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NBA Draft 2011: Best Available

17 Apr

30. Ben Hansbrough – Yes, he is Tyler Hansbrough’s younger brother, but their games are completely different. Ben is a combo guard with an adequate handle, and a good stroke. He tends to pull up going right, and is very good shooting off of picks. Hansbrough is a tough, relentless guard, but does not have stellar athleticism (like his older brother). However, he is a safe pick for the end of the first round and he could stick in the league because of shooting.

Reminds me of: poor man’s J.J. Redick.

29. Chandler Parsons – Parsons is the classic ‘tweener. Because of his high basketball IQ, Parsons has been given high ratings for the last 2 seasons. In the NBA, he does not have a defined position. He stands 6’10″ and has a decent handle with good range. But, he is not quick or athletic enough to guard NBA 2′s or 3′s, and not strong or skilled enough to play a NBA 4. With more offensive output, he could a serviceable backup. He ran the Florida offense when Erving was on the bench and is an adept passer and facilitator. Parsons is cerebral and skilled; he needs to find a position.

Reminds me of: poor man’s Mike Dunleavy Jr.

28. Scotty Hopson – Scotty Hopson is the exact opposite of Chandler Parsons. He is extremely athletic with unpolished shooting and ball-handling abilities. He has the physical tools to be an All-Star, but needs time in the gym and more time at the college level. Though more physically gifted than almost everyone that he played against, he seldom completely dominated games. With a summer of reps, his shot should stabilize, but his shot selection needs work too.

Reminds me of: Brandon Roy before his senior year of college

27. Kyle Singler – Singler only made this list because of the pedigree of Duke wings. He is a player that will probably surprise most general managers. His shot is a little better than people think, and he is a little more athletic too. However, Singler does not have a defined position at the next level either. He became a little more mechanical in each year that he played for Duke and often played out of position. But, he did refine his ball handling skills and became a more efficient scorer. If he finds the right team, Kyle Singler could be a good role player off the bench.

Reminds me of: a less athletic Keith Van Horn

26. Jeffrey Taylor – Taylor has a silky stroke, but uses it too much from the three point line. He struggles to find his shot, despite being a good athlete because of poor ball-handling skills. But, he can score the basketball when given the opportunity. Taylor is a good shooter off picks and prefers to curl right with his left shoulder touching the pick when he takes jump shots. If he scores early, then he is difficult to stop, because he works tirelessly to get his shots. But if contained early, he can disappear in a game.

Reminds me of: a thin Chuck Person

25. Thomas Robinson – Robinson is big, strong, and quick. At 6’9″ he has the NBA body of a power forward. But, he will not transition easily into that position at the next level. He rebounds well in college, but it is due to aggressiveness and athleticism, not positioning and technique. He scores well on putbacks, but he has not been asked to score at Kansas, so he has not developed any definitive moves around the basket. He needs two years of college, one for fundamentals of post play, and the other for low post scoring, but GM’s draft on potential, so he may go high.

Reminds me of: Darvin Ham

24. Jimmer Fredette – Yes, the best basketball player in college basketball is fairly low on the best available list. Hopefully, his athleticism is being grossly undervalued here, but there is reasonable need to worry that it is not. The most remarkable thing about Jimmer is not that he scored 30 or more points 11 times this season including a 52 point explosion, or that he averaged 28.5 points per game to lead the nation in scoring. The most remarkable thing about him is that he averaged 4+ assists per game in every season since his sophomore year too. Fredette knows how to score.  He can drive with either hand, but is more prone to pull up going to his right. He has range out to 25 feet on his jumper and shoots a decent field goal percentage. However, against the better athletes in college, his shooting percentages dropped and so did his scoring. When facing a defender with NBA talent, Jimmer did not produce those 30 point games, but he did win. Jimmer knows how to get his shot off. He excelled in college because of know-how, not raw talent, which means he may languish as a pro. That is what may scare some general managers. He has deep range and a good release, but slightly above average college speed and quickness. He was a bit of a volume shooter in college, and will not get the same opportunities at the next level. He can shoot the basketball, but his shot is not pure like the shots of J.J. Redick and Steph Curry, to both of whom he is often compared. He also lacks Redick’s height and Curry’s quickness and ball-handling. He could flourish as a role player off the bench.

