When he came out of the University of Missouri, he was touted as a can’t miss prospect, An athletic scorer with a silky jumpshot. Take a look at these two predraft assesments of Kareem’s NBA prospects:
Major stroke from the college 3-point line, and most NBA types think he’ll hit the NBA three with ease. He’s a terrific athlete and has explosiveness around the basket, and is generally viewed as a solid citizen. He got all the attention from defenses this year at Missouri and didn’t put up the kind of numbers that were expected. But that doesn’t sway his supporters. "His stock did drop," says a Central Division scout, "but when teams look around and have a need at the two, I think it would be hard pressed to look past him." David Aldridge – ESPN.com
Strengths: Quite possibly the top scorer returning to the college game. When he’s hot, watch out, the ball will find the net. Can score in a variety of ways, and his outside J is money, as evidenced by his higher shooting % behind the arch than in front of it. Not even the athlete of undrafted brother of Jaron, but plays the game entirely more cerebrally, and has a much better offensive game. Very smooth player, good decision maker who plays under control. One of the best jump shooters in the college game today. NBA Comparison: Allan Houston nbadraft.net
So the question remains, What the hell happened? How did he take all of this hype and wind up a few years later scoring 11 points a game and shooting 36.7%, how did he wind up losing his starting shooting guard spot to a ROOKIE point guard playing out of position? I believe that the answer lies in his first few years with the Lakers, During that time he was backing up Kobe Bryant and his minutes were extremely limited so he never really had the on court time to develop as an NBA player and to throw an additional monkey wrench into the mix, he was forced to play the role of spot up jump shooter and not allowed to be offensively aggresive or use the skills that he showed at Missouri to create and take people off the dribble. By the time he made it to the Charlotte Bobcats, he was a player that was mentally shot. All that he was by that time was an inconsistent spot up jump shooter. At this stage of his career I doubt if he’ll ever develop into anything more than that.