A Look Forward To The 2011 NBA Draft

        The 2010 NBA Draft is just a few days behind us now, so it only makes sense to now look forward to next year's draft class. We've watched film, compiled our Top 100 Big Board and broken down each player by their class year and position. So what's next? Breaking down the 2011 NBA Draft as a whole, the themes that describe it and what to expect.

1. The 2011 NBA Draft will be another "big" draft:

        Of the first thirty picks in the 2010 NBA Draft, 20 were forwards and centers, meaning only 10 were guards; 20 players were 6'7" or taller. This year, the trend will continue of the "big" player. On our initial 2011 Big Board ranking the Top 100 prospects, 24 of our top 30 players are forwards or centers. In fact, we only have one shooting guard cracking the potential 1st Round as of right now. Luckily for teams, this year hosts a better crop of point guards, though most of them are untested freshman prospects at this point. The 2010 NBA Draft had several combo-guards or shoot-first point guards selected with the hope that they can be groomed into true point guards. This year, three of our top seven prospects are points.

        The experienced Tyshawn Taylor will again share the ball with another ball-handler, this one named Josh Shelby. John Calipari may have himself the next great guard following in Derrick Rose's, Tyreke Evans' and John Wall's footsteps when Brandon Knight suits up for Kentucky. In the front court, Perry Jones takes over for Baylor's Ekpe Udoh (selected No. 6 overall to Golden State), while Enes Kanter takes over in a depleted Wildcat frontcourt that saw Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton all go in the 1st Round. John Henson and Harrison Barnes will team up to replace some of Ed Davis' and Deon Thompson's production.

2. The 2011 NBA Draft will be a young one:

        In our initial 2011 Big Board, seven of our top ten ranked prospects are all freshmen, while the remaining three are young international prospects. Rounding out our top thirty prospects, only ten are upperclassmen, including just three seniors. The 2010 NBA Draft alike only saw five seniors taken in the 1st Round and about another ten taken in the 2nd Round. 2011 could see even less.

        Ten freshmen can potentially be selected in the 2011 1st Round. If Texas' forward, Tristan Thompson and point guard Corey Joseph can mature quickly and pickup and contribute where the Longhorns have holes, they too can jump into the 1st Round.

3. The 2011 Draft will have a strong international class:

        In 2010, just one international prospect went in the 1st Round as Kevin Seraphin went No. 17 to Chicago and then traded away to Washington. It was the 1st time since 2000 that an international player was not selected in the lottery, and thus giving evidence that 2010 was one of the worst international crops of all time. 4 other non-collegiate athletes were picked up including Tibor Pleiss, Nemanja Bjelica, Paulao Prestes and Pape Sy- all forwards.

        We have three players ranked in the top ten of our initial Big Board, including Jan Vesely at No. 6 (Czech Republic, SF/PF), Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania, PF) and Donatas Motiejunas (Lithaunia, PF). Vesely and Motiejunas were potential lottery picks in 2010, but decided to remove their names in the end. Rounding out the potential 2011 2nd Round selections are Robin Benzing (No. 40, Germany, SF), Nikola Mirotic (No. 43, Serbia, SG), and Dejan Musli (No. 56, Serbia, C). Several other international prospects can climb up our draft boards like Tomas Satoransky (No. 63, Czech Republic, SG), Nenad Miljenovic (No. 77, Serbia, PG) and Pablo Aguilar (No. 80, Spain, SF/PF).

4. The 2011 NBA Draft will be proof that the Pac-10 is on its way up:

        In 2010, only two Pac-10 players were selected, and only one was in the 1st Round- Quincy Pondexter at No. 26 overall, while Landry Fields was taken No. 39 overall, despite not having a spot on most teams' top 100 rankings.

        In our initial top 60 this year, we already have five players, highlighted by guards Malcolm Lee (No. 33, UCLA), Abdul Gaddy (No. 39, Washington), and Klay Thompson (No. 54, Washington State) and forwards Derrick Williams (No. 51, Arizona) and Josh Smith (No. 55, UCLA).

        The SEC and Big 12 will rule this draft the SEC, led by multiple Kentucky prospects yet again- Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones. Florida has a top prospect in freshman Patric Young, while Georgia has Trey Thompkins, and Jeff Taylor stars for Vanderbilt. Kansas has several top players highlighting the 2011 NBA Draft including Josh Selby, Marcus Morris and Tyshawn Taylor. Baylor has the top big man of the draft in freshman Perry Jones. Texas has forwards Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson to take over for Damion James and Dexter Pittman.

5. Some 4-year seniors can make a bigger name for themselves:

        The top ranked senior on our Big Board is lengthy forward JaJuan Johnson, followed by tremendous rebounder Kenneth Faried of Morehead State and Duke's long-range shooter Kyle Singler. However, aside from these top four-year players, Durrell Summers (Michigan State), Damian Saunders (Duquesne), LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Chris Wright (Dayton), Nolan Smith (Duke), Corey Fisher (Villanova), Chris Wright (Georgetown), plus Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State) and Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech). Keep an eye out for these seniors to improve their games this season.

Written by Corey Ruff - NBA-Draft.com President - 6--30--10