2010 NBA Draft: Busts & Sleepers
As with every draft there are going to be early picks that end up being busts and late picks that turn out better than those drafted higher. Not every high pick is going to be a franchise player and not every low pick is going to be a role player or out of the league before their second season. Let’s take a look at some of the players who have the best chance to becomes busts or sleepers.
DeMarcus Cousins has had an immature stigma placed on him since he was in high school, but he has always been known for his immense talent, too. Cousins is similar to Rasheed Wallace in that both were and are very talented, but Cousins’ lack of maturity could get in his way of becoming great.
Cousins has every thing you would want in a big man, except the supreme athleticism, but there are not too many big man like Amar’e Stoudemire. Cousins has a very nice post game with a handful of moves already, along with very soft hands, nimble feet, and a willingness to stay on the block instead of venture out top. He also has very long arms, which helps his effectiveness around the hoop, despite the lack of athleticism.
There is no doubt Cousins needs to work on his attitude, but he also needs to work on his poor work ethic. He checked in at a hefty 292 pounds, and 16.4% body fat , a percentage that has not been seen since 2006.
A year ago, only Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knew Wesley Johnson was going to be a lottery pick, and boy was he right, but why did no one know about Johnson’s talents? Perhaps because he’s not as good as advertised, but there’s no denying that he certainly showed glimpses of tremendous athleticism while at ‘Cuse.
Johnson is a perfect SF in the NBA, standing over 6-foot-6 without shoes, and can do a lot of things due to his height, athleticism, 7-foot-1 wingspan, 5th best body fat percentage, and the best no-step vertical leap at the Chicago combine. But why was he not on the draft board a year ago?
Rarely does a probable high pick come out of nowhere, but Johnson will be a Top 5 pick and he came out of nowhere. Which makes us cautious, but there is no doubting the Timberwolves desperate need for a wing after drafting four PGs last season, and Johnson is the top wing in the draft.
Three years ago Gordon Hayward was a 2-star recruit that spurned Purdue because he did not think he would get ample playing time over Rob Hummel. Three years later Hummel is rehabbing a torn ACL while Hayward is a potential lottery pick.
Hayward is another player that came out of nowhere and his mediocre athleticism makes us wonder if he should be drafted in the lottery. Hayward shot nearly 45% from 3-point territory his freshman year, but did not exactly shoot the lights out last season, as his 29% 3-point percentage suggests.
Hayward was on Team USA U-19 team last season and has played at a high level since being marked, but why was he only a 2-star high school prospect that was overlooked by all the “brilliant” college minds? Maybe he is not that good, or maybe he worked his tail off the last couple seasons? The team that drafts him will have to be willing to risk millions with the answer to that question.
Patrick Patterson is one of those college players that seem like they have been playing for a decade, even though he is leaving school a year early. PP has had a wild college and high school career and it all started playing in West Virginia his senior year with 20-year-old O.J. Mayo. Patterson then signed with Billy Gillispie, played for John Calipari and is now finally on his way to the NBA.
Patterson is not a highly skilled big man, but is very smart and will work hard, as his early graduation suggests. He is a solid but unspectacular 6-foot-8 with a 7’1.25” wingspan, 5.3% body fat, but with a below average 34.5 inch vertical, and had two PGs with a better bench press (Armon Johnson and Dominique Jones). PP is a projected lottery pick in most drafts, but for a guy with limited skills, more turnovers than assists, and nary a post move it seems teams can do much better.
Xavier Henry took nearly as long as John Wall did to commit to KU and came with almost as much hype, but did little to almost nothing at Kansas other than sit behind the 3-point line and chuck.
Sure, Henry can shoot the rock (45% FG, 78% FT, 42% 3PT), but when you look at his 6-foot-5.25, 210 pound frame, and his well above average 36.5 vertical, you want him to be a high-flying wing. In college, he was anything but that, however, and that is a concern.
It looks like Henry’s stock has been cooling on most draft boards, and he will likely not end up in the lottery, but he will definitely be a Top 20 pick. And you never know his WWE guns (arms) might even fool a team into believing he is a difference-maker on the defensive end and at the next level.
