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Top 30 prospects for 2011 NBA draft

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nba_draft_harrison_barnes.jpg By Jonathan Givony
June 24, 2010


With the 2010 NBA draft taking place on Thursday night, it's time to take a look at the next crop of NBA hopefuls. Here's a far-too-early ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2011 NBA draft.

1. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina, Freshman
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
6-foot-8, 210 lbs.

Barnes is a complete player with all the physical tools and intangibles NBA teams look for in a franchise-caliber talent. He can score, pass and defend, steps up in the clutch, and appears to be a coach's dream.

2. Perry Jones, Baylor, Freshman
Power Forward
6-11, 220 lbs.

Jones is a freakishly athletic power forward with legit perimeter skills. At 6-11, he still handles the ball in open floor and makes shots from the perimeter. He is a tantalizing talent, but he's not always intense or productive enough.

3. Jan Vesely, KK Partizan Belgrade (International)
Small Forward
6-11, 240 lbs.

A versatile, oversized small forward who plays with great intensity and produces at the highest level of European basketball. Vesely's an excellent defender who is still somewhat raw offensively.

4. Jonas Valanciunas, Lietuvos Rytas (International)
Power Forward/Center
6-10, 230 lbs.

Valanciunas is an inside-oriented European player with good size and length. The big man can score with his back to the basket and rebound and is already seeing minutes at a high level of competition. He must continue to prove himself in a bigger role next season.

5. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, Freshman
Power Forward
6-8, 250 lbs.

The Buckeye-to-be is a dominant low-post player with great hands and scoring instincts. He is extremely intelligent on and off the court. Sullinger may be undersized and not overly athletic, but he's tremendously productive nonetheless.

6. Donatas Motiejunas, Benetton Treviso (International)
Power Forward/Center
7-0, 215 lbs.

This athletic and highly skilled European big man has major talent and upside. Though his productivity was inconsistent in Italy last season. The seven-footer must improve as a defender and rebounder.

7. Josh Selby, Kansas, Freshman
Shooting Guard
6-1, 180 lbs.

Selby is an unbelievably athletic combo guard with fantastic scoring instincts. He can create shots at will, but must improve his playmaking ability and shot-selection.

8. Jeff Taylor, Vanderbilt, Junior
Small Forward
6-6, 200 lbs.

Taylor boasts notable athleticism and is one of the best defenders in college basketball. But he is still raw offensively, especially as a perimeter shooter. The Vandy stud has big upside, but must show he can step up and be productive on a consistent basis.

9. Kyrie Irving, Duke, Freshman
Point Guard
6-1, 172 lbs.

A smart, talented, versatile point guard who plays the game with great swagger. Irving must improve playmaking ability and defensive skills. He'll give Duke another dimension, but will need to learn how to pick his spots as a freshman.

10. Mason Plumlee, Duke, Sophomore
Power Forward
6-11, 210 lbs.

Plumlee's an ultra-athletic power forward with an intriguing skill-level. He has shown flashes of great potential, but must improve toughness and defense. Also he has to continue filling out physically.

nba_draft_kemba_walker.jpg 11. Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Junior
Point Guard
6-0, 180 lbs.

Arguably the top point guard in college basketball, Walker is small but incredibly fast. He plays the game with terrific confidence, but he must continue to improve his leadership skills and perimeter-shooting ability.

12. Enes Kanter, Kentucky, Freshman
Power Forward/Center
6-9, 250 lbs.

Kentucky's Kanter is a physically developed big man with an amazing feel for scoring in the post. He can also face the basket. Kanter is an outstanding rebounder who isn't blessed with great athleticism, but is extremely productive nonetheless.

13. John Henson, North Carolina, Sophomore
Power Forward
6-10, 200 lbs.

A talented and athletic power forward with legit perimeter skills. Though Henson did struggle with productivity as a freshman. At the moment, he's extremely limited by a lack of physical strength, but he has huge upside to develop as his body fills out.

14. Trey Thompkins, Georgia, Junior
Power Forward
6-9, 245 lbs.

This long and skilled power forward can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court. Thompkins has a deft touch around the basket and from the perimeter. He isn't a great athlete, though, and must improve defensively and play with consistent intensity.

