2011 NBA Mock Draft: Where the Biggest Names in the Draft Will End Up
The 2011 NBA draft is right around the corner as every NBA team makes their final preparations. There are so many different possibilities in the draft, and it is very hard for teams to predict exactly how it is going to play out.
With all of the young players and European talent in this year's draft pool, there is even more uncertainty than in years' past. As unpredictable as it may be, here is a look at how the first round of the 2011 NBA draft could unfold.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
The NBA is a point guard-driven league and Kyrie Irving has the most star power of any player in the 2011 draft class. Irving isn’t a fantastic scorer, but he is a pure point guard who makes everyone around him better.
The Cavaliers need help at almost every position on their roster, but if they can secure their point guard of the future with the first pick, they should be in good shape for years to come.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona
There are rumors that the Timberwolves will trade this pick, which makes sense, because they are set, as their two best players play the same position as Williams.
With that said, Williams is arguably the best player in the draft and cannot be passed on at No. 2. Minnesota needs more help at center and shooting guard, so look for them to address those needs later in the draft or through trade.
3. Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky
After trading away their All-Star point guard Deron Williams to the Nets, the Jazz need a franchise point guard to lead their team. Knight is young but extremely gifted and has the potential to be an outstanding facilitator in the NBA.
The Jazz could go in a number of different ways with this pick, but Knight is a can’t miss prospect that can get the ball to Utah’s big men.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, C, Turkey
The Cavs seriously lucked out this year, getting two picks in the Top Five. At the fourth pick, Kanter is the best player available as well as being far and away the best center prospect in the 2011 draft.
Kanter has the size and skills to make an immediate impact in the NBA. With Kyrie Irving feeding him the ball, Kanter will have a long and prosperous career in the league.
5. Toronto Raptors – Jan Vesely, PF, Czech Republic
The Raptors could go a number of different ways with this pick, but I think they will go with the best international player available, unless Brandon Knight falls to them. Although Kemba Walker plays the same position as Knight, he plays a very similar style of basketball to Toronto guards Leandro Barbosa and Jerryd Bayless.
Jan Vesely is an outstanding talent with superb athleticism and a high basketball IQ. If selected by the Raptors, Vesely will add a much needed scoring punch as soon as he steps foot on the court in Toronto.
6. Washington Wizards – Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Washington and their young point guard John Wall need a lot of help on both ends of the court, and Kawhi Leonard provides a good balance of defense and scoring. At San Diego State, Leonard was the team’s top defender and could lockdown some of the best scorers in college with his long wingspan.
It is going to take a while for Leonard to find his stroke against NBA defenses, but he has all of the natural tools to be a starting small forward in the NBA for many years.
7. Sacramento Kings – Kemba Walker, PG, UConn
Kemba Walker was arguably the best player in college basketball last season and would be a great fit for the Kings if available at this spot. The Kings need a true point guard to help Tyreke Evans handle the load, and Walker fits the bill.
Some scouts wonder if Walker has reached his peak, but the Kings hope that with more talent around him, he can flourish in the NBA. Walker has outstanding speed and scoring ability, but he will need to work on his decision-making if he is going to be the point guard the Kings need.
8. Detroit Pistons – Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Many scouts believe that Valanciunas is a top-five talent because of his size and upside. Luckily for the Pistons, those are two of the things they need most.
Greg Monroe had a great rookie campaign last season but could really use a big-time scoring partner. Valanciunas will need some time to develop but in a few years he could be considered the best player to come out of this draft.
9. Charlotte Bobcats – Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo
A few months ago very few people had heard of Bismack Biyombo, but after a dominating performance at the Nike Hoop Summit, he has become a surefire lottery pick. Like most of the international prospects in this draft, Biyombo has tremendous upside.
What separates him from the rest of the class is his defensive ability, specifically in rebounding and shot blocking. Biyombo is very young and has a lot of room for growth, but he can provide the toughness in the paint that the Bobcats desperately need.
10. Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
The Bucks need a lot of help at several positions, so they will likely take the best scorer on the board when they select at No. 10. In this mock draft, that player is guard Alec Burks. The Bucks are at a very interesting place, and there are in need of young talent across the board.
