If you expect that most young players are ready out of the gate and are going to turn your team around and make a huge impact, you’re probably expecting way too much out of young men that need to put a lot of work during the offseason in order to reach NBA stardom.
Nonetheless, year in and year out, footage and scouts let us think that we’re witnessing some NBA ready kind of talents that are already top-notch prospects, only to watch them miserably fail throughout their first couple of NBA seasons.
Obviously, some growing pains are natural and some players take more time to improve and establish as solid ballers, but even though, some youngsters wind up being mere flukes after entering the league with a lot of hype. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 players that have disappointed us the most over the last couple of seasons.
5. Thon Maker
Thon Maker entered the league amid a lot of controversy regarding his true age, but none of the things seemed to matter considering his high ceiling and upside as one of the most intriguing prospects in the league, being drafted 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2016.
Maker’s skill set is pretty complete and he has the kinds of tools to become a prime two-way big man, but he’s failed to establish himself as a reliable choice down low for a Bucks team that’s mightily struggled to find their defensive anchor.
4. Nerlens Noel
Nerlens Noel was called out to become one of the league’s top-tier rim protectors, and after showing glimpses of terrific awareness and defensive positioning as well as an outstanding shot-blocking ability, injuries and poor decision making have kept him in the doghouse for almost two seasons now.
Now, finishing his Mavericks tenure with a substance abuse suspension and following a bizarre incident with a hot dog, the former 6th overall pick needs to find a new team where he can prove that he can actually stay healthy and flourish as a top-notch defensive presence.
3. Nik Stauskas
Nik Stauskas was supposed to be something like the second coming of Kyle Korver or JJ Redick, and that’s why the Sacramento Kings trusted him to become their answer at the shooting guard spot following Ben McLemore’s disappointing tenure dressed in purple.
The Canadian sharpshooter was one of the best scorers in the nation during his Michigan stint, and he went as high as 8th overall in 2014, just to be dealt away to Philly, where he wouldn’t be able to find a consistent scoring touch either, up to the point where he was just traded to the Nets on a deal to get rid off Jahlil Okafor.
2. Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor was supposed to become one of the most dominant low post scorers and rebounders in the league, and he was considered to be one of the highest ranked players in the nation during his Duke year, going as high as 3rd overall in the 2015 NBA Draft only behind Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
Okafor struggled to develop any kind of defensive awareness and didn’t improve much between his rookie and sophomore years, being sent to the doghouse to let the team’s offense flow through a much better Joel Embiid. After piling up DNPs, he’s barely seeing any playing time at all with the Brooklyn Nets, and he’s going to have a very tough time this offseason finding a new home where he can flourish and prove he’s still got it.
1. Dragan Bender
Dragan Bender has to be considered the biggest draft busts of the past couple of seasons, going as high as 4th overall for his so-called ability to become a Dirk Nowitzki kind of stretch forward and dominant scorer, something he’s failed to prove being a career 33% shooter from beyond the arc while attempting just 3.3 shots from the downtown.
Bender’s defensive awareness is nonexistent and he’s failed to establish himself as a reliable scoring option for the sluggish Suns despite having the door wide open for him to thrive, while some durability concerns have also raised a lot of doubts regarding his future on the league.