Monthly Archives: May 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft 1.1

In case you missed my mock lottery, here is my full 2011 Mock Draft. There may not be a John Wall to this draft, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be quality players throughout the first round. Let’s dive into the world of mock basketball…



Kyrie Irving

PG 6’4” 191 lbs Duke 19 Years Old

The Cavaliers have a ton of holes to fill, and even if point guard isn’t the most pressing need, Irving is the best pick with their first of two picks. Irving is the safest pick in the draft–he’ll almost assuredly become a many time All-Star. He’s not quite at the level of John Wall, but he has a a more reliable jump shot. He’s a fantastic passer and an excellent leader. Cleveland needs a new beginning, and Kyrie is the perfect player to grow the franchise around.

Cleveland could look at Derrick Williams for the first pick and go with Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker with the second pick if they’re sold on one of the two point guards. They desperately need a wing player, and Williams would fit the bill, but I think that ultimately Irving’s superior skill will prevail.



Enes Kanter

C 6’11” 260 lbs Kentucky 1

There’s no doubt Minnesota wants to trade this pick. David Kahn can come out and say whatever he wants, but they are in an awkward position with this pick. Derrick Williams is clearly the best player after Irving, but the T-Wolves’ best two players, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley, play Williams’ position. Williams is a bit of a tweener, but I see him as more of a slashing three than a four. To make matters worse, Minnesota has already invested a lot in two more young forwards: Anthony Randolph–another tweener– and Wesley Johnson, who is playing out of position at shooting guard.

In the case that Kahn can’t move the pick, Kanter is the best fit. I firmly believe that if he was allowed to play at Kentucky, he’s be considered the second best player in the draft, and he showed some of his high potential at the draft combine. Kanter is a immediately a huge upgrade over Darko Milicic at center–he’s already a better rebounder, shooter, and passer than the 7-foot Serbian–and he’ll help a very nice young frontcourt.

Look for a team like Utah, Washington, or Charlotte, who all have two high first rounders, to try to move up to the second pick and take Williams.



Derrick Williams

SF 6’9” 249 lbs Arizona 20

Utah will be absolutely ecstatic if Williams falls to them with the third pick. They’ll need a small forward to replace Andrei Kirilenko, and Williams will a perfect fit in Utah. After Williams measured taller than expected at the combine, some see him as a power forward, but I just can’t buy it. I don’t think he’s big enough to guard the Zach Randolphs and Carlos Boozers of the league. Alongside Derrick Favors, Al Jefferson, and Paul Millsap, Williams will help form one of the best young frontcourts in the league.

In case Williams is gone, the Jazz will almost certainly pick Brandon Knight. It’s a little uncertain how much longer Devin Harris will be around, and they’ll need a point guard of the future. Knight and Harris should be able to work together with their above-average size and scoring ability.



Jan Vesely

F 6’11” 240 lbs Czech Republic 2

The Cavs really hope Enes Kanter falls to them here, but in this scenario, they’ll go international. The choice comes down to athletic forward Jan Vesely or Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas. Some scouts see Valanciunas as the top international player in the draft, but he he has a big buyout with his Euro team and could have a Ricky Rubio-style delay to his NBA career. Vesely, on the other hand, is incredibly athletic–unlike any other European big man to come over in a long time. The man is a vicious slasher and will be ready to contribute right away.

The problem with Vesely is that his position in the NBA is slightly unclear. I don’t see him as being tough enough to guard the Amar’e-type players (yes, I know it’s a European stereotype), but he doesn’t have refined outside shot. I think that if the Cavs select him, they will play him at the three alongside J.J. Hickson and depend on him to carry a large portion of the scoring load.



Brandon Knight

PG 6’3” 177 lbs Kentucky 18

Most people don’t see Knight falling this far, and Toronto will snatch him up if he’s available at five. He’s surprisingly mature for an eighteen-year-old and showed an uncanny knack for last-minute clutch. Yes, the Raptors just traded for Jerryd Bayless and already has an expensive starter in Jose Calderon, but Knight has a much higher potential. I think that Bayless will be able to work alongside Knight in the future (or off the bench), but Calderon will be headed out of Toronto–probably for fifty cents on the dollar.

