Looking to the Future: Mid-Rounders

Published: February 18, 2012

The Wolves pick is going to be in the 10-16 range, most likely.  Who could be available then?

We spend a lot of time looking at the front end of the draft, drooling over players like Anthony Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Thomas Robinson.  And, at the same time, being alternately intrigued and worried over players like Harrison Barnes and Andre Drummond.

This time, however, I’m going to depart from that and spend this weekend’s Looking towards the Future piece on late lottery picks, because, let’s face it, The Timberwolves pick could end up anywhere from 10th to 16th.   I took the players mentioned between 8th and 20th on the major draft sites and averaged their expected draft position. I ended up with seven guys I thought I should mention.  If your favorite isn’t here, it’s probably because he just missed the cut before or after this middle group of players.

Big Men

Tyler Zeller – The older Zeller is a putting in strong contributions for loaded UNC, coming in second on the team in points.  He’s an athletic center who can run the floor and score periodically in the post when called to.  His rebounding is solid on the offensive end, even if his defensive rebounding rates aren’t too strong.  I attribute that more to playing next to John Henson than any issue on his part.   Tyler ranks anywhere from 10 to 17 on most sites, and I have a feeling he’ll have a solid career in the NBA as a backup and could develop into a starter.

Cody Zeller – The younger Zeller is carrying more of an offensive load than his brother, operating as the primary option for Indiana.  He’s proving to be quite an offensive force as a freshmen, finishing his shots 66% of the time, and hitting at a great clip from the line.  If Cody can put on some more muscle, he could become a good scoring big in the league down the road.  The biggest worry about him is his willingness to crash the boards.  His defensive rebounding numbers are pretty awful, and he’s not teamed up with a powerhouse rebounder the way his older brother is.

Terrence Jones – Jones is playing with a powerhouse squad in Kentucky, lining up next to big-name players like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Doron Lamb.  Jones specializes in filling the space between all those guys – cutting, running and sometimes driving his way to points at a highly efficient rate.  He’s a good ballhawk and great shotblocker for his position, and if he can bring that combination of complimentary scoring and disruptive defense to the NBA, he’ll have a long, if not briliant, career.

Meyers Leonard – Leonard’s offensive numbers aren’t all that great.  He plays a lot of minutes for a middling pace team, and when you adjust it all, he’s a few steps behind players like the Zellers and other top big men in the draft.  He does shine a bit as a rebounder, particularly as an offensive rebounder.  Because of his game, I want to compare him to Jason Smith but I think he’s got a better ceiling than that.


Quincy Miller – Miller plays second fiddle to Perry Jones at Baylor, but he has a real nice, well rounded game.  He draws fouls at a good rate, hits shots from all over the floor, boards really well and could easily turn into a top 10 small forward in the league once he figures out he should be attacking more.   That’s the issue though, isn’t it?  Aggression isn’t something that can be taught.

Terrence Ross – Ross worries me because he doesn’t have the handle to be a SG in the pros, but I’m not convinced he’s big enough SF either.  He’s also shown almost no improvement from his freshman season other than getting almost twice the minutes and – as a result – producing about twice as much.  He doesn’t shoot particularly well, but neither does he take many free throws.  His strongest attribute is his boardwork, where he posts power-forward like numbers.  He’d need to develop offensively to become a real rotation player in the NBA.


Jared Sullinger – Okay, he’s no where near the range I established above.  I just wanted to re-iterate that I freaking love Jared Sullinger.  I’d take him second in this draft, and wouldn’t even really think about it.  I don’t give a crap about potential when this guy already has established he has the rarest of commodities – a developed post game.  He handles double teams well, crashes the boards hard, and in general, I fully expect him to turn into a Zach Randolph sort of player in the league.  The only guy in my book who I’d consider other than him is Thomas Robinson, and in this case, the younger guy wins.

Every time I check the draft boards, he seems to have slipped another spot in favor of the flavor of the month.   That’s so lame.


Who do you like with a late lottery pick?


  1. nikkoewan

    February 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Quincy Miller!!

