2011 NBA Mock Draft: Kyrie Irving and the Rest of the First Round Selections
With the 2011 NBA season coming to a close within the next two weeks, it's time to take to the drawing boards and predict how the first round will play out.
This year's class appears to be one of the weaker drafts in recent memory, with only Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams thought to be "sure things."
General Managers will need to make the film room their new home and analyze each potential prospect and try to find that diamond in the rough.
With all of the uncertainty facing the NBA with the lockout looming, teams need to capitalize on this draft more then ever because the new CBA rules may possibly change the way business is handled in the future.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving
Irving is the best overall prospect in this year's class and the Cleveland Cavaliers have to take him even with point guards Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions already on their roster.
The Cavaliers are desperate to obtain a new "face of the franchise" and Kyrie Irving has the skill to be their man.
Irving stands 6'3'' and draws comparisons to last year's No. 1 overall pick, John Wall.
Kyrie Irving is a better prospect then John Wall was last year, because he simply can offer more on the offensive end.
Irving hit over 46 percent of his three-point attempts last year at Duke, which will force opposing defenders to play him close, whereas with John Wall, defenders can play off him and force himto shoot from the outside.
Kyrie Irving is the only player in this draft that I see being a lock to be a perennial All-Star for years to come.
2. Minnesota Timberwolve: Enes Kanter
I originally had this pick being Derrick Williams all the way, but the Timberwolves just have so many forwards on their team that Enes Kanter makes too much sense to pass up.
We have become accustomed to Minnesota General Manager David Kahn making some questionable moves on draft day, so I don't think anyone can say Derrick Williams is a lock to go No. 2.
With the Timberwolves already having Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, who all can play the power forward position, they need to go a different route with this pick.
Enes Kanter is the right pick for the Timberwolves here, even if he may not be the best overall player.
Kanter is a young center at only 19 years old who will give the Timberwolves a big frontcourt for years to come alongside Kevin Love and Michael Beasley.
3. Utah Jazz: Derrick Williams
The Jazz will be thrilled to see that Derrick Williams is still on the board here.
Derrick Williams is the best power forward in this years draft. He can rebound at a high level and has great finishing ability at the rim.
Williams put the Arizona Wildcats team on his back and carried them to the Elite Eight just last year, and he can help carry the Jazz for years to come in the NBA.
It appears the Utah Jazz are set to lose Andrei Kirilenko to free agency this year, so Williams could fill his spot.
Playing alongside Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap will be a great learning tool for the incoming rookie, and it will only benefit him, and the Jazz, in the future.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jonas Valanciunas
The Cleveland Cavaliers get the second best center in the draft here with Jonas Valanciunas.
The Cavaliers will get their center and point guard of the future all within the first four picks of the draft. Cleveland fans have a reason to be excited for the future with the arrival of Valanciunas and Irving.
Valanciunas (6'111'' 240 pounds) can run the court well for a big man, and at only 19 years of age, he may have some more growth left in him.
Jonas Valanciunas has the athletic ability to be successful in the NBA, and shows that he has the interior presence that can make him a dominate force in the middle.
Valaciunas will need to bulk up and add some muscle to his frame to go against NBA big men night-in and night-out. Assuming he is able to gain some weight, he will be a legitimate force in the NBA for years to come.
5. Toronto Raptors: Brandon Knight
With Brandon Knight still on the board, this is an easy pick for the Toronto Raptors.
Brandon Knight is an explosive point guard who averaged over 17 points per game during his freshman year at Kentucky.
Knight stands 6'3'' and, at only 19 years old, the sky is the limit for the point guard who helped lead Kentucky to the Final Four last year.
Brandon Knight can stretch the floor with his three point shooting and can also take defenders off the ball to get to the rim.
With this pick in the bag for the Raptors, Jose Calderon's days in Toronto should be numbered.
6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard seems to be gaining a lot of momentum heading into draft day.
Leonard is as athletic as they come and can score the basketball well from the forward position, averaging over 15 points per contest last year for San Diego State.
Rebounding comes natural for Leonard, and he will provide instant help on the boards for the Washington Wizards.
With the Wizards having their point guard of the future in John Wall, they will now have their forward of the future in Kawhi Leornard.
The Wizards appear to be on the right track to becoming a relevant team again, and Leonard is another young piece that will help build the franchise up.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker
Walker averaged over 23 points per game last year in leading his UCONN Huskies to a National Title.
With Tyreke Evans running the point and Kemba Walker on the wing, the Sacramento Kings should be an exciting team to watch next year.
Adding an elite playmaker like Walker will also help boost attendance at Arco Arena, something the Kings desperately need to help keep the team in Sacramento.
8. Detroit Pistons: Jan Vesely
Jan Vesely will give the Detroit Pistons options for the future as he can play the three and also the four position if needed to.
Vesely can score both inside and out, making him a versatile player for the Pistons, something they are lacking.
