2011 NBA Mock Draft: Full First-Round Predictions
With the selection order starting to become more clear, anticipation for the 2011 NBA Draft is growing quickly.
There is a plethora of talent in this year's class, and many players could emerge as top-tier players over the next few seasons.
We are less than two weeks away from the NBA Draft Lottery and roughly a month and a half away from the actual NBA Draft.
How will the first round shape up? Here are my 2011 NBA Mock Draft predictions.
30. Chicago: PG/SG Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith is a solid talent. There is no one aspect of his game that stands out, but he is very efficient in almost every category.
Smith lacks the athleticism of a top-tier player, so he may struggle getting away from defenders at the next level.
However, he has a very high basketball IQ, which he utilizes to separate himself from the defense.
He shows top-end ability, when attacking the rim on offense, and his shooting ability may be the best of all his attributes.
29. San Antonio: SG Marshon Brooks
There is never much credit given to the guy who is second-best.
Everybody wants to talk about Jimmer Fredette and his league-leading 28.9 points per game.
The guy who is second on that list is Providence shooting guard Marshon Brooks, who averaged 24.6 points per game.
This season, Brooks dropped a 43-point game against Georgetown and a 52-point game against Notre Dame. He has proven to be a natural scorer.
28. Chicago Bulls: PF Justin Harper
The man who played the primary role in Richmond's run in the NCAA tournament this season was Justin Harper.
Harper showed a large jump in his play from his junior season to his senior campaign.
He became a better shooter and defender from the forward position.
The surge in play and run in the tournament should be enough to push him into the later picks of the first round.
27. New Jersey: PF Trey Thompkins
Since Trey Thompkins is such an agile player for his size, he showcases a versatile skill set on the court.
Listed as a power forward, Thompkins could also play small forward if necessary.
Unfortunately, being listed as a bit of a tweener has hurt his stock.
He isn't the most athletic player, but he is very skilled. He can create shots, pass, block shots and even score from beyond the arc.
26. Dallas Mavericks: PF JaJuan Johnson
JaJuan Johnson has fantastic athleticism, with great length, body control and leaping ability. However, he lacks the strength to play on the inside and has shown just average skills on the outside.
He has quickness and fluidity to make the easy plays on offense but lacks the natural skills of a shooter.
His seven-foot wingspan made him a huge threat on defense, allowing him to register 2.3 blocks per game at Purdue this year.
He was also the Big Ten Player of the Year.
25. Boston: SF Tyler Honeycutt
The biggest problem with Tyler Honeycutt's game is that he isn't selfish enough. Many times he looks to pass instead of shooting.
Honeycutt is an interchangeable player between the guard and forward positions. He is a versatile player who can help a team with post play and shooting beyond the arc.
The Celtics are getting old. They need a versatile player like Honeycutt who could help out at multiple positions.
24. Oklahoma City: C Lucas Nogueira
Lucas Nogueira has really taken scouts by surprise in Spain.
He is a phenomenal talent with shot-blocking and rebounding prowess and has played well in tournament play.
He is dangerous inside the paint, and he has a solid hook shot and won't hesitate to go in for a dunk. He's a physical player and should only get better as he develops.
23. Houston: PG Shelvin Mack
Shelvin Mack was one of the primary reasons for Bulter's back-to-back championship-game runs.
In terms of playing style, Mack is more of a pure shooter than anything else. He has a fantastic ability to create shots, even with only average athletic ability.
Due to his recent change to the point guard position, Mack will likely fall a lot further in this draft than his talents would indicate.
22. Denver: SF Nikola Mirotic
Nikola Mirotic is quickly shooting up draft boards across the NBA.
The Montenegro native may have the best jump shot of any player in this year's draft class.
He has good size and good height, but not to the point where he'll stand out amongst the rest of prospects. He will need to improve his defensive play at the next level.
21. Portland: SF Chris Singleton
Chris Singleton suffered a foot fracture on February 12th and had surgery on it shortly after.
Despite this, he still should go in the first round of the draft.
Singleton may lack the ball-handling skills and shooting ability to be a natural wing player, but he makes up for it with his athleticism.
20. Minnesota: SG Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson was one of the better pure shooters on the collegiate level last season.
He is an overall solid player who is more NBA-ready than most players in the draft.
There are some concerns about his athleticism, and he was also suspended one game due to charges of marijuana possession.
However, it doesn't appear these concerns had much of an effect on his stock.
19. Charlotte: PF Kenneth Faried
Before the NCAA tournament, not too many people knew who Kenneth Faried was.
He was the top player on the Morehead State team and was a primary reason for their run in the NCAA Tournament.
The power forward may be undersized for his position, but he makes up for it with his athleticism and desire.
He averaged a double-double with 17.3 points and 14.5 rebounds per game.
18. Washington: SF Tobias Harris
Although he only played his freshman year for the Volunteers, Tobias Harris quickly proved that he had what it took to play in the NBA.
In 2011, he averaged 15.3 points per game, along with 7.3 rebounds.
Harris has a high basketball IQ and is a versatile player. He can play down in the post or even pull up for the occasional three-point shot with success.
17. New York: PF Markieff Morris
One of the two Morris brothers from Kansas will land in The Big Apple.
Markieff Morris is known more for his ability as a defender, but during his years at Kansas he has grown into a much better shooter.
Albeit, he may take easy shots, Morris still hit 58.9 percent of his shots this season. He averaged 13.6 points per game.
16. Philadelphia: C Donatas Motiejunas
What makes Donatas Motiejunas such an intriguing prospect is his high ceiling. He has a lot of room to improve his already impressive game.
He is very versatile, with a solid mix of strength, size and speed.
