2011 NBA Mock Draft: How High Will Brandon Knight Go?
Brandon Knight may not be in the conversation for the first overall selection in this year’s draft, but he can still be great.
Knight’s position in the draft will ultimately be determined by who goes second overall. In this mock draft, I will look at one possible scenario that has Brandon Knight being drafted in the first half of the top five, but just high will that be?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG, 6’2"
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Kyrie Irving is a pure point guard with excellent court vision, athleticism and quickness. He shows a very good balance between passing and scoring. He is an excellent slashing point guard but also has a good jump shot with three-point range that will only improve as he matures. He has a very high basketball I.Q and is a good defender with the potential to become a lockdown defender as he develops.
His court vision and playmaking abilities as well as his ability to take on the scoring load when needed have drawn him comparisons to Chris Paul, whether or not he will live up to these comparisons is yet to be seen.
He missed most of the last college season due to injury but other than that he has very few weaknesses.
How Kyrie Irving helps Cleveland
Kyrie Irving will give the Cleveland Cavaliers a new hope. On a team with so many holes, he fills perhaps the most important of all, point guard.
Kyrie Irving is the type of player that a team can be built around, and that is exactly what Cleveland will try to do when they draft Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: (Traded from Minnesota) Derrick Williams, SF/PF, 6’8"
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Derrick Williams can do just about everything. He is very athletic, can shoot the mid- and long-range jumper, drive to the rim, draw the contact, beat you at the free throw line or just post you up. Williams has a good understanding of the game, showing great shot selection and maturity, and he can rebound and play good defense (which will only improve as he matures).
Williams is considered by many to be a tweener and too undersized to play power forward at the NBA level. That being said, I would argue that Derrick Williams would be far more successful at the small forward position where is size would be an asset...not a weakness.
How Derrick Williams Helps Cleveland
Cleveland needs players at all positions. By trading up for Derrick Williams, they will end up with two great prospects at point guard and small forward and an excellent boost for year two of the post-LeBron rebuilding era.
How the trade helps Minnesota
This trade benefits Minnesota in two ways. They will not only end up getting a great player who actually fills a hole on their team in Enes Kanter, but they will also get another player in return from the Cavaliers. As for who that player is, I do not know; however, I think Ramon Sessions would be an excellent addition for the T-Wolves and provide them with some scoring at the two spot.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, PG, 6’3"
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There you have it. With Minnesota opting to trade its second overall pick to the Cavs, (or any team for that matter) who draft Derrick Williams second overall, the Jazz will likely pass on Enes Kanter and select Brandon Knight as their point guard of the future.
Brandon Knight does just about everything well. He can score and pass, and he is a good defender. He can score going to the rim and shoot from medium and long range. Combine all of this with his athleticism, high basketball IQ and the fact that he can play either guard position, and you have yourself a winner.
He will need to improve his consistency from behind the arc but other than that, it is hard to go wrong with Brandon Knight.
How Brandon Knight helps Utah
As mentioned earlier, Brandon Knight will likely spell the end for Devin Harris in Utah. They will look to trade Harris for some more depth or a replacement for Andrei Kirilenko at the three. Speaking of replacements, the Jazz will hope Brandon Knight can fill the void left by Deron Williams.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (traded from Cleveland), Enes Kanter, C/PF, 6’11"
The Timberwolves will opt out of trading the second overall pick and take Enes Kanter, filling their void at center.
Despite his excellent mid-range jump shot ,Enes Kanter should in no way be described as a “soft European player." Rather, Kanter is a tough and physical center/power forward who loves to bang down low with his great post game and his plethora of post moves to beat his defender.
He is also an excellent rebounder along with his good ball-handling and passing skills. Not to mention the fact that he has great length, his official draft combine measurements yielded a wingspan of 7’1.5" and his standing length was a whopping 9’1.5".
The biggest knock on Kanter would have to be his lack of athleticism and leaping ability; however, he is able to make up for this in part with his high basketball IQ. Aside from that, health could be an issue with Kanter.
How Enes Kanter helps Minnesota:
With the successful signing of Ricky Rubio, Minnesota can now move on fill the other big hole in its starting rotation, center. Enes Kanter adds toughness and scoring and gives Minnesota an excellent young core of Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Ricky Rubio and Enes Kanter.
Do expect Minnesota to...pursue veteran role players this offseason.
Do not expect Minnesota to...be in the draft lottery next year.
5. Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker, PG, 6’1"
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Kemba Walker is a scoring machine. He is also incredibly quick and is just plain explosive when he is driving to the rim. I would not necessarily call him a lockdown defender, but he still averages many steals. He showed improvement in his jump shooting and should continue to do so as he matures. Finally, his heart and tenacity are rivalled by few others in this year’s draft.
