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It's ruined more NBA franchises than Clay Bennett, Ron Artest and Toni Braxton put together.

It's the undefinable characteristic that sends every scout into hysterics.


These days, it's not enough to judge a potential NBA prospect on his current skills. It's imperative to judge how good he might be down the line.

Since no current NBA general manager is in possession of a crystal ball, chasing upside can be a dangerous proposition. But each year, a handful of front offices will succumb to the temptation.

Take a look at the 2005 draft, for instance. Everyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the draft that year knew Chris Paul and Deron Williams would turn out to become legitimate NBA point guards.

Granted, few of us expected Paul to become the next Isiah Thomas or Williams the next Jason Kidd, but it was abundantly obvious that each player had all the tools to succeed in the league.

Former Milwaukee Bucks GM Larry Harris, not satisfied with that information, narrowed down his selection pool to Andrew Bogut and Marvin Williams.

Harris took Bogut, allowing former Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight to jump all over Williams.

Because their quest for upside overwhelmed their better judgement, both men currently find themselves without a front-office job.

However, both Bogut and Williams are at least decent NBA players. In 2003, Joe Dumars fell head over heels for upside and it might've cost the Detroit Pistons a chance at a dynasty.

The buzz surrounding Darko Milicic had grown to a fevered pitch as that draft day approached, with some certifiably insane proclamations accompanied by grainy videotape.

The hype surrounding the precocious Serbian led to Dumars selecting him over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Why do scouts keep chasing upside while putting their teams at risk? Because when that chase pays off, the reward is immense.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was roundly criticized for drafting unproven center Andrew Bynum 10th overall in 2005 ahead of more established prospects like Danny Granger.

Why would Kupchak waste Kobe Bryant's prime years while waiting for a teenage 7-footer to develop?

After a few seasons of sporadic playing time, trade rumors and the occasional bashing from the Lakers' star, Bynum began to realize that upside this year, emerging as a dominant presence inside before a knee injury cut his breakout season short.

Now with Pau Gasol joining him in the front court, it appears as if Kupchak hit a home run.


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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 14, 2008

News » For every upside, there's a downside

For every upside, there's a downside

For every upside, there's a downside
It's more seductive than Jessica Alba.

It's a bigger mystery than anything Sherlock Holmes ever dealt with.


For mock drafts and in-depth player scouting reports, go to


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