2011 NBA Mock Draft: True Needs for Teams in the Lottery
With the 2011 NBA Draft slowly approaching, some GMs are looking at drafting players that will help immediately while others know their picks will need time to develop. Either way, the hope is that players selected will make some kind of impact during the upcoming season.
Let's look at some of the candidates that could become early household names in a city near you based on true team needs.
Let's see how this draft shakes out.
1. Cleveland Cavs: Derrick Williams
Based on reports, Kyrie Irving is pretty much the consensus for the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Let's remember that Greg Oden was once hands-down the first pick due to his size and skill set.
With that in mind, the Cavs go with the the best player in the draft in forward Derrick Williams. His combination of size, speed, power and shooting is second to none in the draft.
The Cavs do have two serviceable point guards in Baron Davis and Ramon Sessions, and if you add Williams, you have a great start.
This young man shot almost 60 percent from the field and from three-point range and was keyed upon heavily at Arizona while doing so. In addition, Williams is one of the top three efficient players in all of college hoops.
The Cavs need to pick up the next Blake Griffin-type of player.
2. Minnesota T-Wolves: Enes Kanter
In what has begun as a hectic draft day just became crazy because the Timberwolves now have to decide on picking yet another point guard.
No way does GM David Khan step on the work he just did with Ricky Rubio and draft Enes Kanter.
After almost two years of basically watching the game rather than playing, the 6'11" and growing hulk-of-a-young man is going to have to work real hard to warrant this pick. Kanter does have quick feet, soft touch, soft hands, strong post moves and a smooth shooting stroke out to about 20 feet for such a burly man.
He will remind some of the Carlos Boozer type and hopefully not Zaza Pachulia.
3. Utah Jazz: Kyrie Irving
Utah fans rejoice as their point guard has somehow slid all the way down to them at No. 3.
Don't forget that Deron Williams and Chris Paul were picked third and fourth, respectively.
With the organization not convinced Devin Harris is the total answer, Kyrie Irving will get a shot to run the show as Utah is in need of guard depth. Irving is just what the Utah big men need in their lives with his great passing and court vision. I'm sure the Jazz bigs miss the times Williams would set them up for so many easy buckets.
Irving really pushes the ball up the court and plays the game very well at all speeds, which will keep defenses guessing what is coming next. He is a crafty and will shine in the pick and roll-scheme of things.
Harris should welcome playing the two guard running alongside Irving.
4. Cleveland Cavs: Jonas Valanciunas
With Cleveland getting its scorer in Derrick Williams, now it can add a true big man to the mix.
Enter Jonas Valanciunas, a 7-foot Lithuanian who just turned 19 and is showing signs of greatness already.
His wingspan is 7'4" and and a reach of 9'3" helps him around the basket as he amasses points off tips, offensive rebounds and shot blocking. JV is considered the best prospect coming out of Europe and with Anderson Varejao already in Cleveland, he'll have a tough, hardworking mentor to learn from.
His size likens to Spencer Hawes, and his motor and ability to run up and down the court gives him a Joakim Noah-look to his game.
5. Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker
GM Bryan Colangelo has to make a big splash after losing Chris Bosh and he's going to have to pick a winner.
What bigger winner or player was there in college basketball than Kemba Walker?
In route to winning a national title, Walker learned how to really step his game up with defenses always keying in on him, showcasing that New York grit, toughness and flair. His ability to penetrate off the dribble will allow him to get into lanes with ease. His blazing quickness and near-40" vertical will allow Walker to finish plays by the rim.
If he gets fouled, he's making more than 80 percent of his free throws for good measure.
His game shares a resemblance to guard Ben Gordon—except Walker's quicker and a better handler.
6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard
The Wizards scored big in last year's draft picking John Wall and are looking to do the same this year.
With the No. 6 pick being a bit too high to take a shooter like Klay Thompson or Jimmer Fredette, the team instead goes with Kawhi Leonard.
If you look at the team's roster it makes sense to see Leornard's name in a Wizard uniform. He is a great athlete at 6'7" with a wingspan of 7'3", showing great length he can use to attack the rim and defend multiple positions. With an improving jump shot, Leonard has best motor in the draft and it will get him into the rotation.
With Wizard guard Nick Young's contract status still up in the air, it only makes sense to for the Wizard's to go with this high-flyer.
7. Sacramento Kings: Jimmer Fredette
The Maloof brothers know the game enough to say doing this at No. 7 is well worth it.