Jonas Valanciunas could also make sense here as a nice compliment to the more perimeter-based Andrea Bargnani, and Kawhi Leonard would fit a more pressing need, but both are slight stretches. The most effective way to build a winner is to take the best available player, and that’s what Toronto would be doing here.



Kawhi Leonard

SF 6’7” 228 lbs San Diego St. 20

Watching the Wizards last season, it was pretty clear that they seriously lacked awareness and effort. No offense to Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee, and Nick Young, but they aren’t the smartest players around. The young team really needs help on the wing–specifically a player who can play quality defense and just play smart basketball. That guy would be Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is a late riser in this draft–he really only shot up most team’s draft boards before the combine when his wingspan measured a freakish 7’3″ and he silenced doubters about his shooting ability. The Wizards got new uniforms and want a fresh start to their franchise. Kawhi will provide a much needed change with his non-stop motor and tenacious D. While he will likely never become a star, Leonard will be a productive pro for years to come, and that’s all you can ask for in this shallow draft.



Kemba Walker

PG 6’1” 184 lbs UConn 20

The Kings certainly don’t regret taking Tyreke Evans fourth overall in 2009, but he’s not going to be the answer at point guard. So now Sacramento desperately needs someone to run the point because Beno Udrih and Pooh Jeter is definitely not the answer. With Brandon Knight off the board, Kemba Walker is the best option and really the perfect fit for this club. He’s got star power, great instincts, and the heart of a champion.

Although most teams prefer Knight to Walker, I would rather draft Kemba. He’s not as small as his doubters thought (6’1″ instead of 5’11”), and he’s shown throughout his college career that he can be a good distributor. I see a lot of Brandon Jennings in Walker, only Walker is a proven winner. The man is an fantastic leader and incredibly inspiring–a guy you want in you foxhole. He’s a quality character, which will be a change from his potential teammates, Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.



Jonas Valanciunas

PF 6’10” 230 lbs Lithuania 19

Detroit could go all sorts of directions with this pick. They have so many holes right now as a team trying to rebuild while still handing out awful contracts (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for a combined $95 million over five years) that they really need to go best available here. The most skilled player left on the board at this point is Valanciunas. He’s far more skilled offensively than Bismack Biyombo, but like Detroit’s current center Greg Monroe, is a bit weak on defense.

To be honest, the Pistons are really in trouble. They could really use a wing player, but it would be a huge reach to take Alec Burks or Jordan Hamilton. My guess is the stash Valanciunas in Europe for a year (assuming they can’t buy him out) and gun for a high pick in next year’s absolutely stacked draft. I know this won’t make Pistons fans happy, but watching Monroe, Valanciunas, and Harrison Barnes in two years will.



Bismack Biyombo

C 6’9” 243 lbs Congo 18

All year, the Bobcats lacked a center. Nazr Mohammad wasn’t that effective, Gana Diop went down with a torn Achillies, and Kwame Brown was Kwame Brown. As luck would have it, Michael Jordan’s guy may have fallen right in his lap. Bismack Biyombo may be short for a center, but he’s got a man body and an utterly ridiculous 7’7″ wingspan. Plus he’s only 18 (we think).

Under new coach Paul Silas, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson proved that they can be building blocks to a rebuilding team. Add an elite defensive center in Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas, Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw, and a second first-round pick and this team may not be that far off from the playoffs. Well, maybe after another lottery pick in 2012 they’ll be close to the playoffs.



Tristan Thompson

PF 6’9” 228 lbs Texas 20

The Bucks are set for the next five plus years at center and point guard with Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings. And that’s about it. They need serious help on the wings and at the four, so just like the Pistons they’ll go best available. Tristan Thompson fits the bill at number 10 as a highly recruited freshman with high upside. One of the biggest knocks on Thompson was that he was undersized, but he measured an extra inch taller at the draft combine and has a very nice 7’1″ wingspan.

