2011 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Picks 1 Through 14
Now that March Madness is underway, scouting for the NBA draft has gone into full gear. Numerous scouts will be at every game, keeping a close eye on players from every team.
However, only the elite get drafted in the lottery (picks one through 14).
This year's class is shaping up to be a quality one, rebounding from last year's overall weak field. I'm not saying that last year's draft wasn't good, but outside of John Wall, the class hasn't done very well.
Players' stock changes game by game and day by day. That's why it's so important that these future NBA studs have a good NCAA Tournament.
Let's get down to it, here are your top 14 draft picks come draft time.
14. Utah Jazz Select Marcus Morris
Height/Weight: 6'8", 230 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Versatility.
Biggest Weakness: "Tweener" label.
NBA Comparison: Al Harrington
Why he's drafted here: Marcus Morris is possibly the most "pro ready" player in the whole draft.
Marcus is a good dribbler, can knock down threes, has great hands, finishes well around the basket and plays solid overall defense.
The shorter of the Morris twins is also a smart player. When watching him you will rarely see him make a dumb mistake, which is much different than the player he was two years ago.
Marcus has the versatility to bring everything to the table at the next level. Should he improve his quickness and ball handling this summer, Marcus could be more than ready to be a full-time small forward that can also post up his defender.
The major problem with Marcus is where he will play in the NBA. He's probably too skinny and short to play power forward, while he might not be quick enough to guard athletic small forwards on the perimeter.
13. Phoenix Suns Select Tyler Honeycutt
Height/Weight: 6'7", 190 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Athleticism and versatility.
Biggest Weakness: Ball handling and small frame.
NBA Comparison: Tayshaun Prince/Francisco Garcia/Chase Budinger
Why he's drafted here: Honeycutt might easily be the most overlooked player in the draft. His game is super smooth and he doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for his work.
He has a great blend of height, athleticism, quickness, shooting stroke and post-up ability.
In a down-year for UCLA, Honeycutt put the team on his back. Against Florida on Saturday, Honeycutt posted a typical all around line of 13 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and four blocks.
That type of all-around production makes him a quality pro prospect. He is a "stuff the stat sheet" type of guy.
Whoever picks Honeycutt knows what they are getting, which is a steal in the middle of the first round.
12. Houston Rockets Select Brandon Knight
Height/Weight: 6'3", 185 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Size and speed for a point guard.
Biggest Weakness: Needs a more point guard "feel."
NBA Comparison: A less strong Russell Westbrook.
Why he's drafted here: Brandon Knight can be viewed as one of the "new look" point guards in the NBA. Whether he actually pans out to be one is something we will find out.
Knight possesses the athleticism, speed, passing ability, defensive awareness and overall talent to make this happen.
He is extremely explosive on the court and will be able to get easy assists by blowing by his defenders.
Just 19 years old, Knight needs some court time to mature. Whoever drafts Knight will need to be ready for plenty of rookie moments.
At pick 12, Knight is worth the high risk he comes with. This kid has a bright future in the NBA.
11. Golden State Warriors Select Jimmer Fredette
Height/Weight: 6'2", 195 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Shooting stroke.
Biggest Weakness: NBA level athleticism.
NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry
Why he's drafted here: For the Warriors, this is a match made in heaven.
The casual NBA fan might think it's crazy that Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, and Jimmer Fredette will mesh together. Those fans are completely right.
If Jimmer can fall to Golden State at this pick, the Warriors will most certainly trade Curry to another team. Warriors fans might be mad about this, but the front office has already said they want to deal Curry.
The Warriors front office said they want to go forward with Ellis and Jimmer would be a great fit alongside. Since scouts knock Jimmer for his lack of true point guard skills this would fit perfectly.
Ellis or Jimmer would be able to bring the ball down and also be able to find each other for open jumpers all game.
Chalk this up as a win-win Golden State and get the best value possible in return for Curry.
10. Charlotte Bobcats Select Jan Vesely
Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Size for a small forward.
Biggest Weakness: Overall offensive game.
NBA Comparison: Andrei Kirilenko
Why he's drafted here: Vesely is a high-risk player, and an owner like Michael Jordan is a guy who would take that risk.
Vesely plays with a very high motor on top of tons of emotion. That combination of passion for the game makes him a good prospect in the long run.
For a small forward, 6'11" is very tall. He will be able to use that to his advantage in the NBA by posting up smaller defenders.
He is just 20 years old, so the potential to keep growing as a player is there.
Vesely should be seen as an "X" factor type of guy and could end up being a big time steal at 10th pick in the draft.
9. Milwaukee Bucks Select Alec Burks
Height/Weight: 6'6", 190 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Athletic ability.
Biggest Weakness: Body size/strength.
NBA Comparison: Evan Turner
Why he's drafted here: Alec Burks would be a great fit to go alongside Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee's back court.
His high end athleticism combined with his good shooting stroke would provide Jennings plenty of opportunities to hook up with Burks.
Burks has explosive leaping ability and can throw down the ball at will.
Alec will definitely need to hit the weight room this summer to bulk up on his skinny frame. If his body is unable to gain muscle this summer he will be bullied night in and night out in the NBA next year.
If Burks can slip to Milwaukee at pick No. 9, the Bucks should be very excited about their bright future.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers Select Donatas Motiejunas
Height/Weight: 7'0", 225 lbs.
Biggest Strength: High potential because of size and agility.
Biggest Weakness: Mental motor.
NBA Comparison: Andrea Bargnani
Why he's drafted here: Another foreigner with extremely high potential, Donatas Motiejunas is highly regarded by overseas scouts.
