NBA Draft 2011: Comparing Jimmer Fredette, Top 30 Prospects to NBA Players
The 2011 NBA Draft features Jimmer Fredette, Jared Sullinger, Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving and a host of other potential diamond-in-the-rough type of players.
On the surface, it looks like this draft class may be a bit of a dud. But there could be some solid players in the mix.
One of the most interesting prospects is BYU's superstar point guard.
Jimmer Fredette could be the next Stephen Curry or Steve Nash, but you wouldn't know it without watching him for yourself.
He's been one of the best and most popular players in the NCAA this year, but plenty of experts are saying his game won't translate to the NBA (I personally think it will translate to the point that he'll win rookie of the year).
The biggest questions surrounding Fredette have to do with his athleticism. His critics say he's not quick or explosive enough to be effective on offense or defense at the next level.
The one thing Jimmer can't seem to shake is this knock on his status as a prospect, even after he dropped 43 points in a victory over San Diego State (a team with athletes the experts told us could slow him down).
Fredette may be the most talked about player for the 2011 NBA Draft, but he's not the only one.
There are plenty of other solid prospects and that's what this slideshow is about.
So here is an endeavor to compare this year's top 30 prospects to current NBA players...
30: Tyler Honeycutt
Comparison: Josh Childress
Honeycutt is a decent athlete, but he needs to get stronger to compete at the NBA level.
He's a decent scorer and rebounder, but he has a hard time taking care of the ball (he averages 3.3 turnovers compared to 2.8 assists per game).
29: Kyle Singler
Comparison: Mike Dunleavy
Singler hasn't been as productive as many thought he'd be during his senior season. But that probably has more to do with the expectations surrounding him than poor play.
He has good size for his position and shoots a decent percentage from the field and the three-point line.
Much like Mike Dunleavy, Singler could have some good games in the pros if he gets hot and knocks down some three-pointers. However, I don't ever see him developing into a star.
He'll probably still go in the first round because of where he plays and how important he's been to Duke for four years.
28: JaJuan Johnson
Comparison: Hakim Warrick/Amare Stoudemire
A lot of people wondered how Purdue's season would turn out after Robbie Hummel went down yet again.
The Boilermakers have responded nicely, thanks in large part to JaJuan Johnson. He's averaging over 20 points and seven rebounds per game, and he has looked very athletic this year.
27: Nolan Smith
Comparison: Devin Harris
Nolan Smith has stepped up big this year. He was slated to play shooting guard prior to Kyrie Irving going down. He's been nothing short of fantastic since moving to the point.
He's averaging right around 22 points and five assists a game this year.
His speed, athleticism and experience will all translate to the NBA, but many scouts have him going in the second round (or even falling out of the draft altogether).
He could be a steal for whoever grabs him.
26: Lucas Nogueira
Comparison: Tyson Chandler
Lucas Nogueira may have a lot of learning to do, but he could be a solid defensive big man in a few years.
He's extremely long and athletic and used those gifts to play really well in the World Under-18 Championships last summer.
25: C.J. Leslie
Comparison: Julian Wright
Leslie has a ton of talent, but he hasn't lived up to a lot of the hype surrounding him.
As is the case with many freshmen, his high school hype may be enough to keep him in the first round of this upcoming draft.
24: Markieff Morris
Comparison: Carlos Boozer
Markieff is the better rebounder and defender of the Morris brothers.
That's not to say he can't score, though. He's averaging over 13 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range.
23: Chris Singleton
Comparison: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Singleton provides a lot for Florida State. He scores a decent amount, rebounds well and is a solid defender as well.
22: Brandon Knight
Comparison: Jason Terry
John Calipari has sent three really good point guards to the NBA in the last three years (Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall).
It looks like he may be sending another potential star in Brandon Knight. The hype around him was a lot louder before this year, but he'll still be drafted in the first round.
21: Marcus Morris
Comparison: Al Harrington
Marcus Morris possesses a lot of the same qualities as his brother, but he's a more natural scorer and athlete.
He's averaging over 17 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the field. Plus, he's hitting almost one three per game while shooting 36 percent from long range.
20: Alec Burks
Comparison: Brandon Roy
Alec Burks is one of the best scorers in the NCAA, and he already has the prototypical NBA shooting guard's body.
He's averaging just under 20 points a game while shooting 46 percent from the field. If he can improve his long-range consistency a bit, he could light it up in the league.
19: Mason Plumlee
Comparison: Josh McRoberts
Honestly, I don't understand the hype surrounding Plumlee, but most scouts have him firmly planted in the first round.
As you can see from the comparison I made for him, I don't see him amounting to anything more productive than Indiana's Josh McRoberts.
18: Tristan Thompson
Comparison: Brandon Bass
Thompson is having a very solid freshman season, averaging nearly 13 points and eight rebounds a game for a team that many think might make some noise in the tournament.
He'll be a bit short for his position in the NBA, but he could make up for that with strength (like Brandon Bass or DeJuan Blair).
17: Josh Selby
Comparison: Jerryd Bayless
Selby has not been anywhere near as productive as many thought he'd be this year. However, the potential is still there.
He's shown the ability to handle the ball and shoot well from the outside. Plus, he has great size for a point guard.
