2011 NBA Mock Draft: Will Jimmer Fredette Stay in Utah?
The NBA Finals kicked off today, but many teams are focused more on the upcoming draft.
Point guards seem to be the hot commodity, but teams have other needs, too.
While the first few picks seem to be almost certain, the second half of the first round has been widely debated.
This is a prediction of how everything may pan out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving
The Cavs need a lot of work to put themselves back in the playoff race, and one of their biggest holes is at point guard.
While Irving didn’t get much playing time—he only played in 11 games during his freshman year at Duke—he should be a phenomenal part of any team he joins.
Baron Davis’s contract is up in two years, and Cleveland probably won’t be shedding any tears over replacing B-Diddy.
If Irving can prove to be ready for the NBA, he could be the LeBron replacement that the Cavaliers need.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams
When your team has the worst defense in the league, you’re going to look for a guy that can help you stop shots and get rebounds.
Williams is the answer to the T-Wolves’ prayers, averaging 8.3 rebounds a game. He also is aggressive offensively with almost 20 points per game.
While Williams is small for a power forward, his aggressiveness and instincts can help him be just what Minnesota was hoping for.
3. Utah Jazz – Enes Kanter
I would rather the Jazz grab Jimmer Fredette for the three-pick, but Kanter is too good to pass up.
The 6’11 center has over a seven-foot wingspan and at 260 pounds can go up against anyone on the boards.
Personal connections aside—Kanter would wake up at 4am in Turkey to watch Jazz center Mehmet Okur play---this guy is a stong, aggressive player.
While he had to sit all season, his NBA workout showed his promise as a center that anyone would want on their team.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jonas Valanciunas
Now that Cleveland has their point guard of the future, they need to add a big man to their roster as well.
With Kanter already taken, cue: Jonas Valanciunas. This 19-year-old center probably isn’t done growing yet.
For his 6’11 height, Valanciunas is agile and can run the floor well. Valanciunas can make plays around the basket, knock down shots and has good fundamentals.
For now, his strength is an issue, but that may come as he gets older and continues to develop at the professional level. He and Irving could prove to be the building blocks the Cavs are hoping for.
5. Toronto Raptors – Kemba Walker
With the NBA as much of a point guard dominated league, the Raptors need to choose someone that can measure up to the others already playing. Another thing they need is someone who is ready to play professionally. Right now.
Kemba Walker led his team to a championship this year, and his skill on the court can’t ever be debated.
The Raptors have a tough choice between Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight. Even in spite of his small size, I find Walker to be a better choice for the Raptors.
He is a proven leader with insane skills, and I don’t see the Raptors passing up that type of a player.
6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard
Leonard’s specialties are rebounding and defense. Washington ranked fourth worst in rebounding, and gave up the fifth most points.
While there may be more skilled players still available, the Wizards would be crazy to skip a guy who was practically created for them.
Leonard can be shaky offensively, but his athleticism and energy will help him improve in that area.
7. Sacramento Kings – Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight showed his skill at the draft combine and averaged 17.3 points per game with the University of Kentucky.
He’s a big point guard, a good defender, and someone the Kings could really use.
Another plus is that Knight won’t only play at the point. He’s a hybrid, and could switch off at shooting guard with the Kings’ Tyreke Evans.
8. Detroit Pistons – Bismack Biyombo
The Pistons are another defense-lacking team.
Detroit gave up over 100 points per game last season. When defense is that poor, a guy with serious defensive skills is much more important than anything else.
While Biyombo still has some work to do in order to produce quality offense, his 7’7” wingspan and athleticism are things the Pistons could use. Biyombo’s NBA-ready body will come in handy when he’s defending offensive veterans, and his averages of five rebounds per game and 2.3 blocks per game will help him as well.
With his offensive problems, Biyombo could be a risk, but a risk with a high return if all goes right.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Tristan Thompson
The Bobcats need a strong forward, and while Thompson may be on the shorter side at 6'9, he's been great inside, averaging 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
His energy allows him to run the floor and make plays on both sides of the court.
His height could be an issue if he continues to play as a power forward, but his wingspan and length helps him compensate.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Marcus Morris
The Bucks already seem to have their sights set on Morris, inviting him to work out alongside several other players. However, Morris was really the only first-round caliber player invited, so it seems that Milwaukee may already have a decision.
They would make a good choice with Marcus. The Big 12 Player of the Year led the Jayhawks in scoring last season.
