#3 – Drafting for potential rather than experience
Why they do it: Because open air is better than a closed ceiling. How many times do we see teams go with a kid that might be good rather than a player who already is undeniably reliable? Usually, the "potential" guys that succeed are the ones that pretty much everybody agrees on. The ones with a considerably smaller success rate are the "hope-so" guys, and that's where the problem lies. You're probably not going to strike out with LeBron James over anybody else in that amazing 2003 draft, for example, but in 2001 when three of the top four players were high schoolers, we saw a lot of faith poured into young guys when plenty of proven college studs were available. It gets teams into trouble more often than it saves them.
Case in point: Jonathan Bender (Toronto, 5th pick in 1999 draft ahead of Richard Hamilton, Andre Miller, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, and more), Kwame Brown, Tyson Chandler, and Eddy Curry (1st, 2nd, and 4th picks in 2001 draft ahead of Jason Richardson, Shane Battier, Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, and more), Shaun Livingston (LAC, 4th pick in the 2004 draft ahead of Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala), Marvin Williams (Atlanta, 2nd pick in 2005 draft ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams).
This draft's potential culprit: Brandon Knight over Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette.
You could say the same thing about Kyrie Irving, who's even more unproven than Knight in some ways, but Knight is a young, rail-thin point guard that teams hope will grow into something special, where Walker and Fredette have already proven what they can do over and over again.