2011 NBA Mock Draft: Will the Rich Get Richer in a Weak Draft?

Grant NoJoContributor IIIMay 31, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Will the Rich Get Richer in a Weak Draft?

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    Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's son, Nick, was a good luck charm for the Cleveland franchise
    Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's son, Nick, was a good luck charm for the Cleveland franchise

    This year's NBA Draft could be one of the weakest in terms of superstar power that we have seen in the past decade. 

    This could mean a number of things for every team on the board.

    The top picks in the draft are even riskier in carrying the dreaded "bust" gene, and the lower half of the draft could have hidden gems and great quality picks.

    With the dominant NBA teams waiting for these gems at the back end of the first round, is this a year that the rich get richer?

    Here's a full first-round mock draft with bust potential grades for each prospect.  

Cavaliers (via Clippers): Kyrie Irving PG Duke

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    Kyrie Irving: Duke
    Kyrie Irving: DukeHarry How/Getty Images

    Dan Gilbert hit a jackpot trade sending Mo Williams to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and now this year's first overall pick in the draft. Kyrie Irving is the consensus pick for the Cavaliers first overall pick, even with Baron Davis still running the point. At Duke, Irving scored incredibly efficiently and at will. The question is: Will this translate to the NBA? 

    Irving is often compared to guards such as John Wall and Derrick Rose who have been drafted the past couple of seasons at the No. 1 pick, but Irving does not possess the same athletic gifts as the two NBA stars.

    The former Blue Devil is still an athletic freak when compared to most, and has shown he has a decent jumper as part of his offensive arsenal. Learning behind Baron Davis in Cleveland may be the perfect fit for the young point guard. 

    Bust Potential: 3/10  

Timberwolves: Derrick Williams F Arizona

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    Derrick Williams: Arizona
    Derrick Williams: ArizonaKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    If something crazy happens in the draft war room up in Cleveland, Derrick Williams certainly has proven he has the pedigree to go first overall in this year's draft.

    However, if things go to plan, Williams should be on his way to join David Kahn and the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

    No one is sure if Williams will play at the 3 or the 4 at the NBA level just yet, but he certainly has the physical tools to do both. Williams has the physical toughness to play in the post in the NBA, but has also proven that he is a great shooter.


    Similar to Irving in Cleveland, Williams will have to share time behind Kevin Love and Michael Beasley in Minnesota. This could prove to be good for the Williams, who plays young on the court and struggles with turnovers. 

    If Minnesota puts too much on Williams too quickly, I feel some strong comparisons to how Evan Turner played this past year after being picked second overall in last year's NBA Draft by the 76ers. 

    Bust Potential: 4/10 

Jazz (via Nets): Brandon Knight PG Kentucky

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    Brandon Knight: Kentucky
    Brandon Knight: KentuckyStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Another consensus pick here, with Brandon Knight going to the Utah Jazz at No. 3 overall. 

    Knight is one of the most undersized players in the draft, only weighing at around 180 pounds. He quickness proved to work well on the college level, but his small frame could be a problem on the Professional level.

    Knight proved that he could score in the NCAA tournament this past March, but he also did it very inefficiently on a low shooting percentage. Toss his high turnover rate into the equation, and this could be very problematic when transitioning to the NBA.

    Knight could have some time to sit behind Devin Harris if drafted by Utah, but the oft-injured Harris may soon give way for Knight to take the helm earlier than wanted.

    The former Kentucky guard has shown glimpses of being a great PG and leader, but has also shown that he is can spiral way out of control.

     

    Bust Potential: 7.5/10  

Cavaliers – Enes Kanter C Turkey

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    Enes Kanter: Turkey
    Enes Kanter: Turkey

    Enes Kanter has a solid build that is ready for the NBA. Unlike the other big men ranked at the top of other mock drafts, Kanter has a strong body weighing in at 260 lbs.

    With their second pick, the Cavaliers desperately need to address their big man problem. The Cavs have been starting Anderson Varejao (a PF) at center many a time this season, and that spelled many problems. 

    Kanter, a student-assistant coach at Kentucky (due to NCAA regulations that ruled him ineligible to play), is ready to step onto the court right away, something the Cavs also desperately need.

    Kanter would be the smart pick, but never rule out the chance of the Cavaliers taking the best player available, even if he doesn't fit into the rotation.

    Big men from Europe always run a risk of being a bust in the NBA, but Kanter seems to be hungry and ready to play.  

