NBA: Kyrie Irving and 8 Young Stars Who Will Struggle to Live Up to the Hype

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2011

NBA: Kyrie Irving and 8 Young Stars Who Will Struggle to Live Up to the Hype

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    Like a Christmas present, the NBA season is finally here. However, there are number of star rookies who will wish they still had more time to train. 

    The NBA draft is always exciting. Fans and media gather to see the new players that will wear a team's jersey and hopefully take them to a championship. 

    While a few good players came out of the past draft, too many will end up struggling at the beginning of their NBA careers. More will become complete busts.

    The following players will fall into the latter two categories, and you should not expect too much from them this season. 

Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Bobcats

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    The seventh overall pick from Congo was the talk of the pre-draft workouts, but Bismack Biyombo has a long way to go before he succeeds in the NBA.

    At 6'9" tall, Biyombo has a 7'6" wingspan and incredible athleticism that could make him into an elite player one day.

    Unfortunately, the power forward still has very little to show on offense. In the NBA, you need to be able to contribute on both sides of the floor in order to play, and Biyombo simply cannot do that at this stage of his career.

    Through the preseason, the only thing he has contributed is turnovers and fouls, and neither is helpful to a team trying to get better.

    Teams were dazzled before the draft at his size and athleticism, but they forgot that it takes skill to succeed at this level.

Jimmer Fredette, Sacramento Kings

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    Jimmer Fredette was a huge fan favorite at BYU. He was one of the best scorers in the nation and he achieved such fame that his name became a verb.

    In the NBA, it's unlikely that he will re-create the same level of success.

    Fredette will be forced to play point guard at this level due to his size, although he is a better scorer than a distributor. At this spot, he will be a reserve behind Tyreke Evans, the 2010 rookie of the year.

    There might be a point at which Fredette can be a valuable role player on a winning team, but many Sacramento Kings fans hope that he can re-create the level of dominance that he had in college.

    Defenders in this league are too good to let that happen.

Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz

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    Enes Kanter was the third pick in the 2011 NBA draft, but he will not have an impact in the immediate future.

    The center has not played competitive basketball in over a year thanks to a suspension by the NCAA last season when he was trying to play at Kentucky. He has been working out since, but there is nothing quite like the speed of a game at the highest level.

    Kanter will also struggle to find playing time behind already-established frontcourt players. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson block the rookie's way, as does second-year player Derrick Favors.

    It will most likely be a few years before Kanter realizes his potential in this lineup. 

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Usually, the first overall pick in the NBA draft comes with a certain level of expectations. He is not only supposed to be an impact player, but also should eventually become the leader of a team that goes to the playoffs every season.

    Kyrie Irving is not that player.

    The former Duke point guard did not have a full season of games at the college level due to injury, and his inexperience will show at the next level.

    Irving does not have the athleticism of other young point guards like John Wall or Derrick Rose, and he is certainly not capable of turning around a team that went 19-63 last season. 

    The top pick might be in the league for a number of years, but he will never have the impact that the Cleveland Cavaliers expect from him. 

Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks

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    When selecting Iman Shumpert with the No. 17 pick of the draft, the New York Knicks were hoping to add some defense to an offensive-minded team.

    Fans must have been ecstatic to see the guard score 11 points in the season opener against the Boston Celtics. 

    Those fans should temper their expectations.

    Shumpert sprained his MCL and should be out two to four weeks, but when he comes back, he will still struggle to adjust to the NBA.

    The Georgia Tech alumnus shot 3-of-13 from the floor, and this part was not a fluke. He is a poor shooter that should not be taking that many shots for a team with plenty of other scorers around him.

    Iman Shumpert will not be an offensive threat at this level, and if the Knicks wanted a defensive player, they should have taken Chris Singleton instead. 

Nolan Smith, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Nolan Smith will be one of the more well-known rookies in the NBA this season due to his terrific career at Duke.

    He is a hard worker, but will most likely not see too much of the court this season.

    Smith is behind both Raymond Felton and Armon Johnson on the depth chart for the Portland Trail Blazers at point guard, and is not good enough of a shooter to play at any other position.

    The rookie only received three minutes of playing time in the team's opening win over the Philadelphia 76ers, and it will be tough to gain any more time without a significant injury.

Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons

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    It seems automatic that whoever plays point guard for John Calipari in college will be a top draft pick and an impact player in the NBA.

    The writing on the wall is there, as players like Derrick Rose, John Wall and Tyreke Evans are all starting to make names for themselves at this level. On the other hand, Brandon Knight is not at the same level as his predecessors.

    Knight was the No. 8 pick in the draft, but is not as quick as any of the other point guards, and is a streaky shooter as well.

    The Detroit Pistons also have Rodney Stuckey holding the starting point guard spot for now, so Knight will only have a few minutes at a time to prove what he can do.

Marcus Morris, Houston Rockets

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    A year ago, Marcus Morris was the leading scorer on Kansas while his brother, Markieff, played second fiddle.

    In the NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns surprised some by selecting Markieff first, but they made the correct decision.

    Marcus had to move from small forward to power forward in the NBA, where he has less experience with bigger players. He is not as good of a rebounder as his brother, and will struggle to play defense in the post. 

    Markieff has also already impressed his coach enough for him to earn 25 minutes in the first game of the season for the Suns.

    On the Houston Rockets, Marcus Morris is stuck behind the underrated Luis Scola on the depth chart.

    Marcus dominated the past, but Markieff has a brighter future.