Will the Next Top NBA Draft Pick be a Success or Bust?


Will the Next Top NBA Draft Pick be a Success or Bust?


The NBA draft is approaching and the leading players from the college game along with hopefuls from international leagues will be aiming to make the grade at the highest level. There are a number of strong candidates to be selected first overall, but Cade Cunningham has established himself as the leading contender to be taken in the top spot. The power forward excelled in the Big 12 for the Oklahoma State Sooners.

The draft order has yet to be completed, but the Houston Rockets are in prime position after finishing the 2020/21 season with the worst record in the NBA. The Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder also have a great opportunity to snatch the first-overall pick, although there is no guarantee that will lead to success.

There have been great college players that have failed to make the grade in the NBA after being taken first overall. When considering a wager on a college basketball it wouldn't be necessary to consult an NCAA basketball guide to know that Cunningham was by far one of the most talented players on the court in the college game and likely to be the favourite to top score in the contest.

However, the standard from college to the NBA can be great. Although Cunningham is highly rated, it will be fascinating to see whether his career turns around like either of these two players, who represent the value and the bust potential of the first-overall pick in the recent history of the NBA draft.

Zion Williamson

Zion was arguably the most intriguing prospect to emerge out of the college game since LeBron James. He was sensational during his one season at Duke in 2018, averaging 22.6 points per game. Every team in the NBA was desperate to get their hands on Zion when he declared for the draft. The New Orleans Pelicans were the lucky outfit to secure the number-one overall pick in the 2019 draft and acquired the services of Zion.

zion williamson

After missing a portion of his rookie season due to injury, Zion has been a revelation for the Pelicans. The 21-year-old averaged 27 points per game in his second term, and was named as an All-Star for the first time due to his exploits. Although a deep playoff run has eluded Zion and the Pelicans yet, it should only be a matter of time before New Orleans find their stride in the Western Conference with the forward as their driving force.

Anthony Bennett

If Zion is the perfect example of hitting on the first-overall pick, then Bennett is the example of what can go wrong. Due to their struggles after the departure of LeBron, the Cleveland Cavaliers secured the top spot in the 2013 draft through the lottery. Bennett had a bright career at the University of Nevada, and all the signs pointed to him being a success in the NBA.

As a result, the Cavs used the first-overall pick to acquire Bennett. Unfortunately for Bennett and the Cavs, he was completely ineffectual on the court in the NBA. He failed to start a game in his rookie season, making all of his 52 appearances off the bench. Bennett averaged 4.2 points per game and three rebounds along with .3 assists. The Cavs cut their losses after only one season by trading Bennett away in a three-team deal that resulted in acquiring Kevin Love. Bennett washed out of the NBA after four seasons, each with a different team. To rub salt into the wound, Cleveland like so many other sides missed out on the chance to draft Giannis Antetokounmpo by selecting Bennett.

That selection more than most proves the difficulty in drafting players out of the NCAA. Cunningham or one of the other leading contenders could be the next great, or he could be the next bust.