2011 NBA Mock Draft: Post NBA Lottery Edition, in-Depth Analysis
I will look at both the strengths and weaknesses of each player followed by how they can help their teams.
The rest of the first round and the second round are coming soon.
Enjoy and don’t forget to comment if you disagree or think I missed someone.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG, 6’1"
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Kyrie Irving only played in 11 games due to injuries. Nonetheless, the numbers he put up in those 11 games are quite impressive, and that is why he is the consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft.
Strengths: Kyrie Irving is a pure point guard with excellent court vision, athleticism and quickness. He shows a very good balance between passing and scoring. On the scoring side, he is an excellent penetrating point guard but also has a good jump shot with three-point range that will only improve as he matures.
He has a very high basketball IQ and is a good defender with the potential to become a lockdown defender as he develops.
His court vision and play-making abilities as well as his ability to take on the scoring load when needed have drawn him comparisons to Chris Paul. Whether or not he will live up to these comparisons is yet to be seen.
Weaknesses: He missed most of the last college season due to injury, but other than that, he has very few weaknesses.
How Kyrie Irving helps Cleveland:
Kyrie Irving will give the Cleveland Cavaliers a new hope. On a team with so many holes, he fills perhaps the most important one of all, point guard.
Kyrie Irving is the type of player that a team can be built around, and that is exactly what Cleveland will try to do when they draft Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Enes Kanter, C/PF, 6’11"
Many of you will be quite surprised not to see Derrick Williams here, but I would argue that Enes Kanter, though he is not as talented as Williams, is nonetheless the better fit for Minnesota.
That being said, Minnesota could also take Derrick Williams second overall regardless and then trade him to the team that drafts Kanter. This would allow them to get not only Kanter but also someone else as well.
Strengths: Despite his excellent mid-range jump shot, Enes Kanter should in no way be described as a “soft European player.” Rather, Kanter is a tough and physical center/power forward who loves to bang down low with his great post game and his plethora of post moves to beat his defender. He is also an excellent rebounder along with his good ball handling and passing skills.
Weaknesses: The biggest knock on Kanter would have to be his lack of athleticism and leaping ability; however, he is able to make up for this in part with his high basketball IQ. Aside from that, health could be an issue with Kanter, but we will find out more on that come the draft combine.
How Enes Kanter helps Minnesota:
Minnesota already has Michael Beasley at the three, and although I would argue that Derrick Williams would be an upgrade over Beasley, I see Minnesota instead going with Enes Kanter at center in order to play alongside Kevin Love and take a bit of the burden off of him.
If all goes well and Minnesota signs finally Ricky Rubio (they are reportedly as close as ever and it could be official within the next few weeks), they will enter next season with a starting rotation that has the potential to become something very special in a couple years.
3. Utah Jazz: Derrick Williams, SF/PF, 6’8"
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
With Minnesota passing on Derrick Williams for Enes Kanter, the Utah Jazz will certainly not hesitate to grab Derrick Williams with the third overall pick. Williams will be a perfect replacement for Andrei Kirilenko who is expected to leave in free agency.
Strengths: Derrick Williams can do just about everything. He is very athletic, he can shoot the mid- and long-range jumper, drive to the rim, draw the contact and then beat you at the free-throw line, or he can just post you up. Williams has a good understanding of the game, showing great shot selection and maturity, and he can rebound and play good defense (which will only improve as he matures).
Weaknesses: Williams is considered by many to be a tweener and too undersized to play power forward at the NBA level. That being said, I would argue that Derrick Williams would be far more successful at the small forward position regardless, in which case his size would be an asset not a weakness.
How Derrick Williams helps the Jazz:
With Andrei Kirilenko on his way this summer and Derrick Williams still on the board when Utah makes the third overall pick there is no way they will pass on him.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valenciunas, PF/C, 6’10"
After solidifying the point guard position by selecting Kyrie Irving first overall, the Cavs will take the Jonas Valenciunas to hold things down in the middle.
Strengths: Jonas Valenciunas is another player who is breaking the typcial mould of the European big man. He lives down low where he has a very soft touch. On the defensive end, he is a good shot blocker and rebounder.
