2011 NBA Mock Draft: Who Will the Cleveland Cavaliers Select 1st Overall?
Now that this year's draft order has been finalized with the passing of the lottery, we may now begin to formulate an early 2011 NBA mock draft.
And with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the top overall selection, the question now is who they will ultimately select to be the cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts.
But regardless of what the Cavs do, there are still another 22 teams with first-round selection, most of whom will have to make equally tough decisions.
Therefore, this mock draft will provide a profile of each selection, as well as a description of why each franchise would pick that player and how they would fit in with the team.
No. 30 Chicago Bulls: Darius Morris, G, Michigan
Darius Morris made leaps and bounds in his sophomore season with the Michigan Wolverines, firmly establishing himself as an NBA prospect.
The 6'4", 190-pound combo guard showed that he is a good enough ball-handler and passer to play the lead guard position, while also thriving as a scorer.
And while his three-point shot needs some work, Morris' ability to use his size, solid athleticism and ball-handling skills to play either guard position should attract the attention of a team like the Chicago Bulls at No. 30 overall.
With the Bulls, Morris would become a solid backup point behind MVP Derrick Rose, and he could even have the opportunity to play alongside Rose, since Chicago's shooting guard rotation is a bit weak.
No. 29 San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Singler, F, Duke
Despite putting in another solid season for the Duke Blue Devils, Kyle Singler managed to see his stock drop this year.
His stats were mostly down across the board, but the 6'8", 230-pound forward stills brings size, outside shooting and decent athleticism to the table.
And while his upside is limited, given his age and apparent lack of improvement, Singler could still be grabbed by the San Antonio Spurs at No. 29.
In San Antonio, he would be able to contribute immediately, since his great shooting and basketball IQ fit in nicely with the Spurs system.
Moreover, Singler could help to provide relief to the squad's aging frontcourt.
No. 28 Chicago Bulls (from Miami via Toronto): Josh Selby, G, Kansas
The 2010-11 college basketball season was not kind to Josh Selby.
First, the Kansas freshman missed the first nine games of the season due to NCAA violations.
Then, when he finally returned, the guard was unable to fully live up to the huge expectations set for him.
As if that were not enough, Selby injured his foot, missed some games, and never really returned to his pre-injury form.
Nevertheless, the 6'2", 183-pounder is an amazing athlete, a talented scorer and he very well could have been a lottery pick had he been able to enter the draft out of high school.
So due to his upside, Selby could still go in the first round, to a team like the Chicago Bulls at No. 28.
With the Bulls, Selby would be able to back up star point guard Derrick Rose, and possibly log some time at the 2, all while also being given some time to develop as a player.
No. 27 New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers): Davis Bertans, F, Latvia
Davis Bertans burst onto the scene recently, following an impressive performance at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.
There, the 18-year-old forward displayed an outstanding shooting stroke, great range and NBA-caliber size (6'10", 210 pounds).
And while he could use some additional strength and his athleticism isn't ideal, Bertans still has a ton of potential.
Consequently, it would make sense for a team like the New Jersey Nets to grab him at No. 27 overall.
The Nets could then have the option to leave him overseas to develop for a while, but if they brought him over right away, Bertans could thrive as a pure shooter, playing alongside a top-tier point guard in Deron Williams and center in Brook Lopez.
No. 26 Dallas Mavericks: Nolan Smith, G, Duke
Nolan Smith had a huge season this year, showing that he can run a team from the point, score, defend and basically do it all.
In return, the 6'3", 185-pound senior was awarded with the ACC Player of the Year award.
What's more, he established himself as a legitimate NBA prospect, and therefore, he could certainly be selected with the No. 26 pick of the Dallas Mavericks.
In Dallas, Smith would have an opportunity to serve as a backup to aging point guard Jason Kidd, while possibly even competing for some time at the shooting guard position.
Nevertheless, he would probably have to earn his time, competing against the likes of J.J. Barea, Rodrigue Beaubois and DeShawn Stevenson.
