2012 NBA Rookies Walking into Nightmare Situations

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIISeptember 6, 2012

2012 NBA Rookies Walking into Nightmare Situations

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    Each and every year, the NBA Draft shakes the landscape of the league and provides a first look at the stars of tomorrow. It also places the youth in their new homes, thus allowing players and franchises to prepare for their future.

    Unfortunately, not every fit is like a glove. More often than not, a player actually fails to find the proper level of comfort or development in their first NBA home.

    This time around, expectations should remain the same. There will be standout rookies who prove to be in the exact spot they were meant to be. On the contrary, more than a handful of first year players will struggle to find their niche.

Evan Fournier, Denver Nuggets

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    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 19

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 20


    International prospect Evan Fournier is a promising young shooting guard with high quality ball handling and penetration skills. Unfortunately, he's also a player who will be lost beneath the the excess depth in Denver that includes Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer.

    Not the most promising situation for a young player hoping to carve out some playing time.

    The truth of the matter is, Fournier personifies the word "special." He has phenomenal size at 6'7" and a greater feel for the game than the average player of his age. Fournier is also not your typical fall-to-the-ground European import.

    Instead, Fournier will bring a level of mental toughness to a team in the way that Manu Ginobili has brought it to the San Antonio Spurs.

    Regardless of these facts, Evan Fournier is stuck in a not-so-favorable predicament. Until playing time frees up, he'll be stuck where he is waiting for his opportunity to shine.


    2011-12 International Season Averages

    14.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.5 SPG

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 22

    Drafted: Second Round, Pick 35


    Draymond Green is one of the most well-rounded players in the history of the NBA Draft. This is not to say that he will emerge as one of the best players ever drafted, but one cannot help but acknowledge how sound Green is in each and every category there is.

    The only true issue with Green and his game is the fact that he's without a defined position and lacks the adequate height to truly have options.

    As a result, Draymond Green is now stuck behind Top 10 draft choice Harrison Barnes and the incredibly productive David Lee at the two forward positions. He'll also compete for playing time with Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush at small forward.

    And Jeremy Tyler will steal minutes at the 4. It doesn't get any easier, regardless of which position he identifies with.

    In other words, the Michigan State graduate has found himself with a franchise that will not be able to provide minutes until the injury bug strikes. Fortunately for Green, that bug comes along on quite the consistent basis.

    It's just not the type of occurrence that a player would like to depend upon.


    2011-12 College Season Averages

    16.2 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 38.8% 3PT

Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 20

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 18


    Terrence Jones of the Houston Rockets is a dynamic forward who is capable of thriving at either the 3 or 4. He's a sound ball handler and facilitator, as well as a solid interior defender and efficient low-post scorer.

    The question is, which position do the Houston Rockets expect him to play? If it's power forward, Terrence Jones may never find the floor.

    With Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, JaJuan Johnson and Royce White also fighting for minutes at the position, Terrence Jones will need to break out quickly or find himself a seat on the end of the bench. It won't get any prettier at small forward, where Jones could potentially be in just as ferocious of a position battle.

    This time around, he'd be battling breakout rookie from 2011-12, Chandler Parsons, and fellow first round draft choice Royce White.

    Even if Terrence Jones is able to emerge victorious at any of the positions listed, that does not solve the issues. Jones remains in a situation in which he lacks a true veteran mentor, which many feel he needs due to his poor body language.

    Jones could be an All-Star or he could be buried. The line between the two is far too thin to label this anything but a nightmare.


    2011-12 College Season Averages
    12.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.8 BPG, 32.7% 3PT

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 18

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 2


    The Charlotte Bobcats are a better team than they were a year ago, even if not by much. Free agents such as Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood will provide a veteran presence that the franchise lacked in 2013 once Corey Maggette fell to injury. Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson, meanwhile, will have another year of progression in the backcourt.

    Unfortunately, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is expected to take on a role that he just isn't fit to fill. While MKG is certainly an elite prospect whose defensive ability and non-stop motor bode well for a long and successful NBA career, he is not necessarily superstar material.

    Chances are, Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be a player of an Andre Iguodala nature — a great second option but not one that will lead a team to legitimate success.

    Even if that isn't the case, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist enters a situation in which the talent surrounding him is scarce. He also comes into the league with the lack of a veteran presence at his position, as his reserve is a fellow rookie, Jeffery Taylor.

    Things might be looking up for the Charlotte Bobcats, but they still aren't looking good.


    2011-12 College Season Averages

    11.9 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns

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    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 21

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 13


    The key for any rookie entering the NBA is to have a veteran presence at their position. The reason for this, of course, is the value in having a player who can not only groom the prospect into an NBA player, but help them through the ups-and-downs of an NBA lifestyle.

    For Kendall Marshall, that presence is lost, as is the opportunity to see serious minutes, as young Goran Dragic and the underachieving Sebastian Telfair stand at the point guard position alongside him.

    Fortunately, head coach Alvin Gentry is as good at breeding young players as any. Unfortunately, Gentry can't change what fact has now arisen.

    On draft night, it was widely speculated that the Phoenix Suns had selected Kendall Marshall to replace veteran Steve Nash. Nash was the one of the game's best facilitators, while Marshall ranked second in the nation by averaging 9.8 assists per game.

    The Suns then signed Goran Dragic to a long-term deal and pushed Marshall to the back of the line —a line that is significantly longer when you consider how young Dragic still is at 26.

    One way or another, Kendall Marshall is getting the short end of the stick.


    2011-12 College Season Averages

    8.1 PPG, 9.8 APG, 2.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 35.4% 3PT

Austin Rivers, New Orleans Hornets

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    Position: Guard

    Age: 20

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 10


    When the New Orleans Hornets selected Austin Rivers with the 10th overall draft choice in the 2012 NBA Draft, many labeled the move as a reach. What we seemed to forget, however, is how badly Rivers fits within the Hornets' rotation.

    Austin Rivers' lack of a defined position would be an issue regardless of where he went. Considering he's playing for a franchise that has a max contract player in Eric Gordon at shooting guard, however, it's clear where he will be designated.

    As a result, Rivers will walk into the label of "Chris Paul's replacement" —a label that absolutely no man should feel comfortable holding.

    With Austin Rivers unproven as a true point guard, this learning curve will grow as the expectations rise around him. Although Rivers has proven to have thick skin after playing for Duke and withstanding serious criticism leading up to the NBA Draft, there is the chance that he cracks under pressure —pressure that is much higher in New Orleans than anywhere else.


    2011-12 College Season Averages

    15.5 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 36.5% 3PT

Royce White, Houston Rockets

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    Position: Forward

    Age: 21

    Drafted: First Round, Pick 16


    If Draymond Green is one of the most versatile players to ever come out of the college ranks, Royce White is all of that with some star potential sprinkled on top.

    Truth be told, we could just copy and paste the text from the Terrence Jones slide to here and we'd have the summary of the issue. With Royce White, however, the stakes are higher and the importance of a veteran leader grows.

    Especially when you consider his character issues coming out of college. One of which just so happens to be severe anxiety.

    Not to suggest that a veteran NBA player could become a doctor of sorts and cure any woes that come White's way, but having a seasoned veteran on the road as a rookie is important. While the Rockets have a handful of young veterans on the team, a majority of their roster is consistent of 12 players under 25.

    In other words, these players are just as inexperienced as Royce White and might not have much veteran insight to provide. Not something you want to hear for a franchise that's coached by Kevin McHale who has a history of burying young players.

    This is the type of setting that a player such as Royce White should be dreading.


    2011-12 College Season Averages

    13.4 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 5.0 APG