NBA Draft 2011: Predicting Rookie Player Stats for the Top 14 Prospects
The 2011 NBA Draft will be held in a little less than a month.
As the incoming prospects go through the pre-draft process, everyone else loves to look ahead on what kind of impact they'll have in their rookie seasons.
Here's my take on the potential lottery picks' possible averages for the 2011-12 season, assuming they get solid minutes.
Derrick Williams- Sophomore Forward from Arizona
Williams is arguably the best player in the draft.
He has a scorer's mentality, with great slashing ability and an improved jump shot from his freshman season. He has the ability to play either forward position, but will probably see more time at small forward. He is a touch small to play consistently at power forward while he is heavier than most small forwards drafted in the last 18 years.
After getting used to the more physical kind of play in the pro's and gaining some more muscle, we should see flashes of the player he was at Arizona. Williams is poised to have a standout rookie campaign.
Predicted Stats: 15 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 APG
Kyrie Irving- Freshman Guard from Duke
Recent drafts have delivered the league a great group of young point guards who immediately made impacts. Kyrie Irving seems destined to become a part of that collection.
Irving has the mindset of a pure point guard. He has all the decision-making skills and judgement that you want in your lead guard. He always knows the right play and doesn't force anything that's not there.
His speed is a key feature as well. Defenders are constantly left in the dust as he blows by them. His ambidexterity gives his ball handling an edge over many. He can dribble and finish with either hand.
An injury to his toe plagued Irving's freshman season at Duke. He only appeared in 11 games as a Blue Devil. Based on his lack of experience with college level basketball he might not be 100 percent NBA ready.
Despite showing great promise in limited play, he may be faced with a learning curve as he gets some games under his belt come fall. The back half of the season may showcase a solid glimpse of what his career will look like. But his averages for the entire year won't be tip top.
Predicted Stats: 13.4 PPG, 4 APG, 2 RPG
Enes Kanter- Freshamn Center from Kentucky
Kanter is the most coveted big man in this year's draft. His great size and strength make him a very powerful presence in the paint. He's excellent at rebounding and finishing at the rim with his soft touch.
He owns a nice offensive skill set. His post up game is diverse. His shooting form is smooth which allows him to hit mid range shots. His free throw shooting is a plus as well.
Kanter's basketball career to date has been spotty. All the leagues he has played in have not given him a long tenure or consistent play. He spent one season with a Turkish team where he barely got on the court, one season at an American high school, and one season at Kentucky where he was declared ineligible to play.
The lack of steady experience against top notch talent may hinder his transition into the NBA a little. The big men in the league will be at the level he's never faced.
Predicted Stats: 11 PPG, 6 RPG
Brandon Knight- Freshman Guard from Kentucky
Knight is the other prospect in the draft expected to become a part the this rising golden age of point guards in the NBA.
Measuring at 6-3, his size allows him to be a great scoring threat against other points. He owns a quick first step off the dribble and can hit jumpers in rhythm.
He is crafty at passing the ball, and fast at making decisions. His confidence and effort is always present and he doesn't shy away from the big moment.
Depending on his role during his rookie season, Knight may experience early struggles as he learns to fully play the point guard position in the NBA. He may not have all of the skills to be a pure point at the pro level just yet, as he is known more for his scoring ability.
Stats Prediction: 14 PPG, 3 APG, 3.4 RPG
Kawhi Leonard- Sophomore Forward from San Diego State
Leonard is a small forward who provides a combination of athleticism and hustle. This makes him a handful for opponents in multiple aspects of the game.
He has improved his jump shot from his freshman season. When he gets in a rhythm, he has the ability to hit a couple in a row. His jumper is effective in his post up game as well.
He also has the ability to handle the ball and bring it up the court if needed while covering ground quickly.
He is extremely active on the boards at only 6-7. His large hand and long arms help him out in this part of the game.
Leonard doesn't have a particular feature of his offensive game that is well beyond average. Dribbling the ball for a large amount of time can be dangerous for him, because he can't shake off defenders with his handle and is not skilled with in his left hand.
He's still pretty raw, so this could slow him down in the NBA a little as he develops more skill.
Predicted Stats: 8 PPG, 5 RPG, 1.5 APG
Jan Vesely- Forward from the Czech Republic
Vesely is extremely graceful for someone 6-11. His combination of lanky size and agility allow him to play both forward positions.
He's active around the basket with his length as the majority of his scoring comes from put backs and alley-oops. With the ball in his hands, he constantly attacks the rim with his good first step. His shooting skills are improving, and he gets good elevation when getting his shot up.
In the NBA, Vesely will have to continue to get the bulk of his points from lobs and put backs at least to start out. His ball handling ability is not good enough from him to create his shot. His lack of strength could be an issue early on as well.
Predicted Stats: 8 PPG, 4.5 RPG
Kemba Walker- Junior Guard from Connecticut
Walker is super explosive and can get anywhere on the court in the blink of an eye. He maintains complete control during his sporadic moves with the ball. He's great at splitting double teams, changing direction, and creating space with jab steps.
