With the Draft Lottery fast approaching this week, us at NBA Nation Australia have been more than excited to see where the picks may fall in what is being called the best Draft class for some time. In this Draft Lottery special roundtable we tackle the questions on the lips of all NBA fans, and we also thought we’d invite along a few friends.
Right, let’s get to this..
1. The Draft lottery is just around the corner, and it’s one of the most highly anticipated in years. How do you see the chips falling?
Nick Caro: Hard to see it falling any other way than the Bucks or Sixers nabbing that number one pick. I mean, considering the woeful seasons they had, and the likelihood of one of them getting the top spot, they kinda deserve it. They’ll have a myriad of options from Wiggins, to Parker, to Embiid (although I do believe he’ll fall). The Magic and Jazz will probably end up 3rd or 4th and have a shot at the likes of Aussie guard Dante Exum. I don’t really see the Lakers or Celtics getting anywhere near the top three, with both teams expected to land anywhere from 5 to 7 but will still have a good chance at guys like Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh and Marcus Smart. Outside of those picks, it becomes a little more difficult to predict.
Nick How: Well, I’d love to say my Celtics land the top pick, but I honestly don’t see it happening. (I will be crossing my fingers throughout though.) I see the picks falling as follows.. 1.Bucks 2.76ers 3.Magic 4.Celtics 5.Jazz 6.Lakers 7.Pistons 8.Kings 9.Cavaliers 10.76ers
Matt Leslie: I think it will be Wiggins, Parker, Exum, Randle, Smart, Embiid in that order. Dante will probably be the surprise at #3. I feel he has that X factor and at 6’6′ has great size for a point guard not to mention, his times on the 3/4 sprint were faster than the likes of Lillard, Paul and Curry. I don’t really know how the balls will roll in relation to team orders but I feel the Lakers will snare a top 3 pick, it’s just the Lakers thing to do – not to mention it’s the only thing they have going for them since they can’t actually trade for Kevin Love just yet.
Nathan Darby: It’d be nice to see the 76ers land the top pick. They’ve got a chance and you’ve got to be in it to win it. I like what the 76ers are doing. Solid coach. Great young side with huge upside and still haven’t had Nerlens Noel step on the court. The Bucks are a waste of space as far as I’m concerned and constantly make bad recruiting and draft decisions. They haven’t been interesting since Bogut’s arm fell off. Personally I hope the Celtics land a nice pick. What they need is some athletisicm and some pop. They already have a super point guard in Rondo. Dante Exum would compliment him well with his power and finishing ability but I think they’ll chase a SF or PF. Aaron Gordon is raw but athletic and depending on where the picks go and who is still left on the board even Julius Randle might be an option for the Celts.
Ryan O’Connell: I have no idea. Literally, no idea. It’s a lottery in every sense of the word. In terms of who will go where, a lot will obviously depend on the draft order and what specific needs a team has when drafting. But just judging on talent alone, there is any number of possible permutations, because the top five or six players all offer so much, in varying ways.
Pumpa: Its a very exciting time of the year for fans and franchise alike. The excitement of being able to get the next best young stud should be getting the teams excited because the Pumpa is pumped about it!!! I am guilty of getting way to excited about the draft.. although i do believe that a high percentage of players drafted could play a big role on NBA teams if given the chance or are lucky enough to find a fit (eg, Jimmer)!!
Hank McCoy: Gun to my head, if i had to make a call on the first 10 picks i would have to go with… 1.Philly 2.Milwaukee 3.Boston 4.Orlando 5.Utah 6.LA 7.Sacramento (why do they always seem to get this pick?) 8.Detriot 9.Cleveland 10.Philly. I’m also expecting all the usual drama (minus David Stern) in this years Draft… Everyone’s predictions thrown out the window by pick 3, Bill Simmon’s head to explode and of course what Draft would be complete without Knicks fans yelling abuse (even though they don’t have a pick this year).
