2011 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting All 30 First-Round Picks

Peter HillCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2011

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Projecting All 30 First-Round Picks

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    For basketball enthusiasts like me, the NBA Draft is one of the most exciting parts of the season. Teams like Cleveland, Minnesota, Charlotte and Washington have two picks in the first round, making them serious threats to grab quality talent.

    Now that the draft is just days away, the time for speculation is now. Rumors are swirling, teams are gearing up and surprise trades could happen at any second.

    Since the combine ended a few weeks ago, teams have had the chance to work out players by themselves. With time to assess the evaluations of the incoming rookies, we can better predict where they will land.

    Let's get this started—here comes your full first-round mock draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 175 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Point guard "feel"

    Biggest Weakness: Durability concerns

    Why He’s Drafted Here: It won’t come as shocking news that Cleveland needs to start over. Why not pick a guy who can run an offense for you?

    Kyrie Irving is one of the many pieces Cleveland needs to get back into NBA relevancy. The Cavs' front office knows what type of impact he can have, so this pick seems obvious.

    Irving has a really well-rounded game and will be good in Cleveland’s system for years to come. The only question is, who else will join him in the rebuilding project in Cleveland?

    On top of drafting Irving, the Cavs seem determined to trade either Baron Davis or Ramon Sessions. Stay tuned on draft night to see what moves Cleveland makes.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 240 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Versatility

    Biggest Weakness: "Tweener" label

    Why He's Drafted Here: Derrick Williams has arguably the most potential in the NBA Draft. Since the T-Wolves need to give Kevin Love a reason to stay in town, Williams appears to be their pick.

    With the trio of Ricky Rubio, Williams and Love, the Timberwolves may find themselves climbing out of the bottom of the NBA.

    This pick only makes sense if Minnesota trades forward Michael Beasely though. Beasley and Williams are both forwards who can play and guard a few positions.

    Anticipate the Timberwolves moving Beasley for a true shooting guard or legitimate center who can go alongside Kevin Love.

3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight

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    Height/Weight: 6'3", 185 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Size and speed combination

    Biggest Weakness: Needs a more point guard "feel"

    Why He’s Drafted Here: The Jazz will be elated to have a talent like Knight fall to them. All indications in the Jazz front office point away from Devin Harris, meaning Knight is the guy of the future.

    Knight will be able to step in and play from day one. He has an NBA body and will be able to use it against smaller point guards. With his blend of speed, quickness, size and strength, Knight fits the new look of NBA point guards.

    He is a safe pick here at No. 3, making this a win-win for the Jazz.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter

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    Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Size and passion for the game

    Biggest Weakness: Overall offensive game

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Kanter did as good a job as anyone improving his stock at the draft combine. Kanter is tall, quick and he showed all the necessary moves to make him a legit NBA center.

    With the post moves, body control, scoring prowess, big body, good hands and high basketball IQ, he can be an All-Star in the NBA.

    Kanter is super smooth with the ability to play center or power forward. His knees have long been in question, but he showed no signs of bad knees during the combine.

    With Cleveland's major need for a center, Kanter should come in and start right away.

5. Toronto Raptors: Jan Vesely

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    Height/Weight: 6'11", 235 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Size and passion

    Biggest Weakness: Overall offensive game

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Vesely is an interesting pick in Toronto. Like Andrea Bargnani, Vesely is a craft European player who will find his way in the NBA.

    Unlike Bargnani though, Vesely is super quick, goes 100 percent at all times and runs the floor with ease.

    Also unlike Bargnani, Vesely has almost no offensive game.

    Vesely contributes with his intangibles though. With his long arms, high motor and ability to be around the rim, he will be a good addition in Toronto.

    With some serious work on his offensive game, Vesely could turn into the best player in this draft.

6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard

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    Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Quickness and intangibles

    Biggest Weakness: Ability to create off the dribble

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Leonard has seen his stock rise as much as anyone since the season ended.

    Leonard generally impacts the game with his intangibles. He has huge hands, an incredibly high motor, plays lock-down defense and rebounds very well for his size.

    Washington could really use an x-factor type of guy in this position. Since they are very weak on the perimeter, Leonard makes sense with the sixth pick.

    If he can fall this far, Washington should take Leonard here.

7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'0", 170 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Ability to score

    Biggest Weakness: Decision-making

    Why He’s Drafted Here: This is best-case scenario for the Kings. They really need a proven winner who is also a high character guy—Kemba Walker is both.

    Walker is portrayed as a great leader and all-around team player. He would fit right in with the Kings, moving Tyreke Evans over to the two-guard position. Evans isn’t a pure point guard, so a guy like Walker should make him more comfortable on the floor.

    Sacramento has the opportunity to hit a home run for the third year in a row in this year’s draft.

