Players Taken in the 2020 NBA Draft That Will Be Busts
The 2020 NBA Draft is barely a day old, and I can’t stop thinking about all of the over-hyped players that are going to be terrible at the next level.
Maybe that’s just the pessimist in me, but for some reason, I can’t overlook players that were overdrafted or placed in bad situations.
There are certainly some players in the 2020 NBA Draft that will be superstars, but most of them will not. In fact, many will be out of the league in a few years, others won’t ever play in The Association at all, and the lucky ones will hang around for good-but-not-amazing careers.
A few stars will linger, and there’s a chance a handful can be truly special.
The NBA Draft isn’t about finding those rock solid prospects, usually. It probably should be, but when you draft guys solely on potential – something so intangible and fleeting – you really never know how or where you’re going to land.
That’s why the world demands that I look at the four players from the 2020 NBA Draft who will be busts.
You can’t bet on the NBA Draft this year anymore, but maybe you can bet on how these guys and their teams perform going forward. Newsflash; I don’t think it goes great.
Anthony Edwards, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Starting off my list of potential 2020 NBA Draft busts is understandably the top pick in the draft, Anthony Edwards.
A third of the NBA called about the no. 1 pick, but the Wolves ultimately couldn’t pass on Anthony Edwards. @JonathanTjarks goes behind the scenes to examine Minnesota’s draft-night decision and the months leading up to it: https://t.co/jvrruDv8CH— The Ringer (@ringer) November 19, 2020
From a talent perspective, Edwards was very clearly in contention to go first all along. However, as good of an athlete and natural scorer as he is, there are some serious red flags.
The biggest, to me, is that he didn’t really elevate his Georgia Bulldogs in his lone season of college ball. I’m not exactly sure why that’s a huge knock for someone like Cole Anthony, yet Edwards and his squad went 16-16 on the year and 5-13 in the SEC.
Not only did Edwards not make enough of a difference to make Georgia a winner, but he had a litany of poor showings – specifically against some of the better teams he faced.
Oh, and he shot 29% from long range and turned the ball over 2.7 times per game, while converting just 2.8 assists per game. None of this is good.
To make matters worse, he made a comment about not liking basketball.
Maybe that was taken out of context, but it raised eyebrows. And his college production can’t be taken out of context.
Now this dude has major expectations ahead of him, and he’s on a perennial loser that comes off as a bit dysfunctional. Is he more Dwayne Wade, or more Andre Wiggins? I think it’s quite possible it could be the latter.
Patrick Williams, SF, Chicago Bulls
This pick was such a reach for the Chicago Bulls. It was so bad that the GM had to vocally defend it.
That probably goes without saying this high in the lottery, but with quite a few other prospects that felt more like “sure things” snagging Williams at 4th overall felt like a gaffe.
Why? Because the kid didn’t even average 10 points per game in his only season of college ball. Williams has the size, athleticism, length, and skill-set to be special.
The problem is it never fully materialized with the Seminoles. His lack of production suggests Florida State really did just keep things balanced, or he just wasn’t capable of carrying a full load on his own.
Williams doesn’t have a good assist-to-turnover ratio, he only shot 32% from long range, and he never started a game.
Can the Bulls be certain that he can develop into a star that carries his team? I don’t see how they could. Do they even know that he’s going to be a reliable role player that can consistently hit from long range and be a starter? It’s tough to say.
Williams could still be everything the Bulls think he’ll be. But he hasn’t proven anything even at the college level, and Chicago drafted him purely based on athletic traits and untapped upside.
That’s a dangerous game, and it’ll be interesting just how long he gets to develop into who the Bulls expect him to be.
Isaac Okoro, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Another big reach was Okoro. Cleveland owned the fifth pick in the draft, and much like Chicago, opted for something other than what was perceived to be the best players available.
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl was on the ESPN broadcast singing praises for his former player, and he said all the stuff you want to hear. Okoro has the size, strength, length, and athleticism to be a force at the next level, and per Pearl, his work ethic and tenacity are second to none.
Auburn HC Bruce Pearl said SF Isaac Okoro, who is about to become a millionaire tomorrow night, was on campus this offseason not only training for the NBA Draft — he was taking classes.— Justin Ferguson (@JFergusonAU) November 17, 2020
That’s good, because Okoro has a lot of work to do to match the hype of being the fifth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
I’m not saying Okoro isn’t talented, but this draft position is all about his athleticism and intangibles translating into stardom. The numbers don’t really suggest it, though, as he averaged just 12.9 points per game, and he did most of his damage off the ball.
It’s clear that Okoro will be a factor on the defensive end in the NBA, so he may very well leave his mark on that side of the floor alone. However, there are real questions about whether he can take on a major scoring role, while even his floor spacing (28.6% from three), free throw shooting, and ball control are all a bit worrisome.
Volume could be Okoro’s saving grace on offense in the end, but how does he fit with this current rendition of the Bulls?
He could be fine if he’s not asked to do too much offensively, but if the Cavs think they landed a two-way superstar, they may have another thing coming.
Payton Pritchard, PG, Boston Celtics
I actually really like Pritchard’s game. He is a tenacious defender, a cerebral playmaker, and a very underrated shooter.
There is even very real optimism about his next level impact.
What are the Celtics getting in Payton Pritchard? https://t.co/DxYr8ATyUB— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) November 19, 2020
The problem is he has the athleticism and skill-set that allows players to thrive in college basketball. However, that same athleticism and size doesn’t normally project as well when it comes to playing in the NBA.
The fundamentals are there for Pritchard to carve out a plenty fine professional playing career, and Pritchard admittedly showed growth in his final season at Oregon. But he doesn’t really have a star quality, and he would have been better served being taken in round two.
That’s where I projected him, and even though I literally vouched for him as a sleeper that could push to be taken in round one, now that he’s here, I find myself underwhelmed.
In Boston, Pritchard faces a bit of a hike to get to any kind of relevancy. Kemba Walker is still there, while guys like Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford, Brad Wanamaker, and even Carsen Edwards all exist.
Where is the clear path to minutes? And if/when Pritchard gets his chance, will he have the appropriate role, and will his lack of high-end athleticism be his undoing?
The issue is he was a first rounder, so there are expectations now. Had Pritchard been an underdog tale, I’d have seen his prospects to be a bit more inviting. In this case, he’ll likely be a bust.
There will probably be a lot more busts from the 2020 NBA Draft than this. These four players stand out the most to me as likely NBA Draft busts, though.
Edwards has a lot more red flags than anyone apparently cares to admit. He’s also going to an organization that has been stuck in a rut for years. If he couldn’t elevate Georgia, why should we be so quick to believe he’ll change things for the T’Wolves?
I’m also not very high on Patrick Williams or Isaac Okoro. I get the interest. They have immense upside, they have good size, they defend, and they’re terrific athletes.
However, neither is really a proven commodity on offense, they may have spacing issues, and the college production just wasn’t there. That isn’t always a death sentence (just look at Russell Westbrook), but it’s not usually great as a starting point.
Lastly, I honestly like Payton Pritchard, and I hope I’m proven wrong.
Heck, I want to be wrong about every potential bust every single time. But Pritchard especially was probably overdrafted, and he may not have the size, length, or athleticism to live up to his draft status.
Overall, these four players from the 2020 NBA Draft are going to be busts in my eyes. Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree, and I’d love to hear about other potential busts you’re concerned about.
For a more positive outlook on players selected in this year’s draft, here are some that I think will be superstars.