NBA Draft 2011: Brandon Knight and the 10 Most Athletic Prospects

Kyle SkovCorrespondent IIJune 9, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Brandon Knight and the 10 Most Athletic Prospects

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    Who's hands will he be shaking?
    Who's hands will he be shaking?Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The NBA has grown into a league of dynamic, athletic players that run the floor explosively and play above the rim. Many prospects are looked at for athletic ability because General Managers know that this intangible puts people in stadium seats.

    Sports in America are amazing due to the pure athleticism that is shown by athletes. Even in sports that are not generally thought of as American, the United States can compete because of the type of players that are here.

    The NBA is a league that is predominantly composed of American-born athletes. The excitement of school yard-type of play mixes with the athleticism of these athletes and makes the NBA one of the most exciting sports leagues to watch.

Brandon Knight

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats moves the ball while taking on 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
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Brandon Knight is leaving Kentucky following just his freshman year, but he is a star to-be.

    Knight's athletic ability makes him a great player with the ball in his hand. He can drive into the lane or just create space for himself to get off his great jump shot.

    Coach John Calipari recruits some of the best, dynamic NBA-ready talent in the nation, and Knight is no exception. He has now showcased his talent and is ready to take the next step in his basketball career.

Kawhi Leonard

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Kawhi Leonard #15 of the San Diego State Aztecs dunks the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, Calif
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Kawhi Leonard is a great player out of the triple-threat position. His athletic ability allows him to take a great first step and beat a man. He spends more time on the perimeter then down low.

    Leonard is sure to be a top-10 draft pick and will use his athleticism to his advantage with which ever NBA team drafts him. Furthermore, with his ability to finish above the rim, most NBA teams will want to use him on offense and work with that.

Kemba Walker

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies reacts after a play against the Butler Bulldogs during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houst
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Coming off a National Championship season Kemba, may have thrust himself into one of the top spots in the draft.

    Kemba has more than just a leadership mentality making him a top prospect. He has unmistakable speed and athleticism that will excite fans and frustrate defenders at the next level.

    Kemba also has a high basketball IQ. He knows when it is time to use his burst and try to get to the rim, and when he needs to pass the ball up.

    In fact, NBADraft.net describes Kemba as having “a freakish blend of raw speed, breathtaking quickness, ultra aggression, and sneaky power”.

Alec Burks

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11:  Alec Burks #10 of the Colorado Buffaloes drives with the ball against the Kansas Jayhawks during their semifinal game in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2011 in Kansas City
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Alec Burks was an exciting player at Colorado. He is a taller guard with pure athleticism.

    Burks does not yet have the muscle to play in the NBA, but he is an excellent scorer with a great first step that will allow him to create space and foster an exciting style of play, soon forcing applause in NBA stadiums.

Tristan Thompson

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 20:  Tristan Thompson #13 of the Texas Longhorns walks off the court after their 70-69 loss to the Arizona Wildcats in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 20, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Pho
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Tristan Thompson is leaving Texas after only his freshman year. He has the post ability to excel right away in the NBA.

    He is a left handed player who as an athlete can force his way into getting easy points. He is also a hard worker with an approach to the game that will surely please coaches in the NBA.

Markieff Morris

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Markieff Morris #21 and Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks react during the southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 27, 2011
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Markieff Morris is one of the most interesting players in this year's draft. He is a good shooter at the perimeter and is also great around the rim.

    He has very strong steps to force himself near the rim. He then uses his athletic ability to be productive and get points down low.

    Still, he needs to improve as a spot up shooter. He has the athletic ability to create space, but he just does not make enough of his mid-range jumpers.

    However, this should not bring down his stock. Morris still causes huge match-up problems because he can both shoot for three and score proficiently near the rim.

    NBA fans need to keep their eyes out for Markieff Morris.

Kenneth Faried

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles dunks reacts after a play against the Richmond Spiders during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Pho
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Kenneth Faried is a player who could do all the dirty work for an NBA team. He is willing to play any role for his coaches, and his first years in the NBA will probably come as a bench player.

    Nonetheless, he has undeniable athleticism and a strong work rate that may eventually move him into the starting lineup.

    In fact, watching Morehead St. during the NCAA tournament, it was Faried that caught everyone’s attention. His post play was spectacular and he had so much energy.

    He is a player people will want to see in the NBA.

Tyler Honeycutt

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Tyler Honeycutt #23 of the UCLA Bruins walks off the court dejected after they lost 73-65 against the Florida Gators during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Ta
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Tyler Honeycutt is a great player coming out of UCLA. He is explosive off the dribble and has unbelievable body control in the air.

    He is a purely athletic player with a knack for scoring, and loves to have the ball in his hand.

    Most critics would be sold on his NBA-readiness after watching him drive and leap towards the rim just once.

JaJuan Johnson

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20: JaJuan Johnson #25 of the Purdue Boilermakers shoots against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Il
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    JaJuan Johnson has speed and athleticism. If a team that likes to run the floor like the Knicks or Heat drafts him, he will excel at the next level.

    Johnson plays fast and finishes above the rim. He has a reported wingspan of 7’.

    The speed of the game will dictate how well he can play. The faster the game, the better Johnson will be.

Travis Leslie

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Travis Leslie #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs misses a last second three-pointer that would have tied the game against the Washington Huskies during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable A
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Travis Leslie is probably the most athletic player in the 2011 draft. NBADraft.net calls him the “top physical specimen” also comments that he has “rare athleticism”.

    This will make him a star-caliber player at the next level as long as he begins to hit three-pointers.

    His intangibles are enough to make a team take a chance. He will at the least give a spark off the bench in late-game runs.