Tuesday , Nov , 25 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Three Men with Draft Expectations

Three Men with Draft ExpectationsThere are always players who defy expectations. And there are always players who can’t live up to them, thus becoming hated among the fanbase. The list below features three big men who have yet to live up to the expectations of where they were picked in the NBA draft.

Andrea Bargnani– The number one pick overall in the 2006 draft. Expectations have been high for Bargnani, who is a 7-footer who seems to have a love affair with the three point line. Andrea had a productive rookie season, but seemed to have regressed in his sophomore campaign. Things may shake out in a positive direction with Andrea’s start this season.

So far, so good this year for Bargnani shooting the ball. Shooting 50% from the field, and 47% from three. With Andrea shooting the ball so well, I’m hoping he’ll use that as a opportunity to put the ball on the floor and attack the defense. Bargnani has been trying to grow comfortable around the basket, as is normal for guys his size. For Andrea it’s a process, knowing it’s not the strongest part of his game, knowing he has to crawl before he walks.

Keys to Production

-Staying aggressive(Don’t settle too much, put the ball on the floor thus keeping defenders on their heels.)

-Sam Mitchell believes Bargnani can defend enough to play the three. I don’t know about that.  Not only could it put Andrea in foul trouble, but also JO and Bosh, or any other help defender for that matter.

Andrew Bogut– The number one pick in the 2005 draft. Bogut was billed as a potential game-breaking offensive center with above-average passing ability. A beast down on the block is definitely what we haven’t seen. Granted, it’s not that he hasn’t been productive, averaging 9ppg and 7 rpg in his rookie year, 12 and 9 in his second, and 14 and 10 last year. Last year’s production got current Bucks GM John Hammond to give Bogut a 5-year, 76-million-dollar deal. No, that’s not a risk at all…Just imagine if this guy was drafted in New York.

Now if you’re saying to yourself…

 "He had his best season last year when it comes to numbers.  With that being said, he may be destined for that jump to the next level"

Sure, that could be a fair point. But since we’re already into the season, albeit early season, we’ll take a look at the numbers so far. After sixteen games,Bogut’s scoring is down at 11.4, but I’ll give him credit with hitting the boards, where he’s pulling down roughly 11 a game. But remember, this kid is a number-one pick; he wasn’t picked number one overall to just rebound. Bucks fans agree, lots seem to be down on him.

Keys To Production

-Staying in shape. Bogut has never been the most athletic guy on the floor. But when he’s been in his best shape, he’s had quicker feet, thus being a better help-side and weak-side defender . This year he’s only averaging 1 block per game, to go along with averaging 4 fouls per game. Yeah….that’s not a good sign.

-I know Milwaukee has legit scorers in Redd and now Jefferson, but give the 78-million-dollar man the ball, and let him fail so he can possibly succeed in the future. Is there any other way?

Emeka Okafor– The number two overall pick of the 2004 NBA draft. I remember multiple media outlets making this guy out to be the next Alonzo Mourning. Okafor’s career has evolved into one of a defensive guy. A very good one albeit playing center when he should be the 4 man.

What got on my nerves about this guy was that he thinks he’s on the level of Dwight Howard. I mean with all due respect, who is telling you that you’re on his level? The closest thing between the two is their draft slot. It sounds like an insult, but isn’t because I don’t consider Howard to be even human. Once again, I respect Okafor’s game for what it is, but it’s just not on Howard’s level, nor any other offensive/defensive star big man. Of course that didn’t stop Rod Higgins from signing Emeka to a six-year, 72-million-dollar deal. Let me know how that works out, because I keep hearing Chris Kaman talk after the disgrace of not drafting Brook Lopez.

Keys to Production

-A trade for Chris Kaman would move Okafor to his natural 4 position. It would be beneficial for Okafor’s calling card…Defense, where he sometimes lacks size at 6’10.

-More extensive post repertoire. Needs to improve his footwork in the post. It would serve Okafor well to develop the ability to be ambidextrous around the basket. But in all honesty, it doesn’t seem as if Okafor can grow much more offensively.

I would have put Kwame Brown in, but I didn’t want to waste my time.

Who out of the three has the best chance of becoming a big-time producer in the NBA? Let us know in the comments box below.