2011 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting the NBA Draft Order and First Round Picks

Jim MancariCorrespondent IMay 15, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting the NBA Draft Order and First Round Picks

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    The NBA Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday night, in which the final order of the first round will be established.

    Though this year’s draft field may not be as talented as years past, the top few picks are still viewed as players that can have an immediate impact on their new teams.

    Once the draft order is set, the speculation about which team will pick which player will heat up.

    Here is a potential draft order, including each team’s potential first round pick.

30. Nikola Mirotic, PF/SF, Chicago Bulls

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    The Chicago Bulls were the proud owners of the NBA’s best regular season record, and will therefore pick last in the first round of the draft.

    Nikola Mirotic from Montenegro could be a good option for the Bulls with this pick.

    The 6’10” Mirotic can play both forward positions and would provide depth behind Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng.

    Mirotic can finish inside, and also has a decent three-point stroke.

29. Jon Leuer, PF/C, San Antonio Spurs

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    With Tim Duncan’s career winding down, the San Antonio Spurs will have to explore options to replace the big man.

    Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer should still be around for the Spurs at pick No. 29.

    Though he’s been accused of being unathletic, Leuer enjoyed a breakout season for the Badgers and appears ready to take his game to the NBA.

    Leuer would be a solid bench option for a Spurs team that will try to avenge a first-round playoff exit.

28. Nolan Smith, PG/SG, Chicago Bulls

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    Chicago owns Miami’s first round pick, and Duke guard Nolan Smith would be a fine choice.

    Smith would join Chicago’s already strong bench in providing productive minutes as a reserve.

    He averaged 20.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game for the Blue Devils last season.

    Though he’s projected as a mid-20s pick, No. 28 would not be too much of a stretch for Smith.

27. Kyle Singler, SF, New Jersey Nets

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    The New Jersey Nets acquired the Los Angeles Lakers’ first round pick along with Sasha Vujacic in a midseason trade.

    The Nets will look to draft a small forward, and Kyle Singler of Duke may be the best available at No. 27.

    Singler is a high energy player, but his lack of explosiveness may hurt him. Still, he would understand his role in New Jersey.

    He could be the answer to the Nets woes at small forward.

26. Shelvin Mack, SG/PG, Dallas Mavericks

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    Shelvin Mack went from a relative unknown to a late-first round pick after his miraculous run with the Butler Bulldogs.

    If drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, the combo guard would be able to learn from one of the best to ever play the position in Jason Kidd.

    He shoots the ball well from the outside, and has also shown good vision in finding his teammates on the court.

    Mack would be a solid option for Dallas.

25. JaJuan Johnson, PF, Boston Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics would sure hope the Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson slips to No. 25.

    The power forward would provide great depth for the Celtics behind Kevin Garnett. With Glen “Big Baby” Davis set to be a free agent, Boston will need a fallback option behind KG, and Johnson can fill that role.

    Johnson shoots the ball extremely well for a big man, and can even stretch the floor beyond the arc.

    This pick would make sense for the Celtics.

24. Darius Morris, SG/PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Michigan’s Darius Morris should be on the board when the Oklahoma City Thunder pick at No. 24.

    Morris possesses great weaving ability in getting to the basket, similar to the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook. OKC would be able to run the same style of offense with either of these players on the floor.

    He also plays above average defense, and is working on improving his stroke from downtown.

    Morris would join an already energetic Thunder bench.

23. Jordan Williams, C, Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets own the Orlando Magic’s first round pick, and Maryland’s Jordan Williams could be the guy.

    Even if the Rockets bring back Yao Ming, his injury will likely last deep into next season. Therefore, Houston will start looking at possible successors.

    Williams is slightly undersized for an NBA center, but he plays bigger than he is.

    He averaged a double-double for the Terrapins last year, with 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

    He’d be a candidate to start right away and would join Luis Scola in forming a dynamic front court.

22. Bismack Biyombo, C, Denver Nuggets

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    With the future of Nene Hilario uncertain, the Denver Nuggets may look to another long, athletic center in Bismack Biyombo.

    Biyombo is from the Congo, but played for ACB Fuenlabrada in Spain.

    His 7’7” wingspan is tough to overlook, though he may need some work on his offensive game.

    If it’s looking like Hilario will sign elsewhere, Biyombo becomes a perfect option to fill Denver’s void at center.

21. Chris Singleton, SF/PF, Portland Trail Blazers

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    Chris Singleton was named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the Florida State Seminoles.

    The Portland Trail Blazers would benefit from adding a defensive specialist who isn’t too shabby offensively, either.

    He averaged 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds for Florida State this season.

    He’d be a great option for Portland in providing shut-down defense off the bench. With the talented crop of offensive players in the Western Conference, defense is key.

