When it comes to the NBA Draft, teams tend to do their homework. So when a player who starred in college slips to the late first or early second round, it’s typically because of some flaw that is expected to undermine him in the NBA—not because teams just don’t know about him.
And yet every year, we all scream and yell when our favorite college player slides out of the first round. Sometimes—as with Draymond Green, for example—the draftee proves us right and makes the NBA look foolish. But more often, the players we think are “steals” are actually just as inconsequential as most other second-round picks.
Here’s a sampling of players who have been labeled “steals,” only to wind up no better than their draft slot would suggest.
Donald Hodge: No. 33 overall to Dallas in 1991
“The way the Mavericks see it, they got two first-rounders in the NBA draft, not one.”
– Associated Press, June 28, 1991
Malcolm Mackey: No. 27 to Phoenix in 1993
“As usual, Phoenix made most of late pick with a steal in Mackey who should help address rebounding problem.”
– Palm Beach Post, July 1, 1993
Corey Benjamin: No. 28 to Chicago in 1998
“Corey Benjamin is physically gifted and a steal at No. 28.”
– Montgomery Advertiser, June 25, 1998
Brian Cook: No. 24 to Los Angeles Lakers in 1993
“Been a while since Illinois put out a good pro (Nick Anderson), but Big Ten MVP Brian Cook looks like a steal.”
– Shebyogan Press, June 27, 2003
Dominique Jones: No. 25 overall to Dallas in 2010
Dallas got a steal in Dominique Jones. He's going to contribute to them next year already. 3 million dollars well spent by @mcuban
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 25, 2010
Devin Ebanks: No. 43 overall to Los Angeles Lakers in 2010
Ebanks was projected to go 20-30 range by most mock-drafts. I think the Lakers got a steal here.
— Chris Manning 2K18 (@LD2K) June 25, 2010
Derrick Caracter: No. 58 overall to Los Angeles Lakers in 2010
Derek Charcter is a steal for the #Lakers at that pick IMO..
— Kris Johnson (@PointForwardPro) June 25, 2010
Keith Benson: No. 48 overall to Atlanta in 2011
Stop the presses… I actually LIKE an Atlanta Hawks draft pick… Keith Benson a steal at 48
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) June 24, 2011
Charles Jenkins: No. 44 overall to Golden State in 2011
The Warriors take Charles Jenkins with the 44th pick. A steal in my opinion. Kid can play.
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) June 24, 2011
Josh Selby: No. 49 overall to Memphis in 2011
Wait, Josh Selby is still on the board? That's going to be a steal for someone.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) June 24, 2011
Peyton Siva: No. 56 overall to Detroit in 2013
that's a steal for Detroit, Siva is a beast.
— Mwangi 🇰🇪 (@JMKTV) June 28, 2013
Erik Murphy: No. 49 overall to Chicago in 2013
Bulls got a steal with @e_murphy33… Dude can flat out play
— Josh Richardson (@J_Rich1) June 28, 2013
Pierre Jackson: No. 42 to Philadelphia in 2013
The 76ers got a steal in @PierreJackson55 at 42 nd pick. Wow.
— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) June 28, 2013
Mike Muscala: No. 44 overall to Dallas in 2013
Muscala is a steal.
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) June 28, 2013
Shabazz Napier: No. 24 to Miami in 2014
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) June 27, 2014
Devyn Marble: No. 56 to Denver in 2014
Devyn Marble a steal at 56.
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 27, 2014