Weaknesses: Unlike many European big men, Valenciunas has a great inside game but must improve on his mid-range shooting. Other than that, he is a great big man prospect, and if he can add strength and toughness as he matures, he will be just fine.
How Jonas Valenciunas helps Cleveland:
Jonas Valenciunas helps the Cavs by filling their hole at center and giving them a dominant presence down low on offense as well as rebounding and shot-blocking ability.
5. Toronto Raptors: Brandon Knight, PG, 6’3"
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
With Enes Kanter and Jonas Valenciunas off the board, the Raptors will forget their need for a center and instead get their replacement for Jose Calderon and their point guard of the future.
Strengths: Brandon Knight does just about everything well. He can score and pass and he is a good defender. Combine that with his athleticism, high basketball IQ and the fact that he can play either guard position, and you have a very good pick at the point guard position that would help any team.
Weaknesses: He will need to improve his consistency from behind the arc, but other than that, it is hard to go wrong with Brandon Knight.
How Brandon Knight helps the Raptors:
Jose Calderon is no longer a part of the future of the Toronto Raptors, and Jerryd Bayless is far better suited to play SG. By drafting Brandon Knight, the Raptors will be able to trade Jose Calderon and make Jerryd Bayless their sixth man once Barbosa is gone (either this year if he declines the player option or next year once he becomes an unrestricted free agent) as a backup to both DeMar DeRozan and Brandon Knight.
Brandon Knight will be the answer for the Raptors at the point guard position, and he along with DeMar DeRozan will be the leaders of this young Raptors team moving forward.
6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard, SF/SG, 6’7"
Harry How/Getty Images
The Wizards need a small forward and a center, and unfortunately the cream of the crop at center (Kanter and Valenciunas) is no longer available as is the case at small forward (Derrick Williams).
That being said, Kawhi Leonard is certainly no player to scoff at, at the small forward position. He has recently risen up the draft boards of ESPN’s Chad Ford, who considers Leonard to be top-five pick worthy.
Strengths: Kawhi Leonard is a very athletic wing player and an excellent rebounder with great leaping ability and a big body with a ton of length. His offensive game is still developing, but the size and athleticism are there for him, and his offense as well as improved defense should come easily as he matures.
Weaknesses: As mentioned earlier, his offensive game has yet to fully develop.
How Kawhi Leonard helps the Wizards:
He will not have an immediate impact in the NBA, but given a year or two to develop and adjust, he should be a great fit for the Wizards.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker, PG, 6’1"
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Sacramento will finally get their point guard, which will allow them to move Tyreke Evans to the 2-spot.
Strengths: Kemba Walker is very athletic. He is incredibly quick and is just plain explosive when he is driving to the rim to either finish with the hoop or kick it out to a teammate. I would not necessarily call him a lock down defender, but he still averages many steals. His jump shot has improved a lot and should only get better as he matures. Finally, his heart and tenacity are rivalled by few others in this year’s draft.
Weaknesses: The biggest knock on Kemba Walker would have to be that he is undersized, which may or may not hurt his chances of being successful in the NBA. Aside from that, he is more of a scorer than a passer, which hurts him since he is far too small to play SG.
How Kemba Walker helps Sacramento:
The Kings already have two talented young prospects at power forward with DeMarcus Cousins and at SG with former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, and they hope to sure up the PG position this summer by drafting Kemba Walker.
Bringing in Kemba Walker will allow Sacramento to move Tyreke Evans to his natural position at SG, but the big question is whether these two scorers can find a way to co-exist.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo, PF, 6’9"
Detroit will look to the relatively unknown Bismack Biyombo of Congo who recently came out of nowhere and rose rapidly up NBA draft boards.
Strengths: Bismack Biyombo is a long, athletic big man and a great defender as well as being a very good rebounder. His offense could use some work, but that will come in time.
Weaknesses: As mentioned above, Biyombo will certainly need to improve on offense once he arrives in the NBA. That being said, he is still young and that will likely come as he matures. Other than that, he is undersized at 6’9", but he makes up for that in part with his long wingspan.
