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2012 NBA Draft: Mega Prospect Roundup

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One more day, folks.

Only a few more hours until the miraculous, hope-spawning phenomenon that is the NBA Draft. It's an exciting time for every franchise, when the worst teams select the players they hope will take them to the promised land while the best teams look down on them and laugh in casual pity. As for the teams in the middle? They just try not to screw it up.

That's an oversimplification, though. The truth is, there are always good players hiding in the wings (in the theatrical sense), waiting for savvy teams to yank them into the spotlight. That feels particularly true this year, in a draft that looks to be exceedingly deep. It's just a matter of sifting through the ordinary to find the extraordinary.

Easier said than done, huh? Probably. So in the interest of helping you make a decision, the Brew Hoop staff has compiled a handy list of hard-hitting analysis on each of the major prospects being tossed around the Bucks' draft slot. Stick with us and we shall not lead you astray. Assuming, of course, that we all agree to draft the guy who will have the best NBA career. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR, EVERYBODY. THE GUY WHO TURNS OUT TO BE THE BEST.

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Please note that many of these assessments were written before the Bucks made their big deal with the Houston Rockets, so we may seem dumb out of context. I assure you we are not. We are all experts who know everything about everything.

Perry Jones III (DraftExpress Profile / ESPN Profile)

Steve: When I create-a-player on NBA 2K11 (I'm cheap and never purchased 2K12, what of it?), he usually looks a lot like Perry Jones. When I put him on the court and he doesn't score 30 points or dominate opposing defenders, I just reset the game and start over until he does. He's supposed to dominate. Unfortunately, the real NBA has no such reset button for when things go wrong. Maybe he beats the odds and maximizes his potential, but something tells me he will be a guy that just shows brief flashes and leaves everyone saying "WHY DOESN'T HE JUST DO THAT EVERY TIME???"

Despite the size and speed to constantly create mismatches in theory, Jones rarely makes much of his physical advantages on the court, as Joseph Treutlein of Draft Express explains:

Perry Jones is the highest ranked prospect in this weak forward group, but looks average at best overall from a statistical perspective...

...Jones' problems creating his own shot are more concerning, as despite his intriguing flashes, his efficiency in isolation and post-up situations are very poor. His 0.654 PPP on isolations ranks 4th worst, while his 0.795 PPP on post ups ranks second worst overall, and dead last among NCAA players.

I can live with just using him in the virtual world of NBA 2K11. I think both of us are better off that way.

Frank: I want to like Perry Jones, and if the Bucks end up with him on Thursday night I will have no problem talking myself into how great he could be. And I will most likely end up disappointed. At some point in the first round the risk becomes worth the potential reward, but I'm not sure it's at #12 #14...and at this point I'd be somewhat surprised if the Bucks felt otherwise.

Jacob: Jones' physical prowess alone may be tempting enough, but without a consistent ability to apply those talents after two years at college, it's a risky pick. He doesn't have any one skill that he can really hang his hat on, and his inability to create his own shot isn't going to do him any favors, but he's still the kind of player that may make you regret passing on him down the road.

Dan: We kind of saw Perry Jones III last year in Jan Vesely, didn't we? And wasn't Vesely projected even higher? It was a weak draft and Vesely could still end up being a hit, but there are similar concerns. Scouts seem more comfortable with the idea of Jones galloping along the perimeter, though, and if he works out he'll be a matchup nightmare. Scary but intriguing.

Mitchell: A skilled player who I think will succeed, but only in the right atmosphere. He needs firm but compassionate coaching (Scott Skiles is two parts firm, zero parts compassionate), teammates that are both interested in his potential but willing to shoulder the load for him (Brandon Jennings fits this perfectly), and a support role on a developing team (his best role is like the vision behind Mass Effect 3's storyline: nobody has a clue). I thought he would flounder in Milwaukee, but that was before the Bucks acquired Samuel Dalembert. With a shot-blocker behind him on defense and no real post presence on offense, I can almost see the Bucks giving Jones license to do whatever he wants on the court, if they make him a SF.

Terrence Jones (DX / ESPN)

Steve: My guy! As a face-up PF with skills to beat defenders off the dribble, Jones is someone I think can thrive in the modern NBA. He would add a new dimension to the Bucks' offense, even if the move seemed like part of John Hammond's PF-hoarding tendency.

Jacob: Something about Jones just makes him an interesting player at this point. He has all of the physical attributes necessary to be a good power forward, and despite his struggles to live up to Coach John Calipari's expectations in Kentucky, I think he's still skilled enough to get the job done.

Frank: I've somehow become a Terrence Jones champion over the past month, having selected him on behalf of the Bucks in multiple mock drafts while talking myself into a newfound appreciation of his physical versatility. No pressure, Terrence. While Jones' consistency has been questioned, I like his' pedigree and combination of strength, power forward size and wing skills. Odds are he won't end up being the next Josh Smith, but I'd rather take Jones on a rookie deal than owe Ersan Ilyasova eight figures annually.