Reminds me of: Vinnie Johnson

23. Reggie Jackson – Reggie Jackson is a quick, athletic point guard. He can penetrate and finish, and has a decent jump shot. He is strong in the painted area and has hit a few big shots for Boston College. In fact, the Golden eagles often went as he went, which hints at his importance to the team. He has a 7 foot wingspan despite being 6’3″. If he improves at the next level, he could be a starter. If he does not he will fade into obscurity.

Reminds me of: a poor man’s Gilbert Arenas (before the injury)

22. Marshon Brooks – Brooks was one of the leaders in scoring in the NCAA for this entire year, but received a lot of publicity for a 52 point outburst against Notre Dame. Granted, Notre Dame does not set the defensive standard in college basketball, but 52 pts. in 40 minutes of regulation basketball is impressive. Brooks has a quick first step a a good handle. He is a versatile scorer, putting in baskets from 3 pt. range, mid-range, and the paint. He is more apt to pull up going right, but can score going either way. With a little more focus on ball-handling over the summer, Brooks could be a good pro. If he gets minutes, he will stick with the team that drafts him.

Reminds me of: Jason Terry before he only took 3 pt.’ers

21. Chris Singleton – Chris Singleton is an athlete. He moves fluidly around the court, has a strong upper body and a good base. He good shot-blocking instincts and rebounds well. On the offensive end, he has the beginnings of a good post game, sound footwork, though not spectacular and a soft touch. He has range out to the 3 pt. line, but is better served shooting from 10 ft. in. He has good mechanics on his shot and dominates at times around the basket.

Reminds me of: a young Antonio McDyess

20. Nolan Smith – Smith suffers from ‘tweenerism too. He is a combo guard, but has not shown the overall athleticism to play point guard, so he will be grossly over-matched playing shooting guard. He flourished as Duke’s point guard in the absence of Kyrie Irving and became their go-to player. He learned to get his own shot at the college level, and excelled at shooting a floater that should be effective in the pros. He showed a good burst at times when penetrating and occasional explosion at the rim. Smith should be a capable backup if he continues his growth as a basketball player, and maybe eventually a starter.

Reminds me of: Howard Eisley

19. Shelvin Mack – Mack is a powerful guard with quick feet and good range. He can penetrate and finish with either hand and can pull-up and score over defenders too. He knocks down big shots and lead Butler to back-to-back championship games this year. He also seems to make the right decision every time. Mack showed that he could pass the ball last year and displayed his scoring prowess this year. He settled for long shots a little too often this year, but he made most of them.

Reminds me of: Anthony Johnson with a little more range

18. Mason Plumlee – Plumlee is an elite athlete. He showed great promise as a freshman, but his growth was hindered playing under Krzyzewski; big men rarely improve offensively at Duke. He is strong, and can rebound and finish, but he is limited on the block. He has not shown any real footwork or even the ground work for a good professional post game, however if he is taught a good jump hook, he may take off. Mason has the potential to be better in the NBA than he was in college, if he develops a post game. He showed flashes of how good he could be when freshman point guard Kyrie Irving ran the show. Before Irving’s injury, Plumlee averaged a double-double.

Reminds me of: a little more physical version of Charles Smith

17. Markieff Morris – Markieff is physical and makes the little plays that are necessary to win games. In college, he scored in traffic, but did so because he was physically better than those he faced. He rebounds well and shows good touch from 8 feet in. His footwork is not great, but is not poor either. He is quick in the paint, which should translate to the next level.With hard work, he could easily be the more successful twin of the two. He has a better understanding of the game and though he is undersized, he makes up for it with hustle and determination.

Reminds me of: Chuck Hayes

16. Brandon Knight – Though he did not show it every game, Brandon Knight could be a special pro. He has a great mid-range game, which most players have to develop. He hits big shots including 2 game-winners in his first(and probably only) NCAA tournament. And, he has good size and quickness with the basketball. Under duress, he tends to go towards his dominant hand, his right, and if cut off he will pull up. Knight has a good floater in traffic and a nice scoop shot when the defender is on his hip. He can go left, but prefers going right. He does not create for others, but does get them the basketball if open. He also has not shown a real penchant for penetrating and putting pressure on defenses. That could be his personality or his youth. Only time will tell. He needs another year to become the leader that NBA teams covet, and if he stays he may actually get a NCAA championship too.

Reminds me of: Dejuan Wagner before the injury

15. John Henson – Henson is a project, but could make a difference to the right team in two to three years. His presence on the court made all the difference to North Carolina this year. He has three things that you can not teach, heigth at 6’11″, length, and instincts. He anchors the defense with his long arms, swatting away shots and deflecting passes. He has quick feet, but has no real post presence, partially because he is so slight of build. Henson’s body needs to mature before he enters the draft and he needs to develop some post moves. He also needs to work on his jump shot and develop a jump hook. He has good touch on close range shots, but his value is on the boards. With his length, he tips almost every ball that comes off the rim, and corals it.

