5 High-Risk Players Who Should Be Avoided at the 2012 NBA Draft

Richard Scheuermann@@RJSureCorrespondent IJune 25, 2012

5 High-Risk Players Who Should Be Avoided at the 2012 NBA Draft

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    This year's NBA draft is chock-full of talent, but there are still plenty of landmines hidden among the field.

    Some players are praised for having all the right tools to excel at the next level, but tools alone do not guarantee NBA success.

    The teams that draft the players on this list might have high hopes for their selections, but they'd be better off avoiding them altogether.

    These are the five risky picks that won't pay off at the next level.

Evan Fournier, SG/SF, France

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    Foreign players either translate in America, or they don't (pun intended).

    This year's draft, unlike so many in the past, has a scarce amount of international players.

    This can either be a blessing or a burden.

    For every Dirk Nowitzki, there seems to be a Darko Milicic, but it's obviously been proven that international players can thrive in the NBA.

    Swishscout.com heralds Fournier for his smooth athleticism and quickness, but the site also mentions Fournier's lackadaisical defense and streaky shooting. 

    Fournier is known to force shots as well, creating some concerns about his ability to adapt to the American game.

    Fournier is just 19 years old, and may end up being a project similar to that of Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    More likely than not, Fournier won't be worth the first round selection June 28, and might play a role off the bench.

Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky

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    Doron Lamb played well for the Kentucky Wildcats in his sophomore season, helping his team of future NBA stars win a National Championship.

    The 6'4" Oak Hill Academy alumnus averaged 13.2 points per game, and was a devastating three-point shooter who nailed nearly 47 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

    Unfortunately, that's about all he'll be able to do in the league.

    Lamb wasn't even close to the most athletic player on his talent-laden Kentucky team, and relied on his high basketball IQ and fundamentals to get the job done.

    If teams are looking for a situational three-point shooter who won't make dumb mistakes on the court, look no further than Lamb.

    Whichever team selects Lamb likely won't be expecting an explosive starting shooting guard, but his projection as a late-first or early second-round pick still seems high for a one-dimensional scorer.

Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt

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    The verdict is not out on Festus Ezeli.

    He was a quality player for Vanderbilt in his senior season and presents a huge, domineering force in the paint.

    Defensively, Ezeli's 2.6 blocks per game were excellent. His massive 7'0", 265 pound frame makes him the ideal size for a center built to clog up a lane.

    Where Ezeli struggles, though, are in some crucial areas.

    First, the Nigerian native doesn't possess a keen understanding of the game. He's slow on pick-and-roll defense, and can get burned easily by more athletic players, according to Draftexpress.com.

    Ezeli also doesn't rebound well, despite his enormous 7'6" wingspan, which is perplexing to say the least.

    What Ezeli will provide is a big, defensive force inside.

    Yet with a lack of an offensive game, Ezeli will be more of a liability on the floor than a catalyst.

    A late first-round pick is simply too risky for the Vanderbilt center.

John Henson, PF, North Carolina

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    John Henson is a highly-touted, defensive powerhouse out of North Carolina.

    Sure, Henson was an intimidating presence around the basket while sporting the Carolina blue, but the boys in the NBA can throw weak defenders around.

    Make no bones about it, John Henson is too weak right now.

    At nearly 7' and barely 220 pounds, Henson has been known to get pushed forced out of the paint by bigger defenders, according to Walterfootball.com.

    His 7'4" wingspan, ability to run the floor, shot-blocking skills and overall potential make Henson a favorite for late lottery teams looking for a power forward.

    Henson's "raw" offensive game and lack of size make him a very questionable lottery pick, and teams would be better served holding of on the forward until the mid-to-late first round.

Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

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    Fab Melo is your standard late first-round center prospect who ends up flying through 10 different teams in four seasons in the league.

    Not to sound cynical, as Melo undoubtedly has upside to his game, just not enough right now.

    There are just too many question marks surrounding the Syracuse center to spend a first-round selection on him.

    Melo, much like Ezeli, brings a huge, defensive force onto the court, and can shut down the paint defensively.

    The native-Brazilian center was suspended for much of his final season at Syracuse for inability to keep up with his grades.

    This brings into question Melo's overall character.

    When it comes down to it, Melo won't be a bad long-term project for a quality NBA team, but any team looking to grab a center who can make an immediate impact should avoid the big fella.