2011 NBA Draft

2011 NBA Mock Draft: 5 Potential All-Stars in the 2011 Draft Class

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: 5 Potential All-Stars in the 2011 Draft Class

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 26:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats goes up for a rebound against Jamal Coombs-McDaniel #4 and Charles Okwandu #35 of the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at
    Harry How/Getty Images

    A day after the NBA draft lottery, all the buzz is about how 14-year-old Nick Gilbert made nerds cool with his hipster glasses and positive vibes helping land daddy's Cleveland Cavaliers two of the top four picks in the 2011 NBA draft.

    Young Gilbert's mojo has the Cavs poised to make a huge splash in what figures to be the worst draft since 2000, when the likes of Stromile Swift, Marcus Fizer and Darius Miles were top-5 picks tabbed to turn around struggling franchises.

    This draft is sure to have plenty of busts, but there is still can't-miss talent at the top of the board. 

    Here's a look at five draft prospects poised to achieve All-Star status during their NBA careers:

No. 5: Jan Vesely, F, Partizan Belgrade

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    Vesely isn't your typical European prospect.

    At only 21 years old, he stands at 6'11" and has already grown into his body.  Although some scouts say he needs to play with more strength at the rim, Vesely has the athleticism to rise above defenders.

     

    What Will Make Him an All-Star?

    The NBA game continues to transcend to more athletic big men able to attack the rim and clean the backboards.  Assuming he makes a commitment to playing with aggressiveness, Vesley has enough raw talent to make a big impact within a year or two in the NBA.

    Pro Comparison: Based on the buzz around the Czech Republic native, it's not too far-fetched to imagine him looking like Blake Griffin within a few years.  Already a capable outside shooter, Vesley might end up drifting to the perimeter at the NBA level.  But if he stays inside, he could be a double-double machine and a real game-changer.

    Best Case Scenario: The thought of a Blake Griffin type player should be enough to get NBA fans excited.  His impact won't be immediate, but Vesley could be an absolute stud in a couple seasons.

    Worst Case Scenario: Jonas Jerebko.  Athletic, versatile, scrappy...but just not good enough to be a true impact player at the next level.

    All-Star Forecast: 4-5 years

No. 4: Alec Burks, G, Colorado

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11:  Alec Burks #10 of the Colorado Buffaloes drives with the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during their semifinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2011 in Kansas City
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The slender Burks is arguably the best pure scorer in the draft, and he still has a long way to go before reaching his full potential.

    Playing alongside superior talent in the NBA should enable him to focus on what he does best: creating shots for himself off the bounce.

     

    What Will Make Him An All-Star?

    Although he wasn't highly recruited out of high school, Burks' ability to create his shot with either hand made him an impact player in the Big 12.

    At 6-6, he is a rangy athlete who could excel in the pick-and-roll game.  He needs to grow into his body a bit, but NBA teams love a player with offensive versatility.

    Pro Comparison: Let's fire up the way-back machine for this one.

    From a physical standpoint, Burks has a similar skill set to a young Latrell Sprewell, who came out of Alabama as a slasher and solid mid-range shooter.

    Burks isn't a great 3-point shooter—his percentage actually dropped significantly in his sophomore campaign, but his ability to get to the rack makes him a player to watch in the years ahead.

    Best Case Scenario: Burks would be a great fit with a team like Milwaukee, where he could play without the ball at times and look to create shots for others.  20 PPG alone won't make him an all-star, but he has the makings of a versatile star.

    Worst Case Scenario: A scorer who loves to shoot and can't actually make shots consistently.  The NBA is full of those types of players, ranging from Willie Green to Rasual Butler.  Burks needs to get stronger and work on his 3-point shot before he will become a true star.

    All-Star Forecast: 2-3 years

No. 3: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey

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    Timing is everything, and with Kanter headed to an NBA devoid of talent in the pivot, his size and skill could enable him to flourish.

    Less raw then most of his fellow draft class, the 6'11" center is projected a lock for the top-5, with Utah or Cleveland being the most likely destination.

     

    What Will Make Him an All-Star?

