5 Rookie Busts Who Wish They Were Playing in the NCAA Tournament Right Now
The 2011 NBA draft class wasn't as bad as many assumed.
There weren't too many great vibes about anyone heading in. There wasn't even much hype surrounding the No. 1 pick in the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Scouts and analysts had him as the consensus No. 1 pick, but the public had only short opportunities to view him in action. Irving played only nine games at Duke University.
Nearly three months later, Irving is reviving the Cavaliers franchise, along with fellow top five draft pick Tristan Thompson, and actually has them nearing a playoff berth. Irving is a surefire Rookie of the Year and has the potential to become an All-Star extremely soon.
There have been players with similar success. Derrick Williams has been excellent coming off the bench for Minnesota, Brandon Knight is fitting in well to a young Detroit team and Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo are beginning to show a glimmer of hope for a decrepit Charlotte Bobcats team.
However, not all of the draft class has been a success story. We feature the five players who probably wish they stuck around another year on their tournament bound college teams.
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There wasn't much known about Enes Kanter before he entered the draft and that sentiment has remained the same with half of his first NBA season completed.
Kanter was a mysterious player when he entered the draft. He was only 19 years old, but had already played for a professional basketball team in Turkey. Kanter then went to the United States where he'd attend college in California before declaring his commitment to the University of Kentucky.
Kanter wouldn't play one minute for the Wildcats as excess benefits from his former club would declare him to be ineligible to play. Even though he didn't play at all in what was meant to be his freshman year, Kanter decided to not give playing at Kentucky a try and declared for the draft without any sort of college experience.
He might have needed it. Kanter was taken third and has hardly had the look of a No. 3 pick. He's averaging only five points on 45 percent shooting to go along with five boards per. He's played in 41 games, but is only averaging 14 minutes per contest. Kanter has been fighting with a number of other big men on the Jazz roster to get minutes.
Meanwhile, Kanter's Wildcats are a No. 1 seed after going 32-2 in regular season and tournament play. The lone losses came by way of a one-point loss to Indiana early in the season and then a loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament final. Kentucky had went 16-0 in tournament play during the regular season.
At 6'11" and 262 pounds, Kanter can be extremely valuable for the Jazz. However, Kanter still appears to be hesitant on his shots near the rim and will second guess himself far too many times when going up for a shot.
Kanter will have to create a thicker skin if he wants to make it in this league. The 19-year-old has a ways to go before he even begins receiving significant minutes behind Al Jefferson in the rotation.
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Perhaps we could send Jimmer Fredette back to BYU for one more year.
All parties were having a lot more fun then. Fredette was lighting it up for the Cougars, BYU was a strong tournament team and the Sacramento Kings didn't have to waste their time in a three-team trade that enabled them to pick up Fredette from the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Kings also wouldn't be wasting a roster space. Transitioning his game from the NCAA to the NBA has been a struggle for Fredette as he's lacked the game to make himself a serious part of the rotation. While he's making 39 percent of his three-pointers, he happens to also be making 39 percent of his shots overall.
That pretty much means Fredette can make open three-pointers, but can't do much once there's a defender guarding him, which is something we should have known coming in. He showed off some athleticism and an ability to put the ball on the floor in college, but it's become no match against NBA defenses.
It's led to Kings coach Keith Smart going as far as benching Fredette. For example, Fredette wasn't implemented into the Kings game against the Heat at anytime. Why? Because Smart was smart enough to realize that Jimmer wasn't going to survive on either side of the ball against one of the NBA's toughest defenses.
If that's the case, then Fredette truly isn't NBA-ready. Rookie or not, you have to be ready at any time to play against any type of defense. They could be as porous as the New York Knicks or as stingy as the Chicago Bulls, you have to be able to make adjustments in your own game in order to get minutes and make yourself worthwhile on the court.
Jimmer is currently averaging eight points and two assists per. At this point last year, Fredette had just finished averaging 29 points per game, which led the entire NCAA.
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See Marcus Morris' hat and the Houston Rockets logo behind him? That's pretty much the only associating he's had with the Rockets this year.
While his brother Markieff is having a blast with Steve Nash in Phoenix, Marcus can't even get on the floor. He's only played in five games and has played in two contests since the third game of the season. The Rockets played Morris in the first three games of the year, but then sat him out for the next two months before a minute stint against Utah.
Morris' next and last appearance would come by way of another garbage time substitution during a loss to Toronto. He played three minutes that game and scored a free throw. It was the first point Morris recorded since December 30th. It gave him six points on 18 percent shooting for the year.
On a team that is as desperate for size than most NBA teams, the Rockets simply don't see Morris as NBA-ready. If he was, then surely there would be some sort of time the Rockets could give to him. Instead, he can't even get on the floor and is below garbage time substitution.
Morris hasn't played since March 7th and it would be a surprise to see him on the floor anytime soon. The Rockets are playoff bound and Morris will most likely be wearing a suit for the majority of those postseason games. If he isn't playing in the regular season, it's a solid hypothesis that he won't be playing in the postseason.
As for Morris' Kansas Jayhawks? A No. 2 seed who is predicted as a dark-horse favorite to win the championship.
It's tough to call the No. 29 pick in the draft a bust, but we'll have to make an exception for former University of Texas guard Cory Joseph.
If you're a freshman and you're not predicted to go in the first 10 or 15 picks of the draft, why even bother declaring? Wouldn't it be smarter to spend another year or two at college in order to refine your game, so that maybe you'll get taken higher when you do enter the draft? Instead of being a No. 29 pick after your freshman year, you could possibly end up in the top 15 by your senior season.
Seniors also happen to be held in high regards. Four years of college experience under solid coaching will entice any team to give you a chance.
Not Cory Joseph. He averaged 10 points, three boards and three assists per in his freshman season at Texas and declared for the draft. He'd be taken 29th by the San Antonio Spurs and would become one of the most disappointing first-round picks averaging only two points on 35 percent to go along with 22 percent shooting from deep.
Joseph is mostly utilized in garbage time, but he's also been given his chances. He was given 37 minutes worth of playing time during the Spurs loss to the Portland Trail Blazers due to injuries in the starting lineup. Joseph started and responded by scoring 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting to go along with three assists. He hit 2-of-3 from deep and all three of his free throws.
Since then, minutes have been limited to Joseph. He's been featured in four games since starting and hasn't played more than three minutes in either contest.
His Texas Longhorns are an 11th seed after a 20-13 year.
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Chris Singleton's a good defender and I can't say much else.
Singleton's averaging nearly a block per in only 19 minutes per, but is also posting up a lowly four points on 37 percent shooting and three boards per. He's also taking two three-pointers per game at a 33 percent clip. Singleton was taken with the 18th pick by the Wizards and was their second pick in the first round.
Their first pick? Jan Vesely, who would have definitely been on this list if he had come from a team in the NCAA tournament.
Singleton played three years for the Florida State Seminoles. He averaged his career high's in his final season in Tallahassee with 13 points and seven boards per game. He shot 43 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep. The shooting percentage was a certain concern for a player of his size at 6'8" and 230 pounds, but the three-point shooting helped to somewhat offset it.
The Wizards have pretty much gotten Singleton-lite. He's shooting worse from the field, but the three-point shooting isn't helping to offset it. However, the team definitely acknowledges his strong defense from an individual and team standpoint.
Outside of his defense, there's not much to look forward to in Singleton's game. The Wizards haven't gotten much out of him or Vesely, and will only hope that both draft picks develop in the coming years.
Singleton's 'Noles are a No. 3 seed and just beat out the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils for the ACC crown.