The 2010-2011 NBA season was unkind to a few teams, but no team more than the Cleveland Cavaliers. They lost their biggest star in LeBron James, and etched their names in the record books with a 26-game losing streak en route to a 19-63 record.
Though they didn't finish with the worst record in the NBA—the honor belongs to Minnesota—they did set one of most dubious records in NBA history.
Cleveland is lucky enough to have two picks in the top five this season, giving the Cavs the ability to draft two immediate starters.
With the draft less than a month away, there is a lot left to be decided in terms of prospect value and workouts between now and June 23. Here is an early prediction of the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
The Cavaliers were not prepared to lose their franchise player in LeBron James, but were faced with the harsh reality almost as soon as the season began. Without a true star on the roster, Cleveland looked every bit like a first-year expansion team looking for any kind of help it could find.
Kyrie Irving is a true point guard in the mold of Chris Paul, and should be the first piece in the Cavs' rebuilding process.
If any team needed to win the lottery, it was Cleveland, and Irving is the logical pick for the team to make.
Irving has a solid game on both ends of the floor, though he is a better offensive player. He is an efficient shooter, going 53 percent from the field, 90 percent from free-throw line and 45 percent from beyond the arc last season.
Durability and experience are the main concerns, as he played all of eight games in college due to a turf-toe injury requiring surgery.
The Timberwolves are in a tight spot with the second pick in the draft. They have needs, but the best player on the board does not fit that need.
Kevin Love is the foundation for the franchise, but he is offset by Michael Beasley's immaturity and selfish style of play. Derrick Williams could make Beasley expendable, sliding into a small forward role for Minnesota.
Williams lacks the size of a true power forward, but has good speed and length to compensate. His wingspan tops 7'0", which gives him an advantage on the glass and blocking shots. He uses his body well on both ends of the floor and has a high basketball IQ.
He needs to improve as a passer from the post and develop a face-up offensive game to utilize his length better.
Since Williams doesn't fit perfectly, expect Minnesota to trade down or stand pat and make an absurd reach for yet another point guard.
Cleveland may decide to trade the fourth-overall pick and a future selection to grab Williams and have the top two players in the draft to rebuild with.
It was surprising when the Jazz traded Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets last season, but they get a great deal in the wake of trading the franchise point guard. Derrick Favors was a lottery pick last year, Devin Harris is still young and productive and Gordon Hayward is still growing as a player.
Brandon Knight is a good combo guard with natural scoring ability who won't have to be a star from the start of his career. Knight has all the tools to be a great player, and Utah doesn't have to rush his development on draft status alone.
He uses his length to excel as a defender and has the work ethic to continue to improve in all facets of the game. He is a great scorer, especially off the dribble, and is both creative and quick with his passes.
He isn't a tremendous athlete, but does well with what he has and is always looking to improve. He needs to work on adjusting to defenses instead of forcing the issue on offense.
After taking their franchise point guard with the first pick in the draft, the Cavaliers look to improve their frontcourt.
Anderson Varejao is not a true center and is coming off an injury-shortened season. Enes Kanter is the highest-rated big man in the draft, and the Cavaliers need a big man to rebuild.
Kanter has great size and strength to go along with a polished game, but has a lot of questions surrounding his knee troubles.
He has an array of offensive moves that give him an advantage in the post, especially when combined with his physical strength. Kanter is a good free-throw shooter for his size and possesses good shooting range. He can finish in traffic and has a strong work ethic that coaches look for in big men.
There is speculation that he is more of a power forward than a center by NBA standards, in which case the Cavaliers should shy away from picking Kanter unless they intend to groom him behind Antawn Jamison.
Due to eligibility issues, Kanter did not play at all during his time at Kentucky, which raises experience concerns.
The Raptors are in rebuilding mode after losing former franchise power forward Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat. However, they still have Andrea Bargnani and were lucky to land Jerryd Bayless in a trade with New Orleans.