Dan: I wasn't exceptionally enamored with Terrence Jones at first, but he's growing on me. He's grades out well in the key fundamentals (rebounding, shot-blocking, etc.), he's athletic, and his skillset keeps him from being too redundant in the forward rotation. If he can improve his shooting, he's a great Ersan replacement.

Mitchell: As a face-up PF on an up-tempo team, he would be an excellent fit alongside Jennings and Co. He's too much of a tweener for my tastes, and giving him minutes would mean less for Tobias Harris, but of all of the forwards in this draft, he is the one I would accept the fastest.

Meyers Leonard (DX / ESPN)

Frank: At 7'1" and a lean 250 pounds, Leonard looks good getting off the proverbial bus and made major strides with his game in 11/ in, he actually played and contributed. But while Leonard's game isn't quite as embryonic as, say, Fab Melo's, it's obvious that there's plenty of work left before he's a high-caliber starting center in the NBA. In that sense the Dalembert move doesn't preclude the Bucks from selecting Leonard, who will probably need at least a couple years of seasoning.

Leonard was a highly-ranked recruit coming out of high school, but he's still rather green in terms of competing (and winning) against top competition, and questions remain about his on-court maturity and demeanor. In other words: this could take a while....but it might well be worth it.

Dan: I feel like I've undersold lots of other prospects, but Leonard has been my guy since early in the whole scouting process. We can harp on his relative lack of production and reputedly inconsistent effort, but his physical tools are simply too good to ignore. What's more, I'd attribute a lot of the negative attention to his placement on quite a dysfunctional team. He projects as a good defender right out of the gates, and I'm optimistic his offense will come right along in a few years. I'm look at potential over pedigree, but there's plenty of it.

Jacob: I think he has the potential to be a good impact player on defense, but offensively I can see him becoming a player with little consistent contribution. But, he's still only 20 years old and the Bucks aren't ready to take any great leap soon, so they can afford to work with him for an improvement. They could do worse then go with Leonard.

Steve: Leonard is an intriguing prospect who tugs on my desire for the Bucks to find a low-post defender and impact paint protector, but with Samuel Dalembert on board for the upcoming season the Bucks don't have to take the risk. Leonard's hype has its genesis in tools and workouts, not production or pedigree, but I suppose he would be an acceptable pick simply because I like the idea of Milwaukee aiming for upside and getting a talented big man on a severely cost-controlled deal.

Mitchell: If the Bucks' vision is to get a big man who can a) protect the rim, b) bang in the post, c) run the break, and d) finish near the rim, Leonard might be a perfect fit. He could be an excellent defensive complement to Ekpe Udoh, a less-awesome (but still decent) partner to Larry Sanders, and might turn into a wonderful P&R man with Jennings/Ellis. My biggest worry is his rebounding, especially on a team that is weak on the boards.

Austin Rivers (DX / ESPN)

Jacob: His former status as a #2 high school prospect in itself makes him an intriguing choice for the Bucks. I don't think you can discount his mental toughness and confidence in that it will only assist him in getting better (not to mention the entertainment value of playing next to Jennings). Despite being slightly undersized, I'd probably prefer him to Ellis at the 2 guard due to his upside.

Frank: Rivers has talent, confidence and pedigree, but is he worth the hype? Maybe not, but everyone seems to think that he has a chance to be special, which is more than you can say for most guys in this draft. Still, much of that is predicated on the shot-making and explosiveness we saw in high school fully developing as a professional, neither of which happened in his lone season at Duke. Though I don't think he'll ever be a point guard, Rivers is a bit different from Lamb and Ross in that he looks more capable of bringing the ball up the court and leading an offense, a trait that all the great guards have had. On the flip side, I'm not sure he makes others better or projects to be a good defender, two traits that great guards also tend to have. My gut says he ends up closer to Jordan Crawford and Marcus Thornton than an all-star.

Dan: Rivers seems like the guys everybody has pegged as the "sleeper", the underdrafted guy who goes on to become a star. It seems plausible, but not entirely likely. He's a sort of prototypical attacking guard who will find ways to score in the NBA, but will he do much else? Scoring is important, but I can't help but think there's more value among SG prospects later in the draft. In terms of pure excitement, though, he's near the top of the list.

Steve: My other guy! As an elite prospect out of high school with a unique NBA pedigree and an invaluable resource for "making it in the NBA," Rivers really has piqued my interest. Will his athleticism play well in the NBA? I think his solid size and advanced skill level will help him make the transition better than most people believe, so I'm sticking with my gut on this one. With so many variables an unknowns surrounding every prospect, I feel confident you don't have to worry about Rivers' work ethic, basketball skills, competitiveness or size. Sign me up.

