We've just spent the past few months sifting through an avalanche of analysis regarding the 2011 Draft. Now, after months of poring over mock drafts and player evaluations, what's next?
The 2011 Draft is only 365 days away!!!
Sure, it's overkill and entirely premature, but because some people might be interested in the top prospects on the horizon for next year's NBA Draft, here's a quick primer on who to watch:
Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC: He was the best high school player in his class, dominated the post-season All-Star circuit, and he's headed to UNC, where Roy Williams is likely to coax out every inch of talent that's gone untapped so far. The best comparison for Barnes is Grant Hill before the injuries. And Grant Hill before the injuries? He was f—ing GOOD.
Jan Veseley, PF, Czech Republic: He was the top European prospect coming into this year's draft, and a likely lottery pick before he withdrew his name from consideration. What happens when you turn down lottery money and mature for a year? Well, short term, it means you're projected to go even higher the next year. I'm pretty sure that's like, mock draft law, or something. So Vesley's second by default. (What can happen long term? Ask Ed Davis.)
Perry Jones, C, Baylor: Our token, "insanely-athletic high school big man that's leaving after one year no matter what happens in college." Ah, yes. Say hello to Perry Jones! For what it's worth, he's got the size and athleticism to compete in the NBA right now, and an added year of maturity should make him even more attractive to scouts. Even if he fails, he can't fail, if that makes sense. With his frame and skill set, he's on everyone's radar no matter what.
No idea who's pictured here, but there's a probably a top five pick in there somewhere...
Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky: A little different than Jones, Kanter's another likely one-and-done big man, but his stock will rest heavily on his ability to produce in college this year. His frame and athleticism is less impressive than Jones', but the Turkish big man is said to be a monster in the low post. A dominating season would cement his spot in the top five.
Josh Selby G, Kansas, Kyrie Irving, G, Duke. Kentucky's Brandon Knight was hailed as the top point guard in the high school class of 2009, but Irving and Selby are the two best pro prospects on the market. Both are phenomenal athletes with good size and scoring ability. And both will play next season at premier college basketball programs, meaning they'll have plenty of chances to perform in the spotlight. Whichever player shines brightest will probably become the premier point guard in next year's draft class.
And there you have it... There's no clear-cut number one from that group like John Wall was last year, but if you're looking for guys that'll be at the center of the draft conversation 12 months from now, that's probably going to be your nucleus.
Other contenders include Ohio State PF Jared Sullinger, NC State PF CJ Leslie, UNC PF John Henson, Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, and Duke's Mason Plumlee, which is just hilarious to think about. David Kahn is salivating over big 'ole Mason as we speak. Until next year... Long Live Ashy Larry.