With just a few days left before the 2012 NBA Draft, CLE decided to highlight who we believe will become the top 5 rookies next season. It’s tough to gauge how a player will fare, especially before they’re selected to a team but judging off their potential and college statistics, here’s our list.
1. Anthony Davis: The 6’10 Naismith player of the year and recent NCAA tournament champion is slated to be selected number one overall this year. Davis is certainly deserving and should fit in nicely on the Hornet’s roster. Davis’ frame should allow him to become an immediate defensive presence in the league. Whether or not he will be able to contribute to his team offensively will depend on how fast he is able to acclimate to the NBA style of play. Davis has drawn comparisons to Kevin Garnett, which means his upside is amazing and could potentially mean NBA all-star status in the future.
2. Thomas Robinson: A huge reason for the Kansas Jayhawk’s success last season was their big man, Thomas Robinson. Robinson’s 17.7 ppg and close to 12 rebounds per game should translate well next season. Robinson will bring a mixture of athleticism, power and work ethic to whichever team he is selected to. He was able to contribute offensively collegiately but Robinson will definitely have to develop his short jumper and improve upon his post moves if he is to become a legitamate offensive threat in the NBA.
3. Harrison Barnes: Harrison Barnes was supposed to be a number one draft pick. His inability to get the Tar Heels to the promise land and never really living up to his high expectations is what has Barnes below Robinson, Davis and others on most team’s draft boards. Barnes averaged 17.4 ppg along with 5 rebounds during his sophomore season last year. He has room to grow, the 6’8 slender forward’s shooting skills
in addition to his ability to get to the rim, should help Barnes become a consistent offensive option on whichever team he is selected by. It will be interesting to see if Barnes is able to reach his potential in the NBA.
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the most exciting players in this year’s draft. Alongside Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist had a large impact on the Kentucky Wildcats this season.Kidd- Gilchrist will bring an aggressive physical presence to his team next season. The athleticism is certainly there. He plays defense,can score and plays the game with the desire to win. After just one season under coach John Calipari in Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist is another one who has a great amount of upside to his game.
5. Jarred Sullinger: Sullinger is no longer being considered a lottery pick according to most mock drafts, but we believe he may become the draft’s biggest sleeper. Had he chosen to leave Ohio State last season he would have been a top 3 pick. The issue most teams have with Sullinger is his back problems. At 6’9, 260, Sullinger brings a bruising presence to the post. He has a refined post game and scored a consistent 17.6 ppg in two seasons in college. If Sullinger can develop a mid-range game, he could have a Carlos Boozer like impact in the future.