2011 NBA Mock Draft: The Most Logical Picks for Each Team
With the NBA draft a week away, everybody is busy trying to figure out what will happen. Who will go No. 1? Is Kyrie Irving a lock?
Most experts would agree that Irving is without a doubt the No. 1 pick, and why not? He certainly has the talent to be a No. 1 pick in a draft that features two impact players.
But what about the other impact player? Most experts have Derrick Williams going No. 2 to Minnesota, and while this is also likely to happen, I think he would be a better fit on the Cavs.
But will the Cavs take Williams with their top pick? It's not likely. In fact, most teams in this draft will be drafting for "best available" rather than for need.
So, while this is a mock draft article, most of the picks are not going to be what actually happens. However, these are the picks that are most logical for each team.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Williams
The Cavs are most likely to use their top pick on Duke point guard Kyrie Irving, but Williams is a better fit for the Cavs' current roster, who are lacking at the SF position after the departure of LeBron James.
With Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions currently running the point guard position, Williams would be able to slide into a starting position along with the Cavs' other young talent: J.J. Hickson and Anderson Varejao.
If they were to make this pick, they would be able to pick up a point guard with their fourth pick, such as Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker. Maybe even Kyrie Irving if he falls that far.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Enes Kanter
With Williams off the board, the most logical pick for the Timberwolves would be Kyrie Irving...if this were a few weeks ago.
Ricky Rubio, who was selected fifth by the 'Wolves in the 2009 draft, has finally agreed to play in the NBA. Rubio instantly becomes Minnesota's starting point guard, and with Jonny Flynn and Luke Ridnour still occupying backup roles, Irving will have to compete for minutes.
What the 'Wolves really need is depth in their frontcourt. There's only so much Kevin Love can do by himself. I may be the only person who thinks that Darko is still not a bad player, but he is more suited for a backup center role.
In a draft that is big-man insufficient, Kanter provides the best possible source for depth, and he may even be able to step in and start right away.
Of course, the actual pick is likely going to be Williams, who is actually still going to be on the board.
3. Utah Jazz: Kyrie Irving
The Jazz seem destined to draft a point guard with their first lottery pick in the 2011 draft. The consensus pick is Brandon Knight, and that is what is likely to happen.
But in a draft consisting of most logical picks, Irving is still on the board, and the Jazz can't pass on Irving.
I've read speculation about the possibility of this actually happening, having both Irving and Knight still on the board when the Jazz make their selection. Some seem to believe the Jazz would still take Knight, because the Jazz management likes him.
I'm glad this is merely speculation. There's no way a team would (or should) pass on Irving to draft Knight.
Irving is just the better player. No question.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Brandon Knight
You see, everything comes full circle for the Cavs if they take Williams with the first overall pick. They get their small forward of the future, and are still in line to get a great point guard prospect with their fourth pick.
In a logical draft, the best point guard prospects left on the board would be Knight and Kemba Walker. While I think Walker has a chance to be a great pro, I'm not sure Cleveland is his best fit, and I'm sure the Cavs management would feel the same.
Knight fits Cleveland's style of play better, and he won't necessarily be asked to be an immediate starter, with Davis and Sessions still around to split time.
Knight brings a lot of upside, though, and while the Cavs may use their second pick on frontcourt depth, there's really no prospect better than Knight for the Cavs to take a chance on.
5. Toronto Raptors: Jan Vesely
The Raptors are in need of depth at every position. There are three possible selections the Raptors could make here: Jan Vesely, Kawhi Leonard or Jonas Valanciunas.
I think the most logical pick is Vesely, one of the most athletic players in the draft. Vesely could step in and start for the Raptors right away, and provide some much-needed scoring and slashing that the Raptors depend on Demar Derozan for.
As far as all the foreign players go in this draft, Vesely may have the most upside and may be the most NBA ready.
6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard
The Wizards actually have a lot of young talent: John Wall, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee.
What the Wizards need is depth at the small forward and center positions. Leonard is the most logical choice because he provides immediate depth and valuable minutes played.
