The NBA draft is just hours away. Front offices around the league are finalizing their big boards, GMs are working the phones, players are getting dressed up for the big night and fans everywhere anxiously wait to find out which players will be joining their favorite team.
Not every player selected tonight will perform up to the expectations of their draft spot. In this draft especially, there are huge risks associated with just about every pick. There are so many factors to consider, and just one mistake can lead to a failed career and the waste of the pick.
Every avid follower of college basketball and the NBA draft has different opinions of different players. In descending order from least to most overrated, these are players most likely to under-perform and disappoint the teams that draft them.
*All stats are from Draft Express' database. If you haven't been to the site, check it out. They've got a lot of great draft resources.
Isaiah Canaan was originally thought of as a second-round pick. In fact, he wasn't considered worthy of a first-round selection by most draft sites until the last couple weeks. Now, Chad Ford has Canaan going No. 21 to the Jazz in his latest mock draft.
I don't understand the hype for Canaan.
He scored 22.4 points per game last season for Murray State as a senior, but at just 43 percent from the field, he wasn't necessarily efficient in doing so. Many guards score effectively at the mid-major level; not all of them succeed in the NBA. Canaan's college performance doesn't provide enough substance to prove he'll be a good NBA player.
Canaan is already 22 years old and is small for a point guard at just 6'0", meaning his college numbers must have wowed scouts in order to overcome those disadvantages. However, Canaan's per-40 numbers aren't that impressive beyond his scoring.
Steals and rebounds are widely considered to be two leading indicators in point guard performance, and my own statistical analysis indicates the same. These two stats can help to show how a point guard uses his athleticism and how aggressive he is. Canaan is far below average in both of these categories, averaging just 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per 40 minutes.
Canaan also wasn't particularly effective as a distributor, averaging just 4.6 assists/40. This may be a result of playing on a team with less talent, but looking at Canaan's production, we're basically looking at a point guard who is nothing more than a volume scorer.
Canaan was effective in running the pick-and-roll in college. which is a good sign. But it's hard to imagine his game translating to the NBA. He might be a part of a rotation someday, but he's not worth a first-round selection.
I am beyond confused as to why many scouts and journalists have pegged Tony Snell as a first-round pick.
At least I can tell you that it's certainly not because of his production. He averaged 12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the Lobos in 31.2 minutes. I'm not sure if there has ever been a small forward with such low rebounding totals drafted out of college in the first round, at least not in the last decade.
Snell is mostly ineffective creating off the dribble and shot just 42 percent from the field this season. The production just wasn't there. However, there is an explanatioin for the intrigue surrounding Snell.
The NBA has fallen in love with what Bill Simmons calls "DTA" wings. DTA stands for defense, threes and athleticism. Teams are trying to find lanky defenders that can lock down opposing wings and stretch the floor.
As we saw in this year's Western Conference Finals, having this type of player is extremely important. If a wing can't be effective on both ends of the floor, it quickly creates matchup problems. Snell supposedly falls into the category of players who can defend effectively and make shots. I don't buy it.
Snell is not particularly big for a small forward, listed at 6'7" and 198 pounds with a wingspan just under seven feet. Although did very well in the lane agility drill (10.36) at the combine, there's nothing else to indicate he's a superb athlete.
It's hard to imagine Snell becoming a defensive stopper after showing mostly poor defensive instincts in college, only mounting .8 steals and .5 blocks per game—both well below average for his position.
Snell did shoot 39 percent from behind the arc in his junior year, but it's unclear if that shooting will translate to the NBA given the longer three-point line.
The other huge problem with Snell as a prospect is that he's already 21 years old. He's one of the older small forwards in the draft, meaning his lack of production cannot be masked behind his age.
With average size, average athleticism and average instincts, it's unclear why people continue to think Snell is going to be an above-average NBA defender. He can't create off the dribble and he isn't a particularly good finisher at the rim when he gets there.
There is no reason for Snell to be taken in the first round, or even the early second.
"Upside" is such a subjective term.
Ben McLemore is widely considered one of the best five players in this draft, but outside of his solid shooting stroke and above-average athleticism, there's nothing that really sets him apart from anyone else in the class.
Averaging 15.9 points per game with 49.5-42-87 shooting splits at Kansas is impressive, but beyond that McLemore didn't do much to prove that he can be more than just a scorer. And questions still remain about how effectively he will score at the next level.
