NBA Draft 2011: The 10 Most Undervalued Players No One Is Talking About
Regardless of the upcoming NBA Draft being one of the shallowest in terms of talent in recent history, there are still some great pieces to be had for teams, especially in the mid-late first round.
The positions that have the greatest depth this time around are at point guard and small forward, including plenty who are capable of starting in the league with their physicality, athletic gifts, and skill set.
Most will need some time to adjust to the NBA style but should have a fairly smooth transition. We are not saying that everyone on this list is an NBA starter right now, but they definitely are capable of reaching that level in a couple years' time.
There are also some impact players in here who have gotten little mention, and hopefully we can put them on your radar.
That said, SwishScout.com presents “The 10 Most Undervalued Players No One Is Talking About."
Note: On every player, you can click their name or school to take you to a more detailed profile for an extensive scouting report and highlights on the respective prospect.
10. Nolan Smith (Duke)
With former Duke stars Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Grant Hill still making an impact in the league, the stigma that Blue Devil players can’t have a significant impact in the league should be long gone.
Everyone loves Kyrie Irving’s upside and potential, but no one gives his replacement at PG the respect he’s due from the season.
Smith is a veteran guard who is capable of making an impact for a playoff team and can contribute right away. He’s a fringe first-rounder right now, but is definitely worthy of being picked around No. 20 to 30.
9. Demetri McCamey (Illinois)
Another veteran guard who had a distinguished career playing the point guard position, McCamey knows how to run an offense and knock down open shots. At 6’3”, 200 pounds, he has an ideal PG build to contend with NBA guards in terms of size and strength.
He’s a big-time shot maker who shot over 45 percent beyond the arc, but lacks great quickness to beat his man off the dribble to get to the basket.
Nonetheless, McCamey is a quality guard and a potential steal in the late first or early second round because of his immediate impact and skill set transitioning in the league.
8. Kenneth Faried (Morehead State)
The tenacious big man from New Jersey is an absolute beast in the middle, capable of controlling the paint with his athleticism, strength, and instincts.
Although playing in the Ohio Valley Conference, make no mistake about Faried’s talents looking bloated against weaker competition; he would have dominated any major conference in rebounds and blocks.
Biggest concern about his game is his extreme lack of a post game, jumper, and size at 6’8”, but Faried has the athletic and physical gifts, coupled with toughness, to excel.
He should come off the board in the mid-late first round, but could play like he was worth more as a rookie when the 2011-12 season begins.
7. Reggie Jackson (Boston College)
If you haven’t heard of the lanky BC guard by now, you’re not the only one keeping tabs on the NBA Draft who is unfamiliar with his talents.
Jackson has a crazy wingspan for his size and great athleticism that can help him adjust and excel in the NBA. He’s an excellent perimeter shooter who can knock down the 3, but is a developing talent in terms of playing the point guard position.
Given his natural talent and physical gifts, the learning curve should be fairly short for Reggie.
His stock has seen a significant boost in the past couple months and looks to be a lock for the late first round at worst.
6. Tristan Thompson (Texas)
A breakout star in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Thompson toyed with staying in Austin for next season, but looks to make the jump given the frail makeup of the lottery right now.
Can’t say I blame him, as his stock should only go up and his worth to a team with it potentially. Forget that he’s only 6’9”, Tristan has the length, explosive leaping ability, and toughness to bang in the paint and makes plays.
He’s a physical post defender who will fearlessly take on anyone he’s matched up with, and more than likely turn away a couple of their shots.
It’s very possible that he will be taken late in the lottery, but he is a name that could get hotter in the coming months as Draft day approaches.
5. Chris Singleton (Florida State)
Despite being injured for a few games near the end of the year, Singleton bounced back in the NCAA Tournament to help lead the Seminoles to the Sweet Sixteen.
Chris is an NBA-caliber defender who did nothing but make plays for FSU in the block and steals department.
Being responsible for a single man in the NBA, as opposed to the five he seemingly had to play at once in the NCAA, Singleton is capable of becoming a lockdown defender with his length, size, and athleticism.
He should be a mid-first rounder just based on his perimeter defense, but could unfairly slide because of injury concerns and raw offensive production.
4. Marcus Morris (Kansas)
The Big XII Player of the Year was the ‘go to’ guy for the Jayhawks in the NCAA Tournament and produced like one for the most part.
Got a lot of Draft hype early in the year because of his frame and perimeter skill set, but has since cooled because of inconsistency and positional concerns.
He’s a versatile, yet natural perimeter player who has the body and size to bang in the post and grab a good deal of rebounds.
Morris is a reliable playmaker who failed to score double digits only twice for Kansas during the past season, and he should get a look at being taken late in the lottery.
3. Darius Morris (Michigan)
Morris is a natural PG prospect with great size, strength, and athleticism. Caught a lot of hype late in the season and in the NCAA Tournament, but hasn’t been much chatter regarding his status since exiting in the round of 32 against Duke.
He’s a physical perimeter player who loves to penetrate the D and post up smaller guards with his size and strength. Darius is a natural playmaker with outstanding court vision and passing ability, getting seven games this season with double-digit assists.
He’s not a great perimeter shooter by any means, but will improve in his career, but is projected in the late second round.
Based on that location in the Draft, Darius is an absolute steal who could become a starting PG for a team in the near future, but I have a feeling you could see him creep into the late first round.
2. Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State)
You will not find many more naturally talented playmakers than Kawhi in the Draft, and we would be stunned to see him drop out of the lottery.
He’s a prototypical NBA small forward with tremendous rebounding ability, thanks to some enormous hands that allow him snatch any nearly board in the vicinity.
Plays with tremendous energy, basketball IQ, and has a chiseled frame that will allow him to board up in the league.
Not only is he a talent, Leonard is a winner who helped take an undervalued SDSU program to the Sweet Sixteen as their primary player.
In terms of upside and immediate impact, Leonard is about as much of a sure thing you will find in 2011, especially late in the lottery.
1. JaJuan Johnson (Purdue)
For someone being projected in the second round, Johnson sure strikes me as a first-round caliber prospect, even in a Draft with more depth than this.
At 6’10”, he’s a player with great length and athleticism who got progressively better on a year-to-year basis on his way to becoming the Big 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
The big concern is over his narrow shoulders and being able to add strength, but for someone with his combination of length, athleticism, and basketball IQ, there’s little doubt that Johnson will be to succeed in the league.
The numbers he put up as a senior (20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) were outstanding. Johnson also has a fairly refined post game that he will be able to utilize in the paint and his perimeter jumper is as smooth as they come for big men, which will be able to extend the defense.
When we say no one is talking about a legit talent in the Draft, JaJuan Johnson is the immediate name that comes to mind.