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The 5 Most Overrated Players Heading into the 2014 NBA Draft

Kendall BakerContributor IIIMarch 28, 2014

The 5 Most Overrated Players Heading into the 2014 NBA Draft

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    The 2014 NBA Draft is full of top-tier talent. It also has its share of overrated players.

    What do I mean by overrated, exactly? We're talking about college kids, so let's keep it scholarly.

    According to the dictionary:

    o·ver·rate (ōvərˈrāt): have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.


    This list is comprised of players who are very highly valued within the basketball world. All five of them are projected to be taken in the first round.

    However, all five are also being overhyped. 

    Whether it's the result of too much media exposure, the sports world's obsession with highlight-reel plays or the fact that we often forget that the college game and NBA game are extremely different, these are players whose stocks are too high right now.

    When draft day arrives, I wouldn't label them as players to avoid, but if I were a general manager, I would definitely make sure I did my due diligence before selecting them.

5. Andrew Wiggins

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Current Projection: Top 3 Pick (most likely first overall)

    Wait what?

    Yeah, Wiggins is overrated. It's not really his fault, though.

    In many ways, it's ours. We anointed the kid as the next best thing when he was senior in high school. He was supposed to be LeBron James 2.0.

    How can you live up to that hype? You can't. However, Wiggins didn't just fail to live up to the hype. He legitimately struggled at times.

    On the season, he shot just 34.1% from three-point range and had 26 more turnovers than assists (per ESPN). On top of that, he scored only four points on six shots in Kansas' season-ending loss to Stanford, proving that the concerns about his ability to assert himself are very much real.

    Now, let's not forget the jaw-dropping dunks and the incredible performances. The dude is a freak athlete, and he's going to be one heck of an NBA player. No one is questioning that.

    However, is he worth taking first overall ahead of guys like Duke's Jabari Parker or his Kansas teammate, Joel Embiid? That's debatable. 

    While many mock drafts have him going first, I believe the general manager of the team making that selection needs to weigh a number of factors rather than blindly selecting the 19-year-old Wiggins. 

    We've made him into this untouchable figure—a player that no sane person would ever bypass. Yet, I believe there could be better options in this draft, depending on how the lottery shakes out.

    For instance, the Milwaukee Bucks need a franchise cornerstone who can contribute right away. Do they have time to wait for Wiggins to fix the holes in his game and reach his full potential? Might they be better served by selecting the much more NBA-ready Parker if they land the first overall pick?

    Andrew Wiggins is going to be a stud, but he's no LeBron.

4. Jerami Grant

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    Nick Lisi/Associated Press

    Current Projection: Mid-to-late first-round pick

    Jerami Grant is about as raw as it gets. Is he going be able to score in the NBA on anything besides layups and alley-oops? I honestly don't know.

    Whether he ends up playing small forward or power forward, I think Grant's going to struggle to find offense against bigger, stronger guys (he's just 210 pounds). 

    Plus, for such a great athlete, the fact that he averaged just 0.6 blocks per game this season worries me. A lot.

    Sometimes we fall in love with players who possess all the physical tools to be successful in the NBA, but when that player hasn't really blown us away with any of them, it's a cause for concern. 

    Now, many will argue that college production means very little when you have a raw athlete. Just take Paul George, for example. His college statistics didn't jump off the page, but he was clearly an NBA-caliber athlete and the Pacers nailed that selection.

    George was a 6'9" shooting guard, though. Even if he had progressed incredibly slow, he'd have still been a matchup nightmare from day one. 

    At 6'8", Jerami Grant isn't going to cause defenses any kinds of problems, regardless of whether he plays SF or PF.

    That's another problem, too. Grant doesn't have a position at the NBA level. While some might look at that as a positive and say that it proves versatility, I strongly disagree.

    Consider all the "tweener's" who have struggled in recent years. Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, Thomas Robinson—there have been many. All of them were either too short to play the 4 or possessed too inconsistent of a perimeter game to play the 3. 

    That sounds a heck of a lot like Grant to me.

    The NBA game is becoming more and more standardized. Point guards need to be able to score, small forwards need to be able to guard some of the world's best athletes, power forwards need to be able to stretch the floor.

    Where does Jerami Grant fit? That's not a question I want to be asking myself in preseason.

