The 2013 NBA draft is more than two months away, leaving plenty of time for prospects to emerge and transform the draft class. As it stands now, however, the amount of players teams should be truly thrilled about is extremely limited.
Instead, there are a lot of prospects who are receiving plenty of early hype but will struggle to match it if they are drafted early. It always comes down to value––what a player produces in relation to their draft slot––and there are always some who fall well short.
With that in mind, let's examine some players who are being rated too highly early in the draft process. If it doesn't change before draft day, it will be difficult for them to provide the type of elite value that would be expected early in their careers.
Anthony Bennett is the perfect example of value. If he wasn't rated so highly, he would be a solid choice.
Bennett is a player who showed some upside in his freshman season at UNLV. He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds, illustrating the type of strength necessary to battle forwards at the next level.
Yet most of his performances came against second-tier (above mid-major, but below the top leagues) competition in the Mountain West Conference. How his skills will translate to the next level, especially after just one season of college experience, is questionable.
At 6'8'', Bennett doesn't have ideal size to guard power forwards, and he'd also struggle to defend small forwards with his lack of quickness. It's something more experienced players might be able to overcome, but he's still going to need quite a bit of seasoning.
There were very few signs of progress during Zeller's second season at Indiana. His rebound rate went up a tick, but his drop in shooting percentage more than offset it. Most of his other numbers remained in line with his freshman season.
While the natural talent has been obvious since his arrival at Indiana, reaching that potential remains very much a work in progress. Normally, that type of development is best served for the collegiate level, where he would be guaranteed minutes.
After being drafted into the NBA, there are few guarantees, and minutes aren't one of them. A team will probably fall in love with his upside and take him early, but being able to step right in is going to be a tall task. And once a player gets lost in the rotation, it becomes tough to stand out.
Which player has the most bust potential?
The positives about Michael Carter-Williams are obvious. He ran an efficient offense at Syracuse (seven assists per game), at least until the Final Four loss to Michigan, and has above-average size for a point guard at 6'6''. It certainly makes him an interesting prospect.
Two concerns are worrisome, though, and his ability to knock down jumpers is the biggest.
He shot less than 40 percent from the field and less than 30 percent from beyond the arc last season. And the defenses surely don't get any easier to attack in the NBA.
Then there's his defensive ability. The zone works really well for Jim Boeheim and the Orange, but makes it tough to know how a prospect will handle a man-to-man approach at the next level. It's a risk a team will have to take in order to select Carter-Williams early.