NBA Mock Draft 2011: Can Jimmer Fredette's Strong Play Push Him into the Top 10?
With the 2011 NCAA Tournament now less than a month away, it is now time to take another attempt at formulating a 2011 NBA mock draft.
There have been loads of changes since the last mock draft, as prospects like BYU's Jimmer Fredette have continued to impress on the court, causing their draft stocks to rise drastically.
On the other hand, some players, such as Kansas guard Josh Selby, have witnessed significant drops in their stock, resulting from either struggles on the court or a failure to live up to the hype.
And with the NBA season progressing, we are also getting a closer look at how 2011's draft order will ultimately appear.
This, in turn, creates a clearer picture as to what prospects will be available for which franchises, and furthermore, how the players would fit with each team.
Consequently, the following mock draft will profile each prospect, while also including a description of why they would be selected by that particular franchise and how they would fit in with the team.
(This mock draft was formulated under the premise that a new NBA collective bargaining agreement will be reached and a lockout will be avoided.)
No. 30, San Antonio Spurs: Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse
Despite his team's recent struggles, Kris Joseph has been a standout player for the Syracuse Orange, leading the team with 14.8 points per game, while also averaging 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 threes.
Therefore, it's evident that the 6'7", 207-pound forward has been able to get it done from everywhere on the court, using his exceptional athleticism to propel his game.
And seeing as the junior has consistently improved (especially on his shooting) during his three years at SU, the San Antonio Spurs can reasonably expect that to continue as he transitions into the NBA.
So as the 30th selection by San Antonio, Joseph would help to support the team's aging frontcourt by bringing a solid, all-around game to the team, as well as the tenacity on defense for which the Spurs have long been known.
No. 29, Boston Celtics: Nolan Smith, G, Duke
Without a doubt, there has been no larger beneficiary from Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving's foot injury than his teammate, Nolan Smith.
The injury allowed Smith to slide from the two to the one (his projected NBA position), where he has helped to lead his team to a No. 5 ranking.
Furthermore, his numbers have been huge, as he has posted per-game averages of 21.4 points, 5.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 threes and 1.5 steals.
And in addition to that, the 6'3", 185-pound combo guard has achieved this with a well-rounded offense and an ability to lock opponents down on the defensive side of the court.
Consequently, he would be a great fit for the Boston Celtics at No. 29, where he could spell Rajon Rondo at the point, while also filling in for the aging Ray Allen.
However, he would have to compete with Nate Robinson for this role, but seeing as Smith is more of a true point than Nate, this shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
No. 28, Toronto Raptors: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas (from Miami Heat)
The arrival of Tristan Thompson has done wonders for Texas this season, as the team has vaulted all the way up to the No. 3 ranking in the nation.
At only 19 years of age, Thompson has managed to stand out as an extraordinary prospect, using his extraordinary athleticism and 7'2" wingspan to dominate on defense, blocking 2.3 shots and grabbing 1.0 steal per contest.
Furthermore, the 6'9", 225-pounder has shown remarkable drive, cleaning up on the offensive boards by grabbing 3.6 per game, on his way to an average of 7.5 total rebounds.
He has even been able to put up an average of 12.8 points on 53.2 percent shooting.
And with such strong performances early in his career, the Toronto Raptors would be quick to scoop him up with the 28th overall selection.
On Toronto, Thompson would immediately provide toughness to the team's interior, competing with Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans and Ed Davis for time behind Andrea Bargnani at the four and five spots.
No. 27, Dallas Mavericks: Kyle Singler, F, Duke
In his senior season, it has been much of the same from Kyle Singler for the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils.
With per-game averages of 17.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 threes, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steal, the 6'9", 235-pound forward has continued to be a leader of one of the nation's better teams.
And although his athletic limitations will likely hold him back from being a star at the NBA level, his knowledge of the game, size, rebounding and shooting should certainly allow him to achieve a productive career.
So if he were to fall to the Dallas Mavericks at the No. 27 spot, they would likely scoop the talented frontcourt player right up—especially with center Tyson Chandler entering free agency following the season.
As a Maverick, Singler could be a steady source of scoring off the bench, while also providing size and youth behind the aging Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic and Dirk Nowitzki.
No. 26, Chicago Bulls: Josh Selby, G, Kansas
After missing the first nine games of the season due to an NCAA suspension for receiving improper benefits, Josh Selby made his long-anticipated debut for the Kansas Jayhawks.