Bargnani is not a true center, and with Enes Kanter off the board, Jonas Valanciunas is the next best option.
If Bargnani moves to power forward, Valanciunas would give the Raptors a legitimate center to aid their rebuilding efforts.
Valanciunas is only 19 years old, is 6'11" and looks like he could top out over 7'0" when he's done growing. He works hard on the floor, and has a good head for the game. He could stand to increase his strength, but he has the frame to hold more muscle without compromising his agility.
He could stand to develop his post game, and channel his aggressiveness to avoid foul trouble. This may be a bit high for Valanciunas based on his numbers alone, but his skill set and potential make him worth the risk for a desperate Toronto team.
The Wizards weren't lucky enough to land the first-overall pick in back-to-back drafts, but they still need help in their effort to return to respectability.
John Wall is the future at point guard, and the shooting-guard tandem of Nick Young and Jordan Crawford give the Wizards a dynamic backcourt. Kawhi Leonard would go a long way towards the frontcourt becoming formidable.
Leonard is not a big-time scorer based on his numbers, but brings energy and a high motor to the floor, which is the kind of player the Wizards need in a small forward.
Leonard's rebounding and defense are what make him such an appealing prospect. The Wizards don't have a dedicated rebounder to speak of, and Leonard is the type of player who excels at outworking opponents for rebounds.
If he can develop some aggressiveness in his offensive game, Leonard should be a solid swingman with great rebounding numbers.
The Kings are lucky enough to have two big-time talents like Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. However, they failed in their attempt to run Evans at point guard, leaving a big question mark in the backcourt.
Kemba Walker is coming off of a huge season and has a national championship to his name, which fits perfectly into Sacramento's collection of big names.
Walker lacks ideal size for an NBA player, but has incredible quickness and uses it to get anywhere he wants to score.
There are few questions about Walker's talent, but his size is a sticking point with most experts. He's roughly the same size as Chris Paul, but is a scorer, not a distributor like Paul, which will lead to more contact on his diminutive frame.
His speed is the single greatest tool at his disposal, but he hurts opponents by beating them to the spot and then scoring from it.
He is not an excellent defender, but makes opponents pay for being sloppy with the ball. He averaged two steals over the last two seasons.
The Detroit Pistons are in full-on rebuilding mode, and Greg Monroe is the centerpiece for the future. With Monroe at center, or power forward if necessary, the Pistons need to target any and all other positions in this draft.
Marcus Morris is the kind of player Detroit needs in order to create chemistry on the floor.
Morris is a bit of a tweener by NBA standards, but is a solid all-around player to make up for the lack of one true position.
He isn't a long forward, and isn't particularly explosive despite good athleticism. However, he is a good scorer around the rim and displays great body control. He has great timing on the boards, and can be a contributor from Day 1. He is a fluid player who can spread the floor and out-hustle opponents.
Charlotte is still a young franchise, having only been established in 2004, but their lack of elite talent is staggering. They have needs at almost every position except for point guard, where D.J. Augustin looks to be the foundation for the future of the team.
Jan Vesely is an intriguing international player with great size and athleticism, both of which the Bobcats need.
Vesely is not a clear-cut power forward, nor is he an obvious small forward, but his skills make him versatile, rather than frustrating, as a prospect.
A highly competitive player with a developing offensive game, Vesely is a good shooter and a solid defender. His length allows him to alter shots, but doesn't do much for his rebounding ability.
Despite his lack of muscle for his size, he finishes strong at the rim and gets most of his points by running the floor and swooping in for putbacks.
His size gives him an advantage over most small forwards, but he lacks the speed to keep up with the NBA's best. If he wants to make it as a power forward, Vesely will need to bulk up while maintaining his quickness.
The Bucks have a good mix of talent, but a lot of their players are too versatile for their own good. They are set at point guard and center with Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut, they drafted power forward Larry Sanders last year, but don't have a true small forward or shooting guard.
