There are mistakes made in every draft class. There are also steals that happen. Some drafts are total misses and sometimes, it is tough to find a bust. Each and every draft has them though. For the busts, it's hard because sometimes it is out of their hands. It could be injuries just plague them, or the fit just isn't right. For example, a team with four centers, should not draft a center and expect him to be great. Yet it happens every year. This year, the Clippers already had 5 guards on their roster and still drafted 2 more guards who do not exactly fit their current team scheme. Back in 2009, the Timberwolves drafted three point guards in the first round. Unsurprisingly, that didn't work out.
As for the steals, they can come in many shapes and forms. They could have just been overlooked for talent that they thought was better. They have avoided major injuries and were able to flourish in the environments they were drafted into. Sometimes other players leaving or getting injured forced players to get good quickly. Two examples could be made from this past season. If Gordon Hayward did not leave the Utah Jazz in free agency, then Donovan Mitchell would not have had the number of touches he was given and would not have looked nearly as good in his rookie season. It's the same thing in Boston. If Hayward doesn't get hurt opening night, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum do not get to show the world what they have. So here is the list of the biggest draft steals and bust since the 2010 draft.
20 2010: Bust - Evan Turner
Evan Turner is the closest thing to a bust from the 2010 draft. Taken at the number 2 selection, he just has not lived up to the expectations of a 2nd overall draft pick. He has averaged more than 10 points only 3 times in his career and he is on his 4th team in that amount of time. He is not a go-to scorer or a lockdown defender. He is a guy who has stayed mostly injury free and is still looking to have a breakout season.
Now maybe the situation in Portland is just not the best for him. Playing alongside ball-dominant players in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can be quite taxing so he could just not have enough touches to really show off what he can do. As of now, he is a bust.
19 2010: Steal - Paul George
Paul George could have almost ended his career. After he broke his leg in half in the summer of 2014 while trying out for the Olympics team, many believed he would not come back to play and if he did he would not even be half the player he was when he left. To everyone's surprise, except perhaps his own, he came back better. He has had his best three seasons since returning from that injury. He has since been traded to OKC and he was second in the league in steals. George is without a doubt the biggest steal from the draft.
18 2011: Bust - Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely was quite the bust in this draft. After being selected 6th overall in this draft, there were high expectations he was going to bring over the potential he showed in the EuroLeague. Unfortunately, he was never able to develop into a dynamic player.
He never averaged more than 5 points or rebounds a game. He only played four seasons in the NBA.
In his first 2 seasons, he played in 108 games out of the possible 164. In his last two seasons, he only appeared in 54 games. Vesley was taken before Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Isaiah Thomas.
17 2011: Steal - Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi is without a doubt the steal of this draft. Some people would say that it's Isaiah Thomas, as he was the last pick, but Isaiah really only had two great seasons where he enjoyed All-Star appearances in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The real steal was Kawhi at 11th overall. He has earned many accolades. He won Finals MVP in 2014, has 2 All-Star appearances, 2 All-NBA first team selections, but most importantly he won back-to-back defensive player of the year awards. His future remains questionable, with his quad and the current drama going on in San Antonio, but he is arguably the best player in this draft.
16 2012: Bust - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the bust from this draft. Other notable players taken in the top-5 after him include Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond. Kidd-Gilchrist has only averaged more than 10 points a game for two seasons and missed an entire season due to injury. There are certain expectations that come with the 2nd overall pick. He has yet to reach those, but some say he still has time to reach those lofty expectations. Gilchrist is on an interesting roster in Charlotte. They do have some good players, but it looks like they are going to be heading for a rebuild.
15 2012: Steal - Draymond Green
Draymond Green is one of the biggest steals in recent memory. He is a 3x champion, 3x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 4x All-Defensive team, and he won Defensive player of the year while being the steals leader. It does not matter if you care for him or not, he is a great player.
He actually remembers all 33 players who were taken ahead of him.
That just shows you the drive and determination that he has in order to be the best at his craft. Although it feels as though he has fallen off a bit this year, he is still a steal for where they took him in the draft.
14 2013: Bust - Anthony Bennett
Anthony Bennett is just a bust. There is no other way around it. He was selected 1st in what is considered to be one of the worst drafts in decades. Bennett has not played more than one season with any team. Most of his time in the NBA has been in the G-League. That is astounding because he is one of only two people to ever be selected number one overall and still get sent to the G-League. He is just not a good basketball player.
To be fair, no major scout said he was a good player but the Cavs had their man and went after him all the same. They missed out on Victor Oladipo, who was just one pick away and everyone missed on Giannis Antetokounmpo.
13 2013: Steal - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis is the Greek Freak and that name is well deserved. He has really upped everything about his game. He won most improved player in 2017 and it was almost unanimous. He also has 2 All-Star appearances, 2 All-NBA selection, and an All-Defensive second.
Players taken before him without a single All-Star appearance include; Shabazz Muhammad, Kelly Olynk, Steven Adams, Michael Carter-Williams, C.J. McCollum, Trey Burke, Kendavious Caldwell-Pope, Ben McLemore, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Cody Zeller, Otto Porter Jr., and of course Anthony Bennett. He is without a doubt the best player in the draft and will be an MVP in a matter of time.
12 2014: Bust - Dante Exum
Dante Exum was supposed to be so much more than he actually was. He has suffered many injuries in his career which has made him have less than a career that he could have had. After suffering a torn ACL in international play, he had knee surgery and had to miss the entire season. Later on, he received shoulder surgery and missed almost the entire season, playing in a mere 14 games.
In all his pro seasons, he has yet to average 10 points.
That's not the production you expect from a 5th overall pick. Perhaps he can come back healthy next season and prove his critics wrong, but right now, he's a bust.
