While the frontcourt is the strength of this year’s draft, the depth at the power forward position is jaw-dropping. While it would be easy to pick names out of a hat, the two 4 men we’ll be looking at are at the top of most draft boards: Thomas Robinson and Anthony Davis.

Thomas Robinson (#3 DraftExpress, #4 NBADraft.net)

Raise your hand if you thought Thomas Robinson would be a top 5 in the stacked 2012 NBA draft during Kansas’ last season. If you did, I applaud you, because I follow NCAA basketball and all I saw was a bench player with limited offensive skills who spelled the Morris twins effectively due to his physical prowess. With the twins in the NBA, the 6’10 Junior has turned himself into one of the most efficient players in the college game. His chiseled frame mixed with good foot speed and quickness makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses. Robinson owns a great motor, plays within himself, and relishes contact on both ends. The fact that Robinson is so highly touted despite the major weaknesses in his game tells you a lot about this 20 year old. Speaking of those weaknesses, there’s a lot of them. While quite the overpowering physical specimen, Robinson is very raw on both ends of the floor. He relies on his physical tools to compensate for his lack of offensive and defensive ability. He has had a lot of success with this strategy in the college game, but it won’t be nearly as effective in the NBA. While he has shown improvement with his overall game, he needs to refine his post moves and face up offense to become a well-rounded player. Robinson is a raw player, but if he manages to put it all together at the next level, watch out.

Best Case: More physically/offensively gifted Anderson Varejao

Worst Case: Rich man’s Jason Thompson

Anthony Davis (#1 DraftExpress, #1 NBADraft.net)

What do you get when a young high school wing player shoots up to 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan and refuses to pluck his unibrow? You get a consensus number one pick in the 2012 NBA draft, who happens to also have a unibrow. Of the player profiles to this point, the race between Anthony Davis and Thomas Robinson isn’t even close. That’s not a knock on Robinson, it’s just that Davis is unlike any player to come through the NBA draft — ever. The combination of unbelievable length and guard-like quickness should strike fear in the hearts of anyone without the winning ping pong ball. The biggest knock on Davis is his lack of physical maturity, and while that’s somewhat a concern, I see it a little differently. Davis is a bit like a newborn giraffe who needs some time to figure this whole walking thing out. Sure he’s uncoordinated, but he’s improving both his basketball skills as well as getting acclimated to his body every game. Already the premier shot blocker in the college game, Davis has also extended his shooting range to the three point line. Playing for Calipari is the perfect situation for Davis, as his coach doesn’t put any limits on what he can do. It’s exciting to think what Davis will look like in a few years. Hopefully that look won’t still include the unibrow.

Best Case: More athletically gifted Elvin Hayes

Worst Case: Chris Bosh on crack

Rounding out our look at the upcoming draft, we turn our attention to the center prospects. Before things get too heated, it is true that one of the players we’re looking at is widely projected to be a power forward in the NBA, but DraftExpress has him as a center, so I’m cheating. Without further ado, I give you Andre Drummond and Jared Sullinger.

Andre Drummond (#4 DraftExpress, #2 NBADraft.net)

As a 6’11 UConn freshman, Drummond has yet to truly establish himself as a dominant big man in the college game. Like many of those in his draft class, however, Drummond is not being talked about as a potential top 2 pick because of what he is, but rather what he is expected to become. Already physically overpowering, many think that Drummond could end up with a physique not unlike that of Dwight Howard. At just 18 years old, and with the potential for another growth spurt, Drummond could become one of the most physically imposing big men in the NBA. But once you stop talking about his physicality, you realize just how much of a project player Drummond really is. The only real NBA-ready qualities Drummond possesses are his shot-blocking ability and rebounding skills, which again can be attributed mostly to his physical tools rather than skill and timing. He is incredibly raw offensively, and will need a lot of work to become a consistent contributor on both ends of the floor. There are also questions about whether he has the maturity and work ethic needed to reach his full potential. Drummond’s ceiling is one of the highest in the draft, he just has a long way to go before he reaches it.

Best Case: Amar’re Stoudemire meets Andrew Bynum

Worst Case: Derrick Favors

Jared Sullinger (#5 DraftExpress, #10 NBADraft.net)

These two players could not be more different, and could provide a good example of what is valued more in the draft — a known commodity or the potential for something better. A 20-year-old sophomore who was widely expected to be a top 3 pick in last year’s draft, Sullinger instead chose to return for another year to polish his game and avoid a lockout. Despite continuing his rise as one of college basketball’s premier big men, Sullinger’s game has been picked apart and he’s seen his draft stock fall as a result. With almost none of the desired physical tools as our other profiled center prospect, he suffers from a lack of explosive athleticism, foot speed and lateral quickness needed  to keep up with quicker big men. Physical shortcomings aside, it is hard to ignore the polish Sullinger has in his offensive game. He boasts advanced post moves, good footwork, and great court vision as well as an underrated passing game. He uses his bulk to carve out position in the low block to both score high percentage buckets as well as efficiently rebound the basketball.  His mid-range jump shot is improving, although it is something he will have to establish as a plus tool if he hopes to become one of the better offensive players at his position at the next level. While his physical limitations will never allow him to become an above average defender, his high basketball IQ and the overall craftiness to his game will serve him well in the NBA.

