There’s always bad to come with the good, right? Not every rookie can live up to expectations, and some will ultimately end up playing worse than expected, in regards to the pick that they were drafted with. Consider that this doesn’t mean they are automatically a bust, because who is and isn’t a bust is hard to determine, and takes more than one season to figure out. Without further or do, here are three rookies that might disappoint in their inaugural seasons.
Cam Johnson, Phoenix Suns
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I was surprised to see Cam Johnson get drafted 11th overall. Don’t get me wrong, Johnson is a solid player, and he had a good season at UNC, but he is not a lottery talent in my eyes. Johnson is 6-8, 205 lbs, which is very light in relation to his height and other forwards in the NBA. Ultimately, he might not be fast enough for smaller guys, but then strength isn’t really his strong suit which makes him a liability guarding a front court . Those disadvantages will hurt him defensively. He’s a good shooter, but I don’t see any of his other skills developing to a high level, which is not the best situation for a lottery pick. Prove me wrong Cam Johnson, but I just don’t see him turning out to be what the Suns want him to.
Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks
Maybe the name has something to do with it. I’m a fan of Cam Reddish and I still am a fan of him but I just don’t see him turning into the hope that the Hawks had when selecting him with the 10th pick last summer. Reddish, who was supposed to be an efficient scorer at Duke, shot at a 35.6% clip, and it’s hard for a rookie to increase their shooting percentage in their first year in the league. He has a lot of skill offensively, but he is ultimately hurting his team if he is missing a lot of his shots. The NBA is a league for grown men, and the ones who succeed are the ones who put in the work, and that really want to win. It didn’t seem like Cam Reddish had that mentality at Duke. He kind of just floated by as a third option, and didn’t really have a competitive drive for the game. Maybe he changes that, and I hope he develops into a good player, but from what I’ve seen, the chances might be slim.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
I don’t hate Darius Garland, but after going through the top of the draft, he is my third candidate to not reach his expectations. People are excited about the duo with him and Collin Sexton in Cleveland, and I’m excited for it too it will be fun to watch them play together. The issue with them though, is that they both are best with the ball in their hands. With Sexton having a year of experience, it will probably lose touches for Garland, which could make him frustrated, and it will hinder him from playing like the top five pick that he is expected to be. It’s also hard to play well as a rookie point guard in the NBA. I think Ja Morant is NBA ready and will pan out just fine, and Coby White in Chicago looks ready for the spotlight coming out of North Carolina. There’s something in Garland I see, not necessarily a lack of skill, but he might not be quite ready for the NBA in his first year.