2012 Draft Preview: CENTERS

June 18, 2012

With less than two weeks until the 2012 NBA Draft, Cavs.com continues to break down the prospects position-by-position.

Today, we look at what the scouts said about some of the Draft’s pure centers. The top big man in this Draft –Anthony Davis – looks like his dance card will be filled by the time the Wine and Gold – (and everyone besides New Orleans) – is on the clock on June 28.

Here’s a list of some of the best bigs who might be available …

drummondAndre Drummond6-11, 279 – Born: August 8, 1993 (Mt. Vernon, NY) – College: UConn – one of the most intriguing players – at any position – in the Draft: some see him having bigger upside than Anthony Davis; has the ultimate combination of size, power, quickness; huge wingspan and long legs – can get to anything around the rim; stock dropped partially because of a dysfunctional team at UConn; doesn’t get to the line frequently; willing and creative passer from the post; timely shot-blocker with quick fee; didn’t put up big scoring or rebounding numbers relative to his talent or expectations; didn’t shoot well from the floor and even worse from the stripe (29 percent); runs the floor extremely well for a player his size; is aggressive on the offensive glass; hasn’t mastered any go-to-post moves; doesn’t turn 19 until August; still question marks about his motor

ezeliFestus Ezeli6-11, 264 – Born: October 21, 1989 (Benin City, Nigeria) – College: Vanderbilt – left Vanderbilt as school’s all-time leader in blocked shots; is intriguing to teams because of his physical gifts, sporting a strong NBA frame with a monstrous 7-4 wingspan; space eater in the paint on both sides of the ball; strong, physical post defender; can defend in the low or high post, excellent quickness on the defensive end. Improved his footwork on the offensive end; willing to do the dirty work, will mix it up in the post; not a dynamic athlete with a ton of upside; has some injury questions after injuring his knee as a senior; has all the physical attributes and toughness for an NBA center, along with prototypical size; can be foul-prone; doesn’t have good hands and tends to turn the ball over; didn’t perform well against top-level competition; could be a solid big off the bench at the NBA level

leonardMyers Leonard7-1, 250 – Born: February 27, 1992 (Robinson, IL) – College: Illinois – another player who suffered because of a dysfunctional team situation; fluid, athletic seven-footer; can be effective pick-and-pop threat from 12-18 feet out; doesn’t have great footwork; is a quality finisher at the rim because of his size and athleticism; excellent rim protector and shot-blocker; needs to add some weight to bang in the post at the next level, but has the frame to do so; lacks an offensive go-to move; strong free throw shooter (73 percent); great agility for a player his size; still some questions about his toughness and has an inconsistent motor; made a big leap from freshman to sophomore seasons; willing to fight for boards on the block; not many weaknesses to his overall game; has been a late riser and could sneak into the Lottery

meloFab Melo7-0, 255 – Born: June 20, 1990 (Westin, FL) – College: Syracuse – was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore; led Syracuse in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage; excellent size, legitimate seven-footer with 7-3 wingspan; great defender with superb shot-blocking ability; solid but not spectacular rebounder; efficient finisher on offense who doesn’t stray far from the painted area; conditioning is a concern, he’ll need to drop at least 10-15 lbs. at the next level; excellent rim-protector; doesn’t have great hands; has a solid right-handed hook shot that’s basically unblockable; not an instinctual ballplayer, still learning nuances of the game; suspension in NCAA Tourney could affect Draft position; questions marks might push him to the bottom of the first round, but not out of it; upside continues to develop on both sides of the floor

zellerTyler Zeller7-0, 247 – Born: January 17, 1990 (Washington, IN) – College: North Carolina – was ACC Player of the Year as a senior at UNC; runs the floor very well for a seven-footer; can absorb contact and finish around the rim; extremely intelligent player; very good hands and an improving offensive game; needs to continue to refine his post game; has a nice right-hand hook shot, but not an entire arsenal of post moves; decent but not great shot-blocker; has range up to 18 feet facing the basket and has a soft touch; comes from good basketball bloodlines; cerebral and instinctual defender who understands positioning; needs to add strength to battle NBA centers – excellent at drawing charges; not selfish, but not a great passer; at 22 years old, doesn’t have much upside; can be pushed out of position by players with leverage; would succeed better in a fast-paced offense