With the 2011 NBA draft coming up in June, Marquette star Jimmy Butler and Wisconsin big man Jon Leuer are getting closer and closer to achieving their dream of becoming professional basketball players. Butler who averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season and Jon Leuer who averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, are both coming off great senior seasons. Where will these two players go in the draft? Let’s take a look.
Jimmy Butler recently increased his draft stock at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and has moved up in most mock drafts. Before the tournament Butler was in the 50-60th pick range but now is in the 35-45th pick range. NBA Draft websites such as DraftExpress have Butler going 40th to the Milwaukee Bucks. Mynbadraft.com has Butler going 51st to the Portland Trailblazers. But NBAdraft.net has Butler going undrafted.
Right now Butler is working out at IMG Academies with other potential draftees such as Alex Tyus of Florida and Brad Wanamaker of Pitt. If Butler is consistent in his pre-draft workouts he will definitely stay in the 35-45th pick range. We saw Butler’s former teammate Wesley Matthews go undrafted and ended up starting with the Jazz and made an immediate impact. Let’s hope Butler will make an immediate impact as well.
ESPN Chad Ford’s Top 100 Ranking: 53
Jon Leuer was in ESPN Chad Ford’s ‘Next Five In’ to the first round in his 2011 NBA mock draft, Version 1.0.Leuer is iffy on where he will be selected; he could sneak into the first round but also could slip to the 50s if he doesn’t fit team’s needs. Leuer’s style of isn’t relevant to the NBA because he is a 6’10" power forward but plays more like a small forward.
He will need to get stronger and become a better post defender if he wants to transition to an NBA power forward. That being said, he may not need to transition to an NBA power forward, he could just become an oversized small forward. It all depends who he is drafted by and what that team’s roster looks like and what their needs are. Truly though, Leuer should become a small forward once he reaches the NBA due to the fact that he is a great shooter but a poor rebounder for his 6’10" size.
ESPN Chad Ford’s Top 100 Ranking: 33
With all that being said about these two players, Butler will most likely translate to the NBA style of play better than Leuer will. Butler has been compared to players such as Wesley Matthews and Landry Fields. Leuer could be compared to former Marquette player Steve Novak. They’re both big men who shoot the jumper really good.
Marquette has recently been producing quality NBA players like Wes Matthews, Lazar Hayward, and Steve Novak. Wisconsin has produced many professional basketball players but not many NBA players.
If both of these players perform well at pre-draft workouts, they shall both easily find their way onto an NBA roster.
Zach Herring also writes for Wisconsin Sports Talk!