And while he stormed out of the gates, the 19-year-old has hit somewhat of a speed bump.
At this point, he is only averaging 11.4 points, 2.9 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.9 threes and 1.3 steals, while shooting a low percentage from the field.
However, the 6'2", 183-pound combo guard has the length, strength and athleticism of an NBA player, so perhaps his missed time is largely responsible for his unimpressive performance.
Nevertheless, his team is currently ranked No. 1 overall, and based purely upon his potential and track record as a high school standout, a team like the Chicago Bulls would be happy to select him at 26th overall.
Here, Selby could immediately step in as a backup to Derrick Rose, while also providing the Bulls with the scoring punch they lack at the shooting guard position.
Furthermore, his presence would help to contribute to what would be one of the most exciting young backcourt tandems in the NBA.
No. 25, Los Angeles Lakers: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
Brazilian center Lucas Nogueira stormed onto the scene, dominating the competition in the U18 Tournament of the Americas, and consequently, he has been thrust into the spotlight.
Nogueira possesses an unbelievable combination of size, length and athleticism, and as an 18-year-old, 7'0", 225-pound prospect, his potential is off the charts.
However, he is still extremely raw and he relies heavily upon his physical gifts to succeed.
Therefore, it seems as though the young center absolutely could use some time to develop strength and an effective offensive repertoire before entering the NBA.
Nevertheless, his shot blocking and rebounding are for real at this point, and his upside is huge.
He is currently playing in a low-level Spanish league, and with a selection at No. 25, the Los Angeles Lakers would probably store Nogueira away abroad for a few years while he further develops, before calling upon him when they have a greater need for his services.
No. 24, Oklahoma City Thunder: Kenneth Faried, F/C, Morehead State
As the nation's leader in rebound by a wide margin, Morehead St. standout Kenneth Faried has made a name for himself as one of the NCAA's toughest interior players.
Furthermore, with per-game averages of 17.3 points (63.1 percent shooting), 14.2 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks, the 6'8", 228 pounder has proven to be far from one-dimensional.
And although he may be knocked because his numbers are inflated from playing in a mid-major and because he is raw offensively, relying heavily on his athleticism, the junior forward-center has had solid showings against some of the best big men in the country.
For example, he posted a 15-point, 12-rebound, five-steal and two-block line against National Player of the Year hopeful Jared Sullinger of Ohio State, while holding him to only eight points and eight rebounds.
Therefore, for a team seeking some help inside, like the Oklahoma City Thunder, he would make perfect sense at No. 24.
With the Thunder, Faried would form an imposing frontcourt duo alongside the similarly skilled Serge Ibaka.
Furthermore, with players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green doing most of the scoring, he would be allowed to excel at what he does best—rebounding, defense and cleaning up inside.
No. 23, Phoenix Suns: Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee (from Orlando Magic)
Tobias Harris has been a rock for the Tennessee Volunteers throughout his freshman campaign, performing as one of the team's best players on a consistent basis.
Furthermore, he has proven to possess a complete game, managing to put up 14.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 0.7 threes per contest.
And standing 6'8" at 220 pounds, the 18-year-old has tons of potential.
Therefore, the Phoenix Suns would jump at the opportunity to grab Harris at with the 23rd pick.
With Phoenix, he would have a chance to play behind 38-year-old Grant Hill at small forward, where he could eventually serve as a full-time replacement.
No. 22, Atlanta Hawks: Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
Finally stepping out from under the shadow of his twin brother (teammate Marcus Morris), Markieff Morris has had a solid year for the No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.
He has always been a solid athlete, as evidenced by his rebounding and defensive statistics (8.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 0.8 steals), but in his junior season, it is his scoring improvements that really stand out.
He is racking up 12.8 points per game on 59.1 percent shooting, and he is even knocking down 0.7 threes on average—a testament to his drastically improved jumper.
And with a little more work on offense, the 6'10", 245-pound Morris will truly have a complete game.
Consequently, he would be a great fit for the Atlanta Hawks at No. 22, where he would provide some interior relief to Al Horford, while battling Zaza Pachulia and Jason Collins for time.
No. 21, Portland Trail Blazers: Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
Trey Thompkins is in the midst of yet another impressive season for the Georgia Bulldogs.
The 6'10", 245-pound power forward is currently posting 16.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals per games.
However, those numbers are a mostly down from those of his previous campaign and his lack of high-level athleticism has worried some NBA scouts.
