Sometimes NBA draft picks don’t work out for the team that drafts them.
There is a litany of reasons why that could happen, but it may just be the wrong fit.
Certain prospects may just need a change of scenery to fully develop into the player they can be.
Markelle Fultz is a good example.
After being selected first overall in the 2017 draft, Fultz struggled mightily with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Physical injuries and some potential mental blocks seemed to have Fultz on the path to being a bust.
He was traded to the Orlando Magic after two seasons and is beginning to show some promise.
BREAKING: Markelle Fultz has been traded to the Orlando Magic, via ESPN.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) February 7, 2019
Fultz averaged 7.7 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds across 21 minutes per game with the Sixers.
With Orlando, he has averaged 12.2 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.3 rebounds across 28 minutes per game.
Fultz also boosted his shooting percentage from 41.4 percent to 45.7 percent and has attempted 1.4 more threes per contest.
He may never live up to his billing as a first overall pick, but the new organization seems to be helping Fultz develop.
These two players from the 2020 NBA Draft may be traded this year to hopefully get the same bump.
2. Jalen Smith
Jalen Smith was a bit of a stretch going No. 10 overall back when he was drafted in 2020.
After years of despair, there was finally hope in the core of Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges.
Phoenix had some good guards and wings but lacked depth in the frontcourt.
Hence the selection of the 6-foot-10 forward out of Maryland in Smith, who had displayed excellent shot-blocking instincts in college and enough offense to paint an image of what he could become.
So far, Smith has not progressed.
He appeared in 27 games last season, averaging 2.0 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.2 blocks per game.
Smith received little playing time, which was no fault of his own as Phoenix added Jae Crowder and Torrey Craig and were in win-now mode.
Smith has continued to receive little playing time this year as he is still fairly raw and the Suns are looking to make another title run.
The Suns have gauged trade interest around the league on former No. 10 overall pick Jalen Smith, per @JakeLFischer.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) August 10, 2021
He has received interest from teams and the Suns are interested in finding a deal.
It should only be a matter of time until the springy forward is shipped out.
1. James Wiseman
Next, we have the second overall pick from the 2020 draft class, James Wiseman.
Wiseman had a promising rookie season before being shut down due to tearing his meniscus in his right knee.
The 7-foot big man appeared in 39 games, 27 of which were starts, averaging 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks.
He had his flaws but overall flashed enough potential to prove he warranted the high draft slot.
But the Warriors cannot wait for him to develop into the player he can be.
They need players who can contribute right now to help Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson win another ring.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) June 29, 2021
All three franchise cornerstones are older than 30 and Klay is coming back from ACL and Achilles injuries.
Golden State is off to a scorching hot 25-6 start and needs to capitalize on this championship while it is still open.
Wiseman has been involved in trade rumors since the night he was drafted.
Don’t be surprised if he is finally included in a trade this season.