The 2011 NBA draft class is one of the weaker draft classes in recent memory, but that does not mean there are not physical specimens in the class. There are the types of guys who have "NBA-ready" bodies and the guys who have other physical attributes, like speed or athleticism. They are expected to be more mature than the "average" rookie, and they welcome the challenge.
Players like Derrick Williams out of Arizona, Enes Kanter from Kentucky and Shelvin Mack of Butler all have the physical tools to succeed. Read on to see other physical prospects who look to be on the road to success in the NBA.
Derrick Williams has arguably the most "NBA-ready" body in the entire draft class. He is an absolute beast, and he is widely considered a top-three draft choice. He bulked up quite a bit from his freshman season and should be able to battle with bigs in the NBA.
His strength isn't even his most interesting physical attribute either. In addition to his strength, he has amazing quickness and leaping ability. Here is a video of his season highlights. When watching this video remember that you are looking at a power forward, not a guard as his moves sometimes look like. This is what makes him so special.
Enes Kanter never played a game for the Kentucky Wildcats, but he is still considered the best center prospect in the draft. He is a solid 6'11", 270, and he can bang on the blocks. He should be a top-five pick and will help some team on both offense and defense.
He has the combination of size and strength that could be special and could really help a team like Minnesota or Toronto. He won't be afraid to bang with bigs, and he could start immediately because of his maturity.
Bismack Biyombo's name has been on the rise, and he could be a first-round draft pick. He is 6'9", 240 and a freak athlete. He has the tools to succeed but is very raw. He could be very, very good, and scouts are drooling over his potential. He has a 7'7" wing span and is only 18 years old.
He played extremely well at the Nike Hoops Summit, recording a triple-double. One comparison I noticed was to his fellow countryman Serge Ibaka. He plays very similar to Ibaka and could turn out to be an Ibaka 2.0.
Shelvin Mack is one of the bigger point guards in this draft class, and by big I don't mean height. Mack has great upper body strength and loves to get in the lane and absorb contact. He has the quickness to get by his defender and the strength to finish in the paint.
He is definitely one of the most physical point guard prospects, and he should be a late first-round or early second-round draft pick.
Not all physically impressive prospects have huge arms or shoulders, and Brandon Knight is the first of a couple prospects who fit this category. He has the quickness, strength, size and decision-making to succeed at the next level. Knight (6'3", 185) has the build of Derrick Rose (6'3", 190) and Russell Westbrook (6'3", 187) and plays similarly to them.
Knight is projected by nbadraft.net to be a top-five draft pick, and he should help out any team that needs a point guard.
Kawhi Leonard has the "NBA-ready" body for a small forward and should be selected in the first round. He has a unique mix of elite athleticism and strength and should be able to play defense against the majority of NBA small forwards. While his offensive game is not as polished, his hustle and defense will sell him to a team.
Most scouts think he should be a small forward because he is a little undersized to be a power forward. If Leonard can utilize his skills, then he could be an interesting end-to-end player.
Kemba Walker fits into the same mold as Brandon Knight—not the most muscular guy, but he can get the job done with other physical attributes. He is extremely quick, very athletic and has the kind of swagger that could help him succeed. Kemba is listed at 6'0" tall, but his will and athleticism allow him to finish in traffic.
He is an interesting prospect because he doesn't have the body of a typical NBA point guard, but he has the intangibles to succeed. Look for Kemba to be a late first-round draft pick.
Kenneth Faried is 12th on the NCAA men's basketball list of career rebounds and has the most rebounds out of anyone who has played since 1973. He is a rebounding machine and has great athleticism and quickness.
Faried has a speedy first step and can finish quite emphatically. He is already strong, but he could be very dangerous if he added even more muscle.
Faried is a perfect bench player because he isn't polished offensively but could be the energy guy off the bench. He could be great on a contending team, a team that would only need small bursts of energy out of him. Look for him to be a mid to late first-round draft choice.
Kyrie Irving was hurt for the majority of the season, and he is still considered a top-three pick. That's how good this guy is. He reminds scouts of a Chris Paul-type player, and he certainly has similar skills to Paul. Irving is just like Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight in the fact that he isn't the most muscular guy.
Irving has a special combination of speed, athleticism and court vision and should be taken either first or second in the draft.
Jimmer Fredette is college basketball's version of Tim Tebow. He is the most scrutinized college basketball player I have ever seen.
Jimmer is also one of the stronger players I have seen for someone his size. He is listed as 6'2", but he has a ton of strength and is the best scorer in the draft class. He has the ability to muscle his way through the defense or pull up from 30 feet; the question is whether he will be able to do that at the next level.
Jimmer should be a first-round draft pick, but the question will persist on if he will succeed.