NBA Draft 2011: Kyrie Irving and the 15 Most Athletic Prospects
The NBA draft is right around the corner, and the athletic testing portion of the NBA draft combine has passed. The NBA draft is filled with incredible athletes from around the globe, but some are more athletic than others.
The NBA consists of the best athletes in the world, and seeing some of their amazing dunks, no one will argue with that.
With athletic players like Kyrie Irving coming to the NBA this year, it's only fitting to create a list that ranks the most athletic players in the draft.
With that, let's count down the most athletic players in the 2011 NBA draft.
15. Jeremy Tyler
Jeremy Tyler is a 6'11" center who has proven himself abroad. Tyler played in Israel, with the Maccabi Haifa, and in Japan with the Tokyo Apache.
Tyler may not have good defense or leadership, but his post-play is impressive, and he is very athletic.
At the 2011 NBA draft combine, Tyler jumped a 12-foot max vertical reach. He also had a very nice score in the agility test. Tyler has major potential due to his tremendous length and athleticism, and he will probably be a second-round pick now.
Tyler showed that he is big, agile and can jump. He reminds many experts of Nazr Muhammad in the way that he plays, and he is looking to make a big impact in the NBA, after not being a superstar in Japan or Israel.
14. Keith Benson
Keith Benson is a 6'11" center out of Oakland, named The Summit League Player and Defensive Player of the Year.
Benson averaged 21.7 points and nine rebounds per game in the Summit League tournament, and he showed NBA scouts what he can do throughout the 2010-11 season.
Benson came to the combine with something to prove, coming out of a smaller school, and he came up big. Benson jumped 12-and-a-half feet for the max vertical reach, proving that he is not a slow, unathletic big man.
Benson also had 12 reps with the 185-pound-bar at the combine, demonstrating that he is not weak, despite being lighter than most centers his height at 230 lbs.
Benson proved just how well he can move, and how athletic he can be at the combine.
13. Shelvin Mack
Shelvin Mack was one of the heroes of the Butler Bulldogs, a team that was arguably the best Cinderella in history. Mack averaged 16 points per game to go along with 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
Mack was known as a strong guard coming into the combine, but he also showed off his other skills. Mack benched the 185-pound bar 17 times, and he also showed off in vertical numbers and solid speed.
Mack is a true-born leader with great skills, and he has great potential in the NBA.
12. Chris Singleton
Chris Singleton was a forward for the Florida State Seminoles in college, and he averaged about 13 points and seven rebounds per game.
Singleton will play small forward in the NBA, and he will have to become a wing.
Singleton's offense was one good part of his game, but it was his defense that set him apart. Singleton averaged 1.5 blocks and 2.1 steals per game in college, and he could guard just about anyone.
NBA scouts were questioning whether or not Singleton would be able to guard as many players in the NBA because of his athleticism, but he answered those questions resoundingly at the combine. Singleton showed off his athletic ability at the combine, and he proved that he can guard most positions.
This is Singleton's biggest improvement so far, and it definitely helped his draft stock.
11. Marshon Brooks
A guard/forward for the Providence Friars, Marshon Brooks dominated his opponents.
Brooks averaged almost 25 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Brooks played all four years that he was eligible, and they have paid off.
Brooks has developed nicely, turning into a bonafide scoring threat by increasing his points per game by 10.4 from his junior year to his senior year.
Brooks showed off his athleticism at the combine, posting a huge 34.5-inch standing vertical jump, and also demonstrating some great quickness. Brooks is slight, but he is very long and has impressed people with his smooth game.
Brooks has impressed scouts a lot, and it will be very interesting to see where he goes in the draft.
10. Malcolm Thomas
San Diego State forward Malcolm Thomas averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in the 2010-11 season. Thomas came onto the scene and help the Aztecs to a No. 2 seed and a trip to the Elite Eight, in which they lost to the eventual champions, the UConn Huskies.
Thomas showed that his is a great player in college, and he showed that he is athletic at the combine.
Thomas posted great numbers in just about every category, proving once and for all that he is one of the better athletes in the draft.
9. JaJuan Johnson
JaJuan Johnson, the 6'10" forward/center out of Purdue showed us that he isn't all size.
Johnson averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in the 2010-11 season with the Boilermakers, and he established himself as one of the better post-threats in college.
Then, at the combine, Johnson had a vertical of 12'1.5". He also benched the bar 15 times, and showed great overall athleticism.
Johnson showed us that he will be able to manage the transition to the NBA, and the combine really improved his stock.