Benyam Kidane: There are plenty of franchise changing talents, great role players and plenty of young potential in this draft. I think the top three will be as expected with Wiggins, Parker and Embiid as the ‘best available talent,’ but after that it is really intriguing to see what direction teams go in with some wildcard players projected for the top 10 such as Dante Exum, Dario Saric and Tyler Ennis. I can’t see too many surprises given there is a lot of dependable talent in the first 20 picks so the desire to take a gamble isn’t as high this year.
2. Andrew Wiggins is widely regarded as the clear number one pick, but is he really the best player in the top 10? Why should Wiggins go number 1 over any other prospect?
Nick C: Yes. Andrew Wiggins is undoubtedly the best overall player in this year’s draft. Fundamentally, Wiggins has his game fine tuned to a point where he is absolutely the safest #1 pick this draft has to offer, and will take the league by storm. There’s plenty to love about pretty much every guy in the top 10, but considering Wiggins’ overall game, he has to go number one. Is he as NBA-ready as some of the other guys in the draft? No, but he’s easily the most likely to excel when he does step onto an NBA floor. One need only look at his versatility on the floor throughout his past season at Kansas to understand he is something special. He has a vertical leap that is an inch higher than his closest opponent at over 44 inches, he also has a 7-foot wingspan and an 8-foot stride. This collectively makes him the most athletically capable guy in the draft. By a long way. Defensively he’s able to guard more than just one spot on the floor and his sheer length alone will disrupt opponents. Offensively his shot needs work, but more recently scouts have reported that his ability from the NBA three point line has improved dramatically. When it’s all broken down, there’s no smoke without fire and Wiggins is clearly the guy the team with the #1 pick should draft.
Nick H: He shouldn’t. Jabari Parker is the best player in this Draft in my opinion. Parker is just more of awell-rounded player, his basketball IQ is ridiculous for a player of his young years. His pure scoring touch, ability to beat his marker with dizzying crossovers and his natural skill for the game are just some of his key attributes. Watching Parker excel in a good Duke team has been a delight this year, and I’m excited as all hell to see his transition into the League. It really is each to their own when discussing who will go No.1 this year though, both Parker & Wiggins have true superstar potential, and I believe both will have long careers at the top of this game.
I reckon that says it all. In terms of athleticism he appears to be just a few steps ahead of everyone else. I’m interested in why he’d skip the combine, as he’s pretty much a consensus #1 pick. In terms of ceiling, well, who knows just how high he can go. Right now I’d say he’s the best, but we’ve seen the number one pick get outplayed by the other rooks many a time. Whether or not he is the most NBA ready will remain to be seen.
Nathan: Wiggins is raw with huge upside. He hasn’t quite got the complete game just yet and may take a while to shine in the NBA. Wiggins is explosive and will feature big time on the highlight reels throughout his career but I still think Jabari Parker is the more complete player at the moment. He doesn’t have that explosiveness of Wiggins and thus has more tools in his trick bag. Parker is a solid dude and will be a mismatch for many a SF in the paint. Personally I’d pick Parker but I don’t think he’d be interested in playing for the under 14 boys team I coach.
Ryan: This is the time of year when words like ‘ceiling’, ‘potential’ and ‘upside’ get thrown around with alarming regularity. However, those exact words are the reason why Andrew Wiggins is a big chance of being the overall number one pick in the draft. Though his freshman season didn’t quite match the hype that surrounded Wiggins in pre-season, he still showed enough to suggest he might be a future star in the NBA. The problem with that sentence is the selective use of the word ‘might’. The truth is that Wiggins isn’t quite the ‘can’t miss’ prospect many thought he would be. He’s certainly got a lot of potential, but we’ve seen hundreds of players never fully capitalise on their talents, for whatever reason. The bottom line is that Wiggins, like everyone else, will be a gamble. One that might pay off tremendously, or one that may be very costly for a team if those drafted behind him develop into better players.
Pumpa: Wiggins is definatly a talent and has a promising future, Although what proof do we have that he is gonna be as great as people think. I watched about 8-10 Kansas games and saw a very talented kid with alot of room to improve. I do not remember seeing him take over a game and drag them to victory like a future star should. I think people get way to excited about talented players. Why cant we just say he has talent and it will be fun to see how he goes in the NBA? Definate number 1 pick, Ya mad if you dont take him!
