Every year you have a player who is either going to be a boom, or a bust. If that particular player performs, you have a steal on your hands. However, if they struggle in their first couple seasons, teams are left with a difficult decision to make regarding that player, and resigning them to a second contract. The 2009 NBA Draft gives us two great examples of these high-risk picks.
The riskiest picks, when taking into account the pick used on the player and the other players available, were Hasheem Thabeet and Brandon Jennings.
Thabeet had dominated the Big East defensively, and teams thought at worst he’d be a defensive stopper from day one. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, that wasn’t the case. Thabeet struggled in all facets of the game before being sent to the D-League. We’ve warned about being too fast to judge a prospect, but for now, taking Thabeet second overall hasn’t paid off the way the Grizzlies hoped.
The opposite side of this coin is Brandon Jennings, the hyper athletic guard who skipped college to play professionally in Italy. Going into draft day some had him ranked as a top-five prospect, but others thought he would slide into the middle of the first round. When Milwaukee took him with the tenth overall pick, some analysts thought that other guards still on the board were a lower risk. When Jennings dropped 55 in his first week in the league, his critics were quickly silenced.
This year is no different, especially with the number of freshmen in the draft. With only one year to evaluate players, there is a lot of risk involved in the lottery. When you add to that the fact that the draft is deep at power forward and center, there is even more risk, as big men tend to “bust” more than guards. When taking a look at the big picture, it looks like we are in for an interesting draft.
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