2011 NBA Mock Draft: Is Derrick Williams the Clear-Cut No. 1 Prospect?

Shane DePutronCorrespondent IApril 14, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Is Derrick Williams the Clear-Cut No. 1 Prospect?

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    With the NBA regular season now over and college basketball long gone, we are starting to get a clearer picture as to how the 2011 NBA draft will ultimately pan out.

    Consequently, using the end-of-season NBA standings for a draft order, a 2011 NBA mock draft can now be reasonably formulated.

    What's more, there have been many changes since the last mock draft, as the NCAA tournament has concluded, players have witnessed changes in their draft stock, a number of prospects have entered or withdrawn from the draft, and NBA team needs have become more apparent.

    So keeping all of these factors in mind, the following mock draft will provide a profile of each selection, as well as a description as to why each franchise would pick the player 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 Chicago Bulls: Nikola Mirotic, F, Montenegro

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    photo from elgoldaubreu.com

    At a mere 20 years of age, Nikola Mirotic has had an impressive year, fighting to earn a significant amount of playing time on Real Madrid.

    Moreover, as a 6'10", 225-pound forward with an outstanding shooter's stroke, as well as solid passing and ball-handling skills, the young Montenegrin has done more than just that, as he has been one of the most efficient players in all of Europe.

    And while his athleticism and low-post repertoire are not exactly desirable, his length, skill and fundamentally sound game still make him a very attractive prospect.

    Therefore, his potential would make him an intriguing prospect for the Chicago Bulls at No. 30.

    Here he would be given time to develop behind the likes of Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, or the team could even ask him to stay in Europe for another season before bringing him over as a more finished player.

No. 29 San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Singler, F, Duke

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    After being named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2010, Kyle Singler returned to Duke for his senior year, hoping to have an opportunity to repeat.

    However, that did not happen, as his team, while being one of the best in the nation, still managed to be upset in the Regional Semifinals.

    Moreover, Singler saw most of his stats drop across the board, while failing to show significant signs of improvement.

    Consequently, his draft stock has fallen drastically since last year.

    Nevertheless, with his size, athleticism, skill-set and veteran mentality, the 6'8", 230-pound forward would still be an attractive selection for the San Antonio Spurs at No. 29.

    With the Spurs, Singler would be able to contribute at both forward positions off the bench, while providing the outside shooting and passing that Gregg Popovich's offense requires.

No. 28 Chicago Bulls: Josh Selby, G, Kansas (from Miami)

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    When Josh Selby finally appeared for Kansas after missing the season's first nine games (NCAA suspension), his performance showed flashes of what made him one of the nation's top guard recruits.

    However, the 6'2", 183-pounder looked more like a shooting guard, and then he injured his foot, missing a few games and never returning to his pre-injury form.

    And after playing minimally in the NCAA tournament, it's clear that Selby's stock has drastically fallen off.

    Nevertheless, based upon his outstanding athleticism, ball-skills and, consequently, his potential, the 20-year-old freshman would make sense for the Chicago Bulls at No. 28.

    In Chicago, Selby would be able to function as a backup to Derrick Rose, while also providing the Bulls with the scoring punch they have been lacking at the shooting guard position.

No. 27 Dallas Mavericks: Travis Leslie, G-F, Georgia

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    As a 21-year-old wing for the Georgia Bulldogs, Travis Leslie has proven to be one of the better athletes in all of college basketball.

    So while he only stands 6'4" and weighs in at about 200 pounds, the junior's physical tools, along with his high level of energy and tenacious work effort, more than compensate for his shortcomings.

    Moreover, he has displayed an improving jumper and has been developing his overall offensive repertoire.

    So when all of that is coupled with his impressive defensive tools, Leslie makes quite the interesting draft prospect.

    As a result of this, he could very well be grabbed at No. 27 by a team like the Dallas Mavericks, who could use him at the 2 immediately.

    Moreover, he could even in work into the small forward rotation, as both Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic are getting up there in age, while Caron Butler's injury problems could be a concern.

