NBA Players Who Need Big Seasons to Shake Off the Bust Label|
The NBA is a sport beloved by millions around the world, and a big reason why is the star status of its players. The league is ripe with rising young talent, and everyone loves watching and wagering on the best young players. Sports betting in Ontario took off when Scottie Barnes won Rookie of the Year for the Raptors, and rising talent can cause huge excitement. On the flip side, young players underperforming is a huge concern and can devastate franchises.
There are several young players who are heavily at risk of receiving the bust label from fans and bettors alike. However, the verdict is not out, and these players can still turn things around. Let's look at some players who need big seasons to remove their bust potential.
James Wiseman was the second overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2020 NBA Draft, and his career has not gone to expectations. He is already on his second team and will look to revive his career with the Detroit Pistons. Wiseman has all the physical tools as a seven-footer with elite athleticism. However, he hasn't been able to put it all together. There is something of a big man logjam in Detroit, but Wiseman can still fill the stat sheet.
Jalen Suggs was declared a future lead guard after being selected with the fifth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft out of Gonzaga. In two years, he hasn’t shown that upside. He is shooting 38% from the field and 27% from three for his career, numbers that are shocking considering his perceived solid shooting ability exiting the draft. Suggs has shown that he is a committed defender and solid passer, but he needs to display more than that. The Magic's backcourt is crowded, but if he performs well, he could take the reins as the lead point guard he was expected to be leaving college.
The Bulls desperately need Patrick Williams to reach the star upside he was supposed to have after being drafted fourth overall in 2020 out of Florida State. Williams was considered a lockdown defender and great shooter, and he has shown those traits in Chicago. But there was also hope he could develop into a player who creates their own offense and blossoms into more than just a role player. So far, that hasn’t happened. Williams still has value, so calling him a bust isn’t fair. But he needs to grow his game to justify the Bulls’ investment.
Davion Mitchell was drafted into a crowded backcourt in Sacramento largely for his on-ball defensive tenacity. And he has shown those chops that made him the ninth pick in the 2021 Draft. But his minutes fell heavily in his second season as the Kings got more competitive, and he is at risk of losing his opportunity to become a starting guard for the team that drafted him. De'Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, and Malik Monk all receive more minutes for Sacrament. But Mitchell still has a ton of talent. His shooting numbers climbed last year, although his scoring dropped.
Cleveland had a vision when they selected Isaac Okoro with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Okoro was considered a top three-and-D prospect out of Auburn, but there were hints of greater upside. Those hints have not been fulfilled thus far. Okoro has mostly been a catch-and-shoot player with not much of an in-between game. He has been solid as a defender, and the three-pointer has started to fall, but he is no longer a staple in Cleveland’s starting lineup. A big year with improved creation would change the narrative around Okoro.