2012 NBA DraftDownload App

Full Season Stats Projections for Each 2012 First-Round Pick

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIDecember 7, 2016

Full Season Stats Projections for Each 2012 First-Round Pick

1 of 31

    The 2012 NBA Draft has inspired confidence of fans, analysts and general managers everywhere across the NBA. With as stacked a class of rookies as we've ever seen, this year's new breed of talent appear poised to become the stars of tomorrow.

    The question is, how will they fare from the opening gun?

    Although we'd love to speculate that each rookie will dominate the NBA in the way they may have at the college ranks, it rarely ever goes that way. Each player will have a learning curve, with some finding it more difficult to overcome than others.

    Fortunately for readers everywhere, each first round draft pick's prospective statistical season has been broken down on the following slides.

    For some fan favorites, big things are in store. For others, it will not be as pleasant to experience their first taste of the NBA.

    One way or another, this season is going to be one to remember.

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

2 of 31

    Position: Forward/Center

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11", 222, 7'4" wingspan

     

    The first overall draft choice is often expected to produce at an All-Star level from the moment he steps foot on the floor. Although we often find that such lofty expectations must be reserved for later years in their respective careers, it is not unheralded for a rookie to produce as well as the veterans.

    With all of that being noted, don't expect anything to be easy for Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets.

    Davis will be the player he's expected to be. His length, patience and defensive prowess will make him one of the most dominant forces the game has to offer on that end of the floor. The hurdle for him, however, will be adjusting to the size and strength of NBA big man.

    Something Team USA could not prepare him for with such an undersized frontcourt.

    Until the frail Davis adjusts to that pace, his numbers and comfortability may not be where head coach Monty Williams had hoped they would be. Upon discovering his comfort zone, as well as the proper approach to the NBA game, that's when big things will transpire.

    Anthony Davis will have respectable averages that reflect what's soon to come: defensive brilliance and some offensive versatility to boot.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    33.5 MPG, 8.3 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 BPG, 0.7 SPG

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

3 of 31

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 18

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 233 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

     

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist enters his rookie season with, quite possibly, the greatest chance to produce awe-inspiring statistics. The talent surrounding him in Charlotte has improved from the 2011-12 season but remains unlikely to strike awe in any opponent.

    For that reason, MKG is the rookie to watch.

    Many will resort to the belief that Kidd-Gilchrist's average scoring numbers reflect a player who focuses more on defense than scoring the ball. Those are the people who will be pleasantly surprised when they see an all-out effort on both ends of the floor.

    20 points by MKG and less than 10 by his opponent are plausible occurrences on any given evening. Give it enough time and such performances may just become more of a trend than an occasional flash of brilliance.

    As for his rookie season, expect Kidd-Gilchrist to benefit from the fact that his frontcourt is weak on the glass. He should be able to tally at least six a night, also putting together a block or steal here and there to pad the stat sheet.

    On offense, his ability to slash and finish at the basket will be on full display. Expect MKG to have the ball in his hands quite often, thus finishing most possessions off with shots of his own or creating opportunities for others.

    Something both Ramon Sessions and Kemba Walker have proven to be inconsistent in doing.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    31.0 MPG, 15.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG

3. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

4 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 202 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

     

    When Bradley Beal declared for the NBA Draft, fans and analysts alike began comparing him to some of the NBA's greatest shooting guards. Most notably, they called him a breed of the legendary Ray Allen with the popular Eric Gordon.

    As Beal joins a promising Washington Wizards, expectations for greatness will grow larger and the pressure will mount. Proof of ability will no longer take center stage, as Bradley Beal much now display a level of resiliency to become great.

    As is life for a highly-touted prospect taken within the Top 3 of the NBA Draft.

    As for what we can expect out of Beal's first year in the league, there is a good chance that he takes the starter's spot from Jordan Crawford with a solid training camp. Regardless of whether or not he does, his playing time is likely to float around the 30 minute mark.

    In that time, expect Beal to have no qualms about pulling the trigger off of John Wall drive-and-dish finds. He'll jack up a great deal of three-pointers and display his above-average rebounding abilities while on the defensive end.

    Best of all, Beal will display a capability to both handle the ball and facilitate with Wall on the bench. This versatility should win the former Florida Gator some extra minutes under head coach Randy Wittman.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    28.5 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 37.0% 3PT

4. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers

5 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 221 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

     

    When the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Dion Waiters with the fourth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, it was widely-considered to be the reach of the night. The shooting guard was projected to go somewhere in the mid-to-late Lottery, but no one had expected him to be a Top 5 selection.

    And now the pressure has mounted.

