NBA Draft 2011: Derrick Williams and 10 Immediate Impact Prospects
Consequently, as players continue to enter their names into the draft, we are left to attempt to figure out who will be able to contribute at the professional level.
And while many prospects will be selected based upon their potential, others—such as Derrick Williams—will be impact players from Day 1.
But who else will be able to do this?
Well, this slideshow will attempt to answer that question, naming the 10 impact prospects for the 2011 NBA Draft.
Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
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After posting huge numbers and leading his Arizona Wildcats to the best record in the Pac-10, Derrick Williams truly burst onto the national stage during the NCAA tournament.
Here he was a constant fixture on the highlight reel due to his clutch performances, blocking game-tying attempts at the buzzer, knocking down game-winning shots or posting huge point totals while powering his team to a deep tournament run.
Seeing as though the 6'8", 241-pound sophomore forward posted season-long averages of 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.1 threes, one steal and 0.7 blocks per game, it's clear that he can do it all.
Moreover, he was extremely efficient, shooting 59.5 percent from the field, 56.8 percent from three and 74.6 percent from the line.
Consequently, although he doesn't possess the elite-level athleticism, Williams will still be able to contribute in the NBA right from the start, providing size, shooting and a well-rounded game for some lucky franchise.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
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Despite missing most of the college basketball season due to a toe injury, Duke freshman Kyrie Irving still appeared to be among the nation's best players when active.
In all, the 6'2", 180-pound prospect posted per-game averages of 17.5 points, 4.3 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.6 threes and 1.5 steals—all while playing alongside more established veteran teammates.
So by proving that he can lead one of the nation's best teams and standing out among the likes of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, Irving has proven to be a star in the making.
Consequently, with his creativity, quickness, feel for the game, scoring ability and work ethic, he should be able to step right in and log minutes at point right away for a lottery team.
Enes Kanter, F-C, Kentucky (Turkey)
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Despite the fact that, after he enrolled at Kentucky, Enes Kanter was ruled academically ineligible for receiving compensation when playing basketball in his native Turkey, he still is an impressive prospect.
Standing 6'11" and weighing in at 260 pounds, the teenage forward-center already has the body and strength of a pro.
What's more, he has dominated all of the international competition that he's faced—all while showing off great touch inside and a solid jumper.
And even though he has a history of knee injuries and only possesses average athleticism, when one considers the success of many of his less-hyped countrymen in the NBA in recent years (Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur, Ersan Ilyasova, Semih Erden and Omer Asik), the young Turk should be able to step in and make some noise in the paint immediately.
Kemba Walker, G, UConn
Kemba Walker became the hero of the 2010-11 college basketball season after propelling his UConn Huskies to a Big East and NCAA tournament championship.
What's more, the New York City native was among the nation's leaders in scoring, posting an average of 23.5 points per contest.
Scoring wasn't all that Walker did, however, as he also managed to pull down 5.4 boards, dish out 4.5 assists, grab 1.9 steals and knock down 1.8 threes per game.
And even though the 6'1", 172-pound guard isn't exactly a pure point guard—and he is a bit on the smallish side—his quickness, scoring ability and explosiveness should allow him to achieve immediate success in the NBA—whether it be as a point, a shooting guard or simply a scorer and source of energy off the bench.
Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
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As the winner of a few player of the year awards, Jimmer Fredette was arguably the face of the 2010-11 NCAA basketball season.
By leading the nation in scoring at 28.9 points per game, he almost single-handedly powered his BYU team to a high ranking and deep tournament run.
Moreover, he displayed seemingly unlimited range, connecting on 3.4 threes per game.
And by also showing some point guard skills and posting a respectable assist average, the 6'2", 195-pound guard should have what it takes to carve out a pro career.
So while he likely won't be a star point guard, his ability to score in a wide variety of ways should make Fredette a dangerous scorer off the bench right away.
Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
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Kawhi Leonard is another player who emerged in the 2010-11 season after helping his team earn one of the nation's top rankings.
However, the 6'7", 225-pound sophomore forward accomplished this by being one of the more well-rounded prospects out there.
On the year, Leonard posted per-game averages of 15.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.7 threes and 0.6 blocks.
So when one considers that he has an NBA body and NBA athleticism, the ability to mix it up inside and the skill to run an offense as a point-forward, Leonard should be able to find a way to make an immediate impact on the professional level.
Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
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Alec Burks quietly put together an outstanding year for the Colorado Buffaloes, with his team largely thought to have been snubbed out of the NCAA tournament.
Nevertheless, the 6'6", 200-pound guard did all that he could during the year, scoring 20.5 points per game, grabbing 6.5 rebounds, doling out 2.9 assists and swiping 1.1 steal per contest.
What's more, Burks has developed a three-point shot into his arsenal, which should make his already-potent slashing offense even more effective.
So while he has room to improve as he gains strength and hones his shot, the young guard's outstanding combination of scoring ability and athleticism should be enough to allow him to contribute right away.
Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
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While Kansas junior Marcus Morris doesn't possess the size or athleticism of his twin brother Markieff, his level of skill has more than made up for the difference.
Standing at 6'9" and weighing in at 235 pounds, Morris was the undisputed leader of one of the nation's best teams, posting per-game averages of 17.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals, 0.7 threes and 0.6 blocks.
Moreover, in doing so, he shot 57 percent from the field while putting a well-rounded inside-out offense on display.
Consequently, since he can score, defend and rebound—basically all that a power forward needs—Morris should be able to get plenty of playing time right away, making him one of the top impact prospects.
Tyler Honeycutt, G-F, UCLA
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Tyler Honeycutt was a rather confusing player to watch during the 2010-11 college basketball season.
He certainly appears to have all of the tools necessary to succeed, but just hasn't yet been able to put it all together.
Nevertheless, the 6'8", 188-pound wing managed to accumulate averages of 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1.8 threes and 0.9 steals.
Furthermore, seeing as though he possesses an NBA game, with amazing athleticism and length, coupled with the ability to shoot, pass and rebound, he will certainly find a spot on an NBA roster—if only as a lock-down defender.
But if drafted into a wide-open system or alongside a high-caliber point guard, Honeycutt should be able to turn the corner at the pro level, becoming a solid, well-rounded contributor.
Jordan Hamilton, G-F, Texas
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Jordan Hamilton showed an amazing level of improvement in his sophomore season with the Texas Longhorns.
He made drastically better decisions on the court, and as a result, he posted 18.6 points per game, connecting on 2.5 threes on average.
Additionally, the 6'7", 220-pound wing pulled down 7.7 rebounds per game and, despite his average athleticism, managed to play efficient defense.
Consequently, with his combination of size and deadly shooting, Hamilton should certainly be able to find a prominent bench-scoring role with an NBA team, allowing him to be an immediate impact player.