2011 NBA Draft Best Players to Collect (Part Two)
This is the conclusion to the “The Top Names for Collectors to Know in the NBA Draft (Part One)." Part one can be found here.
Kentucky Wildcats, Freshman
Knight is another “one and done" player that Kentucky coach, John Calipari, is famous for producing. If it were not for Blake Griffin's delayed rookie season this year, Calipari would have produced three consecutive Rookie of the Year players in Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. This puts Knight in rare company and shows what Calipari can do in one year with point guards.
Pros: Knight has good size for a point guard and is very athletic and quick. He helped lead the Wildcats to their best postseason result since 1998-99 and seemingly did so with a less talented group than the previous team that contained five first-round picks.
Cons: Knight did not show consistently strong play until the mid-point of the season. Some nights, his jumper just does not fall. Knight is seen as more of a combo guard (like Kemba Walker) than a true point guard and would be small for a shooting guard.
A key point for collectors is that Kentucky has one of the most widespread fan bases in basketball and they tend to continue those allegiances at the NBA level. A lot will depend on where he ends up, but Knight has great potential to be the steal of the draft and may emerge from this draft as the only viable starting point guard in the long-term, other than Kyrie Irving.
Connecticut Huskies, Junior
Kemba Walker proved he was a lottery pick by his strong Junior year. He will compete with Brandon Knight for the title of second point guard taken in the draft.
Pros: Walker is an amazing scorer and athlete. Quite simply, he was fantastic at the college level. His clutch scoring and explosive ability carried the Connecticut Huskies through a rough end of the season, and led them to a win in the conference tournament and all the way to the National Championship. Walker is a great leader and impressed scouts with his charisma, which is always a trait of hobby favorites.
Cons: Walker has not shown that he can be a true point guard and is more of a shooter than facilitator. At 6'1", Walker is undersized and seemed to run out of gas toward the end of the college year.
Walker will have a lot of respect from collectors based on his last college year and Huskies affiliation. Since more teams appear to have Knight ranked ahead of Walker, he may float under the radar more than would have originally thought. However, due to his deficiencies and weak long-term prospects at point guard, Walker has the least upside of the list.
BYU Cougars, Senior
Fredette is a wildcard on this list because he does not fit the mold for the NBA and is not likely to be selected in the top ten. During his senior year, “Jimmermania" swept the nation based on his prolific scoring and likeable personality. Expert opinions are across the board on Fredette but his talent is too great to be ignored.
Pros: Fredette can shoot the lights out of any arena. He can, and will, pull-up from anywhere on the court and plays with great intensity. Fredette is also a terrific leader and ball-handler.
Cons: He shoots first and asks questions later. Fredette does not have the athletic ability that many possess at the NBA level and his defense in college was already a big question mark. Fredette will have even more trouble guarding the oppositions' point guard. Lastly, the worst criticisms thrown at Fredette are the comparisons to Adam Morrison.
The earliest Fredette should expect to be picked is in spots eight through ten. He might also slip to somewhere around 20. The most likely outcome is a team that will take a chance earlier than later. The best way to describe his collecting interest would be as the Tim Tebow of the NBA. Tebow enjoyed strong hobby interest throughout the NFL season despite seeing little playing time until the end of the year. Like Tebow, many experts doubt his chances at the next level but his college success, determination and leadership will likely lead to a lottery selection. He already has a huge legion of fans and a reality show to go along with his pop culture expressions, including “Teach Me How to Jimmer," “Jimmer Time," “Fredette About It" and “Jimmermania." Regardless of where he ends up, Fredette will command strong collecting attention. However, the best situation for Fredette would be if he lasts until Utah's second pick at number twelve. This would allow him to stay close to home and the intense local following he built at BYU.
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