I like this thread... I think overall that the luster is off international players (finally)... it was another fad (kinda like the HS player fad before the age limit)... everyone tries to be smarter than the next GM... and some guys (ahem IT) outsmart themselves... also, being drafted in the top 15 does not mean that you are expected to be a starter Metro... Not picking sides with either camp really... but what constitutes a bust? failing to meet expectations? Failing the league? I think a bust should be any player who was taken when someone more talented was still available...
that being said... I don't think it's fair to call guys a bust who haven't been in the league for at least 5 years (Kobe, KG, JO didn't make an impact right away)... Let's analyze 2003 (international players in bold)...
1 James, LeBronLeBron James* (SF) USA Cleveland Cavaliers St. Vincent - St. Mary High School (Akron, OH) - Kinda disproved the whole age limit thing in the year of its inception
2 Miličić, Darko Darko Miličić (F/C) SCG Detroit Pistons (from Memphis) Hemofarm Vrsac (Serbia and Adriatic League) - BUST Metro's right about his shotblocking, but he's a lazy **** and Larry Brown crushed his ego...
3 Anthony, CarmeloCarmelo Anthony* (SF) USA Denver Nuggets Syracuse - Never missed the playoffs
4 Bosh, ChrisChris Bosh* (F/C) USA Toronto Raptors Georgia Tech - Top 10 PF
5 Wade, DwyaneDwyane Wade* (SG) USA Miami Heat Marquette - Led team to Championship
6 Kaman, Chris Chris Kaman (C) Germany Los Angeles Clippers Central Michigan - Top 15 C
7 Hinrich, Kirk Kirk Hinrich (PG) USA Chicago Bulls Kansas - Had a bad year last season, plays solid defense and can run a team effectively
8 Ford, T.J. T. J. Ford (PG) USA Milwaukee Bucks (from Atlanta) Texas - Being traded doesn't mean you're a bust (billups was traded like 5 times before landing in DET), sometimes, PGs need the right system to thrive (see Nash, Steve)
9 Sweetney, Michael Michael Sweetney (PF) USA New York Knicks Georgetown - HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
10 Hayes, Jarvis Jarvis Hayes (F/G) USA Washington Wizards Georgia - BUST
11 Piétrus, Mickaël Mickaël Piétrus (G/F) FRA Golden State Warriors Pau-Orthez (France) - Had trouble getting off the bench in GS... solid Defender and athleticism at the 2 spot
12 Collison, Nick Nick Collison (PF) USA Seattle SuperSonics Kansas - BUST
13 Banks, Marcus Marcus Banks (PG) USA Memphis Grizzlies (from Houston, traded to Boston) UNLV - BUST
14 Ridnour, Luke Luke Ridnour (PG) USA Seattle SuperSonics (from Milwaukee) Oregon - solid, not spectacular starting PG... would be effective off bench somewhere
15 Gaines, Reece Reece Gaines (F/G) USA Orlando Magic Louisville - BUST
16 Bell, Troy Troy Bell (PG) USA Boston Celtics (traded to Memphis) Boston College - BUST
17 Cabarkapa, Zarko Žarko Čabarkapa (SF) SCG Phoenix Suns Budućnost Podgorica (Serbia and Montenegro and Adriatic League) - BUST
18 West, DavidDavid West* (PF) USA New Orleans Hornets Xavier - Damn near slapped Dirk during the playoffs... a horse
19 Pavlovic, Aleksandar Sasha Pavlović (F/G) SCG Utah Jazz Budućnost Podgorica (Serbia and Montenegro and Adriatic League) - Stereotypical Euro, can score from anywhere, can't defend a photo
20 Jones, Dahntay Dahntay Jones (SG) USA Boston Celtics (from Philadelphia, traded to Memphis) Duke - BUST
21 Diaw, Boris-Riffiod Boris Diaw-Riffiod (SG) FRA Atlanta Hawks (from Indiana) Pau-Orthez (France) - Shriveled last playoffs, but can handle, rebound, pass and score from the 3 or 4 spot
22 Planinić, Zoran Zoran Planinić (G/F) CRO New Jersey Nets Cibona Zagreb (Croatia and Adriatic League) - BUST
23 Outlaw, Travis Travis Outlaw (SF) USA Portland Trail Blazers Starkville HS (Starkville, MS) - started to improve last season with his young Blazer core
24 Cook, Brian Brian Cook (PF) USA Los Angeles Lakers Illinois - BUST
25 Delfino, Carlos Carlos Delfino (SG) ARG Detroit Pistons Unión de Santa Fe (Argentina) - Struggled for minutes in DET before a decent season in TOR
26 Ebi, Ndudi Ndudi Ebi (SF) GBR Minnesota Timberwolves Westbury Christian HS (Houston, TX) - Haven't seen enough of this guy to know either way
27 Perkins, Kendrick Kendrick Perkins (C) USA Memphis Grizzlies (from Sacramento via Orlando, traded to Boston) Ozen HS (Beaumont, TX) - found his grove working alongside KG, PP and Allen
28 Barbosa, Leandro Leandro Barbosa (SG) BRA San Antonio Spurs (traded to Phoenix) Bauru Tilibra (Brazil) - the Brazilian blur... stunk it up last playoffs (like Diaw) former 6th man of the year
29 Howard, JoshJosh Howard* (F/G) USA Dallas Mavericks Wake Forest - my NBA hero... DTown's most versatile and effective player (except last playoffs)
so out of the 9 international players taken (not every international player is European)... only 4 (Pietrus, Diaw, Barbosa, Pavlovic) are not busts after 5 years in the league... 12 of the 20 american players were not busts... 60% of the American first round and 45% of the international players taken in the first round were busts... and this was a DEEP draft... one of the best in the last 20 years...
It doesn't matter where you start off... so much is required to help a player reach his potential... experience coming in... maturity... work ethic... team leadership... expectations... I think if you check draft history, you'll notice a similar trend of 45% success rates for every draft class... or about 25 players from any given draft year will have successful NBA careers