    With point guard Kyrie Irving holding down the Rookie of the Year crown, many local fans will expect an equally as brilliant season from Dion Waiters. Although they will not see Waiters take home the same award as Irving, they will be pleased with his contributions.

    A wide variety of them.

    During the 2012-13 college basketball season, Waiters was one of great slashers the nation had to offer. His ability to get to the basket and rise above defenders for the finish made him a fan favorite at Syracuse, while his tenacity in the passing lanes set up some transition buckets as well.

    Although his jump shooting is in dire need of improvement, the Cleveland Cavaliers have nothing else to offer at the position. That is, unless they expect the undersized Daniel Gibson to continue pretending that he's capable of playing the 2.

    For this reason, expect Waiters to have the ball in his hands often and his minutes stacked high.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    30.0 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.1 SPG

5. Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings

6 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'9", 244 pounds, 7'4" wingspan

     

    Not only is Thomas Robinson one of the feel-good stories to come out of the college ranks, but he's one heck of a player. Although his minutes will be far more limited than most expect them to be, expect that to be on full display from the moment the Kansas alum hits the floor.

    Specifically on the defensive end of the floor.

    With Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins working alongside him, Robinson will be at no slight in terms of support. This is important for the youngster, as his style of physical play needs the presence of a teammate with an equal level of proficiency in that department.

    This will lead to solid rebounding numbers and a respectable offensive output every time out. Although he may avoid Rookie of the Year polls, his ability to contribute in a multitude of ways should garner him the respect of many.

    Expect minutes in the mid 20s and numbers that flirt with a nightly double-double. Although 10 and 10 will be difficult to come by as his opportunities will be limited early in the season, his number should increase as the season progresses to a level that reflects Kenneth Faried from a year ago.

    A solid year for a promising star in the making.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    26.0 MPG, 9.7 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.8 SPG

6. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

7 of 31

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 22

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'3", 189 pounds, 6'8" wingspan

     

    Damian Lillard is considered by many to be the frontrunner to take hom the Rookie of the Year award. This comes as a result of a rapid climb up the draft board and his winning co-MVP honors at this year's Summer League.

    The truth of the matter is, however, Lillard has only ever shined against mediocre competition. Once he hits the NBA, nightly battles with Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook and company will be on the prowl.

    So how will he fare?

    Truth be told, it's nearly impossible to predict a college player's ability to make the leap to the NBA. Lillard could be a 20 and 10 guy like some expect, but he could also prove that his time at Weber State did not prepare him for a greater level of competition.

    Don't forget, for every Blake Griffin and John Wall there is a Jerryd Bayless. This award may breed confidence, but it does not guarantee stardom.

    With all of this being noted, Lillard will be expected to produce at a high level. Due to this fact, the minutes will be there and his statistics will find padding because of that fact.

    By the end of the season, the world will know why the former Weber State Wildcats star is deserving of such hype.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    33.1 MPG, 15.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, 2.1 RPG, 1.0 SPG

7. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

8 of 31

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 228 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

     

    It was acknowledged on the previous slide that it is nearly impossible to predict how a collegiate athlete will perform at the professional leve. What is not so difficult, however, is projecting how their individual abilities translate from one level to the next.

    Such is the reason why Harrison Barnes can be expected to become a legitimate starting NBA small forward.

    Barnes is as fundamentally sound as any player in this draft class. His footwork on both ends is impeccable and the way he glides around the court leads to great positioning at all times.

    What this leads to is consistent defense. While on that end, Barnes keeps a solid base and stays in front of his man. While he could improve upon his tendency to bite on ball fakes, the rookie has proven to be able to recover faster than most.

    On the other end, consider him your quintessential Golden State Warrior.

    Barnes is a sound ball handler but makes his money by stroking it from mid-range. He's virtually automatic from there, although he has a tendency to rely upon his point guard providing him with shots.

    Fortunately, Stephen Curry will be there to do just that.

    With this well-rounded and maturely honed skill set, Barnes should find his way into head coach Mark Jackson's good graces sooner rather than later. This will lead to big minutes early and often and a great opportunity to pad the stat sheet.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    29.7 MPG, 13.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 SPG

8. Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors

9 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'7", 197 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

     

    If we're judging players based off of public perception, Terrence Ross joins Dion Wiaters in the reach department. Believe it or not, Ross actually happens to be one of the more safe selections made on draft night.

    The Toronto Raptors entered the evening with the common belief being that they were in need of a small forward. While one would find it difficult to oppose that belief, their signing of Landry Fields and the presence of the versatile DeMar DeRozan should dispel all concern.

    The greatest need the Raptors truly possessed was that of a perimeter scorer.

    DeMar DeRozan is in the second tier in terms of scoring the basketball. He lacks a jump shot, however, and is no threat at all from beyond the arc. Jose Calderon, meanwhile, has no business being the team's best three-point shooter as a point guard.

