The 15 Best Pure Scorers in 2012 NBA Draft

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIJune 28, 2012

The 15 Best Pure Scorers in 2012 NBA Draft

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    In what we all call the NBA, and what some call the "no defense league," elite scoring is one of the, if not the, most valuable skills when evaluating a draft prospects value.

    This year, in the 2012 draft class, there are a number of prospects who are considered to be truly elite scorers.

    From the well-known guard out of Florida, Bradley Beal, to the lesser-known guard out of Tennessee Tech, Kevin Murphy, there are a number of players who are ready to make an immediate impact in the NBA based solely on their pure scoring abilities. 

    Ahead is a ranking of the top 15 pure scorers available in the 2012 NBA draft. 

Honorable Mention: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

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    2011-12 stats: 11.9 PPG, 49.1 FG%, 25.5 3P%

     

    While Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a sure lottery pick in the 2012 NBA draft, he doesn't crack our lottery of pure scorers.

    The reason for that is because this past season he only averaged around 12 points per game. That doesn't mean he's not a pure scorer, though.

    Anyone who watched Kentucky basketball last season knows how explosive Kidd-Gilchrist can be on offense. What makes him such an elite scorer is his high-level of efficiency. It's not often that a small forward shoots around 50 percent for an entire season.

    While Kidd-Gilchrist will certainly be drafted in the top 10 because of how complete of a player he is, whoever drafts him will also be getting one of the top 15 pure scorers in the entire draft. 

15. Moe Harkless, SF, St. Johns

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    2011-12 stats: 15.3 PPG, 44.5 FG%, 20.2 3P%

     

    At the beginning of the 2011-12 college basketball season, Moe Harkless' name wouldn't have been on this list because he wasn't considered a prospect with NBA potential just yet.

    Fast forward to today, and Harkless is one of the purest scorers in the 2012 draft class, and that's exactly why he decided to enter the draft after his freshman year at St. Johns.

    Harkless has an impressive ability to slash to the basket and finish with authority. In addition to that he has a smooth mid-range jumper that will help him transition to the NCAA to the ranks of the NBA.

    The one thing holding Harkless back from being higher on this list is the lack of polish on his long-range jumper. Once Harkless works on his three-point jumper he'll become a more complete scorer. Until that happens, though, he'll still be one of the purest scorers coming out of the 2012 NBA draft. 

14. Austin Rivers, G, Duke

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    2011-12 stats: 15.5 PPG, 43.3 FG%, 36.5 3P%

     

    Austin Rivers didn't necessarily live up to the hype surrounding him in his first and only season at Duke, but that doesn't change the fact that he's an absolute elite scorer.

    While Rivers was inconsistent for a majority of his freshman campaign, he still had a number of games where he put up 20-plus points.

    Rivers needs to work on his overall efficiency with the ball, and once he does that he'll be a dangerous guard in the NBA.

    What makes Rivers such a pure scorer is his ability to finish strong around the rim against much bigger defenders, which he did time and time again at Duke. I'll put my money on him continuing to do that at the next level.

13. Dion Waiters, G, Syracuse

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    2011-12 stats: 12.6 PPG, 47.6 FG%, 36.3 3P%

     

    Dion Waiters' draft stock has gone through the roof over the past few months and the main reason for that is because of the elite scoring potential that exists in his offensive game.

    While Waiters only had three 20-plus point games this past season, the fact that he played in arguably the most competitive league, the Big East, certainly played a role in that.

    No matter how you look at Waiters, his physicality on the offensive end and his pure stroke from beyond-the-arc helps him stand out from other prospects in this year's draft.

    Waiters is a rare player who can be a pure scorer from nearly anywhere on the court, including around the rim against bigger and stronger defenders. 

12. Terrence Ross, G, Washington

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    2011-12 stats: 16.4 PPG, 45.7 FG %, 37.1 3P%

     

    Like a number of other prospects on this list, Terrence Ross could've benefited from another season back in college. But the fact that he's a pure-scoring ability led him to enter the draft.

    Ross' athleticism is a major reason why he's such an elite scorer. He uses his athletic ability to create high-percentage shots for himself from almost anywhere on the court.

