NBA Draft 2011: One Mistake Each Lottery Team Must Avoid Making
This draft is a tricky one. The talent pool isn't nearly as deep as it usually is, and it is causing people to have very different opinions on where certain guys should be taken. This draft has been extremely difficult to project.
There are certain guys that each team should avoid, and also players that shouldn't be reached for towards the top of the draft.
With that said, here is one mistake each team must avoid making in order to make this draft a successful one.
1. Cleveland: Avoid Picking Anyone Other Than Kyrie Irving
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Every day, more and more reports come out saying that the Cavs are not completely sold on Kyrie Irving as the number one pick. At this point, there is really only one mistake they can make drafting first, and that is not taking the Duke point guard.
The Cavs need a point guard of the future and Irving will be a solid starting point guard for a long time. In this class, if you have a guaranteed above average starter, you take him. Irving is definitely the best player, and taking someone else with that pick would be a disaster.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Avoid Trading for Monta or Iggy
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The Wolves have been shopping the number one pick throughout this process. Ever since the night of the lottery, the Wolves have been waiting for the right offer for their number two pick. Right now, the most likely option for moving their pick seems to be trading for either Ellis or Iggy.
This would be a huge mistake for the franchise because I think we can all agree that neither is the final piece of the puzzle. There is no way acquiring either of them makes the Wolves a contender.
What it will do is take up a huge chunk of their cap. Neither is worth the price for this team. They should either trade the pick for young players or picks, or keep it.
The team has said they want veteran leadership, but that leadership may also come with a steep price, one that the Wolves would be better off without.
3. Utah Jazz: Avoid Drafting a Big Man
In a recent issue, Sports Illustrated had Enes Kanter going No. 3 to the Jazz in their mock draft.
If the Jazz end up with a player at either the power forward or center spot, it would be an absolute disaster. Right now between the two positions, they have Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, and Mehmet Okur.
They already have a logjam to say the least.
Adding another big man to the mix is the worst thing the Jazz could do on draft night.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Avoid Trading It for No. 2
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Yes, Derrick Williams is a solid player, but the asking price for him at this point is just too high. The Cavs were considering a three team deal that would send the No. 4 and the No. 8 picks to Minnesota in exchange for No. 2.
With so many teams interested in the No. 2 pick, the Cavs are going to need to sacrifice a lot to obtain it.
The Cavs can grab two solid players with the picks they have, and they don't need to give up more than necessary to get Williams. It is widely known that the Cavs like Derrick Williams, but if they are smart, they will let someone else pick at No. 2 on draft day.
5. Toronto Raptors: Avoid Kemba Walker
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Kemba Walker is a good player, but at No. 5, this is way too big of a reach.
The Raptors are said to be high on Kemba, but he's not a good fit. The Raptors should be looking for a true point guard, and Walker simply doesn't fit the mold. He is a scorer at heart and he likely won't develop into the guy the Raptors are looking for to run their offense.
Kemba may be turn out to be a solid NBA player, but it won't be as a point guard. I see him playing off the ball quite a bit during his career and I expect him to be primarily a scorer.
The Raptors already have emerging star DeMar Derozan at shooting guard. Now they need someone to get him the ball, and Kemba is not that guy.
6. Washington Wizards: Avoid Kawhi Leonard
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Kawhi Leonard is seen as a good NBA prospect, but a lot of scouts see him as a high energy sixth man rather than a starter.
Although those guys are valuable, it's not worth it at No. 6. Even though this draft is weak, you have to expect more from a top six guy.
The Wizards have been rumored to really like Leonard, but they shouldn't take him this high.
If Jan Vesely is still on the board, they should definitely go after him. He has more potential, and he could be a great running mate alongside John Wall. He most likely will be gone by the time Washington picks, but if he's still there the Wizards should take him.
7. Sacramento Kings: Avoid Reaching for Jimmer
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Apparently the Maloofs really like Jimmer and are considering him at No. 7.
