It is common knowledge that Derrick Williams is a stat-sheet stuffer, and is one of the top prospects in this year’s draft class. It is also widely accepted that Kemba Walker is a fierce competitor, and loves to hit big shots in crunch time.
These two players' draft profiles are pretty cut and dried, but what about the prospects whose draft stock and NBA quality is less clear?
The player could be a first-round talent with serious questions surrounding him as a prospect. He could be a player who just cannot seem to find a consensus selection area in the mock drafts.
Finally, the player could have a strong skill set, but finds himself fighting age-old tags such as too slow, too weak or too small.
Either way, here are 10 draft prospects who have questions and an abundance of intrigue attached to them.
Some may not remember this, but David Lighty was actually a member of the “Thad Five.” This was the 2006 Buckeye recruiting class that included Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook.
Lighty has never been the most publicized player on the Buckeyes roster. He is a surprisingly appealing prospect, though, as the 2011 NBA Draft approaches.
Lighty was able to put together a strong senior campaign averaging 12.1 points and four rebounds.
Scouts love David Lighty as a defensive stopper. He also was a committed team player for the Buckeyes. Lighty never complained or caused waves as new stars seemed to emerge every year for Ohio State.
There is a lot to like in David Lighty as an NBA prospect. He is not dominant in any one area of his game, but he does do a lot of things well.
Could Lighty ultimately become one of the more productive professional players to emerge out of the heralded “Thad Five” recruiting class?
David Lighty had a tenured and sometimes rocky collegiate career at Ohio State. There is a buzz building about the fifth-year senior as the NBA Draft approaches, though.
Jeremy Tyler’s story is unique and his path to draft night has been unprecedented.
At one time, Tyler was the top-rated high school prospect in the class of 2010. He originally committed to play for head coach Rick Pitino and Louisville.
Rather than playing collegiate basketball, though, Tyler made the decision to skip his senior year in high school. He chose to pursue an opportunity to play basketball overseas.
Unfortunately, Jeremy Tyler’s time with Israeli professional team “Maccabi Hafia” did not go over as the ex-prep star might have hoped. Tyler averaged just 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds during his 10 games with the club.
He quit the team with five weeks remaining in Hafia’s regular season, and has returned home to the States. Tyler is now projected as a second-round selection by most mock drafts.
As I said earlier, this story is unprecedented and is also somewhat bizarre.
How much stock should be put into Jeremy Tyler’s time with Maccabi Hafia?
How much has changed since this prospect was projected as one of the top high school talents in the country two years ago?
These are two of the major questions surrounding Jeremy Tyler.
It seems that no one has a consensus thinking on where Kyle Singler will be selected in the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft. Some mocks have Singler slated as a first-round pick while others have the Duke star in the mid-second round.
Singler has all the intangibles you want in a draft prospect. He is coachable, has high character and has a winning mentality. Kyle Singler also has great range for his size at 6’8.
Scouts worry about Singler’s lack of physical strength, and feel that his game is too finesse-oriented for the league.
The Duke star had the opportunity to enter the draft last season after the Blue Devils won their national title, but too his credit he chose to return for his senior season.
Kyle Singler has all the makings of a solid pro. I am guessing that he will be selected sooner rather than later. Regardless, there appears to be no consensus on where Singler will fall in this draft.
As a 7’0 foot prospect, there is a lot to like about Donatas Motiejunas. According to scouts, Motiejunas has a feathery jump shot and is a skilled passer.
Donatas Motiejunas is only 19 years old. There is a lot of upside attached to the prospect as well. It is probably because of all this that Donatas Motiejunas is being mocked as a surefire lottery pick.
So with that being said, what is controversial about this international big man?
Motiejunas is an intriguing prospect in that he is only 224 pounds and is sorely lacking NBA-level bulk. Scouts are also wary of the fact that Lithuanian prospects have traditionally favored a finesse approach rather than a more physical style of basketball.
All of Motiejunas’s skills that I have mentioned are fantastic, but they will mean nothing if the prospect continuously gets knocked off his spot.
I am not against a finesse brand of basketball. Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani has had a successful NBA career playing this brand of basketball with the Raptors.
As an NBA big man, though, you have to possess a certain build and physical strength, no matter what style of basketball you prefer.
Whichever team drafts Motiejunas will work tirelessly to improve his strength and build. This will be the area that defines whether Donatas Motiejunas will be a boom in the NBA or whether the Lithuanian big man will be a bust.
Did DeAndre Liggins make the right decision by keeping his name in the draft or should he have returned to Kentucky for his senior season?
Liggins never put up big numbers during his three seasons in Lexington. He had his best statistical campaign last season as a junior, averaging 8.6 points and four rebounds per game.
Nevertheless, DeAndre Liggins is a stout defender and the 6’6 guard has great length. DeAndre has a sizable ceiling with room for growth as a prospect.