8. Detroit Pistons: Jonas Valanciunas

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    Height/Weight: 6'11", 240 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: NBA potential

    Biggest Weakness: Body strength

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Detroit has found their center alongside Greg Monroe in Jonas Valanciunas.

    The 6'11" center appears to be the European version of Dwight Howard coming into the NBA. Valanciunas has big broad shoulders that can certainly acquire more muscle.

    Valanciunas is also only 18 years old, so the possibility of him growing well over seven feet is good.

    He is somewhat raw at this stage, but he can still contribute immediately. With his huge hands, active feet and long arms, Jonas can alter shots in the NBA without second thought.

    Valanciunas can be seen as "project," but the prize is well worth it.

9. Charlotte Bobcats: Marcus Morris

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 230 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Versatility

    Biggest Weakness: "Tweener" label

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Charlotte would love the versatility of Marcus Morris in their lineup. Since they already play quick and athletic basketball, the better of the Morris twins would thrive in their rotation.

    Marcus can shoot from outside, grab rebounds down low, dribble the ball on the perimeter and post up players when he needs to.

    Charlotte is seldom of players who can play multiple positions like Morris. Jordan will make this pick with confidence.

    The label of "tweener" might actually work toward Morris’ advantage in this case.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Klay Thompson

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6’7”, 205 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Shooting

    Biggest Weakness: Elite-level athleticism

    Why He’s Drafted Here: It’s widely known that Milwaukee needs help on the perimeter next to Brandon Jennings. After John Salmons' terrible year in 2010-2011, Milwaukee will select Thompson with the 10th pick because he can help them in several ways.

    Thompson comes in at 6’7” and plays within his ability. He will never wow you with his athleticism, but he rarely makes mistakes that leave you wondering what he is thinking.

    The one knock on Thompson is his athleticism, which is something that can be compensated for with his shooting touch.

11. Golden State Warrriors: Bismack Biyombo

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    Height/Weight: 6’9”, 245 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Athleticism and shot-blocking

    Biggest Weakness: Anything involving offense

    Why He’s Drafted Here: This will be the head-scratcher pick of the first round. Biyombo is incredibly raw and will need serious coaching to become effective in the NBA.

    Why will he go here? It’s simple: Golden State seriously lacks inside presence and defense.

    Since there isn’t elite talent in the class, the Golden State front office will take the guy with the biggest risk and try to turn him into a stud.

    Sorry Warriors fans, but Bismack Biyombo will never be anything close to Serge Ibaka.

12. Utah Jazz: Chris Singleton

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 230 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Defensive prowess

    Biggest Weakness: Transitioning to small forward

    Why He’s Drafted Here: This pick almost makes too much sense for it not to happen.

    Singleton's talents make him a perfect fit in Utah's system, and he is easily the best defensive player in this class.

    With his length and quickness, Singleton is easily able to guard three or four positions. He is great at disrupting the passing lanes, stripping players of the ball, crashing the boards and blocking or altering shots.

    The former Florida State standout can help on offense too. He is a decent dribbler, shoots three's at a solid rate and is great in transition.

13. Phoenix Suns: Jimmer Fredette

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    Height/Weight: 6'2", 195 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Shooting stroke

    Biggest Weakness: NBA-level athleticism

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Jimmer Fredette is possibly the biggest household name in this entire draft.

    Unfortunately for Jimmer though, he may have to do some sitting on the bench before his time comes.

    But who is a better player to learn the point guard position from than Steve Nash? Nash could teach Fredette the ins and outs of the game, making him a legitimate point guard down the road.

    Scouts say Fredette can’t play defense, but Nash doesn’t play a lick of defense to start with.

    If Phoenix can get Fredette with the 13th pick, they may have found themselves their point guard of the future.

14. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas

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    Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 7'0", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: High potential due to size and ability

    Biggest Weakness: Mental motor

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Fewer teams in the NBA need a center worse than the Rockets.

    After losing Yao Ming to more injuries, Houston is left with several undersized centers. Motiejunas is an extremely versatile player who does a lot of things that resemble Andrea Bargnani.

    Motiejunas is a 7'0" post man who plays like a 6'7" small forward. He can dribble, knock down three's, find the open man and present serious matchup problems.

    Best-case scenario, Motiejunas is the next Bargnani or Nowitzki, which is exactly what the Rockets will draft him to be.

15. Indiana Pacers: Kenneth Faried

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Intensity and passion

    Biggest Weakness: Undersized

    Why He's Drafted Here: Indiana desperately needs a player with the Faried's passion.

    Faried is a monster on the boards, exploding off the floor like Blake Griffin, while attacking the glass like Gerald Wallace.

