NBA Draft 2011: Kenneth Faried and the Best Specialists in This Year's Draft

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Kenneth Faried and the Best Specialists in This Year's Draft

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    DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20: Samardo Samuels #24 of the Louisville Cardinals drives to the hoop against Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena o
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The 2011 NBA Draft is coming up on Thursday, and with what looks to be a weak draft class coming out (although I prefer to wait a few years to judge the strength of a draft class), teams will be happy to get just a role player out of this draft.

    But to that I say, what's wrong with getting "just" a role player.

    Riddle me this, which team won the NBA Championship this year, the one with two superstars and another top-30 guy, or the one with one superstar, an excellent wing man and a great assortment of role players?

    Even when the Boston Celtics won their title with the original "Big Three" they had good role players with Tony Allen (lockdown perimeter defender), Glen Davis (energy man), Eddie House (streak shooter) and Brian Scalabrine (ultimate teammate, cheerleader, goofy white guy).

    Until I see a team win in a new-fangled way with three stars mashed together and surrounded by guys making the league minimum, veteran minimum and rookies who have yet to find their real potential, I will not waver on thinking that having a great collection of role players is more important than having a second superstar.

    If that seems like I'm saying I'd rather have JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic, DeShawn Stevenson and yes, even Brian Cardinal over LeBron James (if Dwyane Wade is already on my team) grouped with Mike Miller, Joel Anthony, Juwan Howard and Erick Dampier it's because I am.  There is something about basketball where the best team doesn't necessarily have to have the best players to win, it just has to be constructed right.

    That's not to say I don't think Miami can't win a championship, it's just that they won't be able to as is, they need that Eddie House (circa 2008, not 2011) and Tony Allen or JJ Barea and DeShawn Stevenson to do the dirty work, and yes, they even need that goofy white guy, which may be the biggest piece they are missing right now.

    Having gone off on that tangent, I have to say that I actually like this draft if only for it's seemingly overabundance of role players or potential role players, so I've taken the liberty of hammering out the best role players and specialists in this draft into a hand little list for you guys.  Enjoy.

Rebounding Specialist: Kenneth Faried

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    DENVER, CO - MARCH 17:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Morehead State Eagles is helped up after drawing a foul against the Louisville Cardinals in the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colora
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Kenneth Faried may very well be my favorite player outside of the top five or six prospects in this year's draft.

    I would actually take him over either of the Morris twins and I would say after Bismack Biyombo he is the most intriguing player in this draft.

    If a general manager in the NBA were asking my opinion (not one of them have called me yet, which is a bit frustrating), I would consider Faried a lottery pick in this draft for two reasons.  He can come in next year and produce, and down the line he has the ability to be substantially better.

    Faried can come into the league next year and crash the boards hard on any team's second unity and bring much needed energy and toughness to any team.  He has great form when getting into position to rebound, kind of like Kevin Love but with muscles.

    Then, down the line as he becomes adjusted to the pace and increased talent pool in the NBA, Faried can become a monster defender.

    Now, there are those out there who criticize Faried on many different levels.  He is an offensive liability, he's too short, he's from a lesser known school, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    To that I like to remind the world of an undersized, offensively challenged center out of Virginia Union by the name of Ben Wallace who made a name for himself crashing the boards and punking people out on defense.  I'd say he did pretty well for himself.

Defensive Specialist: Chris Singleton

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 25:  Chris Singleton #31 of the Florida State Seminoles reacts during the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Alamodome on March 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Tex
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    After Faried, Singleton is the only player who is currently outside of the lottery in most mock drafts (although he is starting to crack the top 14 in more and more) that I can say with some certainty will be playing effectively in the NBA in five years.

    Singleton is the single best all-around defender in this draft, and when I say all-around, boy do I mean it.

    The big forward out of Florida State is long, athletic and tall, giving him the ability to block shots like a machine (he averaged 1.5 a game in his junior season in just 29 minutes a game), and his length coupled with his lateral quickness gives him the ability to play the passing lanes aggressively while still being able to regroup and get back to his man if he overplays the ball (two steals a game last year).

    Aside from his defensive stats, when you watch Singleton it is evident that he is a terrific perimeter defender, a skill that NBA GMs have salivated over in the past few years, plus he is big and strong enough to stop a power forward, or in some cases a center from posting up.

    Singleton is the first do-it-all defender I have seen in the past few years come out who I really think can transition to the NBA game with very few problems.

