5 Most Overrated Prospects in the NBA Draft 2012 Class
As the 2012 NBA draft approaches, there is a point when the amount of faith put in some prospects becomes delusional.
Overrating is not just a trap for the top names on the draft board. Granted, it will always be a bigger story when a Kwame Brown or a Michael Olowokandi busts.
However, when an organization picking in the 20s reaches for a guy with second-round talent, it could miss out on the final piece of a championship team. Just ask the Boston Celtics how J.R. Giddens helped to add some youth following 2008.
In the business of making educated guesses on young men's futures, talent evaluators are prone to emphasize the reward over the risk. For the five prospects on this list, that is not the best approach.
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For all his experience and accomplishments as a college player, Draymond Green does not have the skill set of a first-round pick.
Nicknamed "The Dancing Bear" at Michigan State, Green relied on his 236-pound frame to make up for his 6'7" height in the post. He was able to step out and hit 38.8 percent of his threes en route to averaging 16.2 points per game in his senior season, tacking on 10.6 rebounds per game and displaying great passing ability for a big man.
However, Green's skill set just does not translate to the NBA. He is too small to continue to play at power forward and too slow to switch to small forward. Regardless of what position he plays, Green's opponents will not be overwhelmed by his size, and he will be a defensive liability himself.
Green may have been a leader and a winner in college, yet he was also a pudgy hybrid forward who shot .449 from the field last season. That is not the kind of player you select in the first round, especially not in a draft as deep as this one.
Tony Wroten Jr.
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Unlike Green, Tony Wroten Jr. has the physical tools to work out as an NBA player. Based on his track record, however, he is unlikely to translate those tools into execution at the next level.
Wroten was a highly touted prospect throughout high school, but his one year at Washington did not inspire confidence. He did show a solid ability to drive to the basket, averaging 16.0 points per game. However, nothing good can be said about a Pac-12 point guard who shoots .443 from the field, .161 from three and recorded an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.984.
Teams are excited about the idea of an athletic 6'6" combo guard, with DraftExpress saying he could be the next Tyreke Evans due to his ability to get to the hoop and get fouled. The only problem is that Wroten shot an awful .583 on free throws at Washington; any production gained by trips to the line were offset by his inability to convert.
If Wroten goes late in the first round as expected, some team will get a point guard who cannot efficiently produce on offense in any way. That is not a player any title contender needs to take.
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Jeremy Lamb is a skilled scorer with natural defensive ability, but he will need more than natural ability to warrant his potential top-10 selection.
For one, Lamb will very likely be overwhelmed physically at the next level. Talent evaluators love to talk about prospects' wingspan, but Lamb's long arms won't save his 179-pound frame. Physical guards will have a field day against Lamb on offense, and his ability to shoot of the dribble will be rendered moot when he is overpowered by larger defenders.
Even if he is able to add some bulk, there is the matter of Lamb's spotty shot selection. Without Kemba Walker around to take the majority of the shots, Lamb's play took his team out of games when his shot wasn't falling.
This was a malady of last year's Connecticut team in general, but Lamb's tendency to disappear offensively is unbecoming of a pure scorer. The Huskies needed efficiency from their primary weapon in the first round of NCAA tournament, and Lamb's 19 points on 15 shots contributed to UConn's loss.
Lamb will likely be drafted as a big-time scorer, but he does not have the build nor the consistency to produce like that in the pros.
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John Henson will have no chance to display his defensive prowess if he does not do something about his thin frame.
Like Lamb, Henson is underweight for his position, but the stakes are much higher for a guy who makes his living with post defense. Listed at 6'10" and 216 pounds soaking wet, he will be vulnerable manning up against any big man with modest bulk. With all his ability to block shots, his weak-side help won't make up for his strong-side shortcomings.
Henson may have the quickness to guard small forwards, a la Andrei Kirilenko, but he lacks the offensive polish to play the wing. His .500 shooting percentage as a junior is a deceptive figure, as Henson got his points by virtue of the Tar Heels' frenetic offensive pace.
Forced to play in the halfcourt, Henson is not nearly as effective, as his post game is a work in progress and his midrange jumper leaves something to be desired.
Henson's defense is ready for the NBA, but his body isn't. After putting on only 20 pounds since high school, his ability to put on the necessary pounds is a legitimate question mark.
At 7'0" and 279 pounds, scouts have drooled over Andre Drummond's build, which is more than NBA-ready. However, Drummond will need more than just physicality to warrant a selection in the top five.
Scouts, Inc. said before he played a minute at UConn that for Drummond, "consistency and constant effort is an area for improvement." He did nothing to quell these concerns in his one year as a Husky, with a disappointing 10.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game all Drummond has to show for his physical dominance.
"I do not have a back-to-the basket game, honestly speaking," he admitted to Hoopsworld, but the problem extends further than that. Drummond was hesitant to call for the ball at UConn and hesitant when he got it, indicative of a guy who has a lot of physical tools but no clue what to do with them.
His defensive game was no better, full of quickness and athleticism but lacking the awareness to maximize his impact.
The college game already exposed Drummond as a work in progress. However, NBA scouts seem to think he'll put it together against tougher competition and are confident enough to rank him as a top-five prospect. Whether or not he succeeds as a pro will not change the fact that Drummond is the most dangerously overrated player in the NBA draft.