Hank: Yes we saw glimpses of Wiggins and his potential last season, but overall #1? Not. So. Fast. Didn’t we also see Joel Embiid steal the spotlight from Wiggins during the season and make his own case for high honours? Didn’t we also see Jabari Parker showcase a wider offensive skill set and Julius Randle bruised his NBA ready arsenal upon everyone? Heck, even Dante Exum might be the better potential pick if a team is willing to take a gamble? He’s the new poster boy for Canada (Sorry, Bennett) but he still has much to prove. For my money Jabari Parker is the clear cut No.1 pick, it’s not even close.
Benyam: I don’t think it’s clear that Wiggins is necessarily the best player in the draft, but his potential and upside is crazy good. Teams draft players on potential and what they could become, so in the case of Wiggins, his ceiling as a franchise changing wing nightmare, far outweighs the likelihood he is just an ok NBA player. There is enough evidence to suggest Wiggins will pan out, but at the end of the day, some General Managers will draft to make the ‘right move’ and nobody is getting fired for taking Wiggins with the first pick. Taking a risk on another guy could work out better, but taking Wiggins is a safer bet.
3. Skilled big man Joel Embiid is touted as a top three pick, but has recently been subject to some injury concerns. Considering what we know about injured draftees, will he stay high, or fall to a lower pick?
Nick C: I think he’ll fall. Considering the list of big men with injury issues (ahem, Greg Oden? Andrew Bynum?), teams have to be especially vigilant when it comes to drafting a guy who is hurt. Granted, Joel’s issues aren’t in his knees, but they are in his back (ala Dwight Howard), but it’s a serious concern nonetheless. Now, while injuries don’t always define a players career, drafting a guy who has spent much of the last season on the sidelines is risky, especially when you’re attempting to rebuild, possibly around this player. The risks associated with drafting Embiid are too high for him to be considered a top three pick for me, and a team like Philly can ill afford another Nerlens Noel type situation. Look, if Embiid is still on the board beyond 5 or 6, I’d probably encourage a team to take him, but with so many options within the top 5, I just think teams would be crazy to take the risk. It should be noted that based purely on skill, he is definitely worthy of landing top 3.
Nick H: Embiid will stay high. We all know a decent big man is few and far between and Embiid really is in possession of the goods. While he hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to staying free of injury, I think if he is still on the block come No.3 (Which I think is where he’ll be picked) whoevers pick that may be, they’d be crazy not to pick him. A fair amount of comparisons have been made regarding Embiid so far, and while he isn’t in the same league as Tim Duncan or Hakeem Olajuwon just quite yet, he does have the potential to last and excel in this League.
Matt: I was never really sold on him; I’m still not. If Nerlens Noel could fall as quickly and as far as he did, I think it’s more than possible Embiid does the same. I’ve got him slated at 6th in my mock draft. For some teams, this draft is the Holy Grail; some tanked all year just to position themselves, I just don’t see them risking it all for a guy who could turn into a bust due to injuries. I don’t think hiding from the combine helped his prospects all that much. That being said, teams will have the ability to interview him and get him checked by their staff. If they’re happy enough then maybe they will bite. I mean they’re more qualified than me, right?
Nathan: You’ve always got to tread lightly with big men and injuries. Being so big they tend to get injured a whole lot more due to the extra weight and stress on their knees and ankles. Greg Oden and Andrew Bogut are prime examples of this. Both beasts of big men but neither really hit their potential due to constant injuries. On the other side though, big men are worth their weight in gold. If you can snag a dominating big man in the draft your team can go from zero to hero real quick. Roll the dice. Joel will be a top 3 pick.
Ryan: Whenever a player has injury concerns before he’s even drafted, people start to panic a little bit, and rightfully so. From Sam Bowie, to Greg Oden, to Nerlens Noel, we’ve seen concerns about young players with injuries be concerns that were immensely justified. However, any draft pick comes with a certain degree of risk. There have been just a handful of players drafted over the years that were almost guaranteed to be stars in the NBA, but every other player selected was a roll of the dice, in some capacity, for the team selecting them. With that in mind, and knowing Embiid’s potential, there is no way he’ll drop lower than fourth, because someone will take a punt on him knowing that if said punt comes off, it could drastically change the fortunes of the franchise.
