Top 5 Post-Lottery Picks That Will Become NBA Glue-Guys

We’ve all heard that the 2011 NBA Draft isn’t exactly star-studded. Still, there’s much to be said for what a team – whether it be rebuilding or a championship contender – can do to put complementary players around its key pieces. J.J. Barea and Mike Miller are pretty important to the title hopes of the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, after all. So who in this year’s draft could end up being the next big-time role players? Here’s five guys to keep an eye on:

Kenneth Faried
Role: Rebounding machine
Team match: New York (17th overall)
Player comparison: Shawn Marion

Athletic and relentless, put the offensively-challenged Faried in an uptempo system and watch his career explode. The all-time NCAA rebounding leader will be a huge asset next to Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, pulling down boards and igniting a fastbreak for Mike D’Antoni‘s offense that could be similar to the 2004-05 Phoenix Suns team of the current Knicks head coach. Worst-case scenario, he cleans up the offensive boards and throws down a few sick dunks.

Marshon Brooks
Role: Offensive injection
Team match: Minnesota (20th overall)
Player comparison: Jamal Crawford

Brooks measured out well at the NBA combine, coming in at 6-5 with a ridiculous 7-1 wingspan. The guard out of Providence will give any NBA team lacking offensive firepower a spark whether he comes off the bench or finds enough success to become a starter. Add that to a young frontcourt core in Minnesota, and maybe the T-Wolves can get out of the Western Conference basement.

Kyle Singler
Role: The court-savvy forward
Team match: Boston (25th overall)
Player comparison: Mike Dunleavy Jr.

Bringing a winning pedigree from Duke to an NBA team with some of history of its own, Singler has the versatility to be an unselfish sixth or seventh man with the Celtics. His court smarts just as important as his skill set that netted him 17 points per game as a senior, and he brings a savvy, hard-working attitude to a team that’s all about executing.

Nikola Vucevic
Role: Complementary big man
Team match: New Jersey (27th overall)
Player comparison: Nick Collison

While Vucevic measured as the biggest player at the draft combine, size isn’t necessarily limiting on his skill set. At 260 pounds, the 7-footer averaged a double-double during his junior season at USC, and his agility and 15-foot jumper make him capable of stretching the floor just enough if he’s paired with a low post player like the Nets’ Brook Lopez.

Nolan Smith
Role: The calming, back-up floor general
Team match: Chicago (30th overall)
Player comparison: Chris Duhon

Every team needs a steady, back-up point guard who can keep a tidy handle on his team’s execution. After spending four year’s under Coach K at Duke, Smith is that man. Other than leadership he’s not great at anything, but he doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses either. For the Bulls, the last pick in the first round could help spell Derrick Rose without worrying about losing a lead.

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