    There's no doubt that Ross could increase his efficiency, but even where he stands now, his ability to score when his team needs him to makes him stand apart in this year's draft.

    Ross will need to add some strength to his frame to carry his elite scoring into the NBA, and if he does that he'll certainly be one of the most productive players coming out of the 2012 NBA draft. 

11. Jared Cunningham, G, Oregon State

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    2011-12 stats:  17.9, 45.0 FG%, 33.8 3P%

     

    Jared Cunningham is a pure scorer who you may have never heard of because he played his college basketball at Oregon State University.

    Putting that aside, Cunningham knows how to score and he knows how to do it at an impressively efficient level—especially when you consider the talent he had around him.

    Cunningham has serious range, and he also has the most important part of being a pure scorer—the ability to score off the dribble.

    With a little polish on his mid-rnage game and a bit more focus on his athleticism, Cunningham could be the steal of this year's draft.

10. Jeremy Lamb, G/F, Connecticut

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    2011-12 stats: 17.7 PPG, 47.8 FG%, 33.6 3P%

     

    Jeremy Lamb was inconsistent at times this past season, but when he decided to turn it on, he was one of the post offensively productive and dangerous players in college basketball.

    Lamb is not only freakishly athletic, he's also ridiculously lanky, and while he could benefit from adding some strength to his frame, as he stands right now he's still ready to take his game to the next level.

    Shooting nearly 50 percent for an entire year is impressive, but it's even more impressive when you're the offensive focus for a team playing in the Big East.

    Lamb can score from the perimeter and also cut into the paint and finish with some serious authority. That mix of productivity is at the foundation of what makes him such a pure scorer. 

9. Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

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    2011-12 stats: 14.8 PPG, 44.5 FG%, 33.9 3P%

     

    The Bradley Beal hype train is out in full force, and the main reason for that is because out of all the players in this year's draft he is one of the most NBA ready.

    Beal will certainly be a top-four pick—and for good reason. He's an elite scorer and a dominant finisher in the paint.

    What makes Beal stand out is the way he slashes into the paint and hits shots that players like Dwyane Wade make.

    Beal makes scoring look like an art form, and he'll undoubtedly continue to do that in the NBA. 

8. Orlando Johnson, G, UC Santa Barbara

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    2011-12 stats: 19.7 PPG, 45.1 FG%, 42.7 3P%

     

    Don't worry, you're not the only person who hasn't heard of UC Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson.

    Johnson is certainly one of the most underrated prospects in this year's draft, as he could very well end up going undrafted because he didn't play college basketball in a major conference.

    This past season, though, when Johnson played against the only ranked school on UCSB's schedule, UNLV, he went off for 36 points on 45.8 percent shooting, which goes to show that he's capable of some big-time scoring.

    Johnson might pull the trigger a little too much, but that doesn't change the fact that when he's on fire, he's one of the most deadly scorers in the 2012 draft class. Teams with late, second-round picks should go after Johnson, as he could be the steal of the draft.  

7. Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

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    2011-12 stats: 17.1 PPG, 44.0 FG%, 35.8 3P%

     

    Harrison Barnes has quite a bit going for him heading into the 2012 NBA draft. He's one of the most fundamental, most mature, most NBA-ready players in the draft.

    In addition to that, he's also one of the most unassuming, pure scorers in the 2012 draft class.

    Putting up 17.1 points per game is an impressive feat in college basketball, but it's that much more impressive that Barnes put up that production at the University of North Carolina in the competitive ACC.

    If there's one player in the draft who's a sure bet to carry over his efficiency and pure ability to score into the NBA, it's Barnes. That's just the kind of complete player he is. 

6. Terrell Stoglin, G, Maryland

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    2011-12 stats: 21.6 PPG, 41.3FG%, 38.4 3P%

     

    After being suspended from the Maryland Terrapins basketball program this past season, Terrell Stoglin decided to enter the NBA draft instead of working his way back into the ranks of college basketball.

    That certainly hurt his draft stock, but if you can put that aside for a moment and look at his statistical production last year, it's clear that he's a ridiculously pure scorer.

    Like most pure scorers, Stoglin is often known more for taking questionable shots while still putting up impressive numbers than he is for efficiency and complete scoring ability.

