Which Top 5 Draft Selection Will Be a Bust?


The 2017 NBA Draft class was loaded with talent this year. From No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, even all the way to 38th pick Jordan Bell; this draft class just might’ve been one for the ages.

Unfortunately, there will be inevitable busts in every NBA draft. Over the course of the NBA’s very existence, as important as it is to have a top 5 pick in the draft, you’re never really guaranteed a future star.

Heck, you’re not even guaranteed a star at No. 1, just ask the teams who decided to draft Kwame Brown, Anthony Bennett and Michael Olowokandi.

No draft class up to date has ever had all 5 top picks become All-Stars.

Dating from 1980-2015, this is each picks odds to become an All-Star.

No. 1 pick: 28 out of 36 (77%)

No. 2 pick: 12 out of 36 (33%)

No. 3 pick: 18 out of 36 (50%)

No. 4 pick: 10 out of 36 (28%)

No. 5 pick: 11 out of 36 (31%)

According to statistics, Lonzo Ball has a better chance of becoming a bust than Markelle Fultz & Jayson Tatum.

Every draft is different though, some drafts have had only one of the five become All-Stars like 2012 (Anthony Davis), while others have had all but one make an All-Star appearance like 2003 (Dario Milicic).

So regardless of how talented this draft class is, at the bare minimum, one of these top five picks is bound to become a bust. Analyzing their situations and production in summer league play, here’s how the top five picks of this draft’s odds are to become a bust.

No. 1 Pick: Markelle Fultz

Bleacher Report

SL Stats: 20 PPG – 3 APG – 46.9% FG

College Stats: 23.2 PPG – 5.9 APG – 47.6% FG

The player that was viewed as the “most NBA ready” is hard to count on as a “bust.” He’s shown in all of his summer league play that he’s ready to help shape this newly impressive Sixers team into a playoff roster. His team may have the brightest future in the NBA behind the Timberwolves, who’s future, after acquiring Jimmy Butler & Jeff Teague, is now.

Fultz just may be the best pure scorer in this draft, he has shown why he’s predicted to become an 18 point per game caliber player right away. He isn’t the greatest distributor at the point guard position, but he still found a way to average six assists per game in his freshmen year at Washington.

Although he doesn’t need to necessarily be an elite passer with SF Ben Simmons alongside him in the starting lineup, it may give him a stronger case as a potential bust with these other four extremely talented rookies in his class not relying on one aspect of the game … not to mention Fultz has already been hit by the injury bug in Philadelphia.

No. 2 Pick: Lonzo Ball

SB Nation

SL Stats: 16.3 PPG – 9.3 APG – 38.2% FG

College Stats: 14.6 PPG – 7.6 APG – 55.1% FG

The most anticipated rookie since The Chosen One, Lonzo Ball has yet to disappoint with his overall play in college or in the NBA.

Ball had a rough start in his first summer league game, shooting 2-15 FG; but outside of that game, Ball has not only lived up to the hype, but went above and beyond.

His first triple-double was something never done in summer league history, followed by his most impressive game up to date with 36 points (26 in second half), 8 rebounds and 11 assists.

But that wasn’t it … Ball went on to grab another triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds & 12 assists. Earning record breaking audiences in the summer league, as well as pandemonium from them every time he had the ball in his hands.

It’s tough to imagine Ball as a bust, even with all of the pressure on his back from fans and his father LaVar, he has delivered. Lonzo’s summer league MVP is a perfect example of that, along with the fact that he is built with more skill than unpredictability, despite history of number two picks, Ball just may have the smallest chance of becoming a bust.

No. 3 Pick: Jayson Tatum

CBS Boston

SL Stats: 18.7 PPG – 9.7 RPG – 46.8% FG

College Stats: 16.8 PPG – 7.3 RPG – 45.2% FG

Jayson Tatum has been everything the Boston Celtics could’ve dreamt of when swapping their first pick for the third pick.

Not only has Tatum looked even more dangerous out of college, but he looks like the perfect asset to add to this Celtics one seeded roster that just added another All-Star to their lineup.

With Coach Brad Stevens being a guy who doesn’t see positions anymore, just ballhandlers, wings and big men, Tatum is perfect for their scheme this year. The Celtics lacked scoring last season, as Isaiah Thomas was their number one option and only option on offense, Tatum, similar to Fultz, brings an NBA ready scoring ability that could give Boston 15-18 points a night.

Seeing that Tatum is in a similar position to Darko Milicic in 2003 (being drafted by a real playoff contender), the only difference is Jayson will actually bring consistent results to this team, as his natural scoring ability will keep his spot on that roster regardless of changes in the future.

Jayson Tatum’s chances at becoming a bust are slim to none, seeing how phenomenal he already is. In about 3-4 years, he could become the face of this franchise and see, not only multiple Eastern Conference Finals appearances, but multiple NBA Finals appearances; especially with LeBron James considering leaving Cleveland next season and headed to the Western Conference.

No. 4 Pick: Josh Jackson


SL Stats: 17.4 PPG – 9.2 RPG – 42.5% FG

College Stats: 16.3 PPG – 7.4 RPG – 51.3% FG

Another player put into a perfect situation with an even bigger upside, Josh Jackson will give Devin Booker the perfect wingman to help build a foundation with him in Phoenix.

Jackson has been looked at as one of the best two-way players in the NBA draft. He is as consistent as they come, and although his results on the offensive side of the court won’t look as promising as Jayson Tatum’s will right away; being on a team where he can get a lot of shots this year, as well as the possibility of Eric Bledsoe being dealt to Cleveland, it’ll only increase the chances of Jackson’s development to come drastically fast.

He couldn’t have been drafted to a team more fit for his style of play. The young Phoenix Suns will see great results from Jackson this year and should expect for him to make even bigger strides his sophomore year with some experience under his belt.

No. 5 Pick: De’Aaron Fox

Sactown Royalty

SL Stats: 11.8 PPG – 3 APG – 44.4% FG

College Stats: 16.7 PPG – 4.6 APG – 47.8% FG

De’Aaron Fox is one of the only players on this list with summer league stats that aren’t improvements from his college production. Regardless of averages, stats can be deceiving at times, because Fox played some great basketball in July.

His development will come quickly, as he will be alongside sophomore Buddy Hield and other young talents such as Willie Cauley-Stein, Justin Jackson and Skal Labissiere.

Fox is in the same development spot that John Wall was coming out of college. With great court vision and scoring ability, his jumper is the main component he needs to become more consistent at. In that aspect, he’s already ahead of where Wall was at this point in his basketball career.

De’Aaron Fox has a great chance at becoming rookie of the year once the season is over, and he’ll also be given the green light all season long to show out for the Sacramento Kings.

So in conclusion:

It’s a long shot to call right now who will be the odd man out of these five promising talents. Given their teams, they’re all in ideal situations to succeed in the future and make their marks in the NBA this season.

The only downfall about any of these players is the possibility of Markelle Fultz being an injury prone player like his teammates, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Fultz suffered a knee injury in college, causing him to miss 5 of his last 7 games. Now, going down in just his second Vegas summer league game and never stepping on the court again, it’s frightening for Philadelphia to imagine they could have another rookie miss some time throughout their first season.

Markelle Fultz will bring some phenomenal gameplay to Philly, but if he can’t stay healthy … it could be a case of him becoming a Greg Oden-like bust, where he isn’t a bad player on the court, he just rarely spends any time on the court due to his fragile body.

Highest Bust Potential: Markelle Fultz




About Juwan M. Davis

Editor/Writer for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Living in Los Angeles. Minnesota Timberwolves fan. Twitter: @JuwanMalikDavis

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