2011 NBA Draft: The Risers
The 2011 NBA Draft is finally upon us and after months of speculation and rumors and, while there is certainly a great deal of mystery surrounding this draft, the picture is starting to shift into focus. With that in mind here are some players primed to rise in tonight’s draft.
Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas – Coming off an impressive freshman season at the University of Texas, the 20-year-old Thompson opted to forego his final three seasons of college eligibility to enter the 2011 NBA Draft despite showing inconsistency throughout his one season in Austin.
What Thompson brings to the table is outstanding effort and energy as well as all the physical tools to develop into a quality player on both ends of the basketball floor. A bit undersized (around 6-8), Thompson is long (7-1 wing span) and show enough lateral quickness to, depending on match-ups, defend the small forward position in the NBA.
His ability to move without the basketball and score without having plays run for him will help ease his transition into the NBA as he continues to develop a more consistent offensive game. There is no doubt about Thompson’s potential as a pro prospect.
After being projected to be a mid- to late-first-round pick for the majority of his freshman campaign, it now appears that the former Longhorn standout could go as high as fourth overall to Cleveland.
Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Washington State – After exploding onto the national scene during his sophomore campaign with the Cougars, Klay Thompson came back to WSU and showed he was more than just a volume shooter who could score the basketball.
In his third and final college season Klay – the son of former No. 1 overall selection Mychal Thompson – Klay showed a high basketball I.Q. as a junior, playing a much more efficient style of basketball while proving to be strong both on and off the basketball.
Perhaps the area in which Thompson has improved the most is as a decision-maker. His assist-to-turnover ratio nearly doubled from his sophomore to his junior season and the 6-6 swingman showed the ability to not only create shots for himself, but his teammates as well.
One of the best shooters in this draft class, Klay Thompson emerged this season as a legitimate first-round draft pick but throughout the pre-draft process has worked his way securely into the lottery and, possibly, into the top ten.
Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State – One of the most talented and versatile defensive players in this draft class, Singleton’s biggest flaw throughout his three seasons at Florida State has been his ability to impact the game of the offensive end of the floor. While that will never be his strength, the 6-9 forward has shown the ability to knock down shots with his feet set and, consequently, his stock has risen.
As recently as a month ago at the Draft Combine in Chicago, scouts and general managers expressed concerns over where Singleton would fit in on the offensively and considered that question mark enough to see the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year slip into the bottom of the first round.
[AUTHOR_BOX}Suddenly, the buzz around Singleton has grown and his ability to guard all five positions on the basketball floor have taken over. Big and strong, Singleton will likely spend the majority of his time checking small forwards at the NBA level but, while playing for the U.S. Select Team against the U.S. Men’s team in Las Vegas last summer, Singleton defended everyone from point guards to centers.
His undeniable ability to make significant contributions on and off the ball, on the glass and in passing lanes appear to be enough to launch Singleton into the lottery and possibly as high as No. 9 overall to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence – One of the best scorers in the country as a senior last season, Marshon Brooks has seen his stock elevate as much as, perhaps, any player in this draft class.
The 6-5 shooting guard is a smooth athlete and efficient scorer who blossomed into a dominant offensive force over the course of the last four seasons, scoring a remarkable 24.6 points per game for the Friars last season while shooting better than 48 percent from the field.
A mere blip on the radar screen of NBA scouts and general managers coming into this season, Brooks emerged as a possible late-second-round draft pick throughout the season, but his pre-draft tour has seen the pure scorer climb the draft boards.
Supremely confident, Brooks has a solid mid-range game and is a capable of getting into the paint, and to the free throw line, using his solid ball-handling skills and long strides to slither past defenders.
Over the course of the pre-draft process, Brooks has emerged as a possible lottery selection and could go as high as No. 15 overall to the Indiana Pacers.
Chandler Parsons, SF, Florida – A smooth, versatile player, Chandler Parsons has continued to develop his well-rounded offensive game over the course of his four-year career with the Florida Gators.
At 6-10, 200 lbs., Parsons can do it all on the offensive end of the floor. A skilled ball-handler and passer, he has developed into a solid outside shooter, connecting on 38 percent of his three-point attempts as a senior. The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year averaged 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game as a senior while leading Florida to the Elite eight of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
While it seemed early in the draft process as if his lack of tremendous productivity and limited scoring throughout his college career would relegate Parsons to late-second round position in the draft, the long, versatile wing may have worked his way into the latter part of the first round.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the 2011 NBA Draft and so many trades rumored to be in the works, we could see even more fluidity in this draft than is typical. Be sure to check back here at HOOPSWORLD throughout the day as we provide up-to-the-minute updates surrounding the Draft.
Luke Byrnes covers NCAA men’s basketball and the NBA for HOOPSWORLD. You can follow him on Twitter or drop him a question in his weekly chat, held Tuesdays at 2pm (that is a new time) Eastern time.