NBA Draft 2011: Harrison Barnes and the Top 15 NCAA Small Forward Prospects

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IIFebruary 22, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Harrison Barnes and the Top 15 NCAA Small Forward Prospects

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    The small forward position for this year’s NBA Draft is one that is marred with numerous ‘tweener’ forwards.  For the purposes of this list, we decided to go with players who spent a good majority of their play on the perimeter versus in the post. 

    It’s important to note that highly rated prospects, like Marcus Morris, Terrence Jones, Perry Jones, and Derrick Williams, are not on this list because they have a post-oriented game in college.  While debatable as to if they will predominantly play on the wing in the league, for the purposes of this list, they were left out, but can be found on our ‘Top 15 Power Forward Prospects List.

    That said, presents ‘The Top 15 Small Forward 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. Justin Holiday

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    Justin Holiday (Washington)

    6’6,” 185 lb. Senior

    Justin is a late bloomer who has stepped his game up for the Huskies, becoming a perimeter shooting threat along with being an excellent defender. 

    He is having by far his best season in Seattle and displaying NBA potential, shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc and making opposing teams respect his play on both ends of the court.

14. Reggie Bullock

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    Reggie Bullock (North Carolina)

    6’7,” 190 lb. Freshman

    Bullock has been a spark off the bench for the Tar Heels lighting up teams with his instant offense.  However, he is still an extremely raw talent who can become overly dependent on the three-ball to get him going on offense. He will greatly benefit from more NCAA experience.

13. Elias Harris

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    Elias Harris (Gonzaga) 

    6’8,” 215 lb. Sophomore

    After a breakout freshman year, Harris has been a disappointment this season for Gonzaga, getting exposed with his inability to create or hit the perimeter jumper.  Harris has great size and a solid body but needs to develop his skill-set before he has a chance to make an impact in the NBA.

12. Deshaun Thomas

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    Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State)

    6’6,” 230 lb. Freshman

    The Buckeye’s coveted sixth man this season has the ability to go off on any team with his creating ability off the dribble and pure scorer’s mentality.  He’s not a great defender and could use some refinement on his shooting accuracy, but he has the game of an NBA scorer who could contribute instant offense.  

11. Quincy Acy

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    Quincy Acy (Baylor)

    6’7,” 225 lb. Junior

    Acy is a budding forward who has emerged this year as a defensive playmaker and rebounder.  His offensive game is a work in progress—especially his jump shot—but he's a solid athlete with a nice feel for the game.

10. Khris Middleton

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    Khris Middleton (Texas A&M)

    6’7,” 215 lb. Sophomore

    Khris is a sly scorer who has led A&M with his ability to get to the basket and cash in from the perimeter.  He has great playmaking ability off the dribble with his passing skills, but he's still relatively skinny and could use some work in the weight room.

9. Jereme Richmond

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    Jereme Richmond (Illinois)

    6’7,” 205 lb. Freshman

    Richmond is an exceptional athlete and steady offensive presence that is fueling the Fighting Illini in his first year on campus.  While predominantly a sixth man for Illinois, Richmond has a great deal of potential but needs further refinement on offense before he’s truly NBA-ready.

8. Tyler Honeycutt

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    Tyler Honeycutt (UCLA) 

    6’8,” 190 lb. Sophomore

    Coming into the season, some thought Honeycutt might be the best Pac-10 NBA prospect based on potential and his splendid all-around game.  He’s since played his way out of that, in part to the continued emergence of Derrick Williams, but his game has improved and he's answered critics by becoming more assertive on offense.

7. Tobias Harris

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    Tobias Harris (Tennessee) 

    6’8,” 230 lb. Freshman

    Harris has been the best all-around player for the Volunteers this season, scoring 14.4 points per game and averaging 7.4 rebounds.  He’s excellent on the perimeter and has a great feel for the game, but he's an unimpressive athlete who still needs to add strength.

6. Jeff Taylor

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    Jeff Taylor (Vanderbilt) 

    6’7," 225 lb. Junior

    Jeffery has tremendous athletic ability and an outstanding frame that is looked for in a prototypical NBA small forward.  He needs work with his dribbling and perimeter shooting, but his upside is amongst the best in this year's draft class.

5. Kyle Singler

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    Kyle Singler (Duke) 

    6’8,” 230 lb. Senior

    The veteran leader of the Blue Devils has excelled as a playmaker in the NCAA, but the biggest question over the past couple years has been: Will that translate to the next level?  We believe the answer is yes because Singler has a great basketball IQ and a skill-set that will allow him to compete against NBA talent despite his athletic limitations.  

4. Chris Singleton

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    Chris Singleton (Florida State) 

    6’9,” 225 lb. Junior

    The best defender of the bunch, Singleton is capable of defending virtually any position on the floor with his athleticism and length.  Still an offensive project, the FSU standout is capable of making an impact without the ball in his hands but has gotten better shooting the ball.

3. Jordan Hamilton

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    Jordan Hamilton (Texas) 

    6’7,” 220 lb. Sophomore

    The deadliest scorer of this group, Hamilton can light up any defense with his outstanding display of shooting and ability to break down the defense off the dribble to create a shot in any situation.  His shot selection is still sketchy at times and he can play selfishly at times, but he has the build, athleticism and skill-set to excel in the league whenever he declares.  

2. Kawhi Leonard

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    Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State) 

    6’7,” 225 lb. Sophomore

    Leonard has an uncanny rebounding ability and feel for the game that has made him a gem in the Mountain West this year.  He’s a player with a great basketball IQ and the ability to create, but he will always fall victim to difficulties in shooting the ball because of his enormous hands.

1. Harrison Barnes

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    Harrison Barnes (North Carolina) 

    6’8,” 210 lb. Freshman

    Despite largely being a disappointment in college basketball this season, Barnes has tremendous potential that is apparent to even the most casual basketball fans.  Early-season issues with confidence shooting the ball and struggling to find his role with the team greatly hindered his performance, but he has since raised his play to average 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds.  The youngster has a great basketball IQ, natural skill-set and an ideal physique for an NBA player.

    It will only be a matter of time before Barnes realizes how great a player he can be and crosses that threshold to becoming a very good player in the NCAA and NBA.