Milwaukee ranked last in scoring and field goal percentage last year, and someone like Morris could help bring their averages up.
Morris has also said his defensive intensity matches up with the Bucks, so this pairing seems to be a predetermined decision on both parts...as long as no one chooses Marcus first.
11. Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson
Many Warriors fans may be hoping for a strong power forward to join the team this season...however, with rumors of Jerry West planning to trade Monta Ellis, the Warriors need to look for a new guard that can also get some rebounds.
Thompson is a 6'7 shooting guard who ranked in the top 10 scorers in the nation this year with 22.1 points per game. With his ability to create shots, both inside and around the perimeter, Thompson could be just what the Warriors need to continue their improvement.
12. Utah Jazz – Jimmer Fredette
After the Jazz get their big man to help out with defense, they need to look for their point guard of the future.
Fredette would be such a good fit for a number of reasons. He is probably the most underrated prospect in the draft this year, and as one of the only senior top picks, he has experience that younger players only hope for. Four years at such a competitive level allowed Jimmer to improve and adjust.
Last year he led the NCAA in scoring with 28.9 points per game and an 89% shot from the free throw line.
Fredette also has a following in Utah, and the Jazz would keep many fans happy if they kept Jimmer around.
13. Phoenix Suns – Jan Vesely
Vesely is a big guy who can run, and he fits into Suns' coach Alvin Gentry's style of play perfectly.
14. Houston Rockets – Jordan Hamilton
The Rockets need a small forward after losing Shane Battier, and picking up hometown favorite Jordan Hamilton is just what Houston needs.
15. Indiana Pacers – Marshon Brooks
This 6’5 guard is extremely athletic who’s risen on draft boards due to his athleticism. Brooks is an aggressive scorer and exactly what Indianapolis needs.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Markieff Morris
The 6’9 power forward is a big man that the Sixers need.
He’s a solid player, with skills in most categories. His defense is great, blocks shots and averaged 8.3 rebounds a game last season.
He plays with passion and aggression, and that strength would fit well in Philadelphia.
17. New York Knicks: Josh Selby
Josh Selby is someone with a recognizable name, and that is more important to the Knicks than most franchises. Selby should thrive in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system.
18. Washington Wizards – Donatas Motiejunas
By adding Motiejunas, the Wizards would be adding an aggressive 7 foot scorer to an athletic small forward in earlier pick Leonard and last years’ number one pick John Wall. This gives the Wizards three solid players to build their team around.
19. Charlotte Bobcats – Chris Singleton
Singleton's athleticism is something the Bobcats will like, and while he isn’t great on offense, his has a good midrange jump shot and can get hot behind the arc.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is a legitimate NBA center, and he and Kevin Love will be two great guys for Ricky Rubio to pass to inside.
21. Portland Trailblazers –Kenneth Faried
Faried came out of nowhere in the NCAA tournament, and the Trailblazers would be thrilled to get a relentless rebounder to pair with Lamarcus Aldridge.
22. Denver Nuggets – JaJuan Johnson
After trading Carmelo, the Nuggets need all the upfront strength they can get.
23. Houston Rockets – Tobias Harris
Harris has been rising up the draft boards, and he and Jordan Hamilton together gives the Rockets a huge influx of energy upfront.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder – Matt Howard
Howard is a classic blue collar player that will fit perfectly as support for Westbrook and Durant.
25. Boston Celtics – Justin Harper
Harper is a combo forward with skills the Celtics would love to bring to their team. While his lack of a true position could be an issue with most teams, Harper would serve well to come off the bench behind Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
26. Dallas Mavericks – Nolan Smith
Smith may be a bit of a reach, but could step in as the heir to Jason Kidd in a year or two. He’ll play tremendous defense off the bench.
27. New Jersey Nets – Shelvin Mack
Mack is an excellent three point shooter who will give Brook lopez a reliable target to kick the ball out to.
28. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Honeycutt
Everybody knows the Bulls need a two-guard. Honeycutt made great strides in the end of the season and has a great basketball IQ.
29. San Antonio Spurs – Kyle Singler
Tim Duncan isn’t getting any younger. Singler could be a great piece for Gregg Popovich as the Spurs start their inevitable transition from the Duncan Era.
30. Chicago Bulls – Reggie Jackson
Jackson will come in to give Derrick Rose and help the Bulls keep their energy going