2011 NBA Draft: Re-Evaluating the Top Shooting Guard Prospects
Far and away the thinnest position available in the 2011 draft, there is a significant dropoff in projected production for a team after the top five SG positions. Great athleticism, scoring and upside can be found, but finding a guy who can step into to teams rotation to be a legitimate scorer is a few years away from this class.
Spanning from raw athlete to pure scorers to refined shooters, there is a solid mix at the top if a team needs to add depth to their bench. Here is a revised look and some thoughts on the “SwishScout.com Shooting Guard Position Rankings.”
Note: On every player, you can click their name or country to take you to a more detailed profile for an extensive scouting report and highlights on the respective prospect.
11. DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky)
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It’s easy to get lost among the potential NBA standouts that Kentucky has loaded on their roster, but Liggins was a defensive glue guy who held his man in check on a nightly basis. Equipped with the build, length, strength, lateral quickness and motor, Liggins can make a team based on his ability to defend the perimeter.
He’s a not much of an offensive threat, but he can knock down the open shot and that should allow him to develop into a solid shooter/defender for a team.
10. David Lighty (Ohio State)
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Another "glue guy" who was a stud for his team on the defensive end with that size, length, athleticism and motor. Lighty is a guy who plays with a lot of energy and toughness who embraces his role as a defender.
He can make plays on the offensive end and hit 42 percent of his threes as a senior, but isn’t going to blow any team away with his scoring ability. An experienced player with great character that can shore up a team's lineup if they need someone who can bring youth, energy and solid D.
9. LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor)
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He probably should have left after his junior year, as his senior year was largely a folly that saw little improvement in his game and suggested to some that he had peaked.
He’s a player with pure scoring prowess and thrived as the team’s leading scorer, but also forced too much and turned the ball over. He’s a clutch shot-maker who can get in the zone shooting the ball from deep and light up a team with his scoring, but also a little streaky and overconfident in his abilities at times.
Dunn doesn’t have great size nor defensive presence for an ideal NBA SG, but he brings plenty instant scoring to the table.
8. E’Twaun Moore (Purdue)
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Moore is a player who had some intrigue in his early years in his NCAA career, but never really had that breakout year to take his game to the next level. E’Twaun is an excellent perimeter shooter who knows how to score and can take his man off the dribble in isolations.
His frame is clearly lacking strength, muscle and size for an NBA guard, but his 6’10” wingspan allows him to play bigger than he is. He was a big reason why the Boilermakers were able to upset No. 1 ranked Ohio State during Big Ten play with his 38 points, and he is a tenured scorer who can get buckets.
7. Isaiah Thomas (Washington)
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If Isaiah were about half a foot taller, he would probably be near the top of this list. Plenty of NBA players have come into the league vertically challenged and had fine careers, with "Zeke" looking like the next in line for that distinction.
He’s a feisty guard with explosive athleticism, scoring ability and an improving ability to run the point. He lays eerily similar to UW predecessor Nate Robinson, and likely has a similar impact in the league.
He’s a streaky shooter and can be a defensive liability at his size, but no one plays with more heart and intensity on the court than Isaiah, who should be a bargain in the mid-late second round.
6. Scotty Hopson (Tennessee)
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Hopson was highly touted player coming out of high school that has excellent size, athleticism and skill set for an NBA guard. He finally had a breakout year as a junior, but is still plagued by inconsistency, turnover issues, defensive struggles and limited to being just a scorer.
He’s a player who has great talent and potential that intrigues a number of teams in the second round, but makes others uneasy because of his red flags. A "boom or bust" selection because teams are very unsure of if he’s "figured it out" when it comes to playing.
5. Travis Leslie (Georgia)
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Far and away one of the most explosive athletes in the 2011 draft, Leslie is a natural ball hawk who makes plays out of shear hustle and will. While only 6’4”, he has a muscular build, great length (6’11” wingspan) and crazy athleticism to make up for being slightly undersized.
His offensive game is still raw for an NCAA junior looking to make the jump, but he has the physical gifts and talents to develop into a solid pro. Leslie is also an outstanding rebounder and defensive playmaker for a guard.
4. Marshon Brooks (Providence)
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Brooks is becoming a hot name as of late in the draft because of his exaggerated "Kobe" comparisons, but he is a skilled scorer who is an outstanding isolation scorer. A 6’5” guard with an absurd 7’2” wingspan, Brooks can break off his defender with some impressive quick strike dribble moves to create space for a jumper or to get to the rim.
The NCAA’s second leading scorer in 2010-11 is also an outstanding rebounder who loves to crash the boards and can make plays on the defensive end. He caught the attention of the nation when he dropped 52 points on Notre Dame back in late February. While he has a fair number of issues and knocks on his game, Marshon is mid first-rounder who can light it up.
3. Klay Thompson (Washington State)
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In my opinion, this is the best pure shooter in the draft in terms of fundamental stroke, shooting consistency and shot selection. Thompson boosted production in his all-around game and has set himself apart with developing a complete game.
He could stand to fill out his frame with some added muscle, cut down on the turnovers and isn’t the most explosive athlete, but he’s a smart player who makes up for it with smart play on the court. Klay has a mature game beyond his years and is rapidly rising up the draft board because of his NBA skill set and all-around play.
2. Nolan Smith (Duke)
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Nolan Smith (Duke)
One of the most improved players in the past NCAA seasons, Smith became a bonafide star in college basketball because of his ability to score, distribute and help his team win down the stretch. Smith has a high basketball IQ and is a fantastic ball handler who can break down the D and penetrate for his own shot or to set up his teammates.
He’s a veteran player who can operate as a secondary ball handler and even run the point, but he’s a natural scorer, competitor and complement to a star player. He’s been around programs who have taken national titles on the prep and college level, knows what it takes to succeed and can help instill a winning mentality to a team.
Not everyone would agree with Smith this high, but he’s a winner and adaptable player who brings instant impact to a team in need of a guard.
1. Alec Burks (Colorado)
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Burks is an outstanding scorer who put the draft circle on notice as a sophomore averaging over 20 points in the tough Big 12. Alec is a money shooter from midrange with a quick release jumper that he can create on his own thanks to some nifty ball handling.
While a great penetrator and creator off the dribble, Burks has a ways to go in terms of improving his range and consistency from three, in addition to building strength and cutting down on turnovers.
For a scoring guard, Burks does a great job of finding and incorporating his teammates in the mix. In terms of instant contributions and long-term potential, the Colorado star is about as fine as they come in 2011.