20. Kenneth Faried, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The Minnesota Timberwolves should have an active first round. Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried may be an option for the second of the T’Wolves two first round picks.

    Though Minnesota has one of the top power forwards in the game in Kevin Love, depth is always a consideration in the draft.

    Faried was the centerpiece of a Morehead State team that turned a few heads during the NCAA Tournament. He averaged a double-double, with 17.3 points and 14.5 rebounds per game.

    Even if Faried draws more attention from other teams, the T’Wolves could use him as a trade chip to acquire another area of need.

19. Tobias Harris, SF/PF, Charlotte Bobcats

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    The Charlotte Bobcats hold the New Orleans Hornets first round pick at No. 19. With this pick, Tobias Harris of Tennessee might be a good fit.

    Though he only played one year with the Volunteers, Harris was an impact player right away. The forward averaged 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

    The Bobcats have relied on contributions from their draft picks the last few seasons, and Harris would join this list.

    With experience, this young Charlotte team could have the makings of a postseason contender.

18. Trey Thompkins, PF, Washington Wizards

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    The Washington Wizards hold the rights to the Atlanta Hawks first round pick after the deal for Kirk Hinrich.

    Georgia power forward Trey Thompkins could be an immediate impact player.

    Thompkins was a bruiser down low for the Bulldogs, averaging 16.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

    The Wizards will be rebuilding with young talent the next few seasons, so Thompkins would be a nice player to add to the fold.

17. Jordan Hamilton, SF/SG, New York Knicks

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    After the trade for Carmelo Anthony and subsequent exercising of Chauncey Billups option, the New York Knicks starting lineup is looking set.

    However, the team will have to improve its bench if it plans on competing with the Eastern Conference powers.

    Texas’ Jordan Hamilton would be a great find to bolster New York’s bench.

    Hamilton averaged 16.4 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Longhorns. Though he played small forward, he could be an option to fill in at shooting guard.

    His versatility would make him a great fit in New York.

16. Tyler Honeycutt, SF/SG, Philadelphia 76ers

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    With the Philadelphia 76ers exploring trade opportunities for Andre Iguodala, the small forward position may need some depth.

    Tyler Honeycutt of UCLA would be a perfect fit. Though he may not have put up the best numbers, his athletic ability will translate well to the next level.

    Whatever team drafts him will need to be patient as his talent develops, but Philadelphia could offer him significant playing time.

    Honeycutt could be a valuable wing player for the 76ers.

15. Kawhi Leonard, SF, Indiana Pacers

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    Kawhi Leonard opened eyes around the league this season as the San Diego State Aztecs earned a top-five ranking.

    The athletic small forward would work well in the Indiana Pacers system.

    Leonard averaged a double-double, with 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

    The Pacers are a team on the verge of being a consistent force in the Eastern Conference, and adding depth with Leonard would be a good move.

14. Markief Morris, PF, Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets will stick with the theme of drafting big men, as they may look to take Markief Morris with their first selection in the draft.

    The other half of the Morris twins played an integral role in leading Kansas to the Final Four.

    Morris averaged 13.6 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Jayhawks.

    He’d be a great option behind Luis Scola, as the Rockets will try to make up the production of Yao Ming in the front court.

13. Jimmer Fredette, PG, Phoenix Suns

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    The much-anticipated destination of Jimmer Fredette will be hotly debated right up until draft day.

    The Phoenix Suns may pick at No. 13, which might be the time when Fredette comes off the board.

    Fredette showed that he can score with anyone at the college level. However, the real question will be if he can translate his game into the NBA.

    He has a deadly three-point stroke, but will his defense be the reason he turns into the next J.J. Reddick?

    Fredette would be tutored by Steve Nash in taking over the point guard position once Nash hangs up the shorts.

12. Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Utah Jazz

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    The Utah Jazz could hold the No. 12 pick of the draft, and Klay Thompson of Washington State could be a good fit.

    Andrei Kirilenko is a free agent, and though he’s expressed his interest in remaining in Utah, his price tag may be too hefty.

    Thompson averaged 21.6 points per game last year, and shot close to 40 percent from downtown.

    He can be an immediate impact player for the Jazz, especially on the offensive end.

11. Donatas Motiejunas, C, Golden State Warriors

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    The Golden State Warriors may look to 7’0” center Donatas Motiejunas with their first round pick.

    Motiejunas is from Lithuania, and was very productive this season for Benetton Treviso of the European League.

    Though he hasn’t quite played up to his contract, Andris Biedrins is another European player the Warriors have relied on.

    Motiejunas added muscle to his frame, which will make him a more physical player in the NBA.

10. Alec Burks, SG, Milwaukee Bucks

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    Alec Burks could be the perfect complement to Brandon Jennings in the back court for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    He averaged 20.5 points for the Colorado Buffaloes.