The biggest knock on Kemba Walker would have to be that he is undersized, which may or may not hurt his chances of being successful in the NBA. Aside from that, he is more of a scorer than a passer, which also hurts him since he is far too small to play SG.
How he helps Toronto
With Brandon Knight no longer available, the Raptors will go with their backup choice, Kemba Walker. The addition of Kemba Walker gives the Raptors two legitimate scorers in the backcourt and a very decent young core of DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis, Kemba Walker and Jerryd Bayless and Andrea Bargnani.
6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard, SF/SG, 6’7"
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Kawhi Leonard is a very athletic wing player and an excellent rebounder with great leaping ability and a big body with a ton of length. His offensive game is still developing, but the size and athleticism are there for him. His offense, as well as improved defense, should come easily as he matures.
As mentioned earlier, his offensive game has yet to fully develop.
How Kawhi Leonard helps the Wizards
He will not have an immediate impact in the NBA, but given a year or two to develop and adjust, he should be a great fit for the Wizards.
7. Sacramento Kings: Jan Vesely, PF/SF, 6’11"
Jan Vesely is a big athletic forward with a great jump shot and range beyond the three-point line as well as the ability to slash to the basket thanks in large part to his mix of size, athleticism and above-average ball-handling skills for a forward his size.
If Vesely is to play power forward at the NBA level, he will have to get stronger and improve his post game.
How he helps Washington
As was the case with the Raptors, the Sacramento Kings will also be forced to go with their backup choice. However, the Kings will not be as lucky as the Raptors, who had the luxury of still coming out of the draft with a very talented point guard.
Instead, the Kings will look to upgrade at the small forward position and draft Jan Vesely.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, 6’9"
Bismack Biyombo is a long, athletic big man and a great defender as well as being a very good rebounder. His offense could use some work, but that will come in due time.
As mentioned above, Biyombo will certainly need to improve on offense once he arrives in the NBA. That being said, he is still young, and that will likely come as he matures. Other than that, he is a tad undersized at 6’9", but he makes up for that in part with his long wingspan and big-time hops.
How Bismack Biyombo helps Detroit
Bismack Biyombo gives the Pistons a very athletic defensive-minded big, something they desperately need.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Jonas Valanciunas, C, 6’11"
Jonas Valanciunas is another player who is breaking the typical mold of the European big man. He lives down low where he has a very soft touch. On the defensive end, he is a good shot blocker and rebounder.
Unlike many European big men, Valanciunas has a great inside game but must improve on his mid-range shooting. Other than that he is a great big man prospect, and if he can add strength and toughness as he matures, he will be just fine.
How Jonas Valanciunas helps Charlotte
Jonas Valanciunas is a talented young prospect at center, and although many consider him to be a risk, since it could be a couple years before he makes the jump to the NBA, I think there is far less risk with him falling to the ninth overall pick. As a result, I would argue that he should be viewed more as an ace in the hole for Michael Jordan and the Bobcats rather than a risky lottery pick.
10. Milwaukee Bucks, Tristan Thompson, PF, 6’9"
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Tristan Thompson's greatest assets are his long 7’2" wingspan and great athletic ability, which translate into many blocked shots and rebounds, particularly on the offensive glass. On offense, he can beat you in a variety of ways, and his offensive game is still developing.
Thompson plays a pretty well-rounded game but still needs some time to develop. He must improve his perimeter game, which would allow him to move to SF, a position where he could have more success.
How Tristan Thompson helps Milwaukee
The Bucks cannot expect to rely on Drew Gooden, so enter Tristan Thompson.
11. Golden State Warriors: Marcus Morris, PF, 6’9"
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Marcus Morris is a great scoring power forward who can beat you down low or from the perimeter. His ball-handling and basketball IQ, along with his rebounding and scoring ability, allow him to play either forward position.
As mentioned, he can play either forward position; however, he is a tad undersized to play the four and may not be quick enough for the three.
How Marcus Morris helps Golden State
The Warriors need to improve their frontcourt, and although their biggest need is at center, Marcus Morris will certainly be a decent addition at the four.
12. Utah Jazz: Chris Singleton, SF, 6’9"
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Chris Singleton is one of, if not the, best perimeter defenders in the draft. He is long, athletic and possesses a good mid-range jumper as well as some three-point range, though he is inconsistent from beyond the arc.
As mentioned above he is a streaky shooter from long range and he must also develop a post game in order to take advantage of his length and height.
How Chris Singleton helps Utah
There is a chance the Jazz may lose Andrei Kirilenko in free agency. If this does in fact happen then they will be glad they took Chris Singleton and they will hope he can step up and provide them with the defensive intensity they would lose if AK47 decides to go elsewhere this summer.