Pumpa: My thoughts are like so many other big men that get drafted, he needs to stay in college for another year at least.. 2 would be better.. 3 would be awesome.. Teams do not wanna miss out on the next big thing and draft on potential. The kid did a “dream Shake” on a bloke who looked like a chubby pig farmer and the world went wild.. then all the hoopla began! Yes, he has talent and i like him, but no one knows how he will go in the NBA, Im looking forward to finding out!!!
Hank: Hmm… Someone get Nerlens Noel on the phone and ask him about potential top picks falling in the Draft (too soon?). But seriously, before a stress fracture in his back caused Embiid to miss the end of the season for the Jayhawks, Joel was a beast averaging 11.2pts 8.1rebs 2.6blks and has everyone asking “Wiggins who?”.You could even argue that due to Embiid having surgery and not being able to compete in the combine (out of sight out of mind) it may even hurt his stock, BUT when your 6-11 and being compared by scouts as a potential Olajuwon type mold, worst case scenario pick 5 is as low as he drops.
Benyam: Quality big men with Embiid’s skillset are hard to come by these days so a team will definitely roll the dice on him with a high pick. Only last year we saw a great big man prospect in Nerlens Noel fall in the draft due to injury concerns, but going from the first pick to the number six is not that drastic a drop and I can’t see Embiid falling further than fourth. There will be a lot of ‘take best available talent and figure it out later’ in this draft and Embiid’s ability to affect the game on both ends makes him such an appealing prospect for teams. Although justifying taking him with the number one pick will be difficult given the wealth of talent in the class, but the risk could very well be worth the reward if Embiid pans out.
4. Aussie draft prospect Dante Exum has the weight of a country on his shoulders, and is likely to be a high pick. With no college ball experience, do you think Exum is ready for NBA basketball?
Nick C: So hard to say. I think Exum’s sheer ability will help him in the NBA, with his length and athleticism helping him to compete at the top level. I really would have loved to see him play a year in the NCAA before nominating, if not simply to get a taste of playing on the big stage. Aside from that, I think he’ll be just fine once the cobwebs come off. I think it’s imperative for Dante that he is mentored by a player who knows the NBA, and has a wealth of experience to pass down. This, at least, will help him to understand what he can expect from playing in the toughest league in the world. His country is behind him, which will no doubt encourage him, and provide him with the confidence he needs to perform. He seems like he’s fairly confident in his ability, and has already spent time finding an agent and immersing himself in the NBA culture, which I think is a very smart move for a kid who’s about to have the eyes of an entire country on him. Considering his size, he could potneitally work as an elite rim protector with the ability to have a serious effect on the offense as well. I’d describe him as a mix of Thunder PF Serge Ibaka with a little Chris Bosh thrown in as well. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Nick H: I’d love to say yes, but I honestly haven’t seen enough of his game to answer wholeheartedly. I do believe he’ll still be drafted high though, and make no mistake about it, I’m sure he’ll grow into a very good NBA player. I have read in numerous places that if Exum had of played College ball that there would have been a good chance of him being picked at the top spot. I’m not quite so about that, but you can’t help but take notice of that. If my Celtics don’t end up trading their pick for Kevin Love, I honestly see Exum playing in that famous green next year. The kids an Aussie, we’ll back him regardless, won’t we?
Matt: You’ll have seen that I slated him as third. I am huge on the kid, I honestly can’t speak highly enough of him. Firstly he appears very humble and well spoken, a trait that will serve him well in the NBA. Secondly as mentioned he sits at 6’6′ and about 196lbs, which is huge, for an NBA point guard. He’s lightning quick, at least half a step quicker than any of his counterparts and can finish explosively at the rim. He’s got a streaky shot but that can be fixed, his vision and athleticism should see him prosper. I think of him as a Westbrookesque player just with a higher IQ.