    He is generously listed at 6'8", meaning he will be an undersized power forward in the NBA. But plenty of undersized power forwards make it in the NBA. Guys like DeJaun Blair, Jason Maxiell and Brandon Bass are examples of the player Faried could be.

    Fortunately for Faried, none of those guys can jump like him. His energy and explosiveness will keep him in the NBA for years.

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Tristan Thompson

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Ability to impact the game

    Biggest Weakness: Inconsistencies

    Why He’s Drafted Here: The 76ers have to be salivating if Thompson can fall to them at No. 17. The physical power forward is an ideal pickup for Doug Collins' team.

    Philadelphia also has an aging frontcourt. Elton Brand is on the last leg of his career, making the need for power forward even greater. On top of that, Collins refuses to give Mareese Speights consistent minutes.

    Thompson has the body, tools and energy to impose his will down low. He does nothing great, but everything well.

    This is a moderately risky pick with the upside to become an everyday starter for the 76ers.

17. New York Knicks: Marshon Brooks

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 200 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Scoring and shooting

    Biggest Weakness: Ball hog tendencies

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Marshon Brooks would fit right into New York's high-scoring system.

    Brooks is one of the best scorers in the entire draft. His senior year he averaged a whopping 24.6 points per game, second in the country behind Jimmer Fredette.

    Brooks may have some "me over the team" shots, but that should be fixed very quickly when he enters the NBA.

    At 6'5", Brooks has the prototypical mold of an NBA shooting guard. Knicks fans should be elated if they land him because Brooks is easily one of the best and most underrated shooting guards in this draft.

18. Washington Wizards: Jordan Hamilton

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    Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Versatility

    Biggest Weakness: Nothing big steps out about his game

    Why He’s Drafted Here: I believe the Wizards have to take best player available at this point.

    Once again, Washington is weak on the wing, so Hamilton could see immediate playing time. He is a high potential player who will need serious coaching to ever reach it.

    Don't be surprised though if this pick is moved during a trade or other future possibilities.

19. Charlotte Bobcats: Markieff Morris

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'9", 245 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Good all-around game

    Biggest Weakness: Nothing overly flashy to his game

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Markieff Morris at No. 19 is a steal in this draft, as he has the all-around ability to be a solid contributor in the NBA for years.

    Charlotte basically needs every position, so getting the best player available here makes sense. Looking over the roster, Markieff will have the opportunity for major minutes in his rookie season.

    With more seasoning and time to step out of his brother’s shadow, Markieff could turn into one of the better value picks in this year’s draft.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Josh Selby

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 195 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Athleticism

    Biggest Weakness: Durability concerns

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Let’s get this out of the way: Josh Selby had a terrible freshman season at Kansas.

    Now that we all know that, it’s time to focus on how good he can be in the NBA.

    Selby is incredibly athletic and is capable of doing anything on the court. In his first game at Kansas, he exploded for 21 points against USC.

    Just one year ago, Selby was the "can’t miss" prospect coming out of high school. After putting up a 42" vertical at the combine, he will see his stock rise every single work out.

    Don’t be shocked if he sneaks his way into the lottery.

    Selby would be a great scoring punch the Timberwolves need. This would be a great fit for both parties.

21. Portland Trail Blazers: Tobias Harris

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 225 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Polish and feel for the game

    Biggest Weakness: Rebounding aggressiveness

    Why He’s Drafted Here: With a front office that is in complete disarray, it’s hard to say where Portland will go with this pick.

    Though Portland doesn’t really need a small forward/power forward mold, Harris has plenty of upside to help the team off the bench.

    Everything about his offensive game is promising. Harris is a good ball-handler, has three-point range, can beat his man off the dribble and can find the open man. And leaving after his freshman year, Harris’ game has plenty of room to expand.

    He needs to work on his aggressiveness and rebounding, something Gerald Wallace should be able to teach him throughout the season.

22. Denver Nuggets: Jeremy Tyler

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    Height/Weight: 6'10", 265 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: NBA body/potential

    Biggest Weakness: Maturity

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Jeremy Tyler will be a big late-round pick for the Nuggets. Oozing with potential, he is somewhat of an unknown in this year’s draft.

    Tyler became famous for skipping his senior year of high school and electing to play overseas for two years. Now ready for the draft, Tyler will have to prove he can play with the big boys.

    He has the NBA body teams love. All he needs to do now is just figure out how he can use it to make an impact in the NBA.

    With the aging frontcourt of the Nuggets, Tyler may just find himself in a position to get some minutes in the second half of the season.

    Don’t be surprised if George Karl and Nene can mold Tyler into one heck of an NBA center.

23. Houston Rockets: Darius Morris

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'5", 190 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Size and passing

    Biggest Weakness: Speed and athleticism

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Even though Kyle Lowry had a great season in 2010-2011, he can’t be considered the point guard of the future.

