Posted by: Chris on June 8th, 2012
The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
Quite sadly, this isn’t too related to the Jazz. The only one of the following players we could have any shot of getting at our current slot is Papanikolaou and that’s only if he goes somewhat later than expected. SIGH. Why is this the year we don’t have picks? The depth in this draft is incredible (except at the PG position – there’s basically no PG that’ll make it in the league when all is said and done).
Harrison Barnes – There’s talk of Barnes going as high as 2nd, but even the 5th pick that’s more likely is way too high for a player with a seemingly pretty low ceiling. He’ll likely be a rotation player on an NBA team, but he’s not an exceptional defender and doesn’t have the explosiveness to be a primary scoring option. Barnes to me is the classic case of being good at everything, great at nothing, and that’s just not enough to justify using a top-5 or top-8 draft pick.
Kendall Marshall – Sorry to pick on UNC, but this guy is insanely overrated. He doesn’t have a very quick first step, he isn’t a shooter, his defense is porous, and while he has fairly good passing skills he doesn’t really understand the risk/reward concept and turns the ball over far too often. He’s basically Earl Watson, with a few extra inches of height that he doesn’t make enough use of. And there are even injury concerns with Marshall (his elbow, for instance).
Damian Lillard – The ceiling is reasonably high on Lillard (he could be a discount Derrick Rose) but the floor is incredibly low. With such a small number of opportunities to showcase his skills against good opponents, Lillard is a bit of a wildcard. He’s far from a pure point guard, looking for his own shot first, but that actually fits the profile of some elite PG in the league right now, so that isn’t the problem. He just hasn’t shown that he’s truly an elite-level talent yet. Basically, the PG crop this year is WAY behind the other positions.
Tyler Zeller – Yeah, I’m heading back to the NC well, but they just happen to have the overrated guys this year! For Zeller to be so lacking in NBA-readiness after a full 4 years of college is a scary thought. He has a really nice shooting touch, and is good at hitting short-range jumpers and his FT, but he lacks strength and motor/drive. He has shown to have severe problems generating offense when guarded by talented college defenders, and especially when double-teamed, but he also is not skilled at passing out of these situations. Not far off from his 23rd birthday, Zeller is too much of a project to warrant the mid-first-round slotting he’s being given by most NBA draft mockers.
Anthony Davis – Wait, the #1 pick is underrated? Yes, it’s possible. There hasn’t been a player with the set of skills possessed by Davis since LeBron James. He’s an elite defender and shot-blocker at the 4 position, and the insane amount of speed he possesses for his height allows him to correct mistakes made by himself and his teammates on both ends of the floor, as well as making him an extremely dangerous cover on offense. And having only just turned 19, he may still have an inch or two of height to gain, yet he shows exceptional poise, leadership and smarts for his age. People talk about his lack of size like it’s a deficiency, but the lower weight also means significantly less strain on his joints, specifically the knees, meaning that he’s a lower-risk prospect. This is as close as you can come to a guaranteed star player in the draft.
Doron Lamb – He’s a solid defender, the very best shooting prospect in the draft, a hard worker, an excellent athlete, and a proven leader, all at just 20 years old. If Lamb can keep up his work ethic and not let the NBA go to his head, he could be a top-5 prospect in this draft, but mocks have him going in the late first or early second round. He’ll be a steal anywhere around those slots.
Kostas Papanikolaou – Another 3/D type of wing who can make an immediate impact in the NBA despite his young age. He was a key part of Olympiacos’ Top-4 finish in the last Euroleague season, and is legitimately interested in coming over to play here in the states. The profile is fairly similar to Lamb’s, really.
Draymond Green – Underrated, but only a little bit. He’s sort of like a DeJuan Blair / Kawhi Leonard type. He’d be perfect on the Spurs (haha). Basically he does everything very well for his size, he’s just a little awkwardly sized to be easily slotted into an NBA position considering the fairly low height (6′6) but sizable girth (charitably listed at 235 lb) he has. He has a similar skillset to Harrison Barnes (predicted to be picked 20-30 picks higher than Green) but just not the prototypical body type.
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