Ever since the start of the “weighted” NBA Draft Lottery as we know it today in 1990, we’ve seen a handful of highly touted players turn into busts.
In 2001, Kwame Brown was drafted number one overall by the Washington Wizards straight out of high school. Brown was expected to become the next great center, but has only averaged six points and five rebounds per game for his career.
To name a couple more busts picked in the lottery: Hasheem Thabeet (averaging two points and two rebounds for his career), Darko Milicic (averaged six points and four rebounds), Michael Olowokandi (averaged eight points and six rebounds), and Adam Morrison (averaged eight points).
In this overrated players guide, I will list players that have a chance of becoming a bust, players that are projected too high, and players that are purely overrated.
Julius Randle, PF, 6’9″ 225 lbs., Freshman, Kentucky
Julius Randle has had a very productive freshman season at Kentucky, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. However, Randle has many weaknesses that resemble a prototypical big man draft bust. Randle is naturally a lefty and has trouble dribbling and finishing with his right hand. Another concern with Randle that should be noted is that he is turnover-prone and does not take care of the basketball very well. According to Draft Express, Randle is averaging 4.4 turnovers per 40 minutes and turns the ball over on 29 percent of transition possessions. Randle could turn out to be a great player, but the risk he brings as a player outweighs his strengths. While Randle is a huge physical specimen, teams should be advised to pass on him due to his below average post skills and a lacking reliable jumper.
- Draft Projection: Top 10 Overall
- Pro-Player Comparison High Ceiling: Zach Randolph
- Pro-Player Comparison Low Ceiling: Brandon Bass
Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG, 6’8″ 200 lbs., Freshman, Kansas
“Overhyped” is a word that can be used to describe Andrew Wiggins’ play thus far. Coming out of high school as the number one overall recruit, Wiggins was and is expected to dominate the college game, but he has not so far. So far, Wiggins is averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game, but many of his scoring outbreaks came against sub-par teams. Wiggins exhibits multiple flaws we’ve all seen in a lot of players that turn into busts. Wiggins is afraid to attack the rim at times, lacks a “go-to” move, and struggles shooting from three point range (34 percent). Over the course of the Kansas vs. Kansas St. game last week, Wiggins missed seven total free throws (8-15), that’s totally unacceptable for a 75 percent free-throw shooter. Wiggins is still raw and has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the draft, but I don’t believe he is a top three pick. Because of his athleticism and high potential, teams will still pick Wiggins high, despite his egregious flaws.
- Draft Projection: Top Five Overall
- Pro-Player Comparison High Ceiling: Tracy McGrady (in his prime)
- Pro-Player Comparison Low Ceiling: Gerald Green
Willie Cauley-Stein, C, 7’0″ 244 lbs., Sophomore, Kentucky
After Nerlens Noel tore his ACL at the half way point of last year, it was a coming out part for Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein averaged eight points, six rebounds, and two blocks in relief for Noel. Cauley-Stein’s draft stock rose significantly and was a projected lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, but he decided to stay at Kentucky for another year to improve. However, Cauley-Stein hasn’t improved one bit from last year. Cauley-Stein has failed to score double-digit points in 15 of 23 games this year, hasn’t recorded 10+ rebounds in 17 of 23 games, and has decreased his field goal percentage from 42 percent to 40 percent. One might ask why scouts are still projecting him as a late lottery to mid-first round pick still? It’s because of his defense and height, and let me tell you, that is not a reason to draft someone high. As we’ve seen players like Hasheem Thabeet, Shawn Bradley, and Darko Milicic be picked because of their height and defensive prowess, Cauley-Stein should be red-flagged.
- Draft Projection: Mid First Round to Late First Round
- Pro-Player Comparison High Ceiling: Robin Lopez
- Pro-Player Comparison Low Ceiling: Kosta Koufas
Aaron Gordon, PF, 6’9″ 212 lbs., Freshman, Arizona
Gordon, a highly touted high school recruit, has been pinned with Blake Griffin comparisons due to his rare athleticism for a power forward. However, Gordon rarely exhibits any traditional big man tendencies. According to DraftExpress, posting up makes up only 7.9 percent of Gordon’s total offense. Gordon also struggles from the free throw line, shooting a staggering 43 percent. Gordon has bad touch at the rim, which leads to many errant shots and bad misses. Gordon’s average height (6’9″) and wingspan (6’11.5″) should be red flagged, especially for a power forward. Gordon can be compared to the number one overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Anthony Bennett. Bennett was able to shoot the three in college and get away with being a “tweener” (6’8″) in college. However, none of Bennett’s skills has translated into the NBA, averaging only three points and two rebounds per game. Gordon, like Wiggins, will be picked high in the draft because of his superior athleticism for his position. In conclusion, don’t be surprised if Gordon is a bust in the NBA because of his underdeveloped offensive game.