Talented players are coming out of college ranks this season, but after injuries are they worth the risk?
This debate certainly isn’t brand new to NBA circles, as analysts have tried to figure the answer to this question since the beginning of assessing talent for sports. Each side to the argument certainly has its share of success (or failure) stories, each one being vastly different and not having very much in common with its peers.
Despite this, NBA teams seem willing to take the risk every single draft season. In the case of Philadelphia with Joel Embiid, it happened to work out. In the case of Markelle Fultz… Not so much.
Every case seems to be vastly different. Because of this, I will take this golden opportunity to write to you all about two NBA prospects in this season’s draft who came off of very serious injuries and evaluate whether they will be worth the risk of drafting high in June.
C Bol Bol, Oregon
Want to talk about a physical freak on the court? Lets discuss what the 7’2″ center out of Oregon can bring to the table. Son of Manute Bol, Bol Bol is a point guard essentially in a giants body. His reach is ridiculous, standing at 9’6″ with both of his arms extended fully. It doesn’t take much for Bol to slam home a basket or block a shot on the defensive side. As if that isn’t enough, in nine games of action last season, Bol averaged 21 points per game, shot 52% from beyond the 3 point line, and blocked 2.7 shots per game.
Now, for the bad news.
One thing that shows clearly on tape is the fact that Bol isn’t as quick or as fast as you would like him to be. Despite shooting 52% from behind the arc, he ended up shooting only 56% total. He struggles to finish at the basket at times, against far lesser talent.
Bol suffered a very rare type of an injury, a navicular fracture in his left foot. The navicle is essentially the wrist for your foot. By fracturing this bone, it pretty much immobilizes the patient for six weeks before they can start rehabbing to return to sports.
Remember how i mentioned Joel Embiid earlier in this article? This was the injury that he suffered. Embiid ended up suffering from other complications, but his recovery process took two years before he was able to continue playing basketball. Other notable players who have suffered this injury are Brook Lopez, Yao Ming and Quincy Pondexter.
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Is Bol worth it?
Bol seems to be well into the recovery track from this injury and will probably be ready to go opening day. I would say that yes, Bol is worth it, because of his sheer size he can be a role player immediately on most lottery teams across the NBA.
PG Darius Garland, Vanderbilt
Billed as a highly regarded prospect, listed top 5 overall on both ESPN.com and CBSSports.com, Darius Garland is a balanced guard who brings a good skillset to both sides of the ball.
Garland is arguably the best shooter in the group, hitting better percentages from beyond the arc than anyone in the guard positional group (47.8%). He’s quick, agile and very smart, often times crafting his way through a defense to set up a good shot.
The bad side to his report is most importantly size. As much as it sucks to say, Garland is a toothpick. Standing at 6’2″ and 175 lbs, he needs to put muscle onto his frame before he will be taken seriously at the next level. He doesn’t pass the ball around as much as one would expect, only averaging 2.6 assists per game. Lastly, his release on his shot is very low and is potentially problematic. Because of his lack of size already, his shot doesnt need to be any lower.
Garland suffered very early in the season a meniscus injury in his left knee that required surgery. While this is a common injury, especially to people who play basketball, what is quite uncommon is that surgery is required to fix it.
Garlands condition may be more serious then his camp is leading onto… Unless of course the surgery was a precautionary measure. However, Garland has been rehabbing his knee, and that allows doubt to get into the mind. Will he come back full strength? Is he capable of doing so? Many questions still remain.
Is Garland worth it?
After seeing his tape, it leaves me with two questions that end up crossing paths with one another. Will his shooting skills translate over to the NBA? Will he return to full strength on that bad knee or will it give him problems for the rest of his career?
Garland is the epitome of a “high risk, high reward” player. If we get the prospect that we saw at Vanderbilt on the court, he will be worth a lottery pick for. However, if I am the GM having to make the call, I don’t take him.
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