A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

My 2012 NBA Draft Big Board – Ranking the top 30 (March 2012)

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This is my preliminary ranking of the top 30 prospects in the 2012 draft. I will repost a list in June before the draft.

My method is based on evaluating players’ skillsets. A players’ statistics can help illuminate these skillsets, but producing in the NCAA is not a necessity, nor does it guarantee success in the NBA. I see impressive statistics matching an impressive prospects as coorelation, rather than causing that ranking.

I have also included statistical and stylistic comparisons for each player in the NBA. The stylistic comparison may be above or below that player’s production in the NBA, it’s meant more to simply *how* they will play and look in the NBA. The statistical comparison is under the assumption of the opportunity to play starting caliber (30-36) minutes, thus judging the player and not their situation.

1. PF Anthony Davis – The clearcut #1. Can be the best defensive big man in the league, and the value of that cannot be understated when you look at the history of championship teams in the NBA. Offensively he is coming along with good touch, instincts and a ballhandling and shooting perimeter game that is coming along. Finally, has a perfect humble character – the type you build a franchise around culturally. He may put up 18 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game one day, resembling Miami usage Chris Bosh offensively and Tim Duncan defensively.

2. C Meyers Leonard – Has an impressive mix of 7 foot height with a good frame, strong athleticism, and a skill level developed enough to score out of the post and to shoot past the paint. Slightly concerning as a rebounder. Can put up 20 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks a game in the NBA. Looks like a carbon copy of Lamarcus Aldridge coming out of Texas to me in physical tools, skills and NCAA statistics.

3. SG Jeremy Lamb – The most complete wing talent in the draft with explosive and smooth athleticism, an incredible wingspan for a SG, while being one of the best shooters in the draft and a very good ballhandler. Appears born to play SG with his feel for the game, as if he is playing on water. Can put up 24 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists a game, resembling Kevin Martin with more strength and more defensive ability.

4. PF Perry Jones III – An elite mix in talent of a 6’10+ body, explosiveness that will rank with anyone’s in the NBA, and a developed and fluid skill game. May struggle defensively and on the glass and may not have the mentality to be an alpha dog. Can put up 22 points and 8 rebounds a game. May end up resembling a lovechild of Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire offensively, with Amare’s frustrations defensively and on the glass thrown in for good measure.

5. PF Thomas Robinson – Robinson has a strong combination of explosiveness, size and most importantly for his upside, good face-up ballhandling for a PF. He should be a menace on the glass with his 11.8 rebounds per game average in the NCAA. Can be a true “power” forward in the NBA. May not be fluid enough instinctually on the offensive end to be a star. Can put up 16 points and 12 rebounds a game. Resembles Al Horford.

6. PF Jared Sullinger – Has a true feel for scoring in the post and a sense of instincts and timing offensively, and has shooting range. Is an underrated athlete, despite not being a specimen he is smooth and quick. Should be a good rebounder in the NBA. Can put up 19 points, 10 rebounds a game. Resembles Al Jefferson.

7. PF Arnett Moultrie – A complete power forward prospect, with height, explosiveness, and a developed skill and shooting game. Rebounded well in college, putting up a similar statistical season as Robinson despite lesser accolades. Can put up 20 points, 10 rebounds a game. Resembles Carlos Boozer.

8. PF/C Cody Zeller – A great athlete with a nice feel for offense around the rim. Has a short wingspan which could be a cause for concern defensively. Can put up 18 points, 9 rebounds a game. Resembles David Lee. Look for Cody to return to Indiana rather than declare for this draft.

9. SG Bradley Beal – An intriguing combination of strength and shooting at SG, with decent driving and passing instincts and elite rebounding numbers for a guard. May be more very good than special at most SG roles other than rebounding. Can put up 18 points, 6 rebounds a game. Resembles Eric Gordon.

10. SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – A strong and extremely fast SF, looks most impressive finishing fastbreaks. A very smart player and a decent ballhandler. Has an improving jumpshot. May struggle to produce in the halfcourt offensively. Can put up 18 points, 7 rebounds a game. Resembles Richard Jefferson.

11. PF/C John Henson – Should be a rare asset in the NBA by blocking shots and rebounding. Has some offensive polish, but may be lacking the instincts on that end and the strength to finish at the basket. Can put up 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. Resembles Marcus Camby.

12. PG/SG Damian Lillard – One of the best shooters in the draft, with good size and speed to attack the rim. Is likely a score first PG in the NBA which dampens some of his value. Can put up 19 points, 6 assists a game. Resembles Jason Terry.

13. PG Scott Machado – Has close to the complete package to be a starting PG, with passing skills leading to nearly 10 assists per game, a very good jumpshot and enough quickness to get in the paint. Can put up 16 points, 9 assists a game. Resembles Jose Calderon

14. SG Terrence Ross – Has the tools to start at SG with good size, ballhandling and shooting. Is a good rebounder for a SG. May struggle to score within 20 feet. Can put up 17 points, 6 rebounds a game. Resembles a taller O.J. Mayo.