     

     

3. Nik Stauskas

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Current Projection: Mid-to-late first-round pick

    How is the Big Ten Player of the Year overrated? Because the media—and to a lesser extent, scouts—fall in love with players who surprise them.

    Coming into his sophomore year at Michigan, Stauskas was considered little more than a potent three-point shooter. However, he quickly dispelled that label, becoming Michigan's primary scorer and a player known just as much for his ability to take the ball to the basket as his jump shot. 

    During his freshman year, Stauskas averaged 2.2 free-throw attempts per game. This season, that number rose to 5.6 (per ESPN). Nobody expected that.

    As I mentioned earlier, the media (and scouts) fell in love with Stauskas because he transformed himself into an entirely different player. That adoration has taken on a life of its own in recent months as Stauskas, who prior to this season wasn't even on draft boards, is now being projected to go as high as 15th overall.

    My problem is this: have draft experts overhyped his ball-handling and driving ability simply because it caught them by surprise this season? I mean, do we seriously think Stauskas will be able to create his own shot against the Bradley Beals and Jimmy Butlers of the world? 

    Regardless of whether he's able to create his own shot against superior athletes, Stauskas will be a serious threat from deep and a solid contributor on any NBA team.

    I'm just not sure if you use a mid-first-round pick on a shooter. 

2. Montrezl Harrell

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Current Projection: Mid-to-late first-round pick

    At times, Harrell has been a monster this season, posting averages of 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He's also been a joy to watch, showcasing his athleticism and explosiveness on multiple occasions. 

    So what's the problem? 

    Well, for starters, his offensive game is extremely limited. Like most college big men capable of physically dominating their opponent, Harrell has gotten by on sheer athleticism and strength. He hasn't had to develop a post game of any kind.

    In the NBA, he won't be physically dominating guys on a regular basis. In fact, at 6'8", 240 pounds, he'll be on the smaller side of the power forward spectrum. Harrell will be required to play with his back to the basket on occasion, and that's something he has literally never done.

    On top of having a limited post game, Harrell has no jump shot whatsoever. While there are plenty of power forwards that have found success in the league without much of a perimeter game (Carlos Boozer, Tristan Thompson), today's NBA game all but requires power forward's to be able to stretch the floor to some extent.

    Consider the top 10 power forwards in the league in terms of player efficiency rating: Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Brandan Wright, Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Paul Millsap, Kenneth Faried and David Lee

    Every one of those guys, excluding maybe Faried and Lee, possesses a solid mid-range game. Heck, most of them make a living from out there.

    Montrezl Harrell is currently projected to be taken in the mid-to-late first round. While there's no denying his athletic gifts, NBA teams should be wary of the project they'll be taking on if they draft him.

1. Julius Randle

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Current Projection: Early lottery pick

    Julius Randle is going to be a solid pro, but that doesn't mean he isn't overrated. 

    The main reason he's number one on this list is because of the expectations people have for him. He's going to be a more productive player than Harrell and Stauskas, but I don't think any NBA fans or analysts are expecting either of those two to contribute immediately and potentially become an All-Star. 

    In Randle's case, they are.

    My problem with Julius is similar to the one I have with Harrell—he doesn't quite fit the mold of the modern-day power forward.

    He's more of the Zach Randolph breed—a bruiser inside who uses strength and raw power to get to the hoop and draw fouls. That's perfectly fine and he'll succeed doing that, but I believe he's going to need to develop a much stronger perimeter game in order to be an All-Star.

    Plus, Randle's inside game—which is one of his strengths—is surprisingly predictable. He lacks scoring versatility. How many times have you watched him get to the rim after a quick right-handed dribble followed by his trademark spin move (check the video at the 3:04 mark)?

    Far too many. That maneuver works in college, but NBA defenders will be waiting for that all day. Then they'll throw his shot into the stands.

    Randle also doesn't read defenses very well. If you watch him in games, he rarely finds the open man when he's in the post. Everything he does is with the mentality of a scorer. Which, again, is fine. That's who he is.

    However, if I'm picking in the 3-8 range, I might think twice about drafting him.

     

    Sound off in the comment section below! What did you think of my selections? Agree? Disagree? Let's get a conversation going.

    Thanks for reading and be sure to follow me on Twitter @kbaker0506.

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