NBA Draft 2012: 5 Top Prospects Who Come with the Most Question Marks
The 2012 NBA Draft is tonight, and with it comes all of the hope and excrement for every team hoping they can find the missing piece or, in most cases, pieces.
But that hope can easily turn to dread for fans when their team takes a player who enters the draft with all types of question marks surrounding them.
"Is he athletic enough? Does he show up in the big game? Will he be injury prone?"
All fair questions, and the answers will have a lasting impact on every franchise that drafts one of these question-mark players.
Here are five guys entering the 2012 NBA Draft with the biggest question marks surrounding them.
Jeremy Lamb, a shooting guard out of UConn, is a really talented player.
He has a reliable jump shot, a wingspan of 6'11", athleticism, and can hit the three-point shot. He's good defensively and comes from a winning background at Uconn, having won the NCAA Tournament his freshman year.
The questions facing him surround his attitude. Not that he's an off-court problem, but that he doesn't have the right mentality to take over a game.
Lamb spent his first year in college playing with star point guard Kemba Walker, a player who wasn't afraid to take over games and have the ball in his hands in the clutch. That's what people expect from a team's best player.
But Lamb has shown a lack of interest in doing that. He had a few games where he seemed perfectly happy to not be the guy for his team, despite being the best scorer. He seems much better suited to the sidekick role, playing with a star player as a complement but not being the star himself.
Lamb should have a great career in the NBA, but as a potential lottery pick he might scare a few teams off that are looking for a guy with the potential to lead their team. Lamb might not be that guy.
The second UConn player on this list, Andre Drummond is an athletic 7'0" center. He averaged 10 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game in college, and as he'll only be 19 when the season starts he offers a ton of upside.
His athleticism can't be overstated, he has the ability to dominate the NBA as a talented big man. The problem is we've heard that about players before.
Drummond's issues stem from questions about how he'll develop. He doesn't have a lot of offensive skills yet, and overall he seems like a relatively raw talent.
That's fine for a player that comes with an exceptional work ethic, but teams have been shying away from Drummond because of the risk he brings.
If he doesn't work hard, and it sounds like that's a pretty good possibility, he will be a bust.
Austin Rivers was a freshman star for Duke. Very good at scoring points, Rivers was also not afraid to have the ball in his hands when it mattered. Nothing better showcased that than his game-winning shot against Duke's hated rival, UNC.
The questions around Rivers have to deal with most teams drafting him to play point guard in the NBA as opposed to the shooting guard position he played in college. And shoot he did, sometimes regardless of if it was a good shot or not.
Rivers is good at moving with the ball and he's quick enough to get to the basket and create shots for himself in teammates, it just seems sometimes like he's not really interested in doing the latter.
Rivers has a strong personality and he wants to be the leader of his team.
That's a good quality to have if you're a smart player on the court. But his questionable shot selection and extreme confidence might cause him to clash with veteran teammates and coaches, as well as hurt the team on the floor by costing them possessions that could have been better spent on a different shot.
A point guard that won't pass is not a recipe for success, and that's a huge problem for any team looking at drafting Rivers.
Perry Jones III
Perry Jones III is a 6'11" power forward who looked like a sure top five pick at the start of the season.
He's very athletic, has a 7'2" wingspan, and is very talented at both scoring and rebounding. He's good for a big guy at playing in transition, and he doesn't come with injury concerns or off the court issues.
His talent is the reason expectations for him are so high, and it's a big reason some experts see him as a letdown during games.
He lacks the desire to take over the game and be the dominant player he's capable of being, and he settles for jump shots a lot. Settling for jump shots when you're an athletic 6'11" power forward is not something that's going to make a prospective team excited about drafting you.
Jones has slid in the draft from being a top five lock to possibly out of the lottery entirely, and that means GMs agree about the questions surrounding him. If he can develop more of a killer instinct and a will to not settle for jump shots when he is able to get to the rim he should become a star in the NBA.
If not, he'll be just another big guy who likes to take jumpers.
Jared Sullinger was one of the most dominant players in the NCAA the past two seasons.
As a 6'9" power forward he seemed unstoppable at times, averaging over 17 points per game to go with over nine rebounds per game in both seasons.
He's a strong defensive player, was a leader on the court, and is probably the best offensive post player in the draft. The only real knock on his playing ability is that he isn't a spectacular athlete.
But the questions surrounding him are more out of his control than the other players on this list.
In the weeks leading up to the draft reports began to come out about Sullinger's health, and they weren't good reports.
Apparently Sullinger has some back issues, severe enough to have doctors tell their teams not to pursue a player that many people thought would be a certain top 10 pick. Injury concerns aren't anything new with big guys, and watching players fall due to them isn't new either.
If Sullinger can prove the doctors wrong and stay healthy, he'll probably end up as both an All-Star and the steal of the draft. But that's a big risk to take on a guy that the medical experts are saying isn't going to have a very long career.