2011 NBA Mock Draft: Jeremy Tyler, Marshon Brooks Are Lottery Picks

Byron on SportsCorrespondent IMay 24, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Jeremy Tyler, Marshon Brooks Are Lottery Picks

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    Jeremy Tyler is worth a Top 5 Pick in this draft.

    Let's assume no picks are traded and teams make good decisions on draft day.

    This draft is stronger than many of the scouts, pundits and general managers have claimed and almost every mock draft looks the same. If you would like to see a draft that is more than just a re-tread of the last one you have read, this is the slideshow for you.

    This 2011 NBA Mock Draft will cover where players should go and why the selection makes sense for the team in this year's draft sequence through the lottery.

    Some of the picks will be controversial. Please feel free to comment on any that you feel are outlandish after you read the entire slide. 

1. Kyrie Irving to the Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Kyrie Irving is the selection for Cleveland will make.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    Cleveland is in a great position on the draft board. The have needs at virtually every position except point guard. Yet, Kyrie Irving seems as though he is destined to be the first pick in the draft.

    For Cleveland, this will be a good thing and set dominoes in motion that will be felt throughout the rest of the first round.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Irving (Duke) without hesitation.

    By selecting Irving, the fans will be happy, the front office can hold their head high and everyone will respect their pick. Many teams will envy the prospective jewel Cleveland walks away with.

    Even though Derrick Williams is the most NBA ready player in the draft, Irving is the better pick for Cleveland in this year's.


    Why Should they Do It?

    It is simply the pick that makes the most sense given the draft positions the Cavaliers have.  Picking Irving gives them an advantage with the fourth pick.

    The fourth pick that makes the selection of Irving so beneficial to the Cavalier rebuilding plans, because Cleveland already has Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson in the backcourt. At first glance, it might seem that this would be a reason to draft Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter to fill an existing need, but this would be the desperate man’s approach to the draft. 

    Selecting Irving is about getting two players with one pick.

    Cleveland will draft Irving, because at worst, he will be an upgrade of Ramon Sessions. This means that Sessions can be traded for a player or a future draft pick.  Remember, Cleveland is still in possession of a trade exception from the LeBron James decision.

    Additionally, selecting Irving also places the puts pressure on the T-Wolves and Jazz, with the second and third pick respectively, where Derrick Williams created positional redundancy.

    Even if Irving is only the fourth best player in the draft, he is the best pick for Cleveland.

    Why Should they Do It?

    It is simply the pick that makes the most sense given the draft positions the Cavaliers have.  Picking Irving gives them an advantage with the fourth pick.

    It is the fourth pick that makes the selection of Kyrie Irving so beneficial to the Cavalier rebuilding plans, because Cleveland already has Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson in the backcourt.

    At first glance it might seem that this would be a reason to draft Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter to fill an existing need, but this would be the desperate man’s approach to the draft. 

    Selecting Irving is about getting two players with one pick.

    Cleveland will draft Irving, because at worst he will be an upgrade of Ramon Sessions. This means that Sessions can be traded for a player or a future draft pick.  Remember, Cleveland is still in possession of a trade exception from the LeBron James decision.

    Selecting Kyrie Irving places the puts pressure on the Timberwoves and Jazz, with the second and third pick respectively, in uncomfortable positions.

    Even if Irving is only the second or third best player in the draft, he is the best pick.

    How could it backfire?

    Baron Davis could get offended and decide to show up for training camp out of shape. Of course, that seems to happen with Davis every year anyway.

2. Enes Kanter to the Minnesota Timberwolves

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    The Problem:

    Minnesota has a glut of power forwards. No legitimate starting point guard. A lack of wing depth. No backup center. Minnesota has players, but no team.

    This year, they had a league worst 17-65 record and lost their last 15 games. Those facts should that helps drive that point home to any doubters.

    The Timberwolves desperately need a real starting point guard, but there will be upgrade point guards available with the 20th pick.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Enes Kanter (Kentucky).

    They should draft Enes Kanter here and continue building through the draft and stockpiling assets. They could consider Brandon Knight, but I think that Kanter's size and skill set are much more difficult to find in any draft year.

    Kanter looks like a worker, and he came to the combine in better shape than a lot of guys who played a full season. And, assuming he can stay healthy, he appears to be the safest selection of the Euro big men.

    If Minnesota does not take Kanter, the Timberwolves are a great candidate for a draft day trade or a major midseason trade. We will have to see what rules and limitations are in place.

    Another guy they could consider is Jeremy Tyler an extremely gifted athlete that has as much upside as any player in this draft and fills a backup center need for the Timberwolves immediately.

    If they were able to trade down to the end of the lottery. I doubt he will get too much serious consideration with a number two pick.


    Why should they do it?

