over the last few months—not to just show off their game to NBA scouts, but also to create a perception of where their stock should be come draft day.

    However, stocks are falling and that could severely alter how the draft unfolds. Here are five players whose stocks are falling and why.

    Enjoy the show!

5. Perry Jones

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    Perry Jones III isn’t just one of the best players coming out in this year’s draft—he may also carry the biggest risk.

    At 20 years old, Jones thrilled fans at Baylor with his impressive performances. He helped propel the Bears' program to new heights.Jones has NBA scouts drooling, with his length (to play at power forward) and his agility (making him a viable option at small forward) as his best physical qualities.  

    However, Jones struggled at times during his sophomore year, not quite living up to the hype that was established during preseason. Jones averaged 13.0 PPG and 7.2 RPG this past year, not the numbers you would have expected from a long and athletic big man that can take over games, as one scout suggested.

    To his credit, though, Jones converted 54.9 percent of shots from the field, a very high number.

    The argument with Jones here is not that he's necessarily fallen off the grid. It’s more of the fact that he was projected to go as a top-five pick after his freshman season and failed to develop and assure scouts that he wasn’t going to lose a beat by going to college for an extra year.

    Because Jones failed to show scouts that he could develop with another year of college, combined with questions about his willingness to develop a low-post game, his stock has fallen during these last couple of months.

    Expect Jones to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, but also for people to talk about where he could have gone. 

4. Harrison Barnes

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    Ever since earning a preseason All-American selection before entering his freshman year at North Carolina in 2010, a mythical cloud of mystique has hovered over Harrison Barnes.

    Barnes, in two college seasons, wowed NBA scouts with his perimeter shooting and ability to pick spots on the floor. In 2011-12, Barnes averaged 17.3 PPG and 5.2 RPG while helping his team advance deep into the NCAA tournament.

    However, his stock began to decline after he was unable to thrive in big games. Some would say Barnes’ stock started to drop long before he even started his sophomore season.

    Scouts have a problem with his inability to put the ball on the floor and create. Barnes has been a shooter at every level. However, for where people are expecting him to go in the draft, Barnes needs to learn to play off the dribble and create shots in order to validate a high selection—something he has failed to do during these workouts.

    Barnes recently worked out for the Charlotte Bobcats as one of a handful of players the team is looking at for its No. 2 pick in Thursday's draft.

    An aura surrounds Barnes, but for all the perception, he will have to develop if he wants to validate his stock. 

3. Tony Wroten

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    In the NBA these days, point guards need to bring an all-around game to the table.

    For Tony Wroten, he has a long way to go to becoming a well-rounded player.

    Wroten, 19, displayed so much raw talent during his one college season that it’s become incredibly difficult to evaluate him. His 6’6” frame has scouts raving, but his shooting—for a player who plays out on the perimeter more than inside—proved to be horrendous. Wroten averaged 16 PPG while in a Washington uniform last season, but only shot for a mediocre 44.3 percent from the field. Also, he can’t shoot a lick from downtown, only converting 16.1 percent of three pointers.

    Wroten’s stock continues to fall as he fails to hit shots during workouts.

    The youngster’s strengths include his court vision, his ability to get to the basket off the dribble and his unrelenting style, which can prove to translate immediately when given the playing time.

    However, Wroten will cave if he can’t develop a deep-perimeter shot, which is difficult in a game that doesn’t allow players to learn on the job.

    Wroten is projected to go somewhere in the late first round. Check out where he lands.   

2. Arnett Moultrie

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    Decisions that players make around draft time rarely swing the pendulum in their favor. However, just one misstep can cost them, and that may be the case this year with Arnett Moultrie.

    Moultrie sat the entire 2010-11 season after fulfilling transfer rules as he shipped to Mississippi State after two years at UTEP. His game dramatically developed and Moutlrie took center stage in the SEC, averaging a double double (16.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG) as he propelled up draft boards at the same time.

    After declaring for the draft, Moultrie surprisingly opted not to work out at the annual NBA draft combine, ultimately hurting his value and stock in the process.

    Moutlrie is all about athleticism. His explosive leaping ability translated into tangible results, as he—NOT Anthony Davis—led the SEC in the rebounding this past season. He can play both inside and out and runs up and down the court pretty well.

    Combines are a great opportunity for players to showcase not just their skills, but also their athleticism, which makes Moultrie’s decision not to participate a bit puzzling.

    The decision not to go work out may end up costing Moultrie when it’s all said and done, so look for where he ends up going.  

1. Jared Sullinger

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    We praise players for staying more than just one season in college basketball. However, there’s also a proverbial notion that if you stay long enough, scouts have more time to break your game down and expose you for what you can’t do, rather than for what you can.

    For Jared Sullinger, he may have missed his own train…one year too late.

    As a freshman at Ohio State in 2010-11, Sullinger’s talents and prospects made noise that echoed around the country. His 17.2 PPG and 10.2 RPG averages earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, as well as a spot on the First Team All Big Ten squad. Sullinger’s 54 percent shooting from the floor also turned heads as he proved that he was capable of taking high-percentage shots and making them.

    When Sullinger made the decision to return for his sophomore season, his stock started falling throughout the 2011-12 campaign. His averages remained level compared to his freshman year (17.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG), but he missed two games due to back spasms.  

    After Ohio State’s season came to an end at the Final Four, Sullinger’s college career also came to an end when he declared for the NBA draft. However, his prospects are changing and looking bleak.

    Sullinger was medically red flagged during a draft combine for the same back problems that forced him to sit during the college season.  If that wasn’t enough to get stock to drop, Sullinger still carries perceived flaws by NBA scouts: He still lacks explosiveness when jumping. He is too small to play center, but not physical enough to match up to NBA power forwards. Of course, there are obvious concerns about his conditioning and durability, and being medically red flagged exacerbates the issue.

    In the end, everything could still work out for Sullinger. He could go later in the first round, compared to where pundits originally slotted him in the top 10.  He could go to an NBA team with less expectations, get healthier, develop his game, find a role and thrive.

    However, Sullinger was tabbed as a high lottery pick nearly two years ago, expected to come onto the NBA scene and establish himself as a household name.

    It’s amazing how far away we are from that now.