If drafted to the Wizards, Leonard is likely to start off on the bench, but there is no reason he wouldn't be able to play his way into a starting role.
Leonard does have a lot of upside, but many believe he is a risky player. Leonard may be the best example of boom or bust in the draft.
7. Sacramento Kings: Kemba Walker
This may be the only pick so far in my "most logical draft" that may actually happen when the real draft rolls around.
Walker and the Kings go together so well—this is likely my favorite pick in the lottery. Can you imagine a backcourt of Walker and Evans? With Cousins and Dalembert patrolling the paint, Casspi and Thornton providing scoring both off the bench and at the small forward position, the Kings are going to be a team that nobody wants to face.
Of course, all of this is dependent on free agency and where some players, such as Thornton or Dalembert, end up.
Regardless, Walker is the right pick for the Kings.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo
Biyombo's stock has been rising and falling all over the place. He has more questions about his game than anybody in the draft.
With all that being said, he may have the most raw talent of any prospect in the draft. At only 6'9", Biyombo is an undersized power forward, but his 7'4" wingspan helps make up for his stature.
Like his fellow Congo native power forward Serge Ibaka, Biyombo's most valued attribute is his defense and shot-blocking. But also like Ibaka, if Biyombo is put in the right system, his offensive game can only go up.
He is the most logical pick for the Pistons, who really are in line to take the best player available because of the depth needed at every position, because he would fit in nicely beside Greg Monroe. Their styles of play would complement each other, and Biyombo may be able to anchor the Pistons defense back to its previous prowess.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Jonas Valanciunas
In the real draft, there's likely no way Valanciunas falls this far. But in the most logical draft, he would fall to the No. 9 pick and fit in quite nicely with the Bobcats, who are in need of depth at most positions.
Valanciunas may be the second-best forward prospect in the draft behind Kanter, and many mock drafts, including Chad Ford's latest, has Valanciunas going as high as No. 4 to the Cavs.
Even though the Bobcats are in need of a scoring guard to complement Stephen Jackson, it would be more logical to take a chance on Valanciunas now and try to find a scoring guard with their next pick (No. 19).
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Tristan Thompson
The Bucks have a few different selections they could make with their only first-round pick, but Thompson makes the most sense.
Thompson is the best available power forward prospect left on the board at this point, and he is a safer pick than Klay Thompson, who could help them with bench scoring and backcourt depth, or Chris Singleton, who could provide defense, energy and athleticism.
Another possible selection could be Kansas' Marcus Morris, which wouldn't surprise me; I just think that Thompson is a better fit. He adds to a decent frontcourt rotation featuring Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders and Drew Gooden.
11. Golden State Warriors: Jimmer Fredette
Don't get me wrong, there's no way I think this is going to happen. The Warriors are likely going to try to find some frontcourt depth with this pick...but hear me out.
When I first heard about the possibility of Jimmer going to GS, I absolutely hated it. There was speculation of trading Monta Ellis and drafting Fredette to replace him.
First, Jimmer is not Monta. Jimmer can score, yes, but Monta has developed into a really nice shooting guard in this league. Jimmer, who may eventually pan out to be a starting shooting guard for somebody, is destined to be an above-average bench scorer in his rookie season.
Still, with all the trade talk of Monta for Andre Iguodola...I instantly love the idea of drafting Jimmer at No. 11.
Jimmer won't have to start, but he'll still be able to thrive in a backup role to both Curry and Iguodola. It's flawless!
However, again, there's likely no way this is going to happen. It's just logical.
12. Utah Jazz: Alec Burks
I think this pick may actually happen. It makes too much sense.
Burks has tremendous upside, and is likely the best shooting guard prospect in the draft. With the Jazz's two lottery picks, they could be drafting for their backcourt of the future.
Irving and Burks seems too good to be true for the Jazz, who quickly fell out of Western Conference contention after the trade of star point guard Deron Williams.
The Jazz could try to beef up their small forward depth with this pick, as well, but I feel like Burks is too good to pass on, especially if it's a choice between Burks and Chris Singleton.
