clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Busts & Sleepers

With every draft there are always those players that everyone knows probably won't be all that good that end up going high and players that everyone knows will end up being solid contributors for whoever takes them.  Last year it was teams taking risks with players like Adam Morrison and Shelden Williams instead of going with Brandon Roy.  The year before it was Atlanta passing up the sure thing in Chris Paul for the gamble with Marvin Williams.  So who are the candidates on both sides this year?  Here's my take:

Most likely to bust:

  1. Yi Jianlian- Questions about how his game will translate to the NBA + Questions about his age = Big Risk.  Personally, I think he'll end up alright, maybe he won't live up to his draft position, but I don't think he'll be a total flop either.
  2. Brandan Wright- Wright is amazing athlete but isn't all that good of a basketball player.  If you take him out of the paint he loses most if not all of his effectiveness.  In other words, he'd be a great fit in Atlanta.
  3. Spencer Hawes- Like Yi, I don't think he'll be a total flop, but on the other hand he's a white center which never seems to work.  Not to mention he only had double digit rebounding games twice all last season.
  4. Rodney Stuckey- Maybe it's fear of the unknown, but I just don't see how a tweener from a mid-minor conference (the Big Sky conference was 24th in Conference RPI) is going to justify being picked mid-first round.  I mean he could turn out to be a great player that we've all been sleeping on, but I just don't see it.
  5. Daequan Cook- More than likely if you saw Cook for more than 10 minutes all March it was because he was at your St. Patrick's Day party.  Cook didn't reach double digits in points in his final 11 games at Ohio State, definitely should've stayed at school for another year at least.
Most likely to play better than their draft position:
  1. Derrick Byars- Maybe a little bias here, but when was the last time that someone tagged with the "pro-ready" label failed to disappoint?
  2. Morris Almond- It largely depends on where he ends up, but if Almond finds himself with the right team (cough*Utah*cough) he could be a huge asset for a team that's looking for that last piece to get over the top.
  3. Demetrius Nichols- If you could make the second round equivalent of Derrick Byars it would probably be Demetris Nichols.  A breath of fresh air compared to most of Small Forwards that will be available at the same time that are more or less just athletes with no real basketball skill.
  4. Marko Tomas- A dead-eye shooter with enough height (listed at 6-8) to be able to get his shot off with ease.  Almost certainly the best shooter available in Round 2.  At worst he'll provide some team with a reliable outside threat.
  5. Jared Jordan- Maybe he's overhyped, maybe he's underhyped, I don't really know anymore but at the end of the day, how many teams could use a quality passer?  I'm not saying he's going to be the second coming of Steve Nash or anything, but I think he'll be a quality backup in the NBA.
Update [2007-6-28 2:0:43 by Pradamaster]:Might as well add my thoughts quickly.

The whole thing is such a crapshoot, because it's so hard to predict how a prospect fits in with the system. In terms of pure talent and "fitability," here are my 5.

Most likely to bust:

  1. Thaddeus Young- He's still living off the hype that pushed him to the third spot in his high school senior class. I don't like that he didn't dominate, and I really don't like that he was so up and down. It seems like he's still getting by on athleticism, and that simply won't fly in the NBA. He's a project not worth the risk unless you're getting him in the 20s.
  2. Hawes- Centers who can't rebound in college don't succeed in the pros. I know Hawes had some mysterious illness in the second half of the year, but he wasn't exactly tearing it up in the first half either. There's no reason why you should be outrebounded by your power forward.
  3. Javaris Crittenton- This post kind of sums it up.
  4. Sean Williams- It's not just the character issues, even if smoking marijuana really isn't a big deal. It's not even that the fact that he was kicked off the team in midseason. It's that he's a one-trick pony (shot blocking) and has never been a good rebounder or offensive player. In fact, BC was significantly better without him in the lineup.
  5. Alando Tucker/Arron Afflalo- Honestly, take your pick here. Tucker's a versatile player, but he was an incredibly inefficient scorer this year, and only had good per-game numbers because Wisconsin had little else offensively. He was kind of the Allen Iverson of the college game this year. Meanwhile, Afflalo is in a similar situation, and he's merely solid defensively, not spectacular. UCLA's defense was so good mostly because their big men were incredible trappers on the pick and roll, not because of individual perimeter defenders. The fact that Corey Brewer (who, by the way, would be number 6 on this overrated list. I don't get the hype with him) completely shut him down twice is cause for concern.
Most likely to play better than their draft position:
  1. Byars- What Jake said.
  2. Stuckey- Here's where Jake and I strongly disagree. I think Stuckey is going to be an excellent player. The small college thing doesn't worry me; guys like Joe Dumars and, most recently, Kevin Martin have become great players from small schools. We forget that Stuckey is only a sophomore, because of his diverse offensive game, featuring a sweet stroke, a fantastic mid-range jumper, and great finishing skills around the rim. I see no reason why he can't develop into a Ben Gordon/Kevin Martin type of player in the right place (here not being one).
  3. Nick Fazekas- People don't realize how insanely productive this guy was. For the last two years, his PER has been higher than Kevin Durant's was this year. He's unfairly chastised for being a soft white power forward, when, in reality, he's an incredible rebounder (14.6 per 40 this year), can mix it up inside, and is more athletic than given credit for. I honestly think Fazekas can start for many teams at power forward, including the Wizards.
  4. Jared Dudley- One thing that went unnoticed with Dudley is that he became a far more efficient scorer, even without his running mate Craig Smith. Does a lot of things well, and I'm not concerned with his lack of a position. The last time the ACC Player of the Year was this undervalued? Josh Howard in 2003.
  5. DJ Strawberry/Zabian Dowdell-Guys like these who can defend and play both guard positions well will stick as backups in this league.

(end editor's rant)

Now it's your turn, who do you think will flop in the pros?  Who are your sleepers?  Feel free to go crazy in the comments section.