NBA Draft 2011: 5 Players That Should Be Drafted Higher Than They Will Be
It doesn't matter what year it is or whether the draft is considered deep or weak. There will always be teams that reach too much or put a little too much stock in potential, and make the wrong pick.
In a lot of ways, the draft is a crap-shoot, but the teams that make the most of their picks ensure they will be consistent winners, rather than bottom feeders.
Look at the Spurs. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are good examples of well placed draft picks. On the flip side, you can look at Atlanta as an example of what a disaster looks like.
The Marvin Williams and Sheldon Williams picks are basically keeping the Hawks from progressing past the second round of the playoffs.
Those high lottery picks don't grow on trees. The whole point is to come out of it with at least a solid starter. You don't want your top eight pick to be a J.J. Redick or an Adam Morrison.
Just as sure as there will be players that will be taken way too early, there will be players that should have been drafted sooner.
For me, I would not get too complicated with the pick by looking at too many metrics or too many of the individual gifts that the player has.
If you are a baller with good instincts and showed it on a national stage against top-notch competition, the chances are good that you will be a productive pro. When I say baller, I'm talking about a Kemba Walker or a Sheldon Mack or a Derrick Williams, etc.
Here are five players that will cause quite a few teams to kick themselves because they had an opportunity to draft them, but watched other teams picking later, snatch them up.
JaJuan Johnson from Purdue Deserves a Better Fate Than Being a Second-Rounder
Projected by many to slip to the second round, JaJuan Johnson has the talent and versatility to contribute right away at the next level.
He is a big-time shot-blocker with excellent jumping ability and athleticism. He may not be very muscular, which has many people worried, but that will change over time.
He has improved his mid-range game and can play with his back to the basket. He dominated in the paint in the Big Ten, which is no easy task.
He can not only score, but he can play and defend all three frontcourt positions. I don't know that there is another player in the draft that can say that.
He may not be as physical yet, but in the end, he will be better at the pro level than both Morris brothers.
Johnson will probably go at the end of the first round, or the beginning of the second round. He has the talent to be a top 15 pick. He has some developing to do, but has more upside than most.
Definitely worth a first-round pick.
Nolan Smith of Duke Getting No Love from the Pundits
Nolan Smith did everything imaginable for Duke this past year. He set up his teammates, he scored at will and was unstoppable, and scored in every conceivable way.
Smith has done it against the best of the best as well.
In spite of that, the combo guard is an afterthought in this year's draft. The experts point to his slight build, and the fact that he is part point guard and part 2-guard.
They question his range, but he shot pretty well off the dribble, and was quick enough to get to the basket on anyone. He is not afraid to take over a game, but most of the time will let the game come to him.
He carried the team in Kyrie Irving's absence, and deferred too much to him when he came back. He needs to play with confidence, regardless of who is on the floor with him.
There have been so many Duke players that have been busts in the pros, that I am thinking that may have something to do with it.
His lean build may hurt him on defense, but if guys like Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis can thrive in the NBA, then Smith should be able to as well.
Josh Selby of Kansas Is One of the Most Talented Point Guards in the Draft
Josh Selby has had a rough ride in his brief college career. As a top recruit, he was suspended, but there is no doubting his talent and ability to score.
He is physically gifted and very strong. His defensive intensity is great, and he can be unstoppable at times. He is so gifted on the offensive side of the court, he can sometimes forget he is a point guard and look for his offense too much.
He will have to hone his craft as a point guard at the next level, but talent-wise he is a no-brainer. He has a reputation of being a headcase, which is pushing him down in the draft.
He injured his foot in his freshman year, and that hampered him as well.
In spite of all the negativity, teams that need a point guard and pass on him will regret it. There is no substitute for the natural ability that Selby has.
Could Shelvin Mack Be a Younger Version of Chauncey Billups?
Shelvin Mack is one of those players that looks like he is not going to get it done. He doesn't look fast enough or athletic enough or quick enough.
In the last two years, if any player has earned the nickname of Mister Big Shot, it is Mack. He is not only a clutch performer on the big stage, but he has a tremendous basketball IQ.
He uses his body extremely well to shield defenders and to create space for himself. Mack usually makes the right play and is dangerous in transition.
He reminds me of a young Chauncey Billups. Mack plays like he is a six-year veteran. He won't get taken in the first round, but I guarantee you, before everything is said and done, he will be better than some of the players drafted before him.
The NCAA tournament showcased what Mack is all about for the last two years. It was no fluke.
Kemba Walker of UConn Seems To Be One of the Forgotten Stars in the Draft
My nickname for Kemba Walker is "Easy." That's how he destroys you. Easily. He can score from anywhere on the court and can elevate in traffic to get his shot off.
He has the heart of an assassin, and when he makes up his mind, he will not be denied. He is underrated as a point guard.
Kemba has excellent leadership skills and knows where everyone is supposed to be. He never gets nervous. The experts are worried about his size and where he should play, but that means nothing.
In the open court or half court, Walker has shown that there is no one that can shut him down, but him.
He should be a top three pick, but probably go between six and eight. He is the most NBA-ready star in this year's draft. Pass on him at your own risk.
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