2012 NBA Draft Picks: 7 College Studs Who Will Struggle with Their NBA Teams

Sim Risso@@SimRissoFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2012

2012 NBA Draft Picks: 7 College Studs Who Will Struggle with Their NBA Teams

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    Every season we see players who don't pan out in the draft. Despite new evaluation methods, it continues to happen.

    This draft will be no different.

    It's difficult when you're projecting two or three years down the road. Some players may be forced into situations where they're playing out of position, stunting their growth. Or it could just be an issue of a team banking on incredible upside, while ignoring deficiencies in skill.

    Here are seven college players who shined while in college, but will struggle to translate to the NBA.

    For full draft results, click here.

Andre Drummond

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    Hasheem Thabeet, anyone? Never mind the fact that both Thabeet and Drummond came from the University of Connecticut. The real similarity between the two is that while they have incredible upside because of their size, neither possesses the skills to be a star in the NBA.

    Detroit was well aware of the risk in drafting Drummond, but chose to do so anyway because of his incredible upside. They're banking that he can improve his skills enough to utilize his insane size.

    But with questions about his work ethic, it's hard to see Drummond making the necessary improvements to his game.

Tony Wroten, Jr.

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    Because the Grizzlies already have an established point guard in Mike Conley, Jr., there's really nowhere for him to play.

    Memphis could move him to the 2, because at 6'6" he's got enough size to play shooting guard. However, Wroten does not have a consistent enough jump shot to thrive at shooting guard.

    This leaves him in a position where he's forced to play a position for which he's not entirely suited.

    Transitioning from college to the NBA is difficult as is. It's even more difficult when you're forced to play out of position.

Miles Plumlee

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    It's sad to say, but even calling Miles Plumlee a college stud might be a stretch. That's because he only averaged 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds at Duke last season. More alarming is that Plumlee was a senior, so not only was he much bigger than his competition at 7'0" and 252 pounds, but he was also more experienced.

    Considering that Plumlee struggled to have an impact in his senior season, it's difficult to imagine him suddenly thriving in the NBA. He's certainly got the size to be a good player; but results often trump ability, and Plumlee's results were underwhelming.

Terrence Ross

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    It's not that Ross doesn't have the capabilities to be a good NBA player. It's that at No. 8, his draft position might not match his talents. Of course, Ross could shine in the NBA, in which case it won't matter where he was drafted.

    However, if he needs a grace period to adjust to the NBA, he might not get as much time as he would if he were drafted later.

Fab Melo

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    Melo's in the same mold as Drummond, in that with his 7'0", 255-pound frame he's got tremendous upside but also lacks the skills to contribute immediately.

    Benefiting Melo is that he probably won't be asked to contribute much as a rookie. But even if he gets time to develop, there are still questions about whether he'll develop the offensive skills needed to garner serious minutes.

Maurice Harkless

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    The problem with Harkless going to Philadelphia is that there's a logjam preventing him from getting playing time. Andre Iguodala is Philadelphia's small forward.

    Iguodala could slide over to shooting guard, but Evan Turner is already established there. Where does that leave Harkless?

    Harkless has the size and ball-handling ability to be a good small forward, but he lacks the range on his shot to extend the floor and keep defenders honest. Even if he starts getting significant playing time, he'll have to develop a better jump shot.

    Between a potential lack of playing time and below-average shooting ability, it's difficult to see Harkless becoming a star in the NBA.

Meyers Leonard

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    Leonard, like all of the big men on this slideshow, is a project player. He's got the size to dominate in the NBA, but he lacks the skills.

    With a player like Leonard, there's always the chance he could develop into a star. But because he needs to improve so much to get to that level, the odds of him getting there are diminished.

    He'll need to add strength, because he was often pushed around in the post by players smaller than him. He's also lacking a polished post game. He does have the ability to be a good defender and provide some rebounding, but he may never provide much on the offensive end.

    This type of player can have a long, productive NBA career. Except when you're drafting at No. 11, when a one-dimensional player is not what you're looking for.