The NBA draft is a crapshoot. Everyone knows it. Look at the top five or ten picks from any given draft, and you’re bound to find players you either: A) have never heard of or B) forgot existed. For every superstar in a draft, there are going to be at least five guys in the first round that don’t make it more than a few seasons. That’s why there’s a couple approaches you can take to the draft. Maybe you only go for the safest players that you know will make your rotation. Or maybe you figure you can sign those types of guys in free agency and swing for the fences in the draft. That second approach seems more like something a real NBA GM would do. You know, kind of just say ‘Fuck it’ in the draft, and go for the tantalizing freakishly-athletic player who’s never come close to sniffing his potential, but you’re sure he’ll fulfill that potential on your team. Regardless of your approach, there are some guys who seem much more likely to be busts than others, and those are the guys you want to avoid. If you really question a guy’s ability, and are almost always left wishing he had shown just a bit more, but can’t stop thinking of how good he could be, then you’re probably looking at a bust. Let’s take a look at some of the first round prospects in tonight’s draft, rating them, on a scale of 1-10 (1 being a very safe prospect and 10 being Kwame Brown) on their chances of becoming busts.
Andrew Wiggins: 4
If you’re rating Wiggins on the chances that he comes a superstar in the NBA, then sure, he could definitely be a bust by that unrealistic standard. Almost everyone would be a bust by the standard that has been set for Wiggins. He probably won’t be a superstar. But he probably won’t fail either. He’s too athletic to completely flame out. He should at least be a starter in the league for a very long time and be a lockdown defender for many years in the NBA. Whether he’s ever a 20+ scorer, Wiggins should be a big contributor to whatever team drafts him.
Jabari Parker: 1
Nearly everyone seems to think Parker is the safest prospect in the draft. He just has the look of an NBA player. He has the moves, the shooting, and lack of defense that defines the NBA. He should last in the league for double digit years, and have a career scoring average in the high teens.
Dante Exum: 9
This is nothing against Exum. But the bottom line is no one can be absolutely sure about Exum. Half of the scouting on him comes from tournaments played over a year ago and Youtube clips. Could be the next Kobe? Sure, I guess. I mean, they have the same agent. There’s one similarity! Still looking for others. In all seriousness, Exum is apparently a very good slasher and so-so shooter. He’s an exciting prospect, but no one really has an idea what he’ll be like.
Joel Embiid: 7
Any time scouts and GM’s are asking for extensive medical records on a 7-footer, that’s not a good sign. And same goes for when NBA scouts are talking about how bones grow and navicular fractures. Embiid is risky because of his back and foot injuries.
Nik Stauskas: 2
Guys who shoot the ball as well as Stauskas usually don’t flame out. He has one elite skill, shooting. But don’t put him in a box. He was one of Michigan’s primary ball-handlers last year, and had to take on a majority of the playmaking duties too. Comparisons to Steph Curry are a little ambitious. He’ll still be more than just a shooter in the NBA.
Zach LaVine: 10
LaVine is a freak athlete. That’s enough for 90% of NBA scouts to salivate and claim he’s top-10 worthy. If you watched him play at UCLA though, his game leaves much to be desired. He’s only 19 and he’s very athletic, I get it. Youth and athleticism rule the NBA draft. Just be careful if you expect him to be Russell Westbrook.
Aaron Gordon: 3
A very similar prospect to Wiggins, only in the sense that Gordon is too athletic to fail. His defense should always keep him as a rotation player. And for Gordon, no one is expecting him to score the ball consistently. He understands he is a glue guy whose job is to rebound, play defense, and bring energy onto the court.