The 2012 NBA Draft has the potential to be both very strong at the top and deep because several elite players chose to remain in college this season because of the NBA lockout, and were joined by a number of impact freshmen.
The lottery figures to be rich with bigs – scorers, shot-blockers and rebounders.
Here is a look at the Top 10 Americans who could be available, including seven power forwards or centers:
1. Anthony Davis, PF, 6-10, 220, Kentucky
The consensus No. 1 pick is averaging 11.6 points and 10.2 rebounds and leads the nation with 4.5 blocks. A guard until he grew eight inches a couple of years ago, Davis possesses strong ball-handling skills and has a knack for making steals and deflections on the perimeter. Yet it is in the paint where he does most of his damage, blocking shots in Russell-esque style and then grabbing the rebound to keep the play alive.
2. Andre Drummond, C, 6-11, 275, UConn
Drummond has hinted that he may return to campus for another season, but it’s hard to imagine he will ignore the chance to be a lottery pick after one year. Averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, Drummond is a remarkable athlete who recently made SportsCenter by making a steal in the midcourt and then taking several smooth dribbles before slamming home a dunk. Yet he is a poor free throw shooter who also must develop his face-up game.
3. Harrison Barnes, SF, 6-8, 210, North Carolina
Arguably the most complete player in college basketball, Barnes opted to return to campus instead of coming out after his freshman season. Now stronger and more poised as a result, he’s leading North Carolina in scoring at 16.9 points per game, while averaging 4.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
4. Perry Jones, PF, 6-11, 235, Baylor
Like Barnes, Jones opted to return to campus for his sophomore season and it seems to be paying off. After sitting out the first five games of the season due to an NCAA suspension, the long, athletic big man is averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds for a Baylor team that is one of only four undefeated clubs remaining. Still, he’s managed just 12 total points in his last two games while shooting 6-of-22.
5. Jared Sullinger, PF, 6-9, 28o, Ohio State
One of the top big men in the nation, Sullinger has been bothered recently by back spasms and an ankle sprain but now appears to be healthy. Sullinger uses his ample derriere to establish space under the boards. A ferocious competitor, he is averaging 16.3 points and 9.6 rebounds.
6. Terrence Jones, PF, 6-9, 252, Kentucky
At his best moments, Jones compares to Lamar Odom because of his ability to score inside and out. Yet Jones has drawn criticism for his inconsistency and has also been compared to Antawn Jamison. When his motor is running and he’s into it, there is no doubting Jones’ ability to score and be a difference-maker. NBA scouts often wonder which Jones will show up.
7. Thomas Robinson, PF, 6-9, 237, Kansas
The latest in a long line of Kansas big men, Robinson is the best player at KU this season. An quick athlete in the open court who is also strong and powerful near the basket, he is averaging 16.7 points and 11.4 rebounds.
8. John Henson, PF, 6-10, 210, North Carolina
Like Davis, Henson is blessed with very long arms that enable him to block shots and snatch rebounds. He is an awkward foul shooter (48 percent), but is playing well for the Tar Heels, averaging 14.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks.
9. Bradley Beal, SG, 6-5, 195, Florida
Beal projects to be a prototypical NBA shooting guard with his quickness and ability to get his shot off from mid- and long-range. Although he had a subpar game in Thursday’s 85-83 double-OT loss at Rutgers, he’s also a solid rebounder. Beal currently is averaging 15.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
10. Jeremy Lamb, SG, 6-5, 185, UConn
A smooth, long-limbed wing, Lamb has taken over as UConn’s go-to guy in the the post-Kemba Walker Era. He has a nice touch on his jumper, is a 40 percent shooter from 3-point range, and would appear well-suited to the NBA game because of his athleticism. He opted to stay in school after last season, which was a wise move, and still needs to bulk up. Lamb is averaging 19.3 points and 4.5 boards for the defending NCAA champs.