2011 NBA Mock Draft: Will Kyrie Irving Be Cleveland's Point Guard of the Future
We thought that we had a good idea of how the first round would play out, but everything changed last night during the NBA draft lottery. Those lottery balls have a way of shuffling the deck and creating mayhem.
Owner Dan Gilbert and Cleveland Cavalier fans everywhere rejoiced as they landed not only the top overall pick in the draft, but also the fourth pick as well. Minnesota, meanwhile, added another page to their growing history of NBA lottery disappointments.
The Timberwolves will have the second selection in the draft and they will be forced to adjust to Cleveland’s move with the first pick.
The draft pecking order has been shuffled, to say the least. It is now time to examine which players will benefit from the new draft order and which prospects are set for a fall.
Here is the updated 2011 NBA draft first-round mock “post-lottery edition.” This article will be updated all day, so continue to check back as the day progresses for continued selections. Read along, as we not only examine which top-tier prospects will go in the top five, but also which tweeners will squeeze their way into the end of the first round.
Luol Deng is a great player for Chicago at the small forward position, but Deng is in need of help on the wing. Rasual Butler played very sparingly in a backup role at the position, but was not overly effective. Chicago needs more depth on the wing, and Florida’s Chandler Parsons is the perfect prospect for the club to take on.
Chandler Parsons was a former McDonalds All-American, and a four year player for head coach Billy Donovan at Florida. Parsons was never spectacular at Florida, but finished with a solid senior campaign averaging 11.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. At 6’10 218 lbs Parsons has great size for the position and consistently improved his outside shooting during his time in Gainesville. He shot 37% from behind the arc as a senior.
Chandler Parsons is not the type of player that is ready to be one of the go to scoring options on a basketball team, but luckily he will not walk into that type of situation with Chicago. Parsons can play behind Luol Deng at his natural position on the wing. The fact that Chicago is already a well-established basketball team will bode well for Chandler as well.
There is no doubt that Tim Duncan is a future Hall of Famer, but at age 35 Duncan is at the tail end of his career. Matt Bonner has played well in a backup role for Duncan. The Spurs need to invest in a young prospect that can possibly carry Duncan’s mantle (or try to) after he departs.
Keith Benson did not receive the most publicity during his four years in college at Oakland, but he has a chance to be a special pro. At 6’11 230 lbs Benson projects as a power forward at the professional level, even though he played center in college.
Benson was very productive during his time in college, and averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He also played his best in the Golden Grizzlies biggest matchups. Benson recorded a double-double in each of Oakland’s three games versus Texas, Purdue and Tennessee.
This is an ideal situation for Keith Benson and the Spurs organization. Benson will have the opportunity to learn from and play alongside Tim Duncan during the next couple of seasons. Eventually the franchise is hoping that Benson and DeJuan Blair will from a low post duo for the future.
Josh Selby was the number one rated prospect in the class of 2010 as rated by Rivals.
Selby’s signing and subsequent arrival at Kansas was greeted with sky high expectations, but those lofty hopes were not met. Selby only averaged 7.9 points per game, and had trouble establishing his place on the veteran laden Jayhawks squad.
Honestly though, Josh Selby’s game is probably better fitted for the NBA. The prospect has elite athleticism and is at his best when he is breaking defenders down in one-on-one situations. He is also especially dangerous in the open court where he can make plays in transition.
Chicago does not have any spectacular talents at shooting guard, and Selby could form a lethal backcourt combination with Derrick Rose. Josh Selby would benefit from Rose’s breakdown ability and would be able to utilize his one-on-one skills more in the NBA. For this to work though, Selby would have to accept playing off of Rose in the backcourt.
Josh Selby is a lot better individual talent than the 28th pick, but he would fall into a great situation here in Chicago at the end of the first round. At one time, Selby was the most heralded recruit in the country. I am willing to bet that all of that talent did not evaporate over the course of 12 months.
Neither, Kris Humphries nor Brandan Wright are true low post compliments to center Robin Lopez in the frontcourt. There are a couple big men for the organization to choose from, but Georgia’s Trey Thompkins is the best fit for the Nets.
Thompkins along with Travis Leslie helped lead a revival of Georgia basketball under head coach Mark Fox. The Bulldogs made it back to the NCAA Tournament in Thompkins and Leslie’s final season with the school.
Trey Thompkins does not have high level athleticism, but he is still a very productive prospect. He averaged 16.4 and 7.6 rebounds per game last season as a junior. Thompkins relies on a well-rounded set of post moves and a great motor to put the ball in the basket down low. At 6’10 245 lbs he also has good size for the position as well.
Scouts two main concerns with Thompkins are his lack of quickness and athleticism. These are two aspect of his game that Trey will need to work on.
Regardless though, Thompkins was very productive on the college level and his positives as a prospect far outweigh the negatives attached to him. Trey Thompkins has great value at pick 27, and could form a solid low post duo with Robin Lopez.
Caron Butler will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic meanwhile are both older players. Dallas is similar to Oklahoma City in that they do not have any pressing needs, but if there is one position they would want to address it is small forward.
