Every year, we see NBA front offices waste valuable draft picks on players that feature a variety of red flags. This year's draft inevitably will be no different.
Here's the list:
10. John Jenkins, Vanderbilt - When he arrived in Nashville, Jenkins was labeled as a sharpshooter. The problem is, after three seasons under Kevin Stallings, scouts have a hard time adding anything to that label. For the type of player Jenkins projects to be at the next level, 6'4" is awfully small, especially considering his lack of consistent ball-handling and his average athleticism.
9. Robert Sacre, Gonzaga - Since Sacre stands over seven feet tall, you know someone will take a chance. To me, all you'll get with Sacre is a supporting actor in hundreds of posters. Think Shawn Bradley, but a few inches shorter. Sacre will show up on the Courtside Countdown more than once, but not for his own great play. He has a decent touch, but has proven to be very soft over the course of his career. You'd think a guy his size would absolutely own the West Coast Conference—but he never did.
8. Hollis Thompson, Georgetown - Thompson has good size and shooting ability for the small forward position. He's athletic. He looks the part. However, if you watch a lot of Big East hoops, you already know that this kid is easily rattled and easily shut down. He had some decent stretches, but his ability to impose his will on a game is very limited.
7. Fab Melo, Syracuse - The classic "size and upside guy." Here's the problem though: Fab Melo has no offensive moves, he can't shoot free throws and his defensive learning curve will be high, coming from the Boeheim 2-3 zone. And, to go out on a limb, Melo seems to be a potential oft-injured project. If your team takes Melo in the first round, then your team wasted that draft pick.
6. Meyers Leonard, Illinois - Yet another "let's take this guy because you can't teach size" situation. But come on. Meyers Leonard? Can you picture a guy named Meyers Leonard who looks like Meyers Leonard becoming an important cog on a playoff team in the NBA? If so, bravo—you truly have an amazing imagination and should look into writing science fiction novels.
5. Quincy Miller, Baylor - 6'10", 210 pounds. He was the 4th or 5th-best player on his team in college. What else do you need to know?
4. Andre Drummond, UConn - Have you seen this guy shoot free throws? That does not look fixable. Can a player who is embarrassed to be on the foul line be tough enough to be effective in the NBA? The guy has zero offensive game. Yes, he's huge and athletic and freakish. But if your team does not have a great veteran to teach this kid the ropes, selecting this unknown enigma in the lottery could set your team back years.
3. Perry Jones, Baylor - If you watched the NBA Finals, you saw the tough-mindedness of LeBron and his crew. To survive in the NBA, you better have toughness. You need to be aggressive. Pair that with the fact that his size and skill level scream for Perry to be a team leader or at least a strong post presence; meanwhile his demeanor and attitude do not match. Dealing with failure and expectations could really wreck this guy. Beware if your team takes Jones in the first round with other more polished, more defined players still on the board.
2. John Henson, UNC - No way. No way this kid can be effective at the next level. Too thin, too soft. Most of the guys from UNC's team were that way this past season. To play the 4 in the NBA, you better be able to get close to ten boards a game and defend powerful post players. Can you see Henson guarding ANYBODY? He has those ambidextrous jump-hooks, so he can score a little bit, but for a lottery pick or a later selection in the first round, you need to have much more than what Henson has.
1. Harrison Barnes, UNC - Pull up for another jumper, will ya Harrison? My goodness, all this guy did this past year was shoot 17-footers. On top of that, he was part of a horrible defensive unit at UNC. Can he guard 3s in the NBA? Barnes plays like a 2-guard and there's no way he can cover quick guards either. Again, we go back to toughness. And this is the factor that many front offices overlook factor when drafting players. Size, skill set, shooting ability—all those factors are important. But without toughness, will and intangibles, you'll draft yourself a bust.
I may be proven wrong on more than one of these players, but regardless, if my team drafts any of these guys, I can guarantee you I will be none too pleased.
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