The NBA draft is coming up fast. It's just a few short weeks away and before you know it, it will be draft night.
This draft is considered to be a fairly weak one by most and the talent gap is not as wide as it usually would be. Kyrie Irving is clearly No. 1, but after that people have many different interpretations of the rest of the first round talent wise.
A lot can happen between now and the draft, but I will try to examine what teams are thinking at this point.
The Chicago Bulls are a good team. By now everyone in the league knows this.
With the 30th pick I don't see the Bulls really picking up a big time rookie who can play significant minutes. Thus, I think they'll go with somewhat of a project.
Johnson fits the bill. He's too skinny right now, but eventually he could be a rotation guy.
Johnson was a star at Purdue and played all four years there. He has pretty good moves inside and has good range for a big man. He was able to rebound at the college level but with his size issues it's hard to see how that translates to the NBA. Either way, he's worth the risk at No. 30.
Nikola Vucevic is a guy that has really been shooting up draft boards lately.
At first he was a second rounder, then he was talked about as a border line first rounder and now it's looking like he could be solidly into the first round. However, I think the buzz will settle down before the draft and he'll end up as a member of the Spurs.
Antonio McDyess is getting old and Vucevic could help fill the void at center when he retires. It's likely that Vucevic won't necessarily be a star, but he can be a rotation guy. He has very good size and performed well at the college level. We'll see how he grades out as we get closer to the draft, but for now, I expect him to be a late first rounder.
What the Bulls would really like with this pick is a shooting guard, but it would probably be considered a reach to grab any left at this point.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bulls trade up in this draft to grab a scorer to put alongside Derrick Rose, but if they keep the pick Jenkins seems like a logical selection.
Jenkins can play both guard positions and can be an electrifying scorer. He played at Hofstra in college, so he doesn't really have a national following, but he is a solid guard nonetheless. He is projected as a bubble first rounder, and although his stock varies, I expect him to be taken by the Bulls at No. 28.
Little is known about the Latvian big man, but what we do know is that the guy can shoot. Scouts say he is an extremely prolific scorer from the outside and he can pass a little too.
He projects as a small forward, although if he adds weight he could feasibly play down low at some point.
Taking Bertans is a risk, and I think he will fall in the draft because of it, but at No. 27, I think this is solid value for the Nets. It may take a few years for Bertans to make the trip to the US, but he is only 18, so there is plenty of time for him to develop.
Coming into this year's draft season, Jackson was seen as a huge sleeper, that would move up big time as we got closer to the draft. To this point that hasn't happened, but he is still a solid prospect.
He has struggled with injuries during the last few months and hasn't seen a whole lot of court time, but Jackson is still definitely a first rounder.
It would seem as if No. 26 would probably be Jackson's floor. The Mavericks will definitely jump at the chance to take Jackson as he is a true point guard. Kidd is coming to the end of his run and they need someone to fill his shoes. Jackson isn't Kidd, but he could be a starting point guard in the league some day.
Tyler Honeycutt is a very interesting prospect. He does everything well, but he isn't great at doing anything. His specialty is probably defense though. It is thought by many that while Honeycutt probably won't have a chance to be a star, he could be a pretty good rotation guy.
At No. 26, the Celtics will be looking to beef up their bench for the future, and Honeycutt is the perfect guy. He is a safe pick.
He can take some of the load off both Pierce and Allen during the regular season and make it easier to rest those guys. He would be a great guy for the Celtics to grab at No. 25.
Many scouts thought that if Morris went back to Michigan for his junior season, he could enter the draft next year as a potential lottery pick. Instead, he decided to bolt for the NBA. My guess is because of the huge difference in talent between this year's draft opposed to next year's.
Morris would be a good guy for the Thunder, because he is a pass first point guard that could allow Russell Westbrook to play off the ball for stretches.
I almost put Jackson here, but Morris seems like a more complete player at this point, and he could potentially defend shooting guards if he and Westbrook are on the floor together because of his 6'5'' frame.
Nikola Mirotic is another foreign player in this draft who has a ton of potential. There are so many things to like about his offensive game, however, he is a little bit soft and he isn't much of a rebounder. He has a little Tskitishvili in him.
