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2012 NBA Draft Could Be One Of The Strongest In Recent Memory

We are now one week removed from the 2011 NBA Draft, and so naturally it's time to look forward to next year's draft. Lots of people criticized the depth of this year's draft, and it may ultimately be remembered as one of the weakest in NBA history. No need to worry. Next year's draft class could be one of the best in recent memory.

For starters, many college players who decided not to enter the NBA Draft this year- due to the impending lockout or for other reasons- will be on the board next year. There's UNC's Harrison Barnes, Ohio State's Jared Sullinger, Kentucky's Terrence Jones, and Baylor's Perry Jones, just to name a few. These players would undoubtedly have added depth to the 2011 draft.

And what about the incoming freshman class? Click through to find out.

The beauty of the 2012 NBA Draft is that the incoming freshman class by itself has a ton of talent.

If you take a look at Chad Ford's way-too-early 2012 Mock Draft, you'll find that seven freshmen ([in order] Kentucky's Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist, Baylor's Quincy Miller, Florida's Bradley Beal, UNC's James McAdoo, Duke's Austin Rivers, and Kentucky's Marquis Teague) are currently slated as lottery picks. In addition, Texas's Myck Kabongo and Memphis's Adonis Thomas- also freshmen- are projected as the 15th and 16th picks.

That brings us to a total of nine freshmen who could potentially be lottery picks in 2012. Nine. The most freshmen to be taken in any lottery so far? Seven (the 2007 draft). Of course, this is not to say that those nine players are surefire picks. They'll be battling with the aforementioned college stars who decided to stay in school. The point, though, is that there is an incredible amount of talent in this freshman class..

Add it all together and you're looking at one fine class of NBA prospects in 2012. Everyone wins: fans will certainly be invested in watching their teams draft talented athletes and teams- even those later in the draft- will be able to find impact players.

This might even soften the blow for Suns fans anticipating another lottery team next season.