Meyers Leonard has turned himself into a hot 2012 NBA Draft prospect with some great workouts and interviews, but the numbers certainly don't stack up in his favor. The former Illinois big man will almost certainly be taken with a lottery pick on draft night -- he is projected to end up with the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 12 in current mock drafts -- but some are skeptical about his ability to produce in the NBA.
John Hollinger's Draft Rater on ESPN is a model designed to predict the Player Efficiency Rating (PER) for the rookie class each year, and in the current iteration Leonard looks like an end-of-the-bench player. Last season Hollinger's model did well predicting the success of Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Daniel Green, but it also failed on players like Jan Vesely, Jimmer Fredette, and Josh Selby. This year it has pegged Meyers Leonard with a projected PER of 7.02, which is decidedly awful. Average PER in the NBA is always set to 15.
That low mark puts Leonard behind players like Tyler Zeller (8.23), Andrew Nicholson (8.22) and Fab Melo (7.73), and near the bottom of the big man rankings. Taking into account his considerable tools and great athleticism, Hollinger ranks Leonard as the No. 26 prospect in the entire 2012 NBA Draft class.
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