2011 NBA Mock Draft: Complete 1st-Round Mock; Enes Kanter a Top-5 Pick?
In this mock draft, we ask the question: Is Kentucky's Enes Kanter a top-five selection?
While Kanter shows great size and athleticism for a big man, he also lacks some experience after sitting out the entire 2010-11 season due to an NCAA suspension.
As the NBA draft draws near, many questions will surface about many of the prospects in the 2011 draft class, but one question that we can get out of the way early is whether or not Kanter will have his name called within the first five picks.
30. Chicago Bulls: JaJuan Johnson
The Chicago Bulls have some nice things going for them. They’re in the Eastern Conference finals and they possess a few first-round picks in the 2011 NBA draft.
Rounding out the first round, I have the Bulls going with forward JaJuan Johnson from Purdue.
Johnson is a long, athletic big man that prides himself on great shot-blocking ability and even better offensive polish around the rim.
Needing the time to develop his low-post game for the next level, Johnson will be best suited by coming off the Bulls' deep bench to become better acclimated to the rigors of the NBA.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Lucas Nogueira
Doing a great job of recruiting young international stars to come to America to become their franchise studs, the San Antonio Spurs should select Lucas Nogueira from Brazil with their No. 29 pick.
Nogueira is an athletic big man that has excellent rebounding and shot-blocking skills.
Still considered to possess raw skills on the offensive end, the Spurs system under coach Greg Popovich will give Nogueira the time to develop into an everyday player for years to come.
28. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Singler
Despite being downgraded to just a role player for Duke in 2010 after the emergence of Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving, Kyle Singler will still hear his name called on the first day of the 2011 NBA draft.
Averaging close to 17 points and seven rebounds per game, Singler is a versatile player that will give the Bulls some added depth as they continue their dominance of the East.
With the ability to play literally anywhere on the court, Singler projects to be a fairly solid pick for the Bulls at No. 28.
27. New Jersey Nets: Shelvin Mack
Considered one of the better guards entering the 2011 NBA draft, Shelvin Mack may have played his way into the first round during Butler’s magical run to the NCAA national championship in 2010.
Mack is already highly touted for his NBA-ready body and his excellent range from behind the arc, but it’s his strong leadership qualities and even better basketball IQ that have NBA scouts salivating.
Projected as a second-round pick by many, I think Mack will be the Christian Ponder of the NBA by going No. 27 overall to the Nets.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Davis Bertans
While many NBA teams seemingly are always on the search for the next Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks may have his predecessor fall into their laps at No. 26.
It may be unfair to immediately compare David Bertans to Dirk right out of the gate, but this kid possesses the same precision shooting and authority around the rim that Dirk has created as a staple for his game.
Declaring for the 2011 NBA draft after shooting over 57 percent from the floor for Union Olimpija in Latvia, Bertans should have a lucrative NBA career.
25. Boston Celtics: Jordan Williams
After parting with Kendrick Perkins midseason, the Boston Celtics realized that they missed his defense greatly.
In order to even begin to remedy the situation, the C’s will be looking to draft in a similar way they obtained Perkins: taking a big-man sleeper in the late first round.
Jordan Williams out of Maryland should be their guy as he owns a big, physical body that helped him become one of the better rebounders in college basketball.
A virtual lock for a double-double in college (17 PPG and 12 RPG), Williams will no doubt come into his own on the aging Celtics roster.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Honeycutt
If you’ve seen what I’ve seen thus far in the postseason, then it’s fairly clear that the OKC Thunder are built solidly at virtually every position on the floor.
The addition of Tyler Honeycutt out of UCLA will more or less be seen as depth for the Thunder, who look to continue to build on their successful 2010-11.
Honeycutt will use his excellent IQ and even better lockdown defense to make a name for himself off the Thunder bench.
23. Houston Rockets: Chris Singleton
The numbers don’t lie, and the numbers tell me that Chris Singleton out of Florida State University is the best defensive prospect in 2010.
The Houston Rockets will be smart to draft Singleton at No. 23 as they lost a key defensive asset in Shane Battier—Singleton will bring what Battier brought plus more.
Averaging close to seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals per game, Singleton’s above-average defensive skills will be a huge benefit for any NBA team lucky enough to draft him.
As an amazing lockdown defender, Singleton’s offensive game is well on its way to becoming elite, creating a prospect worth a look at No. 23.
22. Denver Nuggets: Tobias Harris
While the future for the Denver Nuggets looked bleak immediately following the departure of their franchise player, things may actually be looking up for the Nuggets as they enter the 2011 NBA draft with the No. 22 overall pick.
