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NBA draft is long on potential but short on can’t-miss prospects

By Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times –

The easy choice, presumably, is for the New Orleans Hornets to use the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft to select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis.

After that, there doesn’t appear to be a consensus choice in the 2012 NBA draft.

And that’s not encouraging news for Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, whose team has the second overall pick and needs help in a lot of areas.

There are some indications that the Bobcats will take Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson. Or will it be Connecticut power forward Andre Drummond? Or North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes? Or Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?

“I would not want to have the second pick this year,” said a Western Conference team executive, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the draft. “That’s a scary pick. You could pick a stud or you could pick an OK player.”

That can’t be the kind of news Jordan wants to hear.

But the teams below the Bobcats won’t have it easy in this draft either.

Most teams are bringing in players they are particularly interested in for private workouts. Or executives from various teams are gathering in groups to watch other promising players work out.

In the last week, some players who were expected to be lottery picks have had poor workouts, causing their stock to drop.

“The workouts are starting to show some of these players aren’t NBA-ready,” said another Western Conference executive, also not authorized to speak on the record. “That’s why so many players are moving all over the place on draft boards.”

Jared Sullinger, Ohio State’s undersized center, has taken a particularly precipitous drop. Diagnosed with back problems by league doctors after the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago, the 6-foot-9 Sullinger, once a projected a lottery pick, apparently has fallen out of the top 16.

The Clippers don’t have a first-round draft pick, but they do have a second-round selection (53rd overall). The Lakers don’t have a first-round pick, either; they have the last pick in the draft (No. 60).

With less than a week to go before the draft, some players had improved their stock with impressive workouts. That list includes Weber State point guard Damian Lillard, Illinois center Meyers Leonard and Florida guard Bradley Beal.

“This draft tells you that the draft is based on potential,” the first executive said. “The kids are so potential-based that they’ve got to go to the right team. If they go to the right place, there could be some stars in this draft.”

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