    Hate to say it, but Lowry is the size of a bowling ball going down the lane. If he has three more cheeseburgers this offseason, he could find himself on the bench.

    Darius Morris would be a very nice player to bring into Houston's frontcourt. He is almost the opposite of Lowry in his physical representation; Morris is tall and skinny, which is the flip-side of Kyle Lowry.

    Morris also had a good combine, which will raise his stock going forward.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Honeycutt

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 185 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Defense and athleticism

    Biggest Weakness: Creating off the dribble

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Honeycutt could fill in several holes for the Thunder. He is like a more athletic version of Thabo Sefolosha, and he is a better defender than Daequan Cook.

    With the 24th pick, the Thunder would get great value here in Honeycutt.

    Honeycutt has a lot of potential to be a Tayshaun Prince-type of player down the road. They both are good at defense because of their length and quickness.

    Honeycutt would be a solid role-player off the bench for Oklahoma City for years to come.

25. Boston Celtics: Reggie Jackson

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'3", 200 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Length and defense

    Biggest Weakness: Jump shot

    Why He’s Drafted Here: The Boston Celtics realized just how important a viable back-up point guard is when Rajon Rondo went down with a gruesome elbow injury during the playoffs.

    A two-armed Delonte West wasn’t even as valuable as a one-armed Rondo, making the need for a back-up point guard significant.

    Reggie Jackson could fit in with Boston for several reasons.

    First of all, Jackson went to Boston College, so he would immediately be a fan favorite. Second, Jackson has the long arms and quick feet Rondo does. Not only do they have those similarities, but Jackson also can’t shoot, just like Rondo.

    Boston should take the poor man’s version of Rondo with the 25th pick.

26. Dallas Mavericks: Travis Leslie

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6’4”, 205 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Athleticism

    Biggest Weakness: Offensive skills

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Leslie is quite possibly the biggest athletic specimen in this draft.

    At 6'4", he has the explosiveness to soar through the air for dunks. His speed, quickness and leaping ability alone make him a late first-round pick.

    Mavs owner Mark Cuban has never been a guy scared to take a risk, so why not Leslie with all his potential?

    Leslie has plenty of work to do on his offensive game, but with a set veteran lineup, the former Georgia Bulldog shouldn’t be needed for a while anyways.

27. New Jersey Nets: Justin Harper

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 230 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Shooting stroke

    Biggest Weakness: "Tweener" label

    Why He’s Drafted Here: Justin Harper would be a great fit in New Jersey.

    Alongside Deron Williams, Harper could have a successful rookie season if he can crack Avery Johnson’s tough rotation.

    Harper is tall, agile, quick and can knock down shots from anywhere. He is a definite "tweener" at this point, but the improvements can be made. Harper needs to work on his perimeter defense to make the full transition to small forward.

    If he has the character and work ethic to get in Johnson’s rotation, don’t be surprised if Williams is kicking the ball out to him for three after three in 2011.

28. Chicago Bulls: Shelvin Mack

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 215 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Ability to score in many ways

    Biggest Weakness: True position

    Why He's Drafted Here: Shelvin Mack to Chicago would be an underrated draft pick for several reasons.

    First, Chicago needs scoring and production from the shooting guard position. While Mack is undersized to play two, his scoring makes up for it. The Bulls currently play Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at shooting guard, something that surely haunted them in the playoffs.

    Second, Mack is somebody Derrick Rose can kick the ball out to. Since Rose is so good at driving to the bucket, he needs an outlet like Mack who can drain open three's.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Singler

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'8", 240 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Ability to score

    Biggest Weakness: Athleticism

    Why He's Drafted Here: Singler to the Spurs might be the most obvious pick in the draft.

    San Antonio has drafted James Anderson, DeJaun Blair and George Hill the last three years of the draft.

    Notice anything about those guys?

    They are all very accomplished college players who rarely make dumb mistakes—Singler is no different. He had a long and distinguished college career, taking home one national title with Duke.

    Singler is able to score in many ways, whether it’s off the dribble, on a pull-up jumper or after setting a screen. He is a high IQ guy who Spurs front office executives love.

30. Chicago Bulls: Trey Thompkins

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Height/Weight: 6'10", 240 lbs.

    Biggest Strength: Skills

    Biggest Weakness: Athleticism

    Why He's Drafted Here: This is the definition of a safe pick.

    Trey Thompkins is a solid all-around player who can contribute off the bench for years. He has sound post-up skills, defensive abilities and a reliable jump shot.

    Thompkins is unlikely to ever play starter's minutes in the NBA, but the Bulls won't draft him to do so. The former Georgia standout will have an opportunity to become Carlos Boozer's back-up for quite some time.