Being drafted into the NBA is a dream come true for most prospects. But what if you've worked your whole life for something, only to be put in a situation that hinders your ability to succeed? That's what happened to a few players in this year's draft.
Sometimes a player is put in a situation where his path to significant minutes is blocked by an established veteran. Other times players are drafted much higher than projected, putting unreasonable expectations on their ability. Or there's always the possibility of being forced into a situation where a player is forced to play a position to which he's not entirely suited.
In a nutshell, that's what happened to five players in the 2012 NBA draft. Thriving in the NBA is difficult enough for most prospects, and it won't be any easier for these five players, because their put in a position that might stunt their growth.
For the results from the 2012 NBA draft, click here.
The problem with Harkless going to Philadelphia is that there's really nowhere for him to play. Philadelphia is set at small forward with Andre Iguodala. But since Iguodala can play the 2 or the 3, the 76ers could move him around.
The problem with that scenario is that Evan Turner was drafted second overall in 2010 and he's playing shooting guard for Philly. That leaves nowhere for Harkless.
That's not to say that Harkless doesn't have a bright future, because he probably does. But with the logjam at small forward, it's going to be hard for him to get minutes unless the 76ers trade either Iguodala or Turner.
Wroten, like Harkless, is in a situation where it's going to be difficult for him to get minutes. With Mike Conley, Jr. at point guard, there's not much of an opportunity for Wroten to play the 1.
At 6'6", Wroten's got the height to play the 2. However, he lacks the consistent jump shot to shine at shooting guard. That leaves Wroten caught in the middle.
Ideally, he's suited for point guard, but there won't be many minutes available for him there. And while there may be minutes for him at shooting guard, he doesn't really profile well there.
Ezeli has a couple potential issues going against him. For one, his real skill is on the defensive end, yet he's going to a team in Golden State that historically hasn't emphasized defense. Head coach Mark Jackson is aiming to change that, and if so, Golden State might be the right spot for Ezeli in that respect.
Even if Golden State changes to an offensive identity, it's going to be difficult for Ezeli to get much playing time. The Warriors traded for Andrew Bogut at the deadline this past season, so he's undoubtedly their starting center.
Plus Golden State still has Andris Biedrins locked up for one more year, and since the Warriors already used their amnesty clause on Charlie Bell, getting rid of Biedrins and his contract will be easier said than done.
It's not so much that Ross is in a bad situation in Toronto. It's that he was drafted much higher than projected.
On the one hand, he'll get some extra money compared to where he was projected to go. On the other hand, there are big expectations that come with the No. 8 pick. Given what's projected of Ross, he might not be able to live up to those expectations.
If he were drafted a bit later in the draft, he'd have more of a grace period to get adjusted to the NBA. Now, he'll be expected to contribute immediately, and he might not have the necessary skills to follow through right off the bat.
Waiters, like Ross, was drafted a bit higher than projected when he went No. 4 to Cleveland. But he's got the talent to succeed in the NBA. The problem is that he's somewhat caught in the middle. He's got the skills to play point guard, but obviously Cleveland's set there with 2011-12 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
But when it comes to playing shooting guard, at 6'4", Waiters is a bit undersized. He still could end up being a very good player, but now he's pigeonholed to a position that doesn't necessarily fit him.
If he went to a team without an established point guard, he'd have an opportunity to work at both guard positions before figuring out which suits him best.