    For a ceiling I would say take Tony Allen, stretch him out about four more inches, put some serious muscle on him and give him an offensive game that can still turn into something.

Three-Point Sharpshooter: Jon Diebler

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Jon Diebler #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes shoots against the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Maybe I am a bit biased here being a Buckeye homer at times and having watched Jon Diebler drain threes all year long, but from what I have seen from guys that will be purely three-point shooters in the NBA, Jon Diebler is as good as it gets in this draft.

    Diebler is amazingly consistent with his shot, putting it up the same way time after time, and from at least NBA range on nearly every one of his three-pointers.

    He converts on an insane 50.7 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, and given the right situation, I could see him doing something Steve Kerr-ish in the future (something to the tune of 50 percent or so on a contender).

    Put him behind the line, let someone drive to the hole and dish it back out to him while he is wide open and he will drain it.

Shot Blocker: Bismack Biyombo

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    He's a mystery, but the word on the street mixed with his measurements say he is the best shot-blocker in the draft.

    This year in Spain the man averaged 2.3 blocks over 14 games while playing just over 16 minutes a game.  I don't care what league you do that in, it's impressive.

    The thing that really gets me with Biyombo is the fact that he is just 6'8" (exact measurement was 6'8.31"), but has a 7'7" wingpsan.

    Beyond that, he has a standing reach of 9'3.5", which I feel is a more reliable measurement of arm length because it takes the width of a player's chest out of the equation. 

    For example, Yao Ming is somewhere in the 7'5"-7'6" range, with a wingspan of "just" 7'6", but when you look at him, he is rather narrow-chested for an NBA player, but his standing reach is 9'7".  When you take out the length of his head (between 9-12 inches, but I haven't measured Yao's head lately), it means that each arm is roughly three feet long.

    With Biyombo, if we assume that he and Yao have the same size head, he would have arms measuring somewhere closer to 3.3 feet.  Couple that with his athleticism, which is insane, and his agility and strength and we could be talking about a special player here.  I wouldn't be shocked or think it insane to draft him in the top seven picks.

    Basically, I just took all that time to say, "I think this guy can block shots."

Mandatory Head Case: Jeremy Tyler

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    Man, this draft is light in everything, including head cases, it really must be a weak draft then.  It seems like every year there are three or four guys who drop down a notch or two because they smoke too much weed or have immaturity issues (maybe the Heat didn't get this memo a few years back with Michael Beasley), but this year doesn't have much of that.

    Really the only thing you have in this draft is Jeremy Tyler, who was supposed to be the next American out of high school to go the European route to the NBA after Brandon Jennings.

    Well, after a year in Israel, where he was suspended a game for head-butting an opponent and he was bad-mouthed by his teammates and coach and then a year in Japan, Tyler is finally entering the draft.

    It will be interesting to see which team bites first on this once promising young talent who has struggled even in Japan.

Ball Distributor: Darius Morris

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Darius Morris #4 of the Michigan Wolverines moves the ball while taking on the Duke Blue Devils during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlotte, North
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Yes, there are a few great looking point guards in the draft, with Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker just to name a few, but they were also primary scorers for their teams.

    Darius Morris had (and has) the ability to be a scorer, but he knew he was more valuable to Michigan using his talents to distribute the ball and make his teammates better in the process.

    There is something about a prospect that makes his teammates better that gets general managers downright giddy, after all, Steve Nash won back-to-back MVP Awards based on the argument that he was the best in the league at making his teammates better.

    When it all comes down to it, you have to go for Irving, Knight and Walker over Morris, it's a no-brainer actually, but when you have a guy as unselfish and who understands the game as much as Morris it's kind of hard to overlook what he has done.

Thunderous Dunker: Travis Leslie

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    As with any other draft, there are quite a few thunderous dunkers looking to make the jump to the NBA this year.  It seems as if there are more and more every year, it's just evolution I suppose.

    When you see a thunderous dunk in a game it can do one of three things.  One, it can be the play that starts your team on a long run, It can be the play that ends your opponent's long run, or it could be the play that puts a stamp on your team's long run that forces the opposing coach to call a timeout.

    There are many great dunkers in this draft, but my personal favorite is Travis Leslie (I think it's kind of hard to argue dunkers, they are either awesome or they aren't, after that it's all subjective), just check out his dunk over DeMarcus Cousins.

