After last week’s NBA Draft, you are probably left wanting more, right? Well, with the NBA Summer League cancelled and the lockout looming, the next best thing we can analyze is the 2012 NBA Draft. With that, here is a list of the top 15 prospects that will hear their names called by David Stern next year.
Note: We know it is too early to predict next year’s draft. What we are analyzing is guys that are on pace to get drafted or could get drafted.
We have seen slight players like Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant succeed in the past, and the next skinny star in line is Davis. Aside from his rail-thin frame, everything about Davis screams NBA ready. He can do it all on the court. He can shoot, dribble, pass, block shots, and rebound. At 6-11, it would not be an incredible shock if Davis logs a quadruple-double next year for Kentucky. One thing to watch out for about Davis is what position he will play. If he is forced to play center, which is likely, and shows improvement in his post moves, his stock may soar even higher.
Jones made an excellent decision by returning to Baylor. Not only will the 6-11 small forward/power forward have the opportunity to play for a top-20 team, but he will also have the chance to prove critics wrong. The biggest knock on Jones is his consistency. On a good day, he looks like an NBA franchise player because of his ability to go inside and outside. On a bad day, however, he looks like an uninterested borderline NBA player. With a better team around him next season, watch out for Jones to take his versatile game to another level.
Physical specimens like Young are hard to come by. His 6-9 frame and freakish athleticism, at times, is reminiscent of Dwight Howard. Now to say that Young is one-tenth of the player that Howard is would be absurd. He still has a long way to go in terms of productivity. With Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons gone next year, Young will be the featured post player. Hopefully, Florida’s guard-heavy attack will not prevent Young from getting touches.
Barnes could have very well been the No. 1 in this year’s draft, but he still felt like he had something to prove. After a disappointing start of the year, Barnes stepped up his game when Kendall Marshall took over the starting point guard duties. Barnes will now play a full season with Marshall at the point, and the rest of the team will return as well. Look for Barnes’ game to improve drastically, as it was a bit uncharacteristic of him to lose his confidence mid-year. A summer of hard work will fix that issue.
Kabongo has one of those games and personalities that everyone can gravitate towards. He is a lightning-quick floor general with a lot of flash to his game. Kabongo will be one of the nation’s only freshman to step onto the floor and be the man for his team from day one with Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and Cory Joseph all being drafted last Thursday. One thing that makes Kabongo special: he makes his teammates better around him. That is a quality that NBA teams salivate over.
After being the second option of an NCAA championship team, many thought Lamb was long gone. But he realized he was not physically ready and wanted experience as a go-to guy before making the jump. Not only will he be the go-to guy for Connecticut next year, but he is also going to lead the way for the U-19 USA World Championship team. His long and lanky frame will need to add bulk, but Lamb is a prototypical NBA shooting guard in the making.
Coming back from a season-ending knee injury is not easy for anyone. Miller might not be back to his old form right away, but when he is, watch out. At 6-10 with legitimate perimeter skills, Miller could be a special player if his rehabbing goes well. He needs to focus on improving on the defensive end of the floor for now.