Nathan: Is anybody really ready for NBA ball? He has the game to thrive in the league and has been compared to Russell Westbrook on numerous occasions. Coming from Australia with little to no big game or college experience I think he’ll have a chip on his shoulder. This chip will make him want to prove to everyone that he belongs. And playing in the NBA a chip on the shoulder is a pre requisite. Everyone in the league is arrogant and cocky. Aussies love a challenge and aren’t afraid to put it all on the line. Exum will be no different. He has the potential to be a force.
Ryan: In some respects, the lack of college basketball experience can be a plus for an incoming player. The style played in college is vastly different to that in the pros, with college coaches having greater impact and influence over games, and a strong emphasis on teamwork – both offensively and defensively. Exum has been ‘the man’ in the teams he’s played in and has been given free reign to captilise on his tremendous skills, which should help him when he gets to the NBA. The real concern is the level of opposition Exum has faced thus far in his career, which is why he’s been dubbed the ‘mystery man’ of the draft. Scouts have seen very little of him compared to other players, and that’s primarily because he wasn’t on-show in college. Though he impressed at the Draft Combine, and he’s got some fantastic YouTube highlight films, questions remain about Exum and how he’ll compete against better opposition. The Australian patriotism within me says he’ll be fine and a future star. The objective basketball fan in me isn’t quite as bullish, but still remains optimistic.
Pumpa: He could be but “No One knows”.. NO ONE KNOWS..we can only speculate and hope, Speculating is just a guess!!! So if you speculate he will be good and he is… then you guessed correctly!!! Well done!!! #sarcasm. I hope he goes well and gets an opportunity to play and learn because he has lots of improvement to make when he starts playing against men instead of Aussie kids who will struggle to make a future NBL roster! Good luck to him tho!!!
Hank: Ready for the NBA game straight out of the gates? No. Ready for the right situation and a franchise with a little patience? Yes. Let’s not jump the gun and instead proceed with caution. Yes Dante Exum is Aussie and that gets our blood pumping but despite glimpses at the Nike Hoops Summit (16pts 3rebs 2ast) and some sparing national minutes, Dante has yet to prove himself against top prospects on a night in night out basis. I’m sorry to be the barer of bad news but in a Draft this deep, is Exum a guy you really want to take a gamble on so high? I’m not saying that Dante won’t be a good PG in 4-5 years but with players like Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott and Tyler Ennis still on the board, these guys could help a team straight away and after all isn’t the point of the Draft not to be there next year?
Benyam: Exum carries himself with considerable calm and confidence in his ability and from the growth we have seen in his game and body over the past 12 months, it makes me think he is more than ready to take the next step. The environment where he honed his game at the Australian Institute of Sport is the perfect situation to prepare for the pros, outside of directly competing with his fellow draft members on a regular basis. His more recent preparations for the draft also seem to have been on point, given that he has not had to play an NCAA season, instead spend that time working on his game in LA with trainers for an extended period of time, something that we will see pay off in the short-term. He has improved his shooting mechanics and also put on some size. Whilst his peers have been playing in college, he has been working on his individual development, which gives him a bit of an edge.
5. So much has been written about the top prospects in this draft. Tell us briefly about a player that you believe will surprise people, but may not go so high.
Nick C: We really haven’t heard much about Noah Vonleh, the power forward out of Indiana. As far as PF’s go, the top 10 isn’t littered with a wealth of quality, but this guy is certainly one of the better ones. Standing at a whopping 6’8″, with a wing span of 7’4″ (!!), Vonleh is one of the bigger guys within the top 10 and should benefit any team that picks him greatly. Down low, he’s a beast but he’s also able to stretch the floor and create trouble for defenses with a quality jump shot. He’s also a great rebounder on both ends, and is able to get out on the break with relative ease. Considering his size, he could potentially work as an elite rim protector with the ability to have a serious effect on the offense as well. I’d describe him as a mix of Thunder PF Serge Ibaka with a little Chris Bosh thrown in as well. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Nick H: This is purely down to Pumpa going on about this following player for so long. Nik Stauskas is the player that will surprise people from this draft. This kid has got real game and can shoot the lights out, I fully expect to see him at the 3pt contest some day. He surprisingly has decent ball handling skills, and despite his size has been known to run the point. Stauskas has the potential to really be one of the better drafts from this class. Keep your eyes peeled.