Mitchell: Wait, so we traded for Monta Ellis, and we're interested in his clone? That's the only way I can see this pick making sense; Jennings, Ellis,and Rivers cannot co-exist. I like Rivers' skills (he's probably the best ball handler in the draft and has serious range), and I even like his approach to the game. But he would be a terrible fit next to our existing guards and will clash with Scott Skiles.

Tyler Zeller (DX / ESPN)

Mitchell: If you want to Win Now, then this is your pick; nobody in this draft is more polished than Zeller. If you are a fan of scrappy white dudes who show the ability to rebound and some nice touch on offense, Tyler Zeller would be your mascot. I think he'll try hard, find some moderate success, have a long career, and retire to live a comfortable life with his family. But I doubt he'll ever be on a championship squad.

Frank: Normally, the notion of drafting a big white guy who stuck around college long enough to get a degree would be rather revolting, but somehow I can't bring myself to hate Tyler Zeller. I'm sorry....I feel awful about it, really. But hey, couldn't Zeller actually be...kinda good? Maybe? He's big-ish, has actual basketball skill, rebounded well in college, runs the court exceptionally well and got better each season in college. Who's with me? Anyone? No? Yeah, me neither.

Steve: When I create-a-player on NBA 2K11, he never looks like Tyler Zeller. It's hard to believe, but he's already one month older than Jrue Holiday. This is the anti-upside pick in my mind, so I dislike it.

Dan: We spend so much time focusing on what these guys are eventually going to turn into that sometimes we forget about who they are. Zeller doesn't blow you away, but I bet he'll help the team that drafts him a whole lot for quite some time. Minimal reward, perhaps, but minimal risk too. Unfortunately, the Bucks need high reward.

Jacob: Zeller is 22 years old, meaning that you're not going to find a whole lot of upside here. Even if he may be serviceable as he is, for a team like the Bucks it would seem to make a lot more sense to squeeze as
much upside as possible from the 12th pick.

John Henson (DX / ESPN)

Jacob: It's kind of tough to get super excited about Henson when the Bucks already have a glut of players at his position. That shouldn't scare the Bucks away though, and I think he has the potential to be an improvement over Sanders and Udoh. That being said, I doubt whether he's a big enough improvement to justify the restructuring of the power forward spot that would likely be required.

Steve: When I put together the scouting report challenge with Larry Sanders, Hassan Whiteside and John Henson, it really didn't surprise me how difficult it was for people to tell them apart. Considering the Bucks already have Larry Sanders, they would have to be really correct about Henson for me to get on board. It would be a wait-and-see selection, but still an upside play on a guy consistently ranked as a top-10 prospect.

Mitchell: Sure, he can block shots and rebound. But he only outweighs me by 40 pounds, despite an extra foot in height. It's like if you starved Larry Sanders and put him on a medieval rack. Yet another player who, while talented, would not be a good fit in Milwaukee.

Dan: Henson feels like an upside pick, but he's actually quite developed already in certain areas, particularly as a rebounder. That's the kind of thing that lets a prospect make the NBA adjustment quickly, but you wonder if he'll even be able to play until he bulks up a bit. I'm optimistic enough about Larry Sanders and Ekpe Udoh that Henson just doesn't feel worth it.

Frank: I'd like John Henson more if a) he didn't remind me so much of Ekpe Udoh and Larry Sanders and b) he weighed more than 216 pounds. But Henson's shot-blocking and rebounding will most likely make him a useful pro even if his offensive game never develops, and there's nothing wrong with stockpiling athletic big guys. Or so I've read.

Dion Waiters (DX / ESPN)

Dan: I like Waiters a lot. Problem is, he's not going to be around when the Bucks pick. Doubt he ever develops into Dwyane Wade, but he could be an offensive force someday.

Steve: Monta Ellis redux in the best case, which would just be...special.

Jacob: Based off of the little I've read/seen, he seems like he could be an energy guy who could potentially provide a great spark every once and a while for a team when they need it, but potentially being inconsistent offensively. It sounds as though he might have a promise from someone, which will probably make the discussion moot.

Frank: Everyone seems to love Waiters, but don't all the Dwyane Wade comparisons feel a bit much? Waiters is fairly explosive and a pretty good shooter, but he also couldn't crack Jim Boeheim's starting lineup in two years at Syracuse. Encouraging!

Mitchell: I love the idea of Waiters; a strong perimeter player with explosiveness and the ability to absorb contact. His shooting ability makes him look even more attractive a prospect. But has he really done anything?

Arnett Moultrie (DX / ESPN)

Frank: It's tough to find too much to complain about with Moultrie on paper: he's tall, athletic, scored pretty well in college, rebounded at a high level and he has a cool-sounding name (bonus!). But no one seems to really think he's in the same class as the other big guys, in large part because blocking shots (and otherwise helping on defense) is a foreign concept to him. Being a junior and a potential character question mark doesn't help either, and overall he just seems more like a really nice pick in the early 20s than a guy you're supposed to feel good about in the late lottery.