Donatas has almost the exact same mold of Andrea Bargnani. He is definitely a finesse player that moves around the court with good agility and quickness.
He also possesses good three-point range which is typical of European big men.
Unfortunately, scouts say that Donatas doesn't always give it his all. He also appears to not dominate like he easily could. A terrible thing to be knocked for is lack of passion and Donatas' draft stock will likely suffer because of it.
7. Detriot Pistons Select Terrence Jones
Height/Weight: 6'8", 240 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Versatility.
Biggest Weakness: Awkward shot form.
NBA Comparison: Lamar Odom/Tim Thomas
Why he's drafted here: Jones versatility makes him a great prospect. He can guard positions one through four, as well as play offense at that position.
Jones is extremely athletic and uses it to move all around the floor.
He has a great handle of the ball making him very difficult to guard. He has a high motor on the court, routinely going 100 percent in the post for rebounds.
Jones has an extremely high ceiling and needs a good coach to maximize his potential.
The one knock on his game is his jump shot. It's pretty awkward, but falls at a high rate. One thing about having an awkward jump shot is the ability to fix it, which makes Jones a very good prospect worth taking a chance on.
6. Utah Jazz Select Enes Kanter
Height/Weight: 6'11", 260 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Overall balance.
Biggest Weakness: Durability concerns.
NBA Comparison: Al Horford
Why he's drafted here: Since Kanter didn't play basketball this year, he might be the most overlooked prospect in the draft. Kanter was expected to have a big year along with several other Kentucky freshman, but was declared ineligible before the year.
Kanter has a very well balanced game. He has a good body, solid hands, good basketball IQ and a high motor for snatching rebounds.
Kanter also has a really good offensive game. He possesses a solid array of post moves and can score in many ways.
However, knee issues are a serious concern. His knee issues date back to his early basketball days and haven't stopped since.
Kanter could be a big-time NBA player, while at the same time he could be an easily forgotten name in a few years.
5. Toronto Raptors Select Perry Jones
Height/Weight: 6'11", 230 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Ball handling/athleticism.
Biggest Weakness: How he will transition to the NBA.
NBA comparison: Kevin Durant/Anthony Randolph
Why he's drafted here: Like Harrison Barnes, there is simply too much upside and potential to let Perry slide any further.
Standing at 6'11", Jones will be a small forward in the NBA. A small forward! He has great ball handling and quickness for a guy his size, making him extremely hard to guard.
The problem here is the risk. Perry does have tremendous potential, but who knows if it will ever surface. The perfect example here is Anthony Randolph. Randolph is seen as a "point-forward" and has definitely not panned out.
Perry could be a Tracy McGrady/Kevin Durant mold around the perimeter, which is hard to even imagine at 6'11".
Jones is the definition of high-risk/high-reward and whoever drafts him certainly knows that.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves Select Harrison Barnes
Height/Weight: 6'8", 215 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Athleticism/potential.
Biggest Weakness: Left hand/inconsistencies.
NBA Comparison: Luol Deng
Why he's drafted here: There is simply too much upside for Barnes to drop any further.
The Timberwolves need a legit shooting guard and it doesn't seem like Wesley Johnson is the long-term answer.
Minnesota's 2-3-4 combo would consist of Barnes, Beasley and Love. That's a very solid core for them to build on if they can keep those guys in town.
The Timberwolves are probably still kicking themselves for the draft a few years ago. They drafted Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio ahead of players like Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Ty Lawson. Not only did they draft those guys before these starters, Ricky Rubio still isn't on the team.
Drafting a guy like Barnes could get the Timberwolves out of the bottom of the NBA, as Harrison certainly has All-Star potential.
3. Washington Wizards Select Jared Sullinger
Height/Weight: 6'8", 280 lbs.
Biggest strength: Body size/strength.
Biggest Weakness: Athleticism.
NBA player comparison: Kevin Love/Glen Davis
Why he's drafted here: Sullinger is a very safe overall pick. Tab him as a "low-risk/high-reward" type of player.
There aren't a lot of holes in his game, and he will be in the NBA for years.
He fits in well with Washington, but it's not a match made in heaven. The Wizards are the definition of rebuilding at this point, and a guy like Sullinger provides stability down low.
Sullinger could easily be a double-double machine for the Wizards. His Kevin Love-like body makes it easy for him to clear space down low and collect rebounds.
2. Sacremento Kings Select Derrick Williams
Height/Weight: 6'8", 230 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Versatility.
Biggest Weakness: "Tweener" label.
NBA Comparison: Michael Beasley
Why he's drafted here: The Kings have done a great job of drafting the past few years.
Selecting extreme talent in the first few picks is what the Kings are all about, which means Derrick Williams is next.
Williams is a very athletic and versatile forward, who should fit in nicely next to Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.
If Sacramento can get Derrick Williams with the second pick, the Kings will by stockpiling young talent onto their roster. Don't look now, but the Kings could be the next version of the Thunder in a few years from now.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers Select Kyrie Irving
Height/Weight: 6'1", 175 lbs.
Biggest Strength: Point guard "feel."
Biggest Weakness: High end experience.
NBA Comparison: Mike Conley
Why he's drafted here: Let's face it, Cleveland needs to start over. By starting over, they take a point guard of the future in Kyrie Irving.
Irving has everything pro scouts look for in a true point guard. He can dribble, shoot, play defense, fly around the court, and make great decisions with the ball.
Cleveland does have a log jam of point guards, but they are all tradeable. Baron Davis is aging and can be traded at the drop of a hat to a contender.
Ramon Sessions is hitting his prime and will able to retrieve good value in return.
Select an "all world" point guard in Kyrie Irving Cleveland, and don't look back.