    As for Andrea Bargnani, a power forward with shooting ability cannot be your only alternative. Just ask Dirk Nowitzki pre-2011.

    In selecting Terrence Ross out of Washington, the Raptors filled that void in a major way. Ross is an elite jump shooter with great size and perfect form. His ability to rise above defenders, as well as stand above them at 6'7", should help the team spread the floor better than they could a year ago.

    The fact that he's one of the better defenders at his position sure doesn't hurt in a Dwane Casey system, either.

    Expect Ross to see minutes in the 20 per night range, with the Raptors' Top 10 defense needing an occasional boost from the perimeter. Over time, don't be too shocked to see Terrence Ross emerge as one of the stars of this class.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    22.3 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.8 SPG, 36.5% 3PT

9. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

10 of 31

    Position: Center

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 279 pounds, 7'6" wingspan

     

    Andre Drummond is viewed as a player whose upside could make him the next Dwight Howard. He's also viewed as a danger to become a draft bust, eventually finding himself in the presence of another Detroit Pistons draft choice: Darko Milicic.

    Let's hold the phone on both of those calls and acknowledge Andre Drummond for what he truly is.

    Drummond is not a star and he is not a bust. In fact, the former Connecticut Huskies star is one of the more NBA-ready players in the game. His size and build are built for professional ball, while his skill set is clearly defined for him to become a defensive force with responsible offensive production.

    Consider him to be more of a second-coming of Dwight Howard's draft classmate Emeka Okafor.

    For those caught up in the belief that Okafor failed to live up to expectations, keep in mind that the veteran has averaged at least 10.0 rebounds in five of his eight years in the league. Two of the other three saw him finish with at least 9.0.

    That is the type of production one can expect from Andre Drummond, who crashes the boards well on both ends. His physicality and underrated positioning will lead to plenty of Ben Wallace comparisons early on, but truthfully he's a grounded athlete.

    What that means is that he plays close to the floor but has the ability to leap out of the gym. Something like a Marcus Camby.

    As for what we can expect out of Drummond's rookie season, there is no way around how desperate the Pistons are to improve their interior defense. While Jonas Jerebko and Jason Maxiell will fight for minutes, there is no reason Drummond can't find the floor for roughly 25 minutes a night.

    In that time, expect his rebounding and shot blocking abilities to be on full display alongside the offensive-minded Greg Monroe. A true safety blanket with a Yao Ming sized wingspan.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    26.7 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 0.6 SPG

10. Austin Rivers, New Orleans Hornets

11 of 31

    Position: Combo Guard

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 203 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

     

    When we speak of polarizing prospects, there may be no one who fits the bill quite like Austin Rivers of the New Orleans Hornets. The fact that NBA scouts were informing their general managers of such a fact should be evidence enough.

    But that doesn't mean the kid can't play.

    Austin Rivers strays to the side of flashy with his ball handling abilities. With that being said, there is no reason to believe that he will suffer from the Tyreke Evans effect and fail to those skills into NBA productivity.

    Especially when you consider how lethal Rivers can be with his step-back J.

    The true hurdle for Rivers will not be how he handles or scores the basketball, though. Instead, the pressure will be on for Doc Rivers' son to facilitate a young Hornets offense that includes big name scorers Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson.

    If he is unable to do so, Rivers could find himself as a Lou Williams type of player. Immensely talented and deserving of the opportunity to play, but without a defined position.

    Fortunately for Rivers, the minutes will be there to provide him with the opportunity to discover his niche within the Hornets' offensive attack.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    25.0 MPG, 12.1 PPG, 3.4 APG, 2.6 RPG, 1.0 SPG

11. Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers

12 of 31

    Position: Center

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'1", 250 pounds, 7'3" wingspan

     

    Meyers Leonard rushed up draft boards this past June, going from one of the most debated big men in the class to a potential Top 10 pick. This all happened within the matter of the final week and Leonard reaped the benefits, coming off the board at 11th overall.

    A reach that may have landed the Portland Trail Blazers a player who could provide quality minutes for the better part of a decade.

    Leonard may not be the most fundamentally polished player in the NBA, he's a tenacious player who is constantly in attack mode. Unlike a majority of young players who enter the league, the Illinois alum consistently attacks the rim with a purpose.

    This is important for a big man, as going soft at the basket will often result in getting your shot sent back in the other direction.

    Although his defensive effort has been characterized as inconsistent, when applied, he's as intense as any player you'll find. Leonard's explosive leaping ability is met by gigantic hands that have been known to swallow up a basketball and send a possession in the other direction.