Henry’s teammate Cole Aldrich is another one of those guys who seemingly has been around forever, and is also leaving a year early. He has bruised and battered numerous Big 12 opponents that have seen an open lane and attacked the rack with vigor only to be shunned by Aldrich’s impressive nearly 7-foot-5 wingspan.
Shockingly Aldrich only checked in at 6-foot-9 in Chicago, although he has measured taller at every other place he has gone to, and that is not good for a big man with limited skills.
A few months ago Aldrich’s stock was at its highest, but when KU lost to UNI and the Jayhawk offense was not run through him, scouts started to see what we saw months/years ago, a big man with limited skills. Sure, Aldrich is a nasty defender, who will rebound and defend at the next level but you can find that later in the draft, and you draft athleticism and potential in the lottery.
Another question worth asking while watching Aldrich is how much can he improve at the next level? Aldrich has limited skills, a pathetic 28” vertical, but he will make guards pay when they try to attack the rim.
Larry Sanders is a name that only NBA Draft buffs have known about, and most have still not seen the young man play. Sanders is a workout freak, as I noted a few weeks back, but he also has a nice post up game and is willing to stay in the post.
Sanders is 6-foot-9.25 without shoes, super long at nearly 7-foot-6 wingspan and recorded the fourth-lowest body fat percentage at 4.6%. He is also an impressive weak side defender in college, posting 2.6 BPG.
While the focus of a lot of double teams, Sanders improved his FG% this season from 51% to over 53%, and improved his FT% from 56% in 2009 to 64% in 2010. He is a hard worker, and has improved every year while in college, and was overlooked by many college coaches but not Billy Donovan’s top assistant, Anthony Grant, who coached Eric Maynor and Sanders and is now Alabama’s current head coach. Sanders still needs to improve his offense but he is already a force with his length and timing on the defensive end.
Dominique Jones has come along ways in the last year, going from an unknown to a likely Top 20 selection. Jones is a physical specimen of a guard, measuring in at a rock solid 6-foot-3.25 and 216 pounds, with a 6-foot-9.25 wingspan and a 32.5 inch vertical. But the most impressive part of Jones is not his unique scoring ability but also his remarkable 19 reps on the bench.
Jones is stronger than everyone not named Gani Lawal, Derrick Caracter, Trevor Booker, and Luke Harangody, and those guys are obviously all big men. Jones can score in a bunch of ways and there are plenty of rumors of teams falling in love with him. With his size, he is more than a capable defender and scorer, and you might see teams trading up in the draft for Jones, a thought that was inexplicable a year ago.
Paul George has been very high on NBADraft.net’s website for nearly two years now, and we are all seeing why. George can do it all on offense and is the 2nd best wing prospect behind Johnson. George is taller and weighs more than Johnson, but Johnson did what George should have and that is transfer to a big time school to get more publicity. If George went to UCLA instead of Fresno State, we might be talking about George to the T’Wolves instead of Johnson.
George was another player I highlighted in the pre-draft workouts because he is the perfect SF at nearly 6’8” and 215 pounds with a nearly 7-foot wingspan. He is not limited in any part of his game due to his supreme athleticism and length, while only his low level of publicity is holding him back.
Word started getting out about Hassan Whiteside around December when people started hearing about a center from Marshall that recorded a triple double via blocked shots. Whiteside is a total freak, with his height (6-foot-10.5 without shoes) and length (7-foot-7) combination, and phenomenal timing on blocking shots. He averaged well over five BPG last season but struggled against Tulsa and fellow draft hopeful Jerome Jordan.
Whiteside has been seen as high as a lottery pick, and still might be a Top 13 pick, but he is a lock to be selected in the Top 20, even though he went to Marshall. A year ago nobody had heard of Whitside, but it only took three games of 10+ blocks to change that.
Kevin Seraphin recently came out of nowhere and has found himself in a few first round mock drafts. He is a French big man, standing 6-foot-9 with shoes, nearly 280 pounds, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Seraphin is a nice athlete, who considers himself a post player, and looks like a young Nene with a nice touch around the hoop. He has nice hands and good quick hops around the hoop. He finishes strong for a young big man and his stock would be much higher if he played college basketball.