Jan Vesely should be a step in the right direction for a Detroit Pistons team that is in complete re-building mode.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo has been on the rise on draft boards of late, and I think he fits in nicely here with the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats are in need of a starting center, as Kwame Brown is the current starter in Charlotte, so this pick should without a doubt address the center position.
Biyombo has the physical ability to instantly be a force on the defensive end, and should be able to develop more of an offensive game in time.
Bismack is only 18 years old, and with so much raw talent, the Bobcats should be able to coach the young man from Congo up to be a 14 and 10 kind of guy while blocking a couple shots every night.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Alec Burks
The Milwaukee Bucks will be in need of a shooting guard with Michael Redd and Chris Douglas Roberts set to become free agents.
Alec Burks has an impressive offensive game and can score in many different ways as he displayed while he averaged over 20 points per game for Colorado last year.
Brandon Jennings will be thrilled to see the Bucks take a guard who can create their own shot and compliment him in the backcourt.
11. Golden State Warriors: Chris Singleton
The Golden State Warriors would like to add a center here, but with none available at this time they will add the best defender in the draft with Chris Singleton.
Singleton will be an instant defensive standout for the Golden State Warriors, and he can also contribute on the offensive end.
Singleton has improved his three point percentage in each of his three years with the Florida State Seminoles, shooting nearly 37 percent from deep last season.
Singleton could finally be a player that gets the Warriors to be at least respected for their defensive ability.
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette
This one works out perfectly for the Utah Jazz, and not just because of Jimmer Fredette's strong ties to Utah, but because he fills a need for the Jazz.
The Jazz need a backup point guard for Devin Harris and they also need a player that can stretch the floor with their shooting ability, and Jimmer Fredette can do both of those with ease.
Jimmer Fredette will go down as one of the best college basketball players ever. If he can just have half the success he had in college during his NBA career, the Utah Jazz will be happy with this pick.
13. Phoenix Suns: Tristan Thompson
The Phoenix Suns could go one of two ways with this pick.
They could elect to bring in a perimeter scorer with the likely departures of Vince Carter and Mikael Pietrus to free agency, or they can pick up a dominant power forward.
I think the Suns will choose the latter, and go with the best power forward on the board in Tristan Thompson.
Tristan Thompson needs some work with his jump shot, but his ability to run the floor and score easy points in transition will fit in nicely with the Phoenix Suns' style of play The Phoenix Suns will be able to rely on Tristan Thompson for a strong source of rebounds and blocked shots every game.
The Phoenix Suns could have their front court of the future with Marcin Gortat and Tristan Thompson.
14. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas
Donatas Motiejunas will be an instant upgrade to the Houston Rocket frontcourt that has never been able to recover from all of Yao Ming's injuries.
Donatas Motiejunas is more suited to play the power forward position, but being 7'0'', he should be able to play center as well.
Finesse around the rim and the ability to run the floor well are key components to Moteijunas' game.
Donatas Motiejunas should be one of the steals in the 2011 NBA draft, and I think he will be one of the more versatile big men in the NBA after he gains some experience.
15. Indiana Pacers: Marcus Morris
The Pacers get a bit of a steal with Marcus Morris at pick 15 here.
Marcus Morris will add interior physicality to the Indiana Pacers' front-court, and he can play either forward position, giving him some added value.
Morris averaged over 17 points per game during his sophomore season with Kansas, while grabbing close to eight boards as well.
With the addition of Marcus Morris, the Indiana Pacers will have great depth at the forward position with Tyler Hansbrough and Josh McRoberts.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Hamilton
I originally had the Philadelphia 76ers upgrading at the power forward position, but with Andre Iguodala likely being traded to the Golden State Warriors for shooting guard Monta Ellis, Philadelphia can get a good replacement here with Jordan Hamilton.
Jordan Hamilton averaged nearly 19 points per contest last year with the Texas Longhorns, and has good size for a small forward at 6'7'' and 220 pounds. Hamilton is best suited at small forward, but he can play some shooting guard as well.
Hamilton has a quick release which should create many shot opportunities in the NBA, something he enjoys doing. Jordan Hamilton demonstrated that he can be a reliable three-point shooter as well, averaging two-and-a-half three pointers per game while shooting nearly 39 percent from deep.
17. New York Knicks: Klay Thompson
The New York Knicks need depth especially in the front-court, but with a pure scorer like Klay Thompson still on the board, I don't think the Knicks will be able to pass him up.
Klay Thompson has good size for a shooting guard at 6'7'' and is about as pure of a scorer as the 2011 NBA draft has to offer.
Thompson averaged 21.6 points per game for Washinton State last year, and also shot nearly 40 percent from deep.
Klay Thompson will help take some of the scoring load off of Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, and should prove to be a nice fit with the New York Knicks.
18. Washington Wizards: Marshon Brooks
Marshon Brooks is easily one of my favorite prospects in the 2011 NBA draft despite being a senior.
Marshon Brooks had the second best scoring average in the country last year, scoring just over 24 points per game. Brooks can create his own shot seemingly whenever he chooses to, and standing 6'5'' with great length, he has the ability to shoot over most defenders.
