By Fanspeak Contributing Writer Geoff Nelowet
Riskiest NBA Draft Picks
When an NBA franchise spends their first round draft pick, they are making a commitment to a player that could determine the future of their team. A team with a top five selection can pick a player that could turn around their franchise, or that player could just easily never amount to anything. Teams that find success in the draft eventually find success in the playoffs, and the teams that make a few early round mistakes can end up being a bad team for a very long time. These players below have historically been an archetype that leads to mixed results, but more importantly, their unpredictability has yielded numerous draft busts, which inevitably stunts the growth of an NBA franchise.
Unpolished big men with exceptional natural ability but very little technique
These players are easily the most unpredictable to forecast in the NBA draft. They’re tall, long and athletic, but they lack an NBA post-up move or a dependable mid-range jump shot. Many general managers salivate at their natural ability, and they think they can teach them the proper NBA technique, and they will eventually develop into superstars. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way of predicting if these players can develop that skill set. Players such as Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic, Hasheem Thabeet, Nikoloz Tskitishvili have proven that having top five talent is simply not enough to become a legitimate NBA player. Aside from that, none of these players ever developed a single post move that could be relied on, which rendered them valueless in the NBA game.
This year’s cast:
Greg Monroe – Georgetown
Hassan Whiteside – Marshall
Larry Sanders – VCU
Jan Vesely – Czech Republic
Donatas Montiejunas – Lithuania
Soloman Alabi – FSU
Players whose draft stock rose too far because of their college careers
Player such as Stephen Curry made their name – and their NBA career – through showcasing their talents in the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, many of the players that get discovered in March do not end up panning out in the NBA. Also, many players that had long, successful collegiate careers do not end up making a dent in the NBA scene. Players such as Adam Morrisson, JJ Redick, Sean May, Luke Jackson and Mike Sweetney have proven that having an excellent college career does not always correlate with NBA success.
This year’s list includes:
Gordon Hayward – Butler
Ekpe Udoh – Baylor
Quincy Pondexter – Washington
Greivis Vasquez – Maryland
Omar Samhan – Saint Mary’s
Players that are not very athletic
These players are extremely hard to predict because they’ve found success on the collegiate level, but they lack good measurable. Their athletic ability is below par, but they have solid technique. For every Kevin Love there is a Nick Collison, and although Love has shaped up to be a very good player, when he was drafted most people had no clue as to how he would pan out.
This year’s group:
Cole Aldrich – Kansas
Ed Davis – UNC
Players that are head cases
This list is typically quite short, but players that seem immature or have off-court issues can often find that their developed as a player is hindered by behavior. Michael Beasley comes to mind as someone that has had a multitude of off-court problems, which have definitively prevented him from reaching his potential. One could make this argument for a number of players, but eventually it comes down to whether the player is committed to improving as a basketball player on a winning NBA team.
The most notable player this year:
DeMarcus Cousins – Kentucky