2011 NBA Mock Draft: Ideal Picks for Every Team Selecting in the 1st Round
With the NBA Finals dominating basketball headlines, it's easy to forget that the NBA draft is right around the corner.
But here we are in early June, and the nation's top amateur basketball talent is beginning to grow anxious as to what their futures hold. If they think their job is difficult, just imagine the tasks that lie ahead for general managers across the NBA.
At Bleacher Report, we'll attempt to make their jobs easy for them.
Here are the ideal picks for every team selecting in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft.
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers
Ideal Pick: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
Irving can shoot the ball, drive to the the hoop with it and dish it. At the ripe age of 18, he appears mature beyond his years both on and off the court, while reportedly possessing an admirable work ethic.
He doesn't have a quick first step like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook, but instead he'll bait his defender and beat him to the hoop with any array of his ball-handling skills.
He can play both the role of a true, table-setting point guard, as well as a go-to scorer in the clutch.
#2 Minnesota Timberwolves
Ideal Pick: Derrick Williams, SF/PF, Arizona
Based purely on needs, it would appear that the Minnesota Timberwolves would steer clear of Derrick Williams at No. 2.
Williams' game is nearly a carbon copy of current Timberwolves small forward Michael Beasley.
So why would the T-Wolves go with Williams? Because the temptation to combine the scoring prowess of Kevin Love with Derrick Williams will ultimately be too powerful to pass up.
Remember, this is a team that had just 17 wins last season—it's not as if they're a piece away from becoming legitimate title contenders.
In my humble opinion, when you're that far out of contention, you draft the best available, not based on needs.
Besides, it's not as if Michael Beasley can't use the added competition to improve his game.
#3 Utah Jazz
Ideal Pick: Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
The trade of franchise point guard Deron Williams sent shock waves throughout the Utah Jazz organization and fanbase.
The Jazz unloaded Williams with the notion that they'd risk losing him for nothing come free agency in 2012. Fortunately for Utah, another skilled, yet raw, point guard can potentially fall into their laps at No. 3.
Brandon Knight is not Deron Williams, and he probably never will be. But in time, he should grow into a solid NBA point guard that can lead a playoff-contending team. He has a great sense for finding the open man, but his biggest problem lies with trying to do too much with the basketball at times.
This pick won't pay immediate dividends for Utah, but if they allow him to mature behind Devin Harris for the time being, they should reap the benefits down the road.
#4 Cleveland Cavaliers
Ideal Pick: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
The latest in a long line of European big men, Jonas Valanciunas projects to fit the Joakim Noah mold of centers.
He's a tireless worker on the glass, both offensively and defensively. That, combined with Kyrie Irving's star power, may be enough to breathe life back into the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise once again.
#5 Toronto Raptors
Ideal Pick: Kemba Walker, PG, UCONN
Jose Calderon is a fine point guard. But to pass up on one of the most special college talents in recent memory would be an absolute travesty for a team such as the Toronto Raptors.
Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Toronto Raptors are still feeling the effects of losing their star power to the bright lights of Miami. Without Chris Bosh this season, Toronto fell into a tailspin, finishing in last place in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division with just 22 wins.
In accordance with my stance that non-contending teams draft based on best available, the Raptors would be foolish to pass up a premier scorer like Walker.
Not to mention, he'll bring a much-needed winning attitude to Toronto.
#6 Washington Wizards
Ideal Pick: Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky (Ruled Ineligible for 2010-2011 season)
The Washington Wizards are in need of depth in the frontcourt, and the 6'11" Enes Kanter certainly fits the bill.
The Turkish native runs the floor well for a big man. He possesses uncharacteristically soft hands for a center, and can shoot the ball at a high percentage around the basket as well as from the perimeter.
#7 Sacramento Kings
Ideal Pick: Jan Vesely, SF, Czechoslovakia
Widely regarded as one of the more athletic players in the draft, Vesely has a penchant for driving past defenders to the hoop at ease. He lacks great ball-handling skills, but makes up for that with a quick first step.
He's not the strongest player on the court, but he uses his size advantage (6'11") at the small forward position in the low post, giving him a solid interior game.
#8 Detroit Pistons
Ideal Pick: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
While he's not going to get the starting nod over Tayshaun Prince anytime soon, Kawhi Leonard brings certain intangibles that teams love to see coming off the bench. He plays with a ton of energy on both ends of the court, and has a rather well-regarded reputation as a defender.
Having a sixth man with Leonard's vigor could do wonders for what appeared at times last season to be a lifeless Detroit Pistons team.
#9 Charlotte Bobcats
Ideal Pick: Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
Not only does Marcus Morris have the intangibles to grow into a leadership role with the Charlotte Bobcats, but he can also give them an offensive presence previously unseen in Charlotte.
Marcus Morris can score in an array of ways, whether his back is to the hoop or he's facing it. He has great hands for a big man, which makes him nearly unstoppable in the low post.
