2020 NBA Draft
(Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports)

There are always busts. The 2020 NBA Draft will be no different. Some teams made head-scratching selections with their first-round picks, taking players who probably would have been available much later in the draft. Here is a look at five draftees who, for one reason or another, should be on bust watch.

Anthony Edwards

Being drafted first overall automatically puts you on bust watch, perhaps unfairly. Anthony Edwards was never a runaway favorite for the first pick as Zion Williamson was last year, and he didn’t help his case with the comments he made before the draft.

Edwards is an inefficient volume scorer and poor defender. He joins D’Angelo Russell, another volume scorer and below-average defender. Minnesota won 19 games last season, and Edwards isn’t the guy to turn that ship completely around for them. He might end up thriving there and turning into a respectable talent, but the current system suggests otherwise.

Killian Hayes

If you watched Vendetta’s 2020 NBA Draft livestream, you know how many of us feel about Killian Hayes. It should be alarming to everyone how much hype he generated out of nowhere in the weeks leading up to draft night. My most likely scenario for Hayes is an Elfrid Payton-type who is a nifty passer and plays some defense, but doesn’t do much beyond that. I’ve watched his film, and there was nothing there to suggest that he’ll be a next-level talent in the NBA.

It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would be drafted in the top 10, but the Pistons also had Tyrese Haliburton and Deni Avdija on the board at pick No. 7. Drafting Killian Hayes was always going to be a risky play, but it is even riskier for a Detroit team that has needs at every position.

Isaiah Stewart

Sorry Detroit fans, but the Pistons followed up one questionable pick with another at No. 16. Stewart was a highly-rated prospect coming out of high school, but taking a 6’9″ traditional center just outside the lottery is a puzzling decision.

Stewart is a good rebounder and solid interior presence, but he doesn’t have a consistent outside shot and is pretty heavy. This will hurt both spacing and pace when Stewart is on the floor. If he gets a little more conditioned, he could be an asset, but the NBA is moving away from players like Stewart who would have been sought after five years ago. The only way to survive as a five in today’s NBA is to be an insanely good rebounder (Stewart isn’t quite there) or be able to stretch the floor (Stewart isn’t a reliable shooter yet).

Overall, this was another really questionable pick by Detroit. Isaiah Stewart definitely would have been available much later in the draft, and his high selection puts him on bust watch.

Aleksej Pokusevski

Pokusevski was an intriguing pick that I gave a B- to at the time. Sam Presti is building the Thunder back from the ground up, and Pokusevski is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect. He needs to fill out his frame and refine a lot of areas of his game to be a legitimate NBA player. Poku is probably a few years away from being a few years away. He’s certainly a project.

Although he’s a promising shooter and passer, a lot of things need to go right here for the Thunder to get what they want. It’s not the worst thing in the world since they have a billion first-round picks over the next decade, but there were a few prospects on the board who would have been safer picks.

Patrick Williams

This was just a bad, bad pick. Most people had Williams going in the late lottery to mid-first round. Jeremy Rinaldi had him at 28th on the Vendetta Big Board for a reason, and it’s because there’s nothing to suggest Patrick Williams is a top five player in the 2020 NBA Draft. With wings like Isaac Okoro and Deni Avdija on the board, I don’t know how Chicago justified reaching for this pick.

Williams is a good defender and decent shooter who could wind up being a good rotational piece. Franchise cornerstone? I very much doubt that. It’s almost impossible to critically evaluate this pick because of how ridiculous it is. The Bulls don’t have better intel on these players than any other NBA team. Williams wasn’t even the best Florida State player in the draft. He should have been picked in the first round for sure, but he shouldn’t have gone in the top five. BIG Bust Watch.


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