Latest Edition Mock Draft:
With less than two weeks until the 2011 NBA Draft, let's take a closer look at this year's draft prospects. Players have been rising and falling on mock drafts everywhere. This is the most recent version, with news and player updates, and it's sure to raise some eyebrows!
The CBA has yet to be re-established, and a lockout still impends on the 2011-12 season. European players (i.e. Ricky Rubio) are frantically trying to get the best rookie contracts available before the salaries are changed by league officials. This also means that players with current Euro-contracts (Jonas Valanciunas) will be a reach for teams in the draft.
The following slides examine the most recent draft news and give us a brand new mock draft. Read on:
I value your opinion and appreciate your different views, please leave me some feedback. Comment!
1. Cleveland Cavaliers select Kyrie Irving
Although Cleveland is pretty well-off in the point guard category with Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions, and Daniel Gibson, they won't miss out on the consensus first overall pick.
Kyrie Irving has been compared to Chris Paul by several analysts in the league, and, if he can live up to the hype, will be a safe pick at No. 1 overall.
Cleveland is in the market for a superstar, and may just as well pick up forward Derrick Williams. In a Derrick Williams draft scenario, they would also end up with either Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker, point guards out of Kentucky and UConn, respectively.
It can be argued that drafting D-Will is their best option, but Williams might have more bust potential than Kyrie Irving. With a player like J.J. Hickson on the roster, Cleveland doesn't necessarily need to select a dominant, athletic forward.
The fact that Kyrie Irving will be a great player himself, and the fact that he has the ability to distribute the basketball, get teammates involved, and make his team better as a whole, will be just a little more enticing to the Cavs than Derrick Williams.
One question may arise with the drafting of Irving, though, as the Cavs would potentially be looking to nab a big with their fourth pick. What happens when Derrick Williams and Enes Kanter go off the board in the next two picks?
Do the Cavaliers select another point guard? Do they pick up Jan Vesely or Jonas Valanciunas?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Cavaliers' pick, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the 23rd of June.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves select Derrick Williams
There's a consensus rule in the NBA Draft that goes something like, "Teams should always select talent before need." That statement just might be the case during the T'wolves tenure on the clock during the upcoming draft.
With fowards Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, and Wesley Johnson on the roster, either Derrick Williams' future in Minnesota or Michael Beasley's future there looks dim. There's just too much of a log-jam at the forward positions for Minnesota to keep all four on the roster.
Another possibility for the T'wolves is to pick up Turkish big-man Enes Kanter. Kanter, however, fills a need more than he provides Minnesota with talent. The Timberwolves have a sore need at the center position, as their current starter is all-time draft bust Darko Milicic.
The smartest move would be for Minnesota to take Enes Kanter, but having a trade asset as great as Derrick Williams or Michael Beasley is going to be too enticing for G.M. David Kahn not to grab D-Will.
3. Utah Jazz select Brandon Knight
It dawned on me earlier today that Utah has had a history of consistently providing the league with a great "point guard-power forward" All-Star duo.
John Stockton and Karl Malone.
In my opinion, the next chapter of great "point guard-power forward" combinations in Utah continues with the additions of Brandon Knight and Derrick Favors.
"Stockton to Malone," and, "Williams to Boozer," are phrases Jazz fans have heard announced hundreds of times. Is there a, "Knight to Favors" slogan hidden away in anyone's repertoire? I believe so, and you can't tell me that it doesn't roll off the tongue quite nicely!
With the injury-prone Devin Harris nearing the end of his prime, Utah will be shopping around for a solid point guard of the future.
Enter Brandon Knight. The 6'3" guard out of John Calipari's Kentucky basketball team averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game during his freshman season, and plays Utah's so-desperately-needed stifling defense.
Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter are options here, but Utah has a history of selecting bigger guards in the draft (Deron Williams over Chris Paul), and there is somewhat of a log-jam at the forward and center positions in Utah right now.
Look for Utah to select Derrick Williams if he's available, but most likely Brandon Knight or Enes Kanter. I'll be legitimately surprised if they select either Kemba Walker or Jan Vesely.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers select Enes Kanter
Cleveland catches a break here from a potential draft disaster. With Enes Kanter still on the board at fourth overall, expect the Cavs to pick him up without hesitation.
Kanter is an upgrade over Anderson Varejao, and provides Kyrie Irving with a partner-in-crime. His ability to knock down the NBA three-point shot and his post presence are great assets on the basketball floor. Kanter has a surprisingly smooth jump-shot and his form looks better than a lot of shooting guards'.
Don't believe that? Check out this video. You'll be pleasantly surprised, as I was.
The Cavs need pieces to rebuild from the LeBron era. Enter Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter.
5. Toronto Raptors select Kemba Walker
It's hard not to imagine Kemba in a Raptors uniform, isn't it?
With Toronto looking to jump out of the Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon eras, NCAA Tournament champ Kemba Walker fits the bill quite nicely. Walker averaged 23.5 points per game before leading his UConn Huskies to the NCAA Title.