    Great footwork around the basket and a very soft touch, allowing him to score in the post.  With the number of big men dwindling, Kanter will get plenty of touches early and often.

    Assuming he lands in Cleveland, he would have the chance to play immediately and put up double-doubles.

    Pro Comparison: From a size and skill standpoint, Kanter compares almost perfectly to Nets' center Brook Lopez, who has solidified himself as a top-5 NBA center.

    Like Lopez, Kanter isn't overly explosive or dynamic around the rim.  He relies on an old-school skill set to get his points. 

    More of a lunch pail guy, the Turk has potential to earn an All-Star spot thanks to the weak crop of centers in the NBA.

    Best Case Scenario: 20 and 10 with just enough defense thrown in.  If Kanter can do that, he will help any of the top-5 lottery teams show improvement immediately.

    Worst Case Scenario: Decent scorer and rebounder, but too passive and unable to defend the paint.

    His lack of athleticism could be a problem in the NBA, and will force him to play with savvy and smarts beyond his years.

    All-Star Forecast: 3-5 years

No. 2: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 26:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after a dunk against of the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 26, 2011 in Anaheim, Cali
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Williams can get to the basket, block shots and rebound with the best of them.

    His physical abilities are unparalleled, but his perimeter game still needs work.

     

    What Will Make Him an All-Star?

    Long, athletic and rugged, Williams is a more assertive version of a young Lamar Odom.

    Depending on where he ends up, he figures to break into the starting lineup immediately based on his athleticism alone.  While he works on his handle and jump shot, his freakishly long arms will make him an asset on the defensive end.

    Look for Williams to make a couple NBA All-Defensive teams during his pro career.

    Pro Comparison: Williams has similar skills to Sixers' forward Thaddeus Young, with a bit more athleticism and a much better motor.

    If he manages to find range, he will be a star in the NBA almost instantly.

    Best Case Scenario: The Cavaliers will almost certainly pass on Williams at No. 1, meaning he is headed to the land of a thousand lakes and about 200 hybrid forwards.

    If the Timberwolves move some players around, Williams could crack the starting lineup and become the third option on offense by mid-season.

    Worst Case Scenario: Williams gets buried among the torrent of forwards in the Twin Cities and spends more time on the bench than on the court.

    It wouldn't make much sense, but with the T'Wolves, not a great deal seems to make sense these days.

    All-Star Forecast: 2-4 Years 

No. 1: Kyrie Irving, G, Duke

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils draws contact against Kyryl Natyazhko #1 and Lamont Jones #12 of the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on M
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Although he spent almost his entire freshman season on the sidelines, not many experts are disputing Kyrie Irving being the most talented player in the NBA draft.

    His smooth game and court vision make him a player capable of turning a franchise around.

     

    What Will Make Him an All-Star?

    Irving doesn't wow you with any one skill, which is what makes him so good.

    His off the dribble game and strength near the rim is already advanced beyond his years, and more work in the weight room should help him matchup against strong point guards including Derrick Rose and Deron Williams.

    Pro Comparison: A young Gilbert Arenas, before the bizarre personality traits began to surface.

    Irving has strong character with tremendous upside, creativity and the ability to score and find teammates depending on what the situation calls for.

    Best Case Scenario: Irving averages 20 and 10 as a rookie, the Cavaliers make the playoffs, and a banner is placed on the office building near Quicken Loans Arena.

    Too much?

    If Irving averages 15 and 6 as a rookie and the Cavs show improvement, he will be a success.  Don't look for consistent play all season, but the dense fog of sadness is beginning to break in Cleveland.

    Worst Case Scenario: He pulls a Jason Williams and struggles as a rookie.  Even before the motorcycle accident, there were plenty of signs Williams, another former Dukey, was overmatched at the NBA level.

    Unlike Williams, Irving is more of a pure point guard and a better finisher at the rim.  Not much potential for a bust here.

    All-Star Forecast: 3-5 Years...It would be easier if the Eastern Conference had fewer great point guards, but there will be room for Irving soon enough.

    Overall, the 2011 NBA draft class isn't very exciting, but players like Irving and Williams will make it worth paying attention to.

    Cleveland is on the clock...and Irving is the obvious choice.

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