2011 NBA Mock Draft: Minnesota Timberwolves to Draft Kyrie Irving First Overall
The 2011 NBA Draft will feature many very talented freshman in its class. And although he didn't play as many games as the others, Kyrie Irving of Duke could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and groomed as the next great guard with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As of this minute, it appears as if the Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers will have the best chance to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Depending on what other underclassmen declare early or decide to return to school, Irving could battle it out with Derrick Williams of Arizona as the top pick in the draft.
Truth be told, neither team could go wrong with either player.
Personally, I would prefer to take Irving, because a strong point guard is so important in the NBA nowadays. Teams need a catalyst for their offense and Irving would serve as exactly that, as the Timberwolves already have some big pieces in play - both literally and figuratively - in Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. Just think what a solid point guard could do for their careers moving forward.
Irving did not play a full college season, but he was considered as the top overall pick before he went down with a big toe injury. He played just eight games prior to that, and came back in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and did not change anyone's mind. He is still ranked as the top overall prospect by many scouts.
Minnesota took a big gamble a couple of years ago by drafting both Jonny Flynn and Ricky Rubio. Flynn was always overrated, and Rubio has yet to depart from Europe. Even if he does, he is unlikely to ever suit up for the Timberwolves. That is why they need to seriously consider drafting a top notch point guard for the future.
Where guard play is so important in the NBA today, Irving would be a great way to start building toward the future.
Chad Ford of ESPN said that the Duke freshman ranks in good company.
"Irving's 31.7 PER ranking would put him in the top 5 of all college players," said Ford. "Only two draft prospects -- [Derrick] Williams and Kenneth Faried -- were more efficient this year. He plays a critical position that several lottery teams (see Cleveland, Sacramento and Minnesota) desperately need. If everything clicks in workouts and physicals, he has a very strong case for the No. 1 pick."
You could not go wrong in selecting Irving. He certainly has the skills necessary to run an offense at the next level, and he will continue to improve with more minutes. In one season at Duke where he played only a handful of games, he showed why he should be in consideration for the No. 1 pick. That is awfully impressive.
Irving has not yet declared himself eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft. But it is something that everyone feels has been a foregone conclusion for a very long time. If he does in fact come out after one season at Duke, there is no reason to believe that he will not go within the first two or three picks.
If he doesn't go first overall.
For more on the 2011 NBA Draft, make sure to check out Bleacher Report Correspondent Jason Heim, who takes a look at the 2011 NBA Mock Draft: Which Wildcat Goes First, Brandon Knight or Terrence Jones?
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