The 2011 NBA Draft is only a couple of days away!
If you are anywhere near as excited as I am, we will be in for a great Thursday.
Up until this point, the 2011 NBA draft class has been referred to as a fairly weak one. While there are future all-stars in this draft, they are not as obvious as they have been in the past.
As a result, almost every player's stock has been fluctuating. This leaves everyone wondering where their favorite players will end up.
Here is my best guess at which players will go where during the first round!
This draft class has been criticized endlessly for being weak.
Kyrie Irving may be the only franchise talent in the 2011 draft.
Although Irving played in only 11 games last season due to injury, he looked impressive when he played. Irving scored in double figures in all 11 games.
Irving is athletic enough to attack the rim or step back and hit a three-pointer. And with Cleveland lacking depth at point guard, Irving can step in immediately and make an impact.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he did not believe the team would be trading this pick. This comes as a shock to many who believe the Wolves are pushing hard to move this pick.
It is widely believed that the Wolves will gladly move the pick if veteran help is offered.
If by chance they do take this pick, they still will take Derrick Williams out of Arizona.
This will present a problem, however, for the Wolves.
Williams plays the same position as the teams two best players, Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. Thus, a trade of one of the three becomes a possibility.
At the moment, if Williams is drafted by the Wolves, it appears that Beasley could find himself in a new uniform come opening day.
This is another pick that may not remain with the same team come draft day.
The Jazz are trying to trade up or trade down right now, depending on who they receive in return.
As a result, it is anyone's guess as to who the Jazz will draft with this pick. They are in need of both a guard and a big man, so there are not many players who can be counted out.
The best bet for being chosen at No. 3 by the Utah Jazz is Brandon Knight.
The Jazz have just recently become infatuated with Knight. The 6'3" point guard can defend many positions, can shoot the ball well and has no obvious character flaws.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have many needs. By drafting guard Kyrie Irving with the first pick, the Cavs next need is a big man.
Enter Enes Kanter.
The 18-year-old Kanter has amazing upside. He already possesses an amazing skill set. That skill set, plus his high basketball IQ, is just what the Cavs need right now.
Kanter is the best prospect in the draft. Right now, all he is only a prospect. No one knows how his game will translate at the NBA level. He could pan out and be like Dirk Nowitzki, or he could fizzle and end up like Darko Milicic.
The 6'11" swingman, Jan Vesely, is a perfect fit for the Toronto Raptors.
Vesely is ready to play right now in the NBA. On top of that, Vesely also has tremendous opportunity to improve in Toronto, where he will play almost immediately.
The swingman is very athletic and is known in Europe for his ability to dunk the ball. Overall, his style of play will fit in nicely with the Raptors.
At 6'7", Kawhi Leonard can make an immediate impact as a rookie due to his strength and athleticism.
Leonard is a solid defender, who can make an a big difference on a weak defensive squad. His ability to rebound the ball is another attractive aspect for the Wizard.
With a good display at the combine, it is almost certain that Kawhi Leonard will become John Wall's newest teammate on draft day.
The Sacramento Kings are in no position to take a risk with this pick. They need to improve, and they need to do it fast.
Kemba Walker is just what they are looking for.
Walker is a charismatic guard who makes all of those on the court play better.
The Kings are also a young team. Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins both have questionable characters. Walker's character has none of those questions. As a result, he can lead this team for years to come.
The Pistons are in need of an interior defender.
Not much is known about the 18-year-old Bismack Biyombo other than he plays with tremendous strength and athleticism. His offensive game is near non-existant, but his defense is solid.
Bottom line: Biyombo is a project and a huge risk. A risk the Pistons are likely to take.
The Bobcats have multiple needs. What the team really needs is a player who can make an impact immediately.
Marcus Morris is that impact player.
He can play either small forward or power forward, and with the departure of Gerald Wallace, the Bobcats are desperately seeking help in those areas.
Morris can score from the perimeter and the lane, providing the versatility the Bobcats need. He is also a great passer for someone of his size and should fit in quite well in Charlotte.
With this selection, the Bucks will either choose Alec Burks or Klay Thompson. Overall, Burks probably will have a nicer fit with current guard Brandon Jennings.
Burks is entering the NBA with a polished game that provides the Bucks with plenty of upside. He thrives on his ability to get to the rim, in the process showcasing his superior ball-handling skills.
More of a slasher than a pure shooter, Burks is the right player for the Bucks if he can find his niche.
Washington State product Klay Thompson has the NBA in his blood. The son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson, Klay is a 6'6" shooting guard with excellent range.
Thompson was one of the best shooters in college basketball, has outstanding range on his jump shot and, to top it all off, has a tremendous basketball IQ.
Also, newly hired executive Jerry West loves Thompson, only adding fuel to the fire that he will be chosen here.
With Andrei Kirilenko becoming a free agent, the Jazz will need a player to fill that void.
Singleton is a versatile defender who can defend many positions. While he may not be the best offensive player in the draft, his prowess on the other end of the court more than makes up for it.
May not be the perfect fit for the Jazz, but he does fill a need.
Tristan Thompson is a very athletic power forward. The Suns need a legitimate power forward threat to become a better team.
While his offense still needs improving, his offensive rebounding may be the best in the draft. On the other end of the floor, Thompson's defense is solid.
As long as Thompson's offense keeps improving, he could see a ton of minutes in Phoenix.
Jonas Valanciunas is the best European player in the draft according to many NBA scouts.