    The advantage of Kanter is that he has the size, the motor and skills to play on the court with Love and also with Milicic, because of his shooting touch away from the rim.

    Kevin Love is an excellent passer for a big man, and Kanter would be a great complement in the post. And, Milicic only plays about 20 minutes a game, which results in Love or Randolph playing out of position at center or Pekovic logging a few minutes.

    He would be able to comfortable play the power forward or the center, while allowing Minnesota to use lineups that would bully most teams in the league.

    Minnesota will also have the 20th pick and some combination of the draft and Nolan Smith, Charles Jenkins, Darius Morris or Reggie Jackson, will be available at twenty.

    The 20th pick is the pick they should use to address their needs at point guard, and this pick needs to yield a backup center that can develop into a starter.


    How could it backfire?

    A Kanter injury, perhaps? More likely, the way this pick backfires is because there is a better center prospect in this draft that makes the Kanter pick look absurd four years from now.

3. Derrick Williams to Utah Jazz

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    Utah would like to trade the third pick, but Derrick Williams is too much to pass on if they cannot get a good trade.Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    Like Minnesota before them, Utah has talent at the power forward position with Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap. The combination of Al Jefferson and Memet Okur at center is decent, though athletically challenged, when Okur is healthy. So, the third pick is tricky.

    Utah's issues are depth small forward, shooting guard and point guard and lack of a volume scorer. Hayward may or may not develop to much further, but he did finish the season strong, so there is some merit to leaving room for him to develop.

    Derrick Williams looks fantastic, but he is more of a power forward at this stage, and there is no intense need in the frontcourt.

    Jan Vesely is a great athlete, but looks skinny and weak. But again, he projects a power forward. Jonas Valanciunas has potential contract issues and, again, a power forward. Then, there is Donatas Motiejunas who does not rebound, appears lazy and is, also, more of a power forward.

    The Jazz point guard is Devin Harris, who only shot 42 percent this season. He still has value, is only one year removed from an All-Star season and has some playoff experience. So, finding a significant immediate upgrade in the draft is no easy task.

    Do you spend a third pick to get a marginal upgrade at the point guard in Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker?

    Many are suggesting this as the course. But, do you want to spend the third pick in the draft to do that? Neither shoots 45 percent from the field (Kemba has shot 41 percent the last two years.). Neither is a true-point guard.

    This will be the toughest selection in the entire draft. If Utah keeps the third pick, the Utah front office needs to seriously consider trading down and explore the opportunities. For now, let's assume they keep the pick.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Derrick Williams (Arizona) or trade the pick.


    Why Should They Do It?

    In all honesty, they should not. This is the pick in the draft that sticks out like a sore thumb and says, "Trade me!"

    If they have to use this pick, take Williams to spite all of the teams this at refused to trade picks with you. He is ready to play today and could create turn out to be an excellent small forward. He has the ability to get to the free-throw line, is efficient from the field and has blow by speed.

    The Jazz are a team without an identity, so it is best for them to stockpile talent wherever they can find it and let the coach build a system with pieces to experiment with. They have the 12th pick to use to address need.

4. Jeremy Tyler to Cleveland. Surprise Pick of the Draft.

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    Tyler has all the physical tools and when paired with Kyrie Irving sets a good foundation for Cleveland to build around.

    The Problem:

    Cleveland's only problem is the number of choices remaining. They have a safe pick in Kyrie Irving and put decision pressure on Utah and Minnesota. 

    Picks two and three had to take a look at Derrick Williams and ask themselves: What is he and how does he fit with us long term? It is conceivable (though doubtful) that Williams could slip to them. If Williams is on the board, pick Williams.

    Let's assume Utah took him off the board.

    This is the Cleveland Cavaliers depth chart:
    PG: Kyrie Irving (Drafted), Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions
    SG: Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson, Manny Harris
    SF: Alonzo Gee, Christian Eyenga, Joey Graham
    PF: J.J. Hickson, Samardo Samuels, Luke Harangody
    C: Ryan Hollins, Semih Erden, Anderson Varejo

    There are four remaining positions they can upgrade in this draft. As mentioned before, the overlap created by drafting Irving will allow Sessions to be traded (Baron Davis is untradeable due to his contract, performance and injury history.).

    From here, they should look at the front court. Antawn Jamison is in his last year with Cleveland and in the twilight of his career. A package including Ramon Session can get them a small forward or off guard.

    Cleveland has shored up their backcourt with a distributor that can also score and should this pick on the position hardest to fill: Center.

    How many teams in the league are elite at the point guard and the center position? How many teams want to be? The risk is worth the potential reward. If you can combine a "Chris Paul-ish" player with a "Dwight Howard-ish" player, do so at the earliest opportunity.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Jeremy Tyler (San Diego High School via Japan).