McLemore's usage rate was very low for how well he scored, and his handle still needs a lot of work. He's not capable of consistently initiating offense or even being a secondary ball-handler. Creating his own offense will be crucial at the next level; although he can do this, he's not nearly good enough to dominate the NBA.
Steals and assists—two things stat heads love to look at in shooting guards—are weak spots of McLemore. He averaged just one steal and two assists per game at Kansas.
Indeed, Ben McLemore's passiveness and lack of intensity are well publicized, but the problem lies not in the vague lack of a "killer instinct" but in the lack of production at the college level in categories that indicate this lack intensity.
McLemore's physical profile has led to a lot of speculation as to his potential as a defender, but he certainly wasn't very aggressive at Kansas, putting up merely average steals and blocks totals. He does show plenty of promise as an isolation defender, but it remains to be seen whether he has the awareness or the ability to be a plus NBA defender.
Last year was McLemore's first year of college basketball, but he's already 20.5 years old. He's not as young as his label would suggest, which leaves more questions about his potential.
McLemore's shooting should translate well to the pro game, but whether he'll bring anything else with him is a completely different story.
Bennett is probably the most polarizing prospect for me. I want to like him because of his offensive versatility and explosiveness but there are just too many red flags to get excited.
First of all, I see almost no difference between Anthony Bennett and Derrick Williams, who hasn't translated particularly well to the NBA.
Williams hasn't been in the best situation in Minnesota, but still, the similarities are there.
It's important to note that even though Williams played one more college season than Bennett, Bennett is older at the time of this draft than Williams was in 2011 because Bennet is old for his class. Their statistics and measurements are similar, and their styles are as well: Both are tweeners with powerful finishing abilities and good range. Bennett may be more athletic, but Williams was taller.
Bennett is labeling himself as a player that can player either forward position, although it's highly unlikely he'll be able to guard NBA small forwards, especially at 260 pounds.
Bennett's size is extremely troubling. At just 6'7", he's going to be giving up size in the post on a nightly basis in the league, and for that reason it's very questionable as to how his finishing ability will translate to the pros, especially through contact. He might well meet the same fate as Derrick Williams, drifting around the perimeter and playing a purely pick-and-pop game.
What scares me the most about Bennett, though, is his defense. Watching his video scouting report on Draft Express, he very clearly has no interest in getting back on defense and his defensive awareness is very poor. Considering his combination of poor size and poor instincts, it seems almost impossible for Bennett to become even an average NBA defender.
If Bennett isn't going to be an average defender, he'd better make up for it on offense. Even then, because of the serious questions about his position and how his game will translate, particularly in the restricted area, Bennett shouldn't be worth a top-10 pick.
The talent is there, but there are just too many question marks at this point.
If you follow the draft closely, you probably saw this coming: It was impossible not to put Muhammad here.
Muhammad had a ton of hype coming into UCLA, but after a turbulent season as a member of the Bruins, his stock is falling rapidly. Muhammad scored in college; yet much like McLemore, he didn't do much else.
Unlike McLemore, however, Muhammad didn't score efficiently.With 44-38-71 splits, Muhammad showed he could put the ball in the basket, but there was definitely much left to be desired.
Muhammad ranks extremely poor in analytical models—one such example being Kevin Pelton's WARP projections—because of his horrible assist rate (just 27 all season), horrible steal rate (23 all season) and horrible block rate (four all season), just to name a few.
Muhammad is also now a year older than we thought (20.5), has average to below-average size for his position (6'6", 6'11" wingspan) and uninspiring combine numbers. At this point, it's relevant to ask if Muhammad really brings anything to the table at all.
In reality, probably not.
Muhammad will probably take a lot of shots in the NBA if he's put in position to. But as of now it seems unlikely that an acceptable portion of those shots will go in, especially from the right side, where he struggles mightily.
Because there is no real evidence supporting the claim that Muhammad will develop into an average NBA defender, he will need to be solidly above average in the other aspects of the game to be of value to the team that selects him.
This is probably never going to happen. And as result, there doesn't seem to be an argument for Muhammad as a first-round pick.
At some point, the reward outweighs the risk, but that shouldn't happen until we're well into the second round.