15. C.J. Leslie, N.C. State, Freshman
Small Forward/Power Forward
6-8, 205 lbs.

An exceptionally athletic combo forward who can do a little bit of everything on the court. Leslie is very impressive in transition. Decision-making, polish and maturity-level must improve, but he has outstanding upside.

16. Elias Harris, Gonzaga, Sophomore
Small Forward/Power Forward
6-7, 220 lbs.

This tough and athletic forward has solid international experience underneath his belt. The Gonzaga youngster must improve his perimeter skill-set, but he is very intriguing thanks to his physical tools and mentality.

17. Chris Singleton, Florida State, Junior
Small Forward/Power Forward
6-8, 210 lbs.

Singleton's a combo forward with terrific athleticism and an NBA body. He possesses budding perimeter skills, and projects as an outstanding defender, but he must continue to add polish and improve feel for the game.

18. Kyle Singler, Duke, Senior
Small Forward/Power Forward
6-9, 210 lbs.

Smart, versatile and skilled, the national champion also offers great toughness and a long and impressive resume. The negatives: Singler's athleticism leaves something to be desired, he can get streaky from the perimeter, and he is somewhat of a tweener defensively.

19. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State, Senior
Power Forward
6-8, 215 lbs.

This undersized power forward has arguably the best motor in college basketball. He grabs rebounds at a historic rate, averaging 13 per game in each of the last two seasons. But Faried needs to fill out his frame and improve his offensive polish.

20. Travis Leslie, Georgia, Junior
Small Forward
6-4, 202 lbs.

Leslie is probably the most athletic player in college basketball -- a highlight reel waiting to happen. He plays hard and has great tools defensively, but he must continue to improve his ball handling and perimeter-shooting ability.

nba_marcus_morris_tyshawn_taylor.jpg 21. Malcolm Lee, UCLA, Junior
Point Guard/Shooting Guard
6-5, 190 lbs.

The Bruins' athletic combo guard excels in transition and is a spectacular defender. Lee possesses a frail frame, though, and is not a great perimeter shooter.

22. Marcus Morris, Kansas, Junior
Power Forward
6-9, 225 lbs.

Kansas' versatile power forward was one of the most productive pieces on arguably the most talented team in college basketball. He has some nice tools offensively, but must continue to improve defensively and show he can take the next step in his development without Cole Aldrich and Sherron Collins.

23. Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas, Junior
Point Guard
6-3, 180 lbs.

This versatile combo guard has terrific defensive ability. Taylor is a smart, unselfish player with a good feel for the game. Two things he must work on: perimeter shooting and overall offensive polish.

24. Kris Joseph, Syracuse, Junior
Small Forward
6-7, 207 lbs.

An athletic wing with a nose for the basket. Joseph is a very aggressive player who excels in transition and plays hard. He needs to work on shooting range, ball-handling skills to be successful at the next level.

25. Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State, Sophomore
Small Forward/Power Forward
6-7, 225 lbs.

This San Diego State rising sophomore is an athletic combo forward with excellent rebounding skills. He is improving offensively and has a nice feel for the game, but he must improve perimeter shooting, ball-handling skills.

26. Nolan Smith, Duke, Senior
Point Guard/Shooting Guard
6-3, 185 lbs.

This well-rounded guard is also extremely productive. His athleticism is limited, but he looks like a fantastic role player in the making.

27. Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, Junior
Small Forward
6-8, 185 lbs.

A long, lanky, athletic small forward with intriguing all-around versatility. Witherspoon is a good defender who can play multiple positions. Three things to improve: maturity-level, consistency and perimeter polish.

28. Jordan Hamilton, Texas, Sophomore
Shooting Guard/Small Forward
6-7, 210 lbs.

The Longhorns' wing stud is extremely aggressive offensively. Hamilton possesses terrific scoring instincts, but his shot-selection and decision-making skills look poor.

29. Aaric Murray, La Salle, Sophomore
Power Forward/Center
6-10, 245 lbs.

A diamond in the rough? La Salle's rising sophomore is a highly skilled face-up big man with below average athleticism. An average rebounder and defender, he is immensely talented and surprisingly polished offensively.

30. JaMychal Green, Alabama, Junior
Power Forward
6-8, 225 lbs.

This long, athletic power forward has nice scoring instincts. He also gets to the free-throw line and crashes the offensive glass. The problem is he is undersized, lacks strength and possesses just an average feel for the game.

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