NBA Draft 2011: Kenneth Faried and the 10 Highest Motor Prospects of the Draft

Andy BrownAnalyst IIApril 6, 2017

NBA Draft 2011: Kenneth Faried and the 10 Highest Motor Prospects of the Draft

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 17:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles celebrates after defeating the Louisville Cardinals during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Mor
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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 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.

Honorable Mentions

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Matt Howard #54 of the Butler Bulldogs looks on against the 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, Texas.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Travis Leslie #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs dunks the ball 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 March 18, 2011 i
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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)

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    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)

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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

    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)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Tobias Harris #12 of the Tennessee Volunteers lays the ball up in front of Stu Douglass #1 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Ar
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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)

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts 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 in San Antonio, Texas.
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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)

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 11:  Tristan Thompson #13 of the Texas Longhorns dunks the ball against the Texas A&M Aggies 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

    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)

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    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)

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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
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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)

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    TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 19:  Kawhi Leonard #15 of the San Diego State Aztecs drives against the Temple Owls during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Im
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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)

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    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.