2011 NBA Mock Draft: Three Duos the Cavaliers Would Love to Draft
The Cleveland Cavaliers must wish it was 2003. If they had two of the top four picks in that draft, they would have taken LeBron James and either Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh, both of whom recently teamed up with James in Miami.
If this draft lottery was in 2003, would James still be wearing a Cavaliers jersey? Nobody knows the answer to that question, but what the Cavs have in front of them for the 2011 draft is pretty unprecedented.
This year's class has been called one of the weakest in recent memory, which is something I agree with. But Cleveland still has a good chance to take two players with All-Star upside, and while future superstars are lacking, Daniel Gilbert can still start to rebuild with two talented players.
3. Kyrie Irving and Bismack Biyombo
Most experts believe that Kyrie Irving should be the top overall pick in this year's draft and I tend to agree. While I don't think he develops into a superstar like Chris Paul, who his game has been compared to, I think he will be a very good NBA point guard.
Irving has the speed to beat NBA defenders off the ball, possesses good scoring ability and is a willing passer. I just think he's more Derrick Rose than Paul, as he will be a better scorer in the NBA than a passer. I don't think he'll be as good as either player, though.
With the fourth pick, the Cavs could take a defensive big man to pair with their scoring point guard. Bismack Biyombo is shooting up draft boards lately and is easily the best post defender in the 2011 class.
Biyambo is just 6'9'', 240 pounds but at age 19 can definitely add some bulk to his frame. He also has freakishly long arms and a 7'7'' wingspan, which means he may even have the length and ability to defend the center position at the NBA level.
He's raw coming out of the Congo, but the Cavaliers aren't going to be competitive anytime soon. They can afford to wait on Biyombo's development and in 2-3 years, will watch as Irving dominates on the offensive end and Biyombo keeps the basket on lockdown defensively. Not a bad combination, but not as good as...
2. Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter
Many experts think this is the combination of players Cleveland should draft and I think most Cavaliers fans would rejoice to get Irving and Kanter, a player who many say could have been the top pick in this draft if he was able to play at Kentucky and showcase his skills.
Kanter didn't get that opportunity, however, and it will hurt his draft stock however slightly. But Cleveland isn't complaining and would find themselves in another situation where they can pick up a point guard and a big man.
The difference between Kanter and Biyambo is big in that Kanter is a scorer who can step out and hit three-pointers at 6'11'', 260 pounds, while Biyambo is a defensive intimidator. Kanter is also likely to contribute sooner than Biyambo, but that shouldn't be the main reason for Cleveland to draft him instead.
1. Derrick Williams and Kemba Walker
I'm probably going to take some heat for this, but I don't really care. Do I think Williams is a better player than Irving? No, but it's close.
Williams was the dominant force in the NCAA Tournament matchup between Arizona and Duke, not Irving. This doesn't mean that he will be the better NBA player, particularly with Irving coming off injury and not looking 100 percent in that game.
Many people think Williams is a tweener, but the same things were said about Blake Griffin when he was the top overall pick. It took an extra season, but I think Griffin has made everybody realize that having a position in the NBA is slightly overrated.
Outside of point guard and center, where it's hard to find true studs, there are plenty of swingmen who can play two spots and plenty of forwards who fit at the small and power forward positions. Williams fits into the latter group, possessing the athleticism and shooting ability to play the 3 and the size (6'8'', 240) to fit at the 4.
But this combination is less about Williams, as it's a toss-up between him and Irving at the top. I simply love Kemba Walker, and in my eyes, he's the third-best player in this year's draft.
Watching Walker improve from his sophomore season to his junior season was a sight, and one that I did not expect during the 2009-10 college basketball campaign. I thought Walker was a nice player, but he blossomed into a full-blown superstar last season.
Walker is not a great shooter at this stage of his career, but he still finds a way to score. Whether he's using his insane speed, quickness and ball-handling ability to get to the basket where he finishes better than most 6'0'' guards, or using that same quickness to create space for his mid-range game, Walker is virtually unstoppable with the ball in his hands.
People knock his height, but they did the same thing with Ty Lawson when he came out. Lawson wasn't as proficient a scorer in college as Walker but his game has translated very well to the NBA, so why not Walker's?
I think he can work on his jump shot, which was nowhere near as good during his sophomore season as it was during his junior year. Walker is a shorter Derrick Rose if we are comparing players, as they both have similar speed, finishing ability and questions about their jump shooting.
Walker is also a winner and a leader; he proved that by taking the third-seeded Huskies to a national title. I don't think he's that far behind Irving as far as point guards go in this draft, but Williams is the best forward.
Cleveland will be happy with Irving and Kanter, but I think they should be ecstatic if the picks are Williams and Walker.