13. Phoenix Suns: Marcus Morris
The Suns are getting old. They need depth everywhere, and even though many joked about the Suns being a team full of small forwards, they may just draft another one with their only first-round pick.
In order to separate himself from his brother, and probably to fulfill some sort of fantasy, Marcus Morris said he wanted to be looked at as a small forward more than a power forward, which is the position he and his brother played at Kansas. “I’m trying to show my versatility,” Morris said. “I wouldn’t just label myself as a 3 because I can play either. I’m a combo forward. I can guard the 3, I can play the 3, and I can guard the 4 and play the 4.”
At 6'9", Marcus does have the body and size to be an adequate small forward in the league, but I'm not convinced this "tweener" can play that position in the NBA.
He is a better scorer than his brother, that's for sure, but I feel like he's destined to be caught in the Jeff Green cycle. Whatever team drafts him is likely already going to have a better candidate at small forward, and Morris will have to be an undersized power forward. Thus is the life of the "tweener."
Even with all that said, I think Marcus Morris can fit into the Suns' run-and-gun style of offense really well, and that may benefit his play at either forward position.
14. Houston Rockets: Chris Singleton
The Rockets are actually pretty deep at most of their positions, and they are in line to take the best player available, because any player they draft at No. 14 will likely end up being a bench contributor.
Thus, Chris Singleton is a logical selection for the Rockets. As the best small forward candidate left on the board, and one of the best defensive players in the entire draft, Singleton could blossom into a Shane Battier type of player.
This works out perfectly for Houston, who traded away Battier to Memphis toward the end of the season.
Many believe the Rockets should either draft a point guard to replace Aaron Brooks, or a center to replace likely injured-for-life Yao Ming. What these people don't realize is how well Kyle Lowry played last season, and Goran Dragic was an excellent pickup. Also, Chuck Hayes may be an undersized center, but there's no way there's a better center prospect on the board than Chuck Hayes right now.
Nikola Vucevic? No way.
15. Indiana Pacers: Klay Thompson
The Pacers are in an interesting spot at No. 15. Their glaring weakness is at power forward, where Tyler Hansbrough and Josh McRoberts split the duties, but the rest of the power forward prospects are risky, and may not even play as well as Hansbrough.
So, while Kenneth Faried, Tobias Harris and Markieff Morris are all possible selections for the Pacers, I think they go with a surer player in Klay Thompson.
This works out for the Pacers, anyway, who are in need of filling their backcourt depth and adding scoring to their bench, which is where Thompson will likely be.
Thompson has great size for a shooting guard (6'7") and is a proven scorer. He averaged 21.6 PPG for Washington State last year and shot 40 percent from deep.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Markieff Morris
Word on the street is that the 76ers are very fond of this Morris brother. That works out for them, because they really, really need to emphasize frontcourt depth in this draft.
Morris is another logical, yet also likely selection. He'll be able to add immediate size and rebounding ability to the 76ers.
While his offensive game isn't as polished as his brother's, he'll have time to work on that in Philadelphia, and he won't necessarily be asked to score 15 points a night...especially if the Monta Ellis trade happens.
17. New York Knicks: Marshon Brooks
I know that I'm writing the "most logical" draft, but this is the first pick that I actually disagree with myself on. Hear me out.
The Knicks need the most help in their frontcourt, where Amar'e is basically playing by himself. That would make a player such as Kenneth Faried, Donatas Motiejunas or Nicola Vucevic the most logical choice, right?
Not for the Knicks. I'm sure they'll try to go after a veteran big man in free agency to help add depth, but for the draft, why not take a chance on Marshon Brooks, who is maybe the best scorer in the entire draft?
Brooks will thrive in the D'Antoni offense, and even though Landry Fields was a dark-horse candidate for ROY last season, Brooks will have a chance to either start, or at the very least be a very productive bench player.
Chauncey Billups is getting old, and Amar'e and Carmelo can't do all the scoring. Brooks is a great third option for the Knicks...I think I may have just talked myself into making Brooks the most logical pick.