    Something quite valuable for a team whose greatest asset is power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge, of course, has been carrying the Blazers for quite some time and could use the alleviation of pressure as the lone frontcourt option.

    For this reason, Leonard can be expected to find big minutes in the second half of the season. Up until that point, however, his contributions could be capped off in the low 20s in terms of minutes.

    A battle with J.J. Hickson is going to be directly responsible for that.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    24.0 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 0.7 SPG

12. Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets

13 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard 

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 179 pounds, 6'11" wingspan

     

    Jeremy Lamb is one of the most physically gifted players that has ever hit the NBA. With a 7'0" wingspan and freakish athletic ability, it's rare that you'll find a shooting guard who has been blessed in such ways.

    The fact that he can shoot the lights out and is one of the top five perimeter defenders in this draft class sure doesn't hurt either.

    The biggest question mark for Jeremy Lamb has nothing to do with what he's capable of as a basketball player. Instead, the hurdle for Lamb to leap is finding his way onto the court with Kevin Martin consistently averaging 20 points per game at the shooting guard position.

    With Martin at odds with the franchise, however, minutes might not be so hard to come by.

    At this point, Lamb will competing with Toney Douglas, Gary Forbes, Shaun Livingston and Courtney Forston for minutes at the guard positions. Although small forward will be a more difficult slot to find himself in, it's safe to say that Lamb is at a level playing field entering training camp.

    Where he can only be expected to capture Kevin McHale's eye and earn himself some quality outings.

    With all of this being measured, it's safe to say that Jeremy Lamb has a great chance of becoming the Houston Rockets' sixth man. With Jeremy Lin and Kevin Martin both in attack mode, Lamb will be looked to as the scorer for the second unit as they attempt to maintain the starters' pace.

    A big rookie season could be in store from the UCONN alum.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    24.0 MPG, 12.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.2 SPG

13. Kendall Marshall, Phoenix Suns

14 of 31

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 198 pounds, 6'6" wingspan

     

    Kendall Marshall really couldn't have found himself in a worst turn of events than he has this offseason. After Steve Nash left town and the Phoenix Suns selected Marshall with the 13th overall draft choice, many labeled him the second-coming of the man they call Nashty.

    Upon signing Goran Dragic to a multi-year deal, however, the Phoenix Suns made it clear that the point guard position is not Marshall's to own.

    With a depth chart that includes Dragic and Sebastian Telfair, who found his way into head coach Alvin Gentry's good graces, minutes could be scarce. Dragic will be the starter and see 30-plus minutes a night, while Telfair is coming off of a final month of the season in which he went on a tear.

    As a result, Gentry's liking of Telfair could result in an even more difficult battle for Marshall to win.

    Regardless of this fact, expect the UNC alum to run his game. Marshall was second in the nation with 9.8 assists during the 2011-12 college basketball season and did so because of his phenomenal court vision and sound fundamentals in the pick-and-roll.

    Despite his status as a rookie, it's fair to say that he's already the best facilitator on his team.

    The unfortunate truth, however, is that the Suns will be in a pinch early on. Marshall will see fluctuating playing time and, in turn, find himself with inconsistent statistics.

    As the season progresses, however, consistency will come and an improvement in his statistics will follow.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    17.1 MPG, 4.5 PPG, 4.8 APG, 1.2 RPG, 0.8 SPG

14. John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks

15 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'10", 216 pounds, 7'5" wingspan

     

    John Henson of the Milwaukee Bucks may have the greatest opportunity of any rookie to make a difference on a postseason contender.

    With the Bucks' offensive attack geared to a more fast pace approach with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis running the show, Henson's ability to run the floor and finish in transition should be on full display.

    His explosive athleticism and elite shot blocking won't be too hard to spot, either.

    The starters in Milwaukee have already been established. Ersan Ilyasova is a nightly threat for a double-double and Samuel Dalembert came as the key piece of the Bucks' draft pick swap with the Houston Rockets. Together, the glass will be controlled and the team's interior defense will improve tremendously from a year ago.

    With that being said, Henson can be penciled in for roughly 20 minutes a night. His defensive versatility, which includes impressive low-post skills and the ability to cover a stretch 4 on the perimeter, will be utilized.

    Although his statistics won't blow anyone away, his progression likely will.

    John Henson has as high of an upside as any player in the NBA. Although he'll need to bulk up, his athleticism and "old man" style of play should make for a lengthy career. If he's able to add some muscle, it could lead to stardom.

    2012-13 will be the first step towards achieving that.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    21.4 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 0.7 SPG

15. Maurice Harkless, Orlando Magic

16 of 31

    Position: Small Forward

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'9", 207 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

     

    When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Maurice Harkless with the 15th overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, it appeared as if he was bound to ride the pine throughout the duration of the season. Both Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young had carved out roughly 30 minutes a night at the position, thus leaving Harkless without a true opportunity for minutes.

