The 2013 NBA draft is now squarely in the rear-view, making this an ideal time to evaluate the picks and make some predictions on how these rookies will fare during the 2013-14 campaign.
While some prospects landed in ideal situations and will likely thrive during their first NBA season, others weren’t as fortunate and are projected to struggle over the same span.
Let’s take a look at that latter group and highlight three prospects that are in for a rough year.
Kelly Olynyk, PF, Boston Celtics
The Celtics pulled the trigger on a full-scale rebuilding effort right in the middle of the draft, trading Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans and three first-round picks.
That deal jettisoned the last key remaining members of the club’s 2008 championship run, and injured All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo’s future in Boston is now murky.
In the midst of all this, general manager Danny Ainge found the time to work out a deal with the Dallas Mavericks and acquired Olynyk with the No. 13 overall selection.
With KG out of the picture, the sweet shooting seven-footer will definitely be able to log minutes during the upcoming season. However, anyone thinking he will be able to replicate a fraction of the Big Ticket’s production and heart is in for a rude awakening.
Olynyk is a specialized player that will thrive on a good team, helping to extend the defense by knocking down open jumpers out to the three-point line or catching the ball in the high post then driving to the basket.
On a directionless squad that is expected to bottom out and compete for a top lottery pick, the Gonzaga product is going to have a hard time making himself useful.
Solomon Hill, SF, Indiana Pacers
The Pacers made the head-scratching decision to select Hill with the No. 23 overall pick, grabbing a prospect that wasn’t expected to come off the board until the second round at the earliest.
Now the Arizona swingman is going to have trouble even finding minutes and trying to prove the doubters wrong, as the wing position is the deepest on the roster in Indiana.
Superstars like George Hill and Danny Granger have a stranglehold on the majority of minutes, while Lance Stephenson and Gerald Green are capable of logging efficient minutes off the bench.
Although Green has fallen out of favor, the veteran still represents more efficient, effective time on the court for a contending team compared to an unproven rookie.
This organization must have seen something special in Hill, as this selection looks nothing short of ridiculous on paper, and it’s hard to picture a scenario in which the young man will make a real impact.
Steven Adams, C, Oklahoma City Thunder
After playing just one year of collegiate ball at Pittsburgh, Adams made the somewhat head-scratching decision to turn professional.
While the New Zealand native was able to cash in by coming off the board in the lottery at No. 12, he’s going to have a hard time adapting to the speed and skill of the opposition in the big leagues.
At 7’0", 255 pounds, Adams has the size to guard the top centers in one-on-one situations—a large reason why GM Sam Presti drafted him—but he’s going to have a rough time adapting to the pure quickness of penetrating guards and variety of crafty moves that veterans will throw at him in the low post.
Fortunately, a loaded roster in OKC means that Adams won’t be out on the court often—barring injury. The 19-year-old just isn’t ready and has to improve his awareness and footwork before he’ll be able to make his mark on the defensive end.
As for offense, the Kiwi needs to get in the gym and put in serious hours every single day to develop into something respectable on that end.
Either way, he’s at least a year away from making a difference for the Thunder.