    With the ball in his hands though, he's as dangerous a scorer as you'll find in this draft. If Stoglin can get his act together off the court, he'll get his chance of carrying his pure scoring ability into the NBA. 

5. Darius Johnson-Odom, G, Marquette

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    2011-12 stats: 18.3 PPG, 44.7 FG%, 38.5 3P%

     

    Darius Johnson-Odom has a lot of qualities you'll find in a pure scorer. He has a long range to his jump-shot and he's capable of finishing around the rim with serious ferocity.

    What makes Johnson-Odom such an elite offensive talent, though, is that he's absolutely fearless.

    While some other "elite prospects" in this year's draft will be held back by their lack of confidence, Johnson-Odom transcends that with an elite level of confidence and trust in his offensive game.

    Johnson-Odom certainly puts up his fair share of questionable shots, but that's not a problem when you still manage to shoot nearly 40 percent from beyond-the-arc. Whoever takes the risk on Johnson-Odom could end up with the steal of second round of the 2012 NBA draft. 

4. Kevin Murphy, G, Tennessee Tech

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    2011-12 stats: 20.6 PPG, 44.4 FG%, 41.6 3P%

     

    It's extremely rare to find a player who not only shoots above 40 percent from the field, but also above 40 percent from beyond-the-arc. Especially when that player is putting up 5.8 three-pointers per game.

    That's exactly who Kevin Murphy is, and that's what makes him such an elite scorer. To put Murphy's three-point percentage into perspective, Ray Allen—the NBA's all-time leader in three-pointers made—only averaged above 40 percent from beyond-the-arc seven times out of his 15-year, NBA career.

    While Murphy needs to add a lot of muscle to compete at the next level, there's no doubt that even at just 185 pounds he can still score the ball from almost anywhere on the court.

    Last year Murphy had 19 20-plus point games—including a 50-point outing—and that clearly displays the insane ability to score that Murphy brings to the table.

3. John Jenkins, G, Vanderbilt

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    2011-12 stats: 19.9 PPG, 47.4 FG%, 43.9 3P%

     

    John Jenkins put together quite a season this past year at Vanderbilt when he shot nearly 44 percent from three-point land while putting up an average of 8.7 three-pointers per game.

    Jenkins' pure stroke is what makes him such a valuable prospect and an ideal shooting guard in the NBA.

    What's even more impressive about Jenkins' dangerous scoring abilities is that he's more than capable of creating shots for himself off the dribble while also being lethal coming off screens.

    No matter how you look at Jenkins, there's no getting around the fact that he's certainly one of the purest shooters coming out of this year's draft, and he could end up being one of the most elite scorers out of the 2012 NBA draft as well. 

2. Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State

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    2011-12 stats: 24.5 PPG, 46.7 FG%, 40.9 3P%

     

    Damian Lillard is without a doubt one of the most elite scorers in this draft, in addition to being one of the most elite scorers coming out of college in recent memory.

    While Lillard's stats certainly are bolstered by playing at Weber State, there's no doubt that he could've put up that kind of production playing anywhere.

    Lillard is also a ridiculously hard worker, which is at the foundation of what makes him such a special player.

    With explosive athleticism and a pure stroke, Lillard will be one of the purest scorers to come out of the 2012 NBA draft.  

1. Will Barton, G, Memphis

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    2011-12 stats: 18.0 PPG, 50.9 FG%, 34.6 3P%

     

    While some will chalk up Will Barton's production to playing at Memphis, there's no way around the fact that shooting over 50 percent from the field while averaging 18 points per game is an incredible feat.

    Barton lacks size and strength on his 6'6'', 175-pound frame, but he's still a surprisingly physical player, especially on the perimeter, and that is one of the reasons why he's at the top of the list of pure scorers coming out of this year's draft.

    Efficiency is also the name of the game here, and while he can improve his shooting from beyond-the-arc, he's the only player on this list to shoot over 50 percent from the field, which is impressive for a shooting guard.

    Barton might not be the most physically intimidating player, but that doesn't matter all that much because he is the purest scorer in the 2012 draft class, and that will earn him a spot on an NBA roster next season.