8. Travis Leslie
A guard for the Georgia Bulldogs, Travis Leslie averaged over 14 points and seven rebounds per game in the 2010-11 season.
Leslie showed that he is a scoring threat, and he improved his defense as well. Leslie is declaring for the draft after his junior year, and he is supremely confident that he is ready for the transition.
His performance at the combine agrees with him. We all knew Leslie would post great numbers, and he did so. Leslie had a vertical jump of 40.5 inches, and he performed well in every other category.
In fact, his vertical may have been his weak point at the combine.
Leslie has proven his athleticism time and again, and there was no real need to do so again at the combine, but he did.
7. Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert, guard for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, was impressive in college and dazzled us at the combine.
Shumpert averaged 17.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2010-11 season. He was absolutely marvelous for the Yellow Jackets, and he led their team the whole season.
At the combine, Shumpert was freakishly good. Not only did Shumpert appear much taller than other point guards, his large build and impressive athleticism are quite the combination. At 6’5" and 222 lbs of muscle, he jumped verticals of 36.5 inches standing and 42 inches max.
Shumpert also had great running numbers and lifted 185 lbs a monstrous 18 times, demonstrating his speed and power.
Shumpert did not disappoint at the combine, and while he is raw, his athleticism could land him in the late first round.
6. Brandon Knight
The star guard for the Kentucky Wildcats, Brandon Knight left the team after his freshman year. During that season, Knight averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Knight was a phenom in college, and he showed off once again at the combine.
Knight recorded a 37.5-inch vertical jump, 10 reps on the bench and great agility while performing the drills set up.
Knight is a true athlete, and he didn't need the combine to show us that either, but he did it anyway.
5. Kawhi Leonard
The star forward of the San Diego State Aztecs, Kawhi Leonard is a true athlete. Leonard averaged 15.5 points and almost 11 rebounds per game in his sophomore year before declaring for the draft.
Leonard demonstrated his athletic ability throughout the year, and he continuously blew past defenders. He may not have incredible size for a 3 at 6’7", but his 7’3" wingspan should more than make up for that.
At the combine, Leonard did not impress us as much as we thought he would, posting a 32-inch vertical, and only bench pressing the bar three times (although his wingspan probably played a factor in this).
Leonard's combine was not impressive, but we have learned from about 40 games in this season that he is actually very athletic.
4. Kemba Walker
Arguably the biggest star in all of college basketball in the 2010-11 season, Kemba Walker led the UConn Huskies to the National Championship.
Walker averaged almost 24 points per game, and 4.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds as well.
Walker dazzled us during the entire season and again at the combine.
Walker posted a 39-inch vertical jump, and he showed off his speed and agility in the other tests as well.
Walker is a bonafide athlete, and he is one of the best players in the draft.
3. Kyrie Irving
The freshman sensation, Kyrie Irving went down in the season, losing a big portion of the season.
Irving still amazed us in the games that he played in, and he led Duke in the NCAA tournament.
Irving is probably going to be the No. 1 overall pick, due in part to his athleticism.
Irving did not attend the combine, but based off of what we have seen him do in the regular season, we know that he would have made it on this list with ease, and he is deserving of the No. 3 spot on the list.
I personally saw all of Irving's games, and I can assure you that the kid is unreal.
2. Enes Kanter
The Turkish sensation, Enes Kanter is the player that we knew the least about, seeing as he played in a different country.
At the combine, Kanter impressed scouts just by being there. He did not need to come, with memories fresh in the minds of scouts from what they had seen, but he came anyway.
A 6'11", 260-pound center, Kanter is a fine physical specimen, and every review written about the kid is positive.
Kanter may not be the longest, or most tested of players, but he posted an ideal 14 reps on the bench and his 11.3 lane agility score shows he has some ability to move the floor.
Kanter is going to be an interesting option for all teams in the draft, and we can't wait to see where he ends up.
1. Derrick Williams
Did you really expect anyone else?
Derrick Williams, the "forward" out of Arizona, is taking the basketball world by storm.
The 6'8", 241-pound man-of-a-player plays like he's 6'11" and he is as quick as a point guard. Williams averaged about 20 points and nine rebounds per game in the 2010-11 season, while shooting around 60 percent from three.
Williams is the definition of an athletic player, and he is arguably the best player in the draft. Williams has proven time and again that he is capable of anything, and that he is the best athlete in the draft.
Williams will make an immediate impact in the NBA, and he could become a Blake Griffin-type player with better range.
Scary? Oh, yes.
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