  2. chiefyoungblood

    February 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Jermey Lamb could slip down that far if Calhoun keeps missing games , the whole teams been really under preforming ( Crowder from Marquette is killin’ em’ right now) Perry Jones could be slipping . Both top point guards Marshall and Wroten could be available, Doron Lamb on the wing , the maybe Marcus Camby John Henson . I think that Timberwolves is in alot of ways more fun to speculate , doesn’t induce as much stress as a possible number two overall ( we won’t take Drummond right ? I feel like Barnes is a sure thing compared to Drummond, I don’t think were in the position to take on project , don’t we have enough projects)

    I like both Zellers , I worry bout Jone’s ethic , dont you think even 16th might be high for Quincy Miller ?

    Jared Sullinger , seems like the right guy for us for a lot of reasons but he’s not a top 3 pick and isn’t any worried about a PF who can’t play above the rim against his conference let alone the NBA

    • NOH Domination

      February 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Were you not a Hornets fan the last 8 years? I don’t remember West playing above the rim. Though I agree Drummond scares me.. It seems big guys with high ceilings often become busts. I’d rather have Barnes and if we want a big guy with potential we can take Fab Melo later and that way our mid rounder becomes a bust instead of the 2nd overall pick.

      • Richard

        February 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

        Yeah, I agree with you NOH Domination. I think teams have to be careful when picking centers so high. It’s easy for them to dominate the NCAA but the NBA is a completely different story. Hasheem Thabeet is a good recent example. You can’t go wrong with Barnes and Sullinger. They’ll be solid in the NBA if not stars.

      • SP

        February 19, 2012 at 7:33 am

        I’m not sure the Hornets have any fans that haven’t been fans for a reasonable length of time anymore. Who’s jumping on the bandwagon for the worst team in the Western Conference?

  3. lancebrou68

    February 18, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Ryan, can u please explain to me what thomas robinson brings i just need a synopsis on this guy, i don’t understand what separates him from the others

  4. chiefyoungblood

    February 18, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    * marcus camby could be john henson **

    • Jordan

      February 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      * John Henson could be Marcus Camby*** *

  5. Jordan

    February 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Please Damian Lillard, please!

  6. chiefyoungblood

    February 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    haha , here’s a Robinson clip for lancebrou


  7. NOH Domination

    February 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I wouldn’t take anybody from Kentucky not named Anthony Davis.. All their players are so gifted athletically and can simply dominate the less gifted college athletes, but they just don’t know how to play basketball.. None of them are above average shooters and in the NBA their athleticism isn’t going to be able to carry them.. Save for Davis. Also Meyers Leonard is straight garbage. I wouldn’t take him in the 2nd round if he fell to me. I love KU, but I wouldn’t take Robinson higher than 10 in the draft. I agree Sullinger is vastly underrated and I’m not quite sure what you guys have against Barnes, but my top 3 are Davis, Barnes, and Sullinger in that order. I think Cody Zeller is a much better player than Tyler and if he declared and was there at the Twolves pick I would be excited to have him. I also like Austin Rivers if he were to fall that far though he and Gordon may not play the best together, you have to take the best player available and Rivers will be a good player. Also from Duke I’d take Seth Curry if he came out though not with a top 15 pick. I’m not sure if we have a 2nd rounder this year, but if we do I want to take it on Robbie Hummel.. I know we have a logjam at SF already and if we end up with barnes in the first round it doesn’t make sense, but you gotta love Hummel.

    • Dave

      February 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.
      -Lamb shoots 48% from deep. You said he couldn’t shoot.
      -Terrence Jones is an excellent low post scorer and shooter.
      -Teague’s assist to turnover ratio is better than that of John Wall and Brandon Knight.
      -Miller and Wiltjer rarely miss from 3.

      Watch the games before you talk.

      • NOH Domination

        February 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

        WHOA!!! Brandon Knight and John Wall?! Amazing! Can I change my order?
        1. Teague
        2. Terrence Jones
        3. Miller
        4. Lamb
        5. MKG
        6. Jordan Taylor
        7. Doug McDermott
        8. Jeff Whithey
        9. Adam Morrison
        10. Anthony Davis

      • Dave

        February 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        First of all why are you so butthurt?