Projected to take Tobias Harris out of Tennessee, Denver will be acquiring one of the more underrated forwards of the draft capable of playing the 3 or 4 position well.
Harris has the intellect to succeed at the next level and has good handles for a big man, but it’s the fact that he’s not exactly elite at any one skill that may turn some teams off.
Regardless, Harris is a big man who can play many positions, making him versatile enough to play well in Denver’s scheme.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Selby
Coming out of Kansas after his freshman season, Josh Selby should be a great replacement for incumbent Andre Miller whenever he decides to call it quits.
Selby already possesses an excellent NBA body that he uses to lock down opponents. With his aggressive play and with a lack of better guard options, it would be smart for the ‘Blazers to take a look at Selby at No. 21.
While he isn’t considered a true point guard, Selby excels in the open court using his intellect to find the open man or pull up for a deep jumper.
Despite his struggles at KU, Selby has prepared well for his future career in the NBA.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Mirotic
Coming out of Serbia is forward Nikola Mirotic, who is currently averaging over eight points per game in the Euroleague.
Mirotic is a crafty forward who is as versatile as they come by being a great shooter from the 3 or 4 positions.
While he possesses a very high basketball IQ and is as fundamentally sound as they come, Mirotic lacks explosive athleticism and needs to add some bulk to his 6’10”, 226-pound frame.
With his precision shooting and great range on his jumper, expect Mirotic to make a name for himself coming off the Timberwolves bench.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Reggie Jackson
As one of the biggest sleepers in the 2011 NBA draft, Reggie Jackson out of Boston College should be able to make a home in Charlotte playing for Michael Jordan’s Bobcats.
Possessing an outrageous seven-foot wingspan for a point guard standing at only 6’3”, Jackson has used his advantage to become an excellent penetrator with an even better pull-up jumper.
Needing to add some weight to his 200-pound frame, Jackson’s long and athletic frame will serve him well in the NBA.
18. Washington Wizards: Klay Thompson
With Nick Young’s impending free agency this summer, the Washington Wizards may be wise to draft a new guard instead of shelling out millions for Young.
Klay Thompson out of Washington State would be a good fit here, as he owns one of the better shots in the draft and can also handle the ball very well.
Teaming up with John Wall and JaVale McGee in Washington, Thompson would bring a very nice foil to the Wizards game in 2011.
17. New York Knicks: Kenneth Faried
Needing some size to match up with Amar'e Stoudemire in the dynamic New York Knicks offense, Kenneth Faried would fit nicely here at No. 17.
An extremely passionate and aggressive player, Faried has a persistent motor and can actually play a little bit of defense too.
He’s an upgrade to play in the middle of the Knicks defense and his persona as the country's best rebounder should precede him at the next level.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Donatas Motiejunas
A lefty big man out of Lithuania, Donatas Motiejunas has a lot of potential in his seven-foot frame.
He shows great athleticism and is quick on his feet, never letting a defender past him.
He needs some time to mature into the NBA game, but when he does, the ceilings are so high for this big man literally anything is possible.
15. Indiana Pacers: Markieff Morris
The very authoritative style of Markieff Morris has him at the top of the list for most NBA scouts.
Using his great size and athleticism, Morris looks good when finishing around the rim, but also has a nice touch from behind the arc, as seen from his .424 three-point percentage.
Improving his value by playing in Kansas’ system the past three years, Morris plays with focus and passion to exhibit his overall athleticism at the forward position.
14. Houston Rockets: Jordan Hamilton
Considered as one of the better shooting prospects in the 2011 NBA draft, Jordan Hamilton would be a great fit for the Houston Rockets at No. 14 overall.
Hamilton is an extremely polished scorer with great range and better handles and would bring his gritty play with him to Houston.
While he has been portrayed as selfish sometimes with the ball, Hamilton should be able to get this under control as he emerges as a top prospect in 2011.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette
It’s fairly obvious that Steve Nash isn’t getting any younger and it’s time for the Phoenix Suns to think about acquiring their point guard for the future.
Arguably the best shooter out of the group of guards, Jimmer Fredette could be had at No. 13 by the Suns.
With Jimmer’s outrageous shot selection and his ridiculous ability to nail those shots, he could potentially be the best diamond in the rough to come out of the 2011 NBA draft.
12. Utah Jazz: Alec Burks
Coming out after his sophomore season, Alec Burks from Colorado exhibits the athleticism needed to play the shooting guard position in the NBA.
He uses his quick first step to get by defenders while also showing his effectiveness by grabbing down boards and being a lockdown defender.
Burks is an excellent wing rebounder that is as coachable as they come and will do just fine at the next level.
