In a draft that we actually really like a number of the top prospects, there will obviously be a few players that fail to live up to expectations. On Thursday we took a look at 5 underrated prospects. Here are 5 prospects who we feel are overrated. This list is not five players who we think will be busts, as a few of these guys are good bets to be solid pros. But for where they are being projected to be drafted, we feel they are overrated.
Aaron Gordon, PF Arizona
The Aaron Gordon mythical hype train continues to gather momentum. The athletic testing environment was Gordon’ sanctuary and he tested brilliantly: 39’ max vertical, 10.81 lane agility and 2.76 shuttle run. he also played in the perfect system, Arizona’s, to showcase his strengths and mask his weaknesses. He’s an elite level leaper and covers ground quickly. But comparisons to a Blake Griffin/Shawn Marion hybrid are out of control. He’s 6’9 220 (6’11 wingspan) with a narrow frame, it’s questionable just how much bulk he can add without decreasing his mobility, not to mention his limited overall skill level. Playing fast is Gordon’s calling card, but his inability to “slow down” on his jumpshot and his subsequent lack of touch are crippling. He’s an undersized 4-man with extraordinary defensive potential behind a filled out frame. He also showed surprising passing ability. Gordon is still only 18 and the youngest player in the draft, which has added to the media intrigue. He’s extremely focused and will probably end up being a solid role player, but is that worthy of a top 8-10 pick in such a strong draft?
Dante Exum, SG/PG Australia
The East Melbourne product is a legitimate top-5 talent and extremely difficult to pass on due to his potential; however, garnering consideration at #2 to Milwaukee is a pipedream. Exum stood up to the challenge at the U19 World Championships, but all in all he’s a relatively untested commodity against projectable competition. Scouts are split on his ultimate on-court role. While he undoubtedly displays PG traits, there’s a monumental difference between playing an unselfish brand of ball and running an NBA team. At 6’6 he produced the 2nd best time in the lane agility drill (10.75) and a posted a top-10 ¾ court sprint (3.19). He’s a devastating penetrator with both speed and quickness to spare. But can he keep defenses honest by developing a reliable jumpshot? Does he possess the toughness to penetrate and finish against contact, and consistently utilize his first step?
Nik Stauskas, SG Michigan
I suppose it’s a matter of organizational preference: does a shooting specialist – a role player – warrant lottery consideration? He’s expanded his off-the-dribble variety (and overall mentality) while showing flashes of playmaking aptitude off the pick and roll. With that said, it remains highly questionable whether those skills will translate. Stauskas lacks foot speed and he’ll need to be protected guarding on the perimeter in the league. His shot is a thing of beauty, but speeding up the release on catch and shoot is an area for improvement.
Tyler Ennis, PG Syracuse
Intangibles CHECK, intelligence CHECK, pacing CHECK, team orchestration CHECK. No one evaluating Ennis will deny his old school, winning style is captivating. They also won’t deny that he’s athletically limited and his upside is tapered. Ennis recorded a 36’ max vertical at the combine, but this type of finishing explosion was not present on his collegiate game tape. He’s excellent at changing paces off the P&R, but comes up short in terms of extended quickness and speed. Ennis doesn’t possess that “push me over the top” weapon. The eye test isn’t his ally. Winning basketball games is.
Adreian Payne, PF Michigan State
Filling NCAA Tournament box scores often results in a player being over-projected, and that appears to be the case with Payne in 2014. Payne missed the draft combine with mono, and it’s unfortunate because his vertical leap and lane to lane agility would have further entranced his suitors. At 6’10, he lacks refinement or assertiveness in the post. And while he’s an excellent run/jump athlete, his explosiveness is blunted in the half court setting. Payne’ standout attribute is his shooting ability, as he was arguably the nation’s most effective floor stretcher last season. Landing with a contender in the late first round would be optimal for role allocation and appropriate usage.