Later this month at the 2012 NBA Draft, we’ll see college and international players rewarding for playing defense, being great athletes and also, a few will make it based on their beautiful strokes. We’re not sure how the following 10 players will fare once they actually get into the NBA, but we are sure of one thing.
These are the 10 best shooters in this June’s draft…
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10. EVAN FOURNIER
Last year’s foreign invasion of the NBA doesn’t appear to be the beginning of a trend. A year after three of the top seven picks played internationally, it doesn’t appear likely that anyone picked in the top 20 will be foreign-born. The crÃ¨me of the international crop, however, is Evan Fournier. The 6-6 Frenchman isn’t the most explosive, but possesses a soft mid-range touch and is very crafty offensively. Although his three-point shot can use a little improvement, his great attitude and sound mechanics should make that a simple task. Fournier seems to live for crunch time and boasts a high basketball IQ, so he shouldnt be slipping too far out of the first round (if at all).
9. TERRENCE ROSS
Terrence Ross has the ability to develop into a beast of a shooting guard. At 6-6, he will have the ability to shoot over the top of most shooting guards and already has the silky smooth J to help him succeed at it. Last year at Washington, Ross averaged 2.1 treys per game at a 37 percent clip. Despite his lethal stroke, his game has a lot more substance to it. He’s an exciting dunker in traffic and even better at slamming down lobs. He needs a little work defensively but his size gives him the ability to outrebound his position. Expect Ross to be drafted in the early-mid first round.
8. JEREMY LAMB
Jeremy Lamb measured in at the draft combine at 6-4 with a 6-11 wingspan. Although he has to improve his range a bit, his length will allow him to shoot over most two guards. In two seasons at UConn, Lamb shot 48 percent from the field, including 1.6 treys per game. He can score off screens and curls, pull-up jumpers, and even likes to go Tim Duncan once in a while and bank one in off the glass. He reportedly has a strong work ethic, which is important because he needs to improve his range in order to reach his full potential. However, because of his length and determination, Jeremy Lamb has a bright future both offensive and defensively in the NBA.
7. WILLIAM BUFORD
William Buford has sleeper written all over him. An old man by today’s NBA Draft standards, the senior from Ohio State has a ridiculous ability to knock down jumpers in a lot of different ways. He prefers to shoot off of one dribble but also has a quick release and is equally effective stepping into a shot. Buford’s shot selection is extremely efficient and he can tire defenders out by running around screens all game long. In four years at Ohio State, he shot 38 percent from downtown and averaged 1.5 threes per game. Buford is a very intelligent offensive player but probably won’t be selected until the early-mid second round. However, do expect him to make an NBA roster this fall.
6. DION WAITERS
If you’ve been following Dime‘s draft coverage, you already know that a lottery team has reportedly made a draft promise to Dion Waiters. But which team is it? Waiters is your prototypical combo-guard. Despite being only 6-4 with shoes on, he is a fierce defender who comes out of nowhere to cut off passing lanes and swipe balls from unsuspecting opponents. It should be interesting to see how he’ll fare against bigger two guards in the NBA, but Waiters has all the makings of a future star. Offensively, his stroke is unreal. He already has NBA three-point range and his mechanics are as smooth as they come. Waiters is capable of shooting off the dribble or the catch and release, and he should be able to contribute right from the get go. Last year at Syracuse, he averaged barely over a trey per game but shot 36 percent from downtown and 47 percent from the field.