Here in my opinion is how the top ten shapes up. There are some names that are rated a little high compared to popular opinion, but I feel as though size in the NBA is tough to get. The toughest positions to acquire at the NBA level is a point guard and a center. If you are going to gamble on talent at that level you have to do it at those two positions. Since this year’s point guard crop is a little bit down, the center position is one that should be heavily evaluated leading up to the draft in June. I think there are some very good big men that can be top 10-15 centers in the NBA in the next five years.
Jeff Withey is a name that isn’t thrown around in draft discussions. When I mention this ranking of 6, people look at me like I am crazy. Evaluating isn’t an exact science, but as I stated early quality big men are tough to acquire in the NBA so when you have a chance to draft one on a rookie contract its’ always smart to do so. With Withey’s size and activity, especially that of his shot blocking and running I think he’s an intriguing prospect. His numbers don’t stack up to his teammate Thomas Robinson’s but again down the line a 7 foot active center will be tougher to get than a 6’8 power forward. Robinson could end up having the better career, but you can always find players like that through free agency by using your exceptions (mid level,bi annual), but centers that can average 12 pts 8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game could cost you upwards of 10 million dollars a year.
Here is a look at our top 10 prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft
1.) Anthony Davis 6’11 Center Kentucky
|31.4 MPG||14.3 PTS||9.8 REB||4.8 BLK||65.8% FG%|
No surprise here. Davis in my opinion is unmatched for the top big man in the country. He does a little bit of everything. First off his NBA skill is his ability to change the game with is activity. Davis is a high level rebounder and shot blocker. The effect he has on the game with his ability to protect the paint and rebound at a high rate is almost unmatched in this draft. Coach Calipari has done a fantastic job in developing Davis’s offense. I remember watching in December as he had Davis handling the ball at the top of the key and saying that it may be a mistake. As it turns out it’s done wonders for his face up game and improving his ball handling skills. Davis went from a below average back to the basket scorer to a serviceable scorer on the block. He can back his man down with hooks and up and unders in the lane as well as spinning off his man. Anthony can also step out to the mid post area and shoot the 8 footer or drive by his man. He’s always sprinting to the rim in transition as well as rolling hard on pick and rolls. He understands by running the floor and being active that its workth at least an extra 8 points a game. His body is getting stronger and should be able to withstand the riggers of playing the pivot at the NBA level.
NBA COMPARRISON: MARCUS CAMBY
2.) John Henson 6’10 Center North Carolina
|29.7 MPG||14.0 PTS||10.4 REB||3.1 BLK||50.1 FG%|
Long shot blocking skilled big. NBA skill is his size, skill level, and ability to block shots., rebound, as well as adding back to the basket offense to his game. He’s another big man in this draft that is extremely active and energetic. Very good shot blocker and active rebounder on both ends of the floor. His offensive game is much improved from last year. Very good with backdowns in the paint for hooks and spinning off his man. His face up game as well is improved from last year. Besides the Zeller boys, Henson could be the most skilled big man in the draft. Very potent rebounder averaging a rebound every 2.87 mins which is a very good number for bigmen. HIs body could be an issue as some compare him to Brandon Wright with his skinny frame. I think hes slightly stronger than Wright and cill be fine. I can see him being a 3rd – 4th best player on a good NBA team by year 5.
NBA COMPARRISON:CHARLES SMITH(NY KNICKS/CLIPPERS) better rebounding version.
3.) Michael Kidd-Gillcrest 6’7 Small Forward Kentucky
|31.2 MPG||12.0 PTS||7.8 REB||2.1 APG||47.4 FG%|
Athletic and strong small forward. Can face up and drive from the mid range area and finish in the lane. Very good rebounder for a small forward. Tough kid, can score in a variety of ways because of his athletic ability as well as his ability to handle the basketball. Good defender , can move his feet combined with his strength and toughness I feel as though he’ll be a very good defender at the NBA level. Has some issues with his shot, and his elbow mechanics without question, but he’s comfortable and confident shooting the ball and with repetitions could be an improved shooter in time. I assume he’ll change his shot at some point. I think you can run him in 1/3 pick and rolls and roll the point guard to the block. There’s a lot you can do with him on the offensive end without him dominating the basketball. He reminds me of Gerald Wallace. I think he can be a high end roll player at the next level, maybe not quite an all star but could be one of those players on the brink of being an all star level talent.
NBA COMPARRISON:GERALD WALLACE
4.) Andre Drummond 6’10 Center UCONN
|28.1 MPG||10.1 PTS||7.8 REB||3.1 BLK||50.1 FG%|
Space eater around the basket. Quick off his feet, has true size for a center at the NBA level. Can rebound and block shots at a good rate. His best weapon is putbacks on offensive rebounds and drop offs from guards on penetration for dunks. Doesn’t show aggressiveness in big stretches. Can be a top 7-8 center in the NBA because of his size and athletic gifts. Doesn’t show any signs of post or face up offense, but that can be improved in time. Will make his living as he does now on drop offs and putbacks at the next level. I question his passion or competitiveness as he doesn’t show up every night. You can chalk that up for him being young and immature or this could be an issue that could hinder his career. In my experience that is a tough trait to get out of, but hopefully he can get on track and give an effort every night. Has a little DeAndre Jordan in him with his ability to get off the floor and his size. He can duck in and be a threat and roll him to the rim. Has the potential to be an all star talent, but then again could be another Eric Dampier that never lives up to his potential. Doesn’t show energy every night, average defender as far as moving his feet and anticipating. Good shot blocker.