    Bust Potential: 5/10

Raptors – Kemba Walker PG UConn

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    Kemba Walker: UConn
    Kemba Walker: UConnRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Incredibly productive in the NCAA tournament this past March, Kemba Walker created his own brand. 

    Similar in stature to Brandon Knight, Walker has the same questions when it comes to size in the NBA. However, Walker is a far more polished athlete than Knight and his productivity/efficiency is second to none.

    Pair his freakish athleticism with a high basketball IQ, and this kid has a place in the NBA.

    Jose Calderon could be on his way out in Toronto, and Kemba Walker is ready to take over the helm.

    Bust Potential: 1/10 

Wizards -- Kawhi Leonard SF San Diego State

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    Kawhi Leonard: San Diego State
    Kawhi Leonard: San Diego StateHarry How/Getty Images

    Kawhi Leonard seems to have all the tools to be a great perimeter and wing player in the NBA. 

    Leonard has the attitude and determination to improve in any way he can to find a path to NBA success.

    His improved shooting ability and sheer-determination to assert himself on the interior were outstanding.

    Not to mention he has freakishly athletic measurements.

    Leonard will fill a clear need for the Wizards, and if they pass up on him the Kings will snap him up in a second. His game will translate very well to the NBA with his body frame and attitude.

    Bust Potential: 2/10  

Kings – Jonas Valanciunas C Lithuania

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    Jonas Valanciunas: Lithuania
    Jonas Valanciunas: Lithuania

    Unfortunately for the Kings, this is the pick they will have to make. In an effort to allow DeMarcus Cousins to play a more comfortable position at the 4 (and since Kawhi Leonard is off the board) the Kings will draft Jonas Valanciunas out of Lithuania.

    Kawhi Leonard would be a perfect fit for the Kings, who need help at the SF. Leonard is often compared to Gerald Wallace, the former King, and would really give them a huge boost at the wing position.

    But they will be stuck with Jonas Valanciunas. 

    Valanciunas has a frail 6'11", 240 lb frame. Although he has had success against Kanter and a whole slew of European big men, Jonas Valanciunas is far from ready to be in the NBA. 

    Bust Potential: 10/10 (if he comes over immediately) 8/10 (if he stashed in Europe 1+ years)

Pistons – Alec Burks SG Colorado

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    Alec Burks- Colorado
    Alec Burks- ColoradoJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Alec Burks has legitimate size, strength, and mechanics to be a solid 2 in the NBA. 

    Burks has also shown great leadership qualities taking Colorado's basketball program on his shoulders. The 6'5" guard is quick, intelligent and a deadly scorer when the ball is in his hands. With Rip Hamilton most likely departing the Motor City, Burks could be a solid replacement.  

    Bust Potential 4/10  

Bobcats – Bismack Biyombo F/C Congo

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    Bismack Biyombo: Congo
    Bismack Biyombo: Congo

    The Charlotte Bobcats have a solid starting rotation in Stephen Jackson, DJ Augustine, and Tyrus Thomas. Unfortunately, the Bobcats also start Kwame Brown. 

    Biyombo is a young (maybe? See Dikembe Mutumbo controversy) project that could fit perfectly with the Bobcats. A nice replacement for Kwane, Biyombo is a physical force on defense and could play a improved role that DeSagana Diop did in Charlotte.

    Then again, Biyombo is a big project...and risky. He could be a Serge Ibaka in a few years...or he could be a DJ Mbenga.

    Bust Potential: 6/10  

Bucks– Marcus Morris PF Kansas

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    Marcus Morris: Kansas
    Marcus Morris: KansasJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Marcus Morris has been evaluated from going anywhere in the top 10 to the late first round in the draft. 

    Morris has developed well in his three years at Kansas and is ready to play in the NBA today.

    The former Jayhawk is an incredibly efficient scorer and works hard when on the court.

    His downside does include a small wingspan for a power forward and underwhelming physical ability, but Marcus Morris will be able to step in right away for the Bucks.

    Bust Potential: 5/10  

Warriors – Jan Vesely SF Czech Republic

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    Jan Vesely: Czech Republic
    Jan Vesely: Czech Republic

    Vesely is a great shooter and scorer, and he has a huge frame at 6'11".

    Vesely has proven that he can score over in Europe, but when he is faced with tough defenders or game-plans directed against him, he certainly struggles. This does not bode well in the NBA.