Contract issues may prevent Mirotic from coming over right away and he is 20 so we'll see how teams deal with that and how his stock is affected.
Overall, he is a top-25 talent that makes sense for the Rockets at No. 23.
Of the two Morris brothers, Markieff is considered to be the lesser prospect. However, that doesn't mean he doesn't bring something to the table.
Markieff is an inch and ten pounds bigger than his brother meaning he will likely fit as a power forward in the league. He can rebound and play defense which makes him valuable.
If Morris is still around at No. 22, the Nuggets won't hesitate to take him. Kenyon Martin is on his last legs, and they need an upgrade soon. Morris could be a guy that steps in and contributes in the rotation right away and he definitely could develop into a nice player for the Nuggets.
Josh Selby is kind of a mystery man of sorts in this year's draft. Most people thought he would come back for his sophomore year at Kansas, but when he decided to enter the NBA draft scouts were forced to make evaluations of him that they didn't really think they would have to.
Selby has moved up and down draft boards during this whole process but I see him ending up in the early 20's.
Andre Miller is aging quickly and won't be around much longer. Selby is a guy that can log valuable minutes at point guard going forward for the team. If Portland is looking for a point guard, I think Selby will be the best guy they can get at No. 21.
Motiejunas is a guy that can come in and have an impact on the team right away. The problem is, he is way too thin to be a star right away. He needs to add weight if he ever wants to be a starting power forward in the league however, he has all the physical tools to be successful.
Motiejunas has solid range, and athleticism and he is great around the basket. As soon as he gains muscle and his consistency he will be a good offensive player.
The Wolves are rumored to be looking at Marshon Brooks with this pick, but it seems as if he may be gone at this point. Yes, Motiejunas is a power forward just like Kevin Love but at this point, I don't know who else they would really pick.
Harris wasn't a big time NBA prospect when he arrived at Tennesse, but he has been on the NBA radar for a while now.
Harris is capable of playing both forward positions in the NBA and the Bobcats will appreciate his versatility. If the Bobcats are drafting for talent, Harris would be a great guy to grab with the No. 19 pick.
Jordan Hamilton is a very interesting prospect. At 6'7" 220 pounds he is the perfect size for an NBA small forward. He is an elite scorer with great range. Not only can Hamilton score, but he is solid in almost all parts of the game.
He is good on defense, a good rebounder and a good ball-handler and passer. He should contribute right away.
Hamilton is still struggling with some maturity issues on the court. He can be selfish at times and he displays poor shot selection, but these are issues that you can fix, and if he can successfully rid himself of these habits he will be a very good NBA player.
Jordan Hamilton made huge strides in his sophomore season last year which makes it easy to believe he will continue to develop. I think Hamilton is a lottery talent, but many scouts seem to disagree. He has all the tools, so I don't see whats wrong with him, but scouts think he isn't all that great.
If he slips to 18, which he very well could, I believe the Wizards are getting an absolute steal.
Kenneth Faried is one of the draft's more interesting prospects.
He is a 6'8'' power forward from Morehead State that can rebound, block shots, and jump through the roof. He is extremely athletic and would fit in well with the Knicks run and gun system.
The Knicks have been rumored to be interested in Faried and that's enough for me. I feel comfortable penciling in Faried at No. 17.
Although Brooks was a four year college player, he appeared on the NBA radar only this year. He was one of, if not the most, prolific scorers in the NCAA this season. He really dominated opponents and while his team wasn't great, Brooks was a star.
Brooks has been shooting up draft boards lately, and it seems as if he could sneak into the lottery, although unlikely. If Philly is going to look to deal Iguodala, Brooks may be an interesting option for the team here.
Scouts are a little bit confused about Marcus Morris. He played power forward in college, but now, we don't know if he's a small forward or power forward in the NBA. It's hard to project his game at the next level.
Either way, Morris is an effective inside scorer and can really score in bunches.
Indiana could really use some inside scoring as their post players really haven't produced much lately. If Morris slips out of the lottery, look for Indiana to snatch him up right away at No. 15.
I know, I know Bismack Biyombo is seen right now as a probable top-10 pick, but I see him slipping in the draft. We honestly don't know much about Biyombo and although he has drawn Ben Wallace comparisons, no one really knows how good he's going to be.
