The NBA draft is just one day a way, and it's time to make some final predictions. This is my mock draft 3.0, and it will be my last before tomorrow's draft.
This year's draft is considered weak by many. Quite a few high quality prospects decided to return to school, and the talent in this draft dropped accordingly. Either way, there are still good players to be had, and potential stars lurking in the late lottery.
After Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams everything is up in the air. The prospects are so close together when it comes to talent that everyone has different interpretations of who will go where with that said, here is my final 2011 mock draft.
Vucevic is probably the biggest player in this draft. He has an absolutely huge wingspan and he's a legit seven footer too. Last year at USC he averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a game, and leading up to the draft his stock has been rising.
At first he was a second rounder, and then a late first, and now a potential mid first round or lottery pick.
I think Vucevic fits in with Houston because they are likely losing Chuck Hayes, and Yao Ming could be done playing basketball. They really need a center in Houston, and Vucevic is going to be great for them in this spot.
An NBA player that I think Vucevic compares well to is Marc Gasol. They are both very big, and have a soft touch around the basket. I expect him to be about as good as Gasol has been in the NBA.
Vucevic isn't a great defender right now, but with his size there's no reason to believe he can't improve. He will be a solid rebounder/scorer at the next level.
The Suns will be jumping for joy if Singleton falls into their lap. They have said they want to try to get some high quality defensive players, and Singleton is the best this draft has to offer. At 6'9'' he can guard three positions on the floor effectively.
Singleton isn't great offensively yet, but he is a solid shooter and can be reliable from the three point line on kick outs.
Since the Suns are expected to cut Vince Carter, there will be plenty of room for Singleton. Because of his versatility they can play many different combinations of players when he's on the floor.
Singleton has drawn some Gerald Wallace comparisons, but I think a better comparison is Ron Artest. They are both excellent perimeter defenders who can be relied on to shoot from the outside but not much else on offense. If Singleton's career numbers and all around play should be very similar to Artest.
This is an example of drafting for talent, as they take the best player left on the board, Alec Burks. Burks is not a great shooter, but he can get to the basket as well as the free throw line. He is extremely athletic and rebounds well for a guard.
The Jazz are already loaded in the frontcourt, and if they have a chance to grab a player like Burks with the No. 12 pick they will draft him.
I see Alec Burks as a Richard Jefferson type player in the NBA. Super athletic but struggles from the outside. I'm not sure if Burks will be as good as Jefferson was, but I think he can be that type of player.
Valanciunas was a top-five pick before we understood the exact details of his buyout. Now that we know he won't be able to come over for a year if not longer, his stock will drop.
The Warriors pick up an extremely talented big man who isn't an All-Star right now, but could one day develop into one. Valanciunas is definitely a mystery man in this draft. Opinions on him really differ depending on who you ask, but I think he'll land right around 11.
Klay Thompson is one of the best shooters in the draft. He may not be as athletic as guys like Alec Burks, but he is a great shooter and could be a great scorer in the future. He is big for his position, but it's unclear whether or not he'll be able to defend at the next level.
The Bucks are likely losing Michael Redd this summer, and John Salmons is getting old. Thompson could be a great fit in Milwaukee.
I think a good NBA comparison for Klay Thompson is Eric Gordon. Best case scenario, Thompson will end up similar to Gordon. Even if he isn't that good, there is always a roster spot for an elite shooter like Thompson.
Kawhi Leonard has drawn more than one comparison to the player they just traded this season, Gerald Wallace. He may not be as skilled, but Kawhi Leonard has the motor and athleticism to be a solid NBA player. He may end up as a sixth man, but in this draft, that's just fine at No. 9.
Stephen Jackson is rumored to have lost weight and be moving back to the shooting guard position. This leaves room at small forward for Leonard. DJ Augustin, Gerald Henderson, and Kawhi Leonard could one day form a dominant trio.
Over the past few weeks it has seemed like Biyombo would be the guy here, but I think the Pistons will go with the more polished Tristan Thompson. Thompson brings a lot to the table as an offensive rebounder and defender and will form a dominant young frontcourt with Greg Monroe in Detroit.
Detroit really needs a power forward, and Thompson can likely come in and play some pretty big minutes as a rookie.
In the NBA, I see Tristan Thompson as a Emeka Okafor type player, strong on the boards and defensively, but not necessarily as good on the offensive end.
This is where it gets dicey. Jimmer is a great player, but does he really deserve to be the second pick? The answer is no, not really, but the Maloofs really like Jimmer, and a lot of times a GM can be controlled by his owner. With Kemba and Brandon Knight already gone, this very well could happen.
Jimmer Fredette would one day be expected to start alongside Tyreke Evans in the Kings backcourt. I'm not sure if Jimmer is really a true point guard, but if they are going to pick him I expect the Kings to try to start him alongside Evans.
In the NBA, I see Jimmer as Ben Gordon. A knockdown shooter who can really score, but is never really a star. I see Jimmer playing off the ball in the NBA with some success. Opinions on Jimmer are very different. We'll see where he ends up.
The Wizards will be very glad to have Vesely here. He is a guy that can really run the floor and is extremely athletic for his size. He is the perfect running mate for John Wall. Between Vesely and JaVale McGee, the Wizards are going to be a great team in transition.
It remains to be seen how effective Vesely will be in the NBA. I expect him to live up to his expectations as the 6th pick.
Kemba is one of the most accomplished players in this draft, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be a great player. Kemba is a great scorer, and he is one of the fastest players in this class. We don't know if he'll play point, or shooting guard in the NBA, but he should be decent either way.
The Raptors really need a young point guard and have made it known they would like to draft one. Since Brandon Knight is gone, I expect them to go with Kemba.
An NBA comparison for Kemba is tricky. He has a pretty unique skill set for a point guard, but I'm going to go with Gilbert Arenas. He was one of the best scorers in the game in his prime, and while I don't expect Kemba to be that good, I expect him to be a great scorer from the point and potentially even lead his team in points.
Enes Kanter is a really talented guy. He can bang inside, but he also has range on his jumper. He can even step out behind the three point line and knock down jumpers. He is very physical and can really rebound.
Kanter might be a little small for a center, but he should be fine. At 6'10" he has adequate height and his is 255 pounds so he isn't a guy that really needs to put on weight.
Kanter fits on the Cavs because I can't imagine they are keeping Varejao around much longer. He can be their center of the future.
Brandon Knight is easily the second best point guard in this class. He's long and athletic, and can get to the basket. The Jazz are looking for a point guard, so Knight is the logical choice. There is talk the Jazz might try to make a trade on draft day, so it's unclear whether or not they will be drafting here.
In the NBA, I can see Brandon Knight as a more athletic Andre Miller. A bigger point guard who can get you 15 points and 7 assists a night. That may not be the best comparison, but Brandon Knight is another tough one.
If Minnesota actually keeps this pick, I will be absolutely shocked. I can't imagine the Wolves even think about keeping this and stockpiling even more pieces. Look for them to make a deal before, or during the draft.
There has been some talk the Cavs may take Derrick Williams with the No. 1 pick, but I think ultimately they will take Kyrie. Kyrie is a potential franchise point guard, and they just don't come around that often. Irving is a safer pick, and is a good fit in Cleveland.
A good comparison for Irving would be Tony Parker. He isn't the most flashy, or the best point guard in the game but he gets the job done. With the talent the league has at the top as far as point guards go, I'm not sure Irving will make many All-Star teams, but he will be a good point guard.
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