Year in and year out, NBA scouts and fans tend to give a lot of praise to young ballers that are set to take the best league in the world, constantly ignoring their flaws or weak spots and just bragging about how dominant they’re set to be from day one.
This goes on for months and months, and with how closely scouts are following high school prospects as well, it lasts for over a year in some cases, creating a lot of expectations over these young men and their future.
More often than not, players don’t end up being nearly half as good as everybody expected, while just a handful of guys wind up even exceeding their expectations. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 most hyped NBA prospects of this century.
Honorable Mentions: Yao Ming, Dwight Howard
10. Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin was supposed to become the most dominant two-way power forward in the league for years to come, as he was perhaps the strongest, most athletic and explosive player in the nation during his NCAA stint at Oklahoma.
Injuries have taken a toll on Griffin’s explosiveness and he doesn’t posterize defenders as often as he did through the first years of his career, not to mention that his defense isn’t top-tier down low either. Still, he’s had a solid career so far, getting 5 All-Star nods and winning the Rookie of the Year.
9. Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins has to be by far the most overhyped young man of the past decade, as he was supposed to be something of the likes of the second coming of LeBron James, but he has miserably failed to replicate the individual success he had as a member of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Wiggins’ defense has regressed a lot and he tends to hide during key stretches of games, but even though, he’s set to have a decent career as an athletic scorer and finisher, although he’s never going to be half as good as everybody expected him to be.
8. Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown was supposed to be the next great scorer, and Michael Jordan trusted him with the 1st overall pick of the 2001 Draft in order to rebuild the Washington Wizards around him but instead, he winds up completely destroying the confidence of a young man that was a major bust.
Brown didn’t record any significant accolades through his NBA career and is mostly remembered for being bullied by both Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, so he’s got that going on for himself, I guess.
7. John Wall
John Wall had a lot of detractors early in his NBA career, as several scouts saw him more as a finisher rather than a pass-first kind of point guard. Needless to say, the risk definitely paid off for the Washington Wizards when they decided to draft him 1st overall in 2010.
Wall has become the Wizards franchise player and the Derrick Rose comparisons he got in college weren’t far from true. He’s become a very good backcourt defender as well as one of the best playmakers and fastest players in the league.
6. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose definitely lived up to the hype throughout the first couple of years of his career, taking the league for assault en route to the Rookie of the Year award and winning the MVP not so long after that, but injuries made him one of the biggest what-ifs in basketball history, up to the point where he struggled to find any takers after being waived by the Jazz.
Rose completely torched every single opposition during his Memphis University tenure, showing glimpses of greatness with his vertiginous speed, change of pace, strength and athleticism, enough reasons to be taken 1st overall in 2008 by his hometown Chicago Bulls.
5. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis’ lone question mark is his durability, as he’s always been kind of injury prone. Still, after being one of the most hyped players of the past decade, it’s pretty safe to say that he’s even exceeded all expectations and some may consider him a top 10 (if not top 5) player in the league right now.
The Unibrow constantly posts MVP caliber seasons but doesn’t get enough credit because of his team’s struggles, but now that he’s finally leading towards playoff success, he’s about to get all the recognition and praise he deserves so much.
4. Darko Milicic
Darko Milicic has to be by far one of the biggest busts in NBA history, being drafted 2nd overall by the Detroit Pistons back then in 2003, one of the most stacked draft classes that also featured Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, to name a few.
Milicic was supposedly going to be something of the likes of Dirk Nowitzki but stronger and more athletic, but he struggled to make an impact in both ends of the hardwood throughout his mediocre NBA career, and he was reportedly spotted in bars taking shots in Eastern Europe not so long ago.
3. Kevin Durant
There were a lot of doubts regarding Kevin Durant’s ability to succeed at an NBA level, mostly because he was so fragile and skinny and people thought he was going to be bullied around by stronger opposition as a tweener scorer on the wings.
Needless to say, they were all wrong, as KD grew to become one of the league’s greatest scorers ever, as well as improving a lot on the defensive end of the floor, up to the point where he can play and guard all 5 spots on the court with great ease. He’s a lock to make the Hall of Fame.
2. Greg Oden
Greg Oden was the consensus number 1 pick back then in 2007, as the big man was an already NBA ready kind of talent with such a physical dominance that most people thought he was something close to the second coming of Shaq, even called a “once in a decade type of player” by none other than Steve Kerr.
Oden definitely tried, and he showed a lot of signs pointing towards actually becoming as good as everybody expected him to be, but constant injuries and nagging pains stopped him from reaching even 10% of his potential, as he barely set foot in the hardwood throughout his failed career.
1. LeBron James
Ever since he tied his laces for the very first time, the whole sports word never stopped talking about the kid from Akron, Ohio; a two-sport standout that was set to dominate the NBA out of the gate, being the 1st overall pick of the 2003 Draft and handed the keys of the car in Cleveland from day one.
There’s not much we can say about James that hasn’t been said before, but even amid all of the hype that surrounded him since he was just a teenager, he was able to be mature enough to focus on improving on a yearly basis and has definitely lived up to the expectations. The lone question mark over his head is his 3-4 record in the Finals, but he will go down as the greatest small forward in the history of the game.