NBA Draft 2011: Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes and 8 Others Worth Tanking For

Danny DolphinAnalyst IDecember 22, 2010

NBA Draft 2011: Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes and 8 Others Worth Tanking For

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The 2011NBA Draft is going to be critical for so many NBA teams. Squads such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves, to name a few, have no other option but to build through the draft. 

    After all, who in the hell voluntarily will want to play for one of those abysmal teams?

    The Cavaliers are an interesting case because they have a bunch of quality role players and depth already in place. They just need their superstar cornerstone to plug in to get back to the playoffs. 

    Easy? No. 

    There is nobody with LeBron James' potential in this draft, but there are tons of stars who can achieve greatness on the NBA level. 

    Let's take a whirl on the draft-hype train. 

10. John Henson, North Carolina

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    Chris Keane/Getty Images

    Position: Power Forward

    Height: 6-10

    Weight: 200

    Year: Sophomore

    This long, lanky Tar Heel has the type of body scouts will love, once he fills out. He's going to need a solid 30 to 40 pounds to man the post at the next level, so there is a rawness to him. He isn't an immediate impact player.

    Henson is an awesome athlete who could really thrive in an up-tempo offense. Defensively, is where he will make his mark in the NBA. 

    NBA Comparison: Brandon Wright

9. Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania

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    Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

    Position: Power Forward

    Height: 7-0

    Weight: 220

    Age: 20

    He's your typical elite European big man who can put it on the floor and shoot it. What separates Motiejunas from others before him, however, is his passing ability.

    He's tough to project at the NBA level, but from what scouts are saying, he's got the biggest ceiling of any overseas star who will likely enter the draft this year. 

    NBA Comparison: Andrea Bargnani

8. Kemba Walker, Connecticut

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Position: Point Guard

    Height: 6-1

    Weight: 175

    Year: Sophomore

    Walker is exploding this year for 27.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists on 52 percent shooting, 87 percent from the stripe and 42 percent on threes. He has on elite combination of speed and explosiveness.

    He's a score-first point guard who still needs to refine his point guard skills. He doesn't have a great feel at initiating offense for others, however, he certainly knows how to score. 

    Just don't expect him to ever have the awareness of a Chris Paul or Jason Kidd. Think more Tim Hardaway. 

    NBA Comparison: Rodney Stuckey

7. Brandon Knight, Kentucky

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Position: Point Guard

    Height: 6-3

    Weight: 185

    Year: Freshman

    He's not a freak athlete in the mold of past Calipari point guards Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans, but he is a great player. He's a more polished shooter than both of those guys at this stage and will absolutely have a place in the NBA.

    He's kind of an in-between guard because he has the size of a point guard with the skills better suited for an off guard, his likely position at the NBA level. 

    NBA Comparison: Jason Terry

6. Terrence Jones, Kentucky

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Position: Small Forward

    Height: 6-8

    Weight: 230

    Year: Freshman

    From a pure talent perspective, Jones has a case for being the top overall pick in a rather thin draft. He's dominated from the start, averaging 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds for the Wildcats.

    He can score from anywhere and is a bi-time playmaker. 

    He has to improve his 60 percent shooting from the line. That won't fly with NBA coaches. 

    NBA Comparison: Lamar Odom

5. Enes Kanter, Kentucky (ineligible)

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Position: Center

    Height: 6-10

    Weight: 255

    Year: Freshman

    A very skilled big man who has been ruled ineligible. There is still a chance he regains his ability to suit up for Kentucky at some point this season. It would also help his draft stock, because this kid can play.

    He's a big, highly skilled player who has a strong sense for the game. He's very strong and the only weakness he has is he's not an elite athlete. There is no doubt he can play in the NBA at some point. 

    NBA Comparison: Brad Miller

4. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Position: Power Forward/Center

    Height: 6-9

    Weight: 265

    Year: Freshman

    Sullinger is an NBA-ready big man, and for that, he has incredible value. He's similar to Demarcus Cousins in that he is a beast on the glass and is a crafty scorer on the block.

    He's also not the quickest and struggles defensively at times. With the right coach, he can achieve NBA greatness. 

    NBA Comparison: Brook Lopez

3. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Position: Small Forward

    Height: 6-7

    Weight: 215

    Year: Freshman

    He's been the most underachieving freshman of his class thus far. He was supposed to be a superstar from the go and the consensus top overall pick.

    He's averaging 12.3 points and 6.1 rebounds, on just 36 percent shooting and conference play hasn't even started yet.

    He will certainly still go top five if he declares because all the NBA cares about is potential. But to see him struggle at the college level signifies just how far off he is from producing with the big boys in the NBA. 

    NBA Comparison: Potentially Tracy McGrady

2. Perry Jones, Baylor

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    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Position: Power Forward

    Height: 6-11

    Weight: 220

    Year: Freshman

    His position in the NBA could be at small forward which atones to just how athletic and skilled this guy is. His physical skills are remarkable. 

    Perry is a freak who has scouts salivating. A team will have to be in the top five to have a chance at this next great high-flyer. 

    NBA Comparison: Amare Stoudemire

1. Kyrie Erving, Duke

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Position: Point Guard

    Height: 6-2

    Weight: 180

    Year: Freshman

    So Duke wins it all and then adds the best player in America? It's just not fair as this playmaker has it all. 

    He's injured at the moment, but when healthy, can tear a defense apart off the dribble or with his jumper. He is a pure point guard who looks to set others up first.

    Defensively, he's excellent as well and does a nice job of keeping his man in front of him at all times. Whoever drafts this kid, the most sure thing of this year's draft, is going to have a stellar point for a very long time. 

    NBA Comparison: Chris Paul

Top Heavy Draft

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    There is plenty of talent in this year's draft, especially at the top. With the NBA also currently top heavy at the moment, the weak teams have a chance to give themselves a boost come April.

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