There is a lot of talk about busts lately, and there are a lot of interpritations of what a bust is. Some will say it's a player who doesn't live up to their potential, others say it has to do if better players were drafted after you and the obvious Kwame Brown types, but the question I pose is...Is taking a solid role player in the lottery a bust? A great role player and defensive specialist is a valuable part of a team dynamic and necessary in building a winning team. Is the lottery too high to take such a player and if so would you consider a player like Shane Battier a bust who was taken #6 overall and has career averages of only 9.8 points and 4.7 rebounds? I say no, his value comes from his defense and they way he fits into a team.
Joel Pryzbilla was taken #9 in 2000 and has career averages of only 4.5 points, 6.5 rpg and 1.6 blocks, but over the years has developed into one of the best backup/part time starting centers in the game. I say he is not a bust either, Is the lottery too early to take a defensive specialist in favor of a player with more potential? I again say no, when you look at drafts past forgotten names like Jerome Moisio (taken 2 picks after Pryzbilla and was considered to have vast potential) and even Chris Mihm who was taken before Pryzbilla and has higher career numbers, but 100% of team officials would rather have Pryzbilla on their roster 10 years later.
What makes a bust? Are defensive guys like Cole Aldrich worth taking in the lottery over upside guys like Whiteside and Orton?
I think you know my answer, but I wanted to know what you guys think about this matter.
Depends the situation with the team playing style, personality, current positions, and what staff is looking for but I would take Aldrich 75 percent of the time.
If you're drafted in the Top 5 I would say you need to be at the very least a #3 option on your team not to be a bust, but after that I have no problems drafting a guy like Battier, every championship team needs a Battier to stop the opposing teams best player, and if he does his job I would not consider them a bust.
I think that to be a bust, your career PER and/or efficiency rating must be markedly lower than the average statistic for that draft position.
As for Aldrich vs. Orton/ Whiteside, I'd take Aldrich in a heartbeat as he has proven himself for 2 years (freshman year kinda sucked for him) against one of the best conferences in the nation. As well, I think Aldrich's offensive game, even today, is much better than that of Whiteside/ Orton as his passing for a big is just superb.
HOWEVER, I've said it before, but I'll say it again, teams in the lotto shouldn't draft to get role players. I say this because the NBA is FILLED with experienced role players that most teams can get through FREE AGENCY. For example: Let's say the Raptors get Cole Aldrich with the 13th pick this year. Can they not get a Joel Pryzbilla/ Nick Collison/ Ryan Hollins/ Marcin Gortat type of player for around 5 to 6 mill a year, max? The rookie contract is cheaper, I admit, but Cole will be less experienced than a Marcin Gortat.
Because Big guys take longer to develop, I think it's even more important that teams in the lotto draft for guys who have high potential because even though they may be highly touted as a "instant role player", they'll need a few seasons to adjust to the NBA game. The rookie contract is 4 years; unless the team that drafted Cole wants to overpay, Cole will have a 70% chance of leaving. If I were a GM, I'd just sign a Joel Pryzbilla type and fill a need instantly.
What do you guys think?
I think you should be considered a bust when you fail to fill the role that you were supposed to have in the NBA. Kwame Brown was drafted with the #1 pick to be a franchise player. Clearly he did not come anywhere close to achieving this, but now he could be considered to be a decent back up center and he is universally known as one of the worst picks in NBA history. As you said Pryzbilla was drafted #9, if he was drafted with the thought "he will be around for 10 years and have a solid career" then he is not a bust. If, however, they thought this kid could be the next Hakeem (obviously they didn't think this) and he turns out to be a decent backup center then he is considered to be a failure and therefore a bust. I would say Battier was drafted knowing that he is a high character guy who would be a great role player and a long career, so definitely not a bust.
Basically I would classify a bust as someone who has a large amount of unfulfilled potential. So if someone is drafted #3 with the hope of being a world beater and with all the potential in the world, then turns into a Pryzbilla type he should still be classified as a bust even if he ends up having a solid NBA career.
I would take Cole Aldrich in a heartbeat over Whiteside or Orton, but this is because I think that both Whiteside and Orton will be complete busts and never amount to anything. There is a fine line that needs to be drawn between drafting a role player and taking a risk on potential and the situation they are being drafted into is huge.
At #7 I would be pretty pissed if the Pistons took Aldrich. We clearly are not going to compete in the next year or two without some huge change, so there is no point in getting a reliable role player rather than taking a reasonable chance on someone like Monroe (although I don't think Monroe is much of a risk).
If I was the Rockets drafting at #13, however, I would take Aldrich over a Whiteside instantly since Aldrich can immediately contribute to a team that has aspirations of contending next year.
In some situations, I agree with tli232 in that you are better off just going for potential, but only to a certain point. I personally give Whiteside about 0.005% chance of achieving his "potential" and not just flaming out of the league in a couple years, so if it is a decision between him and someone who I know will be around for a while or trading the pick for a reliable role player then I make the trade or the safe pick.
Everybody seems to be underestimating Aldrich. He could be more than a role-player.
At the worst, what do you get with Aldrich? A stud defensive player, who plays hard, plays smart, rebounds, sets screens, and protects the paint. That's worth a starting position on a lot of teams.
But he is a good passer, has a nice touch (awkward form) on his shot and a developing post game. You can point to his 11 PPG average, but if you watched him play, you would see that his teammates didn't look for him enough. In the right system Cole Aldrich could be an all-star. He isn't as skilled as guys like Kaman and Bogut were when they were coming out of college, but Aldrich could average 15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks a game in the NBA.
And for the record, if you have ever watched Aldrich play then you would know that he is more athletic than his combine numbers indicate. I dare you to find me one intelligent user on this site who would disagree with that.