Now, they aren't the ones making the decision, but they are the ones signing the checks, so it is possible Jimmer is taken here.
Jimmer and Tyreke Evans would not work well together in the backcourt, and this is way too high for Jimmer. The Kings should certainly avoid him at this spot.
8. Detroit Pistons: Avoid Bismack Biyombo
The Pistons are seen as the most likely top 10 destination for Biyombo.
Although he has good potential as a rebounder/shot blocker, I don't see him as a good fit for the Pistons. Biyombo is a long term project, and the Pistons need more immediate help.
With Tristan Thompson likely to still be available at this spot, I don't think Biyombo is the right choice.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Avoid Reaching for Marcus Morris
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In his most recent mock draft, Chad Ford has Marcus Morris going to the Bobcats at No. 9.
This would be a huge mistake for the Bobcats.
Marcus Morris is a good player, but he is the ultimate tweener and it's impossible to tell how he fits in the NBA. He has never played small forward before and will likely struggle to guard quicker players at his position.
Morris was a great college player, but that doesn't necessarily translate to the NBA. I could see him as a lottery pick, but I think he is closer to mid first-round value. There are definitely better players to be had at this point in the draft.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Avoid Passing on Klay Thompson
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Early in the draft process, I wasn't so sure about Klay Thompson, but throughout the last couple weeks, I have slowly become a Klay Thompson fan.
With Michael Redd likely leaving and John Salmons underperforming this season, Thompson is a perfect fit in Milwaukee.
He can help stretch the floor, and he could be a great backcourt partner for Brandon Jennings down the road. At No. 10, I think Thompson is the perfect guy for Milwaukee if he's still available.
11. Golden State Warriors: Avoid Passing on Chris Singleton
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The Warriors have their backcourt and frontcourt of the future set.
At small forward they are currently starting Dorell Wright. Wright is a respectable player, but he's not a long term solution at small forward.
Chris Singleton can come in and play important minutes from day one, and ultimately take over the starting job.
The Warriors already have plenty of scoring, and Singleton's defensive minded approach will be welcomed on a team that regularly gives up huge amounts of points.
Singleton is athletic and can shoot when open, making him a decent fit into the Warriors offense.
But his real value is his ability to finally provide the Warriors with a perimeter defender, something they desperately need. The Warriors should not let Singleton slip past them at No. 11.
12. Utah Jazz: Avoid Passing on Jimmer
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I know this is three in a row on the whole "don't pass on him" thing, and I know that I already used Jimmer, but the Jazz really should take Jimmer.
Not just because he's a good player, but because their fans really want him. He was the best player in BYU history, which is located in Utah, and the fans there know him.
If the Jazz take Brandon Knight third this gets tricky, but if the Jazz pass on Jimmer on draft night, you can bet it's going to be hard to justify to the fans.
13. Phoenix Suns: Avoid Forgetting About Defense
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Those run and gun Suns teams that were so fun to watch are likely done. Nash is getting old, and Amare, Marion, and D'Antoni are all gone.
Now it's time to start rebuilding, and it starts by emphasizing defense.
If Tristan Thompson is still available at this spot, and that's a big if, they should take him.
Along with Marcin Gortat, Thompson could help form a solid frontcourt, both offensively and defensively for the Suns.
Neither of those guys will win an MVP, but they can help the Suns win games.
Another great option for the Suns would be Chris Singleton, although I would imagine he'll be gone by the time they pick.
14. Houston Rockets: Avoid Forgetting to Replace Ming/Hayes
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With Yao Ming no longer capable of playing 30 minutes per game and Chuck Hayes likely leaving through free agency, the Rockets need a viable replacement at center for the long term.
While there won't be many centers available at this spot, they can't forget their most important need in this draft.
Whether it's through trading down or reaching at No. 14, I think the Rockets should grab Nikola Vucevic, the center from USC.
Vucevic is one of the biggest player in this years draft, and he has more than adequate size for an NBA center. He could be a solid replacement for the Rockets and help them get back to the playoffs next season.
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