Ranking the top 40 players for the NBA draft

By Rick Bonnell

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Friday, June 17 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

9. Chris Singleton, Florida State small forward: Singleton's defensive abilities really caught Bobcats coach Pa ul Silas' eye, and he's not alone. Coaching up his offense will be a bit more challenging.

10. Tristan Thompson, Texas power forward: He played a single college season, and he's pretty much a raw athlete right now, but scouts think he has big potential. He's not quite 6-9, but has a 7-1 wingspan.

11. Alec Burks, Colorado guard: More a scorer than a pure shooter, Burks has good size (6-6) and a creative approach to mid-range basketball (lots of comparisons to former NBA player Larry Hughes). He's slim and doesn't show much passion for playing defense.

12. Marcus Morris, Kansas forward: The more offensively-skilled of the Morris twins, Marcus might play both small and power forward. He's physically tough and competitive, but he's not a great athlete as far as what it takes to guard along the NBA perimeter.

13. Jimmer Fredette, BYU guard: A great shooter, both in terms of range and the ability to use screens, Fredette will spread NBA defenses. The question is who can he guard; he certainly doesn't look quick enough to stay in front of starting point guards.

14. Klay Thompson, Washington State shooting guard: He has a classic 2-guard skill set — range and touch on his jump shot, good size (6-7 ¼) and some ability to dribble and pass. He had a marijuana arrest over the winter that raised questions.

15. Davis Bertans, Latvian shooting guard: You haven't heard much about him because he has contract issues, but he might be the best shooter in this draft. If you have the patience to wait, he'll be a late-first round steal for a contender.

16. Bismack Biyombo, Congo power forward/center: For now at least, you'd be drafting a specialist — a gifted shotblocker with little to offer offensively. But check out YouTube of the Hoop Summit game in Portland, Ore., to see how spectacular a shotblocker he is.

17. Marshon Brooks, Providence shooting guard: He has good size at 6-5 and a stop-and-start dribble game that works to create separation from defenders. He's been working to extend his shooting range beyond the NBA 3-point line.

18. Markieff Morris, Kansas forward: Slightly bigger and heavier than twin brother Marcus, Markieff is more of a traditional power forward. He isn't quite as skilled offensively, but he'll have the toughness and intensity to make an NBA rotation.

19. Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuanian power forward: He is classic of the European coaching style, where big men are expected to learn the same skills as guards. That means he has real shooting range, and also understands how to play with his back to the basket.

20. Nikola Vucevic, Southern California forward: A big-time rebounder (a Pac-10 best 10.3 boards per game last season), Vucevic is also a solid shooter (50.9 percent from the field over a three-year college career).

21. Tobias Harris, Tennessee swing forward: A versatile frontcourt player; the only knock against Harris was that he seemed to be cruising. That changed this spring, when he went on a strict diet, trimming his body fat from 13 percent to 8 percent.

22. Jordan Hamilton, Texas swingman: There is some Stephen Jackson in this guy, in the sense that he's stronger than the quick guys and quicker than the strong guys. At 6-8 1/2, he's a tough cover. He had a reputation at Texas as being a little selfish.

23. Kenneth Faried, Morehead State power forward: You can't fake it as a rebounder, so Faried already has quite a resume, having collected the most rebounds in college basketball (1,673) in nearly 40 years. But at 6-7, he's undersized for his position.

24. Shelvin Mack, Butler guard: He'll be a scoring point guard if he succeeds at the NBA level. He has a gift for creating shots off the dribble. As with Jason Terry and Ben Gordon, the NBA seems more open-minded to guys with point-guard size and a scorer's mentality.

25. Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA swingman: Ideally, he'd be a multi-purpose defender who would score in transition a lot. One issue is his lack of heft at 186 pounds. The guy needs more bulk to hold up physically.

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