2011 NBA Draft: Re-Evaluating the Top Point Guard Prospects
One of the deeper positions in the draft, this year's crop of point guard prospects offers a solid blend of experience, shooters, playmakers, athletes and raw talent. It’s a plentiful year for the PG in 2011 and you can get a solid guy who should be able to make a rotation all the way through the second round. The likely stars are at the top, but there are a handful of guys who showed NCAA potential and could become excellent pros in their own right during their NBA careers. Here is a revised look and some thoughts on the “SwishScout.com Point 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.
16. Cory Joseph (Texas)
A guy who left Texas a couple years too early, but will get a late look in the second round based on his potential. Joseph a natural "shoot first" player that is developing PG skills and showed solid progress in his freshman year, but not enough to prove his worth as a guy who can step in for a team immediately. He is gifted with natural quickness, shooting accuracy, ball handling and defensive play. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in long-term potential, but potential that will likely need to be refined in the NBDL.
15. Andrew Goudelock (Charlestown)
Goudelock is a second round gem with crazy range from the perimeter. He’s an experienced player with an NBA point guard’s build, athleticism and developing skill set. While he’s not a standout defender or a natural point guard, he’s a guy who can handle the ball, still run the offense and put up points from anywhere on the floor. The most intriguing dimension of his game is that deep NBA shooting range and scoring ability, but he’s a guy who can penetrate and create for his teammates. I like to think of him as a second round "Jimmer" if a team doesn’t want to reach for or take Fredette in the first round, but offers a similar skill set.
14. Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech)
Shumpert is a physical specimen for a point guard with a combination of excellent size and athleticism. He towers over his competition at 6’6” for a primary ball handler and uses his size to play excellent pressure defense by using his length and lateral quickness to stifle his opponent. Offensively, he settles for a lot of jumpers and has become overly in love with the 3, but while he is an athlete with a lot of potential, he still hasn’t quite figured out how to play within the scheme of the team game yet.
13. Ben Hansbrough (Notre Dame)
He was a lights out shooter from the three during his NCAA and figures to be the same entering the league. Ben is a true floor general who understands how to run an offense and set up his teammates in the process. What he lacks in athleticism and playmaking ability he makes up for in intensity and competitiveness. He has great court vision for a guard and is a true distributor who adds depth to a bench in the mold of a "Steve Blake" type player. Not the most spectacular player, but Hansbrough was a solid guard on the NCAA level and will be in the NBA.
12. Demetri McCamey (Illinois)
Demetri McCamey (Illinois)
"The Mac man" has the look of an NBA PG in terms of size and build. Had an uneven NCAA career, but looked like a player of the year candidate early in the year before cooling off the second half of his senior season. Demetri handles the ball well and does a great job of balancing the mix of scoring and distributing as one of the top assist men in the NCAA the past two seasons. He is a spot on shooter from the three with dicey selection, but he’s a gutsy playmaker who isn’t afraid to take risks.
11. Norris Cole (Cleveland State)
The quickest player in the Draft was a Horizon League stud that did everything for his team. In addition to being a standout scorer, Cole crashes the boards, sets up his teammates and can make plays on the defensive end when locked in. Norris is an excellent athlete who caught the attention of the nation after a 41 point, 20 rebounds and nine assist performance against Youngstown State, asserting himself as premier competitor in the NCAA. He has a swagger and competitiveness in his game that make him play at another gear, but whether or not he reaches that in the NBA on a consistent basis has some scouts split.
10. Shelvin Mack (Butler)
One of the NCAA Tournament heroes who bolstered the Bulldogs' unprecedented run to the title in consecutive seasons, Shelvin has an NBA body for a PG. Showed he could be a gritty shot maker down the stretch, cashing in on confidence and nerves of steel to knock down some clutch shots in huge games. Mack’s a natural scorer who lacks explosive athleticism, isn’t the greatest ball handler, nor takes the most ideal shots, but he’s a proven winner who can make plays.
9. Malcolm Lee (UCLA)
At 6’6”, Lee has incredible size for point guard prospect, but doesn’t quite have the mentality or distributing ability to match. He’s an aggressive scorer with the ball in his hands and made some big shots for the Bruins down the stretch of games. He might be the next in line as a product of an under-appealing UCLA system that has produced some star NBA guards that had their style constrained in NCAA. He’s a tenacious defender who plays great pressure defense, but has a ways to go as a developing point guard if that ends up being his position in the league.
