NBA Draft: Five Sure-Fire Busts in This Year's Crop
Because he was chosen one pick ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft, Trail Blazers selection Sam Bowie is the poster child for NBA Draft "busts."
Never mind the fact Bowie actually went on to have a semi-respectable, 10-year career in the league.
The big man from Kentucky averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game while playing for the Blazers, Nets, and Lakers. He put up 15-and-8 in his best season.
Maybe Bowie's career would have played out differently if he were 100% healthy.
Either way, fair or unfair, he's that guy.
The mistake draft pick.
Bowie is not alone, though. There was Kenny Walker, the 5th pick in 1986. Bryant Reeves (6th pick, 1995) certainly qualifies. We can't forget Michael Olowokandi (1st pick, 1998). Hell, you could even argue the entire 2000 draft became one great, big head-shaker.
We could go on forever highlighting the worst draft picks of each year (including the three lottery picks who died).
Although we all anticipate the draft, and the rookies our teams select, we should know half of these guys will be out of the league in five years.
For now, let's look at five high-profile players who most likely will disappoint.
Program: Benetton Treviso (Italy)
Player comparison: poor man's Andrea Bargnani
Projected draft position: 8 through 16
There are only two things you need to know about Motiejunas.
1. He's a 7'0", 225-pound, 19-year-old forward-center out of Lithuania.
2. In the past five drafts, 44 international players who were 6'9" or taller had their name called on draft night. Only 13 of these players are currently on an NBA roster:
Remove those taken in the first six picks, Motiejunas won't go here, and your list is as follows:
Marc Gasol, Marcin Gortat, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Jerebko, Ersan Ilyasova, Ian Mahinmi, Johan Petro, Nathan Jawai, Alexis Ajinca, Oleksiy Pecherov and Kyrylo Fesenko.
In other words, don't expect much.
Program: Marshall University
Player comparison: Poor man's Marcus Camby
Projected draft position: 8 through 16
Pro: A Four-star recruit out of high school, Whiteside received offers from 11 reputable college programs, including Kentucky, Xavier and Mississippi State.
Con: Chose to play weak competition in Conference USA.
Pro: 7'0" tall, athletic and active (great shot blocker).
Con: Padded stats against teams below .500 (14.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.2 blocks per game on 60 percent shooting) and struggled against teams above .500 (11.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.6 blocks per game on 46 percent shooting).
The above .500 teams on Marshall's schedule included Appalachian State, Troy State and Middle Tennessee State. Against ranked teams (North Carolina, West Virginia, UTEP), Whiteside shot just 41 percent from the field.
Pro: Only played one year of college ball. Whiteside has tremendous room for growth.
Con: Turns 21 two weeks before the draft.
Program: University of Cincinnati
Player comparison: Larry Hughes
Projected draft position: 16 through 38 (depends on workouts)
Stephenson is the all-time leading scorer in New York City high school basketball history.
What does that mean? Not much, apparently, considering Stephenson broke Cavaliers reserve Sebastian Telfair's record.
Both Stephenson and Telfair, along with Stephon Marbury (Telfair's cousin), hail from the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. All three became local basketball icons while playing at Abraham Lincoln High.
Stephenson is cut from the same cloth as knuckleheads Marbury and Telfair.
While at Lincoln, the 6'5" guard, dubbed "Born Ready," was once suspended for fighting.
As character concerns heightened, Stephenson added fuel to the fire by groping, and threatening, a 17-year-old female student. He was arrested and charged with misdemeanor sexual abuse.
As a freshman at Cincinnati, Stephenson didn't live up to the hype that's followed him. In 28 minutes a game, he averaged 12 points and five rebounds on terrible .44/.22/.66 shooting percentages.
Program: University of Kansas
Player comparison: Smaller, more athletic Greg Ostertag
Projected draft position: 6 through 12
Let's go down the list of Kansas centers drafted in the past 20 years.
Greg Ostertag: Good defender and rebounder. Averaged 4.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during his 11-year career.
Scot Pollard: Good defender and rebounder who averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in his 11-year career.
Raef LaFrentz: Good defender and rebounder who averaged 10.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for his 10-year career.
Eric Chenowith: Good defender and rebounder who never signed an NBA contract.
See the trend here?
Aldrich is big, active and will help eat space in the middle.
But is this the kind of player you draft with a lottery pick?
Program: University of North Carolina
Player comparison: Stromile Swift
Projected draft position: 6 through 15
Since 1987, only two North Carolina big men have out-performed Brendan Haywood's 7.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game career average.
Brad Daugherty and Rasheed Wallace.
Davis pales in comparison.
And we know Sean May (13th pick, 2005), Brandan Wright (8th pick, 2007), and Tyler Hansbrough (13th pick, 2009) aren't setting the league on fire.
With limited post skills, Davis won't be anything more than an active, warm body under the hoop.
He has potential, of course, but we should know by now to pass on "project" players. They rarely, if ever, pan out.