Recent NBA Lottery Picks Whose Careers Are on the Rocks

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2013

Recent NBA Lottery Picks Whose Careers Are on the Rocks

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    Not too long ago, these NBA draft lottery picks were thought to be future stars. Just a few years later, the outlook is quite different.

    Some have faltered because they haven't acquired the skills necessary to be complete players and make a sizable impact. Others haven't found an optimal role on their squad.

    In most cases, these players simply haven't been as good as scouts expected.

    Two Detroit Pistons have failed to take the next step to stardom. Out west, a couple of Phoenix Suns forwards fight to stay relevant.

    Who else is on shaky ground?

D.J. Augustin, Indiana Pacers

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    Drafted No. 9 overall by Charlotte Bobcats in 2008 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 16.2 MPG, 4.8 PPG, 2.3 APG, 35% FG, 36% 3PT

    After a roller-coaster four seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, D.J. Augustin has found himself buried in the Indiana Pacers rotation.

    There's no shame in playing off the bench, but he hasn't made much of an impression during his stints on the court.

    Augustin struggles to find high-percentage shot opportunities, so he hasn't found any kind of offensive momentum this season. He shoots an unsightly 28 percent (15-of-53) off pick-and-rolls, according to Synergy Sports.

    Instead of being a lottery-caliber playmaker, Augustin is barely getting by in his contract year.

Michael Beasley, Phoenix Suns

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    Drafted No. 2 overall by Miami Heat in 2008 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 20.9 MPG, 10.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 40% FG, 31% 3PT

    If you can't stand out in the Phoenix Suns lineup, your NBA career is on the rocks.

    Michael Beasley has followed up his disappointing 2011-12 Minnesota Timberwolves campaign with a worse 2012-13 with the Suns.

    He's been colossally ineffective as a shooting forward. According to Synergy Sports, he's 66-of-185 on all spot-up shooting chances. His points-per-minute (0.48) and PER (11.0) are at a career low, and it's almost laughable to think he was a No. 2 overall selection less than five years ago.

    It was evident early in his career that he was immature, but we still thought he'd eventually find a groove and be a productive 3 or 4. I guess it was wishful thinking.

Anthony Randolph, Denver Nuggets

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    Drafted No. 14 overall by Golden State Warriors in 2008 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 7.5 MPG, 2.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 42% FG

    When Anthony Randolph scored 11.6 points per game in his second season, it looked like he was on the upward trajectory that Warriors brass hoped for.

    In all likelihood, that was the best year he'll ever have. Judging by his playing time, the Denver Nuggets don't appear to have faith that he can contribute much at all as a power forward.

    His skills and intangibles haven't evolved enough over the course of his first five years. Randolph is almost a non-factor in the pick-and-roll and doesn't possess a versatile post game.

    It's a sticky situation for everyone involved because Randolph is under contract through 2015.

Wesley Johnson, Phoenix Suns

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    Drafted No. 4 overall by Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 17.5 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 39% FG, 33% 3PT

    He's shot the ball well lately, but there are still reasonable doubts that Wesley Johnson is capable of being a key piece of a winning club.

    A former top-five pick, the Phoenix Suns swingman has strung together three straight sub-40 percent shooting seasons. He's unable to create much offense at all as a slasher or facilitator, and he's only effective in transition or spot-up situations.

    It didn't take long for the Wolves to realize he wasn't special, as they decreased his playing time his sophomore year and then traded him to Phoenix.

    Johnson becomes a free agent in the summer of 2013. He might latch on with the right team and revive his career, but he could just as easily find himself at a dead end.

Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons

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    Drafted No. 8 overall by Detroit Pistons in 2011 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 31.1 MPG, 13.4 PPG, 4.1 APG, 41% FG, 37% 3PT

    There's still time for him to figure things out, but Brandon Knight's career seems to be heading nowhere fast.

    The second-year Detroit Pistons guard has hit a wall, showing minimal improvement from his rookie season. His assist-to-turnover ratio is almost exactly the same, his shooting percentages have gone down and the Pistons are miles from where they need to be.

    Most concerning might be the fact that Detroit is more productive offensively without him. According to 82games.com, the club scores 3.6 more points per 100 possessions without him than with him.

    Knight was a top-10 pick because Detroit perceived him as a dynamic player on both ends and a future star floor general. Unfortunately, he hasn't developed the way the Pistons imagined.

Xavier Henry, New Orleans Hornets

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    Drafted No. 12 overall by Memphis Grizzlies in 2010 draft

    2012-13 Stats: 11.3 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 42% FG, 36% 3PT

    Xavier Henry came out of Kansas as an electrifying prospect with plenty of upside and a body ready to make an impact.

    His underwhelming rookie year could be dismissed as a youngster trying to acclimate. His equally underwhelming sophomore year could be downplayed due to the change of scenery to New Orleans.

    Now, in his third year, we're running out of excuses for him.

    Henry doesn't bring anything to the table that separates him from his teammates or opponents. His on-ball and help defense are average, and offensively, he doesn't know to move the ball and find the optimal pass or shot.

    He'll probably never sign a contract bigger than his rookie deal.