16: Kenneth Faried
Comparison: Paul Millsap
His size may not translate to the NBA, but his skill and work ethic will.
He has great athleticism and instincts, which have helped him lead the nation in rebounding with 14.2 boards a game.
He can score too, putting up 17.5 points a game while shooting a ridiculous 64 percent from the field.
15: Jan Vesely
Comparison: Tyrus Thomas
Vesely is a lot more aggressive than the international forwards you're used to. He uses his size around the basket more like an American big.
14: Kemba Walker
Comparison: Brandon Jennings
Kemba Walker was blowing up at the beginning of this season and he had many people talking national player of the year.
He's cooled off since conference play kicked in, but his numbers are still stellar.
He's averaging nearly 23 points a game, and his 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio is very good. It's rare to see a college point guard who takes care of the ball as well as Walker.
13: Kawhi Leonard
Comparison: Shawn Marion
Leonard is a power forward in a small forward's body. It's difficult seeing his size translate to the NBA, but Shawn Marion has had a great career with a similar skill set.
His rebounding, defense and general athleticism could help any team quite a bit.
12: Donatas Motiejunas
Comparison: Andrea Bargnani
Much like Jan Vesely, Motiejunas really breaks the mold that we're used to when it comes to international big men.
His length and size could make him very difficult to guard once he develops more of an NBA-style post game.
11: John Henson
Comparison: Anthony Randolph
Henson is very slight for a big man at any level, but his length and athleticism could help him be effective anyway.
One aspect of his game is already NBA-ready. He leads the ACC in blocks with three per game. He could step in and improve almost any NBA team's defense.
10: Jordan Hamilton
Comparison: Wesley Matthews
Hamilton has been fantastic for the Longhorns this season. He leads the team in scoring with 18.8 points, rebounding with 7.5 boards and he is third on the team in assists at 2.3 a game.
He's not an elite athlete, but he's solid. One of his best assets at the next level will be his great shooting from long range. He's shooting 41 percent from three-point range.
9: Harrison Barnes
Comparison: Luol Deng
Prior to the start of this season, Barnes was most experts' No. 1 pick for 2011. A few games into the season, he dropped out of the top 20 for most.
Since ACC play began, Barnes has restored everyone's faith in his potential. He's pulled his scoring average up over 13 points per game, and he has shown flashes of great range.
But the biggest thing we've learned about Barnes this season is that he still has a lot of growing to do.
8: Jonas Valanciunas
Comparison: Nenad Krstic
He has great size and uses it well around the basket. He rebounds well and runs the floor better than a lot of big men his age.
His perimeter game can still use a lot of work.
7: Jimmer Fredette
Comparison: Steve Nash (or a Deron Williams/Stephen Curry hybrid)
Most people will cry foul when they read who I've compared Fredette to. If you need some more convincing, check this out.
He could also be very easily compared to Stephen Curry.
A lot of people are still questioning his athleticism (even after he torched San Diego State, the athletic team that was supposed to expose him).
To me, there is no doubt that his shooting, passing, great handle and extreme competitiveness will all translate to the NBA.
6: Terrence Jones
Comparison: Lamar Odom
Terrence Jones has had a truly fantastic freshman season. He leads the Wildcats in scoring, rebounding and blocks, and he is second on the team in steals.
He's displayed great athleticism and versatility over the course of the whole year. He handles the ball extremely well for a player of his size.
Also, his size is deceiving. He may only be 6'8", but his wingspan is 7'3".
5: Enes Kanter
Comparison: Al Horford
He hasn't played a single game due to his ineligibility, but plenty of scouts are still drooling over this big man.
He may be a bit undersized for his position, and he is not the most athletic player. However, he is extremely skilled for a big man. He has a solid handle, he is a decent passer and he is very strong around the basket.
4: Derrick Williams
Comparison: Michael Beasley
Derrick Williams' offensive game has been ridiculous this season. He's averaging just under 20 points a game on 63-percent shooting (including a crazy 68 percent from three-point range).
He's also averaging just over eight rebounds per game.
He is as solid as any player in the draft, but he may have a hard time finding a position in the NBA. He's probably too small to play power forward and needs to improve his wing skills to play small forward.
3: Jared Sullinger
Comparison: Zach Randolph
Sullinger has led the Buckeyes to a great season so far. He's averaging almost 18 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field.
His biggest assets are his strength and his basketball IQ. He needs both of those things in abundance because some thought he lacked the athleticism to dominate.
2: Kyrie Irving
Comparison: Chris Paul
It's crazy to imagine how good Duke could have been if Kyrie Irving hadn't gone down with a toe injury.
A lot of people still have him going first overall this year, despite only playing eight games. In that small sample, he averaged 17.4 points and 5.1 assists per game.
He has the skills and mentality of a true point guard, and he could be yet another great young playmaker in the NBA.
1: Perry Jones
Comparison: Tracy McGrady/Anthony Randolph
The scouts' excitement over this prospect is all about his potential and athleticism. He's extremely long, runs the floor incredibly well and can leap with anyone in the country.
He has a lot of the same upside McGrady had coming out of high school, but he's three inches taller. He's a bit of a gamble considering how raw he is, but he has the potential to be an absolute superstar.