While most NBA fans are focused on the heated battles in the first round of the NBA playoffs, decision-makers in the front office are rapidly preparing for the 2012 draft class.
When it comes to the draft, here is the real question we’re all wondering: which general manager is going to come up with the first epic fail?
We saw it with Jimmer Fredette (No. 10 overall) in 2011 and Wesley Johnson (No. 4 overall) in 2010, and we’re certain to see it in 2012 again. Busts are nothing new in the draft, just ask Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi.
There is a plethora of talent available in the first round, and needy teams will be looking to cash in on early picks in order to improve the roster.
The point? There is rarely a “sure thing” in any draft.
Just like in previous seasons, some teams will certainly reach for college standouts that fit an area of need, but I’m a firm advocate of taking the best available talent. Unsurprisingly, there are already split opinions as to how some players will fare when they enter the NBA.
Will there be some smart selections? Absolutely.
These guys could all find their niche, but all five come with a giant warning label on draft day.
Point Guard: Marquis Teague, Kentucky
Teague probably would have been selected a lot higher in the 2013 draft had he stayed in school for another season.
In his freshman season, Teague showed us what made him such a sought after recruit coming out of high school: great speed, excellent athleticism and the ability to explode by the opposition.
However, there are a lot of areas where Teague must improve. He can’t run an offense in a half-court set, he struggles with his jump shot and also has the tendency to disappear during the course of a game.
Teague may never be a floor general. He has to land in a spot where he’ll have the right coach for him to fulfill his potential.
Shooting Guard: Doron Lamb, Kentucky
Similarly to Teague, Lamb would have really benefited if he had stayed for another season at Kentucky.
Lamb has got a solid jumper and can stretch the floor with his three-point shot. However, he is too small to contend against shooting guards at the NBA level and doesn’t do anything extraordinarily well.
He relies on his perimeter game far too frequently. Defenses will quickly learn to close out on him and force Lamb to put the ball on the floor.
The shooting guard can’t create his own offense. Without the ability to attack the rim or the ability to consistently move without the ball, Lamb is going to struggle to get off the bench no matter where he lands.
Small Forward: Jeffery Taylor, Vanderbilt
Taylor is a perfect example of why extraordinary athletes don’t always translate to successful players after entering the league.
He’s a nice defender away from the basket and has the size NBA scouts are frequently looking for. But, his offensive game is a work in progress and that’s a generous description.
Taylor’s tendency to stay stagnant without the ball won’t work for him, and it’s not like he is someone who can score off the dribble, either.
He’s a bit of a project despite his defensive skills. It’s very possible that he never blossoms on the opposite end of the court.
Power Forward: Andre Drummond, UConn
Obviously Drummond has the skills to be a big-time player at the next level, but we really didn’t see what we should have from him during his tenure at UConn.
He’s got the physical tools to put it all together. His combination of size and skill could make him an absolute nightmare for the opposition.
However, Drummond’s game isn’t exactly something we’d traditionally see from someone of his size and he doesn’t create his own offense.
Drummond has an unbelievably high ceiling, but there are major question marks if he’ll ever ascend to those heights.
Center: Fab Melo, Syracuse
Scouts drool over Melo because he’s got the the size many are looking for at the center position. That is just about the only certainty in his game at this time.
To say that he’s raw would be an understatement. Melo is really going to have to sharpen his approach at both ends of the floor rather quickly if he doesn’t want to get eaten alive beneath the basket.
Melo isn’t an explosive athlete nor does he have the best basketball IQ, but as the old saying goes, “you can’t teach size.”
If a team reaches to grab him earlier than the back end of the first round, there’s a strong chance that it winds up being a regrettable decision.
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