        You said all they were was athletic and I proved you wrong so….

      • edub8402@hotmail.com

        February 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Ok I’m not going to argue with you because that’s frivolous, but starting off by saying “you clearly have no idea what you are talking about” isn’t the way to strike a conversation. Let me clarify my statements because clearly you took them very personally. I wasn’t speaking about Miller and Wiltjer as neither will be drafted in the 1st round, I just assumed that goes without saying when talking about a draft.. So that leaves 5 Kentucky players who are prospects.
        1. Anthony Davis – clearly the #1..
        2. MKG – The consensus second best prospect from Kentucky.. He is super athletic and a good defender, but aside from that he provides little else. His offense is atrocious.. He can’t shoot outside of 15 feet and he’s only 6’6″…
        3. Lamb – Ok I apologize for generalizing the entire Kentucky roster and ignoring Lamb.. Having said that Lamb is a gunner.. He’s not a point and he’s a small shooting guard.. If we draft him to play point nobody else on the team is getting touches, if we have him play shooting guard then we only have so much playing time at the position.
        4. Teague – Has very limited range and while a 1.65 a/to ratio isn’t bad, it’s also not great. He’s quick and athletic, but so are a host of other points in the NBA. He’s going to struggle against them.
        5. Terrence Jones – Once again not a good shooter, but he’s 6’9″ so that’s not necessary. He’s a fragile guy though and when things don’t go right for him he gets timid, kind of like Aminu. In fact their college numbers are pretty similar.

        So there are my criticisms that form my opinions on the Kentucky brass. I assure you it has nothing to do with how much I’ve watched them and everything to do with how I perceive their next level talent… which is by no means expert level since I’m commenting on a blog, but nonetheless that doesn’t entitle you to to rudely degrade my thoughts.

    • Dave

      February 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Also MKG is an excellent defender,rebounder, and shot blocker.
      Jones averages 2.2 BPG.

      Please get you stuff right.

    • edbballin504

      February 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      Im with you….my Hornets draft order is Davis, Barnes, then Sullinger. Obviously if I land Davis then I won’t need Sullinger. But I think Sullinger would be a great Hornets, just not next to Okafor. Davis however could be a nice complement to Okafor and it could work out. There’s no way I draft a SF unless his name is Barnes. None of those other guys are an upgrade over Ariza/Aminu in my opinion.

      I think our biggest need is starting PG and PF. We have 2 shots at a starting PF with Davis or Sullinger, others may think Robinson is a 3rd, but I am not sold on the guy yet. I dont think we find a starting PG in this draft. Therefore if I am Dell and I dont get Davis at #1, then I’d look to draft Barnes as my 1st pick (2 or 3 overall) even though it’ll be sad to have to trade Ariza (to allow Barnes to start) after the great season he is having. Next I’d look to trade the MINN pick combined with the 3rd pick I get from the Kaman trade to move up and grab Sullinger around 6-8.

  8. 504ever

    February 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Quincy Miller is my pick also, also!!

    I also really like Kendall Marshall (PG) at UNC. Look at how much better UNC became last year when he entered the line-up. Long body, excellent athlete, incredible assist/turnover ratio, generally a good shooter when he shoots. He could be a big time NBA player.

    No way do I want any of the big men who are listed above, except possibly Cody Zeller who won’t come out this year.

    I think there will be other available players with merit at Minny’s pick, including European players. (An Ayon Clone for another position?)

    And I LOVE Sullinger as a pick with the Hornets 1st rounder this year. Totally agree with you there, Ryan.

  9. ImSorryMonty

    February 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    1) Davis
    2) Robinson
    3) Sullinger
    4) Barnes

    If we get anyone outside of that I’m sad. If we end up drafting Drummond I am fricking disowning the Hornets.

  10. Andres

    February 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    John Henson and Cody Zeller, Watchig Cody play it seems that he will be the better player out of the two brothers.

  11. Blattman

    February 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    The late lottery pick depends on the first.

    If hornets draft Davis, they should go with offensive big (the Zellers) or a point guard able to run the pick-and-roll and big enough to play alongside Gordon (Beal Rivers or Wroten).