Matt: I am pretty high on Cleanthony Early to be honest. Let’s start with the fact he was the heart of Wichita State who went through their season undefeated. Well until they ran into Kentucky. Did I mention he was one of the top scorers in the NCAA per minutes played? He plays as a power forward in college but is a bit undersized for the NBA. That being said, he has all the tools needed to become a solid small forward. As I mentioned, he was one of the best scorers in college basketball, averaging 24.5 points per-40 minutes, that’s good for 5th best. He can score from almost anywhere; the post and the perimeter and at the line. Still not impressed? Consider he did this with a true shooting percentage of 64%, (58% 2P%, 38% 3P%, 84% FT%). Good for 7th overall among the Top-100 prospects.
Nathan: Dario Saric, Glenn Robinson and James Young. The only problem with Dario Saric is that nobody knows when he will actually come to the NBA. He’s an international and if a team is willing to wait a year or two to get him then I can see him being a very tidy pick up and a potential superstar. At one stage Glen Robinson had huge hype but his inconsistencies changed that pretty quickly. To have hype you have had to do something right. Robinson has some skills and would lift on a team with elite players. If he’s there towards the end of the round, Robinson is worth a shot. Young could be the steal of the draft. He’s coming out of Kentucky which means he was slightly hidden behind some other big name ballers. But don’t let that scare you from him.Young is obviously a great complimentary player but he also has the ability to shine. Act surprised when he dominates.
Ryan: LaQuinton Ross. I just love those players that make the game look easy,even if that comes across as being lazy at times. I could definitely see Ross as a scoring 6th offensive end, and if he lands with the right club. Make no mistake, I’m not predicting Ross will be a superstar, but if you can put the ball in the hoop, you’re a valuable asset and will always be sought after. I think Ross could be a nice sleeper pick for a team looking for some offence late in the first man for a team due to his abundance of skills on the round.
Pumpa: TRICKY NICKY STAUSKAS..If Spicey Curry tweets you and wants to go up against you in a 3 point shooting comp you must be pretty good!!! I watched Tricky Nicky start off the bench as a Michigan freshman as a skinny kid getting 8 mins a game and turn into the BIG 10 player of the year. His all round game is constantly improving and he will not just be happy to make an NBA roster, this kid wants to play and loves the big stage!!!! Lookout for Tricky Nicky!! In saying that… who really knows .. Im just guessing/hoping!!! I hope for Nicky How and Boof Mckern that he ends up in Celtic green!!!
Hank: I’m a sucker for Nikky Stauskas, yes i’m a Michigan fan but this kid is ready to turn some heads. His game is made for pick-and-roll, and Tricky Nikky can do one thing well that will keep him on a NBA bench… Flat out shoot. When i look at this kid i can’t help but see a young Stephen Curry and if my fanboy ramblings still don’t convince you, jump onto YouTube and watch him drain 123/141 three point attempts. Case Closed.
Benyam: My sleeper for this loaded draft is Serbian wing Bogdan Bogdanovic. He will more than likely be taken early in the second round or late first round. He is coming off a great season in Europe, leading Partizan Belgrade in points, assists, blocks and usage, whilst shooting 40% from 3-point range. He is a long defender at 6’6 with a 6’11 wingspan, who reads the game well and plays both ends of the floor well. He is ticking a lot of boxes and I think he could help a team out right away once he adjusts to the speed of the NBA.
6. It seems unthinkable in this draft considering the hype, but with the information you have, who do you believe could be a bust?