Burks would be a tremendous addition to their team, and he should be able to come in and score the basketball immediately. Milwaukee fans are hoping that Burks will make a good backcourt partner for Brandon Jennings who is an emerging star in the league.
11. Golden State Warriors – Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
If there is a legit center prospect available at the 11th pick, the Warriors will take him, but that scenario is not likely. If the Warriors are going to live up to new head coach Marc Jackson’s playoff prediction, they need to draft a player who can play right away.
Klay Thompson is exactly that player. He can stroke it from almost anywhere on the court and is a great leader. Since he stayed in college a while, the trasition to the NBA should be extremely difficult for Thompson.
If the Warriors do end up drafting a shooting guard here, it could be the final piece to the puzzle that sends Monta Ellis packing.
12. Utah Jazz – Chris Singleton, SF, Florida State
Andrei Kirilenko has been the defensive-minded small forward for many years in Utah, but he will likely leave via free agency. Enter Chris Singleton, who is a lanky defender that can guard multiple positions for the Jazz.
After going with an offensive-minded pick with their first choice, Singleton makes a lot of sense for a team that is trying to make its way back to the playoffs after a tumultuous season.
13. Phoenix Suns – Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
Phoenix is one of the oldest teams in the NBA and could seriously benefit from finding some future replacements for their aging stars. The Suns are looking to continue playing their high-octane style of basketball and Tristan Thompson is one of the most athletic big men in the country.
Although he is probably not the best player available at this point in the draft, he fits the Sun’s system. Ideally Phoenix will find a shooting guard to take Vince Carter’s place but there are none worth taking here. Thompson needs to develop some post moves, but his hustle and natural talent should help him immediately as he begins his career in the NBA.
14. Houston Rockets – Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
With the future of former star Yao Ming in doubt, the Rockets need a long-term option at center. However, as was true for the Warriors, there are none worthy of this pick. If available this late in the lottery, Marcus Morris would be a steal.
He can play multiple positions and can score on the perimeter as well as in the paint. The Rockets could reach for a center or a small forward at this spot, but since they have another pick later in the first round, they will likely use that to address those needs.
15. Indiana Pacers – Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
Jimmer Fredette can straight-up score the basketball, and that is exactly what the Pacers need. Outside of Danny Granger, Indiana lacks a serious scoring threat. He will likely provide that scoring punch off the bench, but Fredette could find himself taking the big shot for the Pacers at the end of games.
The Pacers barely made the playoffs last season, and Fredette is the best shooter in this class who could help Indiana take the next step.
16. Philadelphia 76ers – Markieff Morris, PF, Kansas
In last year’s draft, the 76ers missed out on the opportunity to draft Derrick Favors, so they will do their best to make up for it by drafting a power forward in this year’s draft. Philly-native Markieff Morris is the best forward available at this point and could develop into a starter for the 76ers as Elton Brand’s talents diminish.
Morris is not quite as talented as his brother on the offensive end, but he is a good defender, rebounder and shot-blocker. If the 76ers do take Morris, they should be very pleased with their spoils from the 2011 draft.
17. New York Knicks – Josh Selby, PG, Kansas
Chauncey Billups will likely be the starting point guard for the Knicks next season, but beyond that the position is up in the air. GM Donnie Walsh has passed on a lot of talented point guards since joining the Knicks, but I don’t expect him to make the same mistake this year.
Selby is unproven but has tremendous upside at the position of biggest need for New York. He has the natural athletic ability to thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, and if he can improve his decision-making skills, Selby could be the point guard of the Knicks for many years to come.
18. Washington Wizards – Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
With their second pick in the first round, the Wizards will again look for a player who should mesh well with John Wall. Marshon Brooks is the perfect guard to pair with Wall, because he is such a threat to score any time he touches the ball.
At Providence, Brooks received all of the attention from opposing defenses because of the lack of talent around him, but in the NBA, that won’t be the case. With a good 2011 draft and a solid offseason, the Wizards could make a push for the playoffs this upcoming season.
19. Charlotte Bobcats – Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
With their first pick in the first round, the Bobcats went with defense. For their second pick, they should choose an aggressive scorer in Jordan Hamilton. Charlotte needs scoring, and Hamilton can do it in bunches.
