NBA: Potential Lockout Makes the 2011 Draft Class the Weakest of All Time

Washington's BulletContributor IIApril 26, 2011

DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils watches on during their game against the Michigan State Spartans at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 1, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Basketball players want to play basketball.  They don't want to practice, watch films, sit at home, or despite the oft repeated rumors, spend all night in a nightclub.  

They want to play basketball. 

The biggest unspoken secret in the NBA is that if you suddenly cut off the salaries of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and a number of other top players, they would still come to work the next day.

They want to play basketball.

Of course this is not true across the board, but the sentiment is doubtlessly pervasive. 

This subtle truth is why the owners will eventually take the upper hand in lockout negotiations.

The NBA lockout will cause, and has already caused, a large number of potential NBA prospects to stay in college for an additional year.

Top ranked players such as Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Harrison Barnes, C.J. Leslie, and others have opted remain in college and fight for another NCAA championship.  Of course they all provide different reasons as to why they made the decision, but the fact that the NBA might be experiencing a lockout next season certainly has to be a consideration.   

The 2011 NBA draft class in headed up by the unproven Kyrie Irving and the undersized Derrick Williams.  In addition, smaller shooting guards like Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette are both mentioned in the lottery.

These are all good players.  Without any real standouts, however, the draft class looks thin. 

One Eastern Conference GM even noted that, "this may be the weakest draft since 2000."