NBA Draft: Is the 2012 draft class worse than 2011 class?

Perry Jones III. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Justin Rogers at mlive has a new article discussing something I've been thinking about for a while -- just how good is the upcoming NBA draft class?

Conventional wisdom since even before last year's draft was that it was going to be absolutely stacked. Many players, including Jared Sullinger and Harrison Barnes, decided to stay in school with an NBA lockout looming. And before the start of the college basketball season there looked like a dozen bona fide stars in the making.

Anthony Davis has lived up to his billing and is the no-doubt-about-it No. 1 pick of the draft. But after that everything looks like a toss up.

Rogers links to an ESPN story by Chad Ford that quoted a particularly unenthusiastic NBA general manager.

"Everyone talks about how great this draft is," one NBA GM told ESPN.com. "On paper in July, it really looked that way. On the ground in February, I'm not that impressed. Anthony Davis is great. But after that, there are a lot of question marks and a surprising lack of depth. I'm not sure that the 2012 draft will be better than the 2011 one."

Andre Drummond? He looks like an NBA player but he has a puzzling lack of production. Barnes? Not dominating like everyone assumed and doesn't seem elite in any area. Sullinger? Playing well but not great and still might not have the athleticism or size to excel in the NBA. Thomas Robinson is having a great year but also faces questions about his size. Jeremy Lamb? Looks like Kemba Walker-lite. Quincy Miller and Perry Jones III? Neither look like they can or want to carry a team.

Before the season, I bet many Pistons fans assumed that if they picked at No. 7 just like they did last year when they took Brandon Knight, they would have a chance at an elite prospect.

Now it appears like if Detroit were to fall in the same slot, they would be facing a choice between a disappointment (Jones), undersized power forwards (Sullinger, John Henson), or rail-thin, raw big men (Cody or Tyler Zeller, Meyers Leonard).

The Pistons aren't really in a position not to take the best player available, even if that person happens to be a wing player. But what the Pistons need is a strong, athletic, defensive-minded big man that can complement Greg Monroe.

If Detroit falls in the 6-10 range, Is that player going to be available? I'm starting to wonder, and I'm starting to worry.

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