5 NBA Rookies Guaranteed to Prove Experts Wrong in 2012-13
From the No. 1 pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis, to the No. 60 pick, Robert Sacre, there are rookies across the league who will be trying to prove their worth this season.
There are a number of rookies who are already proving NBA draft experts wrong—whether during the summer league or the 2012-13 preseason.
Even experts can be wrong, and they certainly will be when it comes to players like Jared Sullinger, Will Barton and the other players on this list.
Player Profile: 6'5'' and 170 pounds
2012 NBA Summer League Stats: 15.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 44.4 FG%
Will Barton is a scorer. He's not going to bring much more than that to the court for the Portland Trail Blazers, and that's fine because they don't need him to.
For a player who many said was too small and undersized to be a shooting guard in the NBA, Barton put up some impressive numbers during the 2012 NBA summer league. In just five games, Barton averaged 15.0 points per game on 44.4-percent shooting from the field.
That's impressive production from the 40th-overall pick in last year's draft, and it's the kind of production he'll put up in Portland with Damian Lillard at the point.
He might not beat out Wesley Matthews for the starting shooting guard spot, but Barton will certainly be the first player off the Blazers bench by the end of the season.
Barton needs to add some muscle to be a truly special player, but even if he doesn't do that, he'll still be effective out on the perimeter.
Player Profile: 6'9'' and 260 pounds
2012-13 Preseason Stats: 10.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 55.6 FG%
Too slow. Not athletic enough. Undersized.
Those were all words used to describe Jared Sullinger before the 2012 NBA draft, and they were major reasons why he fell all the way to the 21st pick.
Sullinger is already proving those experts wrong. He's not only putting up impressive preseason production, he's also impressing his coaches and veteran players alike.
This kid is coming in, working his [butt] off, and he's trying to be better. I'm giving him the book, teaching him everything I know.
It looks like Sullinger's work ethic and intelligence are helping him make a name for himself on a very talented Celtics team. His ability to learn from more experienced players around him will make him one of the steals of the 2012 NBA draft. Don't be shocked when Sullinger is inserted into the Celtics starting lineup ahead of Brandon Bass.
Perry Jones III
Player Profile: 6'11" and 235 pounds
2012-13 Preseason Stats: 13.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 64.0 FG%
Perry Jones III fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder at the No. 28 spot in the 2012 NBA draft, and that could go down as one of the biggest steals in draft history.
While there were questions regarding Jones' health, it's clear that he's more than capable of exceeding at the next level in the NBA.
The main question isn't how good Jones will be, because he's proving that he's ready to be a contributor for the Thunder this season. The main question is how many minutes the Thunder can give him.
Jones fits extremely well into the Thunder's fast-paced style of play, and his athleticism will shine. The 27 other teams that passed on Jones will be left thinking "why did we listen to the experts that talked about his health issues?"
If the Thunder can give Jones 20-plus minutes per game this season, he could certainly earn All-NBA Rookie first- or second-team honors this season. That's how much potential exists in his game.
Player Profile: 6'10'' and 270 pounds
2012-13 Preseason Stats: 10.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.2 BLKPG, 69.0 FG%
Andre Drummond was labeled as a project player before the 2012 NBA draft, mainly because of his raw offensive skill and his lack of a deep understanding of the game.
Drummond is already proving that he's putting the work in to make sure those issues don't hold him back during his NBA career. Averaging 10.5 points and five rebounds in just 17.8 minutes per game is pretty impressive.
What's even more impressive is the fact that he's averaging the sixth most blocks per game in the entire NBA with an average of 2.2 blocks.
Impressive stuff for a player who many thought wasn't ready to make an impact in the NBA. Does Drummond still have a long way to go? Absolutely. But he's proved so far that he can have an impact in the NBA even before he reaches his full potential.
As he continues to add polish to the offensive side of the ball, Drummond will turn into quite a player with Greg Monroe beside him. Looks like the Pistons made the right pick.
Player Profile: 6'6'' and 235 pounds
2012-13 Preseason Stats: 7.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 52.9 FG%, 57.1 3PFG%
Jae Crowder had a monster game against the Rockets in garbage time. He put up 20 points in just 15 minutes of work, knocking down four of seven three-pointers along the way.
While that performance certainly padded his overall averages, there's no doubt that Crowder is capable of putting up solid production this season because he is a versatile player.
The only problem for Crowder is going to be getting minutes. He's currently locked down behind Shawn Marion and Vince Carter on the roster, and he's too undersized to play at the power-forward position.
Once he gets the chance, Crowder will emerge from the 2012 draft class as one of the better players. He's physical; he understands how to utilize his versatility, and he's a smart player on both sides of the ball.
If Carter or Marion go down with an injury this season, Crowder's minutes will increase, and he'll be able to show every other NBA team why they made a mistake by passing on the 2012 Big East Player of the Year.