Toronto needs to add another piece to the team to motivate big man Andrea Bargnani to play to his full abilities. A Kemba Walker-Andrea Bargnani combo would be very exciting for Raptors fans.
6. Washington Wizards select Kawhi Leonard
The Wiz currently have studs John Wall and Javale McGee on the roster, and need to add a small forward in an attempt to build an Oklahoma City Thunder-esque team and accent current players on the team.
Kawhi Leonard would benefit insurmountably with John Wall at the point. Leonard could turn out to be a Ronnie Brewer-type player, slashing to the rim and slamming it home off of nice passes from Wall. Kawhi also has the ability to knock down open jumpers, and slide that extra pass in to McGee for the jam.
Wizards fans should be excited, as their team has an opportunity to build a new, young, contending team.
7. Sacramento Kings select Jimmer Fredette
Before I get shot-down, let me add Chad Ford's notes from ESPN:
"But what about the Kings? Are they seriously considering Jimmer at No. 7?
Sources say yes ... if Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker are off the board. The Kings seem pretty determined to add a point guard to the roster. If Knight and Walker are gone, Jimmer's the next best one on the board. Shooting ability is something the Kings covet in whichever guard plays alongside Tyreke Evans, and few players stroke it like Jimmer."
Well, Knight and Walker are off the board. The Jimmer pick makes sense... sort of. He's a prolific scorer and has unbeatable range and accuracy on his jump-shot. The Kings are in need of a point guard, and with all the best of them gone, Fredette seems to be the way to go at No. 7 overall.
Who knows? Maybe he'll turn out to be a great steal for the Kings!
8. Detroit Pistons select Jan Vesely
The Pistons have an opportunity here to select European sensation Jan Vesely. With Tayshaun Prince most likely leaving via free agency this summer, Detroit needs to fill a gap at the small forward position.
Jan Vesely provides excellent athleticism and a decent basketball IQ. He'll provide more options for Rodney Stuckey, and excite the Detroit fans.
9. Charlotte Bobcats select Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson gets to take off his burnt-orange Texas jersey and replace it with an orange Charlotte Bobcats jersey with his selection at No. 9 overall this year.
Thompson provides instant defense and great offensive potential for Michael Jordan's team. Thompson's spin moves in the paint are very nice, and show his ability to play with his back to the basket.
Charlotte is a promising young team, but right now they have a few things to fix. Michael Jordan hasn't had the best track record in the draft, and he'll look to redeem himself this year. Hopefully, Tristan Thompson will still be on the board when he makes his selection.
Charlotte has a great point guard in D.J. Augustin and needs to pair him up with another talented, young player. Enter Tristan Thompson.
10. Milwaukee Bucks select Alec Burks
Alec Burks is nearly the consensus No. 10 overall pick. He just seems to fit in this part of the lottery, and even more so with the Bucks.
Brandon Jennings is in desperate need of some offensive help, and Alec Burks will be able to provide that. Burks is a very promising young shooting guard, and has recently been working out with long-time star Chauncey Billups in an attempt to improve his shooting game.
Milwaukee already plays great defense, something that a lot of teams need to work on, and they can afford to select the offensive-minded Alec Burks at tenth overall.
11. Golden State Warriors select Jonas Valanciunas
All the hype about Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas comes to its climax upon his selection by the Warriors at 11th overall.
David Lee needs help down low, and, if Valanciunas arrives at a buy-out agreement with his European team, he will provide that help.
Check out the video posted above to see Jonas in action!
12. Utah Jazz select Marshon Brooks
Every team who passed on Brooks—outside of the first five selections—made a huge mistake. In my opinion, Marshon Brooks will be one of the best players taken in the 2011 NBA Draft. The physical tools he has, combined with his natural talent and skill, give him the opportunity to become an All-Star.
Brooks sports an incredible 7'1" wingspan while playing at the shooting guard position. Utah desperately needs a pure shooting guard, and Brooks is one of the best on the board at this point.
Marshon was the second leading scorer in the NCAA last season behind Jimmer Fredette. He posted 24.6 points per game and 7.0 rebounds.
Look for the Jazz to take either Marshon Brooks, Klay Thompson, Jimmer Fredette, or Marcus Morris with the 12th overall pick.
13. Phoenix Suns select Klay Thompson
Phoenix continues to add pieces to their "run-and-gun" style of play with sharp-shooter Klay Thompson out of Washington State.
Some may go as far to say Klay Thompson rivals Jimmer Fredette in the shooting category. With an aging Steve Nash, the Suns will try their best to resign Aaron Brooks and add pieces to their young core of players.
Klay Thompson is a step in the right direction for Phoenix.
14. Houston Rockets select Jordan Hamilton
If Jordan Hamilton is still on the board at this point, Houston nabs a great player, and more than likely a steal, at 14th overall.
With Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, and Luis Scola, Jordan Hamilton could come in and instantly make an impact for Kevin McHale's Rockets.