Nevertheless, with his size and finesse offensive arsenal would certainly make the 20-year-old big man attractive to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 21 pick.
With the Blazers, Thompkins would have an opportunity to contribute right away to the depleted frontcourt, which has been hampered by injuries to Greg Oden and the decreasing production of 36-year-old Marcus Camby and 31-year-old Joel Przybilla.
Therefore, he would like start out backing up LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward, or even be given an opportunity to start at the four should something happen to Camby, causing Aldridge to slide to the five.
No. 20, New Orleans Hornets: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
As one of the top-ranked recruits in the nation, point guard Brandon Knight arrived at Kentucky with the highest of expectations.
And while he has performed well, to the tune of 17.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.6 threes per game, the 6'3", 185-pounder has left something to be desired.
His point-guard play has been widely criticized, as he has a mere 1.1 assists-to-turnover ratio on the year and occasionally he displays a score-first mentality.
Moreover, he hasn't managed to stand out on the defensive end, grabbing only 0.6 steals per game.
However, with his ability to score and his hard-worker attitude, Knight still would be a steal at the No. 20 selection for the New Orleans Hornets.
With the Hornets, he would have an opportunity to work behind one of the NBA's best lead guards in Chris Paul, while also being given a chance to compete for minutes at the two guard against guys like Marco Belinelli, Willie Green and Jarrett Jack.
Moreover, Knight could possibly serve as an insurance policy at the one, should Paul decide to leave the team as a free agent in 2012.
No. 19, Denver Nuggets: Chris Singleton, F, Florida State
Chris Singleton is undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the NCAA.
Standing 6'9" and at 225 pounds, Singleton has used his physical gifts to become a defensive specialist, swiping 2.1 steals and blocking 1.6 shots per game.
Moreover, the junior forward has emerged as the best player on a solid Florida State team, while showing steady improvement throughout his collegiate career, which bodes well for him as he heads to the NBA.
Currently, he is also averaging 13.8 points and 1.3 threes per game—although his shot still needs a good deal of work—along with 7.1 rebounds.
However, should he solve his shooting problems, Singleton has the potential to be an outstanding player.
Therefore, the Denver Nuggets would be a potential suitor for him at the 19th spot, especially since they will most likely have multiple needs if they go through with trading their core players like Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.
And as part of a rebuilding squad, Singleton would certainly have the opportunity to develop offensively by logging huge minutes on a nightly basis.
No. 18, Utah Jazz: Tyler Honeycutt, G-F, UCLA
Throughout his sophomore campaign, Tyler Honeycutt has put up some solid numbers for a decent UCLA team.
On the season, he has posted per-game averages of 12.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 threes and 0.8 steals—a very well-rounded line.
So with the ability to do nearly everything on the court from the wing position, the 6'8", 188-pound 20-year-old has plenty of potential.
And while he occasionally struggles to create his own shot and likely needs to add some strength, he could thrive if drafted into the right situation.
The Utah Jazz would present such a situation with the No. 18 pick, as Honeycutt would be aided by the play of Deron Williams, as well as by presence of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson inside.
Consequently, he could step in and compete immediately at shooting guard, looking to share time with Raja Bell and C.J. Miles.
No. 17, Minnesota Timberwolves: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado (from Memphis via Utah)
Sophomore shooting guard Alec Burks is back this season for the Colorado Buffaloes, and once again, he is scoring at a high rate.
So far, he is putting up 19.5 points per game, largely by slashing to the basket, although he has also managed to sink 0.7 threes per game.
And if the 6'6", 185-pounder could add some more muscle to his lean frame, he would be able to better absorb contact inside, likely making him an even more prolific scorer.
However, the 19-year-old can do more than just score, as illustrated by his season's stat line being rounded out by 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.9 steals per contest.
With the No.17 overall selection, Burks would be very attractive to the Minnesota Timberwolves, as they are in desperate need of a source of backcourt scoring to go along with their one-two punch of big men Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.
No. 16, New York Knicks: John Henson, PF, North Carolina
North Carolina power forward John Henson has seen his stock crash since being one of the most-hyped prospects entering last season.
He doesn't really possess any real type of offensive game, he shoots a horrendous 39.4 percent from the line and as a 6'10", 210-pound post player, his lack of strength is staggering.
However, what the 20-year-old does have is a staggering combination of length and athleticism.
Consequently, he is able to block shots and grab rebounds with the best of them, while also presenting a serious threat in transition and in cleaning up around the basket.