    Why Should They Do It?

    Jeremy Tyler is a lottery pick, especially if you have two of them like Cleveland. Other lottery teams will be interested in him, so draft him now and combine him with your safe pick in Irving.

    I had to search, but I am not alone in this view (See: Jeremy Tyler...Lottery Bound...).

    The worst that can happen is you end up with a great athlete that can shoot the ball, rebound, run the floor, set screens, block shots and dunk in transition or traffic, whichever you prefer. He also happens to be 6'11" and 260 pounds, so there is no worrying about whether or not he can bulk up to NBA standards.

    He is the other potential superstar in this "weak" draft that most mock boards do not even have in the first round. Anderson Varejo is anything but the future of the center position on any team that wants to compete for a title.


    Most Mock Drafts Are Cookie Cutter:

    Any draft boards that still have him available are in the second round and Bismack Biyombo in the Top 10 are completely laughable. Somebody put Biyombo in the Top 10, and everyone jumped on board, even though he is extremely raw offensively. 

    Biyombo looks like Ben Wallace, so Detroit will take him eight overall? That's ridiculous. You cannot build a team around a Ben Wallace, and Detroit needs to rebuild.

    Houston has the 14th pick and no healthy Yao waiting in the wings. 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers(16th pick) wants to get more athletic, has Elton Brand in decline and a great (one of the best) developmental coach in Doug Collins.

    Do you think the Golden State Warriors (11th pick), Boston Celtics (25th Pick) and Charlotte Bobcats (ninth and 19th picks) are all going to pass on this guy to get a combo guard or a "tweener" forward?

    Golden State is starting Andres Biedrins! Nice athlete, no touch, no offensive skills. David Lee spends time at center. The Celtics are starting Jermaine O'Neal! The guy is held together with Ace Bandages and BENGAY! Charlotte is starting Kwame Brown!

    What the about New York Knicks? They most likely will not have the cap room to sign Dwight Howard without a significant pay cut. And they are one of two teams that does not have a single center on their roster.

    Of the centers in this draft, Jeremy Tyler has the most upside. He has a big frame, phenomenal athleticism, the ability to shoot out to mid range, end-to-end foot speed and a chip on his shoulder.

    More importantly he is not going to be on the board when the Cleveland's 32nd pick roll around.

    He is 19 years old and already has the skills that are the most difficult to teach a center. The ability to shoot the ball accurately and the ability to dribble. With his athleticism and touch, he is worth teaching everything else.

    Scouts and general managers have been suspiciously silent about Jeremy Tyler.


    A Bit Of Recent History:

    Hasheem Thabeet was a second overall pick and he had nothing in his bag when it came to offense. Kosta Koufos was a 23rd pick. Spencer Hawes was a 10th pick.

    Jeremy Tyler is athletic, can shoot and we know his real age, unlike Hasheem "Tha-bust." It's OK to pick him in the Top 5.


    How It Can Backfire?

    He could be a head case and keeps listening to the people (himself included) who mishandled his career up to this point and got him shipped to Japan.

    Who drops out of high school and goes to Japan to develop big man skills?

5. Jonas Valanciunas to Toronto Raptors

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    The Problem:

    Even if you ignore the fact that they adorned their jersey with a caricature of Barney and the way American basketball stars shun the franchise when contracts expire (e.g. Bosh, Carter, and McGrady), you have to admit Toronto appears to be a bit of a mess.


    Take a look at the Raptors depth chart:

    PG: Jose Calderon, Jerryd Bayless
    SG: DeMar DeRozan, Leandro Barbosa
    SF: Ajinca James Johnson, Sonny Weems, Julian Wright, Linas Klieza
    PF: Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, Reggie Evans, Alexis
    C: Andrea Bargnani, Joey Dorsey, Solomon Alabi

    A number of good parts that form an incomplete team.

    For starters, Andrea Bargnani needs to play forward or be traded. It is unacceptable to have a 7'0", 250 pound center playing 35 minutes a game and only comes home with five rebounds. That is just plain sorry (I hope you're reading this, Brook Lopez.). To make matters worse, Bargnani block less than a shot a game.

    We know and Toronto knows that Bargnani is a scoring forward that will never bump brows with the big boys. He is the definition of a soft-European player. He makes Dirk Nowitzki look like a thug.

    How many guys in the league score more than 21 points per game and have a PER less than 17? Can you think of any?

    They will look a lot better if they can put another big on the floor, so Bargnani is no longer their nominal center. Bargnani is a seven-footer that wants to be Danny Granger.

    They need a big so they can use some lineups that work.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Jonas Valanciunas (Lietuvos Rytas, Lithuania), then buy out or wait out the contract or simply wait.

    If for any reason Jeremy Tyler is on the board, Toronto should draft him instead. They need the body in the paint more than the lift in scoring.