8. Charles Jenkins (Hofstra)
The most compact and toughest guard of the bunch, Jenkins was a one-man team for the Hofstra Pride in 2010-11. Jenkins showed consistent progression over his four-year career in the CAA as a scorer and distributor for his team, even impressively knocking down his turnover average by one per game, a sign of growing basketball IQ and efficiency. He is a "combo guard" that was a volume shooter through most of his career, but he’s a natural creator with the ball, and that should help him adjust to being a distributor.
7. Darius Morris (Michigan)
Another player who has great size, build and pure PG skills, Morris is a developing player who greatly improved as a player during his sophomore NCAA season. He has limited range as a shooter, making him a nonexistent threat for the NBA 3, but he can get to the rim and finish. The real potential in his game lies in his ability to be a playmaker and distributor for his team, where he thrived in his final season at Michigan with that passing ability and court vision despite some turnover issues.
6. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
Jimmer is one tough nut to crack and the one player in the draft who could be pretty good or not nearly the star he was at BYU. He’s not a true PG in the league, but is an indefinite shooter/scorer in the league who could be a great shot maker. Discounted all the naysayers who said he wasn’t athletic or very quick with his NBA combine performance, but the issues about being able to defend the position remain. Everyone knows he has crazy range, crafty play and can get his own shot with that quick release, but can he step his game up and embrace a lesser role with a team? No matter how you dissect his game, we won’t know for sure until he takes the court as a pro.
5. Josh Selby (Kansas)
The ceiling on Selby’s game is very high and amongst the top players in this draft, but he proved in NCAA play that he is still very raw, developing and unable to run the show for a team. His athleticism is super explosive and natural talent is ridiculous, but he needs to improve his basketball IQ with experience. He’s a "shoot first" player who is turnover prone, but Josh has incredible gifts as a player that if he can refine, could make him a stud in the league. He plays very hard defensively and is a great on-ball defender, which could help his playing time and progression early on until his offensive game catches up.
4. Reggie Jackson (Boston College)
Personally, I think Reggie could be an absolute steal in the draft if he falls to the late first or even second round. Its speculated that he already has a guarantee from a team due to lack of participation in workouts and the combine. Jackson is a developing PG with a good build, crazy seven-foot wingspan, excellent athleticism and great all-around play on both ends of the court. He was impressive in his junior season at Boston College and will only get better with the potential he possesses as a floor general.
3. Brandon Knight (Kentucky)
Knight has the look and skill set of an NBA guard who showed great progression to play the position in his freshman season, but still has a ways to go. He is legit shooter from 3 and midrange, but plays like a "gunner" who is looking to get points in favor of getting his teammates involved at this point. Has a great feel for the game and is developing ability to run the show, but has scouts split on whether or not to take him or Kemba at the top of the Draft for their future PG. Love his size, athleticism and potential, and am looking forward for him to become a starter for a team in the near future.
2. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
The star of the NCAA postseason and the MVP of the National Championship run, Walker is a proven winner who did everything in his power to will UConn to the title. He is an undervalued player who works hard and is driven to be great, showing tremendous progression in his game over the past season as a "go to" player who can take over games with his scoring. Even facing double teams and the focus of defensive schemes, Walker integrated his teammates into the mix and proved he can be a distributor when he needs to. While he doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the Draft, Walker still has room for improvement, as a shooter from distance, which is the easiest area for improvement. Forget that he’s only 6’1”, as his quickness cancels out the discrepancy, and he can flat out play, like many other undersized players in the NBA who have found success.
1. Kyrie Irving (Duke)
The undisputed choice for the number one PG and potential overall pick in the 2011 draft. Irving showed everything he needed to in only 11 NCAA games to prove that he is worthy of the distinction of being a franchise PG and top draft pick. He is an excellent all-around player with a great mix of build, athleticism, skill, basketball IQ and potential for an NBA point guard. As it appears, the Cleveland Cavaliers seem set on him as the number one pick, and many around the league would be befuddled if he wasn’t the top choice. Kyrie is a classic PG whose only real knocks are being a streak shooter, slightly undersized and becoming a little too scoring oriented for someone who thrives as a passer. He’s a player who has displayed the uncanny ability to take over a game with his decision making as a PG like Chris Paul, and that’s what helps makes him a valued asset in this draft.