Thompson is by far the best player available at this point, but they could also take a look at Alec Burks if they really want an upgrade on the wing. Still, it will be hard to pass up such an athletic rebounder with nice potential; I’d be shocked if Thompson fell out of the top 10.



Jordan Hamilton

SF 6’9” 229 lbs Texas 20

The Warriors need frountcourt help and a small forward, but there really aren’t many good options around. Jordan Hamilton fits the biggest need, but his biggest strength is his offense, which is not a problem at all in Golden State. Donatas Motiejunas would fit the need for size, but he is even more offensively minded than Hamilton. Marcus Morris is a nice defender, but he would for a very undersized frontcourt alongside 6’9″ bigman David Lee and 6’10” Ekpe Udoh and has a fairly limited upside.

Ultimately, I think Hamilton’s potential will prevail. He was the sixth highest recruit in a class that included John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Derrick Favors. He’s a pinpoint long-range shooter. And he’s just 20 years old. The Warriors may try to move back, but I doubt they find a taker.



Jimmer Fredette

G 6’3” 196 lbs BYU 22

Believe it or not, Jimmer is not actually a lock to stay in state. If they Jazz don’t address their backcourt need with their first pick, they’ll most likely take either Jimmer or Alec Burks at #12. The reason I give the edge to Fredette is that I think GM Kevin O’Connor really likes last year’s first-rounder Gordon Hayward as a future starter at shooting guard, and they need a scoring threat off the bench. Oh yeah, and because there would be riots in Salt Lake City if the Jazz didn’t take their hometown hero.

In my opinion, I don’t get the hype over Jimmer. He’s an undersized shooting guard who doesn’t rebound, is allergic to defense, and doesn’t distribute well. He’s too slow and doesn’t see the floor well enough to be a point guard and isn’t big or athletic enough to play the 2-guard. He doesn’t have a true position, and I don’t think he can create his own shot. He’s not as good as J.J. Redick, who can barely find a job as a three-point specialist. So if you want an Eddie House-type player with a lottery pick, fine. But if you’re expecting the second coming of Steve Nash, you’re out of luck.



Alec Burks

SG 6’6” 193 lbs Colorado 19

Phoenix would snatch up Jimmer if he was still around (think back to their affection of Stephen Curry two years ago), but if not they’ll look for help on the wings. Vince Carter won’t be around for much longer, but Phoenix may have a Vince-lite in Alec Burks. The man has great athleticism and nice size, but lacks a great jump shot. If Vince is back for another season, Burks could sit behind him for a season to learn from the veteran. Burks won’t be a starter for a year or two, but he has the potential to be a Tracy McGrady-type player.

If Phoenix decides to go big, Donatas Motiejunas would be the best fit. He can play in their Run ‘N Gun system and will add some much needed size. In the end, I think this pick comes down to whoever the Jazz pass on: Jimmer Fredette or Alec Burks.



Donatas Motiejunas

PF/C 7’0” 220 lbs Lithuania 19

Daryl Morey is one of the smartest GMs in the NBA because he knows how to build a winner: buy low and take the top talent in the draft. They are set for years to come at power forward with Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, and Jordan Hill, and they are set on the wings between Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, and Terrence Williams. With Yao likely done, Brad Miller really starting to show his age and Hasheem Thabeet barely holding onto a roster spot, the Rockets could really use a center.

In the entire draft, there really aren’t many true centers. Kanter and Biyombo will be long gone, and otherwise there is a surplus of forwards. Not exactly what Houston is looking for, but they love talent, and boy does Donatas Motiejunas have talent. He’s a very nice scorer for his size and would compliment the more aggressive big men on the roster. Think Andrea Bargnani redux.



Marcus Morris

PF 6’9” 230 lbs Kansas 21

Indiana is a young team on the rise that is missing one piece (before they step up to 7th in the East): a tough rebounding power forward. Marcus Morris is their man at 15–a highly productive college player a polished offensive game and great rebounding skills. It is a little concerning that he sees himself as a small forward and seems set on switching to the wing, however. He’s not quick enough to guard small forwards and will play much better as a slightly-undersized power forward.