Although Hamilton did not have a great season at Texas, his aggressive scoring instincts would fit well in Charlotte. Hamilton will get to learn from long-time NBA player Stephen Jackson who has seen it all during his time as a pro. Hopefully for the Bobcats, Hamilton won’t do everything exactly like Jackson.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves – Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania
Of all of the international prospects in the 2011 draft, Motiejunas is one of the most risky. He is a great all-around basketball player, but he has been inconsistent at times and some teams have questioned his work ethic.
With that said, Motiejunas can score from anywhere on the court and is an excellent passer. Because of his upside, Motiejunas would be a steal at this point in the draft, and Minnesota would be very pleased with their 2011 draft.
21. Portland Trailblazers – Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
The Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Trailblazers from the playoffs this year largely because of their inability to rebound the ball.
If Kenneth Faried is drafted by Portland, rebounding won’t be a problem for them anytime soon. Faried is an absolute beast on the boards and would provide a nice complement to offensive-minded LaMarcus Aldridge.
22. Denver Nuggets – Trey Thompkins, PF, Georgia
After trading Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets became a new team. The next man out could be aging forward Kenyon Martin. Thompkins has all of the qualities scouts look for in an NBA power forward.
He has a big frame, can rebound and block shots, and can score from anywhere on the court. If he can improve his conditioning he would be an excellent fit for Denver.
23. Houston Rockets – Tobias Harris, SF, Tennessee
The Rockets would love to get Harris at this spot because he can play either forward spot for them. He is one of the most well-rounded players in this draft class and has been severely overlooked.
At Tennessee, his teammates were very inconsistent, and Harris had to shoulder a bulk of the scoring at times, which isn’t his strong suit. With Harris, Houston gets someone who can come in and play right away because of his size and high basketball IQ.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder – JaJuan Johnson, PF, Purdue
JaJuan Johnson is one of the most athletic power forwards in the class and could fill the void left by Jeff Green. He needs to work on his low-post game, but he will have plenty of time to develop it.
The Thunder love how Johnson’s experience and athleticism can mesh with the current offense. If selected by Oklahoma City, expect Johnson to be one of Russell Westbrook’s new favorite players.
25. Boston Celtics – Nikola Vucevic, C, USC
In this draft, the Celtics need to fill the void at center left by Kendrick Perkins. Vucevic is nowhere near the same defender that Perkins is, but his size and offensive ability will attract many teams.
If Vucevic is not around by the 25th pick, the Celtics will probably select the best player available, an international player who will stay overseas for more seasoning.
26. Dallas Mavericks – Nikola Mirotic, SF, Serbia
Mirotic is arguably the most offensively gifted international player in the 2011 draft class. With that said, it is highly likely that he will not come to the US this season and will instead stay overseas to gain more experience.
The Mavericks are a team that can deal with that and would be thrilled to get Mirotic at this point. If he can add strength and become a better rebounder, Mirotic could be a legit power forward in the NBA for years to come.
27. New Jersey Nets – Justin Harper, PF, Richmond
The Nets need an athletic big man who can shoot the ball. That describes Justin Harper in a nutshell. After trading away Derrick Favors, the Nets lack a legit scoring power forward.
Harper is definitely a project who needs to become more aggressive in the paint if he is going to survive in the NBA.
28. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Honeycutt, SG, UCLA
For those of you that watched the Bulls get eliminated by the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, it was clear that Chicago lacked a scoring shooting guard. There is no doubt that Honeycutt can score, and sometimes he was actually too unselfish at UCLA.
Honeycutt would be a steal for the Bulls at this spot and could help provide a long-term answer at shooting guard. Regardless of who selects him, Honeycutt’s strong defense and high basketball IQ will get him minutes early in his rookie season.
29. San Antonio Spurs – Davis Bertans, SF, Latvia
San Antonio has made a living finding talent at the end of the first round, and Davis Bertans would be another such player.
His shooting ability has drawn comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, but he needs to add size and strength before those comparisons can be realized. Bertans is definitely a project, but as the Spurs stars get older, he could find a nice home in San Antonio.
30. Chicago Bulls – Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
The Bulls could go in a lot of different directions with the final pick in the first round, but it would make sense to find a long-term back up for Derrick Rose.
Jackson would be an excellent fit in Chicago where his versatility and athleticism could be fully utilized. If Jackson can improve his decision-making, teams will have a hard time keeping him off the court.