NBA Draft 2011: Derrick Williams, 4 Other Prospects Who Should Not Have Declared
The combination of the "one-and-done" basketball players in today's college game with NBA teams willing to gamble draft picks on underclassmen with high potential who aren't NBA ready makes for some very interesting draft scenarios and forces young athletes to make some very tough decisions that will effect the rest of their lives.
For one reason or another, it seems some of these athletes make the wrong decision each year, either staying in school a year too long or—more commonly—leaving a year or two too early.
This is a list of five players who could have benefited from staying in school instead of choosing to enter the NBA Draft when they did.
Alec Burks PG/SG Colorado
Burks had a great sophomore season at Colorado, where he averaged 20 points, six rebounds and three assists a game.
He has good size at 6'6" and can play both guard positions well, which will help him at the next level.
He can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and while he can get to—and finish at—the basket, he is also a good shooter who will only get better in the pros.
He can also rebound well for a guard.
All that said, Burks is just 18 and needs to add muscle and some size to his frame in order to be effective in the NBA.
Staying in school an extra year would help him become a more consistent shooter from the outside and only help improve his team and his numbers, which would impress NBA scouts even more in next year's draft.
While Burks is projected to go in the top 10 overall, he could potentially go even higher in next year's draft if he worked on improving his strength and passing ability.
Burks should be fine coming out this year, but there is no doubt he would benefit staying an extra year in school.
Josh Selby PG/SG Kansas
Selby did not get a lot of minutes his first and only season at Kansas and only put up eight points and two assists a game.
Selby is a shooting guard built into a point guard's body, which will hinder him in the NBA. If he learns how to run a team like an NBA point guard though, he has some athletic traits that will benefit him, including his speed and quickness.
Some question his passing ability, which will need to improve if he is going to play well at the next level, and some of his biggest flaws are things that would easily be corrected by staying in school.
If Selby chose to stay at Kansas, he would get more experience at the point and start to develop into a more conventional NBA point guard.
While Selby will probably be a first-round pick, he would have definitely been a higher pick next year if he would have chosen to stay in school to improve his game.
Tristan Thompson PF Texas
Thompson had a good rookie season at Texas, where he put up 13 points and eight rebounds a game. He is a good athlete at the 4 and has the ability to play face-up against other slower, bigger power forwards.
Thompson should be picked in the top 15 but has some clear signs that say he should have stayed an extra year at Texas.
Thompson shot a terrible 49 percent from the free-throw line last year, which will be a huge liability in the pro game. Had he stayed in school an extra year, he could have worked on removing one of the greatest weaknesses of his game.
Thompson also needs to improve his low post, back-to-the-basket offense, and college is a great place to develop post moves against weaker talent instead of being forced into trying to score on the likes of Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett.
Another area of Thompson's game that needs work is his mid-range jump shot. He needs to shoot the ball more consistently and develop a 15-footer if he wants to make an impact in the NBA.
Most of Thompson's weaknesses would have been easily improved upon by staying another year in school, and not only would it have made him a higher lottery pick next year but also a much better basketball player.
Brandon Knight PG/SG Kentucky
Knight is a projected high pick in this year's draft, and his draft stock would probably have stayed the same had he chosen to play another year at Kentucky. In terms of his game, though, staying would have helped him a lot.
Knight has great size and has great potential in the NBA. He has shown he can get to the basket and has a solid jump shot to keep defenses honest.
He is a quality passer, and other than Kyrie Irving, he is by far the best point guard in this draft.
The only thing another year in college would have done was help him improve all of those aspects of his game.
Knight could have built more confidence in his game by staying an extra year, and while he may not have moved up in the draft, he would be a better overall prospect for NBA teams.
A year in the NBA will help Knight's growth but not like an extra year in college would.
Derrick Williams SF/PF Arizona
Williams, in some people's minds, could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, and his draft stock probably wouldn't have gotten any higher had he stayed an extra year. Similar to Brandon Knight, his game and potential could have risen, though.
Williams' biggest knock is that he is a "tweener." He is between a small forward and power forward and doesn't really have a position.
Had Williams spent an extra year in school, he could have chosen the position he wanted to play and work at it, changing his label of "tweener" into "versatile."
It looks like Williams will play small forward in the NBA and an extra year in school could have helped develop his mid-range jumper and his ability to get to the basket. He will now have to learn the hard way in the NBA.