Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Potential Draft Bust: Mo Bamba

During his one season at the University of Texas, Mo Bamba proved to be a defensive stalwart who led the Big 12 in rebounds and finished second in the NCAA in blocks. Given that you can’t teach size, Bamba became a very desirable pick due to 6’11” height and 7’10” wingspan. While I agree that he draws a valid comparison to 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, it’s possible that the 2018 #6 overall draft pick could turn into T10B Hasheem Thabeet instead. Using those two comparable players as the upper and lower bounds, I predict Bamba will have an NBA career closer to the top than the bottom.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Potential NBA Draft Bust: Jaren Jackson

I watched Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson several times during the 2017-18 college basketball season and remember thinking that he was a “beast” who could excel at the next level. When preparing for this post, I was shocked to learn that he only averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds per game last year. Jackson averaged 3 blocks per game during the season and had seven games with at least 5 blocks so perhaps I based my impression on a limited sample size. As someone who finds truth in numbers, I give Jackson an above-average chance of becoming a bust.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Potential NBA Draft Bust: Luka Doncic

As an international prodigy, Luka Doncic signed his first professional contract at the age of 13. Doncic won numerous “Rising Star” and “Best Young Star” awards before getting recognized as the best player outside of the United States by winning the 2018 Euroleague MVP and leading his team to the 2018 Euroleague title. With these credentials, Doncic became the most anticipated international player to come to the NBA since 2003 #2 overall pick Darko Milicic. Whereas Milicic became a bust, Doncic will avoid the same fate. As the most proven player in the 2018 NBA Draft, I give him the lowest probably of becoming a bust relative to the top 10 overall picks.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Potential NBA Draft Bust: Marvin Bagley

Duke power forward Marvin Bagley capped off an impressive freshman year by being named ACC Player of the Year and consensus 1st Team All-American. Based on his performance, he certainly deserved consideration as the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, that distinction went to Arizona center Deandre Ayton instead. The Sacramento Kings couldn’t pass on Bagley and took him with the second pick. It probably helped that he seemed to be the only top pick eager to play in Sactown. Bagley should be able to put up numbers to avoid becoming a bust. I just worry his performance might suffer when he doesn’t get the recognition he craves playing near Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Oh yeah, there’s also a guy named LeBron who just took his talents to the same state.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Potential NBA Draft Bust: Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns selected Deandre Ayton with the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Based on their proximity, teams scouts had plenty of opportunities to watch Ayton play for the Arizona Wildcats last year. Given everything I’ve seen, I have no basis to second guess the pick. As detailed in the following post, I give the 2018 consensus 1st Team All-American a very low probably of becoming a Top 10 Bust. 

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

2018 Mock NBA Draft

Heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, the prohibitive favorite as the #1 pick is Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. From there, the likely #2 to #4 picks are Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson and international phenom Luka Doncic, respectively. Despite any excitement surrounding these players, the free agency of LeBron James and trade request by Kawhi Leonard will dominate fan interest going into the 2018-19 NBA season. This year’s draft lacks a guaranteed superstar so each and every team should be willing to use their picks to get into the James/Leonard sweepstakes. I don’t have the foresight to predict all of the possible iterations so I’ll simply offer my 2018 NBA Mock Draft based on the current draft position of each team.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts Z Menu

2017 NBA Mock Draft: Top 10 Picks

On the cusp of the 2017 NBA Draft, I’m running out of time to predict the Top 10 overall picks. Earlier this week, the 76ers traded their #3 pick (along with a future 1st rounder) to secure the Celtics’ #1 spot. According to most NBA insiders, Philly will take Washington PG Markelle Fultz. With the 2nd overall pick, the Lakers presumably will select Lonzo Ball. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. As usual, I’ll provide my assessment of potential Top 10 Busts from this draft prior to the start of the upcoming season. For now, here’s my 2017 NBA Mock Draft.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

Projected 2016 NBA Draft Busts

Years from now, most fans will refer to the 2016 NBA Draft as “the one with Ben Simmons.” Generally speaking, we tend to remember the success or failure of the #1 overall pick. For me, however, I’ll remember the 2016 Draft because of ESPN’s entertaining telecast. My son and I already have running jokes about Jay Bilas’ infatuation with wingspans and Lisa Salters’ desire to ask cringe-worthy questions. As of now, the leading contender for future recognition as a Top 10 Bust is #4 pick Dragan Bender. Additionally, #10 pick Thon Maker seems poised to become an Honorable Mention.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

Potential Top 10 Bust: Kris Dunn (2016 NBA Draft)

With the 5th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected point guard Kris Dunn. As a junior at Providence last year, Dunn averaged 16 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals per game. Those numbers, which were unmatched by anyone else in the NCAA, earned him 2nd Team All-American honors. Including Dunn, the Timberwolves have amassed a talented group of young players over the last three years. Specifically, they have the last two Rookies of the Year (and #1 overall picks) Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. At the same time, reigning two-time Slam Dunk Champion (and 2014 #13 overall pick) Zach LaVine has shown that he’s not a one-trick pony. It’s too early to tell how good the Timberwolves can be, but Dunn should help make them even more competitive for years to come.

Projections Top 10 NBA Draft Busts

Potential Top 10 Bust: Dragan Bender (2016 NBA Draft)

With the 4th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Croatian phenom Dragan Bender. Unlike the first three picks, Bender played exclusively overseas. As such, most of us have no basis to compare him with the other top prospects. Regardless, the “experts” believe he has the talent to become a star. In contrast, I believe he’s more likely to become a bust. I’ll admit that I undervalued 2015 #4 overall pick Kristaps Porzingis. However, I’ll double down and bet that Bender is not another “unicorn.”