2011 NBA Mock Draft: Ideal Picks for Every Team in the First Round
The 2011 NBA Draft is just one week away, and teams have spent time evaluating prospects and making final decisions in the past several days.
Whether it's the debate between whether Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams is the better first pick, or which teams will make trades for picks on draft day, the drama is just getting started with this year's NBA Draft.
Looking ahead at the 2011 NBA Draft, here are the best picks for each team drafting in the first round.
Chicago Bulls: SF Travis Leslie and PF Justin Harper
With both the 30th and 28th picks in the 2011 NBA Draft, it would be in the best interest of the Chicago Bulls to take Justin Harper with the 30th selection and Travis Leslie with the 28th.
Harper, senior out of Richmond, has proved to be a solid big man at 6'8''. He has a solid offensive game, averaging just over 17 points a game last season.
Harper also chipped in 6.9 rebounds a game. What many people don't know about Harper is his ability to stretch the floor, shooting a whopping 44 percent from three-point range.
Leslie was a beast for the Bulldogs last season, putting in 14.2 points per game while managing to grab an impressive 7.2 rebounds. He is a player that likes to attack to the rim and can make opponents pay with his aggressive offense.
San Antonio Spurs: PG Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson can provide immediate impact for the San Antonio Spurs, a team that lacked a scoring threat at times in the 2011 NBA playoffs, leading to a series loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The Spurs would take him with the 29th selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Jackson is a point guard, yet plays like more of a shooting guard. He scores the basketball efficiently, and has a knack for trying to create his own shot and make plays offensively. Defensively, he boasts athleticism and has his ups and downs.
He is undoubtedly a player head coach Gregg Popovich would take a gamble on.
New Jersey Nets: PG/SG Nolan Smith
This picture represents exactly the type of player Nolan Smith is: a hustler who does what needs to be done for his team to come out on top.
With the 27th pick in the NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets will go with Smith out of Duke. He is a point guard that is big enough to play the shooting guard position, and has a knack for scoring the basketball.
Smith is also known as a player who gets scrappy on defense, while also getting his teammates involved constantly on the offensive end.
Not much this guy really can't do at the point guard position. Smith comes in as arguably one of the more underrated point guards in the draft class.
He would bring a solid backup to Deron Williams, while even having the potential to possibly start at the shooting guard position alongside Williams.
Dallas Mavericks: SF Tyler Honeycutt
The Dallas Mavericks own the 26th selection in the NBA Draft and will like go with Tyler Honeycutt from UCLA.
Honeycutt is known for his ability to lock down defensively, as he features a long and athletic build that gives offensive players a hard time.
He averages just over 12 points and seven rebounds per game, while also managing to block two shots a contest in the process.
Honeycutt gives Dallas depth at the small forward position, where they have an aging Sean Marion, an aging Peja Stojakovic, and could ultimately use the extra help off the bench.
Boston Celtics: PF Jordan Williams
The Boston Celtics have the 25th pick in the NBA Draft, and this selection will likely have Jordan Williams written all over it.
The Celtics are a team in need of rebounding in the paint, as they feature an aging frontcourt that lacks depth.
Much of last season, the Celtics suffered from injury and needed strong, young talent in the frontcourt.
Williams adds this component, averaging 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. He is listed as 6'8'', 250 pounds, which will give him an edge down low. He is known for his impressive post-moves and scoring ability in the paint.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Shelvin Mack
With the 24th selection in the NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder should take Shelvin Mack out of Butler.
Mack is a point guard with a plethora of experience, and more importantly, a great amount of experience winning basketball games.
He is a defensive-minded player who uses his wide frame and strength to give point guards a tough time on offense.
Russell Westbrook has gotten his fair share of heat for his inability to produce in the postseason, with most critics saying he takes too many shots and doesn't look for Kevin Durant enough.
Mack is a pass-first point guard who also boasts an ability to score the rock. Make no mistake, if you give him his daylight, he can make you pay with a couple of baskets, too.
Houston Rockets: SF Kyle Singler and C Nikola Vucevic
The Houston Rockets are in need of an improved frontcourt rotation, as they should go with Kyle Singler and Nikola Vucevic with the 23rd and 14th selections in the NBA Draft.
Singler was arguably the most important piece to the puzzle last season for Duke. His top-notch play had the Blue Devils winning basketball games with ease. Singler is a player who brings a scoring ability as well as rebounding skills to the pros.
Vucevic is a promising, young talent who has a natural scoring ability and is arguably the best rebounder in the draft. Last season, he averaged 17.1 points and 10.3 rebounds a contest.
Denver Nuggets: SF Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris had a productive season, averaging just over 15 points and seven rebounds his freshman year.
Just 18 years old, Harris is a player from whom teams in the NBA will expect big things. As his numbers show, he likes to score the basketball, and has the athletic build and reach to make things happen on the glass.
The Nuggets are lacking at the small forward position, and can use a forward to add to the frontcourt rotation alongside veteran power forward Kenyon Martin.
