2012 NBA Draft: 5 Players Rising Up the Board

Carl Berman@carlbermanContributor IIIJune 21, 2012

2012 NBA Draft: 5 Players Rising Up the Board

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    NetScouts Basketball is one of the few basketball scouting companies that relies on live scouting of almost all NCAA Division I schools. In most cases, we've scouted players projected to be picked in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft many times.

    We had one of our scouts, David Jinks, go through our database of scouting reports, review the results of the NBA Chicago combine and secure information on other workouts. He then came up with a list of the five players who have moved up the 2012 NBA Mock Draft board the most since the end of the college season.

    Here's his look at the players who have seen their draft stock rise the most as we get closer to the 2012 NBA Draft.

1. Meyers Leonard, Illinois

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    Key Stats: 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, .584 field goal percentage

    Leonard declared for the draft after his sophomore year, despite only having a decent year for a disappointing Illinois team. Initially, Leonard’s draft stock was thought to be in the late lottery to mid-20s range. 

    However, it's no surprise that his stock is rising, as big-men prospects tend to rise as we get closer to the draft. Leonard’s combination of size, athleticism and shooting touch are very intriguing.

    In addition, Leonard was the player who made the most out of the Chicago combine. Leonard measured as the tallest player at the combine at 6'11.75" without shoes and 7'1.25" with shoes. He showed surprising athletic ability and a nice touch out to 15-18 feet, plus he aced his interviews.

    Now, it looks like Leonard is a lock to be picked in the lottery and could go in the top 10.  

2. Miles Plumlee, Duke

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    Key Stats: 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, .610 field goal percentage

    Plumlee had an unspectacular career as a four-year player at Duke, reaching his career highs in points and rebounds as a senior averaging only 20 minutes per game. In spite of this lack of production in college, he has found his draft stock beginning to rise. 

    Plumlee was not considered much of a prospect earlier in the year, but workouts have allowed teams to witness his size and tremendous athleticism. He measured 6' 11.75" with shoes with a 40.5" vertical jump.

    With his potential to be a role player who defends and rebounds, it now seems likely that he will be drafted toward the top of the second round.

3. Orlando Johnson, UCSB

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    Key Stats: 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, .427 three-point percentage

    Johnson has long been on the radar of NBA teams, as the former Big West Player of the Year had a terrific career at UC-Santa Barbara. Concerns about his level of competition and his athleticism have kept his draft prediction to late in the second round. 

    However, after showing up to workouts in excellent shape and testing well athletically at the combine, there's talk of him moving into the first round. Johnson did well at both the Nets combine and the Chicago combine.

    He's very long (6'11" wingspan) and has a versatile skill set. Considering his size and ability to score, it will be no surprise if he ends up in the late-first round or early-second round.

4. Moe Harkless, St. John's

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    Key Stats: 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, .452 field goal percentage, .215 three-point percentage

    Harkless had an excellent freshman year at St. John’s, even though he was asked to play out of position on a team with no depth. He's still extremely raw on the offensive end, which is why most have thought of him as a late first-rounder.

    But his potential may be too intriguing for NBA teams to pass up, as there has been mention of him possibly going in the lottery. Harkless performed very well at the Chicago combine.

    While he certainly needs to improve his shooting, with his size and athleticism, Harkless may see himself moving up to a lottery pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

5. Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure

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    Key Stats: 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, two blocks, .571 field goal percentage, .434 three-point percentage

    Nicholson was outstanding this past season, leading his team to an NCAA bid and an Atlantic 10 tournament championship. However, questions still remained about his game, even after his incredible run, and was thought of as a late-first/early-second round pick. 

    Since workouts began, Nicholson has begun showing teams that his shooting and skill level are legit, which is why teams in the top 20 are becoming interested in him. 

    In Chicago, Nicholson measured in at a solid 6'9.5", 234 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan. He's a very intriguing, flexible player who can play inside and out. He's solid from the perimeter and can defend the post with his long wingspan.

    Nicholson helped himself in Chicago with excellent outside shooting. His defense and rebounding were well known, but his shooting ability surprised some scouts.

    He didn't surprise us at NetScouts Basketball, as we've seen him repeatedly over the last several years.