Listening to the hoopla surrounding this upcoming season, it’s easy for one to get caught up in the hype. If you’re old-fashioned and enjoy watching seasoned college players, it’s also understandable to resent it. However, after watching the opening week, it’s safe to say this is one of the most promising draft classes of the last 20 years. From 1-30, there’s an impact athlete capable of singlehandedly turning around a franchise.
Still, that’s not a guarantee. There’s a feeling that fans are assuming these players are going to be great before things actually play out. Being the realist that I am, I understand that potential doesn’t always pan out and only a select few players fulfill the wondrous goals prematurely lofted upon them. For every LeBron James, there’s a Kwame Brown and as unfortunate as it may sound, some of these players will be busts.
Now, there are plenty of different variations for what a bust is. To me, a “bust” is not a player who can’t play in the NBA, but one who doesn’t meet the expectations placed on him coming out of school after given time to prove his worth. Duke’s Jabari Parker has all the tools to be an All-Star in the NBA so if he’s the top overall pick and then averages 10 points per game throughout his career, he’ll be deemed a bust. In short, a player’s draft potential versus where he was picked. Typically, if a player is not projected to go in the lottery, they’re probably not expected to be a superstar in the league. However, this draft is stacked and everyone in the first round could become All-Stars so that equation is skewed.
Here are 15 players in the upcoming NBA draft that could be busts at the NBA level.
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BRANDEN DAWSON, Michigan State
For a guy coming off a torn ACL, he doesn’t look like it. The kid is as physical and high-flying as ever. However, standing at only 6-6, Dawson is an undersized small forward with a questionable shooting stroke and mediocre handle. He’ll likely play the two in the pros and if defenders pressure him off the bounce, they’ll be able to force a few turnovers. He has a strong frame and his strengths are on full display in transition and at the rim, but he’ll need to refine his perimeter game to make any splash at the next level.
JERAMI GRANT, Syracuse
Grant dropped 15 pounds because of an illness this offseason, but thanks to playing on the U19 National Team, he’s shown steady improvements on both sides of the ball. But he’s at his best on defense, using his length and nimbleness on the back end of Boeheim’s zone to make his presence felt. He could be a great defender in college, but we won’t know until he reaches the league if that’s all his doing or if he’s just a product of the system. Grant is another player whose draft stock depends solely on his potential – projected late first round – but he still has a ways to go offensive to become an All-Star caliber player.
SEMAJ CHRISTON, Xavier
Christon is an exciting young player who should make noise in the Big East and on the national spotlight. But he still struggles with his left hand, which is a cardinal sin for a point guard and will certainly get exposed at the next level, and his perimeter shooting and free throws could use a tune-up. He’s best when attacking the rim, which he did effectively in a win against Tennessee on Tuesday, as he dropped 18 points on 7-for-13 from the field. But he won’t be a legitimate threat at the next level until he stretches the floor with his scoring.