13. Phoenix Suns: Alec Burks, SG, 6’6"
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Alec Burks is a long and athletic penetrating shooting guard who can get to the rim with relative ease and finish strong with some big dunks. He has a lot of potential, and if he can improve his jump shot, he will become a very deadly scorer.
As mentioned earlier, he must improve his jump shot and range. Aside from that, he could use some more strength and must learn to play better off the ball on offense.
How Alec Burks helps Phoenix
Rather than selecting Jimmer Fredette, as is the case in all of previous mock drafts, I instead see the Suns selecting Alec Burks with the 13th overall pick. Vince Carter is the current starting shooting guard for Suns, but he will not be around for very much longer. That being said, Alec Burks should do just fine when it comes time for him to take over for the aging Vince Carter at the two.
14. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas, PF, 7’0"
Athletic big man with the ability to score around the basket with both hands combined with a good mid-range jumper. He is also a good passer and has a high basketball IQ.
Needs to add strength and improve his consistency from long range if he plans to add that to his arsenal of offensive weapons.
How Donatas Motiejunas helps Houston
Even if Yao Ming does end up coming back to Houston, he will never again be the Yao Ming of old. That being said, it is about time the Rockets look for someone to step up and take over, especially considering Chuck Hayes.
15. Indiana: Jimmer Fredette, PG, 6’2"
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Jimmer Fredette is an absolute scoring machine with range all over the court and the confidence needed to be an elite NBA scorer. He also has a very high basketball IQ and a big strong NBA body if he is to play point guard.
Must spend more time working on his defense must improve his playmaking abilities if he is to play point guard in the NBA.
How Jimmer Fredette helps Indiana
Darren Collision is a decent young point guard; however, Jimmer Fredette has the potential to be something special. I think Indiana is well aware of this, and the Pacers will take their chances on Jimmer. He and Collision should end up being a decent pairing at the point guard position.
16. Philadelphia: Markieff Morris, PF, 6’9"
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Markieff Morris is a lockdown defender in the post with great shot-blocking, rebounding and athletic ability. His offense game is coming along, he is a good finisher down low and he is a good mid-range shooter. That being said, he still has quite a bit of room to grow on that side of the ball.
Needs to improve on offense and could work on his ball-handling.
Philidelphia is set in the backcourt and at SF (if they hold on to Andre Iguodala), but in order to make a decent run in the playoffs, it must revamp its frontcourt. Markieff Morris is a great initial step in upgrading its frontcourt, and pursuing a center in free agency would certainly be the next step.
17. New York: Josh Selby, PG, 6’3"
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Josh Selby is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. He is athletic and is at his best when he is slashing to the rim. In addition to his slashing ability, he is also a good jump shooter and a great defender.
He must improve his playmaking ability if he hopes to become a good point guard in the NBA. In addition, he must also improve his shot selection and become a more consistent jump shooter.
How Josh Selby helps New York
Although I would argue Chauncey Billups still has one or two solid seasons left in him, be they with the Knicks or any other team, New York will nevertheless decide to stockpile prospects at the point, as Josh Selby likely will become the third-string point guard behind Toney Douglas.
18. Washington: Marshon Brooks, SG, 6’5"
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Marshon Brooks is a very athletic slashing shooting guard. He has excellent length for a shooting guard with a wingspan of 7’1", and as you would imagine, he is a good rebounder. Finally, he is also a great shooter and ball-handler, which in combination with his great slashing ability and size makes him one heck of a scoring threat.
He needs to work on his three-point shooting.
How Marshon Brooks Helps Washington
There is a chance Nick Young could leave this summer, and if so, Marshon Brooks is as good of a replacement as any. That being said, if Young sticks around, Brooks’ scoring ability would be a great boost off the bench.
19. Charlotte: Jordan Hamilton, SF, 6’7"
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Jordan Hamilton is an excellent scorer who can make good on shots from just about anywhere on the court. He is also a good rebounder who plays with toughness and grit.
Needs to improve his shot selection, and he is not overly athletic.
How Jordan Hamilton helps Charlotte
Stephen Jackson will not be around forever. In the meantime Hamilton would serve as a decent backup for Captain Jack and possibly be his replacement down the road.
20. Minnesota: Klay Thompson, SG, 6’7"
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Thompson is one of the best scorers/sharpshooters in the draft. In addition, he has good point guard instincts for a scorer.
He must broaden his game and become more than just a shooter.
How Klay Thompson helps Minnesota
After filling their void at point guard with the Rubio signing and the void at center by drafting Enes Kanter, the Timberwolves will look for a possible upgrade at the shooting guard position with Klay Thompson. Whether or not Klay Thompson proves to be an upgrade over Wesley Johnson is yet to be seen. Nevertheless, Thompson would still be an excellent scoring punch to have coming off the bench.