Best Case: Al Jefferson

Worst Case: DeJuan Blair with sound knees

  • Nilanka15

    Sadly, that was the best picture available of Davis…

  • Albertan_10

    Could Anthony Davis be a 3? I’ve been wondering that all year. He can shoot the 3, has good ball handling skills and is quick. He was a guard up until his crazy growth spurt.

    Did people think Durant would be a PF?

    • Brian B

       “People” thought Durant would have to move to shooting guard, because they did not appreciate how tall or talented he truly was. He started out with the Supersonics at the two with Jeff Green at the three. That didn’t last long. Now in some sets, he plays the 4 (he was on the floor with Westbrook, harden and Fisher on the weekend- can’t recall for sure, think Perkins was the big)

      Davis lacks the offensive skill to be a three in the NBA. in fact, though not denying his potential, I think he has so far to go that he is not nearly as “scary” as the write-up suggests. I’ve seen comparisons to Marcus Camby which seem realistic to me as a “base case”. Nothing horrible about Marcus Camby, but he’s hardly a franchise player. Nor would he ever be a three.

      • Destro

        I think he’s better offensively than Camby,he’s alot more fluid but the KG comparisons i was reading are ridiculous…

    • Destro

      No way could he be a 3….he doesnt have ball handling skills to be a 3 in the pros…and really you’d be taking away his best asset,his length (pause) inside…
      His offensive game really isnt good enough anyway to be a 3 everything aside…

  • Brian B

    “The biggest knock on Davis is his lack of physical maturity”

    Really? That’s not what I see, hear, read elsewhere. The biggest knock on Davis is his lack of developed offensive skills. Granted, that might relate to the physical immaturity, but the physical WILL mature. will the skills? Or is he just another, but bigger Demar Derozan?

    I see Davis as a huge gamble, fit for a team that can stand the risk, but like the assurance of WYSIWYG in Robinson or Sullinger.

    not that I think BC should draft a big anyway. I think I quit following the Raps if he does.

    • Lorenzo

      You’re obviously gonna have to take Davis if he’s still on the board, but only him. Otherwise a wing player is what we desperatly need.

  • Bengie

    I’d never want Jared Sullinger, he’s in poor shape, and when I was watching a Buckeyes game, the commentators said that one of his legs are shorter than the other, so he has to wear some sort of prosthetic shoe. He needs to get in a lot better shape, he’ll look miserable at the NBA pre-draft workout/combine.

    • Destro

      I agree im afraid of Sullinger next level…I think him and Barnes are destined to be lottery busts…

  • Bengie

    Many scouts say Anthony Davis could one day overtake Dwight Howard as the NBA’s premier defensive player. I wouldn’t disagree.

  • hateslosing

    I like Sullinger out of these guys, especially for us. We have a guy coming over who will likely take some time to develop in Valanciunas. Davis, Drummand and to a lesser extent Robinson are all project players where Sullinger will come in and immediately give you an offensive threat.
    If we got the first of course you take Davis, but I’d probably go Sullinger next if it was out of these four. Athleticsm is great, but it doesn’t trump skill and it’s rare to see a guy as skilled as Sullinger at his age. He definitely has lower bust potential than Drummand.
     

    • Destro

      No way you take Sullinger over Robinson….I cant see it,i hope if were in that position they see it too…..Robinson i think will be a good NBA player,he’s got athleticism and an NBA body….I dont want to be the team that gets saddled with Glen Davis errr Jared Sullinger…

      • mountio

        Totally. I will throw my TV out the window if we take Sullinger. Hes gonna be terrible. Big baby, tractor traylor, micheal sweeney maybe .. all big men that play below the rim. Hes able to overpower guys in college (and still cant really finish, just draws fouls) – will not happen in the NBA.
        AD is CLEARLY the best of the bunch, by a wide, wide margin. And Sullinger is the worst by a wide margin. Sullinger should be about a 15 pick …

        • Ghotte

          Both Sullinger and Robinson are absolutely what we don’t need. Neither has a chance to be close to an elite talent. We should only take a chance on a prospect with the potential of being labelled “elite”

          • Jeremy

            Then there’s only one of those with that kind of potential in the draft—-Anthony Davis.