15. PG Kendall Marshall – A very similar prospect to Machado, but having proved his worth in a better conference, yet with a worse but improving jumpshot to balance it out. Should make his teammates better and start in the NBA. Can put up 11 points, 8 assists a game. Resembles Ramon Sessions.

16. SG Doron Lamb – Arguably the best outside shooter in his class, Lamb also has size and solid, smooth athleticism. Lamb should be a guaranteed positive impact player in the NBA. Can put up 15 points, 3 rebounds a game. Resembles JJ Redick.

17. SF/PF Tony Mitchell (North Texas) – Needs to work on his offensive polish, but has elite athleticism and freakish rebounding and block/steal numbers for a 6’8 forward. May have trouble fitting in a starting lineup if his offensive doesn’t improve, but can put up 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks/1.5 steals a game at his upside. Resembles Gerald Wallace.

18. C Andre Drummond – Has physical talent as impressive as anyone’s, but is lacking in any offensive or defensive instincts, with a non-existent skill level. Should block shots and finish at the rim in the NBA. Can put up 10 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks a game. Resembles Deandre Jordan.

19. PF Royce White – White has a nice combination of athletic tools and skill including a great passing game, to make him a surefire mismatch at PF. Anxiety issues may make him a consistency risk in the NBA. Can put up 16 points, 6 rebounds. Resembles Lamar Odom both in games and upstairs.

20. PF James Michael McAdoo – Has impressive athleticism and strength for a PF and is a developing face-up threat, but is undersized and may find himself a tweener between the 3 and 4. Can put up 17 points, 7 rebounds a game. Resembles Michael Beasley.

21. PF Terrence Jones – A good combination of size and speed at the PF position. May not have great offensive instincts and needs to improve his decision making but has the tools to start. Can put up 17 points, 7 rebounds a game. Resembles Jeff Green.

22. PF Tyler Zeller – Likely won’t have the physical frame to play center, Zeller can provide skill and high IQ play at the power forward position as a high end role player. Can put up 13 points, 8 rebounds a game. Resembles Udonis Haslem.

23. SF Harrison Barnes – Barnes possesses good size and has a respectable, but not elite shooting stroke. Needs knockdown NBA 3pt range to have a guaranteed role in the NBA offensively. Has a smooth feel for the court. Can put up 16 points, 6 rebounds a game. Resembles Marvin Williams.

24. SG Dion Waiters – Waiters has an intriguing combination of size, athleticism and ballhandling ability. Can put up 16 points, 5 rebounds a game. Resembles Rodney Stuckey.

25. SF Moe Harkless – Harkless is a strong full court athlete at SF, who should have defensive potential and the ability to finish in transition. Can put up 15 points, 7 rebounds a game. Resembles Wilson Chandler.

26. PF Mason Plumlee – With elite athleticism, should provide great rebounding and energy at PF/C. Lacks feel for the game offensively. Can put up 10 points, 9 rebounds a game. Resembles Kenyon Martin.

27. SF Jason Taylor – Taylor should be a threat to finish on the fastbreak and has defensive potential in the NBA. Can put up 13 points, 6 rebounds a game. Resembles Wilson Chandler.

28. PF Andrew Nicholson – Nicholson has an impressive outside skill level for a PF, which is a mismatch role that NBA teams can usually find minutes for. Can put up 15 points, 6 rebounds. Resembles David West.

29. SF/PF Draymond Green – Green has an impressive skill level and basketball IQ, which should help him despite less than ideal physical tools and a lack of a clear position. Can put up 15 points, 6 rebounds a game. Resembles Paul Millsap.

30. PG/SG Tony Wroten, Jr. – An elite ballhandler and physical talent, Wroten may be best served dominating the ball on a bad team, but will be unlikely to help win games until he develops a shooting game or ability to play with teammates as a guard. Can put up 16 points, 5 assists a game. Resembles Tyreke Evans.

Just missing the cut: SG Will Barton, PG/SG Austin Rivers, PG/SG Marquis Teague, C Fab Melo, PG/SG Reggie Hamilton, PF Patric Young

I am assuming international prospects SF Evan Fournier and C Furkan Aldemir are not in this draft. Both will be ranked in the early/mid 20s if they declare.

One Response

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  1. I agree with you about Barnes, wow his stock has dropped.

    I have a feeling Meyers Leonard is gonna bust in the pros. Per 40 minutes, he only averaged 10.4 boards and 2.4 blocks last season. That’s not good for a 7-footer, particularly the low amount of blocks – how many great centers have blocked so few shots in college? Only Bogut comes to mind, and Bogut was a far superior scorer, rebounder, and passer who fouled a lot less. Foul-prone 7-footers who can’t defend the basket or get rebounds do not have long careers.

    If I had the #2 draft pick I would honestly consider taking a chance on Tony Mitchell (or just trading down and getting him later). His rawness and fouling reminds me of Tyrus Thomas somewhat, but I think he has a better chance than anyone else of becoming a star.


    March 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

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