11. Golden State Warriors: Marcus Morris
Much like his brother, Marcus Morris is a beast both offensively and defensively.
Marcus is excellent down in the low post but has shown his polish on midrange jumpers from 10-15 feet and even three-pointer shooting.
Using his solid body, Morris can put the ball on the deck and stand out against lesser opponents.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Tristan Thompson
With the idea of building around former first-round picks Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings, the Milwaukee Bucks will be best served by drafting Tristan Thompson with the No. 10 overall pick.
Thompson is entering the 2011 NBA draft after just one year at Texas, but he already possesses an excellent motor that allows him to be one of the better rebounders on the floor.
Look for Thompson to become a versatile asset off the Bucks bench in 2011.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Kawhi Leonard
As a strong, energetic forward, Kawhi Leonard uses his high intensity to power his way through an opposing defense.
He shows great speed and explosiveness with or without the ball and has a sweet stroke on his pull-up jumper.
He possess leadership qualities that many NBA teams will covet and will eventually see himself as one of the better forward combos in the league.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas will, without a doubt, become the forward for the future in Cleveland if the Cavaliers take him with the No. 8 overall selection.
The Cavs have been known to covet big men from Lithuania as Zydrunas Ilgauskas was their big guy in recent years.
Ilgauskas left when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, so now it’s time for Valanciunas to step up and fill the void in the Cavs depth chart.
Valanciunas is an athletic 6’10” big man that comes with a lot of promise. The next big thing out of Lithuania, Valanciunas lives around the basket and will show that his defense is just as good, if not better, than his offense.
7. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo
Looking to get the Pistons back on the map, Joe Dumars would be wise to draft a raw big man with plenty of potential.
That guy should be Bismack Biyombo from the Congo, and along with his 6’9”, 243-pound frame, Biyombo brings his excellent lockdown defense and rebounding skills with him to Detroit.
Entering the draft as an international player, Biyombo could use some experience at the next level.
6. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight
Acquiring this pick from the trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets, the Jazz could use this pick to replace Williams with point guard Brandon Knight from Kentucky.
Knight had a quality season his freshman year, averaging just over 17 points and four assists per game, and will surely bring his volume scoring with him to the next level.
Highly motivated and very competitive, Knight’s career in the NBA will rely on how well he adjusts to the next level as a teenager.
5. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker
What more can be said about Kemba Walker that we fans already don’t know?
We watched him dazzle the scoreboard all season long and eventually win over the world by helping the UConn Huskies become the champs, and now he’s taking his talents to the NBA.
Undersized for the point position, Walker will no doubt have an uphill battle ahead of him, but using the motivation that has pushed him all season long and his aggressive play, Walker is poised to be one of the better pros coming out of the 2011 draft.
Look for Kemba to hook on with the Kings as they grab him at No. 5 overall.
4. Washington Wizards: Jan Vesely
The next big thing coming out of the Czech Republic is forward Jan Vesely.
After the Washington Wizards drafted John Wall with the 2010 first overall pick, they’ll now be on the lookout for a big man that can run the floor with the future MVP.
Vesley fits the bill here as an explosive player that uses his 6’11” height to bully around the opposition.
Terrific in transition, expect the athletic Eastern European to make a name for himself early in 2011.
3. Toronto Raptors: Enes Kanter
The moment we’ve been waiting for. Yes, Enes Kanter should be a top-five pick.
He’s a tough, physical player that is crafty around the rim and can also hold down the defense using his seven-foot wingspan—seems like all the makings for a legit NBA pro.
Look for the Toronto Raptors to make a play for Kanter at No. 3 as they welcome the Turkish phenom to Canada.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Williams
Considered by many scouts to be the best NBA-ready prospect to come out of the 2011 NBA draft class, Derrick Williams should see his name drop no lower than No. 2 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Comparable to a younger Richard Jefferson, Williams is an athletic forward mostly characterized for his game-changing ability.
A force on the offensive end, Williams is touted for his excellent defensive play that was on full display during this year’s NCAA tournament.
Look for the Cavs to take the second-best overall prospect in Derrick Williams at No. 2 overall.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kyrie Irving
While the Minnesota brass are certain that neither Luke Ridnour or Jonny Flynn is the long-term answer at point guard, the Timberwolves will most obviously select Kyrie Irving at No. 1 overall.
A point guard that lacks experience after only playing a total of 11 games during his freshman season at Duke, Irving will no doubt bring an equal balance of excellent scoring and passing to the ‘Wolves offensive game.
Irving is a good fit that can play now in Minnesota amidst the uncertainty surrounding Ricky Rubio’s playing status.