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NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and 5 Most Underrated Guards

Jake SilverCorrespondent IJune 14, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and 5 Most Underrated Guards

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on against the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by
    Harry How/Getty Images

    With the NBA Draft around the corner, evaluation of prospective players is in full swing.

    However, with all the buzz over the cream of the crop prospects, some of the very talented players end up being far less talked about; whether they had a down year, injuries, or off-the-court issues, some of the players aren't getting the recognition they deserve.

    Here we will examine five of the underrated guard prospects.

5. Kemba Walker

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies handles the ball 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 Houston,
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    OK, this is pretty weird right? Well it kind of is. However, Kemba Walker is actually underrated despite his high prospective draft position.

    Most would claim that Walker is only being drafted highly due to his incredible success during this past season at UConn. They call him undersized and say his championship is causing teams to overvalue him.

    Kemba is small to be sure, but he is still not much smaller than top prospect Kyrie Irving, and his ball-handling and quickness are incredible. He is an incredible offensive prospect, and should not be overlooked. Still, nobody has him in the top four picks.

    If you ask me, the Cavaliers should be taking Derrick Williams No. 1 overall, and Kemba Walker at No. 4.

4. Reggie Jackson

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    GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 11:  Reggie Jackson #0 of the Boston College Eagles moves the ball against the Clemson Tigers during the second half in the quarterfinals of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 11, 2011 in Gr
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Reggie Jackson had a phenomenal junior season for the Boston College Eagles, improving greatly on his performances from previous seasons.

    His scoring average and efficiency are up drastically from his sophomore year, and the 6'3'' 208 lb guard probably would have been considered even more valuable if he had played this way his first two seasons.

    He will only continue to improve as he matures, and the sooner people realize this, the better.

3. Darius Morris

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Darius Morris #4 of the Michigan Wolverines moves the ball while taking on the Duke Blue Devils during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Darius Morris is projected to go at the very end of the first round, which I do not agree with. A 6'4'' guard who knows how to use his size is invaluable on that merit alone.

    He has the ball-handling and passing skills to play the lead guard, and with his scoring ability he would make a solid backup 2-guard for his first couple of seasons, easing his way into a starting role.

    This is a guy that teams just outside the lottery should have their eye on if their preferred prospect is taken.

2. Josh Selby

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 27:  Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts after 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. Virg
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Josh Selby has caught a lot of flak for his durability and off the court problems.

    He missed the first nine games of the 2010/2011 season because of an NCAA violation he was suspended for, and following that he injured his foot, never returning to his pre-injury form.

    Selby is a fantastic athlete and a rock-solid scoring guard.

    Had he been able to get drafted out of high school, he might have even been a lottery pick

1. Nolan Smith

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils shoot the ball over Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anahe
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Sharing the point guard position at Duke with the No. 1 overall prospect certainly has its disadvantages, though it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to guard Nolan Smith.

    Since Irving was only able to play 11 games in the 2010-2011 season, Nolan was asked to step up into the starting role. How did he respond? by leading his team to the tournament and picking up the ACC Player of the Year honors.

    He can do it all: score, lead, and defend. He has the tools to be a stud player in the NBA, and people overlook the maturity and level head that can come with having spent a full tenure in college.

    Sure he is older than most of the other prospects, but he has more basketball experience than they do too.

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