    Why Should They Do It?

    Toronto needs a big body that will stay with the franchise, bang in the paint and provide interior defense. The Raptors managed a negative rebound differential on the season (despite Reggie Evans hauling in 11.5 RPG) and allowed opponents to shoot 52.2 percent from the field (third worst in the league.)

    These are not problems that the selection of a guard will address, and these are problems that will make you lose a lot of games. It's impossible to shoot your way out of a lack of rebounding and shooting.

    There are potential hang-ups with his contract, but Toronto will more than likely be in the lottery again next year.

    With most of the guards still on the board, their will be temptation to grab a big name. But, they have decent guards on the roster and two of them are already combo guards.

    Don't draft more of what the coach does not know how to use.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Jonas Valanciunas stays overseas for the next two years. Valanciunas is an average athlete, so his upside is limited. He has some good tools to work with, but this could become a long wait for a slightly above average player.

6. Jan Vesely to Washington Wizards

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    The Problem:

    The Washington Wizards have the problems of youth and Rashard Lewis's contract ($46 million over the next two years), which is half of the Wizards payroll.

    The problem that they have with this pick is that there are excellent point guard and shooting guard prospects on the board that fail to fill any need for them.

    As a team, they are second to last in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (A/TO). Note that they are second to last in A/TO while being fourth in the league in steals. So, watching a Washington game is like watching two teams play basketball with a buttered bean.

    This is common for a young team. The turnovers should decline in the 2011-12 season with more mature players.

    Presently, all signs point North for Washington. They have to be concerned about signing Nick Young. He is a gifted scorer that is coming into his prime.


    The Washington Wizards depth chart looks like this:

    PG: John Wall, Mustafa Shakur
    SG: Jordan Crawford, Nick Young, Othyus Jeffers
    SF: Maurice Evans, Larry Owens, Rashard Lewis, (Josh Howard, possibly)
    PF: Andray Blatche, Yi Jianlian, Larry Owens, Trevor Brooker
    C: JaVale McGee, Hamady Ndiaye

    The needs are at small forward, power forward and continued progression on defense. They are great in steals and blocks, but they are still a poor "position defense" team.

    My assumptions are: Washington passes Josh Howard a "Michael Beasley-sized blunt" and let's him walk and Rashard Lewis continues to decline.


    What Should They Do?

    First, Ted Leonsis should change the name back to the Bullets. Second, re-sign Nick Young (he probably just wants to be guaranteed a starting role).

    Third, draft Jan Vesely (KK Partizan Belgrade, Serbia).


    Why Should They Do It?

    The hope is this will be an upgrade to Yi Jianlin and Andray Blatche and a better running mate for John Wall. Vesely has been referred to as a Tom Chambers type of player. Whether he reaches that height is questionable, but it speaks to the level of athleticism he has.

    For those of you who have never heard of Tom Chambers, here is a dunk video you may enjoy.  

    Vesely was viewed as a possible Top 10 pick last year and opted to forgo the draft. This Jan Vesely video (above) by David Locke (Utah Jazz play by play announcer) is one of the best. He gives you a good look at the prospect.

    Would you like to see this guy flanking a break with John Wall and JaVale McGee?


    How It Can Backfire?

    European players are a much more difficult to assess. The play style is different, rules in the paint are slightly different and the competition is inferior to the NBA. Biggest concern with Vesley is strength.

    One positive is that Vesely plays in a competitive league and plays more like a U.S. product than a Euro. This high energy player than fans will love, if only for the highlights.

    With Tristan Thompson and Trey Tompkins still on the board, this could be a tough decision to make. If Washington is not sold on Vesley, they should trade down.

7. Brandon Knight to Sacramento Kings

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    Sacramento will feel like a kid in the candy store and be unable to see the dilemma that Brandon Knight could create on their roster.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    The Sacramento Kings biggest problems, in my opinion, are head cases, shot selection and defense. The kids seem to be driving the school bus. 

    For the 2010-2011 season, the allowed opponent to shoot 48 percent against them (third worst in the league) and made matters worse by only shooting 45 percent themselves.  At first glance, this does not seem that bad, but after some digging around, you might change your mind.

    DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans respectively shot 43 percent and 40 percent from the field and only combined for 10 trips to the free throw line per game. They were basically shooting their team out of games, while the other players had to make up for their mistakes. 

    You can tolerate the turnovers (they combine for 30 percent of the team's turnovers) from young players, bad shot selection and turnovers is harder to accept. The Kings basically give possessions away. They need more maturity among their playmakers.

    You simply cannot have a big man (Cousins) calling for the ball if he shoots less than 45 percent and there is no way a guy who takes 16.4 shots per game (Evans) with 4.7 trips to the charity stripe can be kept on the court shooting 40 percent from the field. 

