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NBA Draft 2011: Top Overlooked Prospects in This Year's Draft

Kevon RobinsonCorrespondent IApril 9, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Top Overlooked Prospects in This Year's Draft

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    Every year in the NBA Draft, there are always prospects who get overlooked or exceed expectations during the scouting process leading to the draft.  

    Once a forgotten prospect emerges out of the blue, many people start to take notice.

    This year's draft isn't filled with superstar potential, nor is it filled with a lot of all-star potential, but this draft is a draft full of prospects who play with high motors.  

    A few prime examples of sleeper picks from last year's draft are Landry Fields of the New York Knicks, Jordan Crawford of the Washington Wizards, and Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons.  

    None had the expectations to potentially become a threat in the NBA, but now the forecast seems a lot clearer.

    The truth is that it is hard to predict who will ultimately take the league by storm that hasn't been mentioned, but these prospects are mostly likely going to be overlooked this upcoming draft.

Keith Benson

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    Age: 22

    Position: Center

    Height: 6'11"

    Weight: 225 lbs.

     

    It may be due to the lack of good prospects at center this year in the draft, but Keith Benson from Oakland University would be a great project for a team to take on.  

    Benson has a decent combination of size, length, and athleticism that has allowed him to be successful in the past, but if you take a look at his game, you would see that he doesn't really like contact.

    Benson's stats are ignored by scouts due to the fact that he plays in the weak Summit League, but he has held his own against some of the better teams in the country.

    On the defensive end of the floor, Benson is a pretty good help defender, and gets most of his blocks from coming over the court from the help side. He is often able to utilize his physical gifts, such as his tremendous length, to disrupt players cutting to the basket.

    Like almost every raw Center coming out of college, he has the tools, but his basketball IQ and strength isn't there yet.  He is prone to biting on shot fakes and rarely ever stands his ground, thinking that he can block virtually any shot attempt. 

    Many people doubt his ability to make an immediate impact in the league, which is understandable due to how raw of a player he is.  But in the future, he could turn out to be a very good basketball player.

    He could potentially be a borderline first-round pick, but more than likely will end up being taken in the second round. 

    Best Case Scenario: JaVale McGee

    Worst Case Scenario: Mikki Moore

Scotty Hopson

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    Age: 21

    Position: SG/SF

    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 195 lbs.

     

    Scotty Hopson is another one of those high energy players that give your team a spark in a game with little to no momentum.  

    The reason I think he is a sleeper is because he can really be a great explosive scorer in the NBA.  Hopson has ridiculous range on his jumpshot that will definitely translate well going into the NBA, but his shot selection can be questioned from time to time.  

    His athleticism may lead him into ESPN's Top 10 Plays every month or so.  Being that he can handle the ball well and can score from just about anywhere, Hopson will definitely give match-up problems to opposing SGs.

    Most of his defense is just reaching in and hand-checking his opponent, which he will have to improve if he wants to turn one of his biggest weaknesses into a strength.  

    At most, in the NBA, he will be a great sixth man to give his team a boost on the offensive end, but his shot selection can either bring a team back into or out of a game.

    Best Case Scenario: J.R. Smith

    Worst Case Scenario: Brandon Rush

Jordan Williams

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    Age: 20

    Position: Center

    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 260 lbs.

     

    One of the easiest things to translate from college basketball to the NBA is the ability to rebound.  

    If you talk about rebounding in the ACC, you would most likely remember Jordan Williams, the Maryland Center who got a double-double on any given night.

    Jordan Williams is one of the best rebounding centers in college basketball, on a terrible Maryland Terps team who barely gives him any touches.  

    It amazes me that Williams has such good footwork, yet when we get down the court in a halfcourt set, he can't even play music.

    Williams has the skills and athleticism to make an impact immediately at the NBA level. 

    As his game continues to develop, he could be an excellent post scorer and has the body to be a solid defender and rebounder.  He runs the court well for his size, and if he can expand his range out to about 10 or 15 feet, he can be very difficult to defend.

    Best Case Scenario: Marc Gasol

    Worst Case Scenario: Darrell Arthur

Nolan Smith

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    Age: 22

    Position: SG/PG

    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 185 lbs.

     

    As far as college players go, Smith is a spectacular guard who has proven to be an elite player in the NCAA.  It is shocking at how critics aren't talking about him, and instead are talking about his PG—who missed 30 games due to an injury.  

    He has developed a complete game under Coach K, routinely improving his numbers and all-around skills.  He is a solid player that doesn’t do anything that will make you jump out of your seats, but does everything at a good, efficient level. 

    It’s hard to knock anything about his game because he is so well rounded and has shown the ability to improve. 

    His game is matured, which leaves some to question his ability to get any better on the NBA level.  Is this as good as Nolan Smith will ever get, or will his ceiling be even higher than the skill level at his current state?

    He is an aggressive scorer who doesn’t try to do too much. 

    He is efficient, takes care of the ball, and makes plays that help a team win. Smith will likely be drafted later than he should, and be the type of player who will make everyone pay for passing him up. 

    He's a great, underrated NBA prospect that has the ability to be a significant starter and contributor in the league, despite the negativity around him.

    Best Case Scenario:  Kirk Hinrich

    Worst Case Scenario:  CJ Watson

Enes Kanter

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    Age: 18

    Position: Center

    Height: 6'11"

    Weight: 260 lbs.

     

    How can a projected top 10 player be selected as a sleeper?

    The fact that he didn't play at Kentucky is what is keeping him from being a top three pick.  He has the almost ideal skillset of an all-star big man in the league.  

    It is shocking that this kid has a complete skillset at the age of 18; his feel for the game in the post is just crazy.  

    Although he plays below the rim a lot, he can finish with a lot of contact.  On defense he does a good job banging up offensive players trying to back him down in the paint.

    He seems like a Jared Sullinger, with three more inches on his height.  But the fact is that nobody has seen him play in college due to the NCAA rules and a problem with his knee cap in the past.

    Surprisingly, Kanter is not restricted to playing in the paint with his very polished looking jumper with range out to the International three point line. He line drives his shot a bit, but even so, he's been effective with it.

    Given the fact that he sets devastating screens, has great soft hands, tremendous foot work, and that nice jumper, he should be a very good pick-and-roll player in the NBA; especially if he can get a bit more arc on his shot.

    Whoever the GM is for the team that will end up selecting Enes Kanter is, he will definitely be getting an extension after next season.

    Best Case Scenario: Al Horford

    Worst Case Scenario: Physical Version of Greg Monroe 

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