Nick C: This isn’t because of his ability, because I do believe he has it in spades, but I can see Joel Embiid being a bust. It sucks to say it, because had he not been dealing with these injuries he’d probably be looking at going number one. I just don’t think, considering the troubles he’s had, it’s a) wise to pick him too high and b) he’ll be able to compete with injury concerns before he’s even hit the NBA. The history of big men with chronic injuries is massive, and in many cases the injury has completely destroyed their careers. We’ve seen it happen before, and I just think it has the potential to happen with Embiid. This kid is hugely hyped, and rightly so, but if he ends up like Greg Oden or Andrew Bynum? I don’t know. It just seems like the writing is on the wall early with this one.
Nick H: Real tough one to answer actually, but the only player I could think may be a bust is Shabazz Napier. From what I’ve seen of his game, despite some of it being pretty good he has a tendency to ball-hog. Not overly athletic, and doesn’t have the best of defensive games. I hope I’m completely wrong as I don’t wish anyone to be a bust, but this roundtable requires answers. Shabazz just came to mind.
Matt: Aaron Harrison. He and his brother started the year as arguably the two best players in their positions but oh how the mighty fall. You might remember Harrison from his clutch time heroics throughout March Madness but had you heard much of him before that? You should have considering he was part of a star studded Kentucky Wildcats line-up. Unfortunately he is a 35.6% shooter from behind the arc, which I feel will only become worse once he is behind an NBA 3-point line. He also tends to go MIA during games, again a trait which wont fly in the big leagues. While he isn’t the biggest ‘maybe’ of the draft, I think he isn’t as valuable as some may think.
Nathan: I’ll be controversial here and say that Wiggins could quite possibly be a bust. He relies a lot on his athleticism and doesn’t have the purest of game. For Wiggins he possibly needs to work on his D to get it up to speed and develop a solid all round game. It probably won’t happen but you never know.
Ryan: Though you never like to predict someone will be a bust before they’ve even been given a chance, the answer here simply has to be Joel Embiid. After suffering knee and back injuries late into Kansas’ campaign, Embiid was then ruled out for the rest of the season, with reports of stress fractures in his back hurting not just his draft chances, but more importantly, perhaps his career. The fact he still hasn’t been cleared for full- contact is a major red-flag. If the question here is around a potential ‘bust’, draft failures never come bigger than when they are associated with injured players that unfortunately can’t reach their potential because they simply can’t stay on the floor. Let’s hope that’s not Embiid, but we can’t deny the potential for disaster is there.
Pumpa: I have concerns that Marcus Smart will not be anywhere near as good in the NBA as the experts think he will. From what i can tell he wants to be “the Man” on a team and the chances of that happening in the NBA is very low!! I dont see him adapting to being a role player and being a disappointment everywhere he goes throughout his carreer.. I think!! From what the pumpa saw over the last few years, Smarts game style is like a Bully in the schoolyard pushing in line at the canteen.. he would bully his way to the basket and score on kids that were scared of him! Aint no one scared in the NBA tho! Good luck Marcus!!
Hank: He’s the perfect Blake Griffin clone. 6’8 undersized power forward who can jump out of the gym, comes complete with his own shaky perimeter game and really get up and down the gym in a hurry. Only problem is there is only one Blake Griffin. One thing we forget is that the Draft is a bunch of bad teams, who have a history of making bad decisions. I fear that Aaron Gordon’s undoing may just be that of a team trying to draft Blake Griffin.
Benyam: For as much as I love Doug McDemott’s game, whether it can translate to anywhere near his collegiate level is another question. A sharpshooting, scoring machine, who can hit he three at an efficient percentage sounds like a great prospect, however a slower, poor defender with small wingspan has shades of potential bust written all over it. Determining what exactly a bust is; is difficult as you can only be compared to the expectation put on you externally and a team taking you with a high pick is not your fault. I do think he will have a solid NBA career but nowhere near what he produced in college and what a lot of people are expecitng him to be.
Thanks for reading our in depth Special Edition of our Roundtable. If there were any players you think we may have overlooked or an answer you disagree with, why not leave us a message below.
We would like to thank our guests, Pumpa, Hank and Benyam and urge you to go and follow them and listen to their respective podcasts. They really are covering the beautiful game fantastically well, and what a treat your ears are in for you are just finding out about them now.