No. 26 New Jersey Nets: JaJuan Johnson, F-C, Purdue (from LA Lakers)

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    JaJuan Johnson turned in yet another impressive season at Purdue in his senior year, adding a mid-range jump shot to his offensive arsenal on his way to an average of 20.5 points per game.

    And with a wicked combination of length and athleticism, the 6'10", 220-pound forward-center is certainly an attractive prospect.

    So while his apparent lack of strength is still an issue—as is has been throughout his career—Johnson would still be an attractive pick for the New Jersey Nets at No. 26.

    Here he could serve as an apt backup to both Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries (if he re-signs), pushing former lottery picks Brandon Wright and Johan Petro for playing time.

No. 25 Boston Celtics: Nolan Smith, G, Duke

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    After freshman Kyrie Irving went down with a significant toe injury, Nolan Smith was given the opportunity to become Duke's full-time point guard.

    And he took advantage of that, effectively proving his worth as an NBA prospect and winning the ACC Player of the Year award.

    On the year, the 6'3", 185-pound senior posted per-game averages of 21.6 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds, while putting his outside shot and defensive prowess on display.

    So while he struggled after Irving returned for the NCAA tournament, Smith could still be selected by the Boston Celtics at No. 25.

    Here, he would be able to spell Rajon Rondo at the point, while also filling in for the aging Ray Allen at the 2 guard.

No. 24 Oklahoma City Thunder: Justin Harper, F, Richmond

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    After leading his team to a couple of high-profile NCAA tournament upsets, Richmond forward Justin Harper has emerged onto the radar of a number of NBA teams.

    The athletic 6'10", 225-pound combo forward has an impressive face-up game, displaying the ability to both knock down shots from deep and slash to the rim.

    Moreover, he has shown that he can be an extremely efficient player, scoring nearly 18 points per game on over 53 percent shooting.

    And while his interior game could use some polish, Harper should still be grabbed by a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 24.

    With the Thunder, the 21 year old could help to replace the frontcourt scoring presence the team lost after dealing away Jeff Green.

No. 23 Houston Rockets: Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee (from Orlando)

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    As one of the nation's top incoming freshman, Tobias Harris certainly lived up to his billing this season.

    The Tennessee forward put an impressive all-around game on display, showing the ability to score from inside and out, be a force on the boards and hold his own on defense.

    And at only 18 years old, Harris has tons of room to improve.

    Nevertheless, after the Bruce Pearl firing, he decided to enter the draft, and will likely be selected near No. 23 by the a team like the Houston Rockets.

    In Houston, Harris could help to fill the void at small forward left after the team traded Shane Battier, while being developed behind a deep rotation of power forwards.

No. 22 Denver Nuggets: Tyler Honeycutt, G-F, UCLA

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    In his sophomore season for the UCLA Bruins, Tyler Honeycutt has shown flashes of brilliance.

    And while he has struggled with inconsistency, the 6'8", 188-pound wing has still managed to post a well-rounded stat line.

    But it's his amazing length and athleticism, coupled with his ability to shoot and handle the ball, which has teams impressed.

    What's more, the 20-year-old's defense has been so outstanding (he led the Pac-10 in blocks), that team would certainly take a chance on him around No. 22.

    So if selected by the Denver Nuggets, Honeycutt could help to fill in the slot which will likely be left by free-agent-to-be JR Smith.

    Moreover, since his skill-set fits well within Denver's fast-paced offensive attack, he would even have the potential to earn minutes right away.

No. 21 Portland Trail Blazers: Kenneth Faried, F-C, Morehead St.

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    After leading the nation in rebounding, breaking the Division I record for career rebounds and coming one double-double shy of tying Tim Duncan's record for consecutive collegiate double-doubles, Morehead State's Kenneth Faried is primed to become a first-round selection.

    In his senior season, the 6'8", 225-pound forward-center recorded averages of 17.3 points (62.3 percent shooting), 14.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.9 steals per game.

    Moreover, the amazingly-athletic big man posted impressive performances against some of the nation's top bigs, including Jared Sullinger.

