NBA Draft 2011: Kemba Walker and the 10 Most NBA-Ready Prospects
The NBA doesn't have as many impact rookies as other major leagues such as the NFL, MLB or NHL. This doesn't mean that you can't draft a player who will immediately make a difference for your team though.
What it does mean is that teams will have to evaluate every aspect of a player's game to pre-determine exactly how that rookie will contribute.
Rebounding and defense translate the quickest to the NBA but this list will not be limited to just big men. Here is a look at the players who will make a huge impact from day one on their respective team.
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Kenneth Faried, though undersized, is a player who will make an impact every night despite limited minutes.
He can follow the example set by the Spurs' Dejuan Blair and be an energy player.
He is a power forward from a small school who loves to grab rebounds and play defense. He is the all-time leading rebounder in NCAA history which bodes well for his NBA career.
His knack for creating extra possessions on offense and closing out possessions on defense will definitely earn him quality minutes as a rookie.
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For whatever reason, NBA scouts do not think highly of players who actually stay all four years of college and steadily get better. Perhaps it is because they worry about how long it took them to get as good as they are.
Nolan Smith is one of those players. He won a championship at Duke but isn't highly coveted in this draft.
Players like Nolan Smith may not have the extreme potential factor, but they do have experience and a winner's mentality.
Smith has seen many defenses in his time at Duke. He has developed into a great floor general and was coached by one of the best—Coach K—coaches in all of basketball.
If a team is looking for a player who can come in right away and make sure the ball is in the right player's hands, Nolan Smith is that guy.
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Marshon Brooks is a flat-out scorer. He is at his best when he is driving to the bucket, but he can also score from anywhere on the court.
He is fearless against tougher competition and confident in his abilities. These are two assets you have to have when you are coming into the league with only great asset, scoring.
In the right situation, Brooks can be a sixth man who can provide instant offense.
In a perfect situation, he can start for a club and average double digit points per game.
His scoring will force his NBA coach to find minutes for him early in his career.
Bismack Biyombo is an extremely raw talent who does the little things NBA teams look for out of big man.
He rebounds, defends, and is very coachable.
Biyombo is very athletic and gets up and down the court quickly for someone his size. He isn't afraid to get dunked on, which will allow him to defend the paint strongly.
He will probably never be a force on offense, but right away he will be an impact on defense.
He will most likely follow in the same mold as Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka.
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Kyrie Irving is leaving Duke after just one season and who can blame him? He is regarded as the best player in the draft despite only playing eight games of the regular season.
He has an outstanding change of direction, and can shoot the ball well from the perimeter.
His potential is unlimited. Experts say he is most comparable to Chris Paul. That is a pretty big comparison, but many expect great things from this young point guard.
He is sure to be a top pick so wherever he is drafted he will be expected to produce from day one.
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There are mixed opinions of how well college superstar Jimmer Fredette will fare in the NBA.
Skeptics have doubts because of his lack of foot speed at the point guard position, but he will be fine.
Fredette was forced to hoist up bad shots at BYU because they didn't have many scoring options. In the NBA he won't relied upon to carry a team.
He will be able to shoot when opportunities arise and otherwise dish off to a capable scorer. He will be a liability on defense, but his offensive game will offset that.
He has in-the-gym range and will be a threat to defenses whenever he is on the court.
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Alec Burks is a slasher with many ways to score.
He uses excellent ball handling skills to get to the rim and can finish with either hand. Another thing that should help him is his ability to create his own shot.
Burks throws his body around when slashing to create a lot of fouls. He is a solid free throw shooter and making free throws is a major confidence boost for rookies.
He is best deployed as a shooting guard but has the versatility to be a combo guard. His talents will earn him quality minutes as a rookie.
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Brandon Knight is the latest one-and-done player for coach John Calipari.
He was already highly regarded but raised his draft stock even more with his clutch performances in the NCAA tournament. In pressure situations, he made big shot after big shot.
Knight is an excellent shooter off the dribble or spotting up. He does well in pick-and-roll situations which is used a lot in NBA systems.
The transition from college to the NBA is never an easy one, but Knight shouldn't have too much of a problem.
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Derrick Williams out of Arizona catapulted himself into the top prospects talk when he single-handedly eliminated Duke in the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA tournament.
He is quite the physical specimen. He is strong enough to bang on the inside, yet athletic enough to get around slower big men.
He has just enough ball handling to break a power forward down off the dribble. When going to the bucket, he makes defenders think twice about getting in his way because he is such an explosive finisher.
If he is dealing with a smaller defender, he has no problem posting them up and drawing fouls.
Williams is also a great rebounder. He will be able to exploit mismatches from day one in the NBA.
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Kemba Walker led UCONN to a national championship this year. In fact, he played well in all of UCONN's tournament games this year.
Walker doesn't pay attention to the name on the front or back of his opponent's jersey. He is a competitor who only has one mission—winning.
His competitive fire coupled with his talent make him very difficult to match up with. He takes pride in his defense and can score at will.
Walker's killer crossover allows him to get by defenders but he can also hurt you with his outside shooting.
As he should be, he is very confident in his abilities. As a rookie he will thrive because he doesn't back down from challenges. Expect him to keep getting better as the season goes on.