5 2012 NBA Draft Picks Teams Are Kicking Themselves over Right Now
The word "bust" can have a very appealing definition when discussing women, but not so much with NBA draft picks.
While it's still early into the 2012-13 season, it's clear some draft picks from June may have been a mistake after all.
Whether it be poor play, on-the-court incidents or failure to impress in practice or camp, these five players certainly haven't lived up to expectations thus far and are proving to be huge draft mistakes for their respective teams.
Kendall Marshall, PG, Phoenix Suns
Round/Pick: 1st, 13th
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 5.7 minutes, 1.2 points, 0.8 assists, 0.2 steals, 2.91 PER
To be fair to Phoenix, taking Marshall seemed like a good idea at the time.
The UNC point guard was considered an elite playmaker, something the Suns were looking for after losing franchise icon Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers.
At the time, Phoenix had a gaping hole at point guard with seemingly no one to fill it. Less than a week after drafting Marshall, though, the Suns managed to convince Houston Rockets free-agent point guard Goran Dragic to sign a four-year, $34 million deal.
This meant a bench role right away for Marshall, along with the realization that the Suns' lottery pick would now be a backup for the foreseeable future.
With players like John Henson, Jared Sullinger, Terrence Jones and Moe Harkless all available, Phoenix could have used its high pick on another potential starter at a forward spot instead of Marshall.
Now playing for the D-League's Bakersfield Jam, Marshall should finally be a starter for the first time in his professional career.
Thomas Robinson, PF, Sacramento Kings
Round/Pick: 1st, 5th
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 15.6 minutes, 5.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.2 blocks, 11.88 PER
There are a couple reasons the Kings may regret drafting Robinson.
First, it's fair to say the former Kansas star hasn't exactly impressed anybody yet. His shooting from the field has been solid (53.1 percent), but his defense and rebounding have mostly been M.I.A.
With only two total blocked shots in his first 12 games, Robinson needs to make his defensive presence more well known. On the glass, his 3.7 rebounds only correlate to 8.5 per 36 minutes, well below what should be expected from the NCAA's second-leading rebounder of a year ago.
His suspension for throwing an elbow to the throat of the Detroit Pistons' Jonas Jerebko certainly hasn't impressed the organization either.
With point guards Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks averaging as many assists as backup forward Chuck Hayes (2.1), it's too bad there wasn't a potential star point guard on the board just raring for the Kings to draft instead of Robinson.
Somewhere Neil Olshey is smiling.
Tony Wroten, G, Memphis Grizzlies
Round/Pick: 1st, 25th
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 2.7 minutes, 0.0 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.0 assists, -10.35 PER
Anytime you have a negative efficiency rating in basketball, something must not be going right.
For Wroten, playing time has been tough to find on a loaded Grizzlies squad. The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year has played a grand total of eight minutes for Memphis, missing all four of his shot attempts.
This is by far too small of a sample size of play on which to judge Wroten, but it's interesting to note the main knock on him coming into the NBA was shooting.
Due to the lack of available minutes and his non-factor play thus far, Wroten was assigned to the Reno Bighorns of the D-League on Nov. 27th.
Wroten is young and shouldn't be considered a bust yet, but the fact that Wayne Ellington has essentially taken the first-rounder's minutes should certainly say something.
Hopefully a strong showing in the D-League will earn Wroten a trip back to the NBA soon, but for now he'll have to keep working hard even in unflattering circumstances.
A few more jumpers after practice wouldn't hurt, either.
Austin Rivers, PG, New Orleans Hornets
Round/Pick: 1st, 10th
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 31.9% FG, 7.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 6.84 PER
Despite ranking fourth among all rookies in minutes per game (28.2), Rivers is just 12th in scoring.
What makes his scoring numbers worse is that he's missing roughly five out of every seven shots he takes, making him a poor and inefficient scorer at this point.
The Hornets drafted Rivers in hopes he would become their point guard of the future, even though he played a combo guard role in his only season at Duke. What they weren't counting on was the strong play of Greivis Vasquez, who's currently fifth in the NBA at 8.8 assists per game.
New Orleans may have been better off taking a small forward or center to address its lack of depth at those positions. Meyers Leonard, Tyler Zeller and Moe Harkless were all still on the board and are enjoying better rookie seasons than Rivers.
Rivers has seemed overwhelmed many a time this season, which is not a good sign for a guy who's been athletically superior to his competition every year until now.
A starter to begin the season, Rivers now finds himself coming off the bench in favor of Roger Mason Jr.
Yes, it's gotten that bad.
Royce White, F, Houston Rockets
Round/Pick: 1st, 16th
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: N/A
White has yet to play in a single game for the Rockets this season due to his ongoing anxiety issues.
After an arrangement was supposedly worked out, White has been a no-show from team practices and has since been assessed fines by the team for his absence.
On the surface, Houston is saying all the right things to the media, with team general manager Daryl Morey telling ProBasketballTalk:
...We knew going in that potentially there could be issues and right now obviously things are bumpy at this point, I’d say, but you know it takes a little time for him to get going at the various stops he’s had in his career to this point. We’re trying to work things through with Royce, and hopeful that we can. That’s sort of the current state.
While it's unlikely Morey would go right out and admit, "Yeah, we kind of messed up on that pick," in the back of his mind you know it's what he's thinking.
There were a lot of teams staying far, far away from White, as you can see from Grantland's documentary on White's draft day, and probably for good reason.
Here's hoping White can make his way back to the basketball court, but for now it looks like he could turn out to be a wasted pick for the Rockets.