2011 NBA Draft Prospects: Will Names From March Carry Over to June?

I invited my good friend S. Mart to offer a guest post on a few of the potential draftees that we'll be watching get selected on Thursday night. He's a long-time college hoops fan and a George Mason grad, so he knows how players can take hold of the imagination on draft night.

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Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Morris.

Those names sounded great in March.

How will they sound in June and beyond?

Sure they sounded terrific during March Madness with one of them leading their team to the NCAA title.  But how will their games, along with 56 other players waiting to hear their names called in this month’s NBA Draft, translate on the next level?  By all accounts this is probably going to be one of the weakest drafts to date.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, from some sources, will probably take Irving as the number one pick to address…well…at least one of their multiple needs.  However, as late as Monday some have said that after having Arizona forward Derrick Williams, Kentucky’s Enes Kanter (who didn’t play at all this season) & Brandon Knight, the Cavs were still mulling their options.

Usually the number one pick is clear cut and a no-brainer.  This year, not so much.

The NBA takes some blame in this.  Thanks to billionaires fighting millionaires over money that neither you and I will ever make in our lifetime, the NBA owners and the player’s union are headed for what could be a long and drawn out lockout that could eat the entire preseason and possibly some of the regular season.  It is because of this that some blue chip, can’t miss players such as Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, will take their talents back to the NCAA for another shot at a NCAA title.  Had Sullinger decided to enter the draft, the number one pick wouldn’t even be up for discussion. It is hard to blame him though; young players want certainty, and right now there is little in supply.

There could be an upside to this weak draft and a long lockout for these draftees.  The expectations will probably be lower for them.  If people (yours truly included) believe this draft class is as down as we say they will be then there’s no pressure on them to lead the lowly franchise the lottery picks are about to be on.  If Jimmer Fredette turns into the next Ray Allen and breaks every three point shooting record known to man he exceeded expectations.  If he becomes another guard who’s just a role player and, like in college, can’t play must defense it was expected.  No harm, no foul.

Like with everything in my life, I take a wait and see approach.  I hope this draft class will shed its weak label they’ve been given prematurely and shine in the NBA for years to come. 

But if not, Sullinger will be entering the lottery soon and hopefully he’ll bring better NBA talent to the class with him.  After all, the 2012 draft is only a year away.

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About the author: S. Mart  grew up during the Sports Dead Zone (90's), but sports is still in his blood.  His sports fandom lies in the heart of our Nation's capital as well as with the Virginia Tech football team and the George Mason basketball team. He was a freshman when Mason went to the Final Four in 2006, which he considers the greatest time of his life.

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