Therefore, he has managed to post per-game averages of 11.4 points (53.7 percent shooting), 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 0.6 steals.
So if he were available at the No. 16 slot, the New York Knicks would likely jump to select him.
As a Knick, Henson would provide the team with some of the interior defense and rebounding which they have been missing, while battling Ronnie Turiaf and Timofey Mozgov for time at the four and five.
No. 15, Phoenix Suns: Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
Entering the 2010-11 NCAA basketball season as an afterthought, Kemba Walker took the country by storm, emerging as one of the nation's best players.
Leading Connecticut to a No. 13 ranking, while putting up gaudy stats (23.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.1 threes and 1.9 steals per game), the junior point guard has surely proven himself as an NBA prospect.
Moreover, his point guard play is drastically improved, as he now sports a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.
However, his small 6'1", 172-pound frame could hold him back to some extent at the next level, and that, along with lingering concerns about whether he's a natural point, will likely cause him to slip on draft day.
Nevertheless, the Phoenix Suns would gladly grab him with the 15th overall selection.
With the Suns, he could compete with Goran Dragic to be the eventual replacement for 37-year-old Steve Nash, while also possibly being given a shot to play some two alongside Nash, just as Leandro Barbosa once did.
No. 14, Philadelphia 76ers: Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
Marcus Morris has been the undisputed leader of the No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks throughout the 2010-11 NCAA basketball season.
Displaying a polished offensive game, the 6'9", 225-pound forward has put up 16.7 points per game on 60.5 percent shooting, doing so with a jumper and from the post.
Moreover, he has been able to grab 6.8 boards per game, all while also collecting 0.7 steals, hitting 0.7 threes and swatting 0.6 shots.
His only faults are that he isn't the best athlete and that, as a 21-year-old with a polished game, there isn't much room for improvement.
Nevertheless, he would be a great fit for the Philadelphia 76ers at the No. 14 selection.
With the Sixers, Morris would have an opportunity to compete for time at both forward spots, especially if the rumors are true and Andre Iguodala is ultimately traded.
No. 13, Golden State Warriors: Jordan Hamilton, G/F, Texas
As the leading scorer on the No. 3-ranked Texas Longhorns, Jordan Hamilton has had himself a rather impressive year thus far.
And with per-game averages of 18.7 points (46.5 percent shooting), 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 threes, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks, it's also clear that the sophomore wing has also vastly improved since last season.
The only cause for concern with the 6'7", 220-pounder is that he is not a top-notch athlete and could struggle defensively in the NBA.
However, with such an ability to knock down shots, the Golden State Warriors would certainly consider him with the No. 13 selection.
With the Warriors, Hamilton would compete with Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Dorell Wright, as well as with Reggie Williams, for time at the wing.
No. 12, Houston Rockets: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Playing for the Lithuanian national team at the U16 and U18 European Championships, center prospect Jonas Valanciunas brought home two gold medals and two MVP trophies, instantly garnering international attention.
However, what makes him even more attractive to NBA scouts is that he, as opposed to most European bigs, relies upon a traditional post game, using his good hands and soft touch, decent athleticism and an effective short-range jumper.
Moreover, he is a solid shot blocker inside, and although he currently lacks ideal strength, at just 18 years old, his 6'11", 240-pound, broad-shouldered frame will certainly be able to put on weight.
And with so much upside, Valanciunas would seem like a natural fit for the Houston Rockets at No. 12.
Here, he would be able to serve as the long-term replacement at center for Yao Ming, who suffered a career-threatening injury during the final year of his contract, making it possible that he will never again suit up for the Rockets.
No. 11, Indiana Pacers: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
After withdrawing from last year's NBA Draft, Czech forward Jan Vesely returned to Europe to tighten up his game for a run at the 2011 Draft.
As a 6'11", 240 pounder, Vesely has displayed a decent jumper as well as an ability to face up and attack the basket, although his post game is currently lacking.
The 20-year-old is a decent athlete, however, which has allowed him to develop into an effective shot blocker on D.
And while he could certainly use some more strength, the Indiana Pacers would likely jump at the opportunity to select him with the 11th pick.
Here he would join in the wide-open competition between Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough for the four spot, while also having an opportunity to get some time as a backup at both the small forward and center positions.
No. 10, Charlotte Bobcats: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Throughout the 2010-11 NCAA college basketball season, Jimmer Fredette has proven himself to be one of the best and most popular players in the country.