We all know upperclassman seem to get looked past because they have "peaked," but teams will regret passing on Marshon Brooks.
John Wall and Marshon Brooks will form a very capable back-court for the Washington Wizards for years to come.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Markieff Morris
The Charlotte Bobcats get Markieff Morris here who could very easily end up being the best rebounder in this year's rookie class.
Markieff Morris averaged over eight rebounds per game, while only playing 23 minutes per contest during his junior year with Kansas. Morris has a good mid-range game and even shot 43 percent from three point land last year.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tobias Harris
The Minnesota Timberwolves addressed their need at center with the selection of Enes Kanter at No. 2 overall, now with pick 20 they will grab Tobias Harris who has potential to be a special small forward.
During his freshman campaign at the University of Tennessee, Tobias Harris averaged over 15 points and seven boards per game while shooting 46 percent from the field.
At only 18 years old, Tobias Harris will need time to develop in the NBA, so he will fit in great in Minnesota.
21. Portland Trail-Blazers: Darius Morris
With Andre Miller set to enter the final year of his contract, the Portland Trail Blazers need to find their future point guard.
Darius Morris has ideal size for an NBA point guard at 6'4'' and shows great vision while manning the point. Morris averaged over 15 points per game and nearly eight assists during his freshmen year with the Michigan Wolverines.
Reggie Jackson from Boston College is the safer pick here, but Morris has such a high ceiling the Portland Trail Blazers should take the risk. He will back up Andre Miller for a year, so he will not be expected to come in and run the offense right away.
22. Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried
With power forward Kenyon Martin appearing to be on his way out, the Denver Nuggets will need to add some size to their back-court, thus making Kenneth Faried the pick here.
Kenneth Faried is another player who seems to get looked past due to being a senior, despite having a monster year for the Morehead State: 17.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Faried is NBA ready and can start for the Denver Nuggets on opening night.
23. Houston Rockets: Josh Selby
The Houston Rockets have their starting point guard with Kyle Lowry, but back-up Goran Dragic is a restricted free agent, so Josh Selby makes since here.
Josh Shelby is as athletic point guard you will see, standing 6'3'' with a 42-inch vertical leap. Josh Selby only averaged eight points per game in 20 minutes of action as a freshman for Kansas, but he is packed with potential.
Josh Selby will be a bit of a risk for the Houston Rockets, but with Kyle Lowry as the starter, the Rockets can venture out a little here with this pick and hope he pans out.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Honeycutt
Oklahoma City already have their starting lineup set for the future, so this pick is purely to add depth.
Tyler Honeycutt is a small forward that has a versatile offensive game, and at 6'8'' he can provide offense for when Kevin Durant goes to the bench.
25: Boston Celtics: Jordan Williams
The Boston Celtics are getting old and need youth and depth at nearly every position except point guard, but I think the most glaring need is at the forward position with the likely loss of Glenn "Big Baby" Davis.
Jordan Williams is an old school type of power forward at 6'9'', 247 pounds, and he is a workhorse down low. Jordan Williams averaged 17 points per game while notching nearly 12 boards per outing as well.
Williams seems like a Doc Rivers type of player: hard working on the defensive end and not afraid to do the dirty work down low, while still being a threat on the offensive end.
There are questions about Williams' conditioning, but with the veteran leadership on the Boston Celtics I don't see it being an issue.
If Kevin Garnett tells you to stay in shape, you'd better obey.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Justin Harper
The Dallas Mavericks will have five free agents at season's end, so they could use depth all over the court.
I like Justin Harper with this pick because he can play multiple positions and has a silky smooth offensive game.
Justin Harper played a vital role in leading his Richmond Spiders to a Sweet 16 appearance last year. Harper averaged 18 points and eight boards per game, while shooting over 44 percent from the three point line.
27. New Jersey Nets: Reggie Jackson
The New Jersey Nets will get a solid back-up point guard to play behind Derron Williams here with Reggie Jackson.
Reggie Jackson averaged 18 points to go along with four assists during his junior year at Boston College, and he should be a productive player off the bench for the New Jersey Nets.
If Derron Williams does not choose to sign an extension with the Nets, Reggie Jackson could become the starting point guard in the near future.
28. Chicago Bulls: JaJuan Johnson
The Chicago Bulls can use this pick and grab a player in JaJuan Johnson that could be a good future scoring option at the power forward position.
JaJuan Johnson averaged over 20 points and eight rebounds per game last year for the Purdue Boilermakers and was also named the Big Ten Conference Player of the Year.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler averaged 17 points and seven boards per game last year for the Blue Devils and should be a solid reserve player for years to come in the NBA.
30. Chicago Bulls: Shelvin Mack
The Chicago Bulls get some added depth here at the point guard position by adding Butler great Shelvin Mack.
Shelvin Mack averaged over 16 points per game last year in leading the Butler Bulldogs to their second consecutive National Championship appearance.
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