    The young prospect out of the Czech Republic would fit well in the Warriors system and could easily go eleventh overall. 

    Similar to Peja Stojakovic, he could have a nice career. But then again, I don't think he has the same potential or pedigree. 


    Bust Potential: 8/10  

Jazz – Jordan Hamilton SF Texas

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    Jordan Hamilton: Texas
    Jordan Hamilton: TexasRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jordan Hamilton often draws comparisons to his draft class buddy Alec Burks. Both are proven scorers and are NBA ready. 

    Hamilton operates especially well if he has the ball in his hands and the offense can run through him.

    After trading Deron Williams, the Jazz are looking for a new direction on offense and this Longhorn could be their answer.

    Bust Potential 4.5/10  

Suns – Tristan Thompson PF Texas

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    Tristan Thompson: Texas
    Tristan Thompson: TexasTom Pennington/Getty Images

    Back-to-back Longhorns will be coming off the boards after the Suns select Tristan Thompson with the 13th overall pick. 

    Tristan Thompson is incredibly athletically gifted, and that definitely bodes well for a team run by two-time MVP Steve Nash.

    Thompson has his problems on both offense and defense, but Alvin Gentry's system and his natural athleticism can easily hide them (or at least give them an excuse). See Marcin Gortat's crazy offense lately... 

    Bust Potential: 4/10 

     

Rockets – Donatas Motiejunas F/C Lithuania

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    Donatas Motiejunas: Lithuania
    Donatas Motiejunas: LithuaniaHannah Johnston/Getty Images

    With Yao Ming possibly on the way out, Donatas Motiejunas could really help beef up the Rockets's front court.

    Motiejunas is unlike other most other European big men in this draft, making a conscious effort to improve his body. Due to his self-awareness that his frail frame would not cut it in the NBA, the Lithuanian added 15-20 pounds of muscle this year alone.

    Realizing he probably won't be a shut-down defender on the NBA level, Motiejunas has focused on improving brand by focusing strictly on his offensive game. 

    Bust Potential: 4/10  

Pacers – Jimmer Fredette G BYU

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    Jimmer Freddette: BYU
    Jimmer Freddette: BYUBob Levey/Getty Images

    The nation's AP Player of the Year is set to go in the mid-first round of this year's draft.

    Fredette would fit in very well in Indiana, an already very complete team with a strong coach and bright future. 

    Fredette will have to learn to be effective more efficiently, on less shots and in less minutes. He must learn to score and help his team without being the main cog in the offense (at least for now). If he can do this, he will have a great NBA future.

    Bust Potential: 2.5/10 

Sixers – Kenneth Faried PF Morehead State

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    Kenneth Faried: Morehead State
    Kenneth Faried: Morehead StateJustin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Faried is one of, or may be the best, rebounder in the NCAA. Faried has a motor like no other and will definitely be a great addition to any team that can get him.

    Teams like the Dallas Mavericks would love to have Faried drop, but the 76ers will get great value at this pick. They do need help in the frontcourt.

    Bust Potential: 1.5/10  

Knicks– Markieff Morris PF Kansas

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    Markieff Morris: Kansas
    Markieff Morris: KansasRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    With most of the worthy centers off the board, the Knicks will look to grab a PF to play alongside Amare Stoudemire. 

    Very similar to his brother, Markieff Morris will face the same challenges in the NBA since he is a little undersized.

    Mike D'Antoni's high-powered offense should really help this former Jayhawk thrive. Getting him in the later first round will be nice for the Knicks. 

    Bust Potential: 4/10 

Wizards (via Hawks) – Tobias Harris F Tennessee

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    Tobias Harrs: Tennessee
    Tobias Harrs: TennesseeStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This young freshman will be a great addition to the Wizards for the upcoming season.

    With their first pick in the first round, the Wizards will have their hands on Kawhi Leonard. With their second pick in the first round, the Wizards can grab onto Tobias Harris.

    The Wizards truly struggled at their forward positions last year, with Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis playing awful basketball.

    Leonard will help them recover at this position with their first pick, and Harris could easily find himself playing alongside him.

    Harris has a soft touch around the rim and is very polished offensively, a nice complement to Leonard.

    Bust Potential 4/10  

Bobcats – Nolan Smith G Duke

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    Nolan Smith: Duke
    Nolan Smith: DukeHarry How/Getty Images

    Nolan Smith, often seen as a combo-guard, would fit in very nicely with the Bobcats. 