Mitchell: I am decidedly "meh" on Moultrie. He seems like somebody who should do well, but doesn't. In other words, I fully expect the Bucks to pick him.

Steve: If they trade down, why the heck not. If they stay at No. 14, they will certainly have their pick of at least two or three of the prospects ranked ahead of him, so I haven't even bothered to sort out my feelings on the mercurial big man.

Dan: He's an option if they trade down, but if the Bucks make such a move, I'd hope it would be in pursuit of a prospect from the deep class of wings, not a forward. There's just too much drop-off through the middle of the first round.

Kendall Marshall (DX / ESPN)

Mitchell: A PG with size and shooting ability? I like Marshall, and I think he'll have a good pro career. Too bad that career won't include Milwaukee, since it's inconceivable that the Bucks would take the reins away from Brandon Jennings.

Dan: Don't teams usually find pure point guards in the second round? Marshall makes the guys around him better, but he might never be able to score effectively, and defense might be a struggle.

Frank: Marshall is the anti-Brandon Jennings in many ways: slow, big and as pure a point guard as they come. I also have no idea what his drafting would say about the Bucks' plans for...anything.

Steve: If the Bucks drafted a point guard, I would be shocked. I haven't really given much thought to Marshall as a potential selection for Milwaukee, but I have serious questions about his shooting stroke in the NBA. He will be able to run an offense if the scorers are already in place, but if he is asked to create a ton of offense I can't see him thriving because I don't think he can effectively draw defenders on his own in half court offense.

Terrence Ross (DX / ESPN)

Steve: Could someone please tell me how the Washington Huskies started two first-round talents -- Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten -- in the backcourt during 2011 and somehow failed to make the NCAA tournament even while playing in an abysmal Pac-10? Something is just plain wrong about that, but I really couldn't be too angry about the Bucks adding a true, prototypical SG prospect to the roster for the first time in forever. I'm fine with blaming Washington's failure on Wroten or the coach or something else, if need be.

Frank: The fact that Ross has compared himself to J.R. Smith and Nick Young tells you all you need to know about drafting a scoring guard in the late lottery. Not that those guys aren't useful--the Bucks could certainly use one--but there's a reason neither has ever gotten long-term guaranteed money in the NBA. Fortunately, Ross seems to have a much better attitude than either Smith or Young with the same explosive hops and and pure stroke from the perimeter. In other words, I do not dislike Terrence Ross one bit, but let's not expect him to be a savior.

Mitchell: Another athletic wing with a knack for scoring, Terrence Ross is a solid player who simply doesn't fit with Milwaukee's current roster. If the Bucks make changes, then I can get on board with adding Ross, but as-is? I don't think it'll work out.

Dan: The Bucks really don't have a guy on the roster who can be described as "a shooting guard who looks like a shooting guard and does shooting guard things". Ross could be that guy! He fits such a role exceptionally well, but it's debatable how valuable such a thing actually is.

Jeremy Lamb (DX / ESPN)

Dan: All the tools are there, reasonably productive career...fine.

Steve: He has all the tools, but he may not have a pulse. He's not going to be paid to talk, so maybe the concerns about his demeanor are overblown, but he seems on track to underachieve in the NBA. The motor concerns could drop him into the Bucks' range, and as I said before I'm fine with Milwaukee taking big risks on upside at No. 14.

Mitchell: I would have written some great points about the benefits of an athletic wing who can both score and defend, but I simply didn't care enough.

Frank: Lamb has the athleticism, stroke and mid-range game to be an excellent NBA scorer and competent defender. These are good things. On the downside, I'm not sure what the deal is with his attitude; he's not actually as bored as his face and body language suggest, is he? Also worth noting: shooting guard is the least important position in basketball, which is why Lamb, Ross and Rivers all get a slight downgrade from me relative to the bigger guys. Also worth noting: Gery Woelfel keeps talking about concerns over Lamb's shoulder, but it's not clear if that will cause a tumble on draft night.

Fab Melo (DX / ESPN)

Frank: The big Brazilian has the best name in the draft (can you tell this is important to me?) and might very well develop into a steady defensive-minded NBA center, but wouldn't it be nice if he had done something other than block shots during his two years at Syracuse? Most mocks have Melo in the 20s, and I certainly hope the Bucks don't draft him before that.

Mitchell: LOL

Steve: It's hard to look bad as a paint protector in a 2-3 zone defense, right? The system is designed to keep everything in front of you. I imagine NBA teams are going to put him in 1-5 pick-and-roll early and often during his pro career. I honestly couldn't tell you if he's every had to deal with that type of defensive responsibility. That's not something you ever want to say about a big man in the top half of the first round.