Right now he is more of an offensive talent, but at 7'0” and 224 pounds he has the frame to become a strong defensive presence as well.
15. Indiana: PF Marcus Morris
The other, and better, Morris from the Kansas Jayhawks could possibly go higher than 15th overall to the Indiana Pacers. He won't slip any further than that.
Marcus Morris doesn't quite have the size for a natural power forward. He lacks the bulk and strength to overpower top post players.
Morris is more of an offensive-minded power forward. He averaged 17.2 points per game this season, shooting 57 percent and is very effective with his mid-range shooting.
14. Houston: PG Alec Burks
Alec Burks is a sophomore, and at just 19 years old, he is showing a very promising future. He is drawing comparisons to Evan Turner from last year's class.
Due to his young age, he still lacks the body frame of an NBA player. That strength should come as time passes.
The team that takes him will just need to be patient as he matures.
Despite the small frame, he displays great aggressiveness when attacking the rim and averaged 20.5 points per game this season.
13. Phoenix: PG Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette was the top scorer in the nation last season at BYU, averaging 28.9 points per game.
However, there are some questions about Fredette, heading into the NBA Draft. He does lack the natural athleticism of a star point guard, but luckily, he makes up for it with his shooting.
His defensive play is suspect as well.
Fredette is known for being a hard worker. If anybody could work to better some of his questionable play, it's Fredette.
12. Utah: SF Terrence Jones
Even though he was a freshman, Terrence Jones played a huge role in Kentucky's advancement to the Final Four.
Jones is a little small for his position, but he capitalizes off the speed and agility advantage he has over his opponents.
He is a crafty ball-handler for someone his size, which allows him to get more shot opportunities. He averaged 15.7 points per game and 8.8 rebounds this year.
11. Golden State: SF Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has shown tremendous progression from his freshman to sophomore year.
He has become a better shooter and rebounder. This season he averaged a double-double with 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Leonard will need to become more consistent with his play on the next level, as he tends to disappear in games.
10. Milwaukee: SF Jordan Hamilton
Jordan Hamilton is a player with a flurry of talents, though he's still searching to find what his exact role could be on a team.
He likely could play guard or forward at the next level.
There are many possibilities, and it is hard to predict how he will develop as a player.
He has a strong body and is a solid shooter, and he also has a knack for coming down with rebounds.
Hamilton could go very early in the draft, but he also could slide into the late teens.
9. Charlotte: PF Tristan Thompson
As a freshman, Tristan Thompson was one of the better forwards in all of college basketball. He was inconsistent at times but has a major upside.
Thompson is extremely athletic and is just discovering how to utilize his athleticism to finish and crash the glass.
Thompson finished the year averaging 13.1 points per game and 7.8 rebounds. His shooting percentage stands out at .546.
8. Cleveland: C Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas is a big, exciting prospect out of Lithuania.
Valanciunas makes his living off of dunks, rebounding and swatting away shots.
The only worry is his strength. He lacks the bulk and strength that is needed to be a star center in the NBA.
7. Detroit: PF Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely has terrific size and will likely be able to play either forward position in the NBA. In Europe, he outmatched almost every opponent he faced.
Vesely is more of a defensive talent and can shut down big-name players inside the paint.
However, he needs to improve on his offense. His shooting from the post was better in his most recent season, but it will still need work for him to succeed at the next level.
There is a good chance he could be taken in the top five, but if he slides it won't be far.
6. Utah: PG Kemba Walker
There are two main concerns about Kemba Walker that will keep him out of the top five of the draft.
The first is his size. At 6'0” and only 170 pounds, Walker is one of the smallest players in this year's draft class.
Next, is his decision making. Too many times he pulls up for a shot when he shouldn't. He will need to improve his shot selection in the pros .
Despite these two flaws, Walker was still one of the best college basketball players this year. He probably won't have the same success as a pro, but he is still an amazing talent.
5. Sacramento: PG Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight was one of the top talents on the Kentucky roster in only his freshman year, averaging 17.3 points per game.
Knight is a well-rounded player, with excellent speed, scoring ability and size.
He knows when to shoot and how to set up teammates and has a very bright future.
4. Washington: PF Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo is a defensive monster with a 7'7" wingspan.
He is a long way from being considered NBA-ready. He is a raw talent with huge upside and a lot of athleticism.
He has become an instant hit with scouts, due to his tremendous size and explosiveness. He could very likely ride that hype to a top-five selection.
3. Toronto: PF/C Enes Kanter
Kanter is a power forward/center from Turkey who was set to play at Kentucky this season.
However, he was ruled ineligible for the 2010 season. Despite this, he will be a top-three pick in the draft—not a big loss for Kanter there.
Kanter is a fascinating basketball player. He has size, strength, speed and all the athleticism in the world to go with it.
The only concern is his history with injuries. He has had knee problems in the past.
2. Cleveland: SF/PF Derrick Williams
Ever since Lebron James took his talents to South Beach, there hasn't been many reasons to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Derrick Williams could give fans a reason to tune into Cavs games, once again.
Williams proved time and time again in the NCAA Tournament that he is a big-time player who could make plays when they mattered most.
He is slightly undersized for a power forward, but makes up for that with his speed.
He simply makes it happen on the court.
1. Minnesota: PG Kyrie Irving
How many freshman can get hurt and sit out almost the entire season and still be considered one of the best players in the draft class?
That alone says it all about Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. When he was off the floor, Duke was a very good team. When he was on the floor, Duke was great.
Irving is a true point guard and is one of the most likely players from this draft class to succeed in the NBA.
There is never a “sure thing,” but Irving comes pretty close.