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Throwing Names Around
CHRIS MANNIX
July 09, 2012
Anthony Davis, whose defense has been compared to Bill Russell's, entered last Thursday's draft as the Franchise Player, a title that was reaffirmed when the Hornets chose the willowy 6'10" forward from Kentucky with the first pick. What tags are other prospects wearing?
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July 09, 2012

Throwing Names Around

Anthony Davis, whose defense has been compared to Bill Russell's, entered last Thursday's draft as the Franchise Player, a title that was reaffirmed when the Hornets chose the willowy 6'10" forward from Kentucky with the first pick. What tags are other prospects wearing?

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Forward, Thunder (No. 29)

Last year the 6'11", 235-pound Jones, who has the size of a center and the handle of a guard, was a potential top pick. But an inconsistent sophomore season at Baylor—his field goal percentage and scoring average dropped—coupled with concerns about his right knee, which he injured in high school, pushed Jones to the brink of the second round. He won't feel pressure to perform immediately in Oklahoma City, which has big men Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich.

THE FREE FALLER

Jared Sullinger

Power forward, Celtics (No. 21)

General managers were already down on Sullinger because of his low motor and limited athleticism. When doctors red-flagged a potentially chronic back injury the week before the draft, he tumbled from the lottery. Still, there is potential in that 6'9", 268-pound frame. Sullinger is an efficient scorer (51.9% from the floor last season at Ohio State) with a polished low-post game. The chance to practice against Kevin Garnett for the next three seasons won't hurt him, either. "If his back holds up, he will start someday," says a scout.

THE REPLACEMENT

Kendall Marshall

Point guard, Suns (No. 13)

Incumbent Steve Nash declared toward the end of last season that Phoenix needed to improve to have a shot at bringing him back as a free agent; it's doubtful he was suggesting that the team draft his successor. The 6'4", 198-pound Marshall—whom one G.M. calls "easily the best point guard prospect in the draft"—has the skills (an NCAA-best 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio last season at North Carolina) and the savvy to start as a rookie. But will the pressure to replace a Hall of Famer overwhelm him?

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