NBA Draft 2011: The 12 Best Perimeter Defenders

Nigel BroadnaxCorrespondent IJune 8, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: The 12 Best Perimeter Defenders

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs reacts against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texa
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The 2011 NBA draft will be held in a few weeks in Newark, NJ. The prospects this year feature a number of players who have excelled at guarding the perimeter in school.

    Perimeter defense is a huge part of NBA play today. Many of the elite players are not big men and definitely need to be controlled by opponents when handling the ball.

    In no particular order, here are the top 12 perimeter defenders in the draft.

Kyrie Irving: Point Guard from Duke

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on against the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Kyrie Irving showed in limited play last season that he is an avid defender. Has quick feet, which allows him to stick with opponents. Gets in good stances. Closes in on the passing lanes well. Averaged 1.5 steals a game in his freshman year.

Brandon Knight: Point Guard from Kentucky

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Brandon Knight's height and length allow him to bother and stay at arm's length of his opponent most of the time. Really quick at getting to spots on defense. During his senior year of high school, he drew two charges a game.

Shelvin Mack: Combo Guard from Butler

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs gestures against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Houston, Te
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Shelvin Mack is exceptionally strong on defense. His thick, wide frame makes up for his lack of great speed. Can overpower and wear out most point guards he covers.

Malcolm Lee: Combo Guard from UCLA

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 17:  Malcolm Lee #3 of the UCLA Bruins reacts against the UCLA Bruins in the second half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 17, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Eh
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Malcolm Lee has the size to defend shooting guards and the speed to defend point guards. Length is what mostly makes up his defensive capabilities. Has a great feel for where to be, which allows him to excel in team defense.

Iman Shumpert: Shooting Guard from Georgia Tech

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    MILWAUKEE - MARCH 21:  Iman Shumpert #1 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reacts late in the second half while taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Bradley Center on March 21, 2010
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Iman Shumpert's body is structured perfectly to defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Puts in great energy and effort on D. Plays bigger than 6'5". Averaged 2.7 steals a game last year. Always guarded opposing team's best player.

Kawhi Leonard: Small Forward from San Diego State

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    LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 12:  Kawhi Leonard #15 of the San Diego State Aztecs raises his arms in the last few seconds of the team's 72-54 victory over the Brigham Young University Cougars in the championship game of the Conoco Mountain West Conference Basket
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Kawhi Leonard is an athletic freak and definitely uses that on the defensive end. Has great timing when getting into the passing lanes. Extremely versatile defensively. Good at contesting shots.

Marshon Brooks: Shooting Guard from Providence

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    NEW YORK - MARCH 09: Marshon Brooks #2 of the Providence Friars looks on after a play against the Seton Hall Pirates during the first round game of the Big East Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Marshon Brooks combines his long arms with a high level of energy on defense. Great lateral speed, which keeps him by his man at all times.

Josh Selby: Combo Guard from Kansas

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts to a play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during their quarterfinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kansas C
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Josh Selby is another defender who possesses great lateral quickness. Has a great defensive mentality and a sturdy frame. Eclipses jump shooters well.

Chris Singleton: Combo Forawrd from Florida State

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20:  Chris Singleton #31 of the Florida State Seminoles cheers for the team in the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Chris Singleton has been known to guard bigs. He is very versatile, however, and is highly capable of defending wings. He anticipates passes well, as he can step in and get steals. Averaged two steals a game last season.

Derrick Williams: Combo Forward from Arizona

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Texas Longhorns 70-69 in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Derrick Williams is a smart defender. He has a great understanding of that side of the ball and uses his body to pressure his opponent. His length helps a lot as well.

Alec Burks: Shooting Guard from Colorado

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Alec Burks #10 of the Colorado Buffaloes stands on the court against the Kansas State Wildcats during their quarterfinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kan
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Alec Burks is quick both on his feet and with his hands. He is really focused on D. Finds his way into passing lanes a lot.

Nolan Smith: Combo Guard from Duke

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolin
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Nolan Smith has a high basketball IQ when it comes to defense. Can pressure ball-handlers well. Plays passing lanes exceptionally as well.