10 types of boom-or-bust NBA prospects and their 2015 draft hypotheticals

The Wingspan Guy
Methodology: "Length" is one of the biggest buzzwords in all of basketball these days, and for good reason. Rim protectors are at a huge premium right now, to the point that many teams will be willing to take a chance on a player with major question marks in hopes they can find someone who can anchor their defense.
Best Case: Rudy Gobert (No. 27 pick, 7-8½ wingspan)
Worst Case: Sean Williams (No. 17 pick, 7-5 wingspan)
2015 Case:
Robert Upshaw (Projected No. 25 pick, 7-5½ wingspan)

The Skinny Stretch-4 European Lotto Pick
Methodology: Tall, mobile, skilled power forwards are all the rage right now, and Europe is as good a place to find them as any. Unfortunately many perimeter oriented big men find a home behind the 3-point line because they simply aren't tough enough to battle inside, and once they make it to the NBA, they have a difficult time adapting and become defensive and rebounding liabilities.
Best Case: Dirk Nowitzki
Worst Case: Andrea Bargnani
2015 Case: Kristaps Porzingis

The Tantalizing Underachiever
Methodology: He certainly looks the part, but sure didn't play like it in college. Was it because of his youth? His team's system? Or is he simply not very good? NBA teams are usually happy to swing for the fences to try and find out, in hopes of finding a star in a place where role players usually get picked.
Best Case: Paul George (NCAA freshman season PER: 20.8)
Worst Case:
Anthony Randolph (NCAA freshman season PER: 23.1)
2015 Case: Kelly Oubre (NCAA freshman season PER: 21.6)

The Small-School Darling
Methodology: He feasted on players who dream of playing pro ball in the minor leagues of Scandinavia, torching the nets in far-flung locations NBA GMs aren't used to visiting. But can you ignore the productivity, just because he wasn't good enough to be recruited by Duke out of high school?
Best Case: Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry
Worst Case: Jimmer Fredette
2015 Case: Cameron Payne

Duke's Tyus Jones helped his draft stock with his performance in the Final Four. (AP)
Duke's Tyus Jones helped his draft stock with his performance in the Final Four. (AP)

The March Madness Hero


Methodology: No one considered him a lottery pick until the NCAA tournament rolled around, at which point he saw his stock skyrocket after some unforgettable performances. Does he have the clutch gene, or did he just happen to have the best games of his life at the exact right moment?
Best Case:Dwayne Wade (No. 5 pick, 2003)
Worst Case:Patrick O'Bryant (No. 9 pick, 2006)
2015 Case:Tyus Jones

Two Years Away From Being Two Years Away
Methodology: Too young to dismiss outright, too raw to see playing time anytime soon (we think?), and where did I put that fourth division game he played where he scored 40 against a band of little people? I hope my international scouts are right on this one…
Best Case: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Second division Greece, Greek junior league, 2013, No. 15 pick)
Worst Case: Yaroslav Korolev (Russian junior league, 2005, No. 12 pick)
2015 Case: George de Paula (Brazilian junior league, 6-6 PG, 7-0 wingspan)

Weren't You Too Old For College?
Methodology: He was a pretty average player until his mid-20s, when the light bulb finally came on and he figured out how to have his way against teenagers. Is he a late bloomer, or just a man beating up on children?
Best Case: Taj Gibson (23.8 on NBA draft night, 2009 No. 26 pick)
Worst Case: Rafael Araujo (23.6 on NBA draft night, 2004 No. 8 pick)
2015 Case: Rakeem Christmas (23.5 on NBA draft night)

Straight From the Hospital
Methodology: There's no question he has talent, but he was injured half the season, can't work out for us, and who knows what kind of rookie season he'll be able to have? But how much higher would he have gone with another year in school?
Best Case: Nerlens Noel
Worst Case: Anthony Bennett
2015 Case: Chris McCullough

The Prototype Project PF
Methodology:
He's exactly what my coaches are telling me we need at the 4-spot, but hopefully I'll still have my job in five years when we find out if he panned out. Good luck finding this kind of player in free agency, but do we really have the patience to wait?
Best Case:
Amir Johnson
Worst Case:
Earl Clark
2015 Case:
Christian Wood

Will he Bring It Every Night?
Methodology: When he was on, he looked like an NBA All-Star. But when he wasn't, I'm not sure how productive he'd even be in the D-League. Was he simply bored in college, and will that huge wad of cash burning a hole in his pocket help him figure it out?
Best Case: Andre Drummond (22.2 college PER)
Worst Case: Charlie Villanueva (22.8 college PER)
2015 Case: Willie Cauley-Stein (23.7 college PER)

More NBA draft coverage: