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NBA Mock Draft 2011: How March Affected Kemba Walker and Each Prospect

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2011

NBA Mock Draft 2011: How March Affected Kemba Walker and Each Prospect

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    March Madness has been crazier than any of us could have imagined.  We now have a Final Four that no one could have predicted without getting extremely lucky. 

    On one side of the bracket we have a No. 8 seed taking on a No. 11 seed.  On the other, we have a couple Cals who are constantly surrounded by controversy.

    There have been plenty of great stories in college basketball over the last few weeks, and the Final Four is sure to give us a few more.

    One thing March Madness always does is tell us a little bit about the NBA prospects who play in the tournament.  Let's take a look at a mock draft that takes everything we've learned into consideration...

1. Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Williams

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 241 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Michael Beasley

    What We Learned: Derrick Williams officially became a legitimate top overall-pick possibility after he thrashed Duke.

    In that game, he scored 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting (including five out of six threes), and grabbed 13 rebounds.

    That was his signature game, but he's been nothing short of spectacular all season long.

    For the year, he averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.  Plus, he shot 60 percent from the field and 57 percent from three-point range.

    The Cavaliers can use help at every position, but the biggest hole in their roster is still the one that LeBron James left behind.

    They could also go with Kyrie Irving here (a lot of teams are building around point guards now) but they can address that need with their second lottery pick.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves, Kyrie Irving

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 180 lbs

    Position: PG

    Comparison: Chris Paul

    What We Learned: Kyrie Irving's return to Duke for the Big Dance helped his stock.  He didn't get a lot of assists, but he showed his ability to score in a big way.

    He averaged almost 18 points in Duke's three tournament games (including a 28-point outburst against Arizona).

    If the Cavaliers pass on Irving, the Timberwolves won't (even with Ricky Rubio in limbo).  As far as point guards go, he's the closest to a sure thing in this draft.

3. Washington Wizards, Harrison Barnes

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Position: SF/SG

    Comparison: Luol Deng/Chase Budinger

    What We Learned: Barnes was fantastic in the NCAA tournament, but his hot streak started months ago.

    He's shown the ability to score all over the floor.  He's athletic, long, smooth and has a good head on his shoulders.

    A young core of John Wall, Nick Young, Harrison Barnes and JaVale McGee could be making some noise in two or three years.

4. Toronto Raptors, Perry Jones

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    Height: 6'11"

    Weight: 235 lbs

    Position: PF/SF

    Comparison: Anthony Randolph/Tracy McGrady

    For most of this season, Perry Jones has been the top overall prospect for most experts.  The great play of a few guys in the tournament has knocked Jones off that peak.

    He's still loaded with potential and versatility, and would be a nice addition to the Raptors' young core.

5. Sacramento Kings, Jonas Valanciunas

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 230 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Nenad Krstic

    He still needs to add a lot of strength, but his solid fundamentals should help him transition into the NBA.

    The Kings already have a couple of young big men in DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, but Valanciunas's versatility could still get him selected here.

6. Utah Jazz, Enes Kanter

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 255 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Luis Scola

    Kanter could be seen as a bigger, longer version of the aforementioned Scola.  He's a very crafty finisher and he handles the ball very well for a big man.

    The Jazz already have two starting power forwards in their lineup, and Kanter could certainly be that as well.  However, I think he's better suited to play center than Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap. 

7. Detroit Pistons, Donatas Motiejunas

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    Height: 7'0"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: C/PF

    Comparison: Andrea Bargnani/Kevin Durant

    Don't read too much into that Durant comparison—it just has to do with body type.

    Motiejunas is fairly athletic and very long, but his biggest strength are his solid fundamentals.  He has nice touch, good footwork, passes well and can shoot from mid-range.

    If he adds strength, he could be a nice complement to Greg Monroe in the frontcourt.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers, Brandon Knight

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Position: PG

    Comparison: Tyreke Evans/Jason Terry

    What We Learned: John Calipari has sent four freshman point guards to the NBA in the last three years.  Athletically, Knight is similar to those guys, but he's a better outside shooter than any of them.

    He really showed off that ability against North Carolina in the Elite Eight.

    Cleveland can upgrade at every position this offseason, and that includes point guard.  Knight and Derrick Williams would be an exciting young combo.

