The 2012 NBA Draft will produce some tremendous athletic prospects. Players like Anthony Davis and Perry Jones III wow scouts with their size, strength and physical prowess but what about those guys who can just play?
This year's draft gives us many players who do not fit the mold of typical NBA players in term of size or speed but understand what it takes to play at the next level. Each one of these players may never be an All-Star or even start, but each have specific skill sets that will be vital to their teams success.
Here is a list of the five least jaw-dropping athletes who be successful role players, in spite of their physical deficiencies.
Andrew Nicholson looks like a guy you play with at the YMCA on Saturday but can truly play at the next level. Nicholson was the main cog behind the Bonnies' magical run through the A-10 Tournament, culminating in a trip to the NCAA tournament.
The 6'9" PF put up 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds last season for the Bonnies and wore down opposing defenses with his size last season. What makes Nicholson special is his ability to hit the three-point shot—last season he hit from behind the arc at a 43 percent clip.
The combination of size and three-point shooting ability makes Nicholson an intriguing player at the next level who will make his presence felt on the court. Expect Nicholson to be drafted near the end of the first round but for that team to love the contribution he will provide off the bench next season.
Robbie Hummel shined in college as a sharp shooter and expect nothing to change at the next level. Hummel shot 38 percent from three-point land his senior year, showing consistently throughout his carer at Purdue that he can take and make the big shot.
Hummel is a 6'8" SF who may not dominate athletically, but knows how to hustle and never afraid to do the dirty work necessary to win. In his most recent mock draft, Chad Ford of ESPN Insider slotted Hummel No. 47 to the Utah Jazz.
Hummel could make an immediate impact with the Jazz the way Gordon Hayward did last season. Hummel is a sharp shooter, something the Jazz have been searching for since Kyle Korver's departure in 2010 and expect him to make that type of contribution off the bench for the up-and-coming Jazz.
Scott Machado is not your average-sized point guard at 6'2". Machado is an under-sized point guard from Iona, who did a tremendous job of distributing the basketball for the No. 1 offense in college basketball last season.
Machado racked up over nine assists per game while only committing a modest three turnovers a game. Granted, these numbers were in the MAAC, but the way he performed in the NCAA tournament opening game speaks volumes about his talent, which can translate to the next level.
Let's not forget another superstar point guard who thrived at a small school, breaking assist records everywhere he played: Santa Clara star Steve Nash. Comparing Machado to Steve Nash may be a reach, but Machado has similar skills, size and sense of anonymity that the greatest player in Canadian basketball history possesses.
John Jenkins is not an elite athlete, nor does he have ideal size for shooting guard at 6'4", but let's not count out the star from Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Jenkins can shoot the lights out—43 percent from behind the line last season—while averaging at least 19 points in each of his last two seasons.
Not only can Jenkins shoot the lights out but he actually possess a nice small forward wing span. Jenkins has a 6'9" wingspan and combined with his shooting ability can make up for his height deficiencies with his length and Ray Allen-esque quick release.
Expect any team that lands Jenkins services to find a nice shooting guard off the bench who can come in and make big shots, similar to Eddie House in the NBA presently.
Who was the National Player of the Year? That's right, Draymond Green.
Green averaged 18 points and ten rebounds per game while also owning one of the best basketball IQ's of this year's draft class. The value of a smart, hard working player like Green can not be understated and will allow him to thrive in the NBA as a tremendous role player.
Do not be surprised to see Green become the next Dejuan Blair by playing vital minutes while make smart basketball plays for years to come.
Green is not athletically gifted like Jared Sullinger or Tyler Zeller but he understands the game of basketball and can thrive as a role player for a contender next season.