A man with legit 25-plus foot range are rare in the NBA and in high demand. His ability to shoot in spot up and off-the-dribble situations will be huge in his NBA growth. His ball handing is sound and his pick-and-roll play should help him playing at the next level.
The Kings don't have a lot shooters, so his services will be welcome. Teams will be very aggressive toward him on the defensive end, so he better continue working in that area. Fredette is deceptively strong and can get to the basket if needed.
8. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo
It's takes a very special player to dominate or impact the game on only one end.
In a big-risk, big-reward scenario, Detroit selects the 6'9" Bismack Biyombo from the Congo.
Biyombo's body is more than NBA-ready, and he is an athletic freak with a 7'6" wingspan and 9'3" reach. His combination of length, strength agility and explosiveness is rare.
In Ben Wallace, Detroit has a mentor to school Biyombo on the ins and outs of solid defending in the NBA, helping him adjust to the speed of the league. Biyombo would want to emulate his predecessor who was dominant for so many years—which allowed him to stick around league for 14 years.
Biyombo has a great motor and that will make up for his lack of shooting and offensive skills since he mostly a dunker right now.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Brandon Knight
GM Micheal Jordan might be looking for defensive help but will be happy to settle for a score-first PG in Brandon Knight, who fell all the way down to nine.
The slender 6'3" Knight has solid physical attributes and is a very good athlete who defends pretty well at this stage. He has an explosive first step, good quickness with the ball and outstanding body control on his drives to the rim.
Knight is going to have to get much stronger and learn to be less turnover-prone to be successful in the NBA. He showed a solid grasp of running the pick and roll and displayed deep range on his jump shot.
The crafty guard also displayed a variety of ways to score at Kentucky via floaters, runners and pull-ups and shooting off screens.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Klay Thompson
Michael Redd was a staple and shooter extraordinaire for the Bucks during his stellar career, and with his departure a glaring need surfaced.
Next up to the podium: Klay Thompson, a Kevin Martin-clone, ready to offer his scoring services.
Thompson, son of former NBA forward Mychal Thompson, brings a solid knack for scoring the basketball. A fine shooter with range in his own right, Klay can also put the ball on the floor and beat defenders off the dribble. Already great free throw shooter, Klay will need to become stronger to shed the better NBA defenders.
11. Golden State Warriors: Tristan Thompson
New coach Mark Jackson must be excited about his new team and all his offensive weapons. However, there is a glaring need for some toughness, and the team grabs the second Thompson in the draft.
Tristan, a 6'9" power forward that brings high energy and defense to the table, will be a welcome addition. His great wingspan has allowed him to become a strong shot blocker and post player in addition to being a force on the offensive boards. He should compliment and spell David Lee off the bench.
Tristan has soft hands and an array of post moves but still needs to improve his core strength and footwork as he will not bully his way through post defenders like he did in college.
12. Utah Jazz: Jan Vesely
With a body and game comparable to young Andrei Kirilenko, it's only fair Utah takes what could be the future inexpensive version in Jan Vesely.
The most explosive of the Europeans coming out this year, the long and lanky 6'11" and 240-pound Vesley is a player who thrives in transition. He runs the floor well and is not afraid to take it to the heart of the defense for emphatic dunks. Vesely's shooting range extends out to the three-point line and he has the ability to put the ball on the floor.
Like most draftees, Vesely needs to get much stronger and work on some post moves, but with Utah's depth on the inside he will have plenty of time for growth.
13. Phoenix Suns: Alec Burks
With the Suns aging and their backcourt nothing to fear anymore, GM Lance Blanks and the Phoenix staff grab up Alec Burks, an ultra-athletic slasher guard.
Nicely sized at 6'6" with long limbs, Burks can truly benefit from having a PG mentor in Steve Nash to make his NBA life and transition easier. Burks is really effective in the open court and getting to the basket off the dribble. He will need to continue working on an average three-point shot and improving his strength.
Burks is an explosive leaper and can handle the ball well enough to play the point if ever needed. At just 19 years of age, Burks has a great window for growth.
14. Houston Rockets: Chris Singleton
When the Lottery is winding down and you still have the best defender in the draft still available, it's a no-brainer the Rockets go with the young forward from Florida State.
The 6'9", 230-pound Singleton is already NBA-strong, and his ability to defend three positions will get him minutes early in his career. Imagine Singleton as a poor man's Josh Smith with better defensive tools.
Singleton, like Smith, is a strong finisher in transition due to his 37" vertical leap, a streaky three-point shooter with a similarly slow release and average ball handling skills. What he lacks in some skill areas, Singleton makes up for with hard work on the defensive end.