Perimeter Defender: Malcolm Lee

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Chandler Parsons #25 of the Florida Gators drives against Malcolm Lee #3 of the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    UCLA made a name for themselves in the past couple of years under Ben Howland, and Malcolm Lee, along with the very Tayshaun Prince-y Tyler Honeycutt make up a very long duo of fierce perimeter defenders, but Lee is the superior one.

    Lee is both tall, quick and lanky, which allows him to guard a point guard or a shooting guard and keep up with them with his speed or a small forward and get a hand up and alter the shot with his length and height.

    If Lee can put together a better offensive game then he can easily hang around the NBA for the next decade or so.

Energy Man: Lucas Noguiera

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    He has been called Anderson Varejao from six years ago with a few more inches, which is high praise when you look at what Varejao accomplished for years on just energy alone.

    Varejao came into the league and had very little offensive ability besides his ten foot jumper that was somewhat consistent, but he was able to hang around the league long enough to develop an offensive game because of his ability to chase down loose balls, spark the second squad with his infectious energy and just make the game exciting, becoming a fan favorite in the process.

    The energy man usually comes out, makes a couple of plays that swing the momentum in favor of his team like drawing a charge, tapping out an offensive rebound or two or diving on the ground for a loose ball.  When that happens his team gets psyched and starts to play at a higher level.

    The energy man is by far my favorite role player in basketball.

White American Guy Who Isn't Big and May Be More Than a Shooter: Jimmer Fredette

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts during their 74 to 83 loss to the Florida Gators in the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orle
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This year is weak on white American guys under 6'10", so I kind of had to go with Jimmer by default.

    The other candidates for the WAGWIBAMBMTS were Kyle Singler, who I don't think has the ability with the ball to be better than whatever Fredette will be (although he is quite a good passer), Ben Hansbrough (ditto) and Chandler Parsons, who measured 6'9.75" at the combine, making him 6'10" in my book.

    I can't really tell you for sure if Fredette will be anything more than just a shooter, but he has the ability to turn into a good player if he steps up his defensive game, which he has done from time-to-time this year.

Brian Scalabrine of the Future: Josh Harrellson

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Josh Harrellson #55 of the Kentucky Wildcats dunks the ball against the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Housto
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It may be a bit sad that this is the category I tussled over the most in my mind, but it's true, and in the end I don't regret my decision, although there are some other worthy candidates out there.

    Before I get to how I made my decision, I have to dish out the criteria, which it seems like there wouldn't be many, but this may actually be the most intricate category out there.

    A perfect Scalabrine has all the qualities of Brian Scalabrine.  A tall player, giving him value to every team in the NBA, usually white and from the US, making him relateable to the masses, he has a good basketball IQ and respect and knowledge of the fundamentals of the game, although at times it may not seem like it because of his mental lapses and goofy moments on the court. 

    He can step up in big moments if needed with little things like drawing charges (see Brian Cardinal), but is usually a cheerleader, high-fiver extraordinaire, hard-worker in practice.  Finally, a Scalabrine must be uncool, but be funny and just have a good time at the end of the bench.

    Mark Titus was the Scalabrine for Ohio State a few years back, and initially people liked him, even opposing arenas cheered for him when he came in.  Then he invented Club Trillion (one minute played with no other stats accumulated, making the box score read 1,000,000,000 when read from left to right) and people started to call him cocky and started to dislike him.  He overstepped his bounds, he became too cool.

    This year's Scalabrine candidates were Jon Leuer, Nikola Vucevic, Chandler Parsons and Josh Harrellson.

    I eliminated Vucevic because his name sounded a bit frightening and he didn't seem goofy enough and Parsons because he play like a shorter guy and seems like too cool a guy to be a Scalabrine.

    That left Harrellson and Leuer, and I went between the two probably 3,000 times over the course of two days.

    Both are big and goofy, both have good basketball IQs and a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the game, but there is a huge difference between the two players.

    When Leuer was with Wisconsin he was a primary player for them, and he seems like he could go into the NBA and actually produce in more than just the final minutes of a game.  When Scalabrine was at USC (which is probably the most unorthodox school possible for a pale-skinned red-head such as himself) he could score, but nobody looked at him and saw a productive NBA career in his future.

    John Harrellson is cut more from that cloth.  He will get drafted because he is a big man, but he is undersized to be a real big man and I really can't see him being a productive part of an NBA team unless he is their Scalabrine.


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