NBA Draft 2012: 5 College Studs with Massive Bust Potential

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst IApril 20, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 5 College Studs with Massive Bust Potential

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    Not every top NCAA player can live up to expectations.

    Not everybody can live up to expectations like LeBron James or surprise us like Serge Ibaka, selected at No. 24. There has to be a few players who turn out as draft busts. There are a lot of players who have lived up to and beyond expectations, but there are just as many players who have played well below expectations and are thus considered draft busts.

    You know these players. Think about guys like Darko Milicic or Kwame Brown. Two players who were hyped enough to be taken at No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, yet have jumped from team to team because no franchise finds them worth keeping for an extended amount of time. It happens to plenty of players that have been hyped up and it's one of the risks a team takes when selecting these players.

    We're limiting this list of possible draft busts to only five, but every player has the potential to become a bust. We don't know how they're going to pan out at all. Any one of these players faces the possibility of dealing with injuries or not being able to adjust to the NBA. No. 1 picks could end up just as irrelevant as the last pick in the draft.

    Since we're not going to talk about every player entering the draft, we limited it to five. Let's take a look at five NCAA stars with massive bust potential.

Perry Jones

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    At 6'11" and 235 pounds, Perry Jones could have been one of the most gifted big men in the league.

    Could have been. Jones is extremely strong and has the athleticism and the quickness to accompany it. Any team that picks him out of the draft is getting a unique player that can consistently hit the mid-range jump shot and has the ability to put the ball on the floor. Once Jones gets the first step on his defender, you can just about guarantee that he's going to finish in emphatic fashion.

    Jones averaged 14 points on 55 percent shooting to go with seven boards per in his final season. He averaged less than a block per, which has to disappoint scouts that saw potential in Jones as a power player. The fact that he's also averaging only seven boards per also draws a concern, and NBADraft.net claims that Jones "does not show the willingness to defend or rebound on a regular basis."

    There had to be some reason explaining why Jones' numbers were so low in rebounding and blocks. He's certainly strong and athletic enough to annihilate teams on offense, but does he want to exert the same amount of energy and stamina at other aspects of the game?

    Jones is projected to go 13th and is listed as fourth among power forwards.

Fab Melo

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    The main reason why Syracuse's tourney run ended so early, Fabricio Melo may have barely played in his two seasons as an Orange but it's doing little to hurt his draft stock.

    He averaged 10 minutes per in his freshman season and 25 minutes per in his sophomore season. With the increased minutes, Melo would average eight points on 57 percent shooting, six rebounds and three blocks per. He only shot 63 percent from the foul line, however. Clearly this is a guy who likes to spend his time in the post.

    There's no problem with that. There are so many big men attempting to be Dirk Nowitzki and ending up as Andrea Bargnani that it's a pleasure to see a big man who actually plays like a traditional power forward or center. It's not a knock on Nowitzki, but rather a knock on the big men who attempt to create and establish themselves as perimeter shooters.

    Melo isn't anywhere near that type of player. He's huge and he enjoys establishing how big he is when asserting his authority in the post. At 7' and 255 pounds, Melo is going to get drafted solely because of his size and the potential he has.

    However, Melo's off-court trouble could come back to haunt him, as well as possibly going into the NBA draft instead of spending another year or two at Syracuse.

Harrison Barnes

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    A versatile, athletic phenom that has the potential to take the NBA world by storm, Harrison Barnes has the potential to become one of the league's top young players if he can correct a few aspects of his game that needs tweaking.

    He's your standard small forward standing at 6'8" and weighing in at 223 pounds. He's got the athleticism of a small forward and the complete game of a small forward. He knows how to drive and he's got a solid jump shot for someone that plays at the 3. He knows how to utilize his strength on defense and he possesses the high basketball IQ that allows him to make smart decisions.

    However, Barnes isn't on this list because he has the certainty of being a great player. He's on this list because he also has the potential to be a major draft bust. He's projected to go in the top five in next year's draft and scouts are claiming that Barnes is, "Too one-dimensional, and hasn't added an aggressive go-to move from one year to the next."

    NBADraft.net goes on to say that, "if his outside stroke his off, he has the tendency to disappear and become a non-factor in the game."

    That's a scary thought to hear about a young player. Rookies are going to eventually run into a wall where their game won't be as effective as it was in college. NBA defenses will make adjustments to guard the rookie and it's up to that player to find out the problem.

    The team that drafts Barnes can't allow his to disappear or get discouraged if he's missing a few shots. He's going to be taken high, which means that he's going to be expected to consistently perform. He has to live up to that pressure and has to maintain the right mindset to fight through slumps.

Terrence Jones

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    If a team is looking for an incredible athlete that's going to give an all-out effort each and every night, Terrence Jones is the guy to draft.

    However, if teams want a jump shooter and a player who can take over a game with his offense, then Jones is going to be passed up.

    Jones is an amazing athlete and is full of energy. He has the potential to be a great player and being an all-around player is a respected attribute of his. In his final year at Kentucky, Jones averaged 13 points, seven boards and one assists per. He shot 50 percent from the field, but saw most of his stats decrease from the previous season on account of the talent level of his new teammates.

    Terrence is projected to go 16th and is ranked third among small forwards.

    Among his weaknesses include his lack of a consistent jump shot. Jones can get to the rim, but he needs a jump shot to rely on. That is an aspect of his game that would be exploited every time he's on the floor. If Jones, who is listed as a small forward, can't make defenders respect his jump shot, then he loses his influence in the game and could disappear.

    A great emotional player who can do it all, but also a player who may hurt you more with his lack of a consistent jump shot.

Austin Rivers

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    Austin Rivers was solid in his lone year at Duke University, but it wasn't nearly as good as we expected.

    After watching mixtape after mixtape of Rivers slicing and dicing high school defenses, nailing insane jump shots and throwing down absurd dunks for a player that stands at 6'4", he became the most hyped high school player in the league. The fact that his father was Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers also contributed to his notoriety.

    Rivers had his moments as a Blue Devil. His 29 points and game-winner against North Carolina was one of the top moments of the NCAA basketball season and his all-around offensive game did live up to expectations. Rivers had that jumper with unlimited range, the ability to cut through defense's at will and the athleticism, but he still severely lacked the traits to become a great NBA player.

    Rivers has the tendency to make the game revolve around himself. That's saying something at a level like the NCAA where teamwork is encouraged and celebrated. Rivers might have averaged 16 points per, but averaging more turnovers per (2.3) than assists per (2.1) is a cause for concern. He does have the tendency to get out of control and the mentality to take over.

    He has the mindset of a closer. We've seen how clutch he can be when he nailed a game-winner in the house of his teams' biggest rival. However, we also want to see Rivers the facilitator. He needs to prove that he can be a great teammate and learn to make the adjustment of going from star player to role player.