Reminds me of: Brandan Wright

14. Marcus Morris – Marcus is a versatile scorer and a capable rebounder. He has range out to the 3 pt. line, but he is better from 17 feet in. Marcus, unlike his twin brother is a ‘tweener. He is not strong enough to play a classic power forward, though he can score in the post. And, he is not a skilled enough ball-handler to be a wing. Though he may play small forward at the next level, Marcus Morris needs to find a niche to stick in the NBA. He does  not have the raw athleticism to guard the LeBron James’ and Carmelo Athony’s of the league.

Reminds me of: slightly less athletic Jerome Kersey

13. Kenneth Faried – Faried is going to have a decent professional career, despite attending a small, college. He has been the best rebounder in college basketball for the last three years and has improved his offense every off season. He works hard for positioning on the boards and is explosive off the floor. That same commitment to positioning has not translated to the offensive of the basketball yet. In college, Faried posted at the elbow to catch the ball and used his quickness to drive around defenders or shot the jumper from the free throw line. He has decent mechanics on his jump shot, but it is a little stiff and needs work. To be a great NBA power forward, he will need some consistency with his jump shot and more decisive post moves.

Reminds me of: Charles Oakley

12. Harrison Barnes – Harrison Barnes already has a NBA body with an insane wingspan. He is a decent athlete and can finish at the rim in traffic. He has a decent first step, but no real definitive move to get into the paint. He takes a few bad shots, but does get separation on his pull-up which will help him in the league. Barnes knows how to score, and to his credit, his team improved as he took a leadership role on it. He has not dominated his competition though, and probably needs another year of college basketball to learn how to assert his will on a game.

Reminds me of: O.J. Mayo

11. JaJuan Johnson – Johnson has improved every year and put on a little weight too. He is very skilled and has become dominant as a scorer in college. In the pros, he will be a stretch 4. If he continues to put on weight, he could have a good professional career. If he does not put on at least 20 lbs., he will be consistently over-powered at the next level. He has good footwork in the post and a soft touch. He is deadly from 12 feet in, and has range out to the 3 point line. He does not rebound extremely well, but has carried an average of 9.1 and 8.6 rpg. in the last two years.

Reminds me of: Hakim Warrick with a better shot

10. Terrance Jones – Terrance Jones is extremely talented. As a freshman, he has a NBA body with 3 point range and good post moves. His footwork needs refining, but the groundwork is already there. He struggled in the post against bigger bodies, but stretched the floor when he could not post. He is a fairly versatile scorer, but lacks any mid-range game. He probably has not shot a 15 footer all season.  He could play 3 or 4 in the National Basketball Association, but his skill set favors the 3. He needs to work on his ball-handling to make the switch, but he could blossom in the right system with a little practice. Jones is still extremely left-handed. He rarely penetrates to his right when handling the ball on the perimeter, though he can penetrate and finish ambidextrously.

Reminds me of: Rodney Rodgers with less aggression

9. Kawhi Leonard – Leonard could be the steal of the draft. He is an elite athlete and a great rebounder at the small forward position. He is quick off the floor and catches every thing that is in his general area. He handles the basketball like a shooting guard and penetrates going left or right. Kawhi finishes above the rim with either hand and makes plays for his teammates with his outstanding athleticism. His spin move has proven formidable at the college level and he has a NBA body and quickness. If Leonard develops a steady jumper he will be unstoppable at the next level.

Reminds me of: a more physical Shawn Marion

8. Trey Thompkins – Thompkins is very talented and very inconsistent. He has the NBA size for the power forward spot, the handle and shooting ability of a small forward, but never really dominates. He has good touch, but shoots too many threes. Thompkins has serviceable footwork He is a decent rebounder, but

Reminds me of: Derrick McKey, super-talented but has not shown real aggression

7. Jordan Hamilton – He lead the nation in bad shots last year, but Jordan Hamilton became one of the best scorers in the nation this season. Hamilton had a NBA body and one of the best strokes in college last year. He added a polished post game and a solid floater to his arsenal and led the University of Texas to a number one ranking in the nation. He is deadly from the right wing or the left block. He is good from the either elbow but seems to score more from the right one. he has trouble creating his own shot, but can score on the move from curls.