9. Milwaukee Bucks, Jan Vesely

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    Height: 6'11"

    Weight: 240 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Andrei Kirilenko/Mike Dunleavy

    Vesely has great size and length for a small forward, but he's still very unpolished at this point.  He needs a lot of work on offense, specifically in the post.

    He does have some serious upside, and Milwaukee could use an upgrade at power forward (I don't think he'll end up being a small forward in the NBA).

10. Charlotte Bobcats, Terrence Jones

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 244 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Lamar Odom

    What We Learned: Compared to the start of the year, Terrence Jones hasn't been nearly as productive over the last couple months.

    His upside is still through the roof, though.  He's very long, athletic and versatile.

    I think the Bobcats would be thrilled to see Jones fall this far, as he could be a solid replacement for the recently traded Gerald Wallace.

11. Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Shawn Marion

    What We Learned: Kawhi Leonard played pretty well in the tournament, but struggled from the field in the last two games.

    He's a great rebounder, and he could develop into a solid perimeter defender at the next level.

    I don't think anyone would argue against the Warriors needing some defense.

12. Utah Jazz, Jimmer Fredette

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 195 lbs

    Position: PG/SG

    Comparison: Stephen Curry/Deron Williams

    What We Learned: Fredette put up huge numbers in the tournament, but he missed a lot of shots in BYU's loss to Florida.

    His critics focus on his 11 of 29, and ignore some good things he showed.

    The experts have been telling us all year that Jimmer wouldn't be able to get his own shot off against quicker defenders, but he blew by Florida's Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker whenever he wanted to.

    Then, he showed the ability to finish over legitimate big men.  If only someone on BYU's coaching staff could have compelled him to keep attacking, the result of that game may have been different.

    The legitimate question mark on Fredette has to do with defense.  I'm not sure if he can guard anyone at the next level, but that's the same thing all the experts said about Steve Nash when he entered the league.

    The Jazz probably won't be able to pass on Fredette here because of the emotional connection many of their fans already have with him.

13. Phoenix Suns, Kemba Walker

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight:172 lbs

    Position: PG/SG

    Comparison: Brandon Jennings

    What We Learned: UConn has been nothing short of spectacular since the Big East tournament began.  Kemba Walker has clearly been the biggest reason for this amazing run.

    Please don't think I have him sliding this far because of lack of talent.  

    With the exception of the Jazz, I just don't see any of the teams, ahead of the Suns, having much of a need for this kind of player.  And I don't think Utah can get away from the emotional connection of Jimmer.

    Another team that might get him in the top five is the Sacramento Kings, but they already have Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton so I think they may opt for a wing.

    Kemba can thrive in Phoenix.  He'll be a great scorer in their uptempo offense, and spending a year or two learning from Steve Nash would do wonders for his point guard skills.

14. Houston Rockets, Kenneth Faried

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Paul Millsap/Louis Amundson

    What We Learned: Allow me to start by tooting my own horn and letting you all know that I picked Morehead State to beat Louisville.  All right, it's out of my system.

    In two tournament contests, Faried was his usual stellar self on the boards.  He grabbed 30 rebounds in those two games.

    The Rockets are still looking for a legitimate replacement for Yao Ming.  While Faried is vastly undersized for that position, he's still two inches taller than Houston's current starting center.

    His motor and athleticism will help him make up for his lack of size.

15. Indiana Pacers, John Henson

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 210 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Tyson Chandler

    What We Learned: North Carolina could very well still be dancing if John Henson hadn't gotten into foul trouble so early against Kentucky.

    Over the last couple months, he's proven to be a rebounding and shot-blocking machine.  Plus, he has shown a decent offensive game in the post when he gets touches inside.

    The Pacers could use depth in the frontcourt.  Jeff Foster is getting older and Josh McRoberts may still get traded for O.J. Mayo.

16. New York Knicks, Marcus Morris

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    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 235 lbs

    Position: PF

    Comparison: Al Harrington/Carlos Boozer

    What We Learned: Marcus Morris was better on the boards during the tournament than he was for most of the year.  He showed he can dominate the glass when he needs to.

    New York needs depth at every position following the 'Melo trade.  That's especially true of their frontcourt.

17. Philadelphia 76ers, Markieff Morris

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 245 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Carlos Boozer/Al Harrington

    What We Learned: Markieff had a decent tournament, but didn't really show us anything we didn't already know.