#10 Milwaukee Bucks
Ideal Pick: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
The Milwaukee Bucks can certainly play defense. What they're lacking is a true scoring threat to play alongside Brandon Jennings.
Luckily for the Bucks, Alec Burks fits that mold.
Over the course of his college career, Burks has shown that he can create shots for himself, be it via the pick and roll, or slashing to the basket. He possesses phenomenal ball and body control, making him a threat every time he drives the paint.
#11 Golden State Warriors
Ideal Pick: Donatas Motiejunas, PF/C, Lithuania
What the Golden State Warriors lack more than anything is size. Their current center, Ekpe Udoh, is just 6'10", while power forward David Lee stands at 6'9".
New head coach Mark Jackson has already stated a desire to place an emphasis on the defensive side of the basketball, which will be hard to do with such a greatly undersized lineup.
Motiejunas' height will give the Warriors a huge boost on the defensive end.
He also boasts a sound low-post game, and can score nearly at will with his back to the basket.
#12 Utah Jazz
Ideal Pick: Klay Thompson, SG/SF, Washington State
You can never have too many shooters.
After taking sharp-shooting Gordon Hayward in last year's draft, expect the Utah Jazz to once again draft a premier shooter.
Drafting Klay Thompson, widely regarded as one of the most gifted shooters in the Pac-10, would give the Jazz a dynamic group of perimeter threats.
Couple him with Devin Harris, Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward, and you'll be looking at a dynamic group of scorers from beyond the arc.
#13 Phoenix Suns
Ideal Pick: Bismack Biyombo, PF/C, Spain
Biyombo is a physical specimen, with a 7'7" wingspan to go alongside his 6'9" stature. He's an athletic big man, with explosiveness in the paint that has scouts drooling over his potential.
Not to mention, he leads all of Liga ACB (Spain's top professional basketball league) in blocked shots and is in the top 10 in rebounds—at just 18 years of age.
#14 Houston Rockets
Ideal Pick: Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
Hamilton is the type of college standout that will find success in the NBA. He has the ability to knock down mid-range shots and three-pointers, alike.
Hamilton also possesses a physical low-post presence, and is an absolute beast on the boards.
#15 Indiana Pacers
Ideal Pick: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
Something that the Indiana Pacers truly lack is a legitimate scoring threat off the bench.
That weakness can turn into a strength for the Pacers if they decide to go with Jimmer Fredette at No. 15. The Naismith Award winner can shoot the ball from behind the arc at will, and can give the Pacers some nice minutes off the bench with his versatility.
#16 Philadelphia 76ers
Ideal Pick: Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee
With the Philadelphia 76ers rumored to be shopping Andre Iguodala, the thought process here is to draft a small forward who can assume Iguodala's role in the near future.
Tobias Harris may not immediately step in and become a premier NBA scorer, but in due time he should evolve into one of the better pure scorers in the league.
While he did struggle shooting the ball consistently during his freshman season at Tennessee, he has an outstanding touch around the rim and an excellent feel for the game.
#17 New York Knicks
Ideal Pick: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
If there's one aspect of their roster that the New York Knicks need improvement on, it's their frontcourt depth.
Tristan Thompson carries with him a reputation as a shutdown defender, which has to be appealing to the Knicks, who finished last season allowing the third-most points per game to opponents.
Thompson also runs the floor well, so he should have little trouble fitting into head coach Mike D'Antoni's high-octane system.
Even more impressive, Tristan ranked first in the Big 12 in blocked shots and second in rebounds in 2010-2011. He would bring to the Knicks a sense of hustle and dirty work off the bench that would efficiently complement Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony's star power.
#18 Washington Wizards
Ideal Pick: Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
Markieff is essentially the ying to his twin brother Marcus' yang.
While Marcus is the scorer in the family, Markieff is more or less the defensive stopper. He's tough on the glass too, which is always a welcomed commodity to a team that finished in the middle of the pack in rebounds, such as the Washington Wizards did this past season.
#19 Charlotte Bobcats
Ideal Pick: Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
Singleton is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the country. He finished his junior season ranked among the ACC leaders in blocks, rebounds and steals.
He's not an explosive offensive player, but he'll bring the Charlotte Bobcats a true ball-stopper on the perimeter as well as in the paint.
#20 Minnesota Timberwolves
Ideal Pick: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Kenneth Faried, one of the most ferocious rebounders college basketball has ever seen, would be a nightmare for opposing teams in the same frontcourt as Kevin Love.
Assuming the Minnesota Timberwolves go with Derrick Williams at No. 2, they'll be looking to beef up their big man depth with the 20th pick.
The Timberwolves can go a long way towards getting back to respectability by drafting both Derrick Williams and Kenneth Faried with their multiple first-round picks.
#21 Portland Trail Blazers
Ideal Pick: Nikola Vucevic, PF/C, USC
He's no Greg Oden, but Nikola Vucevic can go a long way towards helping Portland Trail Blazers fans forget about the epic bust.
