Blog Entry

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 6:46 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

Let's face it. The NBA Draft is a crapshoot. There are obvious mistakes, which should be avoided. There are obvious reaches, which if they don't work out look terrible and if they do work out, earn management awards. You can have the top pick one year and net a Hall of Famer, and the next year you can have the top pick and net nothing more than a pick you're trying to unload a year later. "Always draft the big man" works, unless that big man is Hasheem Thabeet. "Best talent available" is a great ethos, unless you create a logjam on your team which frustrates all the players involved. And sometimes, there are just guys you need to be leery of before you say that name into the phone in Newark. 

Here's a brief list of guys who could wind up great but also could have higher odds at busting. Fear factor is on a scale of one to five, with one being "sure-fire lock" and five being "you may wind up burning jerseys or your favorite GM in effigy."

Jimmer Fredette

Fear Factor: 3

When the tournament ended and it came time to analyze The Jimmer's NBA prospects, the talk was mostly about Fredette's diminutive frame. Players of his prototype do not tend to translate well. The college game is great, it's just dramatically different than the NBA and players who succeed with the kind of gunning Fredette did in college don't necessarily make the leap. Then, the scrutiny was so high you had a backlash like a rubber band snapping back. "Jimmer's just a great basketball player." "Anyone who can play ball like that in college can play in the NBA." It went on and on. Fredette and his people helped out by taking a bold and aggressive approach, gunning for Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight in workouts and impressing based on expectations. The key being "based on expectations." By exceeding the poor showing people expected, Fredette has gained traction to rise up the ranks. It's not about getting higher than Knight or Walker, it's just about getting as high as he can.

But the same elements are there that have always been there. The limited size, length, athleticism, the unfamiliarity with running an offense, the inability to launch without a conscience, they're all still there as concerns for how he'll adapt. But Fredette has college star power and that can blind. Maybe Fredette will smoothly transition to a new role and never environment. But the concerns should still be there. Sometimes removing context is a good thing.

Bismack Biyombo

Fear Factor: 4

Super-athletic foreign big comes out of nowhere, ramps up a ton of hype, then goes to workouts and .... wah-wah. Biyombo has talked about leading the league in blocks and rebounds. Bravado is excellent. But it can also belie an effort to gain a foothold on something other than ability. Biyombo brings great length and athleticism but no polish or offensive repertoire. So he's kind of the anti-Jimmer. But players in Biyombo's mold can either be a revelation or a colossal bust. Just for comparison's sake, the last player similar to Biyombo in terms of physical nature was Thabeet.

Good luck with that.

Kemba Walker

Fear Factor: 3

Similar concerns as Fredette, only magically shorter.

When Walker measured in at 6-1 vs. the 5-11 many scouts had him pegged at, the phrase "See, he's not short at all!" was used. This despite the fact that he's still short, he just plays and seems shorter than he actually is. Walker has a tremendous scoring ability, but defensively there are going to be questions. There have been plenty of players of diminutive stature to make it in the NBA and even become borderline stars. But few of them have been drafted at Walker's projected position or with his expectations. Walker was the college player of the year for a reason. He was also kept out of the top ten for most of the year until the talent stampeded out at the end.

Josh Selby

Fear Factor: 5

Highly touted high school project clashes with established, respected coach which results in him not playing at all down the stretch, then somehow vaults up the rankings. We've seen this one before. Selby's performances at workouts early in the draft process at Impact in Las Vegas have helped land him back in the first round. But Selby showed little more than perimeter shooting during Kansas' season, and the fact he couldn't get along with Bill Self raises a number of flags. Selby could be the type of player who just landed in a bad situation for him, but he could also be a headcase without an all-around game. 

Donatas Motiejunas

Fear Factor: 5

Might not come over from Europe, questionable defensive ability, questionable rebounding effort, questionable basketball ability beyond size. Motiejunas has the whole bag of concerns in one Euro Center package. Stick away from this one. 


Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: July 6, 2011 4:31 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

So it's Bobby Hurley's fault that Fredette didn't start all 4 years?   I dont really even see the comparison..Jimmer was a scorer in the NCAA....but Jimmer will not play point in the NBA, so the whole point is moot.

I hope the kid does well, but IMO only of these guys is a NCAA hall of famer, and it aint Jimmer.  Hurley led Duke to back to back titles, while Jimmer DI in scoring, in one season.

I would go out on a limb here and say Hurley would have had the better NBA career if he had not gotten hurt, he was a very special player.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2011 3:03 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Did someone really imply that Michael Beasley is a bust? Are you serious? I didn't realize 19 PPG is bust material, obviously not superstar, but definitely not bust.

Since: Apr 11, 2008
Posted on: June 27, 2011 8:57 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

I agree.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:45 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

I agree but Steve Kerr wasn't the 10th pick in the draft.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:19 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

a link to a mock draft posted this week I'm not sure what kind of pro Jimmer will be - he's one of the toughest players to figure out in this draft.

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:05 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Jimmer can make it in the NBA as long as he realizes he won't be the main man, but a role player.

Short, slow, no defense, great shooter.  Kinda sounds like Steve Kerr.

He did alright as a role player on the second Bulls three-peat team.

Since: May 13, 2010
Posted on: June 22, 2011 4:32 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

That's not what I said. I said look at Dallas, they couldn't play any defense. They went out and got defensive players like Chandler, MArion, and Stevenson and it took them to the title. Read my whole comment before stating things.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2011 4:39 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Not sure how relevant the fact that Hurley started from his freshman year, which allowed him to rack up assists to star players is.  More important would be the whopping additional 3 APG that Hurley averaged than Fredette in Fredette's last two seasons.  Of course, that number is more than negated by Fredette being the vastly superior creator and shooter.

They're not close.  But anybody who claims to know college basketball and watched BYU play knows Fredette creates as well for others as he does himself, but was ASKED to shoot and shoot often by his coach and had an offense designed to get him shots.  The only thing Fredette and Hurley have in common besides being great college basketball players is neither of them have enough of a complete package to start in the NBA on a contending team. 

Funny how pathetically the list of all-time NCAA assists leaders fared in the NBA.  Chris Corciani averaged more APG than Hurley, but he's joined on the "entirely forgettable" list by Ed Cota, Keith Jennings, Tony Miller, Aaron Miles, Doug Gottlieb, and host of other guys who never had the game to make an impact at the next level.  Of the top 25, only Gary Payton made a significant impact in the NBA.  Probably because the stat indicates who played significant minutes for four years more than anything else, which explains why guys who really distributed the ball like Jason Kidd and Avery Johnson don't appear on the list.

Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: June 21, 2011 3:08 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

X-Factor, you must be a moron... Hurley is the NCAA alltime leader in assists...while Jimmer is the alltime leader in ballhogging it.

Don't even compare these 2 players.

One was a PG and the other is a SG.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:33 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Youth, Troy Bell was never hyped in college or pre-draft.  Most fans won't even recognize the name.  Beasley, Fazekas, and Anthony were hyped as scorers, not shooters.  Morrison, Curry, and Redick were the three shooters on your list who fit the description, and at least two of them are doing very well for themselves and their teams.  And Jimmer is more athletic than either Morrison or Redick, has better handle and vision, and has more ability around the basket.  If he turns out to be a player somewhere between JJ Redick and Stephen Curry he's going to make a team very happy as a quality rotation guy.

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