21. Portland: Kenneth Faried, PF, 6’8"
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Kenneth Faried is the best rebounder in the draft. He is very long and is a great leaper, which also allows him to rack up the blocks.
He is undersized for the power forward position but makes up for this in part with his length. Faried must add strength and work on his offensive game, which is still quite raw.
How Kenneth Faried helps Portland
If Greg Oden manages to stay healthy and play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, then Kenneth Faried should prove to be an excellent role player for the Trail Blazers.
22. Denver: Tobias Harris, PF, 6’8"
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Tobias Harris plays a well-rounded game, can play multiple positions, has a high basketball IQ and is an unselfish team player. His ball-handling skills and size leave him better suited to play SF in the NBA, as does his shooting ability. He will become a decent NBA role player.
Undersized at the PF position in the NBA, lacks athleticism and must add strength.
How Tobias Harris helps Denver
The Denver Nuggets are a very well-rounded team with no true star, but rather several good but not necessarily great players. Tobias Harris would fit in nicely as a role player on this young Nuggets team.
23. Houston: Reggie Jackson, PG, 6’3"
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Reggie Jackson is a quick and athletic point guard with a 7’0" wingspan and great rebounding ability for his position. His jump shot improved quite a bit last season. He has the ability to score and set up his teammates.
Although he showed improvements in his jump shooting, he still has a ways to go and must also work on his awareness and discipline on the court.
How Reggie Jackson helps Houston
He should beat out Goran Dragic and become Kyle Lowry’s backup next season, allowing Houston to move Dragic and possibly acquire a decent center in return, especially if Chuck Hayes leaves town this offseason.
24. Oklahoma City: Nikola Mirotic, SF, 6’10"
Nikola Mirotic plays quite the well-rounded game. He can play either forward position but with his ball handling and size advantage, he is an ideal fit at SF. He is a good shooter with three-point range and a solid defender.
Lacks athleticism and strength, is a poor rebounder and may take a few years to come to the NBA.
How Nikola Mirotic helps Oklahoma City
Could prove to be a valuable role player for the Thunder as a backup to both Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.
25. Boston: Nikola Vucevic, C, 7’0"
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Nikola Vucevic is very big. He stands at 7’0" and has a 7’5" wingspan. He has a soft touch around the basket, is a decent rebounder and has range out to the three-point line, where his huge wingspan will make it extremely difficult to block him.
Lacks athleticism and is a poor ball-handler. That being said, he is seven feet tall.
How Nikola Vucevic helps Boston
The Celtics need a center, and Vucevic is a legit seven-footer and a steal at 25th overall.
26. Dallas: Davis Bertans, SF, 6’10"
Davis Bertans is both a sharpshooter and a player at the SF with height advantage. He has range out to the three-point line.
Needs to add strength and improve his shot selection.
How Bertans Helps Dallas
Davis Bertans will be the second coming of Peja Stojakovic for the Mavs.
27. New Jersey: Jeremy Tyler, C, 6’11"
Jeremy Tyler is big, strong and freakishly athletic. He raised quite a few eyebrows at the draft combine.
Has been criticized for his choice to play overseas and skip both high school and college. That being said, he is still very athletic and has quite a bit of potential. Tyler just needs a good coach to be patient and help him transform that potential into success.
How Jeremy Tyler helps New Jersey
Jeremy Tyler will most likely take a while to develop; however, he could be a good young backup for Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries.
28. Chicago: Tyler Honeycutt, SF, 6’8"
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Tyler Honeycutt has a very high basketball IQ and really understands the game. He has great athleticism, can play lockdown defense and is also a good shot blocker and very good passer.
Must add strength and become more of a scorer.
How Tyler Honeycutt helps Chicago
Honeycutt’s excellent understanding of the game and defensive greatness make him a perfect fit for the Bulls. Unfortunately, his average scoring ability is synonymous with the current Bulls roster as well. Nevertheless, he would be great backup for Luol Deng.
29. San Antonio: Lucas Nogueira, C, 6’11"
Lucas Nogueira is a long and athletic center (7’6" wingspan) with great rebounding and shot-blocking ability.
Must add strength and must vastly improve on offense.
How Lucas Nogueira helps San Antonio
Lucas Nogueira will not have an immediate impact with the Spurs, but could become a very valuable role player who can come off the bench and provide both rebounding and shot blocking.
30. Chicago: Charles Jenkins, PG, 6’3"
Charles Jenkins is a scoring machine. He can drive to the basket and shoot from mid and long range.
Lacks athleticism and is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body.
How Charles Jenkins helps Chicago
The Bulls need scorers, and this is exactly what Charles Jenkins is. He will come off the bench as a backup to Derrick Rose and whoever the Bulls get this offseason to come in and start at SG. He has the potential to be a very good sixth man in the NBA.