18. Washington Wizards: Tobias Harris
To be fair, I'm really not a fan of any pick that the Wizards might make at No. 18, their second pick in the first round.
But, if they do add Kawhi Leonard, the next most logical decision would be to bolster their power forward depth.
Trevor Booker showed signs of being more than decent last season while backing up Andray Blatche, but the Wizards should take a chance on Harris with this pick. Harris has all the athleticism to be a productive bench forward in the NBA.
He's a bit undersized at 6'8", but his athleticism and rebounding ability make up for that.
Really, the Wizards should just take the best player available with this pick, and that just so happens to be Tobias Harris.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan Hamilton
After drafting Valanciunas with their first pick in the most logical draft, the Bobcats should go with Jordan Hamilton to try to fill the void that Gerald Wallace left.
While Hamilton is not yet the player that Wallace is, his improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Texas is definitely a good sign.
Hamilton is the most logical pick for the Bobcats, but with Michael Jordan running their draft, we know we can expect the exact opposite.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Donatas Motiejunas
I'm not sure Donatas will fall this far in the draft, but if he does, he will be a nice addition to the Timberwolves frontcourt.
Even though the Timberwolves will likely use their first pick on Derrick Williams, I still think Enes Kanter is the more logical choice in terms of necessity, and drafting Motiejunas with this pick could be a sign that Minnesota is building its frontcourt of the future.
Kanter and Motiejunas would at least take some pressure off the Timberwolves if Kevin Love decides to leave.
This could be the first draft in years that doesn't result in Minnesota fans yelling "KAAAAAAHHHHHHHNNNNNNN" into their TVs.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Kenneth Faried
Finally, the best rebounder in the draft is off the board, and the Trail Blazers couldn't be more grateful he fell into their laps.
This is the most logical pick for Portland due to its depleted frontcourt: Greg Oden is a free agent and will likely be picked up by a new team, Marcus Camby is getting super old and wasn't the same after his injury this season and LaMarcus Aldridge can't do it all by himself.
Faried averaged a double-double in three of his four years at Morehead State, and that included averaging over 17 PPG last season—not too shabby for a guy who has a minimal offensive repertoire.
Then again, he was playing at Morehead State. He will have to improve his offensive game to average those same numbers at the next level, but even without the offense, he will be a valued rebounder and an energy/hustle guy for years to come.
22. Denver Nuggets: Nikola Vucevic
The Nuggets are actually really deep. This was proved by their ability to still make the playoffs as a No. 5 seed in a competitive Western Conference, even though they were without their two stars in Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
Their new best player, Nene, is now a free agent, though, and he just may be offered a handsome salary to be coaxed away from the Nuggets.
That being said, and with the Nuggets only real need being frontcourt depth anyway, the most logical pick is Nikola Vucevic, the best center prospect left in the draft.
He has the size to step in and help right away, and if Nene stays, he could allow Nene to slide down to the power forward position, where he feels the most comfortable.
23. Houston Rockets: Reggie Jackson
After picking up an athletic defensive stopper in Chris Singleton, the Rockets are now in line to take a gamble on a player like Jackson.
I still believe that Lowry and Dragic are going to be more-than-suitable point guards for the Rockets, but there's no reason to pass on Jackson at this point, especially since the most talented players left on the board are all point guards.
Jackson appears to be the best of the bunch. If they use their pick on Jackson, Houston could easily be running a "point guard by committee" next season.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nikola Mirotic
In order for the Thunder to improve, two things need to happen: James Harden has to become the starting shooting guard, and the Thunder have to find a decent backup at small forward for Kevin Durant, preferably one that can provide the bench scoring that Harden did.
Meet Nikola Mirotic. At 6'10", Mirotic may be the best shooting big man in the draft. He has great range, and he would easily become the Thunder's best bench scoring threat.
Of course, the Thunder also need to improve defensively, get Kendrick Perkins healthy and mature as a team before they even want to consider winning a championship...but this wouldn't be a bad start.
In fact, I would go as far to say that Mirotic to the Thunder, with the exception of Kemba Walker to the Kings, may be the best fit in the draft in terms of both logicality and necessity.
