1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky: More of a four, but his elite shotblocking talents will have him anchoring defenses in New Orleans from the jump. It will be exciting to monitor his progress through his rookie year as opposed to pinning expectations on this draft’s lock No. 1. The fact he had guard skills prior to hitting his growth spurt is cause for optimism that he’ll be able to float and not get stuck banging with bigger bodies early in his career.
2. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State: You’ll see him as a power forward on many lists, but I see at least half his future as a back-to-the-basket center in the DeJuan Blair mold, except with a few more inches and both ACLs to work with. He’s blessed with a high basketball IQ, rebounds well and has a chance to get the better against bigger, more athletic players via skill and effort on most nights.
3. Tyler Zeller, North Carolina: Overshadowed by his teammates throughout his four-year career and now his highly-regarded little brother by scouts, he’s got to be pretty good as a legit 7-footer who runs the floor tremendously, attacks the rim well and understands the game. He’ll be a starter in this league for a long time.
4. Andre Drummond, Connecticut: He’ll learn to play, right? At this point, he’s a freak athlete reminscient of Dwight Howard, although not quite as agile. Still, he’s a worse free-throw shooter and far less developed as far as fundamentals go. There’s a very tangible fear he’ll be the next Kwame Brown, but it’s undeniable that his youth and promise aren’t about to keep too many teams from passing him up.
5. Kyle O’Quinn, Morgan State: Had his national coming out party against Missouri plays with the drive that you would expect from a displaced kid from Queens who seems to have found an unlikely in. He played his behind off in Portsmouth and offered up proof of a 7-5 wingspan that will help him defend both positions at this level.
6. Meyers Leonard, Illinois: He made an impact in the only season he saw significant minutes and did so on a flawed basketball team, so don’t get hung up on him being a one-year wonder. He’s a gifted athlete for his size who is going to have to grow into his frame to compete effectively at the pro level, but he’s got a lot of raw ability to play with for a team willing to be patient with him.
7. Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt: He’s raw offensively and needs to learn out how to avoid picking up fouls – especially cheap ones. Still, standing 6-11 and being willing to throw his body around is going to land him a roster spot and an opportunity.
8. Fab Melo, Syracuse: His Syracuse career was a flop, memorable for little outside a 10-block game this past season and missing the NCAAs due to an academic issue. It’s not hard to see he’s got the frame out of which an NBA center can be chiseled, but it’s going to be a long ride.
9. Miles Plumlee, Duke: He hit the weights hard and maximized his potential during an effective senior year, so count on him joining the parade of agile 7-footers set to get their lumps.
10. Henry Sims, Georgetown: Passes extremely well in confined spaces and also owns a 7-4 wingspan, so even though he’s not as polished as you would like him to be, he’s got attributes to work with beyond the norm. The key is continuing to emerge, which he started doing this past year by shocking Hoya nation with a season most had written off ever being able to accomplish.
Others: Robert Sacre, Gonzaga; Justin Hamilton, LSU; Garrett Stutz, Wichita State; Ognjen Kuzmic, Bosnia; Bernard James, Florida State.