Vucevic was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference team as a junior, and showed a great ability to finish around the basket as well as the perimeter. He's a versatile and athletic center, and has also shown great shot-blocking and rebounding instincts.
#22 Denver Nuggets
Ideal Pick: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
Drafting Marshon Brooks at 22 can change that, as he has an offensive skill set that is certain to translate well to the NBA.
Brooks has a quick first step and loves to attack the basket, but can also step back and knock down the open shot. He shoots the ball with confidence, and is an explosive scorer—he recorded a 52-point game this past season.
#23 Houston Rockets
Ideal Pick: Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
Reggie Jackson is a true point guard. Anyone who's seen him play can tell he has the intangibles to become an above-average point guard at the next level. He's a vocal leader on the floor, and plays within himself. If he has the open look, he'll take the shot, but he's more adept to dishing the ball and creating opportunities for his teammates.
If the Houston Rockets go with Jackson at No. 23, he'll certainly give Kyle Lowry some competition for the starting point guard spot come training camp.
#24 Oklahoma City Thunder
Ideal Pick: Tyler Honeycutt, SF, UCLA
Tyler Honeycutt isn't your average small forward. He has phenomenal ball handling skills, can take his man off the dribble, and can also step back and knock down shots from behind the arc.
He's essentially a combination of a point guard and shooting guard in a small forward's body.
Honeycutt would give the Oklahoma City Thunder yet another dangerous offensive weapon if they decide to go with him here.
#25 Boston Celtics
Ideal Pick: Kyle Singler, SF/PF, Duke
The aspect of Kyle Singler's game that NBA teams love is that he's already adapt to being a role player. He's not a star college player coming into the NBA expecting to play every minute. He knows his role, and he's more than fine with it.
That's the type of attitude that will force the Boston Celtics to take Singler if he's available at 25.
This isn't to say Singler can't be a solid NBA player. But the Celtics can skip the grace period in which Kyle Singler gets used to his role as a shooter off the bench, and instead expect him to perform from the get-go. For a team looking to win now while they have the big three still intact, that's a huge plus.
Not to mention, his high energy level and effort off the bench will be much welcomed on an aging Boston Celtics team.
#26 Dallas Mavericks
Ideal Pick: Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
For the first time in franchise history perhaps, the Dallas Mavericks finally have a game-changing center in Tyson Chandler. Chandler is having a phenomenal season, but given the injury problems he's faced throughout his career, substantial depth at the center position is needed.
The Mavericks can assure themselves of a go-to center for years to come if they do in fact draft 18-year-old Lucas Nogueira at 26.
Nogueira has an extremely raw skill set, but he's freakishly athletic for a 7-footer, and boasts a 7'6" wingspan. His shot-blocking ability has been likened by many to Marcus Camby in his early years, and he's real game changer at the defensive end.
#27 New Jersey Nets
Ideal Pick: Josh Selby, SG, Kansas
Selby, an extremely raw talent, decided to forgo his sophomore season at Kansas and instead declare for the draft. He has an excellent mid range jumper, but currently lacks range from behind the arc.
He was devastatingly inconsistent in his one season at Kansas, but he showed enough flashes of brilliance to be considered by many a first round draft pick.
The New Jersey Nets will be setting themselves up nicely for the future with this pick, but they shouldn't be expecting much in terms of immediate gains.
#28 Chicago Bulls
Ideal Pick: Charles Jenkins, SG, Hofstra
The most glaring need for the Chicago Bulls heading into the off season is the need for a consistent shooting guard.
Look no further than Hofstra University's Charles Jenkins.
Jenkins ranked first in the Colonial Athletic Association (Home to Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University) in scoring this past season. He also finished ranked second in the conference in assists per game.
That in itself tells you that Jenkins has the gift of a pure scorer, but can also work within an offensive system. Expect the Bulls to grab Jenkins if he's still available at 28.
#29 San Antonio Spurs
Ideal Pick: Jordan Williams, C, Maryland
He's raw and first growing into his 6'10" frame, but I like Jordan Williams here to the San Antonio Spurs.
Tiago Splitter was phenomenal in his backup center role this season, and he may have played himself into the starting lineup. This would mean pushing Tim Duncan back down to his more natural power forward position.
If that's the case, the Spurs will need to acquire more depth at the position, and that's why Jordan Williams is a strong fit here.
Williams will have ample time to adjust to the NBA game before being asked to step into a starting role, and he'll have the opportunity to learn from one of the NBA's greatest low-post presences of all time in Tim Duncan.
#30 Chicago Bulls
Ideal Pick: Justin Harper, PF, Richmond
As a 6'10" power forward, Justin Harper has the skill set to just about do it all.
He can bang around in the post, and boasts an arsenal of interior moves. Harper can finish around the basket, and also step back and drain not only the mid-range jumper, but the three-ball as well.
He's an intriguing young player, and definitely worth the gamble by the Bulls here in the final pick of the first round.