    After addressing their problems at center with their ninth overall pick, the Bobcats could relieve some pressure off Nolan by making him into strictly a SG. 

    Smith does have problems with turnovers, but playing the 2 in the NBA will be a much more comfortable fit than trying to force him into the mindset of a point guard. 

    Bust Potential: 5/10 

Timberwolves -- Klay Thompson G/F Washington State

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    Klay Thompson: Washington State
    Klay Thompson: Washington StateJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Timberwolves will most likely already have selected Derrick Williams with their first pick, barring any trades or unexpected incidents.

    Klay Thompson could be a nice complement in Minnesota to a bench that lacks scoring.

    Thompson is a very versatile scorer but does lack athleticism and defense prowess one would want in a complete player.

    Bust Potential: 6/10  

Trail Blazers – Justin Harper PF Richmond

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    Justin Harper: Richmond
    Justin Harper: RichmondJamie Squire/Getty Images

    One of the more complete NBA-ready players in this draft is Justin Harper.

    Being a true PF, this will relieve Portland's injury-plagued front line. 

    Bust potential: 1.5/10  

Nuggets – Tyler Honeycutt SF UCLA

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    Tyler Honeycutt: UCLA
    Tyler Honeycutt: UCLAJ. Meric/Getty Images

    This kid has great size and good athletic ability. 

    Known for his very fluid offense, he could fit right into George Karl's system and pick up the slack if J.R. Smith is on his way out.

    Bust potential: 3/10  

Rockets – Chris Singleton SF Florida State

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    Chris Singleton: Florida State
    Chris Singleton: Florida StateJamie Squire/Getty Images

    The Rockets have a huge hole at the 3 position. Chris Singleton is the answer. 

    Singleton is one of the steals of the draft and will fit in very well down in Houston.

    Bust Potential: 2/10 

Thunder – Kyle Singler SF/PF Duke

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    Kyle Singler: Duke
    Kyle Singler: DukeKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    NO. 

    Bust Potential: 11/10 

Celtics: Reggie Jackson – PG Boston College

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    Reggie Jackson: Boston College
    Reggie Jackson: Boston CollegeStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    This young player out of Boston College will infuse some much needed youth into the old Celtics team. 

    Reggie Jackson has an incredibly high basketball IQ, is very unselfish, and is incredibly efficient. He will fit very well into Doc Rivers' system.

    Bust potential: 3.5/10

Mavericks – Travis Leslie SF Georgia

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    Travis Leslie: Georgia
    Travis Leslie: GeorgiaKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Consensus pick for the Mavericks. The Mavericks are desperately is need for some athleticism, and Travis Leslie is widely-renowned as the best athlete in college basketball. 

    Bust Potential: 5.5/10 (He does not fit very well with the Mavericks if they don't adjust their system.)  

Nets (via Lakers) – Charles Jenkins G Hofstra

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    Charles Jenkins: Hofstra
    Charles Jenkins: Hofstra

    Who knows where Hofstra is? Who cares. Jenkins is a dynamic scorer and could be the biggest sleeper of them all working behind Deron Williams in New Jersey. 

    Bust Potential: 3/10 

Bulls (via Heat) – Josh Selby SG Kansas

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    Josh Selby: Kansas
    Josh Selby: KansasJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Josh Selby has lived up to none of his expectations. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Selby's expectations were incredibly high and he is incredibly young and raw.

    The Bulls would be a perfect spot for Selby. The Bulls are an incredibly solid team with a huge upside. They have a hole at SG and Selby would feel no pressure with Derrick Rose and the Bulls' talent surrounding him.

    Bust Potential: 7/10  

Spurs -- Nikola Vucevic F/C USC

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    Nikola Vucevic: USC
    Nikola Vucevic: USCMike Lawrie/Getty Images

    Vucevic is a big body. He is tall and he is heavy. He has established himself at USC and the Spurs would be a team that could find him a spot to contribute in the NBA.

    Bust Potential: 6/10

Bulls -- Marshon Brooks SG Providence

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    Marshon Brooks: Providence
    Marshon Brooks: ProvidenceMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Another shot for the Bulls to find that SG they need to take the next step. 

    Can take the necessary steps to score in bunches off the bench and perhaps eventually become a starter for the up-and-coming Chicago Bulls.

    Not much risk here in the last pick of the first round.

    Bust Potential: 2.5/10