Let’s get this out of the way. This draft class is weak, and outside of Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, there’s far more potential than NBA readiness among the prospects. With that said, there’s still some room to evaluate this year’s group of future rookies.
To make it clear, this list is devoted to best perimeter shooters. Shooting over 50 percent from the field as a forward or center when most of your shots are in the post doesn’t make you a great shooter as much as it determines how efficient you are. Also, I tried to differentiate between great scorers vs. great shooters.
These guys are certified based on their reputations and their jump shots. Without further ado, here’s my great eight perimeter shooters in the 2011 NBA draft.
We all know why he’s here. The guard whose range starts when he crosses half court. The nation’s leading scorer (28.9 PPG) who can light it up quickly. The National Player of the Year whose NBA future is unclear depending on who you ask.
Fredette shot 39.6 percent on three-pointers this season, 44 percent last season and 38.2 as sophomore. There’s no debating how lethal his jumper is (ask New Mexico about his 52-point game or San Diego State about his 43-point outing). The only question is whether the 6'2" guard will find a place in the league to show off his talent.
For all of his knocks, he's still the best perimeter shooter available, and he'll be gone before the late first round.
Thompson may be the best shooter folks aren’t talking enough about, and his recent performance at the NBA draft combine will no doubt raise his stock.
Thompson led the Pac-10 conference in scoring (21.6 PPG) and had some of the best individual scoring performances of the season. He put up 36 points against Cal, and in his best game he torched the nets for 43 points on eight three-pointers against Washington.
The son of former No. 1 overall pick Mychal Thompson was a consistent long-range threat in his three seasons (averaging 36 percent or better each year) and could be a steal in the mid to late rounds.
Diebler was one of the best long-range shooters in the country during his career and ended his Buckeyes tenure as the Big Ten’s all-time leader in career threes made while shooting an insane 52 percent as a senior.
At 6'6", Diebler is a taller version of Jimmer Fredette without the hype, so he might be slipping into the second round or could go undrafted. But with his size and proven shooting ability (three seasons of shooting 41 percent or better), there’s definitely room for him on an NBA roster.
Brooks was second in the country in scoring (24.6 points per game) and has great range on his jumper. Big East fans may remember lighting up Georgetown (43 points) and Notre Dame (52 points).
Brooks is another player who improved his stock at the pre-draft combine, and after shooting 34 percent from three-point land as a senior, he could fit in well as a late first-round prospect. He also shot over 48 percent on field goals, so he’s not only an effective scorer, but also an efficient one who can light it up from anywhere on the court.
As someone who’s seen Hamilton since he was in high school, I can say he’s as streaky a shooter as there is in the draft. When he’s on fire, though, he can light it up as well as anybody, as shown by him averaging near 19 points per game with Texas.
Hamilton shot just over 38 percent on three-pointers, and with his slashing ability he could end up being one of the better pure scorers from this draft. Yet time will tell if he rounds out his game to be a better decision-maker or just another J.R. Smith minus Smith’s attitude problem.
Much has been made about Burks as a great scorer, not a great outside shooter. But In a weak year for pure shooters, Burks will be seen as better than he probably is at this moment.
The Big 12’s leading scorer (20.5 points) only shot 29 percent from three-point land but averaged 50 percent on two-point field goals. If anything, that’s a sign he probably shot too much out of his range or had poor mechanics, as this report suggests.
If he develops that shot further in his career, it’ll add another dimension to his solid game. Burks is projected to be a lottery pick, so while he works out his potential, he’s still among the best shooters from the four- to 18-foot range.
Touted as a second-round pick or an undrafted free agent, McCamey dramatically upped his three-point shooting percentage from 34 to 45 percent last year. He did so while taking the same number of attempts as last year.
McCamey might be one of the more underrated combo guards in the draft, and at 6'3", his size is perhaps a disadvantage. But nobody can argue how much he improved his shooting his senior year, and he could find a home with some team as an Eddie House-type player.
At 6'9", Harper has been compared to Channing Frye with his outside touch. He shot 44.8 percent from downtown last season and averaged 37 percent during his four-year career.
He only went 4-of-15 on three-pointers as he led the Spiders’ run to the Sweet 16 this past year. That said, he poured in 22 points on 50 percent shooting against Kansas in their Sweet 16 meeting. He may not be consistent against top competition, and his weight is a big issue for prospective teams, but his shooting ranks among the best in this draft.