Every year, there’s a big buildup to the NBA draft, as teams and fans alike pore over statistics and try to figure out who will help their team the most in the upcoming season. Especially in the first round, teams are typically looking for someone to come in and make a difference that first season. However, some of the most ballyhooed prospects turn into complete busts for their teams. Consider Sam Bowie and Greg Oden, two big men whom the Portland Trail Blazers snapped up early in the first round when they came out. Each of them suffered from an ongoing plague of injuries that kept them from ever fulfilling their potential in the league. Other players, such as center Shawn Bradley, intrigue coaches and NBA betting fans with their potential upside, but then they never fulfill that promise even after a number of years playing in the Association.
Here is a look at some recent draft busts in the NBA who still have time to turn things around and resurrect their careers. These are lottery picks taken between 2005 and today but who did not have a career-ending injury.
NBA Betting Insight: Draft Busts Whose Careers Could Still Be Resurrected
— FREDETTE FAMILY FNDN (@Jimmerosity) June 18, 2015
Jimmer Fredette, #10 overall pick by Sacramento, 2011
When Fredette was in college, his game was fascinating to watch, and scouts debated furiously over his merits. He averaged 28.9 points per game as a college senior at Brigham Young University. This took place when opposing teams were keying on him and limiting his shot opportunities as much as possible. It seemed like he could score from anywhere, and he regularly dominated games in his conference and helped his team make a run in the NCAA tournament.
However, he doesn’t look like a prototypical NBA shooting guard. His skills as a point guard and his game in the open floor were questionable, though. For this reason, some scouts and fans didn’t think he would do well in the league. The physicality of the professional game and the accelerated speed have kept him from finding those open looks that helped him pour in bucket after bucket at BYU.
At the NBA level, though, the limits on his athleticism and quickness made it hard for him to find that separation with the dribble. That means that he is having a much harder time finding those open shots and creating chances for himself when he has the ball – and he can’t blow by anyone with regularity. Even though he was one of the most accurate spot-up shooters in the NBA last season, he is stuck between guard positions.
So how could his career be resurrected? He could become a player like Steve Kerr, a role player who could play a little defense but was mostly out there to find open spots and knock down key threes at the right time. It doesn’t seem that the Kings can use him that way, though.
Jonny Flynn (#6 selection, Minnesota Timberwolves, 2009)
A lot of scouts and front office pros thought that the Timberwolves reached too high to pick Jonny Flynn with the sixth choice, but the depths of his descent have been surprising to most observers. When he was at Syracuse, he was fearless and showed tremendous leadership. However, he did not do well finishing at the rim, shooting just 54 percent there as a sophomore. When you crash the rim in the NBA, finishing is even more difficult, particularly for guards (and Flynn is only 5’11”). His perimeter shooting was iffy as well. Guards who can’t finish and can’t shoot tend to struggle. In Minnesota, he shot 33.8 percent from three point range and 54 percent within three feet or closer. He also had a hard time running the Timberwolves’ offense and distributing the ball at the pro level.
So what could Flynn do? The best way to improve your shooting is to keep shooting. Working with a specialist might help correct some form issues. Getting to the rim is largely a matter of will and speed – and Flynn has the speed. It’s a matter of finding a team to believe in him at the point.