    I really do not know how they can successfully build a franchise with both of these players on the court at the same time.  And, guess what? Vinny Del negro probably does not think it is possible either. 

    The Kings need to add efficient players to their roster to offset the inefficiencies of their two stars. 


    Aside from that, look at the Sacramento Depth Chart:

    PG: Beno Udrih, Pooh Jeter
    SG: Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Jermaine Taylor
    SF: Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Donte Greene, Marquis Daniels
    PF: DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Darnell Jackson, Hassan Whiteside
    C: Samuel Dalembert

    Only one center on the roster, unless you count Cousins, who may slide over as his career advances. For now, Sacramento needs to get Dalembert re-signed, because Cousins wants to be Zach Randolph and stick at the forward. They still need a point guard to control the flow of the offense and get them some better shots.

    Sacramento will probably look at the board and consider taking Kemba Walker, but will go after the upside of someone younger and taller. Either way, they will get the same type of player.


    What Should They Do?

    Well, they will draft Brandon Knight.

    (Though, I think Nolan Smith is a better fit for the Sacramento Kings, but they will not draft him this high. Sacramento should trade down.)


    Why Should They Do It?

    On one hand, it would seem that they need a center, but not until they figure out what DeMarcus Cousins is going to be.  Re-sign Dalembert for the time being.

    Sacramento has the seventh and 35th picks in the draft. At the 35th point, it will be a reach to get a player that they need. They need a pick that is going to stick and fit from day one.

    Knight will be a popular pick with the fans, but if they can find a way to trade down, they can easily make a less popular pick that is better for the franchise without catching any heat.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Brandon Knight is long, a good athlete and can shoot the ball. He is still unproven as a true point guard, turnover prone and shoots the ball at a low percentage. Is he a point guard or a volume scorer? If Knight, Thornton and Evans are taking a lot of shots, DeMarcus Cousins will be a very unhappy cancer. (Edit:  “camper”)

    Sacramento should break with convention, ignore the hype, get a proven player that can adapt to a coaches needs and distribute willingly. The situation in Sacramento looks volatile.

8. Kemba Walker to Detroit Pistons

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    Kemba Walker goes later in the draft than expected and falls approximately where he was prior to the tournament.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    The Detroit Pistons have endured year that included player pouting, coaching frustration, two mutinies and everything required to make this team the perfect candidate for a reality television show. 

     How far the once mighty have fallen… 

    Joe Dumars needs to get rid of the players or get rid of the Coach John Kuester. If he does anything, he should do both.

    At this point in the draft, the Detroit Piston fans start getting excited. Motown is just humming. A new GM plant might even open up. There is buzz in the town.

    Players they never expected to see are now on the board. The world appears to be their oyster. 


    Examine the Detroit Piston Depth Chart:

    PG: Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, (Tracy McGrady, unlikely), Terrico White

    SG: Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon

    SF:  Austin Daye, DaJuan Summer, (Tayshaun Prince, unlikely)

    PF: Chris Wilcox, Charlie Villanueava, Jason Maxiel, Jonas Jerebko

    C:  Greg Monroe, Ben Wallace 

    With all the turmoil, how did this team manage to win 30 games? On paper, Detroit actually has a lot of nice parts. The problem is most of those parts either want to play the same position or do the same things. 

    Richard Hamilton, who still has a beautiful mid-range game, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva are almost impossible to trade. They almost traded Hamilton, but that fell through. So, what can they do?

    Detroit needs to draft without looking at their roster. The still have a lot of work to do clearing roster spots.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Kemba Walker. 

    At the draft, Joe Dumars should have a private conversation with Kemba and tell him, “The only guy you need to share the ball with is Greg Monroe, because, if I have my way, in two years, most of them will be in a different uniform anyway.”


    Why Should They Do It?

    This team is swimming off guards and forwards. Most of them will be getting moved, but they might pass on better options to avoid increasing the ridiculous redundancy they already have.

    Maybe with this selection, the team will change its name to the Detroit Huskies.

    The leading scorer and assist man was Rodney Stuckey (15.5 PPG, 5.2 AST) in 31 minutes, but he is a career 42 percent shooter. If you recall, Tracy McGrady spent considerable time at the point guard for this team. This is a real need on the roster. Kemba does not shoot any more efficiently but is a slasher and a good defender.

    Take Kemba and get rid of the Stuckey headache. 

    This team has so many trades to make (attempt) in the next year that there is a real good chance that they will be able to snag a some role players in the process.

    For now, they need to stay away from projects or players and get a point guard in to start learning the system. This is also part of the reason to pass on Kemba, because the coach may be changing soon as well.

