6 Young NBA Players We're Not Ready to Call Busts Just Yet
Young NBA prospects don't get to choose where they want to play.
In some cases, this can derail a rookie's career if put in a toxic situation. Sometimes it just takes a few years for a player to figure out his role and adjust to the speed and spacing of a new game.
Just because a player struggles after a year or two doesn't mean they automatically qualify as a potential NBA bust. With the proper preparation and recognition of what needs to be fixed, a bad player can become a good one over a short period of time.
Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Derrick Williams has too much going for him as an athlete to allow us to place him in the "permanently broken" category.
He's actually shooting the ball well, making threes at a 39 percent clip compared to the 26 percent he shot last year. And if you remember, he was thrust in between Kevin Love and Michael Beasley as a rookie with no wiggle room to operate.
He looks more aggressive this year as he's attempting more shots in less minutes, which reflects his confidence and comfort level on the floor.
Williams is still in the development phase, and he wasn't an NBA-ready prospect to begin with.
His minutes have been severely reduced since Kevin Love's return to the lineup, so Williams probably won't turn the corner this year, or maybe ever in a Timberwolves jersey.
I'd be willing to bet that his third contract will be worth significantly more than his first two.
Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
All analysis, measurements and statistics aside, Jimmer Fredette is an incredible basketball talent.
When Jimmer ends up with a new team, eventually, he'll be in much better position to excel in this league. The Sacramento roster couldn't have been a worse fit for him because of all the ball-dominant guards stacked in the lineup.
He's shooting 41 percent from downtown this year, a promising statistic from an adjustment standpoint. He's taking better shots, letting the open looks come to him instead of trying to use the athleticism he doesn't have to create.
It took J.J. Redick a few years to figure out his spacing and where he fits best. Shooters need the right environment to maximize their effectiveness. Just look at Steve Novak.
Jimmer will regain his status as a household name soon enough once he's given a better opportunity to prove his worth.
Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Enes Kanter is faced with the impossible task of fighting for minutes behind Al Jefferson, Paul Milsap and Derrick Favors.
But every time he gets his chance, Kanter produces.
Just recently on November 30th, he put up 18 points and seven rebounds against the Thunder in only 15 minutes.
Having sat out his freshman year at Kentucky and barely gotten time as a rookie and sophomore, all Kanter needs is an opportunity.
His size, strength and scoring instincts inside make him the prospect he still is today.
At the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit, Kanter dominated the American competition for 34 points and 13 rebounds. That American competition included Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, Myers Leonard, Patric Young, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Kendall Marshall.
This was ultimately the only material scouts had on Kanter, who was ruled ineligible as a freshman. It turns out it was the only tape they needed.
Once he's given regular minutes, he could become an immediate impact player, and it's likely the Jazz know this.
Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The former second pick in the draft has had a frustrating few years, but seems to have finally turned the corner at the last possible moment.
Averaging 14 points, seven rebounds and nearly four assists per game, Turner is finally starting to look like the versatile prospect he appeared to be at Ohio State.
At 6'7'', Turner is a rare forward who can facilitate from the wing.
He's had trouble getting himself easy shots and making difficult ones, but his midrange game looks improved and he's finishing at the basket.
Whether or not he produces second pick overall value is still to be determined, but Turner is no longer the bust we thought he might be last year.
Jordan Hamilton, Denver Nuggets
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Jordan Hamilton can score the ball, and at 6'8'', could end up presenting a number of teams with a perimeter mismatch.
He's making his threes in limited minutes (40 percent), a tough task to ask without allowing him to gain rhythm. Hamilton's jumper and athleticism make him a strong candidate to fill a stretch-3 or stretch-4 role.
It certainly won't be in Denver, playing behind Danilo Galinari, Corey Brewer, Andre Iguadala, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler.
Hamilton's size, stroke and athleticism are absolutely worthy of a spot in a rotation. It's finding the right one that will be the challenge.
He averaged 18 points his sophomore year at Texas, and could be a sneaky pickup for a team once his rookie contract expires.
Wesley Johnson, Phoenix Suns
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Wesley Johnson's irrelevance has been quite a mystery.
After being selected fourth overall in the 2010 NBA draft, Johnson has not produced in the limited time he's been given.
Now in Phoenix, he's getting little to no minutes playing behind the likes of Shannon Brown, Jared Dudley and P.J. Tucker.
Johnson has a ton of NBA tools as an athletic 6'7'' swingman with long arms, fluid mobility and shot-making abilities. He's not much of a creator, rather a two-way compliment who can play off the ball.
He's a versatile defender, and can provide a lineup with all sorts of flexibility on both sides of the ball.
His shots haven't been falling, but it's tough to get in a rhythm playing short spurts throughout a season. I wouldn't rule out Wesley until he's given a legitimate opportunity.