In doing so, he has carried his BYU Cougars to the No. 7 ranking, while also leading the nation in scoring at 27.3 points per game.
But that's not all, as he achieved that on 46.9 percent shooting from the field, while displaying some point guard skills, grabbing 1.4 steals per contest and dishing out 4.3 assists (which is impressive, considering he also scores 32.9 percent of his team's points).
And while he has been knocked for not being a pure point and because of his athletic limitations, the 6'2", 195-pounder has the size and strength to play either guard position at the next level.
Therefore, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Charlotte Bobcats grab him at No. 10.
As a Bobcat, Fredette could compete for time at the point with first-year starter D.J. Augustin, and even play alongside him at the two in smaller lineups.
No. 9, Milwaukee Bucks: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
Kawhi Leonard has become one of the biggest names in the nation this year after leading his San Diego State Aztecs to the No. 6 overall ranking.
Moreover, the 19-year-old sophomore has made drastic improvements in many parts of his game, currently posting per-game averages of 15.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists,1.4 steals and 0.6 blocks.
Yet that doesn't speak to what he truly does on the court, as the forward even serves as his team's backup point guard.
And although at 6'7", 225 pounds, he may seem like an undersized combo forward, he is a phenomenal athlete with great length, which more than makes up for any of his physical shortcomings.
Consequently, a selection at the Milwaukee Bucks' No. 9 spot is definitely a possibility for Leonard.
With Milwaukee, he would provide a much-needed diverse frontcourt game to the current rotation of forwards, which consists of Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Corey Maggette.
No. 8, Los Angeles Clippers: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Terrence Jones is having a monster year for the No. 22-ranked Kentucky Wildcats, as he came in and dominated from day one, largely stealing the spotlight from his more-hyped teammate Brandon Knight.
And for good reason too, as the freshman forward has shown that he gives his all, that he can score in a number of ways and that he is a solid defender.
So as a result of that, the 6'8", 244-pounder has posted impressive per-game averages of 17.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1. 2 steals and 0.7 threes.
And if he falls to the No. 8 spot, expect the Los Angeles Clippers to scoop him up happily.
With the Clippers, Jones would be given the chance to compete with Ryan Gomes and rookie Al-Farouq Aminu for the small forward spot, where, if he won, he would form an exciting young duo with All-Star power forward Blake Griffin,.
No. 7, Detroit Pistons: Donatas Motiejunas, F/C, Lithuania
As the second Lithuanian big man featured in this mock, Donatas Motiejunas is definitely the more polished product.
As a 7'0", 220-pound forward-center, Motiejunas has used his length and athleticism to become a decent shot-blocker.
Moreover, he has the ability to score in a variety of ways, whether it be from the post, the mid-range, the perimeter or when attacking the basket.
However, he currently lacks necessary strength to play inside, and he is not the most tenacious rebounder, but at 20 years of age, he still has lots of room for improvement.
And given the fact that he may have been a lottery selection had he entered the draft last year, rather than returning to Europe (where he is currently excelling in the Italian league), it seem as though Motiejunas would certainly attract the attention of the Detroit Pistons at No. 7.
In Detroit, he would likely start off on the bench, getting some time backing up both the four and five, and ultimately serving as a replacement for the 36-year-old Ben Wallace.
No. 6, New Jersey Nets: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Harrison Barnes came into North Carolina as easily the top-rated freshman in the nation.
However, he stumbled out of the gates, struggling horribly for the early part of the season and causing his draft stock to plummet.
On the season he has compiled averages of 13.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.4 threes and 0.6 steals—numbers which aren't going to impress anyone.
Nevertheless, the 6'8", 210-pound small forward has rebounded somewhat, as he has begun to play much better of late.
Over the last six games, Barnes is scoring 19.0 points on 49.4 percent shooting, while also grabbing 6.2 rebounds.
Therefore, his early season problems could be some combination of an 18-year-old adjusting to the college game, folding under the pressure of lofty expectations and playing on a team which, as a whole, didn't perform well early on.
And given that Barnes is a great athlete with a versatile offensive game, his upside is still tremendous.
Consequently, a team like the New Jersey Nets would be quick to select him with the No. 6 overall pick.
Barnes would likely push Travis Outlaw, Sasha Vujacic and Anthony Morrow for playing time at the wing, and he would undoubtedly benefit from playing with a proven point guard and center in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez.
No. 5, Washington Wizards: Enes Kanter, F/C, Kentucky
The last time Enes Kanter was playing basketball, he was wreaking havoc on the U16 and U18 competition.