No. 25 Boston Celtics: JaJuan Johnson, F/C, Purdue
JaJuan Johnson topped off a solid career at Purdue by turning in an outstanding senior campaign, in which he displayed substantial improvements to his game.
Most notable among these changes was his drastically improved jumper, which helped him notch an average above 20 points per game.
And seeing as though the 6'10", 220-pound forward/center is not only improving, but is also very long and athletic, he could easily grab the attention of the Boston Celtics at No. 25.
In Boston, Johnson would help to shore up the Celtics frontcourt, which has struggled since the trade of Kendrick Perkins, the frequent injuries to Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal and the continued aging of Kevin Garnett.
No. 24 Oklahoma City Thunder: Justin Harper, F, Richmond
After leading the Richmond Spiders to a couple of big-time NCAA tournament upsets, Justin Harper burst onto the national scene.
And seeing as though the 6'10", 225-pound forward has a terrific outside stroke, coupled with a solid slashing game, he certainly looks the part of an NBA prospect.
So while Harper is more of a small forward at this point and could still use some work on his post game, the senior could still go to the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 24 overall.
On the Thunder, he would have a chance to provide the team with some of the frontcourt scoring they lost after trading Jeff Green to the Boston Celtics.
What's more, Harper could also be given the opportunity to serve as a three-point specialist for Oklahoma City, since it doesn't really have a whole lot of outside shooters on its roster.
No. 23 Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix): Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
Reggie Jackson had a terrific junior season for the Boston College Eagles, vastly improving on his previous showings.
In fact, the 6'3", 208-pound guard drastically increased his scoring average and efficiency, as well as his assist-to-turnover ratio.
And seeing as though he also possesses freakish length and athleticism for his position, Jackson could very well be picked at No. 23 by the Houston Rockets.
With the Rockets, Jackson would then be able to back up Kyle Lowry, who is entering his first season as the team's full-time point guard.
No. 22 Denver Nuggets: Tyler Honeycutt, G/F, UCLA
Throughout the 2010-11 college basketball season, Tyler Honeycutt showed that he has the ability to take games over.
However, he was also plagued by inconsistency, which explains why his stat line wasn't all that impressive.
Nevertheless, with top-tier length and athleticism, coupled with a well-rounded skill set, the 6'8", 188-pound sophomore could very well be taken by the Denver Nuggets at No. 22.
In Denver, Honeycutt could possibly have the opportunity to contribute right away, especially since both J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler are set to become free agents.
No. 21 Portland Trail Blazers: Trey Thompkins, F/C, Georgia
Trey Thompkins put together another solid campaign for the Georgia Bulldogs this season, playing tough around the basket, while also showing the ability to step out and knock down a jumper.
And seeing as the he stands 6'10" and weighs in at 245 pounds, the junior forward/center should be able to overcome his athletic limitations.
Therefore, he would make a great selection for the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 21 overall.
With the Blazers, Thompkins would be able to provide some depth in the frontcourt, since Greg Oden is entering free agency and Marcus Camby is aging and injury-prone.
No. 20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah): Jordan Hamilton, G/F, Texas
In his sophomore campaign, Texas wing Jordan Hamilton showed impressive development since his freshman season.
Most notably, the 6'7", 220-pounder was able to drastically improve his decision-making on the court, taking better shots and forcing it much less often.
Consequently, Hamilton emerged as a high-octane scorer, with a nice-looking shot and range from deep.
And a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves could use a player like that, so a selection at No. 20 overall would be a possibility.
In Minnesota, Hamilton could step into a deep, but relatively unimpressive wing rotation, challenging Wes Johnson, Martell Webster and Lazar Hayward for time.
No. 19 Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans via Portland): Klay Thompson, G/F, Washington State
After returning for his junior season, Klay Thompson continued to impress for the Washington State Cougars.
The 6'6", 200-pound wing displayed near-perfect shooting mechanics, a complementary floater, a respectable basketball IQ and solid ball-handling skills, making him a terrific all-around offensive player.
What's more, Thompson showed the ability to run an offense, so he could potentially even log some time at the lead guard position.
So despite his lackluster athleticism, he would still make a solid pick at No. 19 for the Charlotte Bobcats.
