NBA Draft 2012: Undrafted Studs Who Will Make an Impact in the NBA

Daniel O'Brien@@DanielO_BRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: Undrafted Studs Who Will Make an Impact in the NBA

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    The 2012 NBA draft is in the books, but there are several prospects who have yet to find an NBA home. 

    This year's draft class was exceptionally talented, so there are still a handful of undrafted players who have NBA skills and potential.

    Scouts and general managers are still looking for talented competitors who could be the next Ben Wallace, Jeremy Lin or Bruce Bowen. 2012's undrafted options may not produce at that level of stardom, but it does have some success stories waiting to happen.

    Check out this group of undrafted studs who will make an impact in the NBA.

Kevin Jones, Power Forward

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    West Virginia power forward Kevin Jones is a below-average athlete who needs to incorporate some small forward skills to survive, but he will be a nice 3-4 option for a willing suitor.

    Even though he's not laterally quick or vertically explosive, Jones seems to always find a way to beat his man to the spot and collect bushels of rebounds.

    His nose for the ball and ability to carve out space made him a prolific scorer for the Mountaineers. As a pro, he'll use these skills along with his mid-range jump shot to consistently contribute.

    After all, he did lead the Big East in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage in 2011-12.

Drew Gordon, Power Forward

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    Limited offensive skills hurt Drew Gordon's draft opportunities, but the Mountain West's top rebounder will get serious consideration from several clubs.

    Although his jumper is almost non-existent and he's not a ball-handler, Gordon can compete in the NBA with his physical gifts and knack for finishing in the paint.

    He's strong enough and athletic enough to be a valuable rebounder and a capable defender. He'll be able to keep almost anyone in front of him, and he'll use his 7'0" wingspan to contest shots.

Tu Holloway, Point Guard

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    He doesn't possess ideal combo-guard size, but Tu Holloway will be an excellent weapon for the team that's willing to overlook his shortcomings.

    Xavier's brilliant playmaker can score in bunches, and he progressed as a facilitator in his last couple years of college.

    When he comes off the bench as a pro, opponents will have a difficult time containing him, and they'll have an equally difficult time getting past him on the other end.

    Holloway will be a dangerous perimeter defender and a scoring threat every time he checks into an NBA game.

Yancy Gates, Power Forward

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    Yancy Gates' skills still need polishing, and there might be some lingering character and motivational concerns, but he could be a handy reserve forward at the next level.

    Cincinnati's enforcer could turn into an NBA squad's enforcer off the bench.

    Gates is 6'9" and as thick as a redwood tree, but he's agile enough to run the floor and get into great position.

    Gates has a chance to make his mark in the league by rebounding and playing physical defense.

Alex Young, Shooting Guard

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    IUPUI standout Alex Young torched the Summit League during his four-year collegiate career.

    The 6'6" guard/forward can fill up the hoop in a variety of ways, including hitting long-range attempts or drawing fouls and getting to the line.

    Young doesn't just have good size—he has great size, with a ridiculous 6'11" wingspan.

    It will allow him to guard nearly any shooting guard or small forward effectively.

    However, he must improve his efficiency if he wants to solidify his NBA career.

Henry Sims, Center

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    Teams looking for a reliable backup center will keep an eye on Georgetown's pivot man Henry Sims.

    Even if he doesn't get a roster spot straight out of the Vegas Summer League, he'll stand out in the NBDL or in Europe and quickly find his way to the big stage.

    His versatility is impressive: Sims showed he could defend, pass, shoot and rebound in one of the best conferences in the country.

    He has plenty of size, mobility and skills to become a solid center, and the Georgetown pedigree also helps his stock.

William Buford, Shooting Guard

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    Although he missed the draft party, William Buford's combination of shooting prowess and athleticism will enable him to succeed as an NBA wing.

    Buford delivered consistent scoring for the Ohio State Buckeyes during his four years in Columbus, and he was the lone senior on the squad in 2011-12. 

    He wasn't impressive enough in one area to attract an NBA club on draft night, but he's a known quantity who will thrive on the perimeter. Buford has the necessary tools to enjoy a long professional career.

Scott Machado, Point Guard

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    Judging by the numbers, you wonder why Scott Machado didn't get drafted.

    In 2011-12, he averaged 13.6 points, 9.9 assists, 50 percent field-goal shooting and 40 percent from distance.

    Unfortunately, he played at Iona, he's not a great athlete and he's not tall.

    But Machado could turn into a better version of Jeremy Lin in the long term, running the point for an NBA squad for long stretches. His court vision and playmaking skills are good enough to direct a pro offense.

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