We are almost through with February, which means volume three of our NBA Mock Drafts is way overdue. It's high time we took another look at the potential draft order, team needs and value of the top NBA prospects expected to enter the 2011 NBA Draft.
As we’ve mentioned in our past two mocks, everything will be different come June, but for now, this is where we value the players in combination with the current order and team needs:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Perry Jones, SF, Baylor
Cleveland badly needs a “new LeBron James”. Jones is still a little raw, but he has a great blend of size, skills and potential. He can do a lot of things very well and could easily develop into the best player of this class. That possibility will have Cleveland pull the trigger and grab him.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
The foot injury could kill his stock some and might even have him considering a return to Duke in 2011. However, he’s a potential No. 1 pick, so it’ll be hard for him not to leave. Minnesota does have Ricky Rubio (supposedly) and Jonny Flynn, but with neither point guard a sure thing, they may just wipe the slate clean and grab Irving.
3. Sacramento Kings - Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona
Carl Landry is gone, and while the Kings could use some more guard help, they’ll opt for some stability inside, first. Williams has great size and fluidity and seems to only be getting better by the day.
Who goes number one overall?
4. Toronto Raptors - Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Toronto could go a number of routes here, but they need some serious help inside, and it's time they owned up to it. Sullinger is the perfect big body who can bang inside, score and rebound at a high level.
5. Washington Wizards – Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina
Barnes has been arguably disappointing in his first year, and many think he’d be wise to stay put, but his athleticism and potential will make him a top-five pick. Washington doesn’t have a legit answer at small forward, so Barnes could be a huge grab.
6. New Jersey Nets – Enes Kanter, F/C, Kentucky
The Nets just shipped off a big man in Derrick Favors, so it's back to the drawing board again at this position. Brook Lopez is a solid offensive player, but they need to add depth to work along side Lopez and Kris Humphries. Kanter’s potential will seal the deal.
7. Detroit Pistons – Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky
Jones could be the eventual replacement for Tayshaun Prince, while Richard Hamilton could also be leaving an open spot in the rotation. Jones is talented enough to go higher, but if he’s here, Joe Dumars and co. won’t let him fall any further.
8. Los Angeles Clippers – Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Leonhard is the perfect solution to L.A.’s lack of an impact small forward. They could still swing a trade or sign a free agent during the offseason, but if Leonard falls to them, he makes the most sense as the guy that could help complete the puzzle.
9. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks, G, Colorado
Milwaukee badly needs some offensive help, as well as an injection of youth at shooting guard. Burks has the versatility to play all over the court and has the tools to make things happen on both offense and defense.
10. Charlotte Bobcats – Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania
Charlotte has decent wing players but has always had a difficult time scoring from the paint or stretching the floor with their big men. Moetiejunas should help with both.
11. Houston Rockets – Jonas Valancianus, C, Lithuania
Since when were the Rockets not interested in adding help on the front line? Yao Ming is done in Houston, and other players are constantly swirling in trade rumors. Valancianus brings an instant inside presence with solid potential.
12. Golden State Warriors – Tyler Honeycutt, G/F, UCLA
The Warriors are still a high-octane offense when everything is going right, and landing another solid shooter and scorer has to be high on their list of offseason moves. They still need to find some answers for their inside game, but adding a smooth and versatile scorer is a good play.
13. Phoenix Suns – Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
Steve Nash won’t be around forever and Goran Dragic may not be the long-term answer as the face of the Suns. Fredette can learn behind Nash until he’s ready to take over, while his excellent offensive game will provide an instant impact off the bench.
14. Memphis Grizzlies - Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
Mike Conley Jr. has improved lately, but is he really the answer at the point? Whether he is or not, O.J. Mayo could be headed out, which means the selection of a scoring guard with point guard potential like Walker would be a welcomed addition.
15. Indiana Pacers – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
Darren Collison was supposed to be the answer and has failed to truly establish himself, while we’re all pretty sure T.J. Ford isn’t the guy. Knight brings elite athleticism and potential to the table and could give Indiana its first great point guard in over a decade.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
Elton Brand has looked a lot better this year, but that doesn’t hide the fact that the 76ers badly need some help in their inside game. Thompkins provides an immediate boost.
17. New York Knicks – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
New York will need to get some shooters, but with Carmelo now in town, their big add via the draft will be getting some depth behind Amar’e Stoudemire. Thompson brings some relief in that department.
18. Utah Jazz – Kyle Singler, G/F, Duke
With Deron Williams gone, the Jazz will look for a new face of the franchise. Singler will pair up with Gordon Hayward to give the Jazz a lengthy and fundamentally sound wing game.
19. Denver Nuggets – Jordan Hamilton, G/F, Texas
Denver is an offensive-minded team that just lost a whole lot of it when they traded away Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. They inherited some good offensive bodies but get another in Hamilton via the draft.
20. New Orleans Hornets – Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Chris Paul may not be around past the 2011-12 season, but either way, the Hornets need an upgrade at small forward. Vesely has the versatility to play both forward spots and gives the Hornets a piece to build with if/once Paul jumps ship.
21. Portland Trail Blazers – Josh Selby, PG, Kansas
The Blazers are looking for any way to cut ties with Andre Miller, and Brandon Roy’s knees could end a bright career at any moment. Selby is a talented point guard who could be groomed for the future.
22. Atlanta Hawks – Nolan Smith, PG, Duke
Atlanta is still rolling with Mike Bibby at the point, while none of their young guys have stepped up and taken over. Smith will be the Hawks’ latest crack at upgrading the point guard position.
23. Orlando Magic – Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
Orlando is hurting inside past Dwight Howard and Brandon Bass. Morris is a good start.
24. Oklahomy City Thunder – Chris Singleton, F, Florida State
The Thunder don’t have many major problem areas but could stand to add some depth at small forward, as well as an impact player inside. They’ll opt for small forward in the first round, as Singleton is a perfect fit.
25. Los Angeles Lakers – Lucas Nogueira, F/C, Brazil
The Lakers were reportedly contemplating trading Andrew Bynum at one point this year, which could push them to add some talent inside. They don’t have a whole lot of inside depth past Bynum and Pau Gasol, so adding a defensive stalwart like Nogueira is a great move.
26. Chicago Bulls – Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
The Bulls still need some shooters for Derrick Rose to pass to, so adding a solid offensive talent like Thompson makes sense.
27. Dallas Mavericks – Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Faried isn’t really getting the respect he deserves. He’s averaged over 13 rebounds per game for three straight seasons, and while his game isn’t flashy, he’s exactly what the Mavs need inside.
28. Miami Heat – JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue
Miami is really just looking for some rotation guys at this point, but they won’t believe their eyes when the talented Johnson falls to them. He offers potential and versatility and can give them inside depth immediately.
29. Boston Celtics – Kris Joseph, SF, Texas
Boston is getting old and could use another offensive piece to start working into the mix. Paul Pierce won’t be around forever, so the team could groom Joseph as his eventual replacement.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Chandler Parsons, F, Florida
There’s a lot of solid role players the Spurs could snag here, but why not get a guy who can do a little bit of everything but also has some solid potential? Parsons gives them a shooter who can rebound and pass, and he can learn from the best as he grows.