In Charlotte, Thompson would be able to contribute on a number of levels, as he could support young point guard D.J. Augustin, help to provide relief behind aging wing Stephen Jackson and simply add some youth and talent to a team that will need it.
No. 18 Washington Wizards (from Atlanta): Tobias Harris, F, Tennessee
Entering Tennessee as a highly touted recruit, Tobias Harris did everything in his power to live up to expectations.
As a 6'8", 226-pound forward, he was able to do a little of everything, scoring both inside and out, handling the ball, rebounding and holding his own on the defensive end.
And when that wide-ranging skill set is combined with his potential for improvement, it's easy to see Harris going at around the No. 18 pick, to a team like the Washington Wizards.
On the Wizards, he would likely be able to step in and contribute at small forward immediately, behind the rapidly declining Rashard Lewis, while even fighting for some time at the 4.
No. 17 New York Knicks: Kenneth Faried, F/C, Morehead State
In the 2010-11 college basketball season, Morehead State's Kenneth Faried led the nation in rebounding, broke the Division I record for career rebounds and came one double-double shy of tying Tim Duncan's record for consecutive collegiate double-doubles.
Additionally, the freakishly athletic 6'8", 225-pound forward/center posted a gaudy stat line, physically dominating most of his opposition inside.
Therefore, he could easily be grabbed by a team like the New York Knicks with the No. 17 selection.
In New York, Faried could immediately step in and help the team inside, since, outside of Amar'e Stoudemire, the team had basically no presence on the interior.
No. 16 Philadelphia 76ers: Markieff Morris, F/C, Kansas
Markieff Morris put together an outstanding season for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2010-11, finally establishing himself as a legitimate NBA prospect.
As the bigger and more athletic of the Morris twins, the 6'10", 245-pound Markieff showed the ability to play tough inside, and even knock down jumpers at a reasonable clip.
Given the steady improvements to his game, Morris still appears to have some upside, which should entice a team like the Philadelphia 76ers to grab him at No. 16 overall.
On the Sixers, Markieff would be able to develop 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: Chris Singleton, F, Florida State
Throughout his three seasons with the Florida State Seminoles, Chris Singleton firmly established himself as one of college basketball's best all-around athletes.
Additionally, the 6'9", 225-pound forward has also been one of the nation's better defenders, using his physical tools to lock down the opposition.
And while his offensive repertoire is still a ways away from being NBA-ready, he has steadily improved, demonstrating that he may eventually get there.
Consequently, Singleton could certainly hear his name called near the No. 15 spot, by a team like the Indiana Pacers.
In Indiana, he would help to replace small forward Mike Dunleavy, who is soon to be a free agent, while also most likely having the opportunity to join the team's power forward rotation of Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts and Jeff Foster.
No. 14 Houston Rockets: Kawhi Leonard, F, San Diego State
Kawhi Leonard had an amazing 2010-11 season, leading his San Diego State Aztecs to a high ranking and a respectable postseason run.
Moreover, the 6'7", 225-pound sophomore proved that he could play tough inside, knock down deep shots, defend and even run the offense as a point forward.
Consequently, the athletic combo forward would fit in nicely with the Houston Rockets at No. 14.
Here, Leonard would be able to contribute at both forward positions, helping to make up for the loss of Shane Battier during the season, as well as for the potential loss of impending free-agent Yao Ming.
No. 13 Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Jimmer Fredette took the nation by storm in 2010-11, leading the country in scoring and winning numerous Player of the Year awards.
However that was not all, as the senior guard also demonstrated that he could run a team at the point.
So when that is coupled with the 6'2", 195-pounder's deadly scoring arsenal and unlimited range, it's clear that he would be an attractive pick at No. 13 by the Phoenix Suns.
As a Sun, Fredette could perform a number of functions, ranging from serving as the backup to Steve Nash if Aaron Brooks departs via free agency, logging some time at the shooting guard behind the aging Vince Carter or even simply providing a source of scoring off the bench.
No. 12 Utah Jazz: Alec Burks, G, Colorado
Alec Burks returned to Colorado for his sophomore season, looking vastly improved from his first collegiate campaign.
