Draft 2011: Top 5 Shooting Guards, Vol. 1
Slim pickings in the 2011 draft’s shooting guard category.
The pickings look to be slim in the shooting guard class projected to be available in June’s NBA Draft. However, when you take into account the numerous “combo guards” listed on our top five point guard rankings (Josh Selby, Nolan Smith, etc.) the prospect pool gets much deeper. Here are our picks (currently) for the best 2-guards expected to throw their hats in the ring this June.
It’s not very often that you get a top NBA prospect gracing the Colorado Buffaloes roster, but they’ve got one now. The best prospect to play at Colorado since ChaunceyBillups, Alec Burks is a long, athletic shooting guard prospect who is great at putting the biscuit in the basket (he’s averaging 19.8 ppg this season). He also rebounds very well for his position, and is adept at drawing contact on his drives to the hoop (he shoots seven to eight free throws a night). While he needs to get stronger and improve the range on his shot, he could end up being a lottery pick come June.
Georgia also isn’t exactly a hotbed for hoops prospects, but they’ve got a couple this season, Travis Leslie being one of them. An athletic freak (as illustrated by his Dunk of the Year nominated slam from last season), Leslie is a terror in the open court. He is also a tremendous rebounder for his size and position – he’s averaging 7.4 rpg this season. The problem, however, is he is a power forward trapped in a shooting guard’s body. While he has a strong physique and long arms, he’s only 6-4 with underdeveloped guard/perimeter skills.
3) Bojan Bogdanovic | Cibona Zagreb| 1989
2011 looks like it is going to be a big year for international prospects in the draft, and you can add Croatian Bojan Bogdanovic to the list. The 6-7 Bogdanovic is plenty experienced, as he’s competing in his third year in the Euroleague this season. He’s actually doing more than competing – he’s currently second in the league in scoring, pumping in 18 points a game, using his great outside shot and ability to drive and draw fouls to light up Europe’s scoreboards.
If pedigree counted for anything, Klay Thompson would be at the top of this list – his dad, Mychal, was the number one pick in the 1978 NBA Draft and won two rings with the Lakers. While Klay isn’t destined to be the first overall pick, he is a very good player in his own right. Although he’s thin and not the best athlete, Thompson nonetheless finds a way to score – he’s got great shooting range (44.1% from three-point range) and can to get to the hole and draw fouls (85% from the line) .
Do the positives outweigh the negatives with LaceDarius Dunn. On the positive side, he’s an explosive scorer (21.6 ppg) with an incredible outside shot. On the down side, he was arrested and accused of breaking his girlfriend’s jaw, he’ll be 24-years-old this summer, he isn’t an off-the-charts athlete and he pretty much relies totally on his jump shot to score. So do the positives outweigh the negatives? That’s for NBA GMs to figure.
Next in line: Scottie Hopson, Tennessee; E’Twaun Moore, Purdue; David Lighty, Ohio State; Malcolm Lee, UCLA; Justin Holiday, Washington.