Markieff Morris

PF 6’9” 241 lbs Kansas 21

The Sixers are in search for a center, but there just aren’t any around here. They’ll still need a big man, and Markieff Morris is the best fit. Markieff is slightly taller than his twin brother, but his he’s not nearly as polished offensively. Markieff is a better low post defender and should be a quality role player. He won’t be a starter, but a very serviceable Taj Gibson-style player.



Kenneth Faried

PF 6’8” 225 lbs Morehead St. 22

The Knicks can go two directions with their pick: a big to bolster their front line or a young point guard to run the team after Chauncey retires. I think Donnie Walsh and company firmly believe they can bring in either Chris Paul or Deron Williams, and with Toney Douglas on roster, point won’t be as pressing of a need as a big man. Kenneth Faried has a nonstop motor and is a fantastic rebounder, but lacks a refined offensive game. That’s perfectly fine for New York, though, because they have enough offense from Amar’e and Melo and just need glue players to do the dirty work.



Klay Thompson

SG 6’7” 206 lbs Washington St. 21

After taking Kawhi Leonard with their first pick, the Wizards will still be on the lookout for tough, smart players. With Nick Young likely on the way out of town, there will be a hole at shooting guard. Enter Klay Thompson. The big 2-guard really impressed at the combine with both his range and length. He’ll fit in great with Leonard and will work great to fix the shaky image of Washington’s franchise.



Chris Singleton

SF 6’9” 230 lbs Florida St. 21

With Gerald Wallace gone to greener pastures, the Bobcats lost their best defender, biggest energy player, and their man at small forward. Kawhi Leonard would have been a perfect fit, but he’ll be long gone when they pick at number nine. Chris Singleton is the best defender in the draft, and while not nearly the shooter Leonard, is extremely tough, durable, and tenacious. Charlotte could suddenly become an elite defensive team in a few years with a lineup that includes Henderson, Singleton, Thomas, and Biyombo.



Josh Selby

G 6’3” 195 lbs Kansas 20

How could I possibly make it through a mock draft without making a David Kahn point guard joke? Of course not. Well Minnesota will be looking for a guard with this pick which likely comes down to Klay Thompson, Josh Selby, and Marshon Brooks. Selby can play either guard position and has one of the highest upsides in the entire draft. Unless Ricky Rubio has a change of heart and comes to Minnesota this season, I see Selby as a point guard, but he could just as easily move behind Wes Johnson at the 2-guard.



Tobias Harris

F 6’8” 223 lbs Tennessee 18

On talent alone, Tobias Harris could be picked in the mid-teens. However, he’s built like a power forward with the size of a small forward. Portland needs frontcourt help and can take a gamble on a high-upside youngster like Harris. Hey, maybe he’ll grow another inch or two before he can legally drink and fulfill the promise that led him to be ranked seventh in last year’s recruiting class. As a side note, Tobias’ father keeps insisting that he’s being played out of position and is really a small forward. I just can’t buy that.



Marshon Brooks

SG 6’5” 195 lbs Providence 22

Carmelo is gone, so Denver could really use some star power. Marshon Brooks should be perfect for this reincarnation of the Nuggets. The man finished second only behind Jimmer Fredette in scoring, but he did it in the tough Big East instead the questionable Mountain West. Not only that, but he has an insane 7’1″ wingspan. Why on Earth is this guy not in the lottery? J.R. Smith and Aaron Afflalo may be gone, but Marshon Brooks can absolutely ball.



Reggie Jackson

PG 6’3” 208 lbs Boston College 21

With their second pick in the first round, the Rockets will likely chase the top point guard left. Reggie Jackson is the best fit left–an athletic guard with a knack for scoring. Jackson finally broke out in his junior year shooting 50% from the field 42% from three and 80% from the line. He’s an excellent rebounder as well with a 7-foot wingspan. It is a tad concerning that he never racked up too many assists in his college career and lost in his only March Madness game, but his talent outweighs the cons.