Alec Burks is a combo guard who could easily fill the need at shooting guard next to Jennings, allowing Corey Maggette and John Salmons to play small forward.
Burks has all the size and athleticism of an ideal NBA shooting guard, and should continue to develop since he is only 19.
Burks uses his length to rebound, but needs to work on his upper-body strength to excel at the next level. He isn't a great outside shooter, though he displays all the makings of a solid shooter from long range. He needs to work on knocking down set shots as well as honing his solid shooting off the dribble.
The Golden State Warriors need a defensive presence to counter the offensive talent they have amassed in Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis alone.
David Lee is a solid forward-center, though greatly undersized. Tristan Thompson is a similarly undersized power forward with a solid all-around game the Warriors could use.
Thompson is a long, quick power forward with good athleticism and the potential to add muscle to counter his lack of ideal height.
He doesn't have a power forward's game, having played a low-block oriented game at Texas. His offensive game is still developing, but he has shown flashes of becoming a good scorer around the basket.
He will need to work on his range, as well as his consistency and strength, to succeed against bigger NBA power forwards.
The Utah Jazz had a lot of problems last season despite finishing close to .500. Trading Deron Williams was the first problem, but having Raja Bell as the lone shooting guard doesn't do much to instill confidence.
Klay Thompson should be the answer to at least one of the Jazz's problems moving forward post-Deron Williams.
Thompson has good size for a shooting guard, but lacks the ideal athleticism, defensive abilities and quickness.
What he lacks in most of his measurables, he makes up for with a natural shooting stroke. He is better suited for a half-court offense than a team that runs the floor, and plays mostly below the rim.
A one-game suspension for marijuana possession hasn't deterred scouts from giving him a high rating or a need to highlight a character issue. He is a long defender and showed an improvement on the defensive end of the floor with 1.6 steals per game during his junior year.
The Phoenix Suns have gone from being one of the most dynamic teams in the NBA to one of the fastest aging rosters in the NBA. Steve Nash is 37, Grant Hill is 38 and Vince Carter is 34, leaving just Channing Frye and Robin Lopez as the only regular starters under the age of 30.
Jordan Hamilton is a swingman with the ability to start right away for the Suns and provide depth behind the current starters until ready to assume their position.
Hamilton isn't a consistent enough shooter to be a pure shooting guard, but is still a good scorer with confidence in his shot.
Hamilton is a solid rebounder with an innate ability to find the ball off the rim. He is a tenacious player that simply lacks a defined position at the NBA level.
He needs to work on his handles to become a better slasher and he needs to become a more willing and able passer when he gets into trouble on offense. He is great in transition, which works well with the Phoenix philosophy.
Yao Ming has stated that he wants to return to the Rockets next season after missing nearly all of last season due to a stress fracture in his ankle. Regardless of his status, Houston needs to get some size in the paint to prepare for life after Yao.
Markieff Morris is a true power forward at 6'10" and 245 pounds who would add size and strength to a solid, if seemingly anonymous, frontcourt.
Even though Luis Scola is a lock to start at power forward, the Rockets are not against using small lineups where Morris could fit as a small center.
He isn't a big offensive threat, but he gets the job done around the rim. He is strong inside and shows aggression at both ends of the floor. He is primarily a defensive and rebounding specialist, but still hit 42 percent from three last season.
His passion on defense is refreshing and makes him an appealing addition to a team in need of a passionate player.
Someone had to buy into the Jimmer Fredette hype, so why not the Indiana Pacers?
With an array of young guards in Darren Collison, Brandon Rush and Lance Stephenson, it may seem wasteful to select Fredette. However, as an elite scorer and developing combo guard, Fredette is the kind of player that can bring energy and leadership to a young team.
He has a terrific shooting ability and showed signs of becoming an emerging point guard during his senior season at BYU.
While Fredette lacks ideal size for a shooting guard or the honed skill set of a point guard, he has experience at both positions, as well as success at both positions. His range is great even by NBA standards.
