NBA Draft 2011: Harrison Barnes and 15 Other Potential Lottery Picks
Before the start of the college basketball season, Harrison Barnes was thought by most to be the clear cut No.1 NBA prospect.
He's gotten off to a slow start, averaging just over 11.0 PPG and shooting 34 percent from the field. Still, his potential is undeniable.
He can score from anywhere on the floor, is fundamentally sound, smart and a great athlete.
The major knocks on him are his inconsistent shooting stroke and a perceived lack of the killer instinct seen in greats such as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
It is highly unlikely that Barnes will slip below lottery-pick status, as it sometimes takes players a bit of time to adjust to a higher level of competition.
There are many, many other players in the college ranks who will be having their names called by David Stern come June.
Keep in mind that we can't foresee what relative unknown player will become the darling of the NCAA Tournament this year, but here's a look at 15 potential lottery picks not named Harrison Barnes.
15. John Shurna, F, Northwestern
Shurna has the potential to become this year's Gordon Hayward.
Playing at a non-traditional basketball powerhouse, he is currently shooting 59 percent from the floor and a whopping 62 percent on threes.
He's said to be a better shooter and more aggressive player than Hayward, although he needs to work on his rebounding and defense.
If Northwestern can get itself into the Tourney, Shurna could put on a show that would have him selected in the top-15.
14. John Henson, F, North Carolina
He may end up staying in school another year, but Henson is known to be very athletic, a good rebounder and shot blocker and very skilled around the basket. He also plays with great hustle.
Currently averaging 11.4 PPG and 10.5 RPG, he needs to add muscle to his body and develop a better perimeter game.
13. Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
Another point guard being brought up by John Calipari, Knight is, perhaps a bit unfairly, being compared to the likes of John Wall and Derrick Rose.
Pro scouts are unsure whether he is a true point guard or more of a 2-guard.
If he ends up running the point for Kentucky, many scouts believe he will end up in the lottery. If, however, he's more of a shooting guard, his inconsistent shot and inability to drive both ways will hamper his draft status.
Coming in with 17 PPG and 3.4 APG on 44 percent shooting, Knight needs to pick it up a bit and be more consistent to be considered an elite prospect.
12. Patric Young, C, Florida
Right now, Young is not producing great numbers by any stretch of the imagination. He's seeing limited minutes and is scoring 3.4 PPG to go along with 3 RPG.
He is still considered a potential lottery pick, though, because of his NBA body, his defensive presence and his rebounding and shot-blocking ability.
If taken in the upcoming draft, he'll be a work in progress for whoever picks him, but we've seen several players of that ilk taken rather high in the draft recently.
11. C.J. Leslie, F, NC State
Blessed with tremendous athletic ability, Leslie's talent alone may have him taken in the top-10.
Able to run the floor, leap and finish with the best of them, he also has a good handle, can block shots and sports an improving perimeter game.
Scouts will want him to get stronger and continue to increase his shooting percentage, knocks that have not necessarily kept players from getting drafted in the single-digits.
10. Kenneth Faried, F, Morehead State
Faried, a senior, has gotten better every year he's been at the collegiate level.
Possibly the best rebounder in the country, Faried has a great work ethic and, at this early juncture of the season, is averaging greater than 18 PPG and 14 RPG.
His drawbacks are is lack of ideal size, his need for more strength and his raw offensive game, although he is shooting at 63 percent so far this year.
9. Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Vesely may have actually hurt his prospects by remaining out of the draft last year.
Playing in the Euroleague, he has been underwhelming thus far as somewhat of a role player.
A big man who can run, shoot from long-range and finish at the basket, Vesely needs to get stronger, develop a better post game and get more experience.
If he can put an end to his early season skid, he'll be selected rather high in 2011.
8. Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
Seen as a bit of a tweener, Williams is a versatile and smart player who can play both inside and out.
Although some of these number won't pan out for an entire season, he is shooting a mind-boggling 67 percent from the field and 81 percent on threes while averaging 20 PPG and 7.3 RPG.
7. Donatas Motiejunas, F, Lithuania
Consistently compared to Pau Gasol by scouts, Motiejunas is averaging 13.4 PPG in 21 minutes playing in the Italian League.
He withdrew from the draft last year to work on his game. He is an aggressive scorer who can finish around the basket and has a decent shot, although scouts want him to improve his range.
A seven-footer who can score and has the ability to be a good shooter is hard to pass up.
6. Kemba Walker, G, Connecticut
Expectations are always high at UConn, and Walker was not happy about last season's poor performance.
He spent time with Team USA this summer and was out-worked by no one coming into the year.
The biggest knock on Walker was his outside shooting, but he is currently shooting 53 percent from the field and 43 percent on threes while averaging 29 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 4.3 APG.
He has also learned to be a more vocal and better leader. It's tough to let a player with his upside slip in the draft.
5. Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky
Kanter is listed as playing for Kentucky, but he was ruled ineligible prior to the season. It turns out players who were pros and got paid as such in other countries can't jump into the college ranks.
Scouts insist he will be picked high in the draft despite not playing this year and being considered undersized and a sub-par athlete.
He knows how to finish, is a good passing big man with a nice handle on the ball and has range out to the three point line.
At 6'10" with those kinds of skills, he's unlikely to get past the top-five.
4. Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Parallels have been drawn between Jones and Lamar Odom. That was before he proved to be stronger and more aggressive in the paint than most had expected.
He still has three-point range, but can fall in love with the long-ball at times.
Able to play multiple positions, Jones is on track to be yet another one-and-done player for John Calipari.
3. Jonas Valanciunas, F, Lithuania
Another Euro compared to Pau Gasol, Valanciunas may not declare for the draft. If he does, he will be taken very, very high.
He is able to run the floor, is a good rebounder and is an excellent finisher around-the-rim.
In the European under-18 championships this summer, he averaged over 19 PPG, scoring 31 and bringing down 18 rebounds in the championship game.
As is the case with many players entering the next level, scouts want him to put on more muscle.
2. Kyrie Irving, G, Duke
It's incredibly difficult to pass on a potentially great point guard, which Irving could end up being.
He is seen as a better leader and purer point guard than John Wall, last year's No. 1 overall pick.
A very good defensive player, the negatives about Irving are his being considered a below-standard athlete and his knack for being a score-first player at times.
Being coached by Mike Krzyzewski for a year should help his cause.
1. Perry Jones, F, Baylor
Many scouts consider Perry Jones the best player in the country. His potential is unlimited, although he needs to be more consistent.
No prospect is flawless, and the upside to Jones far outweighs the negatives. He is incredibly versatile, can score from anywhere on the court and is extremely fast.
He is known to be an outstanding leaper who can rebound and block shots.
Whoever takes Jones will have an absolute stud on their hands.