Rising Prospects - 2011 NBA Draft

One of the things I look for in evaluating players is how quickly they are improving.  Some players have been good since High School and have sort of leveled off.  Other players have all the physical tools but are just now, or through their college careers, making big strides and improving rapidly.

One player that fits this mold is Markieff Morris of Kansas.  His twin brother Marcus gets more hype but if you look at the rate at which Markieff's game has been improving, especially at the offensive end, it is easy to imagine him as a lottery pick and becoming a successful NBA power forward.  Markieff has long been considered a very good defender and rebounder but the knock on him was that he was lacking an offensive game.  His jump shot seemed nonexistent for the early part of his college career but this past year he began to show off a very smooth outside stroke with range to about the college three.  He might never be an elite shooter but the pace at which he is improving his game makes me think he'll be a solid pro and could be a steal if he drops out of the lottery.

Arizona forward Derrick Williams is another player who has improved his game tremendously and looks poised to continue this trend.  He already gets a ton of hype and may even be the first overall selection in the draft and I think that would be warranted.  Two years ago he was an athlete with questionable basketball skills.  Now he is quickly becoming a complete forward with a vastly improved jump shot, good moves in the paint and is developing a very good feel for the game.  He reminds me of Blake Griffin but with a better perimeter game.  If I was making decisions for the Cavs I don't think I would pass on Williams even though power forward is not their greatest need.

What other players are improving their games rapidly?  Feel free to comment below.