The 2017 NBA is less than 24 hours away, and this class has the potential to be a strong one. With a number of talented players who will have the opportunity to make immediate impacts in the NBA and develop into major contributors in the future. That being said, every draft has a few land mines who are probably valued a bit higher than they really should be. Last year’s overrated list featured: Henry Ellenson and Wade Baldwin. Let’s take a look at a few players who for various reasons are a bit overrated:
OG Anunoby, PF, Indiana
Anunoby received a green room invite, and was the last of 20 players selected to be a part of Thursday’s NBA draft presentation at the Barclay’s Center in NYC. He’s generated a lot of hype due his length, athleticism and potential as a defender. After a disappointing start to his sophomore year, in which he struggled to answer the criticisms about his game, he tore his ACL and then mysteriously opted to enter the draft. There has been a lot made of his potential on the defensive end with his 7’2.25" wingspan, strength, and lateral foot speed. However, analytics experts have graded his sophomore season out as just average defensively. He had a very impressive performance as freshman in the tournament when he effectively defended Jamal Murray out on the perimeter in the round of 32, creating a great deal of internet buzz and anticipation for his sophomore season (after a 4.9 ppg. FR year). A report surfaced a year ago that he had a 7’6 wingspan, but that turned out erroneous. His 44% 3 point shooting as a freshman (13-29 on the year) also created a lot of anticipation of what he could become. In what was supposed to be a breakout season, Anunoby failed to deliver on those expectations and did little to ease concerns about his limitations and feel for the game. He’s young, turning just 20 in July, and he possesses a very solid 7’2.25 wingspan, a muscular frame and some impressive ally oop dunk highlights. So there is obviously room for optimism.
But after two years in college, his ability to create shots, basic spacing on both ends and ability to play within the flow of the offense has drawn a lot of criticism among scouts. His jumpshot actually has excellent mechanics, the problem is that he struggles to get quality looks. He connects at a high rate in shooting drills, but was very inconsistent this season for Indiana. If his 56 % FT shooting and 31% 3PT shooting aren’t cause for concern, his per 40 minute averages of just 17.6 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game are underwhelming for a sophomore that was supposed to have a breakout season. Apologists love his versatility to play either forward position, but is he really skilled enough to play on the perimeter? He is very limited as a ball handler and shot creator, so he will need his jumper to come around if he wants to be an offensive threat outside of finishing at the rim. After having surgery for the ACL injury, there are teams that have medically red flagged him as concerns still exist with the knee following the procedure. Similar to a player like Kevon Looney (hip), who ended up going late in the first round of the 2015 draft, Anunoby has great length and medical concerns along with an unproven skill set.
Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA
Anigbogu’s NBA role will be pretty clear. He has been mentioned as a guy that could be selected as high as mid-first round, exclusively for his athleticism and rim protection. He is an athletic 252 pounds with a mammoth 7-6 wingspan, which allows him to dominate the paint defensively and be an effective finisher around the basket. However, he could have definitely used another year to develop after playing just 13 minutes per game as a freshman at UCLA. He does not have any projectable skills offensively at this stage, in fact he has below average hands and fumbles passes away far too often. In today’s NBA game, it will be really hard for him to earn consistent playing time solely as a defensive presence. Anigbogu figures to find himself spending most of his rookie season, and beyond, playing in the D-League before he is ready to step on an NBA court. Concerns with his knees after the release of medical reports to teams, similar to Anunoby, have been mentioned by scouts.
Justin Patton, C, Creighton
Every NBA team knows that Patton is a project that will take time to develop. The upside with him is apparent due to his developing skill set. He has a great set of physical tools at 6-11, 229 pounds, and a 7-3 wingspan. He also has solid mobility for his size and has shown flashes of great offensive versatility from post moves, ball handling, passing, and shooting. However, Patton’s lack of great speed and athleticism plus toughness make him a high-risk player. He does not rebound at a high rate, and he is still incredibly raw without any specific skill. He is projected to be selected anywhere from the late lottery to mid first round, but this may be a bit too high, considering he may not possess the upside to truly blossom into a highly productive NBA player.
Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona
Markkanen drew inevitable comparisons to Kristaps Porzingis with his dominant shooting early in the college basketball season. He is quite possibly the top shooter in the entire draft at 7-feet. He even showed some ability to take opponents off the dribble and get to the rim, and has good body balance for a 7-footer. But the big question marks surround his lack of foot speed, defensive ability and a frame that appears to have maxed out its ability to carry weight. He does not have an advanced post game, even for a seven-footer, and goes out of his way to avoid contact. He also plays smaller than his size, and does not rebound the ball at a high rate, offering virtually no rim protection. It is fair to ask what else he can provide to an NBA team other than shooting? If nothing else, he could still be an effective stretch-four man off the bench, but this definitely does not warrant top 7-10 pick, as many have him graded out.
The 2017 Draft Class (After Pick 10)
This year’s draft has been billed up as one of the deepest and best in recent memory, but in reality it’s only strong between picks 4-10 in relation to most drafts. The typical draft has a clear cut #1 or top two picks and then a few upside guys but generally a major drop off after the top 3-4, but this year that is not the case as the parity in the top 6 or so picks is apparent and then after the next 4-5 there is a significant drop off and the late first is actually rather weak. The #1 pick also is not as can’t miss as in a lot of years as Fultz as intriguing of an offensive prospect as he is, has some real concerns related to his lack of winning in both college and high school.