How Bismack Biyombo helps Detroit:
Bismack Biyombo will team up with Greg Monroe in the frontcourt to give the Pistons a combination of two tough big men with a lot of potential.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Jan Vesely, PF/SF, 6’11"
Jan Vesely can play either forward position and is a great fit for the Bobcats who could use a replacement for Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson.
Strengths: Jan Vesely is a big athletic forward with a great jump shot and range beyond the three-point line as well as the ability to slash to the basket thanks in large part to his mix of size, athleticism and above average ball handling skills for a forward his size.
Weaknesses: If Vesely is to play power forward at the NBA level, he will have to get stronger and improve his post game.
How he helps the Bobcats:
The Bobcats are in need of a young PF/SF to replace the aging Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson and Jan Vesely just may be the answer. That being said, it will be a couple years before we get to see what Jan Vesely is truly capable of and whether or not he really is the answer for the Bobcats.
10. Milwaukee Bucks, Alec Burks, SG, 6’6"
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Bucks will look to find a replacement for the aging Michael Redd and the average John Salmons by drafting shooting guard Alec Burks.
Strengths: Alec Burks is a long and athletic penetrating shooting guard who can get to the rim with relative ease and finish strong with some big dunks. He has a lot of potential, and if he can improve his jump shot, he will become a very deadly scorer.
Weaknesses: As mentioned earlier, he must improve his jump shot and range. Aside from that, he could use some more strength and must learn to play better off the ball on offense.
How Alec Burks helps Milwaukee:
Alec Burks will not make an immediate impact in the NBA, however, he will without a doubt showcase his incredible ability to get to the basket with ease and then finish strong with his great leaping ability.
Once he develops a consistent jump shot, expect him to become a very talented player for the Bucks.
11. Golden State Warriors: Chris Singleton, SF, 6’9"
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Warriors will look to add some defense and toughness to their game and may surprise some by selecting Chris Singleton 11th overall.
Strengths: Chris Singleton is one of if not the best perimeter defender in the draft. He is long and athletic and possesses a good mid-range jumper as well as some three-point range, though he is inconsistent from beyond the arc.
Weaknesses: As mentioned above, he is a streaky shooter from long range, and he must also develop a post game in order to take advantage of his length and height.
How Chris Singleton helps Golden State
The Warriors are a horrible team defensively, and they lack overall toughness. Chris Singleton should be able to help the Warriors out in this department, expect him to be more of a role player and split time with Dorell Wright.
12. Utah Jazz: Kenneth Faried, PF, 6’8"
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
The Jazz will use their second first-rounder to take power forward Kenneth Faried who will give them a much needed boost in rebounding, considering they were ranked 26th in the league this season.
Strengths: Kenneth Faried is one of if not he best rebounder in the draft. He is very long and is a great leaper, this also allows him to block a lot of shots.
Weaknesses: He is undersized for the power forward position but makes up for this in part with his length. Must add strength and work on his offensive game which is still quite raw.
How Kenneth Faried helps Utah:
Faried will be a huge help on the glass and likely with his shot-blocking ability as well. Until he develops an offensive game, he will be no more than a role player coming off the bench. However, he has been known to have a very good work ethic, so I would not be surprised to see him make the necessary improvements on offense to become a starter on Utah or a different team.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette, PG, 6’2"
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Strengths and Weaknesses:
By now we should all know the story about Jimmer. He is an excellent scorer and has a very good basketball IQ. That being said, many expect him to struggle defensively at the NBA level and also be hindered by his lack of athletic ability.
How Jimmer Fredette helps the Phoenix Suns:
As many others have touched on before, the Suns will eventually need a replacement for Steve Nash, and if Aaron Brooks does not work ou,t then they will look to have Jimmer as their backup plan.
With Steve Nash as his mentor, Jimmer should have no trouble adjusting to the NBA offensively, but will he be hampered by his defense?
14. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas, PF, 7’
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Strengths: Athletic big man with the ability to score around the basket with both hands combined with a good mid-range jumper. He is also a good passer and has a high basketball IQ.
Weaknesses: Needs to add strength and improve his consistency from long range if he plans on adding that to his arsenal of offensive weapons.
How Donatas Motiejunas helps Houston:
Motiejunas brings size and scoring at center.