    Fortunately for the St. John's alum, Andrew Bynum was traded to Philadelphia and Andre Iguodala moved to Denver. That doesn't mean Maurice Harkless will play in Philly, however, as he too was sent packing.

    To the gutted Orlando Magic.

    Despite the roster moves that the Orlando Magic have made, including trading starters Dwight Howard, Ryan Anderson and Jason Richardson, opportunity will be scarce. One of the few positions that stayed in tact was small forward, where Hedo Turkoglu has earned himself at least 30 minutes a contest.

    Thus limiting Maurice Harkless' time on the floor significantly. Or will he?

    When Harkless isn't playing the 3, there is a great chance that he will be backing up Arron Afflalo at the 2. Although J.J. Redick is in for a bigger opportunity than he'd ever previously received, there is always the chance that he is outplayed.

    If that is the case, Harkless will see upwards of 20 minutes a night. If not, Harkless could be just as limited in Orlando as he would have been in Philly.

    Expect a fluctuating 15-plus minutes per night.

     

    2012-13 Projected Season Averages

    15.1 MPG, 6.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG

16. Royce White, Houston Rockets

17 of 31

    Position: Point Forward

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'8", 261 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

     

    Royce White is as well-rounded a player as you could ask for.

    Although he is not an elite scorer, White is more than capable of putting up points from the low-post and the perimeter. He's also a phenomenal passer from both locations, which is why he's considered to be one of the most promising point forwards in this draft class.

    Just don't believe that he's limited to passing and scoring. Royce White is an absolutely outstanding rebounder and makes a good name for himself on the defensive end of things, as well.

    White has a massive 261 pound frame that enables him to gain position on any player with a height advantage or otherwise. His 7'0" wingspan certainly doesn't hurt, either, as he battles for control of the glass at both forward positions.

    On defense, White isn't the most polished ball stopper, but he's solid enough at contesting shots that you feel comfortable with him at either forward position. In fact, White is a better low-post defender than the average prospect.

    Something that Kevin McHale is certain to appreciate.

    Although the Houston Rockets have limitless options at the forward positions, expect Royce White to find himself some playing time. Despite his well-documented mental conditions, White is as polished a prospect as you'll find.

    Unlike Marcus Morris, this do-it-all player will find his way onto the floor early and often. Expect the production to reflect Royce White's versatility.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    19.0 MPG, 6.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.7 BPG

17. Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers

18 of 31

    Position: Center

    Age: 22

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 247 pounds, 7'0" wingspan

     

    When Tyler Zeller was selected by the Dallas Mavericks, many analysts projected he and Dirk Nowitzki to make for an elite frontcourt tandem. Zeller could learn from Nowitzki and polish his already sound offensive game, thus becoming a star in his own right.

    And then he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Although playing with Kyrie Irving is nothing to complain about, Zeller's ceiling may have been capped a little lower as a result of this trade. Fortunately, the minutes will still be there for Zeller to prove himself as he backs up the injury-prone Anderson Varejao.

    If not at center, expect Zeller to find some time as the reserve power forward behind Tristan Thompson.

    Regardless of how he finds the floor, Zeller will provide nothing less than quality minutes. He's a very intelligent player whose positioning is excellent on both ends of the floor. This provides Zeller with an excellent opportunity to put up strong scoring and rebounding numbers.

    On defense, the UNC alum won't be the greatest shot blocker but will do an adequate job at altering shots. His size will offer a major upgrade over last year's situation, where the undersized Samardo Samuels filled Zeller's role.

    Expect a solid, but not spectacular, season from Tyler Zeller. With an offensively-inept frontcourt alongside him, don't too be too shocked if he throws in the occasional 20 point performance along the way.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    25.1 MPG, 8.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 BPG

18. Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets

19 of 31

    Position: Combo Forward

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'10", 252 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

     

    In terms of raw ability, Terrence Jones is one of the Top 5 players in this draft class. In terms of being NBA-ready, he fits that same bill.

    Unfortunately, Jones is that player who gets lost in the big names of his teammates. The fact of the matter is, the NCAA Tournament proved who it was that steps up when the game is on the line: Terrence Jones.

    As the combo forward enters the NBA, there's no way around how physically impressive he is. With point guard caliber ball handling skills and well above-average facilitating abilities, the 6'10" Jones is as impressive as any.

    The fact that he can score from the post and the perimeter only further raises the level of expectation one should have for this promising career.

    On the defensive end, Jones is a very talented shot blocker. Although he's not the most explosive athlete, his length and patience pay dividends in the paint as alters every shot that comes his way.