His slide ends at No.14 with Houston. With Chuck Hayes possibly leaving via free agency it's likely the Rockets may be in need of a big man.
Biyombo may not be ready right away, especially offensively, but he is a good talent and he will be too much to pass up at No. 14. Biyombo is good, but the questions surrounding him just aren't being answered.
Jimmer Fredette is one of the most celebrated college basketball players of all time. He is a legendary scorer who has plenty of moves and ways to score.
He has unbelievable range on his jumper, but he can also take it to the rim. He doesn't have great athleticism, but he can create his own shot and has a high basketball IQ.
The problem with Jimmer is his quickness, especially on defense. Scouts have no idea how he will guard quicker point guards in the NBA.
The other issue is that he is definitely more of a scorer than a passer. The question is whether or not he can adjust and be a successful point guard or if he will have to play off the ball in the NBA. If that's the case he is severely undersized.
Fredette definitely makes sense for the Suns because he fits their style. He doesn't really play much defense, but Suns fans are used to that.
Klay Thompson is yet another guy that has shot up draft boards recently. In this draft, one huge performance can really boost you.
Scouts have fallen in love with Thompson's silky jumper and at this point it seems like he may be a lock for the lottery.
The Jazz are in the market for a scorer and potential replacement for AK-47 and Thompson along with Gordon Hayward could fit that need. I'm not a huge Thompson fan, but there is no doubting his sweet jump shot.
Chris Singleton has seen his stock rise dramatically over the past few weeks and for good reason. He can defend four positions on the floor and has an evolving offensive game. He was limited at FSU, but it seems like he could be a solid offensive player down the road.
Singleton has drawn more than a few Gerald Wallace comparisons, but I'd like to make a new comparison. I think Singleton could be a bigger Ron Artest. Think about it. Makes sense doesn't it?
Singleton should be a solid pro and having someone who plays defense for a change will be good for the Warriors. It is rumored that Morris could go here, but I think Single just makes more sense.
Alec Burks is the definition of an athlete. He is extremely athletic and he has a huge vertical. He has all the necessary physical attributes to be a star at the next level, but he does have quite a bit to work on if he wants to succeed.
For starters, he needs a more reliable jumper. He shot just 29 percent from beyond the arc last season and isn't really a threat to knock down threes.
If Burks is going to play guard at the next level he has to be able to shoot the ball with consistency. He also needs to hit the weight room which probably won't be that big of an issue. He may not have a huge impact in his first season, but he is a big time prospect.
The Bucks could use a running mate alongside Brandon Jennings long term and thinking about Jennings throwing alley-oops to Burks will have many NBA fans salivating.
Leonard is a freak athlete with extremely good measurements. He is 6'7" and 225 pounds with a huge wingspan. He is highly regarded as an energy guy early on, but many scouts claim he has more skill than we think.
He is a good rebounder and is already solid on offense although he is developing. He can drive to the basket and take his defender off the dribble or pull up. His jumper is still in progress.
The big knock on Leonard is that he's a tweener, however I believe there is no way he can play power forward in the NBA. He reminds me a little bit of Gerald Wallace and also a little bit of Michael Beasley with better rebounding and defensive potential.
We'll see how well Kawhi Leonard's game translates to the NBA. I expect his transition to take a little longer than most, but he could be an excellent player some day.
The Bobcats just lost Gerald Wallace, so it would makes sense to draft a guy that could one day fill his role.
Tristan Thompson is an athletic power forward who will undoubtedly be a solid rebounder at the next level.
Right away, Thompson will be an energy guy that comes in and provides rebounding and shot blocking off the bench.
He is kind of Like Bismack Biyombo with two exceptions. He is better offensively, and he is more polished.
This pick for the Pistons comes down to these two guys and I believe it will be Thompson because he is a more finished product.
The Pistons already have their long-term center with Greg Monroe, and putting Thompson next to him will eventually be a solid frontcourt.
Thompson isn't ready to start yet, but with a year of development it's very possible he could be a dominant force in the paint.
Kemba Walker is probably the most recognizable name in this years draft.
He led the Huskies to a national championship and proved he is one of the best scorers this draft has to offer. However, there are a few issues with Walker's game.