He can score from various spots on the floor. He is good at finishing and altering his shot at the rim, hitting floaters, and hitting scoop shots. Doesn't shy away from shooting jumpers.
His play-making skills are high as well. He finds the open man with ease, as he draws double teams.
Walker's height (6-1 with shoes), may cause problems early on as he gets situated with the NBA. His scoring ability is a way bigger attraction than his passing right now. To start his pro career, he won't be able to get points as easy as he did at the University of Connecticut with the more avid defenders he will face.
Predicted Stats: 13.5 PPG, 3.9 APG, 3.5 APG
Jonas Valanciunas- Center from Lithuania
Valanciunas makes a living off of his play in the paint. His large frame and long arms allow him to be effectively active around the the rim.
He runs the floor really well and should have the advantage over others at his position in this aspect. He can leap easily as well.
He has a good feel for scoring the ball. He can hit shots out to 12 feet and has a soft touch from close range.
Valanciunas is very thin however. He will certainly need to add some weight over time. He lacks coordination which will certainly lead to a lot of foul trouble in the NBA.
Stats Prediction: 7 PPG, 6 RPG
Marcus Morris- Junior Forward from Kansas
Morris is an extremely versatile combo forward. He owns a variety of scoring methods from different places around the court.
When posting up, he has a good feel of the defender's position. He can make his move in either direction when his back is to the basket. His body control and soft fade-away jumpers helped him become one of the top forwards in the nation last season.
Morris lacks length though. He possesses the skills of a power forward, but the body of a nice sized small forward. Bigger guys may give him some trouble as he learns to play against them.
Predicted Stats: 11 PPG, 5 RPG
Alec Burks- Sophomore Guard from Colorado
Burks is the perfect size for a prototypical shooting guard. His 6-6 frame and athleticism make him an exciting prospect.
He has a smooth motion on his jump shot and has a high release. He has the ability to get by his defender off the dribble and scores. Shows great body control.
He's excellent in the open court. Finishes fast-break plays with nice dunks and alley-oop catches.
Like many young talents, Burks is a bit thin. Building up his muscle will certainly be a positive for him moving forward. As he begins his NBA career, he could get bullied around a lot by more forceful wings he faces.
His jumper is not a finished product either.
Predicted Stats: 11 PPG, 3 RPG, 2APG
Donatas Motiejunas- Forward from Lithuania
Motiejunas is a fluid prospect with lots of offensive talent. He owns back to the basket moves which includes a solid jump hook and a turnaround fade-away. His great footwork allows him to showcase his series of fakes to keep his defenders on their heels.
His outside shooting is present and still improving. He has pretty good range on it too.
He has the ability to see open team mates when he is double teamed and get them the ball.
Motiejunas does not exert high energy and effort at all times. He needs to learn to always give it his all. Until he does, his production might not be at the point it has the potential to be. Throw in the fact that he could use some extra pounds on his body, his rookie season could be a little rough.
Predicted Stats: 6.5 PPG, 4.5 PPG, 1 BPG
Jimmer Fredette- Senior Guard from Brigham Young
Fredette's shooting ability is what he was known for during his time at BYU. He shot 39 percent from three during his senior year. Not only is he proficient at knocking down jumpers, his release on them is very quick.
He is effective at the point guard position. He is able to get into the paint through his defender. He has good vision and is patient when it comes to making passes.
His prolific conditioning is what sets him apart from his peers.
Athleticism is a big hole is his game. He is definitely not in the same class athletically as many of the point guards in the NBA today. On top of that, he is still learning how to be a point guard. He also isn't that great at finishing at the rim.
His competition at point guard in the pros, could leave him in a tough position to start out. His shooting ability will help him out a lot though.
Predicted Stats: 9 PPG, 3 APG, 1.9 RPG
Tristan Thompson- Freshman Forward from Texas
Thompson is solid when working the post. He always fights for position and successfully seals his opponent close to the rim. He can score with either hand when his back is to the basket.
He is quick and is able to beat his defenders to the spot he wants to get to. His good hand coordination allows him to catch the ball well in traffic.
His length, high energy, and quick second jump allows him to be tremendous at rebounding and putting the ball back up.
Thompson is another slightly undersized big in this draft. Even though he has good length and is a supreme athlete, it doesn't completely make up for his size. His jump shooting is also a liability. The mechanics on it are not smooth at all. These could negatively affect his play during his first season.
Predicted Stats: 7 PPG, 6 RPG, 1 BPG
Bismack Biyombo- Center from Congo
Biyombo is most known for his outstanding shot-blocking ability. He's great at timing his jumps anticipating opponents' shooting release.
He always plays with high energy. For a big man, he runs the floor well.
His body is already well structured for NBA play.
Biyombo has almost no offensive skills. His footwork is not graceful at all. He does not have any fundamentals when it comes to rebounding. The rebounds come from his athleticism.
He didn't get a good amount of playing time in Spain. All of these are scary when thinking of a prospect. But his shot blocking ability is that good to take a chance on him.
Predicted Stats: 5 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 BPG