    With his footwork and change of direction skills up to par for a small forward, it's clear why he is one of the most versatile players around.

    The issue for Jones, however, is that he displays poor body language and weak shot selection. Those two traits will get a player into Kevin McHale's doghouse and that could be where he ends up if improvements aren't made soon enough.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    12.3 MPG, 5.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 BPG, 0.5 SPG

19. Andrew Nicholson, Orlando Magic

20 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

     

    A great deal of Orlando Magic fans are expecting for Andrew Nicholson to walk out of training camp with the starting power forward job locked up. With new head coach Jacque Vaughn being joined by a handful of fresh faces in the frontcourt, however, doing so will not be as easy as it seems.

    Glen Davis is coming off of a phenomenal postseason in which he averaged 19.0 points and 9.0 rebounds. Although he's not the first name you'd think of when speaking of elite power forwards, he's proven worthy enough of the opportunity to start.

    Veteran Al Harrington, meanwhile, was a runner up in the Sixth Man of the Year voting during the 2011-12 NBA season. For that reason, as well as his veteran expertise that the frontcourt otherwise lacks, there's a great chance that he sees more than 20 minutes a night.

    In case you aren't getting the picture, Andrew Nicholson is seeing his window of opportunity shrink noticeable smaller.

    With all of this being noted, it's fair to assume that Nicholson will flirt with 20 minutes a night before the season ends. Injury is always a threat and there is no player in the Orlando Magic's frontcourt that has proven to be consistent in any sense of the word.

    A youth movement could be in store and, as a result, Nicholson may become the face of the young franchise. That is, until the Orlando Magic cross their fingers in hopes of winning the first overall draft choice this coming June.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    18.1 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.9 SPG

20. Evan Fournier, Denver Nuggets

21 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'7", 206, pounds, 6'8" wingspan

     

    Evan Fournier has as much promise as any shooting guard selected this past June. Between his size and beautiful ball handling skills, Fournier has significant advantages over a majority of the players his age.

    With that being said, the odds are stacked far too high against him for an estimation of legitimate playing time during the 2012-13 regular season.

    Not only has Evan Fournier never played against this level of competition, he hasn't even found consistent playing time in Europe. This is not to say that he will not be a fine NBA player, as there is the window of opportunity for him to become just that.

    There's just no logical way to argue that he will garner minutes over Andre Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer.

    Although he's likely to have some highlight reel worthy plays when he does find the floor, those opportunities will not come on a consistent basis. Void the unfortunate injury, the Nuggets have a stacked perimeter made up of proven players that George Karl trusts.

    As a rookie with no significant basketball experience, expect Fournier to ride the pine for a majority of this season. 

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    4.7 MPG, 1.3 PPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 RPG, 0.5 SPG

21. Jared Sullinger, Boston Celtics

22 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'9", 268 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

     

    If you think a competitor such as Jared Sullinger will accept riding the pine as his destiny, you've got another thing coming to you.

    Although Sullinger will see his playing time limited for long stretches of the season, his workaholic attitude is right up Doc Rivers' alley. With Sullinger beings as fundamentally polished as any rookie big man we've ever seen, it's feasible to imagine his earning playing time.

    Although there will be an early cap on his minutes, this suggests a second half push for Sullinger's rookie season. As for what you can expect, look for play that exceeds the value of mere statistics.

    Jared Sullinger is an excellent rebounder due to his old school approach to the game. In a day and age in which athleticism and leaping ability controls everything, Sullinger remains keen on putting his massive lower body in front of his opponent and boxing out every opponent.

    Something that even an NBA player will have trouble overcoming.

    On the offensive end of things, Sullinger has a beautiful baby hook that he can finish with over both shoulders. His elite low-post scoring ability should help keep defenses at bay while sharpshooters such as Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee roam the perimeter.

    It should also present more one-on-one opportunities for future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett to break down his opponent. The same KG who will one day mentor Sullinger into All-Star form.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    15.0 MPG, 6.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG

22. Fab Melo, Boston Celtics

23 of 31

    Position: Center

    Age: 22

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 255 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

     

    As Fab Melo enters the Boston Celtics' roster, expectations will differ depending on whom you ask about what they're expecting. For some, Melo has the ability to carve out between 15 and 20 minutes per night as the reserve center.

    For those aware of fundamental flaws, however, he'll likely hover around 10 minutes a contest when he enters the game.

    There's a great chance that Melo finds himself with a consistent slot in the rotation as the season progresses. Much like Greg Stiemsma, Fab Melo is an excellent shot alterer who uses his size to his advantage.