Here at pick 26, Dallas can afford to take a gamble on a high risk-high reward prospect and that is exactly what the franchise does.
Jereme Richmond has the potential to be a great NBA talent. Richmond has great size for the wing at 6’7 205 lbs and possesses guard like qualities as well. He also has high level athleticism that he has shown only brief glances of so far.
For all of that upside that I just described, the reality was that Jereme Richmond only averaged 7.6 points per game as a freshman at Illinois. He never dominated his fellow collegiate competition during his time in Champaign. Richmond also only shot 17% from behind the three point arc last season. He will need to improve on those shooting statistics if he hopes to keep defenders from sagging off him too much.
Jereme Richmond has the potential to be a great NBA player, but he still has an ample amount of work to do.
Both Glen Davis and Troy Murphy will be unrestricted free agents this offseason. Kevin Garnett meanwhile is nearing the end of his career at age 34. Boston is about to incur heavy losses at the power forward position, and the franchise will use this pick to bring in a fresh young talent.
Richmond’s Justin Harper is not the most heralded of the low post prospects, but Harper has an excellent game that he is ready to put to use immediately at the NBA level. Harper stayed all four years at Richmond, and you can notice the level of polish in his game because of it. Justin had his breakout season last year averaging 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Spiders. Harper also has great size for the position at 6’10 225 lbs.
One critique that scouts do have about Justin Harper is that his game lacks physicality, and he prefers a finesse style of play. This may not sit well with Boston fans, and the Celtic tradition was certainly not built on “finesse basketball”. Nevertheless, at pick 25 Justin Harper is arguably the top prospect on the board and will fill a position that is about to take on losses.
Davis Bertans like most other international players is a prospect that will need time to develop and adjust to the NBA. Luckily for Davis, he is playing behind Kevin Durant so he will not be expected to assume starters minutes for Oklahoma City. Davis Bertans is a great investment for the future though that is definitely worth the selection here at pick 24 for the Thunder.
Bertans is a 6’10 210 lb swingman from Latvia. Scouts love Davis Bertans’s long range shooting stroke and great athleticism, but say that he will need time to polish his game. This is the perfect type of prospect for an Oklahoma City team that does not have any truly pressing needs.
If Davis Bertans is coached up, he could be a scary prospect to match up against. Needless to say, a 6’10 big man that has the type of range that Bertans is described as having is tough to deal with. Another aspect to consider is that Bertans would have a top notch point guard such as Russell Westbrook to play off of.
This would not be the most memorable pick of the draft, rather it would be a selection that is remembered three or four years later.
Houston is in a similar situation to Portland in that the Rockets are trying to decide which direction to go with their prized big man. Yao Ming has been slowed by injury over the course of his career like Portland’s Greg Oden. Yao will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Whether Yao will be a member of the Rockets at the beginning of next season is a major uncertainty.
Chuck Hayes is undersized for an NBA center at 6’6, but he has played well for the Rockets over the past couple seasons while Yao has been sidelined. With that being said, the franchise still needs more of a low post presence than just strictly Hayes. Brazil’s Lucas Nogueira is 7’0 225 lbs and has tremendous upside. The 18 year old also has great length and athleticism.
Nogueira is extremely raw as a prospect though and has little offensive game whatsoever according to scouts. At this point in the first round though, Lucas Nogueira is definitely worth the risk for the Rockets. Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola are both solid players for the franchise that can allow Nogueira to ease his way into things as a member of the Rockets.
Danilo Gallinari is a great player for Denver, but the Nuggets need more than just Gallinari on the wing. Gary Forbes only offered minimal production in a backup role for Gallinari last season. The franchise needs another player who can step in and contribute on the wing. They find that player in Florida State’s Chris Singleton.
Chris Singleton is a rugged player and great athlete who was slowed by a foot injury last season at Florida State. Singleton averaged 13.1 points and 6.8 rebounds last season for the Seminoles. He is also a superb defender and was actually named ACC defensive player of the year last season. This is good news for a Nuggets team that gave up 102.7 points per game last season.
Singleton does not bring as much scoring to the table as some of the other prospects, but Denver led the league in scoring anyway. Chris’s rebounding and defense will be the most appreciated attributes that he will bring to the club.
Frankly, this pick will depend heavily on the Nugget’s ability to keep center Nene Hilario as well as unrestricted free agent J.R. Smith. Depending on the free agency results, the Nuggets could also address potential needs at guard or center. Right now though, the wing is the position that needs to be addressed.
Greg Oden will be a restricted free agent this summer. It is uncertain whether the club will choose to bring Oden back on or not. Backup Marcus Camby is nearing the end of his career at age 37. Portland has more questions than answers surrounding the center position, and the franchise uses the draft to address this need.
Jordan Williams had a breakout season as a sophomore at Maryland. Williams’s numbers and level of play significantly increased during the time between his freshman and sophomore seasons. He averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds for a Terrapins team that did not have an abundance of surrounding talent last year.
The 6’10 260 lb Williams plays physical in the post, and is a committed rebounder as evidenced by his strong rebounding numbers.
