NBA Draft Preview: Where Will Connecticut Star Kemba Walker Fit Among Top PGs?
University of Connecticut's Kemba Walker has been on an absolute tear this season. Second in the NCAA in scoring at 28.1 points per game, Walker has exploded onto the draft radar with his huge scoring performances including a 30 point game against Kalin Lucas and Michigan State as well as a 29 point game against Brandon Knight and Kentucky.
Undoubtedly, Walker is amongst the top NBA-ready point guards on the college scene, but is he the top point guard available? Questions abound about how Walker's size will translate into the NBA and whether he has true point guard capabilities.
Here is where Walker stands amongst the top NBA Draft point guard prospects:
No. 8 Jimmer Fredette
BYU's Fredette has been outstanding as a scorer at the college level, but question remain whether his skill set can transfer to the NBA. Fredette has averaged 23.7 points per game this season to go along with over four assists and three rebounds.
Fredette's draft stock is threatened by beliefs that he is too slow to play defense at an NBA level. However, his shooting ability, ball control, and basketball intelligence should put Fredette within the range of drafted NBA players. Whether he can make a difference at the next level still remains in question.
Projected Draft Position: 45th - 60th
No. 7 Shelvin Mack
With Gordon Hayward's departure to the NBA, Butler's Shelvin Mack has received much more of the spotlight this season. Mack is a talented shooter from mid-range and the perimeter, but his athleticism pales in comparison to several other draft-ready college point guards.
Moreover, Mack does not have the court vision or agility of a top-flight NBA point guard. While he may not have the best athleticism and distribution abilities as other point guard prospect, Mack has demonstrated the ability to create his own shot in traffic.
Averaging 14.8 points per game along with 5.6 rebounds, Mack has proven he can score and rebound at the college level. However, he does not project as a starting NBA point guard because of questions of his speed and athleticism.
Projected Draft Position: 40th - 50th overall
No 6. Iman Shumpert
Georgia Tech's Shumpert projects at either a point guard or shooting guard at the NBA level. Shumpert's shooting prevents him from projecting as a top prospect at the next level.
During his three years with the Yellow Jackets, Shumpert has never shot over 40 percent from the field and is shooting at a 36.6 percent clip this season.
On the other hand, Shumpert has a knack for getting to the charity stripe and is one of the best rebounding guards in college basketball. Defensively, Shumpert has the length that makes him attractive to NBA scouts. He is averaging 2.7 steals per game due to his impressive wingspan. Still, Shumpert's poor basketball IQ and inefficiencies as a point guard keep him out of the first round as of now.
Projected Draft Position: 35th to 40th overall
No 5. Demetri McCamey
The senior out of Illinois has been one of the more statistically impressive point guards in college basketball this season. This year, McCamey appears to be in better shape demonstrated by a quicker first step and improved slashing abilities towards the basket.
McCamey is averaging 15.8 points and 7.3 assists this season. He has been deadly from beyond the arc this season shooting over 52 percent and making more than two three pointers per game.
McCamey could project as a starting NBA point guard one day; however, as a senior he is older than most of the prospects on this list, and his ceiling is considered a bit lower than some of the younger players.
Projected Draft Position: 30-35 overall
No. 4 Tyshawn Taylor
Now a junior, Tyshawn Taylor has improved every year he has been with the Kansas Jayhawks. This season, Taylor is averaging nearly 11 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting at an efficient 57.4 percent from the field.
With so much talent at Kansas in recent seasons, Taylor hasn't seen his fair share of the spotlight; however, it appears that he has found himself on the radar of several NBA teams.
If Taylor cannot prove his offensive worth as an NBA prospect, his defense will surely impress scouts even if he projects as a defensive specialist in the NBA. Taylor may not take many shots, but his abilities as a distributor and his quickness on the defensive end will lead some team to take a chance on him.
Projected Draft Position: 25-30 Overall
No 3. Brandon Knight
On the NBA radar since his freshman year of high school, Brandon Knight has spent his freshman season playing for John Calipari this year at Kentucky. At times this season he has been brilliant featuring his size, body control, and ability with the mid-range jump shot. Additionally, Knight has demonstrated his ability to knock down shots from long range.
Knight is not at the top of the class mostly because of his inexperience. His talent carries him far, but his inability to finish at the basket consistently, his low field goal percentage (43.4 percent), and high turnover to assist ratio prevents him from being in the top tier of draft prospects.
Projected Draft Position: 15th overall
No. 2 Kemba Walker
Walker has been a scoring machine this year and is second in the NCAA in scoring at 28.1 points per game. Walker has been as consistent as they come this season. He has scored 20 or more points in seven of the Huskies's eight games this season and 30 or more points in four of those games.
Like Irving, Walker projects to be a terrific NBA point guard. While speed and quickness are his strongest attributes, Walker is also an excellent rebounder for a point guard. Walker is listed at 6'1'', yet he averages 5.4 rebounds per game for the UConn Huskies.
If Walker continues his consistent shooting and does not revert to the 40 percent field goal shooting of last season, he could improve his draft stock even further.
Projected Draft Position: Sixth Overall
No. 1 Kyrie Irving
The best point guard prospect for the 2011 NBA Draft is Kyrie Irving. Despite an injury to a ligament in his right toe, Irving has the skills and mindset to be an excellent point guard at the NBA level.
Before the injury, Irving averaged 17.4 points, five assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Irving is a deadly shooter at 53.2 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Besides the jump shot, Irving is the top athlete and defender at the point guard position with some comparing Irving to Chris Paul in his quickness.
Irving's injury could hurt his draft stock, but not enough to put another point guard in front of him.
Projected Draft Position: Third Overall