    Consequently, he would make perfect sense for the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 21, for he could give them the interior presence on the boards and on D which they will need with Marcus Camby aging and Greg Oden dealing with annual injuries.

No. 20 Minnesota Timberwolves: Chris Singleton, F, Florida St. (from Memphis)

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    As a 6'9", 225-pound forward with jaw-dropping athleticism, Florida State's Chris Singleton emerged as the individual who may have the best overall combination of size and athleticism in the entire nation.

    Moreover, he has used these tools to emerge as a legitimate defensive stopper, allowing him to rank among the leaders in the ACC in both steals and blocks.

    What's more, despite being 21 years old, Singleton has continued to show improvements to his offense, proving that he still has significant potential.

    Consequently, he could easily go to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 20 overall selection.

    With the T-Wolves—who rank among the worst defensive teams in the NBA—Singleton could help to pick up the slack on D alongside the likes of the offensively-oriented Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.

No. 19 Charlotte Bobcats: Trey Thompkins, F-C, Georgia (from New Orleans)

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    Following up a solid sophomore campaign with an equally impressive junior season, Georgia's Trey Thompkins has shown that he is a rather impressive NBA prospect.

    With a polished offensive repertoire, consisting of an arsenal of post moves and a solid jumper, the 20-year-old has essentially used his high level of skill to overcome his mediocre athleticism.

    And when one factors in that Thompkins stands 6'10" and 245 pounds, he should have no shortage of NBA draft suitors.

    Therefore, he could very well be selected by someone hurting on the interior such as the Charlotte Bobcats at No. 19.

    As a Bobcat, Thompkins would have an opportunity to contribute immediately, since the team's frontcourt has been left rather depleted after the trading of both Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed.

    Consequently, he would then likely find himself in a rotation alongside the likes of Tyrus Thomas, Kwame Brown, Boris Diaw and Dante Cunningham.

No. 18 Washington Wizards: Jordan Hamilton, G-F, Texas (from Atlanta)

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    Despite showing improved decision-making abilities throughout much of his sophomore campaign, Jordan Hamilton regressed somewhat down the stretch for the Texas Longhorns.

    Nevertheless, the 20-year-old wing has still shown the ability to be an elite scorer, scoring nearly 19 points per game, while making an average of 2.5 threes.

    What's more, despite possessing average athleticism, Hamilton has grabbed boards at an impressive rate and held his own on D.

    Therefore, the 6'7", 220-pounder could certainly be picked up by the Washington Wizards at the No. 18 overall spot.

    There, he would benefit greatly from playing alongside a guard of John Wall's caliber, getting plenty of open looks from the small forward spot, competing with Nick Young and Mo Evans for time. 

No. 17 New York Knicks: Markieff Morris, F-C, Kansas

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    After finally stepping out from behind his twin brother's shadow, the more athletic Morris twin, Markieff, has made a name for himself as an NBA draft prospect.

    Throughout the season, Markieff has proven to be more than just a big athlete, showing the ability to knock down jumpers with range, convert shots at a high percentage and play solid defense.

    Moreover, the 21-year-old forward-center has made it clear that he still has room for improvement, and therefore, the 6'10", 245-pounder has loads of potential.

    As a result of that, a team like the New York Knicks would be more than happy to select Morris with the No. 17 overall pick, as he would immediately help to bolster their depleted frontcourt.

    Consequently, he would enter the 4 and 5 rotation alongside the likes of Ronny Turiaf, Shelden Williams and Jared Jeffries, which would give him a good chance to earn some early time.

No. 16 Philadelphia 76ers: Tristan Thompson, F-C, Texas

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    At only 20 years of age, Tristan Thompson emerged onto the college basketball scene in his freshman year, immediately becoming an interior force.

    The athletic forward-center has used his impressive combination of size (6'9", 225 pounds), strength, length and athleticism to become a solid two-way player, despite not being highly skilled.

    Consequently, his ceiling as a player is very high, and he would make a great pick at No. 16 by the Philadelphia 76ers.

