NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and The Top 15 Shooting Guard Prospects

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIFebruary 15, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and The Top 15 Shooting Guard Prospects

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    As we enter the closing stretch of the college basketball season, many are starting to turn an eye towards the top standouts in the game for their March Madness picks.  Usually, it’s time for the top swingmen in the country to come alive and put up points, but this year is unusual in that there aren’t that many great true shooting guards in the draft this year. 

    The majority of the prospects in 2011 are either combo guards who are predominantly SG, or SG/SF who are too small to play at the forward spot.  For example, while Duke’s Nolan Smith has come alive at PG in relief of the injured Kyrie Irving, he projects as an NBA shooting guard and has emerged as a legit scorer.  Unfortunately, the position doesn’t feature much depth and it’s the draft’s weakest position with a real drop-off from the top five players to the rest available.

    That said, presents “Nolan Smith and The Top 15 Shooting Guard Prospects. 

    Note: On most players, you can click their name or school to take you to a more detailed profile for a more extensive scouting report on the respective prospect.

15 Ravern Johnson, Mississippi State

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    Ravern Johnson (Mississippi State)

    6’7, 175 lb. Senior

    Pure scorer in every sense of the phrase, has great quickness and a honed jumper that is his go-to weapon of choice on offense.  However, there are too many questions about Johnson’s potential in the NBA, which includes him not having a great basketball IQ, questions of if he’s coachable, and the atrocious defense he plays.

14 David Lighty, Ohio State

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    David Lighty (Ohio State)

    6’5”, 220 lb. Senior

    The veteran leader of the Buckeyes has been a steady scoring presence all season, averaging 12.3 points per game.  Lighty is an unheralded prospect with second round aspirations and while he may not be an NBA standout, he could potentially make a roster because of his hustle and playmaking ability.

13 Isaiah Thomas, University of Washington

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    Isaiah Thomas (Washington) 

    5’9”, 185 lb. Junior

    The little guy is an explosive athlete who knows how to score at a moment’s notice and isn’t shy about letting it fly from three.  While clearly undersized and considered by some to be more of a score-first PG, Thomas is a natural SG who could have the similar impact of scoring off the bench as fellow Husky, Nate Robinson, has had in the NBA.

12. Durrell Summers, Michigan State

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    Durrell Summers (Michigan State) 

    6’5”, 205 lb. Senior

    Summers is an ever-improving perimeter shooter with good athleticism and upside to become an NBA shooter eventually.  Conversely, he struggles to create his own shot and really isn’t a great defender, limiting his impact if the shots aren’t falling for him during games.

11. Seth Curry, Duke University

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    Seth Curry (Duke) 

    6’2”, 180 lb. Sophomore

    Of anyone on the list, Seth Curry has the ability to raise his stock more than anyone else based on his genetics and natural talent.  Like his father Dell and brother Steph, Seth is a deadly shooter and playmaker who is NBA-bound eventually, but will likely need some time in the NCAA before he is ready to take on the league.

10. William Buford, Ohio State

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    William Buford (Ohio State)

    6’5”, 205 lb. Junior

    Buford is a dangerous shooter and scorer who can get hot in hurry, and is a big reason why Ohio State only has one loss this season.  He is shooting 43.5% from three this season and has shown good ability to distribute for a scorer, averaging over three assists the past couple seasons. 

9. Charles Jenkins, Hofstra University

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    Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)

    6’3”, 220 lb. Senior

    The pride of the Hofstra Pride has quietly been a dominant force in the Colonial league this season by averaging 23.3 points, 4.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals.  Jenkins has had some impressive scoring outbursts against some good teams and is also a hot shooter from three, hitting 42.9 % of his looks from deep.

8. Scotty Hopson, Universit of Tennesse

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    Scotty Hopson (Tennessee)

    6’7”, 200 lb. Junior

    The former McDonald’s All-American and five star recruit has largely been a disappointment in Knoxville for the past couple seasons, but is starting to emerge as an upper classman and is producing 16.5 points per contest.  At 6’7”, Hopson has great size and athleticism, but there are questions about if he can achieve his potential in the NBA as a legit scorer and become a better defender.

7. Marshon Brooks, Providence University

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    Marshon Brooks (Providence)

    6’5”. 190 lb. Senior

    Brooks has quietly been one of the best players in the legit Big East conference this season, averaging nearly 24 points 8 rebounds. He put his name on the map last week with a 43-point, 10-rebound performance in a narrow loss to Georgetown, in addition to being a defensive playmaker averaging 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks.

6. Doron Lamb, University of Kentucky

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    Doron Lamb (Kentucky) 

    6’4”, 190 lb. Freshman

    Lamb is a scoring threat who excels with his perimeter jumper, and is shooting an eye-popping 47.4% from three for the Wildcats so far this season.  Doron is still quite scrawny and a bit selfish, but he is an NBA-caliber scorer with the ability to create his own shot off the dribble and by continuing to hone his shooting accuracy.

5. LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor University

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    LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor) 

    6’4”, 205 lb. Senior

    LaceDarius is a skilled scoring guard who can quickly light it up from three and bring his team back due to some very confident play.  Dunn is undersized and takes some errant shots, but he’s scoring 21 points per game and is a clutch competitor who thrives when the game is on the line.

4. Travis Leslie, University of Georgia

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    Travis Leslie (Georgia) 

    6’4”, 205 lb. Junior

    Travis is a super athletic guard who is a ball hawk and skilled rebounder and is active on nearly every possession.  Putting up a respectable 14 points and 7 rebounds thus far this season, the junior has great potential and a feel for the game that impresses NBA scouts, and that could make him a late first round choice.

3. Klay Thompson, Washington State

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    Klay Thompson (Washington State) 

    6’6”, 205 lb. Junior

    Klay is a stat-stuffer who is one of the best shooters in the nation, but there is great concern over his athleticism and ability to add muscle to his frame.  He got off to a hot start and has since cooled, but is averaging an impressive 20.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, and 41.1% shooting from three to lead Wazzu this year.

2. Nolan Smith, Duke University

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    Nolan Smith (Duke) 

    6’2”, 185 lb. Senior

    His game has grown leaps and bounds at Duke, with Smith become a complete college player who has developed an elite skill set and NBA ready game.  The veteran winner is probably only the third or fourth best NBA prospect on the Blue Devils roster, but there’s no question that he has been of the greatest value to his team’s success this season.  

1 Alec Burks, University of Colordo

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    Alec Burks (Colorado) 

    6’6”, 185 lb. Sophomore

    You likely either have to be a die-hard fan of college basketball, the Big 12 conference, or of the NBA Draft to have heard of this talented scorer.  Burks is an aggressive, talented scoring guard who is quick off the dribble and adept at knocking down the midrange jumper with his quick release.  He lacks great three-point shooting ability and turns the ball over more than he should, but Alec has a great motor and athleticism that add to his NBA potential as a likely first round selection.