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Old 06-26-2011, 01:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2012 draft & hype for Valanciunas

Who's Up For 2012?

If you were a college basketball player last season considering leaving your university to play in the NBA, a lot of things would've gone through your head as you decided whether to jump for The League or stick around another year in the NCAA. For 2011, however, a few of the top prospects in the draft were probably pushed over the edge for fear of a lockout.

That means that 2011 was one of the weaker drafts in recent history in terms of available star power, but it also means that 2012 is probably going to be absolutely loaded with talent. We know that guys like Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes, both of whom probably would've gone in the top five picks in this year's draft, will be back in the pool for next season, but who what other players are likely to throw their hats into what's already shaping up to be an extremely strong draft class?

Here's a look at some guys, other than Sullinger and Barnes, who NBA teams will be watching very closely over the next 11 months and 28 days (give or take):

Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky This is the Chicago kid who grew 8 inches between his junior and senior year of high school, and if he continues to develop and mature over the course of the next year, he's a prime candidate for the top overall pick in the 2012 draft. The kid is ridiculously long, a shot-blocking prodigy, and only just now figuring out how to use the giant body he found himself in only a year ago. He came out of nowhere as a prospect, but now he's got an undeniably bright future as a basketball player. Once he fills out a little and adjusts to life as a big man, he's going to be something special.

Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor Outside of Davis, Miller is the other upcoming college freshmen with a real shot at being the top pick in next year's draft. Another product of Chicago, Miller's combination of size (he's 6'10") and ability (he plays like a speedy small forward) make him one of the most intriguing prospects of the draft. He's ridiculously athletic and has amazing range on the offensive floor considering how tall he is. Defensively he's a hound on the glass and has a great nose for blocking shots. He's literally all over the place and carries with him that special quality you see in top draft prospects. No one will ever be surprised if he's a career All-Star. That's the sort of promise this young man brings to the table.

Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?...#ixzz1QP3Odlz8
Jonas Valanciunas Is Not Andrea Bargnani

Kyrie Irving was the clear-cut top pick in this year's draft, but there are those who believe when this thing is all said and done, Jonas Valanciunas will be considered the best player from this class. Almost nobody had him pegged to end up in Toronto, but Bryan Colangelo must've been on the same wavelength as those who think so highly of the Lithuanian big man, even though on the surface they really don't seem to need another center.

It's not entirely surprising to hear that some Toronto fans are afraid that their team just drafted Bargnani 2.0, but that simply isn't the case. Valanciunas is an entirely different player, setting up most often in the paint instead of floating around offensively like Bargnani tends to do. Valanciunas is also more of a banger, someone who compares himself to Pau Gasol (where Bargnani is more like a very poor man's Dirk Nowitzki), and that's something that should give heart to the Raptors faithful, not instill fear.

Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?...#ixzz1QP3Xifgq
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