Evaluating the 2012 draft, Part III: Easiest prospects to project
Truth be told, no one is safe when it comes to the NBA draft. Not the players whose careers are often scrutinized in accordance with where they were picked. And certainly not the executives whose reputations are forever tied to each selection. Risk is a part of the equation no matter the prospect, even when it's a big man like Kentucky's Anthony Davis, who is widely seen as a "can't-miss" talent.
But as the league's talent evaluators continue their preparations for the June 28 draft, many of them will undoubtedly be drawn to the players with the fewest question marks. This group is the focus of the last of a three-part series in which I've divided 30 potential first-round picks into three risk-based categories and provided a brief breakdown of each player. I've labeled these players the "Safe Bets" -- their skills are obvious, their weaknesses clear, and there appears to be some degree of clarity when projecting their career.
Translation: You know who they are as players. At least you think you do.
As was the case in the previous two categories, players are listed from top to bottom based on an inexact and subjective formula: perceived amount of risk coupled with talent and upside.
Here are the Safe Bets:
"Is he going to be an All-Star? I don't know, but it's not like he's going to be a bust either," a front-office source said.
"He's not going to be an All-Star by any stretch," a front-office source said, "but you'll be satisfied."
"He's another undersized 'five' [center]," a front-office source said. "And I don't think he's going to be able to be a 'four' [power forward]. He plays below the rim, has great skills, but is he Oliver Miller? He's supposedly in great shape, and he still can't run [very well]."