Top 10 NBA Worst-Case Scenario for Every 2012

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Just because a prospect is a first-round pick in the NBA draft doesn’t mean he’s destined for success.

There have been some absolute train-wreck rookie seasons and careers from first-round selections (think Hasheem Thabeet or Greg Oden).

What about the 2012 draft class? What if things don’t turn out as rosy as everyone hoped? We have to wonder what the worst-case scenario is for every first-round selection.

Anthony Davis, Kendall Marshall and Damian Lillard aren’t 100 percent guaranteed to earn All-Rookie honors. Actually, the exact opposite could happen.

10. Austin Rivers, New Orleans Hornets

Even though he’s not a pure point guard, the New Orleans Hornets will likely be relying on Austin Rivers to run the offense and facilitate for his teammates.

After his summer league display, there are still some huge doubts that he can do it. In 32 minutes per game, Rivers dished out just 3.5 assists.

He also shot the ball inefficiently, which makes Hornets fans even more uncomfortable. But let’s not forget that he’s a dynamic, creative player who could excel if he’s surrounded with better players.

Poor decision-making, substandard court vision and erratic shooting might make him the biggest disappointment of the draft.

Worst-case for 2012-13: He flounders his way through the season, averaging 28 minutes, eight points and four assists per game.

9. Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons

It’s extremely rare to find a 6’11″ basketball player with the strength of a linebacker and the speed and agility of a major league outfielder. Physically, the Pistons hit the jackpot with Connecticut behemoth Andre Drummond.

I wonder, however, if he doesn’t become anything more than an alley-oop specialist and a shot-blocker.

His jump shot is non-existent, he can’t square up and beat his opponents off the dribble, and his post-up game is in its primitive stages.

Worst-case for 2012-13: Drummond’s progression offensively goes slower than expected, and he dunks his way to six points and five rebounds per game.

8. Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors

Toronto is another team that saw a bunch of lineup shuffling in the offseason. With the deck shuffled, it looks like there’s an opportunity for Terrence Ross to become the best true shooting guard on the squad.

But let’s remember he’s still young, adapting to the NBA game and NBA three-point range. A successful rookie year is far from a lock.

There are three swingmen who could overshadow him and give the Raptors a better chance of making the playoffs and competing in the Eastern Conference.

Linas Kleiza, DeMar DeRozan and Landry Fields could hog all the swingman minutes if Ross doesn’t assert himself.

Worst-case for 2012-13: Ross is unimpressive on the perimeter, and the aforementioned trio overshadows him. He gets 18 minutes per game and shoots 33 percent from three-point land.

7. Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

Athleticism, length and a NBA-ready shooting stroke propelled Harrison Barnes to the top of the ACC and into the top-10 of June’s draft.

But the UNC star needs work in several concrete areas in order to become a legitimate threat with Golden State:

1. Improve advanced ball-handling (crossover, in-and-out, etc)

2. Develop jab step to set up first stride to hoop

3. Gain 10 more pounds of muscle

Worst-case for 2012-13: He doesn’t address the above list and stays one-dimensional. Therefore, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Richard Jefferson all out-shine him.

6. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Easily the most captivating rookie in the summer league, Damian Lillard has Portland fans excited about things to come in the Trail Blazers’ backcourt.

We know he can fill the hoop up, but what if he doesn’t work out as a point guard?

The ball-handling skills aren’t a problem, but he might have trouble making the right passes in his rookie and sophomore campaigns. Being a starting combo guard as a rookie is a tricky task.

Inefficiency could plague Lillard as a passer and a scorer in 2012-13.

Worst-case for 2012-13: Lillard scores 10 and dishes 4.5 assists per game, but he also turns the ball over 4.2 times per outing.

5. Thomas Robinson, Sacramento Kings

Thomas Robinson was the most forceful post player in college hoops in 2011-12, and the Sacramento Kings will ask him to bring that power to the paint as he teams up with DeMarcus Cousins.

Considering his career at Kansas, his strength and athleticism, it’s safe to say that Robinson’s worst-case-scenario isn’t disastrous.

They know he’s not the most advanced interior scorer, as he only has a few post moves. His offense could potentially get a little ugly in his rookie season, but his motor, rebounding and defense will keep him relevant.

Worst-case for 2012-13: Robinson gets lost in the shuffle offensively and only gets his points off rebounds or infrequent mismatches. This would limit him to eight to 10 points per game instead of 14 or more.

4. Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland made a bold move by picking Dion Waiters fourth overall, and his high draft status has already drawn high expectations.

Those high expectations led to disappointment after a second-rate summer league display. But let’s be honest, 17 percent from three-point range is atrocious for any guard, no matter where they were drafted.

Waiters is still young and lacks a grasp of efficient basketball and quality possessions. This is something that might hamper his rookie progress and destroy the Cavaliers’ chances of improvement in the Eastern Conference.

Worst-case for 2012-13: Waiters proves to be an inept shooting guard as a rookie, shooting just 29 percent from three-point range and 35 percent from the field. The low-percentage shooting yields just nine points per game.

3. Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

As one of the youngest players in the entire draft (he turned 19 on draft night), Bradley Beal still has a lot of developing to do as a professional guard.

Shooting shouldn’t be an issue at all, but his shortage of offensive creativity could pin him in the same corner as John Jenkins.

Beal is mature for his age, but it might take him a couple years to actualize the potential that the Washington Wizards’ brass sees in him.

Until then, he might struggle through the formative years.

Worst-case for 2012-13: He serves as little more than a spot-up shooter, making just two three-pointers per game and notching a total of 8.6 points per game.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats

Although his ceiling is high, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could underachieve this year due to a couple key skill deficiencies and the overall weakness of the Charlotte Bobcats roster.

As Kentucky’s utility player, MKG blossomed as a defensive star who filled in offensively where it was needed. Things are different now that he’s a Bobcat.

His role is expanded now that he’s the young hope for the franchise. They need him to lead on both ends of the floor, and it will be challenging for him to do so in a whole new league.

Kidd-Gilchrist’s shooting needs polishing, and his deliberate ball-handling style won’t be as effective in the NBA as it was in college.

Worst-case for 2012-13: He ends up being simply an energy player who guards the opponents’ best small forward. His offensive output yields 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

Due to his size, athleticism and instincts, the 2011-12 king of college hoops’ worst-case scenario as an NBA rookie wouldn’t be awful.

The team could potentially depend on him too much in the post, and his lack of strength and bulk could hinder his production.

Considering how much playing time he’ll get, I can’t imagine him notching fewer than six to eight points per game and six to eight rebounds per game.

His jump shot and ball-handling skills still need work; a slow progression in those areas could prevent All-Star type numbers.

Worst-case: Davis gets pushed around and only musters 7.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, shooting less than 50 percent from the field.

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