2011 NBA Mock Draft: Is Kyrie Irving a Lock at No. 1?
There's been a lot of talk swirling around the top of the draft board in recent weeks, and with Ricky Rubio rumored to finally be coming over from Spain, there could be a lot more.
Is Kyrie Irving set to join the Cleveland Cavaliers? Or will owner Dan Gilbert want to take a different route?
Here's the latest Mock Draft.
Cavaliers (via Clippers): Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Irving is still the safest pick in the draft, and in the aftermath of Cleveland losing LeBron James, I don't think owner Dan Gilbert is in a risky mood.
Irving is the only player that has been scheduled to meet with the Cavaliers, and should be a lock at number one.
Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
Again, this seems to be a safe pick at number two, with Irving off the board.
However, the Timberwolves have been rumored to be in trade talks with numerous teams-- despite owner Glen Taylor denying any of these claims.
Since Love and Beasley already play similar roles for the Wolves as Williams does, there could be a shake up on draft day at the top of the board.
Jazz (via Nets): Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
With Irving and Williams most likely gone by now, Brandon Knight is the consensus pick at number three.
Knight's size and athleticism will fit in very well with the Jazz's offensive systems.
Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
The Cavaliers will need to take a big man with their second pick in the draft. They can no longer rely on Anderson Varejao playing the five.
The Cavaliers have holes across the board, but this is a big one that could be filled with Kanter.
Raptors: Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
Kemba Walker could easily go two or three in this draft. The kid has proven he has a wide variety of weapons in his arsenal and is not afraid of the big stage.
The Raptors would be smart to take Walker, the best available player, at number five.
Wizards: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
The Wizards will attempt to beef up their front-court after Kemba Walker is taken off the board.
Jonas will not be the answer, as he is not NBA ready—that is too bad for the Wizards.
For some reason, "major upside" seems to be very compelling for failing franchises, and it makes no sense to me. Major upside is a code word for bust.
Kings: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Kings fans should rejoice with this pick. A second chance at a Gerald Wallace-type player, Kawhi Leonard should fill that same role.
Small forward is a position of need for the Kings, and Leonard will fit in perfectly.
After being screwed once again in the lottery, the Kings will have another great player fall into their lap (See: Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins)
Pistons: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
Burks will provide a much-needed scoring punch for the Pistons after the likely departure of Rip Hamilton. Burks will be solid at the 2, and should be in the starting lineup in no time.
After all, Burks is the most prolific wing-scorer in the upcoming draft.
Bobcats: Bismack Biyombo, F/C, Congo
The Bobcats have a solid starting lineup at positions one through four. Then there's Kwame Brown...
Biyombo will fit in nicely with the Bobcats, who effectively used DeSegana Diop in the past.
Bucks: Tristan Thompson, PF/C, Texas
Tristan Thompson will be a great addition for the Bucks. The Bucks have already found gems at the one and five positions, and Tristan Thompson will be another step towards building a winning franchise.
Thompson's toughness and rebounding prowess fit perfectly with the Bucks system.
Warriors: Marcus Morris, PF/C, Kansas
The Warriors certainly do have their problems in the frontcourt.
Morris will add much needed size down low for Golden State, and his inside-outside game will also be a nice addition to their high-octane offense.
Jazz: Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
Jordan Hamilton is another prolific wing-scorer that could be a nice fit for the Jazz. Although Jan Vesely is still on the board, the Jazz are unfortunately still toying with the Gordon Hayward experiment....
Suns: Jan Vesely, G/F, Czech Republic
Vesely is a good athlete, has good size, and claims to be NBA-ready. I'm not buying into this kid, but if anyone can make him look good, it's Steve Nash and the Suns (see: Marcin Gortat).
Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
With Yao Ming most likely leaving the Rockets (finally), Donatas is the best center remaining on the board. He is a scorer that likes to work in the post, but so is every player his size that comes over from Europe.
Pacers: Jimmer Fredette, G, BYU
Jimmer is a perfect fit for the Pacers, who could use a scoring punch off the bench or at the starting two position. Well-liked in Indiana, Fredette would receive a warm welcome to the Pacers.
