2011 NBA Draft: How Top Prospects Staying in School Helps Kemba Walker

Sebastian HummelsContributor IJanuary 18, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies handles the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With the news that this year's top NBA draft prospects are going to have another go at it next season, this leaves the door open for Kemba Walker to continue to climb in mock drafts.

Harrison Barnes recently announced that he will return to North Carolina for his sophomore season. As did Perry Jones of Baylor and Jared Sullinger of Ohio State before him. All three were projected to be picked in front of Walker in this year's draft.

With these three out of the picture, this allows Kemba to possibly slide into the top five picks, which means he can land on a team that needs help right away, and come in and make in immediate impact on a struggling team.

The lottery has not been chosen yet, but the Minnesota Timberwolves have the best odds at landing the No. 1 pick. Most signs point to any team that gets the first pick to choose Duke freshman Kyrie Irving.

After Irving is off the board, Derrick Williams of Arizona is likely next no matter what team gets the second pick. After this, though, it's hard to predict which direction each team will choose to go. This is where the lack of other top prospects like Barnes, Jones and Sullinger helps Walker.

If Minnesota and Cleveland do get the first two picks as odds suggest, then this leaves at least six teams that could be interested in Walker, and not any of the three players mentioned. 

It's hard to predict where Walker will ultimately land; it could be with the Sacramento Kings to play alongside Tyreke Evans or it could be the Detroit Pistons, where Walker would play alongside three fellow Huskies in Charlie Villanueva, Rip Hamilton and Ben Gordon.

We will all have to wait for things to unfold the next couple of months to see what happens.

The two things that are almost guaranteed right now are that Walker will surely get a bigger payday than he would've gotten before and he will be drafted to a team where his talents will be much needed and he can play right away, either starting or being an impact player off the bench.

All because a couple of kids decided to stay in school.