    What truly offers encouragement, however, is the fact that Melo is a superior athlete to any current member of the Celtics' frontcourt. For that reason, he could be brought in to run the floor with Rajon Rondo if Boston decides to push the pace.

    Whether or not Doc Rivers pushes Melo to his limits as a rookie has yet to be seen, though past history suggests he will not. Rivers is very limited with his use of rookies and that suggests that Melo will need to pick his spots.

    With KG aging and Jason Collins injury-prone, however, Melo could find himself some minutes after all.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    8.1 MPG, 2.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.6 BPG, 0.5 SPG

23. John Jenkins, Atlanta Hawks

24 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'4", 212 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

     

    When the Atlanta Hawks traded away superstar Joe Johnson and signed Lou Williams, it became clear that they were moving in a new direction. Later acquisitions Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow offered insight into what direction that might be.

    After witnessing the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat each take home the NBA Title behind elite three-point shooting, it appears new general manager Danny Ferry is looking replicate the pattern.

    Korver and Morrow have proven to be two of the Top 10 three-point marksman in the game today. Rookie John Jenkins isn't too far behind them in terms of raw shooting ability, which breeds the expectation that he will find the floor quite often this season.

    While the minutes might fluctuate early, once Jenkins discovers his shooting touch he should find between 15 and 20 minutes a night. His ability to spread the floor will appeal to head coach Larry Drew, while his underrated ability to lead should make him a locker room favorite.

    His maturity on and off of the court will be welcomed and his production will provide great reason for the support.

    As almost every shooter has, Jenkins is likely to struggle early in his career. It's important for a spot-up guy to find his hot spots on the floor and develop a rhythm with his facilitators. For that reason, the first 20-to-25 games could see Jenkins shooting in the low 30s from distance.

    As the season progresses, however, expect to see stretches in which Jenkins has multiple games with at least two three-pointers. Also look for his shooting percentage from beyond the arc to rise close to the 40 percent mark.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    17.5 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.7 SPG, 38.4% 3PT

24. Jared Cunningham, Dallas Mavericks

25 of 31

    Position: Shooting Guard

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'5", 188 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

     

    With an injury here and there, Jared Cunningham could find himself with the opportunity of a lifetime. Unfortunately, good health would keep Cunningham grounded as O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Vince Carter are amongst the players battling for perimeter playing time.

    Not too promising.

    Once Cunningham is able to find the floor, however, it will be a different story. Not only is the Oregon State alum one of the better ball handlers in this draft class, but he's an elite-level slasher already.

    With a solid combination of those skills, as well as his length on the perimeter, it's not hard to see why he was first team All-Pac-12.

    What Cunningham has going for him in this battle for playing time is that he is actually capable of manning both guard positions. While Darren Collison appears to be the starter, both he and backup Rodrigue Beaubois are known for their inconsistency.

    If Rick Carlisle begins to lose faith, we could see Jared Cunningham sooner than expected. As a result, his statistical production will increase and create a relative balance between his minor minute production and that of when he's finding serious playing time.

    A frustrating rookie season could be in store. A promising sophomore campaign, however, will be on the way.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    10.4 MPG, 4.6 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 RPG, 0.6 SPG

25. Tony Wroten Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

26 of 31

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'6", 203 pounds, 6'9" wingspan

     

    When the Memphis Grizzlies selected 6'6" point guard Tony Wroten this past June, it appeared as if the former Washington Huskies star had a chance to see solid playing time. After witnessing Josh Selby torch Summer League opponents en route to co-MVP honors, it appears as if the minutes could be harder to come by.

    Fortunately for Wroten, not every team has a 6'6" point guard. Finding the floor may be difficult, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

    As stellar as Selby may have been, he's been inconsistent at the NBA level thus far in his young career. Should that trend continue, Wroten will find the floor and produce accordingly.

    Wroten is capable of attacking the basket off of the dribble as well as any NBA player. He's similar to a Tyreke Evans in that sense and is equally as proficient at finishing around the basket. Unfortunately, Wroten hasn't polished his game management skills.

    His minutes at the point will be limited but enough where he can improve as a player. Expect Lionel Hollins to utilize Tony Wroten Jr.'s size and abilities in the perfect situations.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    6.1 MPG, 1.8 PPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 RPG, 0.6 SPG

26. Miles Plumlee, Indiana Pacers

27 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 24

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 252 pounds, 7'1" wingspan

     

    For those Duke fans hoping to see Miles Plumlee find instant NBA success, it's time to temper your expectations. With a frontcourt that includes Roy Hibbert, David West and Tyler Hansbrough, it's fair to say that the distributions of minutes will be focused on three key players with a strong track record.

    The recently acquired Ian Mahinmi only makes Plumlee's pursuit of the floor all the more difficult.