Portland chooses Jordan Williams over Brazil’s Lucas Nogueira because Williams is ready make an immediate impact compared to the developmental Nogueira. The direction this pick goes will have a lot to do with the direction Portland decides to go with Greg Oden.
Jordan Williams may seem like somewhat of a stretch here at pick 21, but the prospect’s draft stock is rising right now and this is an ideal situation for him.
I am well aware that Reggie Jackson does not stack up to Kyrie Irving as a point guard prospect, but at this point in the first round Jackson is a great get for the Timberwolves.
Reggie Jackson is a scoring guard that can fill it up from the perimeter. The point guard averaged 18.2 points per game and shot 42% from three point range for Boston College. He can push the ball in transition and has good size for the position at 6’3 208 lbs. Luke Ridnour played well for the Timberwolves at point guard, but Jackson is still a solid investment for this franchise.
There is an ample amount of uncertainty surrounding this position. Jonny Flynn had minimal production last season, and former first round pick Ricky Rubio is still playing in Europe. It could be argued that Minnesota should continue to address the backcourt, but there are not a lot of low post prospects here that are ready to contribute.
Reggie Jackson gives the Timberwolves extra scoring punch from the point guard position. He is also a potent shooter that low post players Kevin Love and Derrick Williams can kick the ball out to.
Despite the presence of Boris Diaw and Tyrus Thomas at power forward, Charlotte still found themselves lacking in the paint last season. The Bobcats ranked just 24th in the league last season in rebounding.
Kwame Brown is far from an irreplaceable piece at center, but there simply are not any talented big men for the Bobcats to choose from at this point in the draft. Brazil’s Lucas Nogueira is available, but Nogueira is too raw for the Bobcats to invest in here at pick 19.
Instead, Charlotte adds bulk at their power forward position in the form of Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried. Faried broke Tim Duncan’s NCAA career rebounding record and is a tireless worker on the boards. Faried’s presence should aid Charlotte as they try to fix the rebounding errors that I mentioned earlier.
Kenneth Faried put to rest any argument that he could not perform against the power schools when Morehead State defeated Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Faried scored 12 points and grabbed 17 rebounds against Terrence Jennings and the Cardinals front line. The fact that Faried has spent four years on the college landscape is also a plus. You can see the added polish to the prospect’s game.
Washington added some much needed skill to their frontline be selecting Jonas Valanciunas with the sixth pick. The Wizards will follow up on that move and use the 18th pick to add a talented wing to their rotation.
Washington has a lot of depth at small forward, but the club lacks quality talent. Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis missed time due to injury last season, while Larry Owens and Maurice Evans contributed little.
Javale McGee is a solid defense presence, but the focus should be improving on the wing and in the frontcourt. As I said, Valanciunas’s addition will aid the frontcourt. Now the Wizards address the wing and select Tyler Honeycutt as their swingman of the future.
Tyler Honeycutt is a rising prospect out of UCLA who has a tremendous amount of potential. Honeycutt played well as a sophomore last season for the Bruins averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 assists per game. Scouts love Honeycutt’s athleticism and long range shooting ability.
Tyler Honeycutt’s outside shooting should be aided by the penetrating ability of point guard John Wall. Washington has great shooters along the perimeter and adding an athletic wing like Honeycutt would be great for the franchise.
New York has done a remarkable job of upgrading their front line over the past year. The Knicks have acquired both Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Anthony and Stoudemire were crucial in helping the Knicks return to the playoffs.
With all that being said, New York is still lacking at the center position though. Ronny Turiaf and Sheldon Williams are solid post players, but the Knicks still need more.
Markieff Morris is the twin brother of Marcus Morris who was picked earlier in this draft. Markieff was also a solid three year player for head coach Bill Self at Kansas. He is an especially skilled rebounder as well as a rugged defender. Morris can also step outside and shoot from behind the arc as well. He shot 42% from long range last season at Kansas.
At 6’10 245 lbs Markieff Morris can assist Amare Stoudemire at the power forward position or he could slide over and play center as well. He is a kinder of a tweener in that sense because of his size.
The Knicks ranked in the bottom half of the league in both rebounds allowed and defense. Markieff Morris can immediately help cure those deficiencies that haunted the Knicks last season.
Elton Brand is rock solid for Philadelphia, but overall the 76ers are pretty light at the power forward position. Brand still has many good seasons left in him at age 32, but the club could definitely afford to bring in a young prospect to pair with the aging veteran. Philadelphia finds the young prospect they are looking for in Tennessee’s Tobias Harris.
Tobias Harris had an excellent freshman campaign at Tennessee, despite dealing with various off the court distractions surrounding his head coach Bruce Pearl.
Harris has dropped weight and improved his stamina. This hard work paid off in full at Tennessee, Harris was highly productive as a freshman scoring 15.3 points and grabbing 7.3 rebounds per game last season. Tobias also has a high ceiling to go with his skill set which is appealing to NBA teams.
It could be argued that Markieff Morris or Kenneth Faried are the better talents here at pick 16. Harris gets the nod though because he is only 18 years old, and has much more potential as a prospect than the other two players. Harris will rotate with Brand at the power forward position as he plays with and learns from the former All-Star.