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