2011 NBA Draft Lottery Speculation: 10 Bold Assessments About the Draft Lottery
It is funny how a bounce of a couple lottery balls can change so much, so fast.
What we thought we knew about the NBA Draft no longer applies. Now there are new questions to be answered about the upcoming draft night.
Who will Cleveland select with their second selection at pick four?
Who are the risers and fallers in the lottery?
Is Derrick Williams definitely going to be selected by Minnesota at pick two?
All of these questions and more will be addressed as I speculate on 10 burning lottery issues that you need to know about.
Bismack Biyombo’s Rapid Climb
Bismack Biyombo is one of the hottest names in the draft class right now, and his stock has been on a rapid climb over the past couple of weeks.
Biyombo is a 6-foot-9, 240 lb. power forward from the Congo. He is only 18-years-old and is fairly new to the game of basketball.
Bismack has great strength, and also plays the game with a tremendous amount of emotion. This prospect will not play a finesse style of basketball in the league. He relishes contact, and physicality is a major part of his game.
All of those aforementioned traits are excellent, but scouts do have an ample amount of critiques about Biyombo as a prospect. Scouts say that he does not have good shooting mechanics, has a limited offensive skill set and is a subpar passer.
Nevertheless, more and more teams have become enamored with this prospect’s massive potential. He is being projected as a top 10 selection in most mock drafts as of right now.
If Enes Kanter is selected by Minnesota or Utah, would Biyombo be a prospect that Cleveland would select at pick four?
Donatas Motiejunas Is “Free Falling”
Many teams have become somewhat soured on Lithuanian big man Donatas Motiejunas.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to like about the 7-foot-0 center. Scouts say Motiejunas has great passing skills, a soft shooting touch and an advanced offensive skill set. This is all very impressive for a seven-footer that is only 20-years-old.
There is one fatal drawback to Motiejunas that is causing a lot of franchises to be wary, and that is his build.
Motiejunas only weighs 215 lbs. and does not have an ample amount of strength to his frame. The obvious concern is that the prospect will get overpowered by the physical post players he will face in the league. Lithuanian prospects have historically favored a finesse game, as well.
Donatas Motiejunas is in many ways the opposite of Bismack Biyombo. Right now, franchises appear to be more intrigued with Biyombo’s build and potential than Motiejunas’s packaged ready skill set.
I have no official insight from NBA franchises, but the buzz surrounding the international prospect has cooled off, and his name has dipped in recent mocks.
Donatas Motiejunas’s skill set, coupled with his outstanding height make him a first-round prospect, but it is uncertain when a team will take a chance on the thin big man.
Enes Kanter to Cleveland at Pick Four?
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An inside-outside duo of point guard Kyrie Irving and center Enes Kanter would be something to see. It is uncertain if it will actually happen, but it is definitely worth speculating about.
I am almost certain that Cleveland will select Irving with the number one overall pick. Irving is thought to be the only “franchise talent” in the draft, and Cleveland needs a legitimate star to lead them into the future. Baron Davis is still a solid playmaker, and Ramon Sessions is a nice young talent, but neither of those two players is worth passing on Irving.
If Enes Kanter is available at pick four then he is definitely the play for the Cavaliers. Cleveland’s big men are Ryan Hollins, Semih Erden and Anderson Varejao. None of those three players is a long-term fit for Cleveland down low.
In order for Kanter to make it to Cleveland, the big man will have to pass by Minnesota and Utah.
I am projecting that Minnesota drafts Arizona’s Derrick Williams. Williams could play on the wing as well as help out at the power forward position.
Utah will likely either take a big man or a point guard. The Jazz do already have Al Jefferson at center, and I am not sure whether they would want to take another big here.
It is far from a sure thing that Enes Kanter will drop to Cleveland at pick four, but it is certainly a possibility.
Will Jimmer Fredette Be a Lottery Pick?
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Utah, Toronto, Sacramento and Phoenix could very likely draft a point guard with their lottery selection. I am not mentioning Cleveland because Jimmer Fredette has no chance of being selected with the number one overall pick in the draft.
Fredette is sitting behind UCONN’s Kemba Walker and Kentucky’s Brandon Knight as the third rated point guard prospect in this draft class.
Toronto and Sacramento will almost certainly draft a point guard with their respective top 10 selections. Those two spots will likely be filled by the aforementioned Knight and Walker though. I cannot see Fredette leapfrogging either one of those prospects during the next month.
This leaves Utah at pick 12 and Phoenix at pick 13 as the final two lottery destinations for Fredette.
Utah’s selection at pick 12 will be heavily influenced by what direction they choose to go at pick three. It is possible the Jazz could choose a point guard such as Fredette if a post player is selected with their first pick. Devin Harris could use help at point guard, and Utah could stand to bolster their scoring.
Honestly, I think Phoenix will be Jimmer Fredette’s destination at pick 13. Steve Nash is still playing at a very high level, but at age 37, Nash only has a couple seasons left in him. The Suns depth behind Nash consists of Aaron Brooks (restricted free agent this summer) and Zabian Dowdell. Jimmer Fredette is the perfect backup for the aging Steve Nash at point guard. Depending on his play, Fredette could one day be the Suns' floor-general.
