The 10 Most Overrated 2012 Draft Prospects: Part 1

Over the past couple of months, I wrote a series of articles focusing on some of the most underrated prospects in this year’s draft. Inspired by Linsanity, I set out to shed light on some of the guys who I felt, based on their outstanding college numbers, have what it takes to make significant contributions to NBA teams, but who for one reason or another (almost always size) have been ignored by most teams and media analysts. And while I really enjoyed arguing for guys who deserve their due, I can’t help but address the other side of the issue: every year, teams foolishly draft guys who didn’t perform well in college. These are the guys who either have potential” (aka size), or guys who just scored a lot in college but either didn’t do it efficiently or didn’t do anything else.

While productive players in college can be hit and miss (some turn out great, some fall short), guys who were bad in college are almost always bad in the NBA (I haven’t done any definitive research on this, but I have done some, and examples of poor college players becoming good NBA players are few and far in between). In essence, I’m fairly confident that the underrated draft prospects I wrote about will be reasonably productive in the NBA, but I’m very confident most of the guys here won’t be productive. This ranking is based on two primary factors: how productive the player was in college and how high experts expect him to be drafted. I will also take age into account to some degree.

10. Terrence Jones

  • Class: Sophomore
  • Position: Power Forward
  • Draft Position: Lottery
  • Win Score (Adjusted for Strength of Schedule and Position): 7.2 (Average)

Terrence Jones certainly isn’t terrible. In fact, he’s right around average for his position. But I, for one, wouldn’t want to use my lottery pick to take a player whose performance in two years of college was right around average. Jones is pretty good at forcing turnovers and taking care of the basketball, and he’s great at blocking shots. However, he shoots worse than his peers across the board, and is a below average rebounder for a power forward.

Who Should You Take Instead? Kevin Jones, Jae Crowder, or Tyler Zeller (depending on what you want)

9. Jeremy Lamb

  • Class: Sophomore
  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Draft Position: Top 10
  • Win Score (Adjusted for Strength of Schedule and Position): 7.2 (Average)

Like Terrence Jones, Lamb isn’t a bad prospect. But he shouldn’t be a top 10 pick. With a PAWS40 of 7.2, Lamb is just above average in terms of Win Score. But he was part of a championship team, and he has great size for his position, including a 7-foot wingspan. He also must be the best athlete in college basketball, as ESPN’s Chad Ford cites Lamb’s athleticism in three of his eight positive bullet points. Lamb is an above average shooter, relatively good at taking care of the ball, and actually a pretty decent all around player. But, for all his size an athleticism, he wasn’t particularly good at creating possessions – he doesn’t steal the ball or grab offensive rebounds as well as his peers.

Who Should You Take Instead? Will Barton.

8. Quincy Miller

  • Class: Freshman
  • Position: Small Forward
  • Draft Position: Mid-Late First
  • Win Score (Adjusted for Strength of Schedule and Position): 5.1 (Bad)

Quincy Miller is the poster boy for the size-trumps-skill mentality of NBA decision makers. He gets the benefit of the doubt because he’s a freshman, but his numbers at Baylor were quite underwhelming:

Quincy Miller compared to Draft Express Top 100 Small Forwards. All stats are adjusted to per 40 minutes.

Player DE Top 100 SF Quincy Miller
Effective Field Goal % 0.517 0.485
True Shooting % 0.559 0.550
3 Point Shooting % 0.359 0.348
Free Throw % 0.698 0.816
Offensive Rebounds 2.27 2.39
Defensive Rebounds
6.04 5.67
Total Rebounds 8.32 8.06
Assists 2.57 2.35
Steals 1.56 1.11
Blocks 1.18 1.06
Turnovers 2.67 2.92
Personal Fouls
3.02 3.06
Points! 18.68 17.41
Win Score
6.11 4.78

Mid to late first round, in my opinion, is a little early to draft a player purely because of his size. I’d rather have a player who has proved that he can be productive.

Who Should You Take Instead? Jae Crowder.

7. Tyshawn Taylor

  • Class: Senior
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Draft Position: Late 1st/Early 2nd
  • Win Score (Adjusted for Strength of Schedule and Position): 4.7 (Turrible)

Tyshawn Taylor, much like Quincy Miller, exemplifies the polar opposite of the players I covered in the underrated draft prospects series. He has fantastic size and great athleticism, but his numbers are flat out underwhelming. Unlike Miller (and most overrated prospects for that matter), Taylor is a senior, and doesn’t have much room to grow. He is a relatively efficient scorer, but he’s a poor rebounder and very turnover prone.

Who Should You Take Instead? Jesse Sanders.

6. Andre Drummond

  • Class: Freshman
  • Position: Center
  • Draft Position: Top 6
  • Win Score (Adjusted for Strength of Schedule and Position): 7.4 (slightly above average)

Drummond is the classic big who is considered a top prospect solely because of “potential”. You know, like Kwame Brown. The thing is, everyone knows it. His draft stock has even fallen over the past few weeks because of it. But some still think he’ll go #2 and the worst case scenario has him going #6. Draft Express sums up analysts’ take on Drummond – and their overt realization that drafting him is a gamble – quite nicely:

On one hand, Drummond’s long-term potential is obvious. With his tremendous size, frame, length and mobility, his elite physical tools put him in the same class as NBA centers such as Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Dwight Howard and Derrick Favors. Not turning 19 until August, he was the second youngest prospect in college basketball this year after Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

 

On the other hand, Drummond’s actual on-court production this season was nowhere near what you would expect from a future NBA lottery pick, at least on the offensive end.

The thing is, the guys with whom Drummond is in the same elite class, at least the ones who went to college, (ignoring the fact that neither of them have done anything in the NBA anyway) were actually quite good as college freshmen. Let’s compare:

Andre Drummond compared to Draft Express Top 100 Centers, Greg Oden’s freshman season, and Derrick Favors’s freshman season. All stats are adjusted to per 40 minutes.

Player DE Top 100 C Andre Drummond Greg Oden Derrick Favors
Effective Field Goal % 0.547 0.538 0.616 0.611
True Shooting % 0.603 0.514 0.637 0.629
3 Point Shooting % 0.291 0.000 0.000 0.000
Free Throw% 0.724 0.295 0.628 0.629
Offensive Rebounds
3.86 4.72 4.89 4.37
Defensive Rebounds
7.48 5.92 8.35 7.89
Total Rebounds 11.35 10.63 13.23 12.25
Assists 1.70 0.62 0.91 1.50
Steals 0.97 1.16 0.78 1.29
Blocks 2.31 3.81 4.54 2.99
Turnovers 2.89 2.15 2.77 3.64
Personal Fouls 3.71 3.10 3.76 3.80
Points 18.70 14.06 21.66 18.12
Win Score
8.49 7.51 12.06 9.69

Ok, so I’m not saying Drummond is going to be Robert Swift. But I certainly wouldn’t use a top 10 pick on him when there are bigs on the board that have proven their ability to be very productive.

Who Should You Take Instead? Jared Sullinger.

Stay tuned for 5 through 1!

-James

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