Nikola Mirotic

F 6’10” 226 lbs Serbia 21

GM Sam Presti doesn’t take on bad contracts, he doesn’t make heat-of-the-moment moves, and he doesn’t reach in the draft. Nikola Mirotic is the next player in the wave of European talent entering this draft. He won’t be able to play in the NBA for a year or two (think Serge Ibaka), but he should be worth the wait and the buyout when he does arrive. He’s got confidence. He’s got poise. And he’s smooth. He’s got the size to play power forward, but shoots like a three. Despite the similarity in style of game to Kevin Durant, they should be able to play together fairly easily.



Lucas Noguiera

C 6’11” 218 lbs Brazil 18

Whether or not the Celtics would have been able to re-sign Kendrick Perkins this summer, they’ll probably live to regret that trade with OKC. Right now, Shaq, Jermaine, and Nenad Krstic are the only centers on roster, and that just won’t do for Danny Ainge and the Celtics. If they’re looking for a long, defensive center to replace Perk, look no further than the next international big man on the board. He’s incredible on the defensive end and has much room to grow, as well as much weight to gain. If he can form any semblance of an offensive game, Noguiera could be one of the biggest steals in the draft.



Tyler Honeycutt

SF 6’8” 187 lbs UCLA 20

Dallas will be looking for perimeter help, and they’ll be ecstatic if Honeycutt is still on the board this late in the draft. Honeycutt didn’t put up big numbers at UCLA, but former Bruins have a better track record in the NBA than they did in college (Collison, Westbrook, Afflalo, Farmar, Holliday…). He’ll have to put on a lot more muscle if he’s going to stick at the 3, but I believe he has the work ethic to do so. Honeycutt will never be an All-Star, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t become a solid rotation player.



Jeremy Tyler

PF/C 6’11” 263 lbs USA 18

Jeremy Tyler is without a doubt my favorite player in this draft class. He left his San Diego high school in the middle of his junior year as the top recruit in the nation so he could reach the NBA a year early but in the process completely shot down his draft stock. His time in Israel was absolutely horrible, and he eventually left to play in Japan and salvaged what was left of his stock. Say what you will about his choice in his path to the NBA, but he has an absolutely huge frame with elite athleticism, including a nearly 40-inch vertical, 7’5″ wingspan, and 9’3″ standing reach. He is a physical specimen, very worthy of a late first-round pick. At worst, he’s a Gana Diop-type lane clogger who can stay in the league with his sheer size. At best, he can be that top recruit and become a taller Zach Randolph. I have no idea why he’s not discussed earlier in the first round. If his only knock is a past decision on trying to get into the league sooner, sign me up for this guy.



Nolan Smith

G 6’4” 188 lbs Duke 22

With their first of two picks at the back end of the first, the Bulls will likely take the best guard available. Nolan Smith may not be a pure point guard, but he knows exactly what it takes to win. He’s a true warrior, a great leader, and a clutch shooter. Derrick Rose needs some insurance, and Nolan Smith can step up to be a nice energy player off the bench. So long as you look for him to be Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith will become a very nice pro.



Kyle Singler

F 6’8” 228 lbs Duke 22

The Spurs could go international here as they often do with a player like Davis Bertans or Bojan Bogdanovic, but I think they take a polished college forward here. Ultimately, I see the Spurs settling on Kyle Singler, a proven winner with the ability to stretch the floor as an undersized four or bang a little as a three. There’s no one skill that he does great, but he does a little bit of everything well and has succeeded at every level. Singler can be a good player in the NBA if he finds the right system, and a veteran team like the Spurs will be perfect.



Travis Leslie

SG 6’4” 205 lbs Georgia 21

The biggest issue for the Bulls this season has been at shooting guard. The combination of Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer, and Kyle Korver together don’t add up to one quality player, so the Bulls will likely take a chance on an athletic shooting guard with the last pick in the first round. Leslie is no long-range shooter, but he’s an excellent driver with a great motor. He’s one of the hardest working players entering the draft, and he’ll likely be that very Keith Bogans-type player at worst.

Top Five Players Left: JaJuan Johnson, Justin Harper, Malcolm Lee, Jordan Williams, and Darius Morris.

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