2011 NBA Draft: Five Prospects with Sixth Man Potential
In the NFL Draft, it seems that diamonds can be found in the rough fairly often. In the NBA Draft, whether it is due to its smaller magnitude or nature of the sport, it is a bit more difficult to find a stud in the late first round or second round.
This is what makes strategic drafting so important.
It is important for teams to recognize that not every player can do everything for their team. Many successful teams, like the Dallas Mavericks this year, are built around more than three players.
Rather, they are focused on having skilled players from the top of the roster to the bottom.
The sixth man is the leader of the bench.
Let's take a look at some potential sixth man studs in this year's draft class.
5. Jon Leuer
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Jon Leuer will never be a top three player on an NBA team, but that doesn't mean he won't add value to a team, however.
Leuer can do a couple of things that would make him a valuable sixth-man type of player.
First, he is a big man that can shoot. Now, he is no Dirk Nowitzki, but he definitely has a mid-range game that can be extended out to three-point range with time as he develops.
Nowitzki has proven the value in a big man that can stretch the defense with outside shooting.
Second, Leuer is coming out of Wisconsin.
Yes, the team that nobody wants to play come tournament time because of the fundamentals that Bo Ryan instills in his players. Some find it boring to watch, but Ryan's teams always play some of the best team defense in the country. Leuer will be ready immediately to contribute on the defensive side of the ball.
Leuer will probably be drafted in the second round.
Considering all of the busts that occur in the first round, Leuer could be a nice value pick for a team looking for a versatile big man off the bench.
4. Travis Leslie
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Travis Leslie has been compared to Tony Allen. Although, as he said in an interview with DraftExpress, he thinks he is better than Allen.
I don't disagree, although it may have not been the best idea for him to say that he is better than a current player before he is even drafted into the league.
Regardless, Leslie is an interesting prospect.
He is an athletic freak, which is never a bad characteristic to have as an NBA prospect. His athletic ability will help him be a great on-ball defender in the NBA.
Leslie can be a valuable sixth man in the NBA. He will be drafted in the mid-first to early-second round pick. At that point in the draft, a sixth man would be very nice to come away with.
3. Chandler Parsons
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Chandler Parsons is made from a rare breed. He was one of the best point forwards in the country last season at Florida, earning SEC Player of the Year.
He played a key role on a very good team that made a run to the Elite Eight.
His numbers were not overwhelming, however, Parsons could play a key role off the bench in the NBA.
Think poor man's Lamar Odom.
Now, Odom was an absolute force in college, albeit playing in tiny Rhode Island. He was a top five pick, and Parsons is projected in the second round.
Still, if Parsons can improve his ball handling and prove to be a worthy defender, he could find himself secure with a long playing career.
2. Kenneth Faried
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Kenneth Faried comes from a small school. Players that are not required to prove themselves against elite college competition on a regular basis can be risky selections.
Still, the reward for finding guys like Faried can be great.
He can be a solid sixth man in this league because of his tenacity. The NBA lacks a large amount of vicious rebounders that accumulate boards through hard work.
This is why Kevin Love can lead the league in rebounds. He works harder than the guys that are more athletic than him.
Faried does not lack athleticism. He may need to bulk up a bit, but he definitely has an NBA body.
There is definitely a place in the league for big men with the intangibles and lunch-pail attitude of Faried.
The best part is, Faried is a bargain. He is projected in the middle to end of the first round.
1. Jimmer Fredette
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There are two types of people.
There are people that think Jimmer Fredette can be a starting point guard in the NBA.
Then, there are people that think he is more suited for a role off the bench.
I still do not believe he plays at the speed that is required to be a distributor in the NBA.
Look at Russell Westbrook. He was a star all year, but when things sped up in the Western Conference Finals, he repeatedly made bad decisions and missed open passing lanes.
So, although I don't see Fredette leading a franchise any time soon, I do see him as a top-tier sixth man in the future.
Think Jason Terry.
Terry had a very solid career as a starter, which may be the case for Fredette as well. Still, the prime situation would be the sixth man role that Terry currently plays.
Unless Fredette proves to be an exceptional distributor against NBA competition, I think he would fit perfectly with a number of teams as a sixth man.
The scoring sixth man is becoming a popular trend in the league, with guys like Terry and Jamal Crawford bringing a scoring boost off of the bench.
Fredette is projected as a late lottery pick, which means he will likely get drafted by a team that barely missed the playoffs.
Maybe he will be the missing link for a team.