He is nothing more than an average athlete by NBA standards, but has tremendous conditioning that allows him to maintain his peak pace over the course of a game.
His work ethic is what helped him get the advantage over his opponents in college, but it is uncertain if it will translate to the NBA so easily.
The Philadelphia 76ers are on a mission to get younger and build around Andre Iguodala. Elton Brand hasn't been the boost the Sixers had hoped he would be, and Marreese Speight is too erratic in both minutes played and production to be seen as a viable replacement.
Donatas Motiejunas is another international player with a great stroke in the vain of Dirk Nowitzki.
Motiejunas is as finesse as power forwards come, but has displayed a willingness and ability to play with his back to the basket if necessary.
He is not tremendously experienced despite playing overseas, and it raises issues of his NBA readiness. Motiejunas is quick and rangy for his size, which is an advantage on offense, but his lack of muscle puts him at a disadvantage on defense. He is a good shot blocker, but could stand to improve his all-around defensive presence.
He has shown a willingness to improve as well as a strong competitive spirit that should help him break the trend of failed Dirk imitators.
The New York Knicks took a big step forward in acquiring Carmelo Anthony to go along with Amar'e Stoudemire as franchise cornerstones.
In the zeal to bring Melo into the fold, the Knicks disregarded roster balance. The Knicks are without players willing to do the dirty work on both ends of the floor, and Kenneth Faried is the player who could help solve that problem.
Faried's biggest advantage outside of his skills is that he played at a small school and will likely enter the NBA with a chip on his shoulder.
Faried was a force on the boards at Morehead State, averaging 14.5 rebounds per game last season to go along with 17.3 points and 2.3 blocks.
His success is due in some part to playing against schools as small as Morehead State, though he posted double-doubles against Florida, Ohio State and Louisville.
He is an energy player with an improving skill set, which will give him time to find his place with the Knicks.
Athleticism and rebounding are the hallmarks of Faried's game, and the Knicks need plenty of the latter.
The Wizards have gotten progressively younger since the great roster purge of the 2009-10 season, and they need to find depth in addition to their youth.
Chris Singleton has called himself a modern-day Scottie Pippen in that he does it all on the floor, which is the type of player Washington needs to help its rebuilding efforts.
He isn't viewed as a great offensive threat, but he makes up for it with his excellent defense and willingness to do whatever is asked of him.
Singleton is not a legitimate small forward, as he lacks speed and ball-handling ability to excel on the wing. His offensive game is raw, though he has the potential to be a solid contributor with some work. He is active on the glass at both ends of the floor and is a big-time shot blocker when challenged on defense.
Washington took a similar player last year in Trevor Booker, and a team can never have too many hard-working defenders in the paint.
The Bobcats are a team in need of a lot of help, and versatility may be something they could benefit from. Tyler Honeycutt is a great athlete with excellent size, though he lacks muscle and may find it difficult to maintain his versatility on defense.
Honeycutt is a pick based on potential, and based on his progress shown during his sophomore year, he may live up to that potential.
He is an improving shooter from three, though he is average from the free-throw line (60 percent as a freshman, 74 percent as a sophomore). His wingspan is reminiscent of Tayshaun Prince, and it is good enough for 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game during his two years at UCLA.
He doesn't have great range and needs to improve as a passer to have a role in the NBA.
The Timberwoles have a lot of room for improvement around Kevin Love, and a quality shooter would go a long way towards that cause.
Davis Bertans is a sharp-shooting forward with a future as a role-player or situational shooter. However one-dimensional Bertans may be, he could be a game-changing shooter for a team needing a boost from beyond the arc.
Bertans is a frail-looking 6'11", tipping the scales at just over 210 pounds, which could be a huge problem against the physical forwards in the NBA.
Bertans has the work ethic to continue to improve, and is still young enough to have time to realize his potential.
He plays hard at both ends of the floor, but his lack of bulk puts him at a disadvantage. As a result, he isn't a great rebounder or defender and may be destined for life as a role player without improvement.