The first big problem is that he is definitely a tweener. There are guys that are considered tweeners that can legitimately play both positions, but Walker is not really one of those guys.
He relies on scoring so heavily that he probably isn't a point guard, but he is way to small to be a shooting guard.
In the NBA, I think he projects as a shooting guard because he lacks the vision and handles to run an offense.
As a shooting guard I think he does bring a lot to the table. He is lightning quick and can score in a variety of different ways. Although he is a scorer, he is an overrated shooter.
He shot 43 percent from the field last season and doesn't really have NBA three point range.
Personally, I think Walker is vastly overrated as an NBA prospect and that he will slip as we get closer to the draft.
The Kings will see Walker as their point guard of the future and take him here with the No. 7 pick.
Jan Vesely is an interesting international prospect who has a wide variety of skills.
He isn't great in the post right now, but he is a good scorer from the wing and his big frame makes him a threat on the boards. Vesely has three point range and can handle the ball a little bit too.
In a class of many good international prospects, Vesely ranks among the best. The Wizards could use an athlete to run alongside John Wall on the break and Vesely fits the bill.
At the beginning of his career it's definitely possible that Vesely could play both forward positions. He should be able to find plenty of minutes on the Wizards roster next year.
While Valanciunas is very talented, I have trouble seeing him this high because of the high risk involved in taking him.
The one drawback to drafting Valanciunas is a big one. He's probably not going to be coming to the NBA for a while. He has a binding contract with his European team and it may be a few more years before we see him.
However, he is a legitimate big man that should be a solid player when he finally comes stateside. I had Valanciunas a lot lower in my last mock draft, but it seems like Valanciunas has proven he is probably a top five prospect.
In my opinion, Enes Kanter is the second-best prospect in this draft. Kanter is a very skilled player who can do everything on the floor. He is a real hybrid center.
He can bang inside, but he also has range on his jumper. He can even step out behind the three point line and knock down jumpers. He is very physical and can really rebound.
Kanter might be a little small for a center, but he should be fine. At 6'10" he has adequate height and his is 255 pounds so he isn't a guy that really needs to put on weight.
The best part is he just turned 19, and he will come to the NBA right away. He was held out of college last year by the NCAA, and he didn't play professionally, but that is really the only bad thing about him.
I think it makes sense for the Cavs to take Kanter because I don't think their current center Anderson Varejao will be around come draft day.
His big contract will probably have to be moved at some point this offseason, and with Varejao gone, there will be a huge hole at Center.
The Cavs have talented guys at every position except center. They do need help on the wing, but if they want to address their need at center they need to take Kanter. He is far and away the best player left here.
Brandon Knight is a player that scouts just weren't sure about this season.
During the tournament, he really played well and leading Kentucky to the Final Four certainly helped his draft stock. Knight is very quick and can run the point.
Some people feel as if Knight is a tweener but I think he will be a point guard at the next level. Knight is a solid shooter and he is also a good defender.
Knight is a player that has really helped his draft stock at the end of the season and showed consistent development throughout the season which makes me optimistic about his future.
The Jazz need a long term solution at point guard and the rumor is they love Knight. He should be the pick.
Williams has some serious problems when it comes to how his game will translate to the profesional level. He is definitely a power forward. His game is mostly big, although he does have a nice perimeter shot.
He is already a defensive liability, and against smaller, quicker small forwards he will definitely struggle. We simply don't know who he is going to guard when he's on the floor.
Williams is however, a very good prospect. He is very powerful and he can absolutely throw it down.
He is a very good shooter and a talented player to say the least. There is no doubt he is a good NBA prospect.
I don't think the Wolves should or will keep this pick. If they decide to keep it, as much as I hate to say it, Williams will be the guy.
Irving is a pure point guard, and he is one of the only ones in the draft. He can also score and shows a great balance between scoring and passing.
He has good range and can drive to the basket very well. He also has great potential as a defender.
He is a great athlete, and I really don't have many bad things to say about him. He's probably not Rose or Wall, but he's very close. He is a legitimate No. 1 in this weak draft overall.
Cleveland will absolutely love this guy and he will be a solid point guard for a long time.
So there it is, my 2011 NBA mock draft, for now at least. Please comment, let's get some good debate going here.
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