2011 NBA Draft Predictions: First-Round Bargains
by Trevor Whenham - 6/15/2011
The lottery is supposed to be where the stars come from in the NBA Draft, and that is often the case. Many times, though, a guy who doesn’t quite make the lottery but is still a first rounder can become a valuable player when they land in the right spot. Some of these guys are guys who just weren’t quite good enough to be a lottery pick. More often, though, they were players with all sorts of potential who just had something working against them. Here’s a look at my 2011 NBA Draft predictions for six guys that are likely to go in the first round, but out of the lottery, that have a chance to be very nice players when all is said and done.
Justin Harper, PF, Richmond - Harper was a big part of the reason why Richmond had such a good spring. He has an extremely good jump shot for anyone, never mind for a guy who is 6-foot-9. He is athletic and quick, he has a body that is more NBA-ready than many in his situation, and he has a strong commitment to defense. I wish he was more aggressive as a leader, but not every NBA player has to lead. A team is going to have to work hard to find the right position for him, but if they figure that out he could be one to watch.
Charles Jenkins, PG, Hofstra - Jenkins operates well outside the public eye at Hofstra. If he was playing at a more public program there is a good chance he would be more highly-regarded than he is. He’s mature at 22, and he can play both guard positions adequately. He shoots very well, and he is a pure scorer. He looks to me like the prototypical backup guard that teams dream about having.
JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue - I really like Hakim Warrick as a good NBA role player. Johnson reminds me of a better Warrick. He is extremely athletic, and he is very comfortable in his 6-foot-10 body. He is a winner that has been integral to the success that Purdue enjoyed while he was there. The biggest knock against him is that he can’t seem to put on any weight, and he could get pushed around because of that lack of size. If a team can find a way to deal with that, though, then they could have something impressive on their hands. I think he has the biggest potential impact of any senior in the draft.
Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State - How can you not like a guy that is athletic as Faried and is as dominant on the boards as he is. The knock against him is that at 6-foot-7 and relatively slight he is undersized to be messing around inside in the NBA. Guys like Paul Millsap and Jason Maxiell have shown that you can be undersized and still find a role, though, and Faried certainly seems to have the potential to be like them or even better.
Marshon Brooks, G, Providence - Whenever I saw Brooks play last year I thought I was watching Jordan Crawford. He’s the same type of player -- a very athletic guy is a totally pure scorer. Crawford is working to find his role in the NBA, and Brooks should be able to find one as well. When you play for a team as hopeless as Providence and lead the very tough Big East in scoring then you are something special. Of course, if a player is as dominant as Brooks can be then you could argue that he should be able to make the team around him better than he did. Still, an offensive team that needs an explosive scorer is going to be very happy to have a complementary piece like Brooks.
Josh Selby, G, Kansas - In my eyes Selby is absolutely a lottery talent, so if and when he falls further he is going to be a steal. He was in a hopeless situation last year at Kansas -- he didn’t get to play early, then he didn’t fit in with the system and the coaching staff when he did. His strength, athleticism, and quickness are top-notch, though, and the guy just oozes potential. I think he deserves a total mulligan for the mess of last year, and I think he has a decent chance at being special. There is an obvious element of a gamble in picking him given the disappointment he was in the face of monstrous expectations last year, but I think it’s a gamble worth taking. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he went off the board earlier than expected because a gamble on his upside could be more attractive than picking a safer but less-inspiring player.
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report