Portland seems to have a wealth of good forwards and swingmen, but no true point guards to speak of. Andre Miller is 35 and isn't going to be able to carry the backcourt duties forever.
Darius Morris improved greatly as a sophomore and shows plenty of room for growth in the future as a point guard.
Morris was an efficient 56 percent from the field last season, and his assist numbers jumped from 2.6 per game to 6.7 per game.
He has ideal size for a point guard, and his size could lend itself to defending shooting guards if the Blazers decide to vary their lineups. He is not a great shooter from range, and will sometimes force the issue on offense.
Morris's potential is based on his level of improvement from his freshman season, which could set the ceiling too high.
The Denver Nuggets were supposed to suffer after losing Carmelo Anthony in a long-delayed trade to the New York Knicks. However, they managed to push through and into the playoffs where they fared better than expected.
Since they need some variety of forward, Tobias Harris is a solid forward with room to grow within the Nuggets organization.
Harris is great at positioning his body to gain the greatest advantage in the low post, but lacks the size to impose his will at the NBA level.
He doesn't have the ideal size for a power forward or the quickness to keep up with the league's small forwards. Harris is a good ball-handler with a quick first step that most defenders don't expect.
He is one of the youngest players in the draft, which gives him a ton of potential to improve without the pressure of having to perform at an elite level as soon as he's drafted.
The Houston Rockets have a lot of needs heading into the offseason, and they are the two thinnest positions at this point in the draft. Yao Ming may never be the same if he returns at all, and the Rockets don't have a go-to point guard to run the offense.
Josh Selby may not be the game manager they need, but he has the potential to be a dynamic player just the same.
Selby had an underwhelming freshman season for the Jayhawks, and made the ill-advised leap to the NBA, but could develop into a quality player.
With great athleticism and body control, Selby was able to flash his talents scoring, handling and distributing the ball. He'll need to develop better vision and patience as a passer if he hopes to be a good point guard in the NBA.
His size lends itself more to being a point guard, but his skill set favors an off-guard role, which could prove problematic for the Rockets.
The Thunder are a very young team in need of some size in the frontcourt. Trading for Kendrick Perkins wasn't the instant boost they expected, and the combination of Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka hasn't been enough.
Jordan Williams is the kind of player who may not have all the natural gifts, but plays hard on both ends of the floor.
Oklahoma City needs a hard-nosed power forward like Williams to balance the passive forwards like Ibaka and Collison.
At Maryland, Williams was forced to do a lot of the heavy lifting on the offensive end of the floor and on the glass. He averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game during his sophomore year, displaying a leaner body and a greatly improved feel for the game.
He needs to work on conditioning as well as his consistency in the mid-range game, and from the free-throw line.
The biggest issue with Williams is the varying reports on his height. He's listed some places as 6'10" and others at 6'7", and the latter means he may have problems with taller opponents despite his strength.
The Boston Celtics are veteran-laden and need to look toward the future of the franchise. Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green are the only spring chickens, and it is going to be tough to replace three future Hall of Fame players, but they have to get younger.
Charles Jenkins has seen his stock rise in recent weeks, but projects as a late first-round pick and provides both skill and depth at both guard spots.
Jenkins is a great scorer with the size and skill set to slide in at shooting guard behind Ray Allen for future consideration.
Jenkins is a consistent-and-efficient scorer, who can knock down shots from beyond the arc as needed, hitting over 40 percent of his attempts over his last two seasons at Hofstra.
He is not a volume shooter, which means he'll make the most of his opportunities at the next level. He could stand to make better decisions with the ball, but is a solid passer for a combo guard.
Playing at a smaller program means Jenkins won't get the coverage of a player from Duke or North Carolina, but the talent is there and the Celtics could use a player like him.
