2011 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Destinations of 4 Kentucky Wildcats
John Calipari deemed the 2010 NBA Draft as "the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball" after the Wildcats produced five first-round picks.
It is unlikely this year's draft will receive the same amount of hype, but the Wildcats still have four legitimate NBA prospects entering the 2011 draft.
Also unlike last year's draft, where John Wall was the consensus No. 1 overall pick, it is uncertain where each of this year's Wildcats will be selected. From top three to undrafted, each player finds himself in a unique situation.
Regardless of whether or not they land on all fours, I will predict where each of these four Wildcats will ultimately fall.
3. Brandon Knight (Utah Jazz)
Because of their trade with New Jersey, the Jazz are blessed as the most talented team drafting in the top five.
Utah is pretty much set for the foreseeable future down low after the acquisitions of Al Jefferson and Derrick Favors this past year, as well as the breakout season by Paul Millsap.
Their most glaring need comes at the shooting guard position, as it is uncertain whether the team will renew the option of C.J. Miles, who is set to become a free agent this offseason.
Unfortunately for Utah, no shooting guard in this year's draft has managed to establish himself as a solid top-five pick. The highest-rated shooting guard in this class, Alec Burks, is projected to go just outside the top 10.
Luckily for the Jazz, Brandon Knight can help fill this void. Although listed as a point guard, Knight is a combo guard who excels at scoring.
It is no secret Knight will need some time before he can develop into a true NBA point guard, and the presence of Devin Harris would allow him both the time and influence required to make this transition. In the meantime, he can also provide the Jazz with immediate help with his scoring expertise.
6. Enes Kanter (Washington Wizards)
Enes Kanter made it no secret that he would like to play alongside John Wall as a Washington Wizard. Needless to say, the Wizards would love to see this happen.
The only question is: Will he still be there?
The Raptors will most likely pass on Kanter as they already have a similar player in center Andrea Bargnani.
The Cavaliers have a need, but the odds are good that they either trade up for small forward Derrick Williams or opt for Jonas Valanciunas, who is more of a true center.
Kanter does not fill a huge need for the Wizards, as they already have a fair amount of talent in JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche. However, he would be the best player available, and the most important thing for a team that finishes 23-59 to do, at this point, is to acquire more talent.
Kanter could provide the reliable scoring option Wall was missing last year, while also serving as a legitimate defensive presence in the post.
55. DeAndre Liggins (Boston Celtics)
The Celtics will be faced with a lot of important decisions this offseason, as they have a total of 10 players approaching free agency.
DeAndre Liggins would not only be the best player available when the Celtics pick late in the second round, but he would also fill a need. Assuming Ray Allens elects to return to the Celtics, Liggins could serve as his primary backup.
Because of his versatility, Liggins could also split the responsibility of backing up Paul Pierce with recently acquired Jeff Green. He could not only provide the Celtics with versatility but also with the elite on-ball defender they have been missing since Tony Allen's departure.
Liggins will likely slip this far mainly due to concerns about his offensive ability. Yet, his defensive prowess will be more than enough to provide him with enough value to log a substantial number of minutes with the Celtics. Additionally, his three-point range and ability to drive to the basket will give him just enough to not become an offensive liability.
Undrafted: Josh Harrellson
A number of teams have shown interest in Josh Harrellson thus far. He has participated in workouts with the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons, among others.
Unfortunately, it takes more than interest from a few teams to get drafted. Even if a particular team really likes Harrellson, there is a good chance they will pass over him for a more coveted prospect because they feel convinced no other team will select him.
This is a particularly weak draft at the center position, but there are still enough prospects with potential, such as Keith Benson, that it will make it difficult for Harrellson to get drafted.
Harrellson provides a lot of things teams love in big men, such as size, rebounding, hustle and the ability to run the pick and roll. Yet, in a draft based primarily on potential, knowing what you're going to get may not work in his favor.
Expect Harrellson to be one of the more coveted undrafted free agents this offseason and to make a good impression in the NBA Summer League on someone's roster.