Is Leonard really worth a top-10 pick?
We're getting extremely close to the 2011 NBA draft, which kicks off this Thursday on June 23rd. We're still scrambling to put the finishing touches on our final mock draft and punch out scouting reports. We also wanted to take a look at the guys in this year's class that are getting way too much hype, as well as the ones who simply aren't getting enough.
Read on for the top five guys that are hyped to the extreme and may not be quite as good as some people think, or at least their value doesn't necessarily match up with where they're projected to be selected.
Morris is a guy who could be perfect for the point guard position at the next level but has very little experience and could be leaving school much too early.
Morris actually has good point-guard skills and has the perfect size and frame for the position. Unfortunately, he's not a great athlete, and he may have trouble matching up against the elite point guards at the next level. Combine inexperience and average athleticism, and Morris could be a potential disaster in the pros.
Selby is very talented and has the potential to be a star one day, but you'd never know it by watching his first (and only) season at Kansas. He's entering as a point-guard prospect, but we've really seen very little that suggests he can make that transition and lead a team effectively at the next level.
He can provide instant offense, and he can hold his own athletically, but he hasn't yet displayed the necessary court awareness or decision-making an NBA point guard needs. His potential could have him going late in the first round, but the reality is that he should be drafted somewhere in the second.
If it weren't for his ridiculous wing span (7'7'') and his insane defensive presence, nobody would be talking about Biyombo at all. He is so raw offensively that he arguably would have a tough time scoring on someone dramatically shorter than he is. He has no jumper to speak of, and any moves inside he does have, are rigid or predictable.
Biyombo relies solely on his size and athleticism on both sides of the court and really is a one-dimensional prospect. True, that "defensive-stopper" ability will get him selected, but there's no doubt he'll be taken off of hype and potential. For all the chatter, Biyombo is a perfect bust candidate in this class.
Leonard is a guy who absolutely has the size, fundamentals and overall talent to be a productive NBA player. But experts have hyped this guy so much that he went from a mid-first-rounder to a near lock in the top 10.
At NBASoup.com we have him going as high as we do in our mock simply because the hype has positioned him there, but he is not really an elite contributor in any facet of the game. He's not going to drop a ton of points on you, and he arguably doesn't even have one concrete position at the next level. I have no doubts that Leonard will find his niche and play a nice role for his team at the next level, but a star, he will never be.
Don't get me wrong, Irving is an elite talent with great skills and immense potential. But is he really the No. 1 prospect in this draft? Probably not.
That title likely belongs to Arizona's Derrick Williams, who is big, strong, athletic and versatile. That, and we've actually seen enough game tape on Williams at the college level to know exactly what we're dealing with.
Irving could easily end up being exactly the player a lot of people are saying he'll be, but with not even one-half of a season of college ball to work with, his stock is still way too high.
Also, don't forget to check out our Top Underrated Prospects for the 2011 NBA Draft!