    If we ends up with an offensive minded big guy (Robinson, Sullinger or…Drummond), we should draft a defensive complement like Henson, Young or Leonard.

    And if the first choice is Barnes (only player talented enough to be taken ahead of one of the bigs), let’s go with the BBA (best big available).

    • Michael McNamara

      February 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      I like everything you say outside of the first sentence. Drafting based on need is always a mistake. Best player on your board no matter what. The fact is that pieces move all the time and all you are really doing in the NBA is acquiring assets to either use or turn into better assets.

      Think of the Hornets drafting Collison a couple of years ago. Not a need, but the best player on their board. A year later he helps the Hornets unload Posey and acquire Ariza. He also could have stayed on as the franchise PG if Paul was traded. Pieces come and go.

      If the Hornets take Barnes at #4 and the best player on their bard at #12 is Quincy Miller, so what- you take him. If they draft Anthony Davis and John Henson is there later (and is the highest on their board), you take him. You always take the best assets and find ways to fit the puzzle together down the road.

  12. lsutigers33

    February 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I like one of the zellers mid round, late round, marshall or woten jr.

    The kid from WV would be a great bench player. Jones

  13. George

    February 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I actually would draft Drummond second, call me crazy but I am risk-taker and if this guy reaches his ceiling he is far and away the second best player in this draft such a rare physical athlete and skill set that if he decides he wants to put in the work to become great and has a good attitude he would become the top center in the league in 5 years time. But everyone who is scared about him being a bust shouldn’t worry because I don’t see anyway this organisation would draft him over hard-hardworking proven players like Sullinger

    • DownUnder

      February 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm

      Drummond may be worth the risk, I dont know what i’d do if i had the second pick, but i think Drummond is the 2nd player in this draft that could be a franchise elite player and you really need one of those guys to ever be a serious contender. His floor is also terribly low, but thats the risk in taking Drummond. Its a decision thats hopefully made for the Hornets.

    • RockyMountain

      February 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      I’m with you here. I would go all the way to franchise players that can win it all, rather than 2nd round playoff exit year-in and year-out.

      Wroten Jr is intriguing though I prefer him at 2-guard rather than PG.

  14. J

    February 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    The top players i like to see drafted by the Hornets by ranking

    1.Kendall Marshall (UNC)
    2.Damien Lilliard (Weber St)
    3.Tony Wroten (Washinton)
    4.Scott Machado (Iona)
    5.Marquis Teauge (Kentucky)

    1.Bradley Beal (Florida)
    2.Terrence Ross (Washington)
    3.Austin Rivers (Duke)
    4.Dion Waiters (Syracuse)
    5.Darius Johnson-Odom (Marquette)

    1.Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
    2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio St)
    3.Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
    4.John Henson (UNC)
    5.Patric Young (Florida)

    1.Michael Gilchrist (Kentucky)
    2.Harrison Barnes (UNC)
    3. Qunicy Miller (Baylor)
    4.Terrence Jones (Kentucky)
    5.Jeff Taylor (Vandy)

    1.Tyler Zeller (UNC)
    2.Myers Lenoard (Illinois)
    3.Cody Zeller (Indiana)
    4.Festus Ezeil (Vandy)
    5.Arnett Moultrie (Miss State)

    • George

      February 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Drummond has to be number one a center, no doubt about it

      • J

        February 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

        Drummond is a bust i see alot of Hilton Armstrong if entered the draft this year. We’ve to wait til the 2013 draft anyway he’ll have a better draft grade.

    • George

      February 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Andre Drummond is at worst DeAndre Jordan with Greg Monroe’s passing. There is no way he is worse than Hilton Armstrong

      • J

        February 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

        Shinn is that you?

  15. DownUnder

    February 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    In the 2nd tier PF battle, I’d prefer Robinson to Sullinger but I’ll admit that its the athleticism that tips it over along with the touching back story. I’ve watched a few Kansas games and Robinson may not be excellent at scoring from the post but his a clever player that knows how to get into position to score against his specific match-up and that will get him alot of points in the NBA.