    As a Sixer, Thompson would be able to develop slowly behind Elton Brand, while playing alongside the likes of other young big men such as Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Marreese Speights.

No. 15 Indiana Pacers: Bismack Biyombo, F-C, Congo

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    Bismack Biyombo came onto the scene rather recently, after experiencing some success on the senior level in Spain.

    Soon afterwards, he was invited to perform at the Nike Hoops Summit, where he notched a points-rebounds-blocks triple-double, while breaking the all-time blocked shots record.

    And considering that he has only been playing competitive basketball for a relatively short amount of time, it's obvious that he has the potential to improve enormously.

    However, what makes the 18-year-old forward-center really impressive is his intriguing combination of size (6'9" 240 pounds) and athleticism.

    Consequently, the high risk-reward player could easily be taken by the Indiana Pacers with the No 15 pick.

    In Indiana, Biyombo would be able to develop behind center Roy Hibbert, while even being given an opportunity to join the team's frequently changing power forward rotation with Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts and Jeff Foster.

No. 14 Houston Rockets: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego St.

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    Kawhi Leonard is another player who exploded onto the scene this year, after leading his San Diego St. team on an impressive season-long run.

    Moreover, the 6'7", 225-pound sophomore forward possesses outstanding interior skills, which allowed him to notch a double-double average on the year.

    And when that is coupled with the fact that he has the ability to run the point at times and hit outside shots, Leonard's all-around game certainly makes him an attractive option at No. 14.

    So should he be drafted there by the Houston Rockets, the 19-year-old would immediately become a challenger for time at the small forward position—which became thin after the Shane Battier trade—while also helping to support the team's undersized front line.

No. 13 Phoenix Suns: Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas

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    Kansas junior Marcus Morris returned for his junior season in an attempt to make a run at the National Championship.

    And while his season fell short in disappointing fashion, the forward still managed to put up a fantastic overall season. 

    With a highly efficient, inside-out offense, Morris managed to score over 17 points per game, while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.

    What's more, the 6'9", 225-pounder has been able to be a solid defender and and rebounder, despite only possessing average athleticism.

    Therefore, he makes a strong case to be selected at the No. 13 spot by the Phoenix Suns, where he would help to shore up a frontcourt which has not been the same since the departure of Amar'e Stoudemire.

    Consequently, his diverse skill set—and particularly his shooting ability—would give him a chance to stretch the floor, while fighting for time with the likes of Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, Grant Hill and Marcin Gortat.

No. 12 Utah Jazz: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado

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    Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks put together an outstanding sophomore campaign, nearly powering his team to an NCAA tournament berth.

    And while averaging well above 20 points per game, the athletic 6'6", 200-pound guard demonstrated that he is more than just a slasher, as he grabbed over six boards and dished out nearly three assists per game, while showing that he can knock down the deep ball.

    So when one considers that he is merely 19 years of age and still has plenty of room to improve, it's clear that he possessed outstanding potential.

    Therefore, the Utah Jazz would certainly be willing to scoop him up at No. 12.

    As a member of the Jazz, Burks would immediately challenge the likes of CJ Miles, Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward for playing time, and he would greatly benefit from playing alongside the team's talented bigs.

No. 11 Golden State Warriors: Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky

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    After putting together an outstanding regular season, Kentucky freshman Terrence Jones struggled down the stretch in the NCAA tournament.

    He disappeared for stretches and his unwillingness to drive with his right hand became glaringly apparent.

    Nevertheless, the 6'8", 244-pound forward still possesses good athleticism and outstanding length, allowing him to thrive as a rebounder and shot blocker.

    Moreover, when one factors in his outside shooting, the 19-year-old Jones is still a terrific prospect.

    Consequently, the Golden State Warriors would certainly be willing to select him with the No. 11 pick.

    Here, Jones would press Dorell Wright and Reggie Williams for time at the 3, while even bumping up to the 4 in the small-ball lineups which the Warriors love to use.

No. 10 Milwaukee Bucks: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU

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    After an amazing run, which saw him carry his BYU Cougars and win various player-of-the-year awards, Jimmer Fredette became the face of the 2010-11 college basketball season.