In fact, the 6'6", 200-pounder managed to post a scoring average above 20 points per game, all while proving to be an apt distributor and rebounder.
And he also added a decent jumper to his slashing-oriented offense, demonstrating that the young guard still has plenty of potential to improve.
Therefore, Burks could easily hear his name called at the No. 12 spot by the Utah Jazz, where he could certainly step right in and win some time in a rotation with C.J. Miles and Raja Bell.
No. 11 Golden State Warriors: Tristian Thompson, F/C, Texas
During the 2010-11 college basketball season, Tristan Thompson certainly established himself as not only one of the nation's top freshmen, but as one of the best big men in the country.
In doing so, the 6'9", 225-pound forward/center simply outmatched many of his opponents physically, relying upon his impressive combination of strength, length and athleticism.
And while he isn't extremely polished, Thompson still has a great deal of room for improvement, making him a very attractive selection for the Golden State Warriors at No. 11.
As a Warrior, he would ease the pressure on David Lee, challenge Andris Biedrins, Ekpe Udoh and Vladimir Radmanovic for time and provide talented, young guards Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis with a frontcourt complement.
No. 10 Milwaukee Bucks: Marcus Morris, F, Kansas
Marcus Morris was the star of one of the nation's best teams throughout the 2010-11 college basketball season.
His polished and diverse offensive repertoire allowed him to score at both a high volume and a high efficiency, utilizing a reliable jump shot, a solid post game and decent athleticism.
What's more, the 6'9", 225-pound forward was able to perform well on the boards and on defense, making him an all-around solid prospect.
Therefore, Morris would easily be scooped up by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 10 overall pick, where he would help to solidify the team's frontcourt depth, which is especially important following Andrew Bogut's string of injuries.
No. 9 Charlotte Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo, F/C, Congo
After holding his own at the Spanish senior level, Bismack Biyombo bust on to the scene earlier this year, following an impressive, record-setting performance at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.
Scouts were intrigued by the 6'9", 240-pounder's combination of size and athleticism, making him an instant NBA prospect.
And while he is very raw and inexperienced, the Congolese forward/center has loads of potential.
The only concern with Biyombo is that his listed age of 18 may have been falsified so that he would be a more attractive prospect (there are rumors that he could be as old as 26).
Nevertheless, he would still be an interesting selection at No. 9 for the Charlotte Bobcats.
In Charlotte, Biyombo could help to make up for the losses of Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed, both of whom were traded away during the season.
Therefore, he would have to compete against the likes of Tyrus Thomas, Boris Diaw and Dante Cunningham for playing time.
No. 8 Detroit Pistons: Brandon Knight, G, Kentucky
Brandon Knight was one of the nation's top-ranked freshmen heading into the 2010-11 college basketball season; however, his stock began to slip almost immediately.
Early on, it appeared as though Knight was much more of a shooting guard than a point, as he seemed more focused on scoring and he had a poor assist-to-turnover ratio.
However, the 6'3", 185-pounder began to turn the corner late in the season, stepping up in the clutch and carrying his team on a deep tournament run.
Therefore, the lightning-quick guard could very well be taken by the Detroit Pistons at No. 8 overall.
In Detroit, Knight could serve as the point guard of the future, since Rodney Stuckey and Tracy McGrady will be entering free agency, and Will Bynum has been underwhelming for the most part.
Nevertheless, he would still have to compete with Bynum, Ben Gordon and Stuckey (if re-signed) for playing time.
No. 7 Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker, G, Connecticut
Kemba Walker was one of the faces of the 2010-11 college basketball season after leading his team on a late-season run to both the Big East and NCAA tournament championships.
Moreover, the junior guard excelled throughout the entirety of the season, scoring over 23 points per game while displaying decent point guard skills.
And seeing as though the 6'1", 172-pounder is an ultra-quick, skilled and clutch performer, he could easily be taken by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 7 selection.
As a King, Walker could compete for time with Beno Udrih and play alongside Tyreke Evans, in what could potentially become one of the best young backcourts in the NBA.
