NBA Draft 2011: Josh Selby and the 5 Best (S)Leapers in the NBA Draft
Chicks dig the long ball.
I'm pretty sure they love the dunk as well.
While we've seen over the years that there isn't necessarily a correlation between athleticism and personal success, one doesn't have to look much further than last year's Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin to see the type of dominance a player can have when they play at a different stratosphere than everyone else.
In an attempt to find some diamonds in the rough, in a widely viewed weak draft, we'll search out the top 10 leapers in the 2011 NBA draft.
5. Jon Leuer
Known more for his sweet shooting stroke, the 6'10 Jon Leuer surprised a lot of people his leaping ability and athleticism at the NBA combine.
Leuer recorded a 36.5 maxium vertical leap, good for 11th best in this year's combine. Even more impressive is when you compare Leuer max vert to the 35.5 max vertical leap Blake Griffen recorded in the 2009 combine.
Already known for his polished offensive game, which saw him score 18 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from behind the arc. Leuer's impressive athleticism should allow him to outperform his predicted draft position of an early second round pick.
4. JaJuan Johnson
JaJuan Johnson is an athletic beast.
When comparing his combine numbers to power forwards such as Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire, Johnson blows them out of the water.
Standing 6'9" and an improving frame of 220 pounds, with a 7'2" wingspan, Johnson recorded a 38" maximum vertical leap, good for ninth overall at the combine. Johnson also scored a sixth best overall 33.5" no step vertical.
Forced into a more featured role—after Purdue's loss of Robbie Hummel—Johnson showed great improvement in his all around offensive game, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors.
While there is still a lot of room for Johnson to grow offensively, his elite athleticism gives him potential to do things other players on the floor simply can't.
That's very intriguing to NBA GM's.
3. Shelvin Mack
We've learned a lot about Shelvin Mack these past two years, as he's been something of a throw back player, actually staying around long enough for us to see him in back-to-back National Championship games.
First as a role player, in 2010, and then as the lead guard this past season we saw Mack's willingness to take and make big plays. Although he participated in one the worst sporting events I've ever seen in my lifetime—the 2011 NCAA Men's College Basketball game—I wouldn't hold it against him.
What we didn't know about Mack—until he displayed it in the combine—was his terrific athletic ability recording the seventh best maximum vertical leap.
Mack's maturity, shooting, ball handling and athleticism will bode very well for him in outperforming his current projections.
2. Marshon Brooks
Since watching the combine and reviewing the measurables, I have fallen in love with Marshon Brooks.
Already an accomplished scorer at Providence, my only concerns were would Brooks be able to match up athletically with the two guards of the NBA.
After his performance at the combine Brooks showed that not only will he be able to match up athletically with two guards at the next level, but on most nights he'll own an athletic advantage.
Brooks impressed showing elite athleticism scoring the eigtht best maximum vertical leap, 38.5", and possessing one of the widest and longest hands in the draft.
Using his smooth and polished offensive skill set, Brooks should be able to become a 20 point per game scorer at the professional level.
1. Josh Selby
Josh Selby is one of the biggest question marks in the entire draft.
On paper he is phenomena—measuring 6' 3" and 200 pounds—with an out of this world 42" maximum vertical leap and one of the combine's fastest sprint numbers. Selby simply oozes lottery pick.
But after one season at Kansas, Selby's draft stock plummeted due to an early season suspension, injuries and a lack of production.
Analyzing Josh Selby is so difficult to do because you must balance what you think he should be, with what he has actually shown to be. I am in the corner who still believes Selby could be a big difference maker at the NBA level and would be a steal in the middle to late first round area of the draft.
Selby's going to have to find an attitude to match his athletic ability however.
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