NBA Draft 2011: 10 Sleepers Who Could Surprise You as Pros
Carlos Boozer. Mo Williams. Gilbert Arenas. Rashard Lewis. Manu Ginobili. Michael Redd.
What do all of these guys have in common?
They have all been NBA All-Stars, and none of them were selected in the first round of the NBA draft.
Every year there are players whose stocks fall, they fly under the radar and for whatever reason, they get drafted later than they should (or don't get drafted at all).
So who are the sleepers this year? Here is a look at 10 players who could make a bigger impact than you think.
Let's go gem hunting.
NBA equivalent: Mini Dwight
Dwight Howard is Kenneth Faried in high heels. If only he were a little taller, he would be projected as a lottery pick.
But it's not like he can't reach the rim.
Faried can bang. He dominated the glass last season as the nation's leading rebounder and guided an unlikely Morehead State to two NCAA Tournament wins in three years.
Although he will be a project at the offensive end, his energy on defense makes him ultra valuable in a league that plays so little of it.
Don't be surprised if this monster plays his way into big minutes for a team like the Bobcats, Timberwolves or Blazers, who have picks midway through the first round.
NBA equivalent: Paul Millsap
Jordan Williams packs a lot of power into his bulky 6'10", 260-pound frame.
The sophomore from Maryland improved dramatically in his second year and has room to grow even more in the near future. He has a high basketball IQ, runs the floor well and has nice enough footwork in the post to create his own shots and finish through contact.
The most concerning drawback is his shape, but there aren't many professional players who aren't able to fix that in the weight room.
As a late first rounder, a team like the Nuggets could really benefit from the tremendous potential Williams brings to the table for years to come.
NBA equivalent: Lou Williams
Josh Selby could have foregone college altogether if the NBA didn't have their one-year rule.
After a brief 26-game college career, the former No. 1 high school prospect in the nation decided to declare for the draft.
Selby wasn't needed as a primary scorer for Kansas as a freshman because the Jayhawks were already established as one the best teams in the nation, so his stats might keep him on the board long enough for a team in the second round to hit the jackpot.
Selby can stroke and get to the tin. He's got future starter written all over him.
NBA equivalent: Kevin Martin
If volume scorers weren't coveted in the NBA, then Marshon Brooks wouldn't be on this list. Fortunately for him, they are.
Marshon can fill it up. The senior from Vanderbilt was second in the country in scoring, behind only Jimmer Fredette. And he did it against tough Big East opponents, so you know he's no joke.
He has incredible range on his jump shot, he's excellent at changing speeds with the dribble, and he is lengthy enough to finish in the paint regularly and efficiently.
Marshon will make for a steal in the second round and will be able to make an instant impact as a scorer for any team.
NBA equivalent: DeMar DeRozan
Jereme Richmond is one of the youngest players in the draft, but also one of the most athletically gifted.
The high flying freshman only managed six starts in a tough debut season at Illinois, where he had to share playing time with two senior forwards, but it's easy to see what scouts like so much about him.
He's long and fast on both ends of the court and makes for a tough matchup against slower forwards and smaller guards.
Picking Richmond could be perceived as a gamble because he is still lacking the build and IQ of an NBA player, but once he matures and gains experience, it could pay very rewarding dividends for whoever drafts him.
NBA equivalent: Kyle Lowry
Demetri McCamey isn't the most athletic guy in the gym, but he will generate a lot of attention as a big point guard who can shoot.
He lacks the quickness you'd like to see from an NBA guard, but he has NBA range on his jump shot and can connect from long distance consistently. His size allows him to see the floor well and his patience allows him to effectively run an offense, making him a great distributor.
Many people question McCamey's attitude and effort, but if he can convince scouts that he is ready to commit himself to playing at a high level, he has the ability to be a sneaky pick late in the draft.
NBA equivalent: Nick Young
He received a lot of criticism from Tennessee fans for deciding to skip his senior year and go pro early, but Hopson is confident that he's a first-round guy.
First round is likely a stretch for Hopson, and it's no guarantee that he even gets drafted at all, but if he does, he provides a tremendous amount of skill.
Hopson possesses one of the most pure jump shots in all of the draft and would make for an outstanding wing player who can spot up or create his own.
If he's able to add some muscle and be a bit more aggressive, he will be a nice complementary player at the end of the draft.
NBA equivalent: Marcus Thornton
E'Twaun Moore is another guy who won't impress you with his athleticism, but he is a smart guard who doesn't make mistakes and can put the ball in the basket effectively.
The senior from Purdue is too good an offensive weapon to be overlooked on draft night.
He brings to the table a wide variety of ways to score, as he is creative off the dribble and can catch-and-shoot on kick outs as well as anybody.
If he can bulk up to NBA size, the crafty 22-year-old can make plenty of teams happy with his offensive prowess.
NBA equivalent: Toney Douglas
LaceDarius Dunn sure isn't afraid to shoot.
The Big 12's all-time leading scorer was known for putting the ball in the net, but many criticize Dunn's shot selection, as well as the frequency at which he heaved.
Consistency is key for jump shooters, which Dunn primarily is, but he struggled in that department during his final season at Baylor, and he is a bit undersized for a two-guard, which he projects to be at the next level.
He is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players to watch in the draft and can really provide a boost down the stretch of games for teams looking for that player with killer instinct, but he'll have to work on refining his jump shot.
If Dunn is able to work out a couple of kinks in time for team workouts, he can be a gunslinger in the NBA for years to come.
NBA equivalent: Hakim Warrick
Most experts have Jerai Grant going undrafted, and if he does it will be a mistake.
Even if Grant doesn't get drafted, he's a big enough workhorse to battle through some camps to earn a job somewhere, the same way Udonis Haslem and Ben Wallace did after they went undrafted.
He is considered to be weak when isolated one-on-one against a defender or when defending the ball, but he excels at team defense and does the little things on offense that NBA teams look for in terms of gaining extra possessions.
Grant will help an NBA team at some point, you can count on it.
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