NBA Draft 2011: 10 Potential Late First Round and Second Round Steals
The NFL and NBA drafts vary greatly in terms of what each means to the league. The NFL draft is a huge event, drawing in ratings for two networks and being something that is hyped up for months, not weeks. The NBA draft comes very quickly right after the Finals end. There is much less downtime for the average fan to get to know the names of every player.
Most fans don't know anyone outside the top five players in a given draft, and it gets even harder to know some of the prospects if they are from overseas. There is often no time for the fans to do their research with so little time between the Finals and the draft.
There are always players who slip into the late first round or second round because they don't have prototypical skills for the position they play or maybe they are lacking a key attribute that would have made them a lottery pick. As the draft has been trimmed from teams being able to pick until they wanted to stop down to two rounds the quality of draft picks should have got better. It hasn't.
With advanced scouting players slipping into the second round or being undrafted is more rare than ever but happens a lot. Gilbert Arenas, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer and pre Orlando-Rashard Lewis were all second round picks who paid huge dividend for their teams. Here is a look at 10 more prospects who down the line could make some lottery teams look silly.
10. Jon Leuer, PF
Efficiency. Big Ten basketball and the Wisconsin Badgers are all about efficiency. No one was more efficient last year than Jon Leuer. Scoring 18.3 points and grabbing 7.2 rebounds, Leuer was a big reason the Badgers were successful last year.
Leuer will drop into the second round because he lacks natural athletic ability. He is a hustle guy who will do the small things to contribute right away.
Leuer has improve his outside shooting tremendously from shooting 29.6 percent as a sophomore to 37 percent from three-point range last season. If Leuer continues to improve his outside game he will be a valuable inside-outside threat.
Leuer should contribute as a role player for now, but if he continues to work at his game, he could spread the floor as a big man. Leuer needs to work on adding strength initially when he gets to the NBA to be able to handle defending top power forwards. If he does so, he may find himself starting on a contender down the line.
9. Jamie Skeen, PF
Skeen has taken the hard road to the NBA. A top recruit he tore his right meniscus, then battled through his coach passing, academic violations and finally a school transfer before becoming a Cinderella darling in this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Skeen has a strange shot and doesn't look quite comfortable running the floor, but he is a grinder and finds ways to get the ball in the basket. He has a nice inside-out game, and although he is undersized for a power forward, he has enough strength to gain leverage on the boards.
Skeen is an average prospect who doesn't stand out in anything he does but is one of those players teams need to have to get to the next level. He may never set the world on fire like he did in the NCAA tournament, but he definitely will add value as a rotational player in the NBA.
With the right coaching and development, Skeen could prove to be a steal and may end up being the next "Big Baby" but with a little bit more range.
8. DeAndre Liggins, SG
DeAndre Liggins was supposed to lead the Kentucky Wildcats to a title under Billy Gillespie. Unfortunately, Gillespie was replaced and Liggings never got the start because he was supposed to be out of college. An extra year under the tutelage of John Calipari may have helped, but he may not have seen as much playing time due to incoming freshmen.
Liggins is an exceptional defender. What he lacks on the offensive end he makes up for in taking on the other team's biggest offensive threat. He has a 6'11" wingspan, allowing him to reach in for steal he normally shouldn't be able to reach.
Liggins can be accused of taking poor shots and having an unorthodox shooting method doesn't help inspire confidence with the ball in his hands. With the right mentor, Liggins should develop a solid offensive game that won't hurt a team when he is on the floor.
Liggins adds value in the second round as a defensive stopper. On the right team with the right coaches, he could find an offensive game too.
7. Andrew Goudelock, PG
Goudelock saw his stock soar at the Portsmouth Invitational with an impressive showing on the offensive end of the floor. As a small school prospect, he flew mainly under the radar despite scoring 23 points a game and shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Goudelock can certainly make teams pay on the offensive end of the floor but struggles a bit defensively. He doesn't put a lot of effort in on that end of the floor relying on his offensive skills to make a name for himself. Unfortunately, in the NBA, defense often is what gets late picks into the league.
It's not that he can't defend, it's that his smallish size makes it difficult to get through screens, and he is not fast enough to catch up once his opponent has some space.
His long range game will certainly get Goudelock on an NBA roster, where hopefully he is able to develop more of a defensive game to keep him there.
6. E'Twaun Moore, SG
Moore is undersized, but that doesn't men he can't make an impact at the next level. E'Twaun Moore consistently improved his game while at Purdue. With Robbie Hummel not being in the picture, Moore teamed with JaJuan Johnson to lead his team to the NCAA tournament where they lost to upstart VCU.
Moore took on more of the offense than he normally would have as a result of Hummel's injury, but he did not disappoint. Moore was able to create shots for himself and improved his shooting from long range to over 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Moore is not a fast guard so getting past his defender may be something that he struggles with at the next level, but he rebounds well for someone his size getting 5.1 rebounds a game last year, which shows what he lacks in speed he makes up for in effort.