    At least for a year or two, Detroit can feel like they have the next Isaiah Thomas although they are different players. Isiah came out of college as shooting 55.5% from the field. Kemba would be a poor man's Isiah Thomas.

    Still that is better than Bismack Biyombo - a poor man's Ben Wallace.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Kemba Walker, on the other hand, could turn out to be flavor of the month. To remake this franchise, build around a new coach that can start a new culture.

    A player like Kawhi Leonard, as opposed Kemba or another point guard, might actually be the best selection for Detroit and let him develop while you build a new team with him and Monroe. They might decide to stay away from point guards until they get a new coach.

    Kawhi Leonard has the skill set to play in any coach’s system. Another player they should give strong consideration to is Marshon Brooks. Get a player for the future us the rest of the season to clear roster spots. 

    This team is really dysfunctional. Whoever Detroit drafts needs to have the ball in his hands before anyone else.  This team is full of players that think they are (or are still) All-Star caliber talent.

9. Alec Burks to Charlotte Bobcats

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    Alec Burks is a shooting guard that will put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses to keep him out of the paint.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    D.J. Augistin appears to be the best player on the Bobcats roster. This team played admirably under Paul Silas and seems to have the right attitude to at least become respectable.

    The Charlotte Bobcats are different than many teams in the league. Most teams seem to have a log jam at one position or another. The Bobcats are thin everywhere and are anemic offensively.


    Look at the Charlotte Bobcats Depth Chart:

    PG: D.J. Augustin, Shaun Livingston
    SG: Gerald Henderson, Matt Carroll, Garrett Temple (unlikely)
    SF: Stephen Jackson, Dominic McGuire, Eduardo Najera
    PF: Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas, Dante Cunningham, D.J. White
    C: Kwame Brown (Likely), Joel Pryzbilla (uncertain), DeSagana Diop

    They should look for a center, a small forward, but they might also consider a guard or a pure scorer.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Alec Burks. (Colorado)


    Why Should They Do It?

    Charlotte has two picks in the first round, and the draft is full of combo guards, forwards and a few borderline center prospects. Burks is a combo guard of another kind. He is big, but can spot cover as a point as well.

    Alec Burks scores, he rebounds, he passes, he can handle the ball, he rebounds and he attacks the rim. What he does not do well is shoot from the perimeter or mid-range. On the plus side, he sticks to what he does well and gets a bucket on 47 percent of his attempts. Make defenses prove they can stop him from getting to the rim.

    Shooting is a skill. It can be developed. A player 6'6" with elite athleticism is simply born. If all he lacks is shooting, he is most likely a good pick in the lottery. If they want a shooter, take Marshon Brooks with this pick. He's older, but is as offensively potent as any player in this draft.

    Another reason to pursue Burks is to begin building some depth in the back court until the right opportunity for a front court upgrade comes along.

    To be honest, after Silas got control of the team, the front court of the Bobcats looked serviceable for the short term.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Burks may never learn to shoot. Or, Donatas Motiejunas, who could still be on the board, could come to the NBA and start rebounding and defending like he never has before. I like the development in Gerald Wallace, so this could create some strife on the team.

10. Marshon Brooks to Milwaukee Bucks

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    Marshon Brooks is a fluid scorer. He gets his shot off when he wants it and where he wants it. Milwaukee needs scoring.Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    "The Deer" needs to inspire more fear. The weathered some more injuries this season and never got fully on track. Brandon Jennings appeared to have a sophomore slump.

    The biggest problem for the Bucks might be that they are just decidedly average.


    The Milwaukee Bucks Depth Chart:

    PG: Brandon Jennings, Keyon Dooling, (Earl Boykins, Unlikely)
    SG: John Salmons, Chris Douglas –Robert (possibly), (Michael Redd, possibly)
    SF: Carlos Delfino, Corey Magette
    PF: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden
    C: Andrew Bogut, Jon Brockman, Earl Barron (Unlikely)

    No one on this team has a PER greater than 17.6, and that is Earl Boykins, who only plays 15 minutes a game. Boykins is probably will not be with the team next year.

    Andrew Bogut is a solid big man for them, but not a prolific offensive player.

    Brandon Jennings is the leading scorer and he shoots 39 percent form the field and 32 percent from three.

    Milwakee does not score a lot (91.9 PPG), but they defend or pace well and only give up 93 points per game. Overall, you have to recognize that they are offensively inefficient.

    Michale Redd’s future is as uncertain as ever, but few expect him to return to his previous form. He might be resigned and could surprise all of us.

    For Milwaukee, it might be best to look for a scorer and ask Jennings to pass more. They have been looking for a scorer for a couple years, and that is how they ended up with Corey Magette and John Salmons.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Marshon Brooks (Providence).


    Why Should They Do It?

    Milwaukee needs more scoring. Their defensive is already pretty stifling.