25. Boston Celtics: Jeremy Tyler
This is definitely a reach, but what choice do the Celtics have?
First and foremost, they have to address their frontcourt issues: Shaq has retired, the other O'Neal is old and injury prone and they shipped away Perkins to OKC for a backup small forward.
Jeremy Tyler is the best big man prospect left in the draft, and while he needs to work on his maturity, his upside is definitely worth a late first-round pick.
Also, Boston may be the absolute best place for him to go to work on his maturity issues. He'll be playing alongside three superstars and a budding star in Rajon Rondo.
Needless to say, I'm sure KG will let Tyler know if he needs to grow up.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Josh Selby
I'm really not a huge fan of Josh Selby. Like Jeremy Tyler, he needs to work on his maturity issues before he takes the next step to the NBA. Until then, he's going to be a head case for any team that gambles on him.
All that being said, he has tremendous upside, crazy athletic ability and has impressed scouts so far.
The world champs could definitely use some depth at the SF and PF positions, but there's no reason for them to draft for need with the 26th pick in the draft, especially after just winning a championship.
Selby is the most talented player left, and he could enhance an already impressive backcourt rotation featuring Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stephenson, J.J. Barea, Jason Terry and Rodrigue Beaubois.
27. New Jersey Nets: Tyler Honeycutt
Many believe the Nets should use this pick on a point guard, and while this is likely to happen, the most logical pick would be Honeycutt.
Honeycutt would provide needed depth at small forward, and he could be a really nice pickup this late in the draft.
Honeycutt has all the tools to be a defensive stopper in the NBA, and his offensive game is only going to progress.
I suppose the Nets could use this pick on Darius Morris or Charles Jenkins, but if I'm remembering correctly, Deron Williams is still a New Jersey Net, and until he leaves, gets traded or retires, he is going to be a superstar at his position.
28. Chicago Bulls: Justin Harper
I love Harper's versatility. Even though Chicago's most glaring inefficiency is at the shooting guard position, there really aren't any great shooting guard prospects left on the board.
Harper is the most logical choice here because he has the most upside left. He is another "tweener" who can post up, drive to the basket and shoot a jump shot out to the three-point line. He also is a proven leader, as he showed by leading his Richmond squad to the Sweet 16 last March.
Harper will have to back up Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer with the Bulls, but he'll become a valued bench contributor right away.
Also, his skill set will match up nicely with Chicago's other budding bench forward, Taj Gibson.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Jon Leuer
This could be the most mysterious pick in the entire first round, and here's why: The Spurs have an aging roster that needs depth at most positions, but they never seem to make a bad pick.
They could really use more depth at the small forward position, and that's one reason Chad Ford has the Spurs taking 6'10" Davis Bertans, a small forward from Latvia.
However, the Spurs always seem to find a diamond in the rough, such as George Hill and Gary Neal—someone people are usually questioning.
This could be Jon Leuer, and he provides needed frontcourt depth and scoring.
Leuer has great size for a power forward (7'0") and has consistently bettered his three-point shot during his career in Wisconsin.
He may turn out to be just a more athletic Matt Bonner, but who knows, the Spurs usually know best.
30. Chicago Bulls: Charles Jenkins
After adding Justin Harper to deepen their frontcourt, the Bulls are going to want to gamble with their next pick.
Even though the Bulls are likely to add a veteran shooting guard during free agency, they may still want to take a shot in the draft to find a contributor.
Charles Jenkins was a tremendous point guard for Hofstra, and if he would have played at a more prestigious basketball school, he may have been a household name before all the draft talk started.
Last season, Jenkins averaged 22.8 PPG, 4.8 APG, while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from deep.
If drafted, Jenkins would be an upgrade over C.J. Watson as a backup to MVP Derrick Rose, but he could also see some time at shooting guard. The Bulls may be inclined to play Rose and Jenkins at the same time, much like the Warriors do with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry.
Regardless of what they do with Jenkins, he would be a great pickup for the last pick in the first round.