NBA Draft 2011: Ranking the Top 25 Forwards
The 2011 NBA Draft will begin next week with the Cleveland Cavaliers getting lucky in the lottery and grabbing the first pick.
It looks as if PG Kyrie Irving will go at No. 1, but after that, a plethora of forwards will be taken off the board in what looks to be quite a deep draft class.
Which forwards will go first? Well, let's take a look at the top 25 forwards in this year's draft class.
25. Jimmy Butler, F Marquette
Jimmy Butler will be a low-risk, high-reward guy in the second round of the draft. He has the potential to be a great role player. He does all the little things and has a solid offensive game.
After Da'Sean Butler departed from the team last season, Butler took over as one of the main offensive threats. He finished Big East play averaging 16 and six.
24. Nikola Mirotic, F Montenegro
Nikola Mirotic has terrific potential and is one European player that not a lot of people are talking about. Due to contract concerns, he may slide out of the first round, in which case a player of his caliber would be a second-round steal.
Mirotic has great size and a great offensive game out on the perimeter. He may be one of the best shooters, if not the best shooter on this list.
23. Rick Jackson, F Syracuse
In four years of college ball, we have not seen much improvement in Rick Jackson's game. He is a "what you see is what you get" kind of player.
That does not mean that he cannot improve a little more at the next level. Jackson has the size and raw defensive talent to make it as a backup in the NBA.
22. Jon Leuer, F Wisconsin
At 6'10", Jon Leuer can create mis-matches down low because of his perimeter game. However, can he play the four spot on the defensive end of the floor?
Leuer might be better suited for the SF position, but again, we'll have to wait and see whether he can defend the more athletic threes in the league.
21. Kyle Singler, F Duke
Kyle Singler is another guy that has probably reached his ceiling, having started four years at Duke. A decorated champion, Singler is a selfless player that can help a team in multiple ways.
In the NBA, Singler could hurt a team due to his lack of athleticism. He will quickly become a liability on the defensive end.
20. Chandler Parsons, F Florida
If he wanted to, Chandler Parsons could probably play all five positions. In the NBA, though, Parsons will be relegated to the SF and sometimes PF positions.
Parsons has good size and is a very smart basketball player. He is a pass-first guy who will need to work on his scoring to make an impact at the next level.
19. JaJuan Johnson, F Purdue
JaJuan Johnson is an athletic freak. At 6'10", he can do some pretty athletic stuff with the basketball in his hands. At the Combine, he had the highest reach of any prospect at over 12 feet. Just throw the ball up in the vicinity of the basket and Johnson will take care of the rest.
However, strength is a major concern for the Boilermaker.
18. Jordan Williams, F Maryland
Jordan Williams is a bit young, but he improved tremendously in his second season at Maryland. He increased his scoring and rebound averages by over seven points and three rebounds per game, respectively.
Williams has good size, but can sometimes be out of shape. Being so young, he has yet to fill out.
17. Jeremy Tyler, F San Diego, CA
Jeremy Tyler has a huge upside if he can work on his attitude issues. His international career did not get off to a good start after he turned pro after graduating from high school. He quit his team in Israel and then played terribly in Japan.
His sheer size and raw skills have Tyler pegged as a late-first or early-second round pick.
16. Davis Bertans, F Latvia
Davis Bertans, in one sentence, could be described as an athletic 6'10" swingman whose ability to catch and shoot the basketball is second to none.
Picture a 6'10" Kyle Korver.
15. Justin Harper, F Richmond
Justin Harper is a versatile big man at 6'9", but he is a bit of a tweener because of his body weight. He is a terrific outside shooter with range out past the three-point line.
If Harper can gain some weight, he's got potential. Dare I say he could potentially compare to Chris Bosh?
14. Trey Thompkins, F Georgia
Trey Thompkins is an early entry selection into the draft. I would say his potential is limited because he is not a very fluid athlete, but he still possesses great size and skill to play the PF position in the NBA. He has a terrific shot and is a great defender.
13. Kenneth Faried, F Morehead State
If you need help in the rebounding department, this is your guy. Kenneth Faried led the nation in rebounding with an eye-popping 14.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Morehead State.
12. Tobias Harris, F Tennessee
Tobias Harris had an up-and-down freshman season at Tennessee. He enters this year's draft mostly based on his raw talent and high potential.
Harris is a do-everything kind of forward. He can defend, score, rebound, create... you name it.
11. Jordan Hamilton, F Texas
Jordan Hamilton is one of the bigger scoring threats entering the draft. He also has one of the most criticized shot selections. Hamilton has all the talent in the world to start in the NBA, but he will first have to mature as a scorer and as a player.
10. Chris Singleton, F Florida State
Hands down, Chris Singleton is the best defender in this year's draft. He could become the next lock-down defender in the NBA. He also has some ability on the offensive side of the ball, which makes him very intriguing for teams picking in the mid-teens.
9. Markieff Morris, F Kansas
Markieff Morris is the less versatile Morris twin. As a PF, Morris is very good on the defensive end. He is a great post defender and an outstanding rebounder. He has the perfect size to contribute off the bench.
8. Bismack Biyombo, F Congo
Bismack Biyombo may go in the top 10 this week. He is young, has raw talent, and has a very high ceiling. Teams may take a chance on this athletic big man who has shown off his skills so far overseas. If he develops an offensive game, he could become scary good.
7. Donatas Motiejunas, F Lithuania
Donatas Motiejunas is another European prospect with a balanced game. The left-hander is 7'0" and has the ability to play the three, four or five at the next level. At age 20, he still needs to fill out his frame. Currently, he weighs only 224 lbs. and lacks muscle.
6. Kawhi Leonard, F San Diego St.
After only two seasons in school, Kawhi Leonard decided to turn pro, and it was probably a good idea. Leonard is almost certainly guaranteed a top 10 selection. He is a slasher-type SF who can play on both ends of the court. He has Gerald Wallace potential.
5. Marcus Morris, F Kansas
Marcus Morris is the more versatile twin and has the ability to play more on the perimeter. His ball-handling and athletic skills make him a threat both down low and on the outside. He doesn't excel in any particular skill but is a solid all-around player.
4. Tristan Thompson, F Texas
Tristan Thompson did not have what you would call a "one-and-done" type of season in his only year at Texas. He struggled a bit, but his raw talent and skills put him among my top five forwards. He has an incredibly long wingspan which allows him to be a shot blocker at only 6'9".
3. Jan Vesely, F Czech Republic
Jan Vesely is the prime jewel of this year's European talent. He is unbelievably athletic, standing at 6'11". He can create all types of mis-matches due of his size and his ability to play different positions. Still, he will have to work on a more consistent jump shot.
2. Enes Kanter, F Kentucky
Enes Kanter never played one second of college basketball, but he is still rated as the second best PF in this year's draft. A sure-bet top five pick, Kanter is one of the most stable big men in the draft. He already has an NBA body and still has plenty of room to develop his skills at 19 years old.
1. Derrick Williams, F Arizona
Surprise, surprise. Derrick Williams lands on top as the best forward in this year's draft. Scouts are questioning what position he will actually be able to play in the NBA, as he may not be big enough for the four spot. If that is the case, Williams will have to work hard to improve his ball-handling skills as well as his perimeter game.