NBA COMPARRISON: DEANDRE JORDAN
5.) Tyler Zeller 6’11 Center North Carolina
|27.3 MPG||15.7 PTS||9.3 REB||1.4 BLK||54.5 FG%|
Long rebounding skilled center. NBA skill is his ability to rebound the basketball and his size. He’s very active on both ends of the floor. Efficient back to the basket scorer. Can back you down and shoot over you with a hook or spin off of his defender. He has the size and length to be a serviceable NBA big man. He runs the floor and is active on screen and rolls and offensive putbacks. He doesn’t have the natural ability as an Andre Drummond, but has a less chance of failing. I think if Tyler can stay healthy and get stronger could develop into a 3rd option on an NBA team. For him it’s all about staying healthy and remaining active.
NBA COMPARRISON: CHRIS KAMAN
6.) Jeff Withey 6’11 Center Kansas
|23.8 MPG||9.3 PTS||6.4 REB||3.3 BLK||55.3 FG%|
Definitely going to take some flack here for the high ranking for him. Very active, rebounding ,and shot blocking big man. His NBA skill is his ability to rebound and block shots at a high rate. Not playing huge minutes for Kansas this season currently averaging 23.8. Very active running the floor and mixing it up. I like his toughness and size. Good rebounder on both ends of the floor. Always plays with energy. Has good athletic ability and length for a big man. Good rim runner and hard roller on screen and roll. Not a scorer on the block, but is getting better. Never really shoots much outside of 7 feet, but has a good looking stroke. Jeff has good hands and a good body. His best days are far ahead of him. I think at very least he’s a serviceable center in the NBA as a rotation big man. I think in the right system and coaching he can be a starter for most of the teams in the league. Only issue I see is the fact that he only averages 23.8 minutes a game and doesn’t play more. I like him and like his potential to improve in the next 4-5 years.
NBA COMPARRISON: TIAGO SPLITTER/JEFF FOSTER
7.) Jared Sullinger 6’8 Power Forward Ohio State
|29.7 MPG||16.8 PTS||8.9 REB||0.8 BLK||54.9 FG%|
Strong wide bodied 4 man. Soft touch around the basket. Good scorer at the college level, long armed active big man. Rebounds at a good rate, not afraid of contact. Good back to the basket game as he can score with a variety of moves. Has a good stroke, 15-17 foot range without question. Will be a player that can hold his own scoring on the block at the NBA level. Not a great athlete and at 6-8 may have some issues with height, but has the strength to play the power forward position. He’s an under the rim player, which means he lacks that great athletic ability a player of his size needs to be a great NBA player. I see him being a very good rebounder in the NBA, and even though he doesn’t have great athletic gifts will be able to score in the NBA. I don’t see him as an all – star level NBA player, but can see him being a 14 point 8 rebound a night guy.
NBA COMPARRISON: DANNY FORTSON with more offense.
8.) Harrison Barnes 6’7 Small Forward North Carolina
|28.1 MPG||17.7 PTS||5.2 REB||40.6 3PT%||54.9 FG%|
Skilled scoring wing player. Has the ability to create space and get his shot from the mid range and mid range + area. Volume scorer at this stage, but his shot selection and efficiency will improve in time. Has good size for a wing player. Not a dominating scorer, but can be a 3-4th scoring option for a team. You can post him up as well. Good range on his jump shot , can put the ball on the floor 1-2 dribbles for offense. Doesn’t have a second gear off the dribble to clear defenders but can be a serviceable scorer for sure. Reminds me of a poor mans nicer Stephen Jackson. I don’t know if he can be as dominating a Jackson , but can have his isolation scoring gene. Solid defender, good length and moves his feet well. I can see him being a borderline all- star player like a Stephen Jackson.
NBA COMPARRISON: STEPHEN JACKSON
9.) Cody Zeller 6’11 Center Indiana
|28.0 MPG||15.4 PTS||6.5 REB||1.3 BLK||63.6 FG%|
Skilled active post player. Can score with his back to the basket. Consistent face up jump shooter from mid post as well. Very smart , one of the smartest big men in this year’s draft. Runs the floor very well, rolls hard on screen and roll. Makes a difference with his activity. His length hurts his rebounding and shot blocking, but he still puts up acceptable numbers although not in an elite group. As he’s only a freshman his game will grow. Cody shows flashes of being a serviceable starting post player in the NBA. Has some Chris Kaman in his game as he shows the ability to score in many ways on the block. His stroke looks fine, he can be an efficient 12-15 foot jump shooter on pops and replaces. Because of his toughness and activity level I feel as though Cody has more up side than his brother does. I dont think hes an all star level, but could be a very good starting big man in the NBA that can be a borderline all star in time
NBA COMPARRISON: Chris Kaman
10.) Thomas Robinson 6’8 Power Forward Kansas
|31.2 MPG||17.8 PTS||11.9 REB||1.1 BLK||53.7 FG%|
Strong and athletic power forward. Best rebounding big man in the draft. Very active and always looking to attack. Will be a hard roller and duck in man at the NBA level. His offense at this point is limited as far as back to the basket offense, but I think that will be better. His ability to run and attack the rim will get him scoring opportunities. Struggles with consistency in his jumper, but his stroke is fine and that will improve in time. His size at 6’8 is a little bit of an issue, but his length and athletic ability will make up for that. I see him being a supped up Brandon Bass. An athletic rebounding big man. I don’t think he’s at an all star level, but I don’t think he can fail.
NBA COMPARRISON: BRANDON BASS