    In all, the 22-year-old senior finished the year leading the country in scoring by a wide margin—at 27.9 points per game—while showing unlimited range, the ability to slash to the basket and solid point-guard skills.

    Consequently, while his athleticism may hold him back to some extent, the 6'2", 195-pound guard should still be able to carve out a solid professional career.

    Therefore, he could very well be grabbed about the No. 10 spot by a team like the Milwaukee Bucks.

    In Milwaukee, Fredette would be given the opportunity to serve as the backup point guard, while also likely running some two-guard alongside Brandon Jennings.

    And while the Bucks' wing rotation is rather deep and may clog up time at the off-guard position, Fredette's pure scoring ability should still earn him some time.

No. 9 Charlotte Bobcats: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic

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    photo from peckopivo.com

    After withdrawing from last year's NBA draft, Jan Vesely returned to Europe to gain another year of experience before once again throwing his hat in the ring.

    Now, the  6'11", 240-pound Czech forward has a fairly refined face-up offense, using his solid athleticism to get to the rack or his impressive form to knock down jumpers.

    Moreover, he has emerged as a good shot blocker on the defensive end, although he could use some more strength to shore up his game inside.

    Nevertheless, the 20-year-old Vesely is still an appealing prospect, and he could easily be taken by the Charlotte Bobcats at the No. 9 overall spot.

    As a Bobcat, he would step in and help to pick up some of the slack left after the team traded away star forward Gerald Wallace, allowing him to compete for time with Boris Diaw, Dante Cunningham, Tyrus Thomas and Dominic McGuire. 

No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania (from LA Clippers)

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    Playing for Lithuania at the U16 and U18 European Championships, center Jonas Valanciunas brought home two gold medals and two MVP trophies, instantly garnering NBA attention.

    However, what makes him even more attractive to scouts is that, unlike most European center prospects, the 18-year-old relies upon a traditional post-up game, using his good hands, soft touch, decent athleticism and an effective close-range jumper.

    Moreover, his natural abilities have allowed him to develop into a solid shot-blocker inside.

    So although he currently lacks ideal strength for a 5, his 6'11", 240-pound frame is a good start.

    Consequently, he could easily hear his name called by the Cleveland Cavaliers at the No. 8 spot.

    As a Cav, Valanciunas would become the team's center of the future, slowing working his way into the rotation as the team attempts to rebuild after the departure of LeBron James.

No. 7 Detroit Pistons: Kemba Walker, PG, UConn

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    After leading his team on a dramatic late-season run to win both the Big East and NCAA Championships, Kemba Walker has become one of the hottest prospects in college basketball.

    As the nation's fifth-leading scorer, notching over 23 points per game, Walker has presented himself as an ultra-quick, skilled and clutch performer.

    Moreover, the 6'1", 172-pound guard has displayed decent point-guard skills during his collegiate career, and although be may be more of a combo guard, a team like the  Detroit Pistons could very well take him at No. 7 overall.

    Here, Walker would be given the chance to step in as the team's point guard, as they have relied upon various non-traditional points such as Rodney Stuckey and Tracy McGrady, as well as the underwhelming Will Bynum, throughout this past season.

No. 6 Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky (from New Jersey)

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    Brandon Knight came into the season as one of the nation's top-ranked recruits, but his stock began to suffer due to concern over whether or not he was a true point guard.

    Nevertheless, after helping to carry his Kentucky Wildcats to a deep NCAA tournament run, while making clutch play after clutch play, the 6'3", 185-pound 18-year-old has likely redeemed himself.

    Consequently, the high-scoring, lightning-quick guard could be scooped up by a team like the Utah Jazz with the No. 6 overall selection.

    In Utah, Knight would look to spell Devin Harris at the point, while also probably being given an opportunity to do some work off the ball at the two.

    And seeing as though the Jazz have a relative weak shooting guard rotation, consisting of CJ Miles, Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward, Knight would have a solid chance to contribute immediately. 