Sixers: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Arguably the best rebounder in the draft, this kid has a motor that never stops. The Sixers need help in the frontcourt, so look for Faried to get off the board earlier than expected.
Knicks: Josh Selby, PG, Kansas
Although the Knicks would love to have a center to play alongside Amare, Josh Selby is just too much for the Knicks to pass up.
This kid never did live up to the tremendous expectations placed on him this past season, but in a weak draft year, this is Selby's best time to come to the NBA.
Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni is already in love with Selby's high powered offensive game.
Wizards (via Hawks): Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
With Josh Howard and Rashard Lewis disappearing this past season, the Wizards desperately need help at the three position. Chris Singleton can guard multiple positions, plays great defense, and will be a steal if he drops out of the lottery.
This would be the Wizards' second first-round pick, but Singleton is talented enough to go with their first pick.
Bobcats: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
The Bobcats will have already addressed their problem at center by taking Biyombo with the first of their two first round picks, giving them room to bolster their offense with their second pick.
Brooks has been impressing folks at the combine, and will greatly help the Bobcats, who do not have a clear starter at the two position.
Timberwolves: Klay Thompson, G/F, Washington State
Although one criticism of this pick is that the Timberwolves will already have 3 forwards with Williams, Love, and Beasley, don't put it past the Timberwolves to load up at one position (see their PG obsession).
Thompson is a great value if he has slid this far, and the Timberwolves will love his outside shooting.
Thompson was a tremendous scorer at Washington State, and his spot-up shooting and off-the-ball movement will help a team that lacks perimeter scoring and offense off the bench.
Trail Blazers: Markieff Morris, PF/C, Kansas
Markieff made his reputation in college about playing defense and rebounding. The Trail Blazers could really use Markieff and his defense-first mentality to complement their budding star, LaMarcus Aldridge.
Nuggets: Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee
Harris has a very polished offensive game and will fit well in George Karl's Denver offense. With Carmelo Anthony leaving a hole to be filled at the 3, Harris could do the job.
Rockets: Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA
Honeycutt has a great basketball IQ and a very fluid offensive game. Ultimately, he could be a nice fit with the Rockets, who have a gaping hole at the 3 position.
Thunder: Kyle Singler, SF/PF, Duke
For some reason, reports are saying that the Thunder like Singler—didn't they learn with BJ Mullens?
Celtics: Nikola Vucevic, C, USC
The Celtics need size and strength. If they don't land Dwight Howard in a blockbuster trade, they will settle for the big body of Nikola Vucevic.
I think Celtics fans would prefer Howard for some reason...
Mavericks: Travis Leslie, SF, Georgia
The Mavericks are one of the oldest teams in the NBA. They are also becoming one of the slower teams. Although they are performing great with their current squad, the Mavericks need to infuse some youth and athleticism.
Enter Travis Leslie, arguably the best athlete in college basketball.
Although the Mavericks also desperately need to address the backup power forward role, Leslie is too much to pass up at this point in the draft.
Nets (via Lakers): Justin Harper, F, Richmond
Harper is ready to play in the NBA, and that's a great thing for the Nets. This guy is a steal at the 27th pick, and has the talent to go much higher.
Harper will fit nicely alongside Brook Lopez in the frontcourt.
Bulls (via Heat): Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College
The Bulls need some help in the backcourt-- and Reggie Jackson, with his ridiculous 7' wingspan and freakish quickness, will be the answer at this point in the draft.
Spurs: Jeremy Tyler, C, Japan
The Spurs lost this year in the first round because of their lack of size. With their first pick, they need to address that problem. Remember Jeremy Tyler?
This 19-year old monster, who decided to play in Japan instead of the NCAA, has great potential and will be a great pick for the Spurs.
Bulls: Nolan Smith, G, Duke
The Bulls will once again try to address their thin rotation at guard. Nolan Smith has a great basketball IQ, and can score in bunches.
Additionally, Smith is a combo-guard, which means he could help the Bulls at their one true weak position—shooting guard.