Moore is a winner and will bring his hard work and his effort to the next level. There is a real chance that the team who drafts him will get one of the most efficient and consistent players in the entire draft.
5. Reggie Jackson, PG
At one point in the pre-draft process, Reggie Jackson was getting drafted as high as 21 to the Trailblazers. His stock has cooled a little, but that doesn't mean that Jackson is any less valuable.
Jackson learned this year to change his tempo to control the offense and saw his assist-to-turnover ratio rise as a result. No longer feeling like everything was a race, Jackson was able to use his court vision to get teammates the ball.
In addition to running the offense much more productively, Jackson himself brought a great deal to the table on the offensive side of the court. Picking his spots much better, he saw his shooting percentages rise to 55 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three-point range. As a point guard at the next level, the ability to shoot will definitely allow for some open looks to his teammates.
Jackson is a little smallish for his frame and should add a little bulk to help improve his defense. He has a good eye for the ball but needs to add weight to keep from being pushed around.
As a backup point guard, Jackson will develop over time and should become a starter in the near future. His ability to shoot and create will give the team who drafts him a solid second team guard and a point guard of the future.
4. Nolan Smith, SG
Nolan Smith is on most people's lists of late first round to early second round picks who could excel. Smith comes from a great teacher in Coach Krzyzewski. He has shown the ability to score and run the point which may make teams give him a second look.
Smith is undersized for a shooting guard but too turnover-prone to play the point for an NBA team. He is stuck in tweener limbo. Smith has a high enough basketball IQ to figure out how to best fit into an offense and use his skills accordingly.
Smith is not a defensive stopper but can hold is own. He is bigger than some point guards but not fast enough to keep up with them, and he is too small to hang with most shooting guards. He is somewhat of a defensive liability at the next level but could do well in a zone scheme as a help defender.
Smith will find a way to make his team better. Unfortunately, like most Duke stars, he may never be an All-Star, but he should find a way to start down the road and should put up decent numbers as a combo guard. Smith does not do anything great but does a lot of things well which makes him a solid backup combo guard at worst.
3. Keith Benson, C
Keith Benson does not look like a center preparing to enter the NBA but looks more like a high school senior entering his freshmen year. Even though it wasn't hard to push him around, Benson developed himself enough at his time as a Golden Grizzly to turn himself into a double-double machine.
Benson has height, which we all know you can't teach, but he is scrawny which should concern teams. He needs to add 20 pounds of muscle to hold his own in the NBA (remember how Hasheem Thabeet looked?).
Benson is much more talented offensive than Thabeet and is also a defensive force averaging 3.6 blocks per game. His ability to time shots is something that can't be taught, and he should bring that along with him to the NBA.
With a little more size, Benson could be the second legit starting center in the draft besides Enes Kanter and possibly Nikola Vucevic. Offensively, Benson seems timid making contact, but the added bulk should stymie some of that. He has also shown a soft touch from mid-range which if developed could make him a true offensive threat.
Benson has unlimited potential, he just needs time to develop. With the right strength and conditioning, he could become a solid center or power forward.
2. Chandler Parsons, SF
Parsons is a gifted all-around basketball player who has shown the ability to score at will and from anywhere on the court through his tenure at Florida. His ability to handle the ball which creates space and then shoot will create a difficult matchup for small forwards trying to defend him.
Parsons is incredibly tall for a small forward, and he may find it difficult to guard small players. This is something he has been working on this offseason but will likely continue to be an issue as he is not overwhelmingly fast.
His basketball IQ and ability to create his own shot, paired with his unique size should allow for Parsons to make an immediate impact on the team that drafts him. With time, he should develop into a legitimate scoring threat off the bench and will create mismatches all over the floor.
1. Jeremy Tyler, C
Jeremy Tyler took the same path to the NBA as Brandon Jennings, albeit not a normal path. Tyler went from high school to professional basketball overseas in Israel. Like Jennings, his stats were not spectacular, and like Jennings, he hopes to make an impact his first year on an NBA roster.
Tyler went to Japan and played under a former NBA head coach in Bob Hill. He saw his numbers improve. Tyler scored almost 10 points a game and grabbed 6.6 rebounds in just over 15 minutes per game. The per 36 numbers for that are 24 points and 17 rebounds. The talent is there.
Tyler says he learned a lot from playing ball under coach Hill going as far as to say, "He has been everything I always wanted, a great role model, a great leader, father-figure, coach." Tyler will have to take what he learned overseas and bring it to the NBA.
Playing against professionals allowed Tyler to see what life on the road is like, so he may be more prepared from that stand point but he has room to grow still. A big-bodied center, Tyler has the ability to shine as a late first rounder. He needs to work on his maturity, which he seems to have taken the step to do with Coach Hill but still has room for growth.
If Tyler can take coaching and understand his place in the pecking order, he should grow into a bona fide star. If not, he will just be another talented player who wanted too much, too soon.