On Thursday, we asked Twitter a question. Following a prompt from Celtics Blog, we wanted to know who your biggest busts were: players you thought for sure were headed for stardom but fell way below your expectations.
Friday, though, we asked the reverse. Who were the players you felt were busts that turned in pretty successful NBA careers?
Now, we're doing the reverse! Who did you think would be a bust that turned out to be a solid player, or even a star?— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) August 4, 2017
It’s simple: There’s a lull in the NBA. Free agency is all but over, and aside from pending Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony trades, we have a good idea of what the 30 league rosters will look like next season.
So what better way to kill time than to reminisce about past judgment calls we made that were just flat-out wrong. Here were some of the names you threw around:
A zillion percent Kawhi Leonard and I’m owning that one. https://t.co/S6U2HdCqHd— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) August 4, 2017
When the Spurs sent George Hill to the Pacers for the 15th pick in 2011, most people were confused. Hill was a solid combo guard who gave Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili relief at either back court spot. Why move him for an unproven rookie who, at the time, wasn’t perceived as much more than a perimeter defender?
Today, Kawhi Leonard has an NBA championship and Finals MVP under his belt and has become arguably one of the five best players in the league. He can legitimately defend four of five traditional basketball positions and has developed into an all-world scorer.
Steph Curry. Didn't see the passing, defense, or frame to handle the NBA. Easily the most wrong I've ever been. https://t.co/9kYZw39ST0— Bryant West (@BSWest5) August 4, 2017
Steph Curry— 6'11 (@Sethdiddy) August 4, 2017
Curry was rated a 69 in NBA 2K9. He could shoot the lights out when he got hot, but that was about it. Then the injuries came, and he looked nothing like a top-7 pick.
But then Monta Ellis got traded and the Warriors drafted some talent to put alongside their super shooter. Today, Curry is a two-time MVP, a two-time champ and arguably the greatest shooter to ever touch a basketball.
Isaiah Thomas: even without handcheck rules and with a softer league, I thought his being a zero on defense would keep him off the court.— Will Dickeson (@WillDickeson) August 4, 2017
Sure, Isaiah Thomas went dead-last in the 2011 NBA Draft, but given his stature, the odds were already stacked against him. A few years later, the 5’9 guard became one of the best success stories in the NBA, crashing into giant defenders in the paint or making defenses pay from downtown. And he’s the star of a Boston team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season.
Gordon Hayward— Don (@chewie93) August 4, 2017
i said gordon hayward should stay at butler lol https://t.co/gcV0V20U4V— Whitney Medworth (@its_whitney) August 4, 2017
Hayward was coming off of an exceptional season at Butler, falling just short of winning it all in the National Championship Game. But in a 2010 NBA Draft thought to be loaded with names like John Wall, Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins, Wesley Johnson and Derrick Favors — remember, these guys were STUDS in college — Hayward’s name didn’t stand out from the pack.
Today, Hayward is a max player on the Celtics after making the All-Star team with the Jazz last season. He could be the piece that pushes Boston over the hump.
I was only a kid at the time so it was mostly just Dukie hatred, but: J.J. Redick.— Peter Nygaard (@RetepAdam) August 4, 2017
Definitely JJ Redick...he's turned out to be more than a shooter https://t.co/tky8n47Yur— Bodega J. (@Gym_Jaaames) August 4, 2017
JJ Redick. Thought his nonsense wouldn't work in the NBA but he worked and made himself a player. Jimmer, tho...... https://t.co/NjpeppUXAF— grundlefly (@jerry_eldred) August 4, 2017
The career J.J. Redick has carved out for himself continues to shock me. https://t.co/8z6S1tj4hY— Eric McKay (@EricMcKay_NCN) August 4, 2017
At a time when the three-point shot wasn’t nearly as valued as it is now, J.J. Redick was a specialist. He still is, but his savvy approach to the game has endeared him across the league as one the best veterans to have on a roster: case-in-point — the Sixers gave him $23 million next season to hit threes and mentor their young guys.
DeMar DeRozan!— Adam Voge (@adamvoge) August 4, 2017
I am still slightly confused by the ascension of Demar Derozan to NBA superstar. https://t.co/DMguq5LKqB— David Ray Allen (@davidrallenjr) August 4, 2017
DeRozan was somewhat of a raw talent when he entered the NBA in 2009. He was a freak athlete who used that athleticism to his advantage on both ends of the floor. Now, the Raptors’ guard is the best mid-range shooter in the NBA, one of the league’s best finishers and an All-Star starter.
Kevin Love, a lot.— Steve McPherson (@steventurous) August 4, 2017
Kevin Love— Peter Adultman (@Pete_Volk) August 4, 2017
Loved him in college, thought there was no way his skillset would translate https://t.co/m4kAfH7J3O
Kevin Love spent one season at UCLA as a dominant rebounder, outlet passer and post-scorer with decent range. At the NBA level, he’s been a carbon copy.
I....I didn't think Anthony Davis was gonna be able to score consistently in the league. An all-time bad take https://t.co/mygTiTXcG6— Mikey Hlebasko (@MichaelHlebasko) August 4, 2017
I thought Anthony Davis was going to be a bust. Man, I was wrong!!!! https://t.co/6kM7IC7AIq— Kaleel Weatherly (@KaleelWeatherl1) August 4, 2017
I’m leaving these guys out to dry here, because I’ve got no idea how they thought Anthony Davis wasn’t going to be great. Shoutout to The Brow.
Kemba Walker because I'm a dumbass— Ravis (@SRavi81) August 4, 2017
Kemba Walker— Oleh Kosel (@Redhopeful) August 4, 2017
Kemba Walker is listed at 6’1. At that height in a league that grows every year, it’s easy to count him out. But Cardiac Kemba’s been everything Charlotte imagined and more. Now, they need to get him some help so they can take the next step.
This guy needs a healing
Worst scout ever-I thought Tim Duncan looked soft and too slow in college— Walter Spath (@wfspath) August 4, 2017
Just gonna leave this Tim Duncan tweet right there.
Kristaps because I always count on the Knicks to make bad choices.— Chandler Robertson (@C_WRobertson) August 4, 2017
all Knicks fans w porzing— Brian O'Leary (@Brian_OLeary1) August 4, 2017
KP— myles wᎥsh (@myleswish) August 4, 2017
Kristaps Porzingis— Levy Aninditio ▲ (@Aninditio) August 4, 2017
When the Knicks selected Kristaps Porzingis fourth overall in 2015, Madison Square Garden booed him. But KP turned those boos into cheers by placing second in Rookie of the Year voting then endearing himself as the basketball unicorn ready to take the league by storm.
Hey, even Phil Jackson can get one right ... right?
Devin Booker— shark week disliker (@CowlonFullerton) August 4, 2017
Devin Booker— BostonSports (@NE_sports_only) August 4, 2017
Any pause you may have had regarding Devin Booker kindly exited stage left when he hung 70 points on Boston last season.
I completely missed the mark on Klay Thompson. Not even gonna lie. He shut me up so fast. https://t.co/GySO63Ikz4— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) August 4, 2017
Klay Thompson— Eddie Scissors (@Eddie_Scissors) August 4, 2017
I thought Klay Thompson could shoot it. I had absolutely no idea he could play defense at the level he does now. Mama, there goes that man.