    Burks is a good shooter, but could use some improvement in this department. It’s his good slashing and finishing abilities that have caught the scouts’ eyes.

    The No. 10 pick would be a good spot for the Bucks to possibly take Burks.

9. Tristan Thompson, PF, Charlotte Bobcats

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    Texas’ Tristan Thompson could be an option for the Charlotte Bobcats.

    The talented young power forward had a strong freshman campaign. His game is expected to translate even better to the NBA.

    He is said to be a good athlete with strong explosiveness. Charlotte could use some energy along the front line.

    While he may not have the highest immediate impact of any of the top draft picks, the Bobcats could develop him into a future star.

8. Marcus Morris, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Marcus Morris of Kansas seems to be a good match with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the possible No. 8 pick. Cleveland acquired this pick along with Baron Davis in the deal with the Los Angeles Clippers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.

    The 6’9” power forward averaged 17.2 points per game for the Jayhawks, and formed a dynamic duo with his twin brother, Markief.

    Though he’s a good defensive player, he may need to work on his rebounding skills before he’s a starting caliber NBA player.

    However, the tools and, more importantly, the work ethic are there for Morris.

7. Jonas Valanciunas, C, Detroit Pistons

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    The Detroit Pistons could use some help along the front line, and Jonas Valanciunas could provide that help with the possible No. 7 pick.

    The 6’11” 19-year-old has all the tools to be a successful NBA player, but his intensity is said to be his best asset.

    He finishes strong around the basket, and has soft hands.

    The Pistons hope that if they select Valanciunas, he doesn’t turn into the next Darko Milicic.

6. Kemba Walker, PG, Utah Jazz

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    Kemba Walker showed the type of championships caliber player he is by leading the Connecticut Huskies to a National Championship title.

    The Utah Jazz could hold the sixth pick in the draft, which they acquired in the Deron Williams trade with the New Jersey Nets.

    Walker would be a great pick for the Jazz.

    Utah has Devin Harris manning the point, but he may not be with Utah much longer. As such, Walker could take over sooner than expected.

5. Enes Kanter, C, Sacramento Kings

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    The 6’10” Enes Kanter from Turkey has garnered much attention from NBA scouts.

    He has a tremendous ability to score in the post, and is still refining his offensive game.

    Earlier this season, he was deemed ineligible by the NCAA to play at Kentucky. Even so, he is still a top draft prospect.

    The Sacramento Kings may be wise to take a chance on Kanter. Samuel Dalembert’s Kings career appears over, so the team will look to fill the void at center.

4. Brandon Knight, PG/SG, Washington Wizards

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    The Washington Wizards made a splash last season by selecting Kentucky’s John Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, though Wall had only completed one year in the NCAA.

    The Wizards may be in line for a similar situation, though the pick would likely be No. 4 instead of No. 1.

    Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight will likely be on the board when Washington picks.

    Pairing these two Kentucky guards could do wonders for the Wizards.

    Knight is an explosive talent, and would likely be given the chance to learn from his mistakes in Washington.

3. Jan Vesely, SF/PF, Toronto Raptors

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    Jan Vesely has drawn comparisons to Blake Griffin, which bodes well for the Toronto Raptors who might be the owners of the No. 3 pick.

    He has a ton of raw skills, all of which translate into an NBA ready player. However, the goal will be for him to put all these skills together simultaneously.

    European coaches were said to target Vesely defensively, which is likely to continue in the NBA until he can show his defensive skills.

    The Raptors can pair him with Andrea Bargnani in forming an up-and-coming front court tandem.

2. Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Though only a freshman who played in just 11 games for the Duke Blue Devils, Kyrie Irving has shot up draft boards, sitting on most as the No. 2 prospect.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers are likely to select second, and could bring in Irving to take over at the point.

    Baron Davis is currently slated as Cleveland’s point guard, but the Cavs would be wise to attempt the move the expensive guard who’s past his prime.

    Even in his limited action, Irving has shown he is ready to take his game to the NBA level.

    The Cavaliers would offer him the best chance to play through his mistakes en route to establishing himself as an impact player.

1. Derrick Williams, SF/PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Derrick Williams is looking more and more like the consensus No. 1 pick. If the Minnesota Timberwolves win the lottery, this could be a match made in heaven.

    Williams is an enforcer who throws down emphatic dunks, but can also shoot the ball well from the outside. He shot a ridiculous 56.8 percent from the three-point range.

    Williams and Kevin Love could be the most energetic forward duo in the league. These two players would help the franchise take the first steps back to being a playoff contender.

    Though he’ll have to limit his turnovers at the next level, Williams has a chance to be a scary talent in the NBA.