Portland Trail Blazers: SG Marshon Brooks
Marshon Brooks is arguably the most versatile scoring threat in this draft. Period.
The senior out of Providence averaged 24.6 points on 48 percent shooting from the field. Brooks also managed to grab a whopping 7.0 rebounds a game.
His skills at the shooting guard position are hard to find, and Brooks may arguably be one of the bigger steals in the first round.
With the injury problems with point guard Brandon Roy in Portland, expect the Trail Blazers to go with a scoring threat in the backcourt like Brooks.
Minnesota Timberwolves: PF Markieff Morris and PF Derrick Williams
It would seem wrong for the Timberwolves to take two forwards in the first round, yet taking Derrick Williams with the second pick and Morris with the 20th selection would benefit this struggling Wolves squad.
With Kevin Love putting up impressive numbers with the team, averaging 15.2 rebounds last season, the Wolves still need depth in the frontcourt.
Adding both Williams and Morris makes these Timberwolves that much stronger of a ball club on the boards and for scoring the basketball.
The Timberwolves have a plethora of guards, with both Flynn and now Rubio coming back to the team. Williams is a versatile forward who can likely play the small forward or center position as well. Morris could even play the center position.
The three players together—Derrick Williams, Markieff Morris and Kevin Love—could make for one of the more talented, physical frontcourts in the league in the near future.
Charlotte Bobcats: PG Charles Jenkins and PF Tristan Thompson
He might not be as widely known as a Brandon Knight or Kyrie Irving, but man can Charles Jenkins flat-out play. Jenkins, point guard out of Hofstra, is a point guard who could be one of the better sleeper picks in this draft class.
He boasts size, speed and aggressive defense, and scores the ball as well as any guard in the draft. Last season, Jenkins averaged 22.6 points and shot 42 percent from three-point range as a member of the Hofstra Pride.
With the Bobcats struggling to find a consistent, productive point guard, expect Jenkins to fall into the hands of the Bobcats with the 19th pick.
Tristan Thompson, forward out of Texas, is a young, intelligent basketball player who has the potential to be a top player in the pros. He has great length and is a tremendous athlete on both ends.
Last season with the Longhorns, Thompson averaged 13.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game.
Washington Wizards: C Donatas Motiejunas and SF Jan Vesely
The Washington Wizards are in need of talent at the forward postion as well as the center position. Going international in the first round, beneficial picks for the Wizards would involve taking Donatas Motiejunas and Jan Vesely.
Vesely, international prospect out of the Czech Republic, is a versatile offensive player who is known for his scoring ability. The 21-year-old is a projected top-10 selection in this year's NBA Draft.
With the 18th pick, look for the Wizards to go with Motiejunas. He is a 7'0'' big man that has one year under his belt playing pro basketball in Italy.
In just 25 minutes of play a game last season, Motiejunas averaged 12.8 points and shot 42.3 percent from three-point range on the season.
Expect big things from both prospects, as the Wizards will likely go big in the 2011 NBA Draft.
New York Knicks: PG Iman Shumpert
With Chauncey Billups aging, and a New York Knicks roster that suffers mightily from a lack of depth, expect the Knicks to go with Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech with the 17th pick in the draft.
Shumpert is arguably one of the more underrated point guards in the draft. He is a scoring point guard, yet if he puts some work into his passing ability he could be as dangerous as they come.
Shumpert is a 6'6'' point guard, which is unheard of at his position. His height will give him the advantage he needs to be a star at the next level.
If the Knicks know whats best for them, expect Shumpert to taken by the Knicks with the 17th selection.
Shumpert and Charles Jenkins are two of the more underrated point guards in the 2011 NBA Draft class.
Philadelphia 76ers: PF Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried is a largely underrated player in the 2011 NBA Draft, as some mock drafts have him as low as a 20th selection in the draft.
Faried can score the ball effectively and rebound with skill that most big men in the draft simply don't have. Last season, Faried averaged an impressive 14.5 rebounds along with just over 17 points per game.
With Elton Brand coming off a strong season and the 76ers likely to re-sign Thaddeus Young, expect them to complete the frontcourt rotation with the addition of Faried in the draft.
His rebounding ability is unmatched by most, as Faried could be the perfect complement for a young, talented 76ers ball club.
Indiana Pacers: SG Alec Burks
Alec Burks is a strong player at the shooting guard position, arguably the best player at his position in the entire 2011 NBA Draft class.
Burks poses a threat as a scorer, scoring 20.5 points per game last season, and shot consistently from the line, cashing in 82.5 percent of his attempts. At just 19 years of age, Burks could be a promising talent at the next level.
Burks could potentially put in positive minutes of the bench for the Pacers, and potentially become a scoring threat for the team alongside Danny Granger.
Phoenix Suns: PG Jimmer Fredette
The 2011 Naismith Player of the Year had a memorable season last year with BYU.