    Brooks proved he could score the ball in a tough defensive conference. He might be the best scorer in the entire draft. Milwaukee could use that at the shooting guard position that will be all but vacant at the start of the season.

    Look at his game log, and you see this is a very special player.

    To score that 24.6 PPG from the shooting guard position and still shoot 48 percent from the field is rare in any draft. To make this pick more enticing, he also averaged seven rebounds per game. Remember, this is a legitimate shooting guard; he is 6'6" tall.

    In the NBA, he will be playing one-on-one. That's scary.

    Until someone stops him, assume he cannot be stopped.


    How It Can Backfire?

    This pick does not have a lot of risk. Perhaps, Klay Thompson is the better pure shooter, and Scott Skiles is a "defense first" coach. There is a lot of risk here.

    Milwaukee will still have a point guard that makes too few of the many shots he takes and distributes the ball at a meager rate.

    The real reason Brooks is so low on draft boards is because he committed the "cardinal sin" of staying in school four years.

11. Donatas Matiejunas to Golden State Warriors

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    The Problem:

    Lilliputian back court (these guys get high chairs at most restaurants) and a hollow front court.

    Add to that: No coach to tell you what direction the team is going in (Smart was let go.).

    Golden State should leave the backcourt as it is for the time being. At some point, they will have to decide who to trade. In this draft, they should shore up the front court.


    Golden State Warriors Depth Chart:

    PG: Stephen Curry, Acie Law, Jeremy Lin
    SG: Monta Ellis, Reggie Williams, Charlie Bell
    SF: Dorrell Wright, Vladmir Radmonovic, Al Thornton
    PF: David Lee, Jeff Adrien
    C:   Ekpe Udoh, Louis Amundson, Andris Biedrins

    The Warriors need to get out of limbo and transition the franchise to a roster that is no longer associated with small ball.

    Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are working for them right now in the back court, so to help them they need to more going in the front court. They need size and defense. For now, they just go for size.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Donatas Matiejunas (Lithuiania).


    Why Should They Do It?

    He is an inside outside best big man available, a post threat and a great passer. He has a big body, and if he learns how to use it, Golden State will get the offense Andris Beidrins could never supply.

    At worst, he is still better than using David Lee as the backup center, and at best, he complements David Lee and Monta Ellis well with his ability to pass the ball to cutters in the paint.

    This might be the best passing big man in the NBA a couple years from now.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Right now, Dontatas is soft and trends towards lazy. He has an Italian pedigree inthat states: "I do not rebound or hustle on defense." Can the new coach in Golden State motivate him to change?

    Donatas could be a Brook Lopez or Andrea Bargnani type of player that only collects properly addressed and gift wrapped rebounds. Some people think he is the best big available in this draft. But, my money is on Jeremy Tyler.

12. Jimmer Fredette to Utah Jazz

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    Utah is in a good position here. They took Derrick Williams, even though it was not their greatest need. They know they have assets to trade and now they have another lottery pick.

    How much better can it get.


    What Should They Do?

    Draft Jimmer Fredette.

    Utah goes for some good old fashioned home-cooking.


    Why Should They Do It?

    Sure, the fan base will go nuts, season tickets will sell out, tee shirts, hats, bobbleheads, you name it! But, drafting Fredette is great basketball decision for Utah.

    Fredette brings something that no one else on the Jazz team has: lethal outside shooting from anywhere inside the hash marks. They have not had this since Kyle Korver (and half the Jazz roster, it seems) moved to Chicago.

    Jimmer Fredette is the ultimate floor spacer in this draft. Whoever is guarding him will be unable to cheat or double. He can play for (very, very short) periods along side Devin Harris and he can replace Devin Harris altogether, necessary. Jimmer can become their sixth man, because every time he is on the court, the game dynamics would change. Defenses have to be aware of him.

    Like Marshon Brooks, Jimmer Fredette is an average athlete that will be more than happy to play anybody one-on-one (as long as it is make it take it and he gets the ball first).

    Jimmer averaged 28.9 PPG (45 percent on field goals, 40 percent from three, 90 percent from the line), 4.3 AST and 3.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG this season. Until someone stops him, assume he cannot be stopped.

    The best anyone has done is slow him down.

    I've said before in numerous articles, "NBA point guards are almost impossible to guard under the new rules."

    If you doubt this, name one starting NBA point guard in the playoffs that can be contained off the dribble, and don't count the old guys like Bibby and Fisher. When you're done pondering, let me tell you the truth: There are none.

    J.J. Barrea and Jeff Teague get in the lane at will. If you look at them cross-eyed, it is a foul on you. Welcome to the 21st century NBA.

    So, Jimmer's lack of defensive acumen is less of a deal than many are making of it. It is problematic, but it is not a career ender. Derrick Rose and Steve Nash are below average on ball defenders and they get by alright.