    He's the better defender and rebounder of the Morris brothers, but a lot of scouts don't think he has quite as much upside.

    Elton Brand's career is winding down, and Morris could step in and take over that position for the 76ers.  He'd be a nice addition to the young core of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves, Trey Thompkins

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 245 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Al Harrington/Channing Frye

    What We Learned: Georgia lost their first game of the tournament, but Thompkins was fantastic in that game.  He had 26 points on 11 of 14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds.

    The Timberwolves need a center to add to the talented frontcourt of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. While Thompkins may not be a true center right now, he'd certainly be an upgrade over Darko Milicic.

19. Washington Wizards, Tyler Zeller

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    Height: 7'0"

    Weight: 250 lbs

    Position: C

    Comparison: Tim Duncan

    What We Learned: Zeller was fantastic in the tournament.  He averaged 26 points and nine rebounds a game, but his team came up short in an Elite Eight game against Kentucky.

    Zeller's fundamentals are very solid, and his kind of size is always enticing to NBA teams.  Washington could use another big man to add to their young core of John Wall, Nick Young and JaVale McGee.

    Zeller has the footwork to be able to play power forward alongside McGee. 

20. New Orleans Hornets, Jordan Hamilton

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    Height: 6'7"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: SG/SF

    Comparison: Kyle Korver

    What We Learned: Hamilton played very well in his two NCAA Tournament games.  He averaged 18.5 points and eight rebounds.

    And before you get all outraged over the comparison, look at Korver's stats from college and his last couple years with the 76ers.

    New Orleans needs to add some scoring on the wing, and Hamilton could certainly add that. 

21. Portland Trailblazers, Nikola Mirotic

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 226 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Andrea Bargnani

    Yet another European big man has emerged as a first round prospect for this year's draft.  

    Mirotic has a lot of tools for a 6'10" player.  His size and versatility would be great additions to a Portland frontcourt that lacks depth.

22. Denver Nuggets, Tristan Thompson

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: PF

    Comparison: Zach Randolph

    What We Learned:  Texas got dropped by Arizona in their second game, and Thompson was dominated by Derrick Williams (who didn't have his best game either).  He'll take his lumps against elite competition.

    The Nuggets have taken on a completely different identity since they traded Carmelo Anthony, and the transformation isn't complete.  Kenyon Martin will likely be let go and Thompson could come in behind him.

23. Phoenix Suns, Alec Burks

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 195 lbs

    Position: SG

    Comparison: Brandon Roy

    Colorado was one of the biggest snubs from this year's Selection Sunday.  It would have been fun to see Burks in the tournament.

    He's a very explosive scorer, and could represent the future for Phoenix (if he falls this far).  He's a great rebounder and a decent facilitator for his position too.

24. Oklahoma City, Shelvin Mack

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    Height: 6'3" 

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Position: PG

    Comparison: Jameer Nelson

    What We Learned: After the way he's played in this tournament, Shelvin Mack has a good chance to get drafted in the first round.  He's led the eight-seeded Butler Bulldogs to their second straight Final Four.

    The Thunder are pretty set at every position, but Mack could be able to find minutes as a backup point guard.

25. Chicago Bulls, Nolan Smith

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 185 lbs

    Position: PG/SG

    Comparison: Kyle Lowry

    What We Learned: Nolan Smith's production in the tournament was down quite a bit from what he did throughout the season.  He may need the ball in his hands to be at his best.

    The Bulls need a shooting guard and wouldn't mind an upgrade at backup point guard either.  Nolan Smith may actually be able to fit both these roles.

26. Boston Celtics, Justin Harper

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: PF/C

    Comparison: Channing Frye

    What We Learned: Harper was critical to Richmond's success this year, and that includes their little run to the Sweet Sixteen.

    The Celtics' whole team is getting pretty old, but the age of the front court is particularly worrisome.  Harper could step into a pretty big role for this team in two or three years.

27. Dallas Mavericks, JaJuan Johnson

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    Height: 6'10"

    Weight: 221 lbs

    Position: PF

    Comparison: Amare Stoudemire

    What We Learned: Purdue got knocked out in their second game of the tourney, but you can't blame Johnson.  He scored 41 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in those two contests.