His offensive skill set in particular could use polish, though.
Is DeAndre Ligggins worth a selection near the back end of the second round?
Liggins has good measurables and has the potential to be a great NBA prospect. The decision by DeAndre Liggins to stay in the draft was a curious one. His draft stock will be something to watch over the course of the next month.
Isaiah Thomas has the ability to weave in and out of traffic in the half court on offense. This allows the point guard to both set up his teammates as well as create scoring opportunities for himself. Isaiah Thomas also has great speed that aids him in the full court offense and on defense.
All of these characteristics translate well to the professional level, but Isaiah Thomas will have to make up for the fact that he has less than ideal NBA size.
The point guard is 5’9, 185 pounds, and he will likely be selected in the late second round or possibly go undrafted.
Former Washington point guard Nate Robinson has shown that it is possible to be an NBA mainstay, despite having small size. Robinson has almost an identical height and weight as Thomas at 5’9, 180 pounds.
Many feel that Isaiah Thomas should have returned to Washington for his senior season rather than enter the NBA Draft.
Regardless, the prospect will be looking for a team to take a chance on him late in the second round.
Thomas faces a more uphill battle than other NBA prospects, but there is a definite precedent for undersized guards making it in the league.
Many foreign prospects are criticized for their lack of strength and finesse style of play.
Neither of those critiques apply to Brazil’s Bismack Biyombo though. In fact, Biyombo’s strength and aggressive style of play will be his greatest asset as he transitions to the NBA.
Bismack Biyombo is funny in that he is the polar opposite of the aforementioned Donatas Motiejunas. Motiejunas has a tremendous amount of skill and polish to his game, but lacks the strength needed to play at the NBA level.
Biyombo meanwhile has all the strength necessary and more, but lacks any polish to his limited skill set.
Scouts critique that Bismack has poor shooting mechanics, is a subpar passer and has a small offensive repertoire.
Biyombo is only 18 years old, and has a huge ceiling for growth.
With that being said, can he develop into an effective NBA big man?
How long will it take for Biyombo's skills to catch up with his imposing physical makeup?
Bismack Biyombo is projected as a first-round pick, but the young man out of Brazil is far from a finished product.
Josh Selby was the No. 1 high school talent in the class of 2010 as rated by Rivals.
Selby arrived at Kansas with a tremendous amount of fanfare and buzz, but his one season in Lawrence never took off the way many people projected it to.
Selby averaged 7.9 points and 2.2 assists per game with the Jayhawks. He had trouble meshing into a system with the veteran Morris twins and point guard Tyshawn Taylor.
How much stock should be put into Selby’s one season at Kansas?
Does his skill set project that much better to the NBA than it does to the collegiate game?
Personally, I feel that Selby projects much better as a point guard rather than as a shooting guard. His greatest asset is his one-on-one game and elite athleticism.
Selby needs to have the ball in his hands rather than play off other players like he did at Kansas.
This is all up for debate, though. It will be interesting to see which situation Josh Selby is drafted into next month.
Ben Hansbrough is dealing with many of the same questions that are hounding Jimmer Fredette.
Hansbrough can absolutely torch the nets from the three-point range. He shot 44% from behind the arc last season as a senior for Notre Dame. Hansbrough is also a fearless competitor, a trait that he shares with his brother Tyler Hansbrough of the Indiana Pacers.
Ben Hansbrough was an outstanding college player, but will he be able to make the transition to the NBA?
Hansbrough does not have an outstanding build or athleticism. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the faster professional game, and creating his own shot on offense.
A lot of the same questions were posed about Tyler Hansbrough as he was coming out of North Carolina. Tyler has silenced a lot of his doubters, and is playing well for the Pacers in his second season in the league.
Many players have trouble making the transition to the professional game, especially spot-up shooters which is what Ben Hansbrough is.
It will be interesting to see where he is selected and how his NBA career plays out.
Jimmer Fredette’s scoring prowess is simply incredible. Fredette averaged 28.9 points as a senior last season for BYU. The guard’s play last season was remarkable, and try as they may no one could slow Fredette down for a full 40 minutes.
Jimmer Fredette projects to play point guard at the NBA level. His draft stock and subsequent selection will be one of the most hotly discussed topics leading up to the draft.
There are questions surrounding Jimmer Fredette’s ability to play at the NBA level, though.
Can Fredette create his own shot against NBA defenders?
Can he prove to be a serviceable defender on the professional level?
These are the two main questions that Jimmer Fredette’s skeptics are raising as the NBA Draft draws near.
Jimmer Fredette is projected as a mid-first round pick, but there is not a more intriguing prospect in this draft class.
Some feel that Jimmer is destined for NBA greatness while others think that his best days ended after Florida bounced BYU in the Sweet Sixteen last season
As of right now, Jimmer Fredette’s NBA prospects will continue to be a hotly debated issue.