    His draft stock might have fallen somewhat with a few of the teams after the NBA combine, but for he should still occupy the same place on Utah's draft board, unless he has been displaced by Klay Thompson, who brings more size and a quality stroke. With Gordon Hayward on the roster, Klay would be a strange pick.

    The kid can shoot and Utah needs more of that.


    How It Can Backfire?

    Fredette could go all Hollywood on us or the obvious could occur: He could play defense like a revolving door.

    His combine workout did nothing to dispel the concerns about defense. Utah does not really have the front court to back him up in the paint.

    The other issue is Devin Harris. Jimmer and Harris will be hard pressed to play lengthy periods on the court together they way Raymond Felton and Ty Lawson did. Neither Harris or Fredette is a staunch enough defender to take on shooting guard.

    This is an 11th pick in a draft as opposed to a top five pick. There is a long list of guys that never panned out in the league, and the term bust should be preserved for the highest picks only.

    They need a dead eye shooter and a point guard prospect. Jimmer kills two birds with one stone.

13. Kahwi Leonard to Phoenix Suns

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    The Problem:

    Phoenix is an aging team that still shows some signs of life. There might be some temptation to try to hang on, but Phoenix has to admit that they need to start a complete rebuild. 

    It would be nice to see them re-sign Steve Nash and watch him retire in a Suns jersey. But, they have to look to the future. 


    The Phoenix Suns Depth Chart:

    PG: Steve Nash, Aaron Brooks (Possibly), Zabian Dowdell (Unlikely)
    SG: Grant Hill (Possibly), Mickael Pietrus, Josh Childress
    SF: Jared Dudley, Vince Carter (Unlikely)
    PF: Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, Gani Lawal
    C: Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez, Garret Siler 

    It’s hard to tell who is going to who is going to be here on this team in three years.  Josh Childress, Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez and Jared Dudley have contracts that should keep them around. The others will be retired or elsewhere. 

    The Phoenix suns are free to draft at any position. 


    What Should they Do?

    Draft Kahwi Leonard (San Diego State).


    Why Should They Do It?

    The future of Steve Nash is uncertain. At his advanced age, he is still one of the best point guards in the league. None of the point guard prospects are an upgrade this year, and you have the option to keep Aaron Brooks for the backup PG.

    Vince Carter should be on skates out of town, so drafting Kahwi is a good replacement and perhaps the start of something new and wonderful. He can spend some time at small forward and is athletic enough to guard the shooting guard position.

    Phoenix can use another good defender, especially if Grant Hill is not re-signed.

    This would also have been a good pick for the Detroit Pistons.


    How it Could Backfire?

    Leonard is not the prototypical NBA franchise player. He does many things very well, but does not shoot particularly well from the perimeter or project as the leading scorer on an NBA team. He could be just average.

14. Lucas Nogieara to Houston Rockets

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    A long, athletic, raw center.

    The Problem:

    Houston should borrow, beg or steal to trade up in the draft for Minnesota's second overall or pick Utah's third overall pick. The problem is that Houston does not have much on the roster to offer that either of those teams wants to slide this far down the draft board.

    They may target Cleveland's fourth pick and offer both of their picks this year. Cleveland has so many needs to fill it might be attractive. I think this would make it easier for them to feel comfortable picking Jeremy Tyler, assuming that Golden State, Charlotte and Toronto will pass on him.

    The problem is that Houston was good enough this year to place them in difficult draft position on the board.

    In trades, the highest they might be able to trade up to is Sacramento's seventh pick by offering both of Houston's first rounders. It would be good for Sacramento to get these picks.

    As I mentioned before, Nolan Smith is a great pick for Sacramento and will be available at the end of the lottery.

    Assuming they have to use this pick...


    Look at the Houston Rockets depth chart:

    PG: Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic
    SG: Kevin Martin, Courtney Lee
    SF: Chase Budinger, Terrence Williams, Marqus Blakely
    PF: Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill
    C: Chuck Hayes, Brad Miller, Hasheem Thabeet, Yao Ming

    Houston has role players. They want out of this pick.


    What should they Do?

    Draft Lucas Noguiera (Brazil)


    Why should they do it?

    Houston will have another pick in this draft. Take Lucas Noguiera and stash him away. If Hasheem Thabeet turns a corner, they can trade Noguiera. If not, bring him in to start rebuilding depth at the center.

    Yao Ming and Brad Miller are not getting any younger and their health is a concern. Chuck Hayes is undersized, and Luis Scola has done well for them at the power forward.

    If they are unable to trade stockpile potential, because they already have role players. Trades are their future.


    How could it backfire?

    Lucas Noguiera is still very raw. He may never develop and they could end up with two Thabeets.