          • Destro

            Where they pick they may not have an option if the pick is elite,i think they probably will still pick somebody anyway…. 

    • Scottbbaird

      Im betting Jonas comes over with immediate impact… I doubt he’ll take long to make his mark in the league.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Anthony Davis is another Marcus Camby type…….hopefully without all the injuries.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Robinson is most likely 6’8 not 6’10.

    • Destro

      Either or its a guards league lacking true bigs anyway…he can get it in at 6-8 with his ‘cism and physique (pause)

    • voy

      correct-a-mundo.  no way robinson is 6’10.  too small to play in halfcourt sets.  Even if he does end up being an ok player, with picks 2 through 5 I’d take my shot with someone else.  

  • Raps Loyalist

    If BC could move Bargs for a top 7 pick (and select a SF like MKG or Barnes) then I would be happy if the Raptors used their pick to replace Bargs with any of these guys.  

    1) Davis
    2) Drummond
    3) Robinson
    4) Sullinger

    That would be the order I would rank them and that seems to be the general consensus amongst the draft pundits.

    A frontcourt of Val and Davis or Val and Drummond would turn the Raps into a defensive juggernaut down the road.  With Casey as our coach I like the idea of trying to build a defensive team that can grind out wins in the playoffs. 

    It will be interesting to see who has the most dominant Final Four out of Daivs, Robinson, and Sullinger and if that changes people’s ranking of these guys 

    • Destro

      That would be my mindset on building this team..take Ab out and focus on a defensive presence with size and athleticism in the front court and try to acquire or draft our scoring/playmaking at the wing and PG spots…

    • c_bcm

       BC will not trade for another pick. DC will already be forced to play Val and a 2012 pick heavy minutes next year, don’t need to throw another rookie into the mix. After the workouts BC may look to package our pick with someone (Amir?) to get move up on the board to take MKG or Davis. But I highly doubt he’ll try to acquire a second pick.

      • Raps Loyalist

         Overall I’d agree that BC doesn’t want too many rookies on the roster next year but if the Raps are drafting at a spot where the only good talent that is available is at PF and then a huge drop off BC will either have to move the pick or move Bargs b/c the Raps are already stocked at PF.

        In that scenario I think the Raps would be better off getting another high pick for Bargs than trying to flip the pick for a vet. (assuming those were the options). 

  • sleepz

    I have a feeling that the draft ‘pundits’ assessments are going to be off.

    A lot of the final ranking of prospects are going to change and I think this will come about after teams start their pre-draft workouts.

  • Mookiemark77

    While Robinson may be raw on offense, there is no denying he is a force on defense. He is a great rebounder and is very athletic. I don’t know if people have seen him dribble the ball down court, but he is extremely quick for a PF and can handle decently. He is also getting better with mid range and even perimeter shots. I think he is like Blake Griffin in many ways with his high motor, and athleticism. If he gets to match up against Anthony Davis it should be very interesting because it will give him a taste of real NBA length and athleticism.

    • Destro

      people talking about size are overstating the point….Leagues small right now…Maybe in 5 years when true centers become prominent again Robs would have less value,i think his value in todays NBA is pretty high…. 

      • MookieMark77

        I completely agree with you. But, the league has been trending towards smaller more mobile players from 6ft guards to undersized PFs. Look at the numbers a guy like Humphries can get. Robinson should be a good pick-up and immediate producer with his skill set.

      • Ghotte

        We don’t need a Chuck Hayes clone. How does that make the Raptor’s better? Do you project Robinson or even Sullinger being any better than Amir or Ed Davis? Really?!

        • Destro

          Robinson i think will be better than both,although i still like Edward….

  • Aaron8007

    Davis and Robinson  are prospects with the best chance to be stars.   Both are elite athletes in their own way.  Robinson has speed, power and jumping ability that are close to guys like young kenyon martin, griffin etc..   Davis has quickness, length, decent offensive foot work and soft hands that could lead him to be elite player in the NBA.   Drummond is along way from producing in the NBA unless he has another gear that no one saw this year.  Sullinger will be a productive NBA player as his skills, IQ and motor are NBA quality.  Just lacks the length and explosion of the elite athletes but he does know how to play basketball.
         If we have a chance at either Davis or Robinson I would say trade away one or both of ed davis or Amir. If not Kid-Gilchrist should be first priority then Beale, then barnes.  Let the ping pongs decide. 

  • Frynoodle

    I just feel all the NCAA player relay on their good foot speed and quickness may not work on NBA. Just like CB4, AJ, AB7, even Yao Ming have to add some weights on. and end up will slow them down.

  • JB

    We deffinitly cannot draft another big man.. We dont have the guard play to take us to that next level. We need to get harrison barnes or mkg.