2011 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting the Lottery Picks with Jimmer Landing in Phoenix
After all the hype and projections of the NBA draft before the official order was in, many had either the Cavaliers or the Timberwolves going first overall. Fortunately for Cavalier fans their team won the first pick and will be able to rebuild faster than expected. The Cavs won the lottery with the pick they received from trading with the Clippers, which makes everything that much weirder.
Now that the official order has unfolded, here is how the draft will most likely pan out.
1. The Cleveland Cavaliers Select...
After only playing 11 games in college, Irving displayed a tremendous amount of potential and scoring ability. Irving has good character and should bring some hope to the Cleveland fanbase after losing their star, LeBron James. Irving may not have the same potential as other point guards picked first overall, but he can definitely be the face of a franchise and instantly become a leader on the court.
We have seen the problem with many rebuilding teams struggling to get back to the playoffs due to their lack of leadership at the point guard position. Every team needs a point guard and the Cavaliers may have found their guy.
2. The Minnesota Timberwolves Select...
Obviously the Timberwolves will have some issues between what position he will play and whether or not Michael Beasley is a part of the Timberwolves' future. With all that, Derrick Williams is not a player you can just easily turn your head to because he has superstar potential.
There are reports that Bismack Biyombo may be an option at No. 2 overall because he brings inside defense, which the Timberwolves have struggled with the past couple of years. Minnesota has a lot of options right now between Williams, Biyombo, Kanter or simply trading the pick.
3. The Utah Jazz Select...
This pick would probably be the shocker of the draft being that Enes Kanter is the best available player for the No. 3 overall pick. The Jazz already have a slew of good big men in Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors, which would make it extremely hard for Kanter to fit in.
Devin Harris isn't looking to be the franchise point guard the Jazz would want so I see them heading in Brandon Knight's direction. Knight was one of the most clutch players in the NCAA last year and has great character and leadership to right this Utah Jazz ship after losing their star, Deron Williams.
4. The Cleveland Cavaliers Select...
Enes Kanter is the best big man in the draft, and I expect Cleveland to not hesitate and pick him if he is available. The Cavs would be set for the next five years if they managed to pull off an Irving/Kanter draft selection. They need help in almost every area on the court and Kanter will definitely help solidify their interior.
Expect the Cavs to be open to trading this pick as well if a team gives them the right offer. Dan Gilbert is probably in "win now" mode and will do anything that will make his Cavs a step closer to being playoff bound.
5. The Toronto Raptors Select...
Vesely is the most exciting international player in this draft by far; if you type his name in on YouTube you will get a bunch of high-flying dunks. Right now, his game is raw and he is still developing, but with some added strength he could be a matchup problem for some.
His shooting is developing and so is his ball-handling, but in the NBA strength is such an important factor being that he will have to guard LeBron James and Andre Iguodala. Vesely doesn't make the Raptors a playoff team, but he will get them some appearances on SportsCenter's Top 10 almost every week.
One thing that is concerning about Vesely is that he tended to disappear in some of the games he played in Europe. Right now he looks like a Tom Chambers with better handles.
5. The Washington Wizards Select...
Although the Wizards need help in the paint, they also need a lot of help on the perimeter. Kawhi Leonard can bring the hard-nosed D.C. basketball that people were used to seeing with the Bullets. Leonard has taken the comparison of Gerald Wallace, but seems to be developing his jump shot a lot quicker than expected.
Expect D.C. to be a threat next year with an improved John Wall and Kawhi Leonard on the wing for hustle points.
7. The Sacramento Kings Select...
Many don't know who Biyombo is, but NBA scouts know. Especially after his stat-filling performance at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, where he recorded a triple-double. I can see the Kings letting go of Samuel Dalembert to get a young shot-blocking prospect in Biyombo, who has taken the title of perhaps being the next Ben Wallace.
He is an explosive athlete that can one day develop into the steal of this year's draft, his game just needs to be more polished. His style of play is also concerning to some because he fits the same description that big men Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet had when coming out of the draft.
8. The Detriot Pistons Select...
Right now the Pistons need as much help in the paint as possible with an aging Ben Wallace and Jason Maxiell to help support the young prospect in Greg Monroe. Valanciunas may be more of a long-term project than a player that will make an immediate impact, but at his full potential I see another Pau Gasol-type of player.
He may not come over until the season after next because of his contract overseas, but with his potential he is definitely worth the wait. Him and Vesely have the brightest futures in this draft and will end up being steals in this draft in the next five years.
9. The Charlotte Bobcats Select...
After blowing up the roster, the Bobcats must find another playmaker as their former star Stephen Jackson seems to have one foot out of the door. The Bobcats organization had a lot of faith in point guard D.J. Augustin due to his work ethic, but Kemba Walker just seems like a player they don't want to pass up on because he is stronger and a better playmaker than Augustin.
Walker will bring great leadership skills and a winning attitude to the Bobcats and should hopefully bring life to this organization.
10. The Milwaukee Bucks Select...
The Bucks roster quickly grew stale after a short playoff run in the 2009-10 season due to the consistent injuries of Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut. The only players on the roster that can get the Bucks a solid offensive possession primarily based on isolation is Brandon Jennings and the aging John Salmons.
Alec Burks can add to their playmakers and bring some electricity to the offense with his athleticism and scoring abilities. Burks may hurt the Bucks at the same time with his struggle shooting the basketball, but his slashing ability reminds scouts so much of Dwyane Wade that it is hard to pass up on him.
11. The Golden State Warriors Select...
Every year it seems like the Golden State Warriors can't get their interior problems solved, as they continue to get abused by opposing big men. Their low-post scorer, David Lee is very undersized and gets taken advantage of a lot, while his fellow teammate Ekpe Udoh is a great developing shot-blocker, but still very raw on the offensive end.
Thompson can bring a low-post scoring threat to Golden State and help spread the floor at the same time with his decent mid-range shooting. The Warriors can hopefully draft Thompson to accompany their bigs with a strong rebounder who can contribute right away.
12. The Utah Jazz Select...
Singleton was easily the best overall defender in the country last season before injures shortened his season. He is very athletic and can guard multiple positions on the court, making him a perfect talent for the Rockets. The arrival of Singleton would most likely mean that Andrei Kirilenko is headed out of the door.
With both Singleton and Raja Bell, the Jazz would be a scary team on defense.
13. The Phoenix Suns Select...
With the Suns' aging roster of veterans trying to find the fountain of youth, their time is about to expire, leaving them with the case of trying to find another franchise player. They have Aaron Brooks, but he may get let go with the popularity of Jimmer Fredette coming in.
Jimmer is a leader and a proven one at that, with the success he had at BYU and taking them to the NCAA tournament. Jimmer is a winner and can put up crazy numbers if Alvin Gentry gives him the green light as a rookie.
14. The Houston Rockets Select...
Although the Rockets have decent, young pieces in their frontcourt, they have yet to find a player that consistently produces at the skill level that they want to replace the soon-to-be-gone Yao Ming.
Marcus Morris can fill either the small forward position or the power forward position depending on where the Rockets want to put him on the court. Morris could develop into a franchise role player who gives the team a spark off the bench.