Scouts, agents, fans and media constantly tend to overhype young players coming out of college or overseas, seeing a lot of potential in them but expecting way too much further than what they can actually provide in the basketball court.
And even though some of those overhyped players actually wind up being pretty good, some of them seem to fall behind in the race, either due to lack of playing time, injuries, changes in the coaching staff or merely because they weren’t that good to begin with.
Gladly for most of them, we’ve seen some late bloomers make it in the Association, and even though they’re looking like busts or average players at this point, they still got plenty of time to turn things around and prove their true potential.
So today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 guys we still believe that can become stars, but they better get it going pretty soon.
Stanley Johnson looked like a major stud during the early going in summer league and preseason, but he’s been horrid in both ends of the hardwood every time the team has to play for real, struggling to contain opposing players despite supposedly being a terrific defender with a huge wingspan.
And when it comes to scoring, Stanley has been even worse, shooting just over 36% from the floor and 28% from deep, and he hasn’t shown much sign of improvement. Averaging 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, he better get things going soon, or he’ll have to settle with a handful of minutes and being constantly traded for spare parts.
It’s still pretty early, but Kris Dunn is looking way more like Kris Done right now. The former Providence star has gotten off to a very slow start of his career, mostly because he had to share touches with Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones, and now because he lost his starting spot with the Bulls due to an offseason injury.
Dunn has the kind of talent to become a poor man’s Russell Westbrook, being strong, fast and extremely athletic. Still, he’s got to take way more care of the ball as one of the most turnover-prone young players in the league. Furthermore, when he finds some consistency with his shot (he’s a 39% career shooter), he can become an elite scorer for the young Bulls.
Also known as “The Eraser” for his top-notch ability to swat shots and protect the rim, Nerlens Noel hasn’t been able to prove his outstanding rim protection abilities in the NBA, as he was the lone “tradeable” big man in the Sixers roster to make place for standout prospect Joel Embiid, and Rick Carlisle just doesn’t trust him enough.
Noel is an elite defender with a very high ceiling, but constant injuries and whining about playing time have really taken a toll on his overall development. This season, he’s averaging a career-low 13 minutes and averaging just 4 points and 4 boards, and he definitely needs to get the hell out of Dallas if he wants to become the star we all thought he would be.
Chandler Parsons was having the best time of his career when he decided to join the Memphis Grizzlies, signing a very lucrative deal that he hasn't’ been able to live up to due to constant nagging pains and injuries that have kept him on a minute restriction and constant DNPs.
Parsons has been a no-show ever since recovering from his injuries and he’s been relegated to a substitute role. Nevertheless, a team wanting to tank and give him a shot should definitely look forward to, as it seems like he just needs more time to get his confidence back, and his home crowd booing him definitely won’t help with that.
Alex Len’s clock is ticking and now that he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and that Greg Monroe’s in town, he better turn things around any moment soon if he doesn’t want to wind up as one of the Plumlee brothers at best.
Len was a major beast during his Maryland College tenure, but he hasn’t been able to be as productive for a Phoenix Suns team that has given him a very long leash. Still, he’s got what it takes to be a very dominant big man, but with the league constantly leaning towards small ball, he’s got a crucial season ahead of him.
Back in the day, we all saw Noah Vonleh like a young and rough Chris Bosh that would become an elite scorer and rebounder in the league, but it’s looking more and more like we were all terribly mistaken with him and that he’s going to be just another bust.
Gladly for him, he’s getting over 20 minutes per game now with the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers, so there’s still some hope for him. Thus, his career averages of 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds on 44% from the floor and 29% from deep have been extremely poor so far.
It would be extremely unfair with Kyle Anderson if we blamed him for how little he’s shown so far through his career, as he’s been a “victim” of the San Antonio Spurs system, and even though he’s not getting enough playing time, he’s been quite productive in the Spurs kind of way.
“Slowmo” looked like a future star during his time in college but has struggled to find consistency due to the lack of touches he’s gotten on offense. Still, he looks like a very smart player, a committed defender and rebounder, posting averages of over 11 points, 3 dimes and 8 boards per 36 minutes so far.
Buddy Hield has to be one of the major busts we’ve seen in the last couple of years, as we all thought of him as a young James Harden during his college stint and hasn’t even been able to hold onto his starting spot in a struggling Sacramento Kings team.
Hield has been streaky at best and even though he’s shown some glances of a great scoring talent and vast offensive repertoire, he’s been mightily inconsistent and a complete mess on the defensive end of the floor, averaging roughly 11 points per game despite being one of the most hyped prospects of the last couple of years.
Dion Waiters is his own enemy, and when he’s more focused playing than talking, he’s one of the most fierce scorers you’ll find in the hardwood, being even called “Kobe Wade” during his early years out of the high ceiling the shooting guard had.
Now, he’s the Miami Heat’s third scoring option behind Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, and he’s got the kind of skillset to carry a load of an offense by himself. Still, until he improves his shot selection and overall decision making, he’s going to be stucked as an average 15 point per game scorer.
Even though Jason Kidd has recently trusted him with the starting center spot and he’s clearly ahead of John Henson in the rotation, the lack of playing time Thon Maker has gotten so far (averaging roughly 18 minutes per night) have really taken a toll in what we all expected out of him.
Still, his skillset make him an elite young center for modern NBA, being long, athletic, a good defender and even having range. Nonetheless, his averages per 36 minutes hasn’t been much impressive, posting the average of just over 7 boards and 12 points per game with 1.6 blocks.