With the 2011-12 season now over, it’s time to look steadfastly ahead, so let’s take a journey together to inspect those players due to enter the League who may provide immediate impact in their first season. This draft projects to be quite a bit weaker than recent drafts with a few top players electing not to declare for fear of a lockout, but often the best players in a draft class don’t come to the fore for years and those who make an impact are the ones who are ready and go to a team who most needs their skills and abilities. Let’s take a look at the candidates.
Destined to make an impact:
Enes Kanter, Turkey. 6-11 PF-C.
Kanter is likely to go anywhere from four through eight in the draft, but it’s a lock that he will be high lottery. The Raptors have needs all over the court, but Kanter could really make an impact if picked by Toronto with the fifth pick as his willingness to get dirty inside fits a need for them exactly. They have promising Ed Davis who they hope can provide toughness and rebounding, but being able to throw two big bodies out really provides the Raps to change their culture a little bit at the defensive end of the floor. Enes is also more than a banger, and his ability to deftly pass inside will help the explosive games of Davis and swing player DeMar DeRozan as they cut through the lane.
Additional benefit: Playing Andrea Bargnani some at the 3 would also provide a match-up nightmare for opponents, and having two shot blockers waiting in the paint negates the worry that he’d be blown by on the defensive end.
Kemba Walker, Connecticut. 6-1 PG.
Walker has been on draft radars for years and his progress has been steady and consistent. While he is a score first point guard, he is 100% a team guy and by all regards of good character, so if Sacramento were to look to upgrade at the point, then Kemba should be their guy with their seventh pick. He has all the tools to be a distributor, but has never been on a team that didn’t need him to provide scoring punch, so making the switch is certainly possible. Another big bonus, aside from his easy going demeanor which is needed in the Kings locker room, is his defensive chops. Again, he hasn’t shown amazing aptitude at that end of the floor, but the draft combine measurements showed his outstanding lateral quickness and the Kings would love to be able to stop opposing ones at the point of attack, who haven’t had a capable defender at the point since Bobby Jackson was backing up the point in 2005.
Walker also has a knack for the explosive play, and pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans gives the Kings three highlight reel players to try and get the lukewarm Power Balance Pavilion (the worst name in professional sports history by the way) crowd excited and out of their seats, without heading to the exits.
Jimmer Fredette Brigham-Young. 6-3, PG.
Fredette has been up and down draft boards for years, but he’s made an impact in every game I’ve watched and he very rarely makes mistakes. The main knock on Jimmer has been that he doesn’t look athletic enough, but his extremely high Basketball IQ combined with his surprising draft combine results lead most to think he won’t be exposed in the League by better athletes in much the same way that Shane Battier uses his nous to get to the right spots at the right time while being a touch slow. Jimmers main attribute is undoubtedly his amazing stroke, his passing is also a highlight. If he falls to the Knicks at 17 we might really see some sparks, as his ability to spread the floor and work off of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony would be exactly the tonic NY require.
Destined to never make an impact:
Bismack Biyombo, Spain. 6-9 PF.
It happens every year, a young unproven international player entices draftniks and GMs with his athletic ability in grainy Zapruder-style footage, and Biyomobo is that player this year. ESPN’s Chad Ford is the most obvious media proponent of this malady, but he’s far from the only one. It’s not just every historical fact that points to Biyomobo being a bust, but in the footage I’ve seen of him playing for Fuenlabrada in the Spanish ACB League he only makes plays because he is clearly the best athlete on the floor, as he zips all over the court eating space. The problem with this is that he won’t be the best athlete in the League, and he is undersized and underskilled to make up for that fact. The team that drafts B-Smack, as he is known, will regret it. It’s likely to be Charlotte, easily the worst team in the League.
We will continue to update incoming prospects, particularly those who might be available towards the end of the draft, as we get closer to the draft in the coming days and weeks.
Thanks for reading.
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