NBA Draft 2011: 10 Non-Lottery Players to Keep an Eye On

Jim FolsomContributorJune 10, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: 10 Non-Lottery Players to Keep an Eye On

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    Rajon Rondo was picked #21 by the Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft
    Rajon Rondo was picked #21 by the Suns in the 2006 NBA DraftMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The 2011 NBA Draft is coming up soon, and everyone is paying attention to players such as Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams—and with good reason. These guys will be picked first.

    But here are some players you may want to stay tuned for because they could very well be important pieces to future playoff runs by your favorite team or mine.

    Rajon Rondo was not a lottery pick. Where would the Celtics be without him? In fact, he wasn't even drafted by Boston; he was picked by Phoenix with the 21st selection in the 2006 NBA Draft.

    So who are possible "diamonds in the rough" in this draft? Here are 10 players I feel could be stars in the league someday, but will be available after the lottery picks are done.

Travis Leslie, Georgia

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Travis Leslie #1 and Gerald Robinson #22 of the Georgia Bulldogs react in the first half while taking on the Washington Huskies during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on M
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With incredible jumping ability, Leslie is a guy who is under the radar, but has a lot of potential. He's quick, strong, tough as nails and has a decent jump shot that will get better with practice. 

    He is a guy any fan would love to be on their team. 

Vernon Macklin, Florida

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 26:  Vernon Macklin #32 of the Florida Gators reacts during their game against the Butler Bulldogs during the Southeast regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 26, 2011 in New Orlea
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Macklin has things you can't teach. He has size, length and he also has something the NBA is sorely lacking these days in a big man: He can shoot.

    Macklin can knock down hook shots with either hand from 10 feet, and he gets better at it every game. Someday if he can get his free-throw percentage over 60, he could be a very rich man.

Chris Singleton, Florida State

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Chris Singleton #31 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Tex
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The team that gets this guy will be getting a beast.

    Singleton could be the next lock-down defensive player in the league. If he ever gets a bit of an offensive game, look out.

    We could be looking at an All-Star here.

Trey Thompkins, Georgia

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Justin Holiday #22 of the Washington Huskies reacts alongside Trey Thompkins #33 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Leslie's teammate at Georgia, Trey Thompkins, could make some NBA team a nice small forward.

    He is active around the hoop, but can also hit a jumper. Thompkins was a big part of UGA's resurgence as an NCAA tournament team this year.

Kyle Singler, Duke

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a play 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
    Harry How/Getty Images

    This guy's stock seems to have dropped quite a bit lately, but I like his offensive game.

    I think Singler could be a poor man's Dirk Nowitzki—or at the very least, a Mike Dunleavy-type of player.

    Singler can shoot the three, which every team needs. 

Nolan Smith, Duke

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils moves the ball 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 C
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    In all the Kyrie Irving frenzy, people kind of forgot about Smith.

    But this guy was Duke's best player the past couple of years, and Duke did win a national championship with him.

    In today's point guard-dominated NBA, this guy would be a good one to have.

Shelvin Mack, Butler

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Shelvin Mack #1 of the Butler Bulldogs with the ball while taking on Connecticut Huskies during the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston,
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Butler went to two straight NCAA title games, and Mack was a big reason why.

    He may turn out to be a Mateen Cleaves, but it would be worth a late draft pick to find out.

Jimmer Fredette, BYU

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars goes up against Scottie Wilbekin #5 of the Florida Gators during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in Ne
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    I have a feeling Fredette will still be on the board after the lottery picks have been made.

    If so, grab him.

    A guy like him on the Celtics or Lakers could really help as those teams get older. Fredette shoots the lights out, and that's always a good thing.

David Lighty, Ohio State

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    NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 25:  David Lighty #23 of the Ohio State Buckeyes dunks against the Kentucky Wildcats during the east regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Prudential Center on March 25, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Pho
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Lighty is never going to be a superstar, but he played for the Buckeyes for five years.

    He's a man, a winner and the kind of guy you'd love to have coming off your bench.

    Lighty won't try to hog the spotlight from your stars, but he also won't be afraid of the big stage.

Kenneth Faried, Morehead State

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 19:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles dunks the ball against Justin Harper #32 and Darien Brothers #3 of the Richmond Spiders during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 19
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The reason he is so low on the list is because I think he will be a lottery pick.

    If not, grab him.

    Faried is a future All-Star. A monster rebounder and shot-blocker, Faried has a motor that only has one speed—all out!

    If he ever gets a jumper, watch out.