Draft 2011: Top 10 Prospects
The 2011 NBA Draft is like Wu Tang – for the children.
A 2011 NBA Draft preview already, you ask? But the 2010 Draft just ended and the 2011 one is over 330 days away. Well, check the title of this blog, silly goose — Draft 365. What else did you expect us to write about, LeBron ‘Prima Donna” James?! And, besides, we’re pretty good at using our crystal ball to predict the Draft a year in advance — last summer we got half of the players who ended up going in the top 10 correct.
The 2011 NBA Draft isn’t shaping up to be as good as this past June’s, but that could change real quick. That’s because of the sheer volume of young, “unknown” players projected to be the top picks next year. Just look at our top 10 list below — seven freshman and three Europeans born in the 1990s.
1) Harrison Barnes — North Carolina — Freshman — SF
Harrison Barnes isn’t ranked numero uno here just because he was SLAM’s diary keeper (although, history proves that it certainly doesn’t hurt his NBA chances). Barnes is an athletic wing with nice size (7-foot wingspan) and real good body strength, which allows him to take a hit from the defender and still make the shot. He’s known to have a great work ethic and attitude, plus he’s going to a pretty good school at developing NBA players.
2) Perry Jones — Baylor — Freshman — SF/PF
Baylor isn’t exactly a haven for one-and-done prospects, but Perry Jones is looking to change that. An athletic, long (6-11, 7-2 wingspan) player capable of playing either forward spots, Jones is often compared to Tracy McGrady. He can take his man off the dribble, shoot the outside shot, crash the boards and block opponent’s shots. And ‘Perry Jones’ is just a dope sounding name, isn’t it?!
3) Kyrie Irving — Duke — Freshman — PG/SG
A one-and-done Duke player on Coach K’s watch?! What in the name of Luol Deng is going on?! Kyrie Irving is a crazy athletic, blazing fast combo guard with mad handle who isn’t expected to stay in Durham for very long. He can knock down outside jumpers and use his dribbling skills to beat his man to the hole. And the already fundamentally sound Jersey native will only improve in that area playing at Duke.
4) Jan Vesely — Partizan Belgrade — 1990 — SF/PF
It was a bit of a shock when Jan Vesely withdrew from the 2010 NBA Draft considering he was thought of as a top 10 pick. Which just goes to show how the 2011 edition of the Draft is weaker than 2010′s (at least for now) — Vesely is now projected as a top five pick. You can read what we wrote about him leading up to the 2010 Draft right here.
5) Jared Sullinger — Ohio State — Freshman — PF
Ohio State and Thad Matta just keep pumping out NBA lottery picks year after year, don’t they? The latest is freshman forward (and Ohio native) Jared Sullinger, a bruising, powerful lowpost player who is also capable of putting the ball on the floor and knocking down jumpers.
6) Enes Kanter — Kentucky — Freshman — C
Turkish big man with the added benefit of international experience playing for his homeland.
7) Donatas Motiejunas — Benetton Treviso — 1990 — PF/C
Pulled out of the 2010 NBA Draft after his stock started dropping (read more on him here).
8 ) Josh Selby — Kansas — Freshman — PG/SG
Crazy athletic combo guard who was Rivals.com’s top-rated high school prospect in the 2010 class.
9) Brandon Knight — Kentucky — Freshman — PG
John Wall’s successor will stay in Lexington for about as long as Wall did.
10) Jonas Valanciunas — Lietuvas Rytas — 1992 — PF/C
Motiejunas’ Lithuanian teammate is a long and athletic big man.