No. 5 Sacramento Kings: Donatas Motiejunas, F-C, Lithuania

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    Donatas Motiejnas is second Lithuanian player featured in this mock, although he is definitely the more finished product.

    Currently excelling in the Italian League, the 7'0", 220-pound forward-center has used his impressive length and athleticism to become a decent shot-blocker.

    Additionally, the 20-year-old possesses a diverse offensive arsenal, with the ability to score from the post, the mid-range, the perimeter or when attacking the basket.

    And while he currently lacks necessary strength and toughness to play inside, he still has lots of room for improvement.

    Consequently, when one considers that he may have been a lottery selection had he entered the draft last year, it seems as though Motiejunas would certainly attract the attention of the Sacramento Kings at No. 5.

    As a member of the Kings, Motiejunas' less-physical style nicely would compliment that of DeMarcus Cousins, while the Lithuanian would be able to earn more time as Samuel Dalembert continues to age.

No. 4 Washington Wizards: Enes Kanter, F-C, Kentucky (Turkey)

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    photo from foxsports.com

    The last time Enes Kanter was playing in front of NBA scouts, he was wreaking havoc on the U16 and U18 competition.

    However since then, Kanter enrolled at Kentucky, and was soon ruled by the NCAA to be ineligible for receiving compensation when playing basketball in his native Turkey.

    And while his being barred from playing collegiately has hurt the 6'11", 260-pound 18-year-old's draft stock a tad, he has way too much talent to slip very far 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.

    Consequently, teams will look past his average athleticism and shaky knees, and a team like the Washington Wizards will grab him at No. 4.

    In Washington, Kanter's tough-inside game would provide a nice compliment to the athletically-oriented styles of Wizard big men Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, looking to earn him immediate playing time.

No. 3 Toronto Raptors: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

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    After limping through the early part of the season, former consensus No. 1 Harrison Barnes put it all together late in the year, reinvigorating his team and boosting his draft stock.

    What's more, should the freshman forward declare for the draft, his impressive athleticism, do-it-all skill-set and ability take over games could make the 18-year-old one of the top few picks in the draft.

    Consequently, if he is in, the Toronto Raptors would happily scoop him up with the No. 3 overall selection.

    In Toronto, Barnes would be given the chance to step in to a weak small forward rotation—consisting of the likes of James Johnson, Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza—thereby paving the way for him to contribute right away.

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke

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    After starting off the season with a bang and posting huge numbers, Kyrie Irving injured his toe and missed a huge chunk of time, creating concerns about the Duke point guard's legitimacy as a prospect this year.

    However, the 6'2", 180-pounder returned from the setback for the NCAA tournament without showing any lingering health problems, helping the massively talented 19-year-old.

    So given that, as a freshman, he was likely the best pure point guard in the nation, and that the NBA has become a point-guard-dominated league, Irving has certainly made the case for being a top-overall pick.

    But if the team with the No. 1 selection does not need a point guard, expect Irving to be taken off the table with the No. 2 overall pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Here, Irving would ultimately have the opportunity to take over the point guard position behind the aging and frequently injured Baron Davis, while serving as the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.

No. 1 Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona

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    Even though his Arizona team was ultimately eliminated, Derrick Williams stood out as one of the biggest stars of the NCAA tournament.

    Whether he was blocking game-tying attempts at the horn, knocking down game-winning shots or dropping absurd point totals, the sophomore forward single-handedly willed his team to victory.

    And when one looks at the skills the  the 6'8", 241-pounder put on display during the regular season, when he was third in the nation in player efficiency rating (the two before him played in mid-major conferences), one can't help but be impressed.

    But is he the clear-cut No. 1 pick?

    Not exactly, as that would likely depend upon the needs of the team that wins the NBA draft lottery.

    Nevertheless, since the Minnesota Timberwolves may have Ricky Rubio joining the team in the near future, they will likely pass on point guard Kyrie Irving and grab Williams with the No. 1 overall pick.

    In Minnesota, Williams would be able to step in from day one, using his well-rounded offense to take some of the scoring pressure off of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.