NBA Draft 2012: 6 Prospects Who Would Be a Luxury to Have
For these participants in the 2012 NBA draft, perceived value is mostly affected by placement.
If selected early, these guys would be considered overrated reaches. Yet the teams waiting outside the lottery and toward the draft's bottom are eagerly hoping to find value here.
One man's trash is another man's treasure, and these collegiate stars will offer plenty of upside, leadership, immediate production or all of the above.
Years from now, we could very well look at this draft saying, "How in the world did these guys fall so far?" The franchises that passed them up will regret "the one that got away," while those that procured their services with low picks and slim rookie contracts will be thankful they did.
Jeremy Lamb: UConn (SG)
Once thought to be a potential top-10 pick, Jeremy Lamb's stock has been rapidly fading over the past few weeks.
With a high ankle sprain and shoulder injury limiting any workouts, Lamb has lost substantial buzz to guys like Duke's Austin Rivers, Syracuse's Dion Waiters and even Washington's Terrence Ross.
The draft's top will be obsessed with big men and one or two "great" point guards like Damian Lillard and Kendall Marshall. Thus it's entirely possible that a sudden afterthought like Lamb slips out of the lottery (h/t NBAdraft.net). I can even foresee doomsday scenarios whereby he falls even further.
No matter where he's selected, it's going to be lower than once expected. Yet a few nagging injuries are temporary problems indeed. Lamb didn't magically lose his 6'5" frame, 7' wingspan, superior hops or shooting range.
Jeremy Lamb could be the next Jason Richardson. Any team that can snag him in the 12 to 25 range will have gotten away with a real heist.
Terrence Jones: Kentucky (F)
Because Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist grabbed so much of the spotlight, it's easy to forget just how good Terrence Jones was during his two seasons at Kentucky.
Sure, his numbers dipped once Davis was aboard, but Jones still shot 50 percent from the floor while logging 12 points and seven boards per game. He did that while providing two blocks and a steal, fitting seamlessly into the Wildcats' scheme every night.
One of the most polished, versatile and fluid big forwards in the draft, Jones has been an afterthought behind Davis, Thomas Robinson, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and, recently, Andrew Nicholson.
That said, look at Jones' ability to handle the ball, attack the rim, block shots and shoot from range. He has "starting-caliber power forward" written all over him.
Terrence Jones could fall anywhere between the No. 15 and No. 25 spots simply for a lack of buzz. However, much like his career in Lexington, he should quietly fit onto any roster while providing some noisy numbers.
Jared Sullinger: Ohio State (PF)
Back injuries and Sean May comparisons have so derailed Jared Sullinger's bandwagon he's now not even invited to draft night (h/t Andy Katz, ESPN.com).
Sully's loss could become a contender's great gain. There's little chance he'll crack the top 20, and he might even smell the fringes of the high second round. Yet this is a guy with legitimate block footwork who put up 17 points and 10 boards every night against strong Big Ten defenses.
He's polished and smart, and you better believe he'll enter the NBA with an enormous chip on his shoulder. Plus, he'll be landing on a playoff team, where his weaknesses can be effectively covered by roster talent and franchise stability.
Drafting Jared Sullinger in the top 10? That would have been potential foolishness even when he was healthy. However, snagging him at the end of the first round is an absolute no-brainer.
If he busts now, oh well. Yet if he gets healthy and puts it all together? We could be talking about DeJuan Blair as a "poor man's Jared Sullinger," and not the other way around.
Draymond Green: Michigan State (F)
Skill might be the dividing line, but hard work trumps talent over time.
Draymond Green has the maturity and leadership skills to bolster a locker room overnight. What's more, his drive and grit will earn him court minutes and respect awfully quick too.
This is your classic "underdog" guy that coaches and fans will love. He'll hang around only as far as his motor will drive. Yet he already has some definable skills—he's a fantastic passer and good outside shooter.
Green would have a major disappointment risk if drafted in the top 10 like his historical doppelganger, Clarence Weatherspoon. However, he's appropriately placed on the first-round fringes right now.
Any team that picks him there will feel like they got real value.
Jeff Taylor: Vanderbilt (G/F)
Jeff Taylor will never be an NBA star. However, he's not expected to be when drafted in the low first to upper second round.
In four years at Vanderbilt, Taylor showed consistency and enough steady improvement to cement his status as a hard worker (h/t draftexpress.com). He's got some explosiveness and range, but his real destiny is that of a lockdown defender.
Every team out there is looking for the next Bruce Bowen, Shane Battier, Kawhi Leonard or Thabo Sefolosha. Taylor's long arms, athleticism and natural defensive instincts make him a prime candidate to be next in line.
A playoff team is going to snag Jeff Taylor in the late first round, camp him out at the corner three-point line and unleash him on the opponent's best wing. There is always a long career in store for a guy who can accomplish that.
Kim English: Missouri (SG)
Three-point shooters are a commodity whose price never dips. While Doron Lamb and John Jenkins are the bigger names heading into draft night, Kim English is the best value.
Sure, he's 23 already and struggled mightily his junior year, but he bounced back in a big way last season, canning 78 threes at a 46 percent clip.
He's 6'6" (taller than either Lamb or Jenkins), and he runs off screens better too. He also snagged as many rebounds and steals as those two combined.
English is another role player/specialist who won't conjure up much excitement on draft night, but he'll more than make up for that once he's shooting the long ball. He's a fantastic second-round pick and a guy every roster needs.