A Lottery Packed with International Flavor
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Five international prospects could be selected throughout the first 14 picks of the draft.
Turkey’s Enes Kanter, Bismack Biyombo of the Congo, Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic are currently all in solid position to be lottery picks next month. The wild card of the group is Donatas Motiejunas of Lithuania, whom I discussed earlier. Motiejunas’s stock has been falling due to concerns about the seven-footer’s weight and strength levels.
It will be interesting to watch if Donatas Motiejunas’s draft stock picks back up over the course of the next month. If I had to predict right now, I would say that Motiejunas falls outside the lottery. There is still time though for the big man to work his way back into the mix.
Either way, there will be an abundance of international prospects selected in the lottery on draft night. This might not make for the best television, but these prospects each bring something different to the table and are all unique in their own right.
Alec Burks Is Destined for the Lottery
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Colorado’s Alec Burks was not the most highly touted player at Colorado, but the former Buffalo is on the radar of both NBA scouts and executives now.
Burks only played two seasons at Colorado, but he was highly productive during his short time with the school. Burks had his breakout campaign as a sophomore last season, averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
The one glaring flaw to Burks’s game is that he is not a proficient outside shooter. He only shot 29 percent from behind the three-point arc last season at Colorado. Alec Burks makes up for his lack of three-point shooting with a strong drive to the basket and a great transition game.
One team that would be a great fit for Burks would be Charlotte at pick nine. The Bobcats only averaged 93.3 points per game last season which ranked 29th in the NBA. Burks would be an upgrade over Charlotte’s current options in Gerald Henderson, Matt Carroll and Garrett Temple.
Utah and Golden State could also be possible destinations for Burk at the end of the lottery.
Derrick Williams to Minnesota Is Not a Sure Thing
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There is a very good chance that Arizona’s Derrick Williams will be selected by Minnesota with the second pick, but it is far from a foregone conclusion.
Enes Kanter would also be a sensible selection at pick two for the Timberwolves. Kanter could take Darko Milicic’s spot at the center position, and allow Kevin Love to keep his natural position at power forward.
Williams could play either on the wing or even at the power forward position for the Timberwolves. The Arizona product will produce instantly which is great for a Minnesota franchise that needs instant production.
Drafting Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker would be way too big of a reach here at pick two.
Derrick Williams is the favorite to be selected by Minnesota at pick two, but do not discount Enes Kanter as a possible option for the franchise here.
Kawhi Leonard to Washington at Pick Six
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There are not a lot of predictions that I feel comfortable making about this upcoming draft, but I am confident that Washington will select Kawhi Leonard with the sixth pick.
Washington is set at point guard after they selected John Wall with the number one pick in last year’s draft. The Wizards also have a pair of great shooting guards in Nick Young and Jordan Crawford. Center JaVale McGee is an excellent shot-blocker in the paint.
I would suggest that Washington draft a power forward that could serve as an upgrade over Andray Blatche, but there are not any power forwards on the board that are a good fit for the club here.
Washington needs a presence on the wing desperately. Rashard Lewis and Josh Howard were both banged up last season. Maurice Evans and Larry Owens meanwhile contributed little in their limited minutes. Kawhi Leonard has great strength and athleticism allowing him to immediately transition over to the professional game. Leonard can attack the basket on the drive, but he is also a very effective rebounder, as evidenced by his 10.6 rebounds per game last season at San Diego State.
Leonard is too talented of a prospect to pass up at a position that Washington needs to address.
Will Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight Come off the Board First?
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Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight are both projected top 10 picks, so neither player will be left waiting too long for their name to be called. As I have said, multiple teams in the top 10 are in need of a point guard.
Toronto would be a great fit for Kemba Walker at pick five. The Raptors have an extremely young starting lineup with prospects such as Ed Davis, James Johnson and DeMar DeRozan. Walker is excellent at elevating the play of his teammates and would be the perfect floor general for that young team. He would also give the Raptors more scoring than Jose Calderon’s 9.8 points per game.
Unless Brandon Knight goes to Utah at pick three, Walker should be the first of the two to come off the board at pick five. Either way, both of these men are about to receive huge paydays, so it is hard to feel too bad for either one of them.
Houston Chooses a Seminole with Final Lottery Selection
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Houston has the final pick in the lottery at pick 14. Do not be surprised if the Rockets pull the trigger on Florida State swingman Chris Singleton.
Houston does not have much in the way of top-level talent at the small forward spot with Terrence Williams, Chase Budinger and Marques Blakely manning the position.
Chris Singleton is a rugged forward at 6-foot-9, 225 lbs. He is a very skilled defender and rebounder. Singleton’s lockdown defense should prove to be especially useful for a Rockets team that surrendered 103.7 points per game, which ranked 22nd in the NBA.
Singleton also has the bulk to slide over to the power forward position and help Luis Scola.
Chris Singleton does not have the scoring prowess that some other prospects do, but Houston has capable scorers on their team already. Singleton fills a need on the wing, and also brings the Rockets toughness as well as defense here with the 14th pick.