NBA Draft 2011: Kenneth Faried and the 10 Highest Motor Prospects of the Draft
Motor. In the real world, it's what makes a car and many other machines run.
In the NBA, it's a guy who's like the Energizer bunny in that he keeps going and going and going and...you get the picture. Most teams have players that come off the bench that have a great motor.
Players have made long careers primarily because of their instinct to never stop working on the floor. They aren't the most talented players, but they make the most out of what they have, something not many players can be proud of.
With the 2011 draft class lacking in top tier talent, teams will be looking more at the draftees' motor compared to past years.
Here are 10 prospects, projected to be borderline first-round picks at worst, whose motor is regarded as exceptional. They are ordered in reverse based on ESPN's Chad Ford's ranking.
Here are a handful of players that aren't viewed as guys who are guaranteed to get drafted, but who could make an NBA roster primarily because of their motor.
Rick Jackson, Syracuse
Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame
Chris Wright, Dayton
Mike Davis, Illinois
Gary Flowers, Southern Miss
Josh Harrellson, Kentucky
Matt Howard, Butler
Travis Leslie (37)
In many cases, there are these prodigious athletes who only try when they feel like it, or when they're in transition when they can properly showcase their athleticism.
For Travis Leslie, a guy viewed as one of the best athletes in the draft, this is not the case.
Leslie will probably be in the Slam Dunk Contest at some point in his career, because the kid can jump out of the gym.
He would be a lock for the lottery if he were a power forward, but he's only 6'4" and has problems with his ball-handling and outside jumper. His motor does allow for him to a good rebounder for a guard.
I'd compare him to a smaller Gerald Wallace.
Charles Jenkins (25)
For what it's worth, ESPN's Doug Gottlieb wrote an article recently saying Jenkins would be a better player than Kemba Walker. Not sure if I believe it, but I don't think it's as crazy as some people may think.
Jenkins starred at Hofstra for four years and is a typical undersized combo guard. His consistent motor helped him average over 20 points per game over the last three seasons.
I'd expect him to be a guy who comes off the bench and provides high energy and scoring. Sort of like a better version of Eddie House.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Chicago Bulls take him with one of their late first-round picks.
Kenneth Faried (20)
If I were ranking these players based solely on their motor, I'd probably put Faried at the top.
Faried gradually gained notoriety throughout the season because of his record rebounding and when his Morehead State squad upset Louisville in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Faried led the country in rebounding each of the last two seasons and has averaged over 13 boards per game the last three seasons. He's quite simply the best rebounder of the class.
Despite being only 6'8", Faried's motor and top notch defense and rebounding will keep him in the league for years.
Tobias Harris (16)
Tobias Harris had to deal with some controversy during his only season at Tennessee because of the Bruce Pearl scandal.
Despite this, Harris was able to excel as a do-it-all forward. He's probably more of a small forward than power forward in the NBA because of his versatility.
His motor isn't great, but it's consistently decent, and that will only help him get better.
Marcus Morris (14)
Marcus Morris' offensive intensity has allowed him to be viewed as the better of the Morris twins. He's constantly in attack mode and has the ball-handling skills to possibly become a small forward in the NBA even though he's 6'9" and looks more like a power forward.
His motor has allowed him to be a solid rebounder despite being only 230 pounds.
Tristan Thompson (9)
Tristan Thompson was absolutely relentless while at Texas. He was a force on the offensive end with his ability to finish and improved his defense throughout the year.
However, the place where his motor was on display most was his offensive rebounding. The kid was always battling down low after a miss, and that's what primarily put him in the top ten.
Like Faried, he's a little small for a power forward at 6'9", but his motor and rebounding make him a highly desired prospect.
Jonas Valanciunas (8)
One of two european players on this list, Jonas Valanciunas is an athletic big man at 6'10" who has a fantastic motor.
According to reports, Valanciunas would occasionally get dominated down low because of his youth (19 years old) and lack of strength (only 235 pounds). However, the kid just never stopped trying, and would give it his all even though he was at the disadvantage on the block.
Even though the buyout situation appears similar to that of Ricky Rubio, Jonas Valanciunas is still regarded as a top 10 prospect because of his size and motor.
Kemba Walker (7)
I honestly don't see how anyone can question Kemba's motor after witnessing the feat he and the Huskies pulled off in March and April, winning both the Big East and NCAA tournament championships.
Walker was the star of the team, and he never took a play off despite being noticeably exhausted at points during their run.
Don't expect that to change once he's in an NBA uniform. It's uncertain if Kemba is a point guard or a combo guard, but however he ends up being used, Kemba will be doing it with a passion.
Kawhi Leonard (6)
Kawhi Leonard became a household name during the course of the 2010-11 college basketball season. His performances, along with San Diego State being ranked in the top 10 for much of the season, were primary reasons for it.
Leonard is viewed as the premier small forward not named Derrick Williams. He's an elite rebounder, having averaged close to 11 boards per game last season, and is great above the rim offensively.
There's the possibility that Leonard could play power forward, even though he's only 6'7" (does have a 7'3" reach) because of his ability to rebound and motor.
Don't be shocked if the Cavs give him a hard look at No. 4 to be their small forward of the future.
Jan Vesely (5)
The highest rated guy on the list, and honestly, the one I know the least about. From what I have learned, Vesely is an athletic big man (6'11") who can run the floor and is more of a perimeter player.
Apparently, he's incredible above the rim and is a European player that dispels the notion of being a white stiff who only shoots from the perimeter.
Vesely's motor makes him fearless going to the rim despite being only 240 pounds. He might get knocked down, but he's equally likely to throw down a monster dunk.
His size, athleticism and motor have made him a proverbial lock to be a top five selection. If he slips past Washington at No. 6, I'll be shocked.
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