Blog Entry

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Posted on: June 19, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 6:46 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

Let's face it. The NBA Draft is a crapshoot. There are obvious mistakes, which should be avoided. There are obvious reaches, which if they don't work out look terrible and if they do work out, earn management awards. You can have the top pick one year and net a Hall of Famer, and the next year you can have the top pick and net nothing more than a pick you're trying to unload a year later. "Always draft the big man" works, unless that big man is Hasheem Thabeet. "Best talent available" is a great ethos, unless you create a logjam on your team which frustrates all the players involved. And sometimes, there are just guys you need to be leery of before you say that name into the phone in Newark. 

Here's a brief list of guys who could wind up great but also could have higher odds at busting. Fear factor is on a scale of one to five, with one being "sure-fire lock" and five being "you may wind up burning jerseys or your favorite GM in effigy."

Jimmer Fredette

Fear Factor: 3

When the tournament ended and it came time to analyze The Jimmer's NBA prospects, the talk was mostly about Fredette's diminutive frame. Players of his prototype do not tend to translate well. The college game is great, it's just dramatically different than the NBA and players who succeed with the kind of gunning Fredette did in college don't necessarily make the leap. Then, the scrutiny was so high you had a backlash like a rubber band snapping back. "Jimmer's just a great basketball player." "Anyone who can play ball like that in college can play in the NBA." It went on and on. Fredette and his people helped out by taking a bold and aggressive approach, gunning for Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight in workouts and impressing based on expectations. The key being "based on expectations." By exceeding the poor showing people expected, Fredette has gained traction to rise up the ranks. It's not about getting higher than Knight or Walker, it's just about getting as high as he can.

But the same elements are there that have always been there. The limited size, length, athleticism, the unfamiliarity with running an offense, the inability to launch without a conscience, they're all still there as concerns for how he'll adapt. But Fredette has college star power and that can blind. Maybe Fredette will smoothly transition to a new role and never environment. But the concerns should still be there. Sometimes removing context is a good thing.

Bismack Biyombo

Fear Factor: 4

Super-athletic foreign big comes out of nowhere, ramps up a ton of hype, then goes to workouts and .... wah-wah. Biyombo has talked about leading the league in blocks and rebounds. Bravado is excellent. But it can also belie an effort to gain a foothold on something other than ability. Biyombo brings great length and athleticism but no polish or offensive repertoire. So he's kind of the anti-Jimmer. But players in Biyombo's mold can either be a revelation or a colossal bust. Just for comparison's sake, the last player similar to Biyombo in terms of physical nature was Thabeet.

Good luck with that.

Kemba Walker

Fear Factor: 3

Similar concerns as Fredette, only magically shorter.

When Walker measured in at 6-1 vs. the 5-11 many scouts had him pegged at, the phrase "See, he's not short at all!" was used. This despite the fact that he's still short, he just plays and seems shorter than he actually is. Walker has a tremendous scoring ability, but defensively there are going to be questions. There have been plenty of players of diminutive stature to make it in the NBA and even become borderline stars. But few of them have been drafted at Walker's projected position or with his expectations. Walker was the college player of the year for a reason. He was also kept out of the top ten for most of the year until the talent stampeded out at the end.

Josh Selby

Fear Factor: 5

Highly touted high school project clashes with established, respected coach which results in him not playing at all down the stretch, then somehow vaults up the rankings. We've seen this one before. Selby's performances at workouts early in the draft process at Impact in Las Vegas have helped land him back in the first round. But Selby showed little more than perimeter shooting during Kansas' season, and the fact he couldn't get along with Bill Self raises a number of flags. Selby could be the type of player who just landed in a bad situation for him, but he could also be a headcase without an all-around game. 

Donatas Motiejunas

Fear Factor: 5

Might not come over from Europe, questionable defensive ability, questionable rebounding effort, questionable basketball ability beyond size. Motiejunas has the whole bag of concerns in one Euro Center package. Stick away from this one. 


Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: June 20, 2011 1:00 am

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Having watched Jimmer for the past 3 seasons, I can say no matter if he were black or white, he would be or will be a horrible pro. Jimmer has bigger problems than just size. He never plays any defense. Someone says scorers are what matters.  Well, The Heat could score, but when the Mavs played D (the zone), those scorers stopped scoring.  Defense is what makes championships.  So, strike 1 on Jimmer.  Next, Jimmer is a terrible passer.  Sure, he had assists, but those came when he would get triple teamed and next huck the ball out.  By accident, a good shooter for BYU would grab and hit the shot.  Last, Jimmer is selffish.  Those who are selffish (Vince Carter, Dominique Wilkins) never win titles.  They are the also rans.  Jimmer can and will shot from everywhere on the court often with the most possible time on the shot clock.  Jimmer is that guy this year that will ultimately disappoint who drafts him.  I could be wrong, but there are too many flags on this kid.  Sometimes there is something about someone (good: AC Green, bad: Michael O) you know will be that guy or a nothing.  This is Jimmer for me.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 11:38 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

The conventional mantra is, "Offense sells tickets.  Defense wins games.  Rebounding wins championships."  The truth is that you need all three in varying amounts.  The Mavs are a fine offensive team and have been for a long time, but until they got tougher, they couldn't win it all.  Look at almost any title team and it's the same way.

Since: Jan 31, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 11:21 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 11:16 pm


Way to take arguably the 5 players with the biggest question marks and try to make it seem like you're writing a decent article.

Since: Jan 10, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:33 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

I would agree with Jimmer Fredette on most fronts except for one very important factor.  The kid has an uncanny ability to create space, even against much taller opponents, and even being less athletic.  There something unique about the way he plays that sets him apart from the usual great "college system" players.  He can create his own plays, and that is much of what the NBA is all about.  He'll need to vastly improve on the defensive end, however.

Since: Jan 4, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:28 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Jimmer Fredette. Some have said he would be a top five pick if he was black instead of white. Could be true, but the risk would be the same. Does anyone remember Tim Hardaway? A small (6'0") muscular player, he did pretty good, 15000 points and 7000 assists over 13 seasons. Hardaway I am sure was quicker. He was a point guard, but also a prolific scorer. Fredette is an undersized two-guard who can get his shots off. You can expect him to run up good career offensive numbers especially with the open man style of basketball coming into vogue again in the NBA.

Mid first round is the right place and where he is projected.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: June 19, 2011 9:21 pm

Buyer Beware: 5 players to be wary of drafting

Of these five, I'm taking Walker.  Sure he's small, but the guy can come off the bench and spark the offense.  He' got plenty of point guard skills - UConn just needed him to score.  I see him at best a Jameer Nelson / Rajon Rondo type and at worst a Nate Robinson / JJ Barea.  He's not a great shooter but that can improve.

I'm not sold on Fredette.  There are plenty of guys that can shoot as well as he can but with height.  I would still take him next.

After that, I stay away from all of them. 

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