|Dennis Nett/The Post-Standard|
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
With the NBA Draft just days away the speculation is flying as to where players are going to land. This draft is void of any superstars or cornerstone franchise players but there is plenty of depth here as the player that is projected to get drafted 35th is rated as high as someone projected to go 15th. With that, there are still some risky players in the draft. Here are some players to keep an eye on as being potential busts.
Michael Carter-Williams, Point Guard, Syracuse: Carter-Williams has been trying to chase down Trey Burke for the top rated point guard spot in this draft but has been unsuccessful this far. He is one of the more polarizing players in this draft, as there are teams that absolutely love him and others that avoid him like the plague saying he has bust written all over him. Carter-Williams possess elite size for the point guard position but needs to improve on his strength and shooting. Against stronger, more physical players and with increased competition he would struggle. He registered double-digit assists only three times in Big East play against lesser teams in Seton Hall, Rutgers and Providence after registering eight such games out of conference. He also disappeared in the biggest game of the season against Burke and Michigan in the Final Four, registering only two points, two assists and five turnovers before fouling out. Carter-Williams’ performances in big games and against better competition leaves much to be desired. Where he lands in the draft will be a huge factor in if he busts or not. Landing somewhere like the Sacramento Kings would hurt him a lot.
Kelly Olynyk, Center, Gonzaga: The consensus for Olynyk was pretty even throughout, but that is not necessarily a good thing. He was rated a 5, 6 or 7 by every NBA team except one that gave him an eight. The scouts are basically saying that Olynyk has a little better than a 50/50 shot at becoming something in the NBA. Those are not odds you really like as an NBA executive looking to add pieces to your team. People who use analytics are very high on him, by scouts using the eye test and their own metrics are not nearly as high on him, saying that his skill set will not translate well to the next level. That is a fair assessment as playing at Gonzaga he did not play against the greatest of competition throughout his collegiate career.
Shabazz Muhammad, Small Forward, UCLA: Coming into the season Muhammad was viewed as a lock to be a top-five pick. Now he is sliding down draft boards at an alarming rate as teams are beginning to view him as maybe a solid contributor but not a start. With how low he is not being rated by teams it is hard to call Muhammad a bust, but where he started the season out some people are already labeling him that. He has a lot of things to work on if he is to shake that label as he gained a reputation as being one-dimensional without enough athletic ability or diversity in his game to make up for it. How he handles the critics and all the negativity thrown at him will factor into the kind of player that Muhammad becomes; will he let it get to him and break down or will he use it as motivation to improve his game and prove naysayers wrong?
Tony Mitchell, Small Forward/Power Forward, North Texas: Much like Muhammad, Mitchell came into the season with high expectations being rated as a top-10 prospect. After a strong freshman year Mitchell was expected to take the next step and really showcase his talents but that never came to fruition. A tough season that many people attest to North Texas not being the greatest of situations for Mitchell resulted in a poor sophomore season. Academic issues kept him off the court at time in his two seasons. Some teams, like the New York Knicks, are very high on Mitchell but a majority of teams see him as a bust. He has the tools to be a successful player in the NBA with the versatility he has but he has some things to work on to have his stock drop as much as it has.