Jun 18

2012 NBA Draft By Position: Centers

By antonioharvey Posted in: 2012draft, draft2012
The center position is the 2nd easiest position to scout. It seems that what you see is what you get, to a certain degree. Meaning, if a guy was a banger in college, he will be a banger in the NBA. If he was a finesse player in college, he will be a finesse player in the NBA. This is what makes the position so hard, you want to draft on upside, and potential, but it just never seems to work out that way. I’ve seen shooting guards add dimensions to their game, same with wing players. Point guards usually undergo the biggest changes to their game, because the load becomes so much greater. So let’s look at this year’s center crop, a bunch that is much deeper, and more talented than most people think.

1.) Andre Drummond 6-11 279 PF/C UConn Fr. –
Without question, the most physically talented big man in the draft. There have been some references to his motor, but his size and athletically ability make him a safe bet in the draft. I don’t think he will ever be a 20/10 guy, but he has the potential to be a very good 15/10/3 guy, without a coach having to call any plays for him. But should he ever develop his offensive game, the sky’s the limit.  

2.) Meyers Leonard 7-1 250 C Illinois So. –
Leonard is the biggest question mark in the draft. He’s got tremendous size, strength, and he plays hard. But his body of work isn’t there. His so-so numbers at Illinois make people scratch their heads, but his workouts have been great. I like him; he’s got a lot of traits that simply can’t be taught. He has the potential to a more than solid contributor at the NBA level.

3.) Tyler Zeller 7-0 247 PF/C North Carolina Sr. – The safest big man pick in the draft. He runs the floor like a deer, great character & is a tireless worker. He is the exact opposite of Meyers Leonard: he has a tremendous body of work, after 4 years at UNC. With him you know exactly what you’re getting. Although his potential isn’t a big as the first two guys, it doesn’t have to be - he has already accomplished a lot.  

4.) Festus Ezeli 6-11 264 C Vanderbilt Sr. – Not on the level of a Tyler Zeller, but a sure pick, wherever he goes. He doesn’t have as much upside, but for a team that already has some talent. Ezeli would be a great pick up. You know what you have: a long rangy guy, with descent hops and excellent strength and timing on the defensive end of the court. He gets off the plane ready to work, and should find himself in someone’s rotation sooner than later.

5.) Yancy Gates 6-9 289 PF/C Cincinnati Sr. –
Gates is a sleeper in this year’s draft. He’s not currently projected as a first round pick, but if his workouts keep going the way they have, he could sneak into the late first round. He’s a strong, physical, but skilled big, that’s athletic enough clog up the paint. Gates is one of a dying breed - a true back to the basket centers.

6.) Fabricio De Melo 7-0 C Syracuse So. – Lots of questions surround this young man, but the Big East defensive player of the year carries a lot of weight in NBA circles. And for a lot of teams, if he interviews well, he could do himself a lot of good on draft night.  He can clog the paint, grab boards, and score around the basket.  He’s still very young with a lot of upside, but he has to show the dedication on a more consistent basis to reach his potential.

Wondering about he strength of other positions in the 2012 Draft class? Check out Mike Rice's thoughts on power forwards, Casey Holdahl's take on point guards and Brian Wheeler's spin on small forwards.


  1. I would pick #1,#2,#6. Numbers 3,4,5 are not players I would like to see on our roster unless they fall to #40, or #41

    by mbmurr1 on 6/18/2012 10:04 PM
  2. I admit that most of what I have seen of Drummond is via youtube, but he still feels like a player for a rebuilding, not a retooling, which isn't to say he won't ever be a 15/10 guy, but I just wonder how long it will take for him to get there. Nevertheless, I think your list is right.

    by petro4three on 6/19/2012 9:43 AM
  3. I wouldn't mind Leonard or Zeller at 11. But no thanks to Drummond at 6. The others are good if we trade up to with our second rounders to get on of them.

    by dflight37 on 6/19/2012 10:10 AM
  4. None of these centers are the answer. I think our best bet is to pick up Norfolk State's Kyle O'Quinn in the 2nd round.

    by DHawes22 on 6/19/2012 10:14 AM
  5. Yeah if you want to /draft/ a center, use the second round. The only exception is the Patrick Ewings, Shaqs, and Anthony Davises. I'll count Oden too. If we draft at 11, I believe it'd be for trade purposes; we'd be drafting for someone else.
    Then again, what center wants to be drafted by Portland?
    If Portland is gonna acquire a 5 right now, it'll be through free agency, or more likely, via trade.
    P.S. Fab Melo will be drafted higher than he probably should.

    by RipCityVice on 6/23/2012 1:06 PM
  6. There should be no argument of getting Drummond at #6
    BUT if(God forbid) some tea would snack him
    grab Zeller
    His no slack/No drama attitude is what we need
    if Drummond is not available

    by cocothunda72 on 6/24/2012 4:57 PM
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