Looking to the Future: 2012 Draft Prospects

Published: January 7, 2012

Hornets247 takes a look at the deep group of prospects available in the coming 2012 draft.

Drafts come in all flavors.  Some are like the 2000 draft, which sported exactly two players in the lottery who started for a team for at least 4 seasons.  Then there are drafts like 2003, which delivered LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, David West and a superb butt-of-all-jokes Darko Milicic.  Couldn’t ask for better than that.

What’s nice this year is that the Hornets have the opportunity to hold two lottery picks in the coming draft – and since many of the top tier talent remained in college last year due to concerns about the lockout, this draft appears to be very deep.  Most drafts, after around pick 3 or 4, or even sooner, GMs are taking on risks that a player will develop.   This coming draft, however, is 10-players deep, which means that with the inevitable two or three teams that reach for centers, raw atheletes or unknown international prospects too soon, the Hornets could actually land themselves two impact players in the draft.

Over the season, we’ll be tracking these key prospects and trying to keep you abreast of their development.  With this post, however, I hope to just make you aware of who those top 10, as I see them, are.

Big Men
The good news is this draft is simply teeming with talented, big kids.  Kaman and Landry on one year deals?  That’s okay, with these guys coming out and hopefully being on the board when the Hornets pick.

Anthony Davis
6’10 PF, Kentucky

To me, Davis is the prize of this draft.  As a Junior in high school, he was a talented guard – until he had a massive growth spurt.   Now he’s a big man with a solid basketball skills to go with amazing height and energy that is making him a defensive force.

Andre Drummond
6’11 C, Connecticut

He is Raw, raw, raw.  Drummond is huge, and many scouts see the next Andrew Bynum in him.  He’s not putting up terrific numbers, but a guy his size usually takes some time to figure things out.  If he puts it all together, he’s got a tremendous ceiling.

Jared Sullinger
6’9″ PF, OhioState

With a slew of highly touted freshmen prospects (Read: Athletic) rolling into College, Sullinger is the forgotten elite prospect at the 4.   He scores and rebounds extremely well and if you need a scoring big man in the frontcourt, you won’t find a better option in this draft than Sullinger.  If the Hornets don’t get a crack atDavis, Sullinger is my guy to replace Landry.

Perry Jones
6’11” PF, Baylor

Jones has all the tools of a superb power forward.  He’s agile, long, and disruptive defensively when he wants to be.  His offensive game is also pretty solid.  When he’s aggressive offensively, he’s a handful.

Thomas Robinson
6’9″ PF, Kansas

Robinson has emerged from the shadows of current NBA Rookie Twins at Kansas, and is putting together an impressive campaign.   Personally, I drool over his rebounding numbers even more than the fact he can stick the mid-range jumper.

John Henson
6’10” PF, North Carolina

Henson is a Junior, and is therefore dropping down the draft charts because scouts have moved from  wondering at his potential to picking at his game.  Henson isn’t an amazing scorer, but he’s good.  He’s an exceptional rebounder weak-side help defender.  The guy has the potential to be Marcus Camby.


Michael  Kidd-Gilchrist
6’7″ SF, Kentucky

Gilchrist is an athletic freak with great defense and a nice slashing game.  He reminds me a bit of Corey Brewer in college. He has to get a consistent shot, but if he can knock down the three-ball at least moderately well, we’ll see a less nutty version of Stephen Jackson in the league.

Harrison Barnes
6’8″ SF, North Carolina

Barnes is a terrific shooter with every physical tool you could want in a basketball player.  It’s hard to tell, though, if we are seeing the next Glen Rice or the next Rashard Lewis.  Either way, he could help a lot.

Jeremy Lamb
6’5″ SF, Connecticut

Lamb is a skilled scorer, shooting and finishing efficiently from all over the floor.  If surrounded with a few multi-dimensional players, he could easily be the leading scorer on a solid team.

Bradley Beal
6’4″ SG, Florida

Bradley Beal’s numbers aren’t that fantastic so far this year.  He’s a fantastic rebounder for a guard, but he had a reputation as a dead-eye shooter and his shot has not been falling at all.  Don’t be totally fooled by his low scoring numbers, though.  He’s playing with a pair ball-dominating teammates out to get their own shots.

Point Guards

Sadly, there aren’t any top prospects at the point.  Maybe McNamara will get his wish and see Kendall Marshall fall to us for a late round pick obtained via further trades this year of our veterans.

3 Games to Watch This Week

1. Wisconsin at Michigan- Sunday, January 8  on CBS

Neither team has a guy that the Hornets will snatch up in the lottery, but both have guards that could intrigue the Hornets if they can pick a late first round pick for Kaman or Landry at the trade deadline. Wisconsin senior point guard Jordan Taylor has a limited ceiling, but he could come in and play from day one. Meanwhile, Michigan point guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. isn’t really a point guard like his father, but has the potential to be a Jamal Crawford like scoring guard at the next level.

2. Baylor at Kansas State- Tuesday, January 10 on ESPN 3 and ESPN.com

Baylor has played a lot of cream puffs this season, and as a result, we haven’t seen future lottery picks Quincy Miller and Perry Jones tested much. Kansas State, however will offer up quite a test as those two will have to face off against a veteran team that includes senior forward Jamar Samuels.

3. Ohio State at Illinois- Tuesday, January 10 on ESPN

Illinois ranks 150th in the country in rebounding, so Jared Sullinger should have a field day against their soft interior. Part of that soft interior, however, includes Myers Leonard- a 7’1″ sophomore center that some team will undoubtably take in the lottery next season because of his size. Hopefully Dell Demps tunes into this game and realizes size doesn’t matter. Think Dejuan Blair verse Thabeet in college. Blair dominated those match-ups, but Thabeet went #2, while Blair lasted until the mid-forties.

Anyone you think I’m missing?  Anyone on this list you hate – or love?  Let us know!

Looking to the Future is a weekly piece that will appear only on Hornets247.com every Saturday. 


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