    He's shown great athleticism and a decent mid-range game all year.  The Mavericks need a solid backup big man who can relieve Dirk Nowitzki.

28. New Jersey Nets, Chris Singleton

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    Height: 6'9"

    Weight: 225 lbs

    Position: SF/PF

    Comparison: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute

    What We Learned: Injuries hampered Singleton down the stretch and into the tournament this year.  We weren't able to see all he's capable of.  He has great size for a perimeter defender.

    The Nets' biggest lineup concern is at small forward.  They could use Singleton's defense and Deron Williams would make him much better on offense.

29. Chicago Bulls, Tyler Honeycutt

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 188 lbs

    Position: SG/SF

    Comparison: Josh Childress

    What We Learned: Honeycutt was solid in the tournament but didn't really do anything in two games to change anyone's perception.

    Chicago needs a shooting guard, and if Honeycutt can live up to his potential he could be a great fit.

    

30. San Antonio Spurs, Kyle Singler

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    Height: 6'8"

    Weight: 230 lbs

    Position: SF

    Comparison: Mike Dunleavy/Grant Hill

    What We Learned: Duke underachieved (by their standards) in the tournamentA Final Four could have pushed Singler into the top 20. 

    The Spurs will still be excited to have his heart and skill set.

Second Round Picks 31-40

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    31: Cavaliers: Jeremy Tyler (6'10" C, USA)

    32: Heat: Jon Leuer (6'10" PF/C, Wisconsin)  Miami needs help in the frontcourt and they need players who can stretch the floor.  Leuer meets both those needs.

    33: Wizards: Jordan Williams (6'10" PF/C, Maryland)

    34: Pistons: Norris Cole (6'2" PG, Cleveland State)

    35: Kings: Thomas Robinson (6'8" PF, Kansas)

    36: Nets: Chandler Parsons (6'9" SF, Florida)

    37: Clippers: Tobias Harris (6'8" SF/PF, Tennessee) This could be a second round steal if Harris falls this far.  Plus, Los Angeles still needs to fill a hole at small forward.

    38: Rockets: Nikola Vucevic (6'10" PF/C, USC)

    39: Bucks: David Lighty (6'6" SG, Ohio State)

    40: 76ers: Josh Selby (6'2" PG, Kansas)  He had a ton of potential coming into college, but a lot of that has faded.  Like Harris, he could be a gem.


Second Round Picks 41-50

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    41: Lakers: Darius Morris (6'4" PG, Michigan) Taller point guards fit well in the Triangle Offense and we know the team will replace Phil Jackson with someone who's willing to keep running it.

    42: Warriors: Keith Benson (6'11" C, Oakland)

    43: Bulls: Ravern Johnson (6'7" SG/SF, Mississippi State)

    44: Clippers: Greg Smith (6'10" PF/C, Fresno State)

    45: Pacers: Ben Hansbrough (6'3" PG, Notre Dame) Hansbrough is a perfect fit in Indiana.  They need a backup point guard and uniting with his brother would cause some buzz.

    46: Lakers: Scotty Hopson (6'7" SG/SF, Tennessee)

    47: Bobcats: Marshon Brooks (6'5" SG, Providence)

    48: Grizzlies: Demetri McCamey (6'3" PG, Illinois)

    49: Hawks: Bojan Bogdanovic (6'7" SG, Croatia)

    50: Hornets: Malcolm Lee (6'5" PG/SG, UCLA)

Second Round Picks 51-60

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    51: Pistons: Lucas Nogueira (7'0" C, Brazil)

    52: Trailblazers: E'twaun Moore (6'3" PG/SG)

    53: Magic: Festus Ezeli (6'11" C, Vanderbilt)

    54: Cavaliers: LaceDarius Dunn (6'4" SG, Baylor)

    55: Lakers: Rick Jackson (6'9" PF, Syracuse)

    56: Celtics: Jacob Pullen (6'0" PG/SG, Kansas State)

    57: Mavericks: Robin Benzing (6'10" SF/PF, Germany)

    58: Lakers: Talor Battle (6'0" PG, Penn State)

    59: Kings: Jamine Peterson (6'6" PF, Providence) Played overseas this past season after being dismissed from Providence.

    60: Spurs: Jamie Skeen (6'8" SF/PF, Virginia Commonwealth)

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