11 2014: Steal - Clint Capela
He has just gotten better every year in the league. He was in the G-League and got a lot of DNP's his first year. He actually played in more postseason games (17) than regular season games (12). The next year he was leaned on a lot more and upped his games played to 77 while starting 35 of them. He was injured a bit the next year and but still started in almost every game. This year he played and started in 74 games and led the league in field goal percentage. Capela is going to be around for a while and got a well-deserved five-year extension with the Houston Rockets this summer.
10 2015: Bust - Jahlil Okafor
Okafor had a good rookie season in the league and he has been bad ever since. His numbers have dropped across the board in all three subsequent seasons. He finished 5th overall in rookie of the year voting and that is as close as he will ever come to winning an award.
After Joel Embiid came into the picture, his role became reduced and he could not handle that diminished role and still produce.
He played in fewer games and was eventually traded to the Nets. He has not gotten a lot of time in Brooklyn to play because he was so far out of basketball shape that the head coach could not play him. He is without a doubt the biggest bust from this draft to date.
9 2015: Steal - Devin Booker
Devin Booker is without a doubt the steal from this draft. He once scored 70 points in a game. He will be on an All-Star team for several years to come. He has all the talent in the world to be a superstar in the league. With Josh Jackson and recently drafted Deandre Ayton, this should be a sleeper team to make the playoffs. Teams would have killed to have drafted him to be their shooting guard of the future. He is able to take the brunt of the criticism and should be seen as a danger to teams in the west. Watch out for the Suns to be real championship contenders in a few years.
8 2016: Bust - Dragan Bender
Dragan Bender is the perfect example of a foreign player who just has not worked out. The Suns drafted him in hopes they were getting the next Kristaps Porzingis when instead it looks like they are getting more of a Jan Vesley.
His numbers did go up from his first year to his second year, but it was not enough to remove him from bust status.
He is only averaging 6.4 points a game with 4.4 rebounds a game. He was able to play in all 82 games but he only started in 37 of them. Bender is no Porzingis, but he could still improve shortly. Perhaps with the Suns having a better lineup, Bender can thrive in a bench role down the line.
7 2016: Steal - Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon is one of two Rookie of the Year winners from his draft class. The other was Ben Simmons (albeit the following year). In his rookie season he averaged 10.4 points with 4.2 assists.
He beat out Dario Saric, who played well, but not good enough, and Joel Embiid, who only played 31 NBA games in four years.
Brogdon also improved in his sophomore season but not nearly as much as the other two players. Regardless, any time you can draft a player in the second round and they win rookie of the year, you have yourself a steal.
6 2017: Bust - Markelle Fultz
Markelle Fultz is the obvious bust from this draft class and there are multiple reasons why. We can start with his games played. He only played in 14 games and started none 0f them. In those 14 games, he averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Another issue is that the 76ers traded up in the draft in order to get him when he still would have been available at number 3. They passed up the best player in the draft and future picks for Fultz. The biggest issue is that he seems to have the yips. It was so big that he injured his shoulder and forgot how to shoot the basketball.
5 2017: Steal - Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell is the clear steal from this draft. He took his team to the playoffs when they were expected to be contenders for the first overall pick.
When Rudy Gobert went down with injury, Donovan Mitchell stepped up and led his team all the way to a surprise playoff appearance.
He averaged 20.5 points with 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He finished second in the voting for rookie of the year behind Ben Simmons. On top of all that, the Jazz literally stole him from the Nuggets. The Nuggets decided to trade back in the draft and ended up with two players who obviously don't equal the value of Mitchell.
4 2018 Predictions: Bust - Trae Young
Trae Young is going to be the worst player in the top 10 from this year. The odds are stacked against him and he has not yet shown he knows how to fight back against them. He did still lead all college players in scoring and assists which bodes well for him, but there are some red flags to consider. His production really fell off toward the end of the season and he still has not bounced back. With the Hawks trading Dennis Schroder this offseason, he's not going to have much talent to work with around him. The Hawks really haven't put him in a good situation.
3 2018: Steal - Jalen Brunson
Jalen Brunson fell all the way to the second round. He is going to be the steal of the draft though. He is a special talent who helped Villanova win a championship. He also won the college Player of the Year award.
Brunson should be considered a threat at all times as he was the leading scorer on the Villanova championship team.
He was also drafted into an ideal spot. The Dallas Mavericks are looking to be competitive this season, he could be a major factor in this. With Dennis Smith Jr running things and Luka Doncic getting the pressure on them for being selected so high, he has an opportunity to just develop, come off the bench and produce.
2 2018: Bust - Miles Bridges
Miles Bridges is heading to the Charlotte Hornets at just about the worst possible time. The team is clearly on the verge of heading to another rebuild. It's only a matter of time before Kemba Walker leaves Charlotte, either through a trade, or leaving in free agency the second he gets a chance. Bridges also has several players he'll have to beat out to get some playing time with Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb, Marvin Williams, Michael-Kidd Gilchrist, and Cody Zeller all ahead of him. He may be able to have some success later on in his career, but it won't come in Charlotte.
1 2018: Steal - Donte DiVincenzo
Donte DiVincenzo only had one great game in March Madness and chose to capitalize on that notoriety by declaring for the 2018 draft. It was a bit risky for the Bucks to take him, but they landed him at 17th overall, so it'll be a risk worth taking. He quickly soared up draft boards throughout the spring, due to his impressive character and wowing scouts at the NBA combine. He has Eric Bledsoe starting ahead of him, but when DiVincenzo comes off the bench, he should be able to produce threes and will get ample opportunities to succeed in Milwaukee.