The leading scorer in the nation, Jimmer Fredette, averaged 28.9 points per game on the season, while also leading his BYU team to a winning season as well as a tough NCAA tournament run.
Fredette is a scorer who has a plethora of range as well as variety of ways to score the basketball.
If Fredette plays to his potential, he could be a player that completes the backcourt for the Phoenix Suns. Alongside Steve Nash, the Suns could be a much improved team with the addition.
Utah Jazz: PG Brandon Knight and PF Marcus Morris
A 1-2 punch of Brandon Knight and Marcus Morris could be as scary as any rookie combination that any team could put together in the first round of this 2011 NBA Draft.
Yes—it could be an even more effective combination than what Cleveland could put together with the first and fourth selections in the draft, with the first pick likely to be Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
Knight is a tough, scoring point guard who is as athletic as any in the draft. He has also had the luxury of playing basketball under head coach John Calipari in Kentucky, and Calipari has proven time and time again his ability to prepare young point guards for the next level (Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall, to name a few).
Morris played as tough as any player in the Big 12 for Kansas, rebounding well on this past season as well as scoring the basketball at a consistent level. His offensive game could benefit a team like Utah, which seems to have little of it since letting go of Deron Williams.
Both players could not only make big impacts, but also likely earn starting roles on the team as rookies.
Golden State Warriors: PF Bismack Biyombo
The 18-year-old prospect out of Congo, Bismack Biyombo, has the raw athleticism and talent on both ends that should have all teams drafting in the first round turning heads.
Last season, in 17 minutes a game in Spain, Bioyombo averaged 6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Considering his limited minutes and the fact he is just 18 years old, Biyombo has put up effective numbers.
The Golden State Warriors are a team that is solely known as a team that plays offense, a team that lacks a defensive tenacity.
With the addition of Mark Jackson as head coach, who plans to prioritize defense, expect the Warriors organization to take Biyombo with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Milwaukee Bucks: SG Klay Thompson
Most analyzing the 2011 NBA Draft have shooting guard Klay Thompson as the best at his position in the entire draft class.
His Washington State team had a strong season last year, and Thompson was much of the reason for it. One of the top scorers in Division I basketball, Thompson averaged 21.6 points per game.
He would also add 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists, as last season he proved he has the ability to play physical on the glass.
The Bucks are in need of scoring threats, and Thompson would provide just that for the team. With Brandon Jennings at the point guard position, don't be surprised if the Bucks consider taking Thompson with the 10th pick in the draft.
Detriot Pistons: SF Kawhi Leonard
This 6'7'' forward out of San Diego State is a lock as a top-10 selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Leonard had a memorable season with the Aztecs, scoring 16.5 points and grabbing 10.6 rebounds per game with the team.
He also helped lead his under-the-radar team to a No. 2 season in the NCAA tournament, after most college basketball analysts wouldn't have even ranked the team prior to the start of the season.
Leonard is a scorer and rebounder, and plays solid one-on-one defense in the paint. These qualities could translate well into the pros.
Leonard gives the Pistons an effective big man that will likely start games for the team next season.
Sacramento Kings: PG Kemba Walker
He might have fallen just short of the 2011 Naismith Player of the Year honors, but Kemba Walker was arguably the best player in Division I basketball last season.
Walker showed he could score the ball effectively, get baskets late in games, and win basketball games. Proving the doubters wrong, Walker led his team to a Big East championship and then to a national championship.
Talk about getting it done.
He might be a shorter guard in the pros, but Walker should have no problems making adjustments to his game.
Expect Walker to give a team like the Kings productive spurts of offense off the bench, and possibly find himself playing minutes with the starters by midseason.
Toronto Raptors: C Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas has made leaps and bounds since entering the NBA Draft, as he could be a lock as a top-five selection in this year's NBA Draft.
The 6'11'', 240-pound center out of Lithuania boasts size and a solid skill set on the offensive end. In just over 14 minutes per game, Valanciunas averaged 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.
At just 19 years of age, there is still much room for the big guy to improve over the next several seasons.
Valanciunas gives the Raptors size that the team lost when giving up Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat. The struggling Raptors team could see much improvement with the addition of Valanciunas, particularly on the offensive end of the floor.
Cleveland Cavaliers: C Enes Kanter and PG Kyrie Irving
With the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be taking Kyrie Irving out of Duke.
Shortly following the selection of Irving, the Cavaliers should be inclined to take Enes Kanter out of Kentucky with the fourth pick in the draft.
Irving and Kanter are two of the top talents the draft class has to offer, and share the same weakness: Neither player had much opportunity to prove themselves last season. Irving played in just 11 games while Kanter did not even play.
As the NBA Draft is highly based on potential, these two evident talents could make noise at the next level. In the 11 games Irving played, he averaged over 17 points in just 27 minutes a game.
Both Irving and Kanter will give the Cavaliers raw, young talent that they can use immediately, as both will likely become starters with the team by the time the seasons begins in October.
Expect big things from both prospects next season as rookies in the league.