However since then, Kanter enrolled at Kentucky, and shortly thereafter, the NCAA ruled the big man ineligible for receiving compensation when playing in his native Turkey.
So now, the 6'11", 260-pound 18-year-old is left sitting out from any type of competition, following word that his appeal had been denied.
And while his being disallowed to play collegiate ball certainly hurts his draft stock, he has way too much talent to slip too much in the draft.
With extraordinary strength, a feel for the game, good touch inside and a respectable jumper, Kanter is a rather complete interior player.
And even though he previously suffered some knee injuries and lacks elite athleticism, he should still expect to be selected by a lottery team like the Washington Wizards at No. 5.
In Washington, his powerful offensive game would nicely complement the raw, athletic style of JaVale McGee, as well as the the dribbling-based offense of Andray Blatche.
No. 4, Toronto Raptors: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
In his sophomore campaign, a much-improved Derrick Williams has single-handedly carried his Arizona Wildcats to a No. 12 overall ranking.
He leads his team in just about every statistical category, with per-game averages of 19.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 threes, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks.
Moreover, he has shot a blistering 63.7 percent from the field, as well as an even-more-impressive 69.4 percent from three.
Consequently, the 6'8", 240-pound forward has earned the nation's highest player efficiency rating, and held onto this title nearly all season long.
And for whatever he may be a bit lacking in athleticism, he more than makes up for with his high basketball IQ.
Therefore, a selection by the Toronto Raptors at No. 4 is very reasonable, and as a Raptor, Williams would look to ease right into the small forward spot, probably outplaying Sonny Weems and a healthy Linas Kleiza for the starting job.
No. 3, Sacramento Kings: Perry Jones, F, Baylor
At 6'11", 220 pounds, Perry Jones is one of the longest and most athletic players in the nation, giving him tons of upside.
Furthermore, the freshman is posting 14.5 points (57.4 percent shooting), 7.0 rebounds,1.2 assists, 0.8 blocks and 0.6 steals per contest—relatively solid numbers.
However, it's his potential that has scouts drooling, as he has the build, athleticism and all-around game that could allow him to develop into a star.
The only real concern with Jones is that he may not have to drive to be great, but regardless of that, he still expected to be among the top picks in the draft.
So should he be available at No. 3, the Sacramento Kings would gladly take a chance on the promising 19-year-old.
And with the Sacramento Kings roster only really set at shooting guard with Tyreke Evans, Jones would have the chance to step in and immediately compete for time at the three, four or five.
No. 2, Minnesota Timberwolves: Jared Sullinger, FC, Ohio State
Jared Sullinger has been the best player on one of the best teams in the country in 2010-11, making him currently one of the favorites for the Player of the Year award.
He has been essential to the Ohio State Buckeyes' No. 2 ranking, as the 6'9", 280-pound freshman has maintained an average of 18.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game, while managing to shoot an impressive 56.4 percent from the field.
And with his size, strength, knowledge and positioning, he is able to utilize a traditional low-post style offense, with a solid arsenal of moves and decent touch from close-to-midrange.
However, his size and power come with some drawbacks, namely agility and explosiveness.
And even though he will struggle to guard quicker players, Sullinger's effectiveness on offense and the glass will definitely cause him to be considered with the Minnesota Timberwolves' No. 2 pick.
With the T-Wolves, he would provide a true inside presence on offense, complimenting the face-up offense of Michael Beasley and the inside-outside game of Kevin Love (who many have actually compared Sullinger to).
No. 1, Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Prior to his toe injury, freshman point guard Kyrie Irving had been dominant for then-No. 1-ranked Duke Blue Devils, putting up 17.4 points (53.2 percent shooting), 4.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.8 threes, 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks per game.
However, the injury has put the 18-year-old's season in jeopardy, and consequently, his availability for pre-draft workouts could end up playing a large part in where he is selected.
But seeing as though the NBA has become a point-guard-dominated league, and Irving appeared to be the best point guard in the nation (when healthy), he should still expect to be drafted among the first few selections.
And so long as nothing drastic happens, the Cleveland Cavaliers could very well take the 6'2", 185-pound point guard with the top pick in the draft.
With Irving, the Cavs would either shift Mo Williams to shooting guard or attempt to trade him, and furthermore, they would then have a franchise cornerstone to build upon, allowing them to get well on their way to turning the franchise back around.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!