2011 NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving, Jimmer Fredette and the 50 Best Prospects

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2011 NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving, Jimmer Fredette and the 50 Best Prospects
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The age-old question of whether a professional sports team should grab a player who fills a need or another who is the best available will stand the test of time. Both sides have their pitfalls.

In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Kentucky center Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, as the Blazers already had Clyde Drexler at shooting guard and were looking for Bill Walton's replacement. Bowie played 139 games in Portland. Jordan did okay.

On the flip side, the Chicago Bulls drafted for what they deemed the best talent available in 2001, flipping power forward Elton Brand for Tyson Chandler and picking Eddy Curry two selections later. The Bulls already had Elton Brand and Brad Miller in the frontcourt and started players at guard such as Bryce Drew, Fred Hoiberg and Khalid El-Amin. Instead of drafting for a guard, the Bulls went for broke for something they didn't truly need. Eddy Curry is currently counting his millions at home, while Tyson Chandler is succeeding...in Dallas.

As NBA executives get ready to wipe away the identities of hundreds of individuals in favor of statistics, height/weight vitals and game tape, it's imperative to remember that the best way to gauge whether a player is a good fit for a franchise is to mix both need and overall skill level.

This can be done by assigning best- and worst-case scenarios to each player. Will Kyrie Irving be an All-Star or is his toe injury cause for future concern? Will Derrick Williams blossom as the next David West, or will he be struggle to find an NBA identity?

While it's hard to predict where each player will land, it's not hard to create best- and worst-case scenarios for the lottery picks in the NBA draft, just like all NBA war rooms will be doing come June.

Here are those scenarios, rankings for the top 50 players and more in-depth insight (articles and videos) about the projected lottery picks in particular.



Draft Express is the best NBA draft site on the web, and the place where I learned a lot more about these prospects. I received most of my stats from there, as well as ESPN.

I have not included the UNC Big Three, partially based on some reports and educated guesses that I've read insinuating that they may give it one more shot. Nothing is definite though. Patric Young is coming back, as he implied in postgame comments after Florida's Elite Eight loss to Butler. Jared Sullinger, Tristan Thompson and Jordan Hamilton will also be back.

Well, at least we think Thompson will be back. There were reports saying that Thompson had signed with an agent, reports specifically refuted by Thompson's mother to the Zags Blog. She says, though, that no decision has been made.

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