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Boom or Bust Prospects

Wed, 06/20/2012 - 2:24pm

One of the most challenging decisions for NBA evaluators is weighing risk versus reward. Projecting ceilings and basements while measuring the likelihood of each is an integral part of the draft evaluation process. Depending on the direction of a team and its current personnel, prospects with towering upside who remain vulnerable to underachieving could be unappealing as a top selection, especially when you consider the value of a high pick. On the other hand, teams looking to roll the dice might want to take a chance on a "Boom or Bust" prospect, with the hopes that their ceiling is reached and a star is born in time. Here's a list of some of the riskiest yet most rewarding prospects in the 2012 NBA draft.

Andre Drummond

Andre DrummondAndre DrummondWhile it's not as black and white as Kwame Brown or Dwight Howard, Drummond's projections land at the opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, if Drummond develops some go-to moves and revs up that motor, he becomes the immediate focus of a defense's attention. A guy the opposition game-plans for. A double-team requirement. Then again if he fails to develop offensively, he becomes limited to finishing and clean-up duties. Though nice to have, that doesn't justify top 5 value.

Perry Jones

We look at Jones and see incredible potential based on the height of a center and athleticism of a guard. And not only that, but Jones can play the game. He's a good basketball player. The issue is whether or not Jones can strategically use his strengths to exploit the mismatch he presents. He could end up being like no player we've seen. Or he can end up lost between positions, like Anthony Randolph.

Jeremy Lamb

Lamb is the most dynamic perimeter scorer in the field when you consider his ability to create and make shots out to 25 feet. We've seen glimpses of explosiveness attacking the rim off two feet. Plus his midrange game is well refined. But his competitive drive isn't overwhelming, and neither is his frame. Lamb could be vulnerable to getting pushed around by stronger, meaner two-guards, which would restrict him from getting within 15 feet of the rim. On the bright side, 15-25 feet is his area of comfort. On the dark side, more than half of his field goal attempts came from behind the arc, where he shot a disappointing 33%.

Terrence Jones

Few players can match his physical dimensions and skill set. At 6'9, 252 and with a 7'2 wingspan, Jones has the ability to run the floor and create. He's an automatic mismatch problem for opposing teams, due to his ability to face the basket and pull opposing bigmen away from the paint. But questions persist about his motor and focus. His body language is not always the greatest and he's had a few meltdown games in which his mental state appeared to be somewhere between Neptune and Pluto. If he realizes his potential he's a top 10 prospect, but he also has a real bust potential which has his stock somewhere in the mid-first round area.

Meyers Leonard

On paper, the kid's tools could build a skyscraper. He's 7'1 with a developed NBA body. Athletic and talented. But centers are always vulnerable to underachieving due to a drastic transition process playing inside. At the college level, baskets come easy for 7-footers, primarily because their defender is generally 6'10 or smaller. At the pro level, Leonard will be required to body up against stronger, more athletic men his size- keyword: men. Leonard could end up being a top three scoring option, or if he could end up as a backup space-eater- the difference between a steal and a reach.

Royce White

A unique game with enormous talent, White could be mismatch or a misfit. A small forward with point guard instincts and power forward strength, White could take on an array of responsibilities, therefore diminishing the impact of lacking depth, versatility and balance. White could overpower small forwards and beat 4s off the dribble. Or it could work the other way, in which 3s are too quick for him and power forwards are too big.

Quincy Miller

He's got lottery talent to go with a size advantage at the 3 position. However his high school ACL injury prevented him from turning the corner on his defender, forcing him to develop a midrange game in which he now excels at. If he ever gains back his explosiveness, Miller could end up with the full-offensive half court package. If he struggles to separate from NBA defenders, generating points on a consistent basis could be a challenge at the next level.

Tony Wroten

Wroten's athleticism is tailor-made for basketball, and at 6'6, he's the ideal shape and size for a guard. He needs to work on a specific craft, whether it's shooting or playmaking, but this combo of size and athleticism could propel him to another level. Then again we've seen phenomenal athletes out of the job after just a few years.

Follow Jon on Twitter @NBADraftnetWass

AfricanBaller
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I like what you said about Royce White

I like what you said about Royce White. There is a very thin line that seperates a guy from tweener to matchup nightmare.

sheltwon3
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The crazy thing is there are

The crazy thing is there are huge odds that the majority of this list becomes a solid starter. I think finding the right team will determine that.

AKOO
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Royce White and or Terrence

Royce White and or Terrence Jones will bust. No-one else on that list will bust even though they may not be as good as some would like.

Malcolmx
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Drummond will not be a bust

Drummond will not be a bust

BklynGM-Scout
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Nice Article

Great article:

Andre Drummond:

I like the kids potential but that "P" word has been used more now than ever before. I do not like how sites have projected him the next "Amare" simple because his offense is light yrs behond Amare's when he was a high school player. Drummond to me is a shot blocker who can alter shots and intimate slashers. His rebounding was ok at UConn but he wasn't boxing out but rather getting rebounds off the strength of being bigger then everyone else. Having said that it leads me to say he's like a DeAndre Jordan as of now.

Jeremy Lamb:

I like the kid I really do; probably the reason I went up to CT 5 times this seaason. I think this kid has the tools on the offenseive side but needs strength. He remids me more of Kerry Kittles coming out of Villanova more then he does Reggie Miller which is what alot of sites state.

Terrence Jones:

This kid can be very special but as everyone knows his mental motor is lacking and it's not something you teach or coach...either you have it or you don't. I think it seems as if he doesn't have in due in large part because he doesn't know how good he really is. There aren't too many players in this league who are near 6'9 and 245-255lbs who have SF game yet can beat you up in the paint like a PF and run like a long wing Ala Lamar Odom. If he goes to a great coaching staff that could be key but I expect big things right away from this kid.

MoneyTeam6
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I think Drummond and Meyers

I think Drummond and Meyers have the highest bust potential of the group

rhamnlacson
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i like

i like perry jones not to be a bust and live up to what ever hype he had last year and the year before that royce white and drummond will live up to thier potential if they go to a good system team thet would be one hell of a steal in the draft(both royce,drummond and jones)

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I think Sheltwon is right

Being by what people said above me, pretty much every person has a different opinion on who will and will not be a bust. I think you are right Sheltwon, it does have a lot to do with what team they land on.

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