2012 NBA Draft: 5 High-Risk Players Worth Picking
The NBA draft is like an episode of "Deadliest Catch": There are plenty of treasures to haul in, but some teams must take immense risks in order to find them.
This assortment of players is the king crab of this year's draft, and they're simply waiting on the sea floor to be snatched up.
Will teams have what it takes to risk their draft picks on these potentially great players? As the saying goes, "Go big or go home".
Here are the five high-risk players worth a 2012 NBA draft pick.
Royce White, SF/PF, Iowa State
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Looking at Royce White physically, there's not much to criticize.
At 6'8" and 250 pounds, White has no trouble establishing himself in the post, but also has the ability to thrive at the wing position because of his athletic ability. Walterfootball.com lists a plethora of strengths in the Iowa State forward's game.
White's versatility makes him a very attractive prospect for a number of NBA teams, but his off-court issues could be a cause for concern.
His work ethic has been brought into question at times, and quotes such as the following don't help the matter:
“I love the game. I would say that I don’t love it as much as I did as a kid,” White said.
There's no denying White's talent, as well as his NBA build that makes scouts and GMs fall in love.
Some folks from ESPN have even ranked White as the fifth-best prospect in the entire draft.
Judging by White's honesty towards his mental struggles and the fact that he's stayed out of trouble in his time at Iowa State, it seems the burly forward has a great NBA career ahead of him.
Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
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Austin Rivers declared for the NBA after just one season with the Duke Blue Devils.
Some have suggested that Rivers would be better suited staying in college and letting his game develop for another year or two.
Rivers, on the other hand, is a highly-confident (borderline cocky) player who is ready to make an NBA career for himself asap.
ESPN's Chad Ford notes a long list of cons to the young guard's game.
He's not an elite athlete, can't finish with his left hand, a shaky defender, and has a tendency to be selfish with the ball.
Even with that extensive list of dooming attributes, Rivers is still ranked as Ford's tenth-best prospect in one of the deepest drafts in years.
That speaks volumes about Rivers's abilities.
He's a lethal scorer with a whole host of offensive moves and intangibles that make him an extremely exciting player to watch.
Could he be the next Stephen Curry?
There are no guarantees, but Rivers is most definitely worth a shot.
Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
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There's something about watching Jared Sullinger that makes you think he's got the heart to be a great pro.
Sully's a 6'9", 265 pound power forward who can bang with the best of them in the post.
Unfortunately, it seems Sullinger's physical play may have taken a toll on him.
The Ohio State prospect's draft stock has been free-falling of late once he was red-flagged for back problems by an NBA doctor.
This is going to be great news for an NBA team with a late first-round selection, as Sullinger may end up being an absolute steal.
There is obviously some validity to the health concerns surrounding Sullinger, who was not invited to the NBA draft this Thursday because of his declining draft stock, reports ESPN's Andy Katz.
There's still no questioning the heart of Jared Sullinger, and it would be hard to envision the bruising forward without a successful NBA career.
Perry Jones III, SF/PF, Baylor
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A 6'11" physical anomaly who can handle the ball like a guard, play in the post, and defend practically every position on the floor.
So, where's the risk?
Well, it appears that with all of the physical gifts Jones has been given, NBA scouts are puzzled by Jones's seemingly pedestrian stat-line.
14 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game is solid, but it's well below the real potential of Jones III.
It seems Jones struggles with maintaining aggression on the court and can look disinterested at times, according to Swishscout.com.
This is a big concern for NBA teams, and it's a major reason why Jones has been as low as No. 15 in some mock drafts.
Will Jones be the steal of the draft?
Only time will tell.
There's one thing we know for sure: almost no player in this draft possesses the physical tools that Perry Jones III has.
Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
If this draft were based solely on effort during games, Andre Drummond likely wouldn't be selected.
Luckily for the Connecticut center, he's a physical freak with the potential to be the next dominant NBA center.
Swishcout.com lists Amar'e Stoudemire with better post defense as the best-case scenario for Drummond.
The same site lists Andray Blatche as Drummond's worst-case scenario.
These should be taken with a grain of salt, but there's no doubting Drummond's physical ability.
The main drawback of drafting Drummond is that he is going to be a long-term project, but it may pay off tremendously for whichever team is willing to invest the time.
As of now, Drummond is projected to be drafted anywhere from No.2 through No. 8.
If his career pans out, Drummond just might be the player that GMs will be kicking themselves for not selecting in 2012.