  16. Calabrone Viola

    February 19, 2012 at 3:16 am

    In this group of players, not important the position, do you think are really one strong player to have a strong impact in NBA? So, i don’t live in USA, and i don’t know too much the reality of college, university. You vote for…?

  17. BRballboy

    February 19, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Not knowing who’s going to fall, or who Dell deals away, I’m looking at need. We can assume Kaman and Landry will be gone (expensive & expiring). We can also assume we get an elite big w/our 1st pick. That leaves Oak, Ayon, Smith, & our 1st pick as our bigs. Plus we’ll have other picks for Chris & Carl.
    At SF, Ariza starting & Aminu on the 2nd unit works pretty well for a defensive minded club. Finding an outside shooter would be a nice add.
    In the backcourt, Gordon will be the SG, & Jack the PG, although I’m not sure he is a pure point. Vasquez seems like a find at 2nd unit PG, but we don’t seem to
    have a decent backup SG that can shoot.
    So, with our 2nd pick, an outside shooting wing looks like the pressing need, & there’s sure to be a good one available when we pick. Great if Barnes or Lamb (Conn) fell, but Rivers or Beal or the other Lamb will be there.

    So, I’m thinking

  18. BRballboy

    February 19, 2012 at 3:45 am

    ‘Scuse the typo, thinking on the wane this a.m.

  19. sundance

    February 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Jorge Gutierrez of Cal will probably go undrafted and he’d be a great catch for the Hornets. His game is alot like Jeremy Lin’s, in that he does everything well. He’d be a nice addition to Gustavo and Greivis.

  20. James Online

    February 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    So, Ryan, both my posts from the last thread were taken down shortly after they were posted. Will you explain, please? Have I been banned from the board ’cause you don’t like my pov? Please explain, thank you.

    • Ryan Schwan

      February 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      I haven’t removed anything you wrote. Having not seen what you wrote, I’m not sure as to the exact reasons. However, I do trust the judgement of those who can remove posts, so I guess you’re out of luck.

      • James Online

        February 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        Out of luck? This isn’t a matter of luck. Who can remove posts? There was nothing obscene or insulting in my posts, and in the case of the first one, I had just seen the game at MSG and worked up a thoughtful analysis. Poof, it was gone minutes after it appeared.

        Does Jason Calmes have the right to remove posts? What are the criteria for censorship? I

        I feel like I’m back in teh PRC! Honestly, I believe that I, or any poster, deserve to know who the gatekeepers are and what the criteria are for removal. Thank you.

  21. usufruct

    February 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Someone please explain why Sullinger is or will be better than Carl Landry. Same size, similar college stats. Landry can be made invisible at times because of his size. Why will Sullinger be any different?

    • Ryan Schwan

      February 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Landry is 6-4. Sullinger is not. Plus Sullinger is heavier, stronger, and can actually rebound.

      • James Online

        February 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

        Ryan, kindly answer the questions I posed above. What are the criteria for censored posts. Is this in the hands of Jason Calmes? Thank you.

      • usufruct

        February 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

        I’m confused. Both players’ bios say they’re 6’9″.

      • George

        February 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm

        Ryan’s made a mistake here, Landry is not 6-4, he’s listed at 6-9, maybe it was a typo. But at the same time I think whoever listed him at 6-9 is being generous he looks about 6-7

  22. David

    February 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Sullinger will be a solid player in the league. This dude CANNOT play next to Okafor. We would be the shortest, stubbiest team at the league at the 4/5. You need a long, athletic, above the rim, bouncy type 4 to play next to Okafor. If Sullinger comes, then Okafor has to go. It’s that simple. It’s why we always struggled against the longer teams when we had Okafor and West and were never viewed as contenders after we broke up the Chandler/West frontcourt, which complemented each other so very, very well.

  23. Derrick Lee

    March 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    i really like Drummond he is starting to step up and unlike the centers that was a bust they were not as bulk as Drummond we really need a backup sg a backup sf starting pf and a center if meka is seeing his last day in new orleans (next year is his last on contact) if they get the 2nd i wish they get Drummond if Lamb fall GET HIM and try to get a 2n round pick to get Sidney from miss state he can be a big steal

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