The Dallas Mavericks are headed to the NBA Finals on the shoulders of Dirk Nowitzki and a collection of solid veterans. While it may be a few years off, the Mavs are eventually going to have to find suitable replacements for their starters, and Trey Thompkins is a good player to start with.
Thompkins is not the excellent shooter that Nowitzki is, but he is a solid scorer with great touch and above-average range for his size.
Thompkins relies on his skills rather than raw athleticism, due in part to his average athleticism. He has a big wingspan, but doesn't take advantage of it on defense. Though he has three-point range and a solid game around the rim, he needs to work on his mid-range game. He is a good rebounder because of his length, but may lose boards because of his average athleticism.
He won't have to start right away, and should benefit from playing behind the best shooting big man in the NBA right now.
The New Jersey Nets could be in the best position of any team that finished below .500 this season.
They swung a huge deal that brought Deron Williams to town, Brook Lopez is already an All-Star-caliber center, and they still have a first-round pick, albeit a late pick.
Justin Harper fills one of the spaces between Williams and Lopez.
While he is listed as a power forward, Harper doesn't have the bulk to contend with the bigger forwards in the NBA and may be better suited as a small forward if he does not add any muscle.
Harper is a great shooter for his size, and as good as many smaller players, which should give him a leg up over some of the defensively-challenged forwards in the NBA. He's quick for his size, but his lack of strength means he'll be limited to the perimeter at the next level.
He projects as a Channing Frye-type of player, which is great for offense but worrisome for rebounding and defending efforts.
The Bulls have a hole at shooting guard that Keith Bogans isn't enough for and Ronnie Brewer hasn't been given the chance to fill. Marshon Brooks is the type of scoring threat that the Bulls need to take pressure off of Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer.
Brooks was second in the country in scoring during his senior season at Providence, and has the ability to pour on the points with ample opportunities.
One of his greatest assets is his greatest flaws, and it is his scoring ability. At Providence, Brooks had a tendency to take over games whether it was necessary or not.
He hasn't developed a varied skill set in college, and may find it difficult to adjust to that demand of being the NBA shooting guard. He has good length which contributes to solid rebounding for his position.
He won't get as many opportunities to score as he did in college, but it is hard to ignore a 43-point game against Georgetown and a 52-point game against Notre Dame.
The San Antonio Spurs are going to have to deal with the reality of Tim Duncan getting older and Manu Ginobili becoming injury prone despite not missing many games.
They have plenty of young players, but none of them are proven and the Spurs can't expect their veterans to stand up against the younger teams in the West.
Lucas Nogueira is about as young as they come, and would be a tremendous addition to the experienced Spurs.
He may not be NBA ready right now, and would be drafted out of intrigue more than anything else.
Noguiera is an intriguing prospect in terms of what teams believe he can become with proper coaching and work ethic. He is a legitimate seven-footer, but is a frail 225 pounds.
His highlight plays come in the form of huge blocks, put-back slams and rebounds, but his lack of strength will be an issue at the next level.
Scouts have noted that Nogueira has a star's attitude while lacking a strong work ethic. There can be no better place for veteran leadership than San Antonio, even if he isn't brought on to start his career.
The Bulls have a solid team as it is, but every team can use a dose of youth, and Chicago is no different.
Derrick Rose is the unquestioned franchise player, Carlos Boozer is his running mate, Luol Deng is a solid contributor and Joakim Noah brings energy to the team.
What the Bulls need is a quality shooting guard to take some of the pressure off of Rose in the backcourt, and Shelvin Mack could be that player.
Mack is a combo guard with scoring ability and a solid grasp on the game in terms of his positioning and pace.
He is well-built for a guard, which allows him to get the basket, absorb contact and finish at the rim. He may not be an ideal shooting guard in terms of height, and he is more of a mid-range player than a perimeter shooter.
He is not a true point guard, but his skill set could provide depth at point guard and shooting guard behind Rose and Ronnie Brewer respectively.
Keith Bogans and his 4.4 points per game for the season aren't enough to save his spot in Chicago.