No. 6 Washington Wizards: Donatas Motiejunas, F/C, Lithuania
After flirting with entering the NBA draft last year, and being projected as a possible lottery pick, Donatas Motiejunas returned to the Italian League to hone his game.
As a result, the 7'0", 220-pounder has a polished, inside-out offense, and he has developed into an imposing shot-blocker.
And while the long and athletic forward/center could stand to add some more strength, he could still be grabbed by the Washington Wizards at No. 6.
In Washington, Motiejunas could enter the forward and center rotation behind Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee, giving the team another talented, young big who could aid in their rebuilding process.
No. 5 Toronto Raptors: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Jan Vesely is another individual who nearly entered last season's NBA draft, before ultimately withdrawing.
Now, the 6'11", 240-pound Czech forward has developed a fairly refined face-up offense, as he is capable of using his solid athleticism to get to the rack or using his textbook form to sink jumpers.
Additionally, he has been no slouch on the defensive end, establishing himself as an imposing shot-blocker inside.
So even though he could stand to add a post game to his offensive repertoire, Vesely could still easily be taken at No. 5 overall by the Toronto Raptors.
Here, he would have an opportunity to step right in and compete at the small forward spot, pushing the likes of James Johnson, Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza for time.
No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, F/C, Turkey
After making a name for himself as an NBA prospect by dominating the U16 and U18 competitions, Enes Kanter enrolled at Kentucky, only to later find out that the NCAA would never allow him to play, due to eligibility concerns.
So while his being barred from playing collegiately has hurt the 6'11", 260-pounder's draft stock, the forward/center is simply too impressive of a talent to slip very far.
Relying upon his extraordinary strength, a feel for the game, good touch inside and a respectable jumper, Kanter should certainly attract the attention of the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4.
On the Cavs, he could easily step right in and form a potent frontcourt duo alongside J.J. Hickson.
No. 3 Utah Jazz (from New Jersey): Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
As the second Lithuanian big man featured in this mock, ahead of Donatas Motiejunas, Jonas Valanciunas is the one who very likely has the most upside.
Moreover, he, like Enes Kanter, originally made a name for himself in U16 and U18 competitions.
However, what makes him especially attractive to NBA scouts is that he, as opposed to most European bigs, relies upon a traditional post game.
And with good hands and soft touch, decent athleticism and an effective short-range jumper, Valanciunas already possess a fairly refined offensive arsenal, despite his young age.
So when one factors in that the 6'11", 240-pounder can block shots, grab boards and will probably put on a lot more muscle, it's clear that a team like the Utah Jazz could scoop him up at No. 3.
In Utah, Valanciunas could be given some time to develop behind Al Jefferson at center, while even playing alongside him, thereby allowing Jefferson to shift to his natural power forward position.
No. 2 Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
After single-handedly carrying his team through the NCAA tournament, Arizona's Derrick Williams emerged on the national stage as a can't-miss NBA prospect.
Whether he was blocking game-tying attempts at the horn, knocking down game-winning shots or dropping absurd point totals, the sophomore forward showed that he is not only extremely talented, but both a leader and a clutch player.
What's more, when one looks at the skills that the 6'8", 241-pounder put on display during the regular season, when he was third in the nation in player efficiency rating, it is hard not to be impressed.
Therefore, he is a no-brainer for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the No. 2 spot.
With the T-Wolves, Williams would be able to contribute right away, using his finely tuned offensive repertoire to take some of the scoring pressure off of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.
No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers): Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Kyrie Irving began the 2010-11 season in impressive fashion, posting gaudy numbers for one of the nation's best teams.
However, a toe injury forced him to miss most of the year, but eventually the 6'2", 180-pounder returned from the setback for the NCAA tournament without showing any signs of lingering health problems.
Moreover, since he was the best pure point guard prospect in the nation before his injury, coupled with the fact that the NBA has become a point guard-dominated league, Irving has certainly made his case for being a top overall pick.
And given that the Cleveland Cavaliers do not currently have a franchise point guard on their roster, he would be a perfect fit.
As a result, 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.