Reminds me of: a young Glenn Rice

6. Kemba Walker – Kemba Walker had the best season that a UConn player has ever produced. He willed the Huskies to a National Championship this year. Before this season, he was all blinding speed and bad turnovers. He looked like a professional basketball in one instance and looked completely clueless in the next. This year he learned to change his pace and steadied his shot. In almost every game, he controlled the pace and the outcome. He  is excellent when penetrating and has honed his footwork on his pull-up jumper. He is better going right, but good in either direction. Walker can work of the ball to get shots off picks, or take the ball himself and score or create for his teammates. Plus, he hit every big shot that his team needed this year. He was possibly the best player in college basketball this year. His speed and ball-handling will translate to the next level. He made better decisions with the basketball this past season and if Kemba builds on that and keeps working on his jumpshot, he could be a good NBA point.

Reminds me of: a quicker version of D.J. Augustin with fewer assists

5. Tristan Thompson – Thompson is a great athlete. He is a great offensive rebounder and finishes strong at the rim. He out jumps or out muscles most of his competion, but he is also technically sound and boxes out well. He made the difference in this UT team and the one last year. He blocks shots and runs the floor well. He has good footwork in the post, but has not learned a go to move. Once he becomes more decisive on the offensive end of the floor, he could be an All-Star in the NBA, but he is already dominant on the defensive end. Thompson has a soft touch from about 10-12 feet in, but is more dangerous around the 8 feet mark. He is not ready to start in the NBA, but could blossom into a great player.

Reminds me of: Jermaine O’Neal in Portland and his first years in Indiana

4. Jared Sullinger – Sullinger was the best post man in the nation. He used a low center of gravity to bump and move defenders. He already has good footwork and a nice hook shot in his arsenal. He scores well with contact and is a good rebounder. With a little more explosiveness, he would be consensus number one pick. He struggles against bigger, stronger defenders, because he wants to bully his defenders, but he learned how to finesse them later on in the season. He can use either hand to score and work from both blocks, though he is more effective from the left block. He passes out of double-teams well and even knows how to re-position himself deeper on the pass-out. He needs another year to polish his skills, but Jared Sullinger is already very skilled.

Reminds me of: Clarence Weatherspoon, in a good way

3. Kyrie Irving – Kyrie Irving knows how to get into the paint. Despite constantly getting by his defender and to the rim, people question his explosiveness. He is quick with the basketball and does not lose control of it. He rarely over-penetrates which is rare for a college player, especially a freshman. He has an arsenal of shots once in the painted area, including a pull-up, a floater, and nice flip shot. He penetrate both to the right and the left  and finds open shooters or bigs. He has quick hands and quick feet. He is great on the fast break, because he can genuinely shoot the basketball. If not for his foot injury, Irving would probably be the best available player.

Reminds me of: poor man’s Mark Price

2. Derric Williams – Derric Williams is a superb athlete. He is more physically ready to play in the NBA than anyone in the draft. He had one of the most efficient years in college basketball history. He shot 60% from the field and well over 50% from the 3 pt. line. He can jump out of the gym and finishes after contact. He finishes in traffic and takes good shots. He also never gets his shot blocked at the college level. This could be a function of his terrific athleticism or just his shot selection. Though he shot great percentages, his jump shot needs a little work. He has good touch, but needs more fluidity in his mechanics. He has no definitive moves to get into the paint, but excels once he gets there. He works off curls or from the elbow to get open. Williams has a good first step, however needs more practice with ball-handling. He is especially good going to his left, though he is right-handed, and finishes with either hand.

Reminds me of: Gerald Wallace

1. Perry Jones – Perry Jones has been wildly inconsistent in his first and possibly only year of college basketball. At a legit 6’11″, he handles the basketball like a guard and often started fast breaks himself. He is extremely fluid in the post and on the wing. He has good mechanics, a soft touch, and range out to the 3 point line. Though he could shoot the 3, he was under-utilized in the post. He outmatched nearly everyone he faced under the basket, but regularly was pushed outside to get the basketball which was more a function of coaching than of his play. However, he was never as aggressive as he could have been. Perry Jones has good footwork and great athleticism in a veteran NBA player’s body but failed to impose his will on every one of his college game. The games that he played physical and in the paint, Baylor won. The ones where he was lost in rotation and chased the 3 point line, they lost. His NBA career is in his own hands. Perry Jones is the best talent available, he just needs to know that.

Reminds me of: Robert Horry at Alabama

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