Although Valanciunas is still under contract, the Rockets are not adverse to taking risks.
The two things Valanciunas has going for him are his age and his amazing upside. Both of these things are loved by Houston, especially with Yao Ming remaining still questionable.
By drafting Fredette, the Pacers would be drafting the best pure shooter in the 2011 draft class. And with virtually no options at SG, Fredette has a role to fill.
While Fredette does boast an amazing offensive game, his defense is poor at best. There is no doubt about his ability to score, and that will translate to the NBA.
With Jerry Sloan out of Utah, Fredette will most likely play early and often.
With brother Marcus Morris already off the board, the 76ers will turn to brother Markieff for the size the team needs.
Markieff has an outside shot to stretch the defense and also a solid post game. A very hard worker, Markieff will fill the role as back-up to Elton Brand until he is fully developed into an NBA player.
The Knicks are looking to help Carmelo Anthony, and Hamilton will take some of the scoring pressure off of him.
Hamilton is a versatile offensive player who can drive and score or step back and hit a three-pointer. His offense will be greatly appreciated on the Knicks.
Tobias Harris went under the radar for most of the season. A one-and-done player out of Tennessee, Harris is a very well-rounded player.
Harris is the type of player who can do a lot of things well, but nothing spectacular. At this point, teams will need to look at him as a project player who needs time to develop into an NBA player.
Even though I already have the Wiz taking Leonard at No. 6, there is still a chance they will take Harris.
The Bobcats are in desperate need of size.
Enter Nikola Vucevic.
Nikola is another player who saw his stock soar in the Chicago Combine. His measurements were well above average, leaving many teams with the feeling that Nikola's upside is worth the risk of taking him in the first round.
After a great performance in the Chicago combine, Brooks has been climbing up many draft boards. Just a few weeks ago, many NBA GMs had Brooks as a bubble first-round pick, and some said he wouldn't be drafted at all.
An aggressive scorer, Brooks will fit in nicely along Michael Beasley on the Wolves' floor.
Brooks is crazy athletic. He boasts a 7'1" wingspan. That reach, combined with his explosive first step, allowed Brooks to average 24.6 points per game in his senior season at Providence.
Kenneth Faried is the best rebounder in the 2011 draft class. The Trailblazers loved Faried last year but then Faried withdrew from the draft, leaving the team hanging.
Faried broke Tim Duncan's NCAA rebounding record, showing he knows how to control the glass. Even if he is half as good as Duncan, Faried will be a very good professional.
Iman Shumpert's draft stock has been on the rise lately.
Shumpert is one of the best, if not the best perimeter defender in the draft. While his offense is lacking, his defense more than makes up for it.
His athleticism will also be highly valued on a Nuggets team still dealing with the loss of Carmelo Anthony.
While picking Motiejunas after selecting Valanciunas at No. 14 may seem odd, the Rockets like a bargain.
If Motiejunas were to fall this far, Houston would be receiving a great deal for a player of his caliber.
Even though Motiejunas' shot is a work in progress, if he is given a couple of years to develop his body and an NBA shot, he could become a very good player in the league.
With the Thunder shipping Jeff Green out of town, the SF spot is open for Singler to fill.
Oklahoma City seems to be very high on Singler right now, who believe his ability to knock down the open shot is exactly what they need. Singler's basketball IQ is very high, and he never seems to run out of energy.
He could end up as a very good choice at No. 24.
Justin Harper is the man the Celtics need with an aging Kevin Garnett.
Harper can shoot the ball well. That, coupled with his athleticism, fills a big hole for the Celtics. While Harper can take the ball to the block to score, he is also capable of stretching the court. It is often surprising how much damage he can do away from the hoop.
Harper should be able to make an impact as a rookie and is exactly what Boston needs.
This selection is a big stretch. Mirotic has a huge buyout that may prevent him from playing in the NBA for a couple of years.
That being said, Mirotic has lottery pick talent.
While he is a BIG gamble, Mirotic may payoff down the line. And with Dirk Nowitzki retiring eventually, Mirotic may be just what Dallas needs to replace him.
There is a chance Jackson may be gone by this pick. If not, he should become the newest member of the New Jersey Nets.
Jackson is a 6'3" point guard who will be a nice backup to Deron Williams.
As if Williams were not athletic enough, Jackson boasts an amazing 7'0" wingspan and a sharp-shooting ability. He may be the future sixth man in New Jersey.
Jeremy Tyler may be the biggest mystery in the draft.
At one time, he viewed himself as a lottery pick. As a result, he left high school in the U.S. and headed toward professional ball in Israel and Japan.
Now Tyler has a lot to prove.
While his upside is tremendous, teams will need to work with him. Tyler is incredibly athletic and has tremendous size, something the Bulls are looking for in order to improve their team.
Davis Bertans is relatively unknown at this point. The 6'10" small forward has a great ability to create his own shot off of the dribble, and he also has excellent range for someone of his size.
Like all European big men, Bertans is already being compared to Dirk Nowitzki. Before he is to become a player of Nowitzki's caliber, Bertans needs to add a lot of strength.
Bertans showed himself to be a shooter at the Nike Hoops Summit and may be worth the risk because of his young age (18 years old).
The Bulls are looking for a more reliable backup to Loul Deng.
They have their man in Tyler Honeycutt.
The lanky Honeycutt is a solid off-the-ball player, who can easily move off of screens to find an open jumper. His length will also work nicely in the defensive schemes hat Chicago employs so well.