Sports Illustrated came out with this little article right before the draft and it features some fan favorites.
Risk vs. Reward
Alex Len, Maryland
Upside scenario: His ankle not only heals properly but the rest of both feet are also dipped in reinforced titanium. Maryland’s point guards actually were as bad as everyone claims and Len was injured for far longer than he’s letting on, which explains his mediocre stats. He gets stronger and adds a couple of post counter-moves while still maintaining his nifty footwork and solid hands. In a league where Dwight Howard is still one of the best big men around with a giant fork in his back, Len becomes an All-Star-caliber center for a decade.
Downside scenario: The stress fracture is just the first sign that the 7-foot Ukrainian isn’t going to be healthy enough to even see if he can get good enough. NBA big men routinely bang him out of position on the block and back him down at will. Len starts getting compared to other big men who had mediocre numbers and left school early. Maryland’s point guards end up with better NBA careers.
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Upside scenario: Those who chuckled at comparisons to a young Dwyane Wade and Michael Jordan during the season stop laughing. Oladipo’s improved outside shooting isn’t a mirage. He gets tighter with the ball when he has it and makes you get looser when you have it. He finds three more levels of improvement and is easily the best player in this draft.
Downside scenario: Those who chuckled at comparisons to a young Dwyane Wade and Michael Jordan during the season can’t stop laughing. He’s unmasked as a sloppy ball handler who can’t shoot well enough to open up driving lanes. He can’t play either guard spot effectively. Ben McLemore ends up as an All-Star.
Anthony Bennett, UNLV
Upside scenario: He’s such the second coming of Larry Johnson that Converse gives him his own commercial campaign. He stays in good shape, learns to play defense at a pro level and uses his tweener status to terrorize opposing coaches who don’t have a big man who can check him on the perimeter or in transition. Canadian basketball hails a supporting star to go with Andrew Wiggins, makes the Olympics.
Downside scenario: He’s such the second coming of Derrick Williams that Timberwolves fans break out in hives at the mere mention of Bennett’s name. He’s limited to being a slightly-too-heavy volume shooter whose best role is in spurts off the bench because he can’t defend anyone. Canadian basketball elects to clone Andrew Wiggins, but loses to Haiti anyway.
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Upside scenario: He continues to outwork people, his perimeter shooting continues to be there and he becomes a lethal binge scorer. He actually tries to defend someone and make a pass every now and again. Adidas is vindicated. Ben Howland is vindicated. His sister, Asia, wins Wimbledon.
Downside scenario: He’s exposed as a limited one-note scorer with no right hand. He plods along as a grumpy, low-efficiency shooter who is a walking negative plus/minus. Ben Howland is implicated. Adidas starts sending him pairs of Nikes. His sister draws Serena Williams in every WTA tournament for which she qualifies.