    In all likelihood, the big man will only see the floor in garbage time and when injuries strike. Due to West's history of injuries, one could believe that minutes are destined to come. When a player has to wait for injury to breed opportunity, however, there is very little optimism.

    Miles Plumlee should be a solid role player at the NBA level. 2012-13 simply will not provide him with the greatest chance to prove that.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    5.7 MPG, 2.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.7 BPG

27. Arnett Moultrie, Philadelphia 76ers

28 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 21

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11", 233 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

     

    The arrival of Andrew Bynum has certainly added a new dynamic to the Philadelphia 76ers' frontcourt. For those who believe that it will have an effect on Arnett Moultrie's playing time as a rookie, however, you are mistaken.

    Moultrie will see the same inconsistent playing time with Bynum in the rotation as he would have without him.

    When the score is lopsided or injuries arise, Moultrie will see a significant amount of minutes. When the Sixers are simply looking to add some athleticism to their rotation, the same could be said. Unfortunately, those opportunities won't come with consistency.

    Moultrie will spend more time on the bench than on the floor. His minutes will be at a respectable number but the median will be far more reflective upon his playing time than the mean.

    Expect valuable but limited minutes.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    11.5 MPG, 3.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.6 SPG

28. Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City Thunder

29 of 31

    Position: Power Forward

    Age: 20

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'11", 234 pounds, 7'2" wingspan

    When the Oklahoma City Thunder landed Perry Jones III out of Baylor, the instant reaction was to label the pick as the steal of the draft. While it's too early to dispute that claim, it's important to note that a great pick does not always lead to great first year opportunities.

    PJ3 could find himself in just as much of a struggle for playing time as he would have as a second round pick.

    The former Baylor Bear enters a situation in which Serge Ibaka has firmly established himself as the starting power forward. Nick Collison, meanwhile, has proven himself to head coach Scott Brooks time and time again.

    Jones III stealing playing time from either man seems unlikely.

    Fortunately for the embattled rookie, the Oklahoma City Thunder are in desperate need of his services. They remain one of the worst offensive frontcourts in the game today, with no player stepping up as a legitimate low-post force.

    If PJ3 can prove capable of taking over such a role, his playing time could increase accordingly and his production would follow. If not, fighting for minutes behind Kevin Durant appears to be an equally as daunting task.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    16.4 MPG, 7.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.6 SPG

29. Marquis Teague, Chicago Bulls

30 of 31

    Position: Point Guard

    Age: 19

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    6'2", 180 pounds, 6'7" wingspan

     

    When the Chicago Bulls selected Marquis Teague with the 29th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, I was admittedly one who believed that a rookie starter had been found. After the Bulls built their backcourt up with the additions of both Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson, however, I'm a bit more hesitant.

    In fact, it's unclear how likely it is that Teague finds the floor at all.

    Although the franchise took a leap of faith by selecting the Kentucky alum, they clearly are none too confident in his ability to contribute right away. If they were, Teague wouldn't find himself with two respected veterans alongside him.

    On the other hand, this could simply be an instance in which head coach Tom Thibodeau is hoping to motivate the rookie and prove that opportunities come to those who work. Not to those who wait.

    For that reason, it is entirely possible that Teague carves out some decent playing time for himself at the point guard position. Unfortunately, that time will come to a close upon the return of 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose and Teague will return to his bench duties.

    Whether or not he earns minutes for the remainder of the season as a reserve, however, could save his season averages.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    9.1 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 2.2 APG, 1.0 RPG, 0.8 SPG

30. Festus Ezeli, Golden State Warriors

31 of 31

    Position: Center

    Age: 22

    Height, Weight, Wingspan

    7'0", 264 pounds, 7'6" wingspan

     

    Don't let the picture fool you, folks. There is nothing flashy about Festus Ezeli's approach to the game.

    The Vanderbilt alum is a tough, gritty interior defender who will make his presence known to any player looking to attack the basket. To put it simply, the best way to describe Ezeli's approach to the game would be to compare him with Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    A man know to alter games with his toughness, physicality and effort on defense.

    For this reason, there is a great possibility that Ezeli carves out some playing time under Mark Jackson. The Golden State Warriors are a team looking to shift into a defensive mindset and the injury-prone Andrew Bogut could certainly use some help via the second unit.

    Unless Andris Biedrins begins to earn his lofty contract or Jeremy Tyler progresses before Ezeli, there should be no reason to see the big man riding the bench for too long. If either of those two possibilities does occur, however, depth behind David Lee is equally as weak.

    Festus Ezeli will see solid minutes and produce at a respectable level. The 2012-13 NBA season will be the beginning to a promising career.

     

    Projected 2012-13 Season Averages

    14.0 MPG, 3.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices