2011 NBA Mock Draft: How Will the Draft Shape After Irving and Williams
So we all know who the first two picks are likely going to be:Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams.
But who will follow?
Where will Jimmer land?
What about the man who led the UConn Huskies to a national championship, Kemba Walker?
What about the Kentucky duo of Enes Kanter and Brandon Knight?
And how many international players will go in the first round?
Here is a preview of how I think it will go down.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG (Duke)
For many, this is believed to be the obvious pick.
Irving is a talented point guard that has potential to be a poor man’s Chris Paul.
Cleveland could also look at Derrick Williams with this pick, too, if they feel a combination of Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight/Kemba Walker is better than Irving and Kanter/Valaciunas/other.
In the end, with the rise of point guards in the league, one has to assume that Cleveland will go with Kyrie Irving and try to build around him, and there still should be a quality post with the fourth pick.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams F (Arizona)
This is the obvious pick if available; it will either be him or Irving.
Any other choice would just be absurd.
Derrick Williams is extremely athletic with a bit of range on offense and he is a very good shot blocker.
Reminds me a bit of a hybrid between Lamar Odom and Josh Smith, which should make him a pretty dangerous player in this league, but his post-game will have to improve.
3. Utah Jazz: Brandon Knight, PG (Kentucky)
The Jazz will look to replace the hole left by Deron Williams.
With Devin Harris still on the roster, look for them to take a chance on Brandon Knight and hope for him to develop.
There are some who also believe that Knight is just as talented, and a few think more so than Irving.
I will disagree at the moment, but this would be a very wise pick for the Jazz.
Other options could be Kemba Walker, Enes Kanter, Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely.
However, with an abundance of power forwards, expect them to go guard here.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter C/PF (Kentucky/Turkey)
If Kanter gets passed by the Jazz, he would sure look good alongside of Kyrie Irving, if that is indeed who the Cavaliers take.
Many have compared Kanter to Al Horford, and they just need to start getting talent and size.
Kanter has both and is likely to be the best player available. He will help send the Cavs in the right direction after the tough offseason a year ago.
Other options could be Jonas Valanciunas or Jan Vesely.
However, if they go Derrick Williams with the first pick, look for them to go Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette or Knight if he falls.
5. Toronto Raptors: Kemba Walker, PG (UConn)
Toronto will have a lot of options here and I will say they will go with Kemba Walker.
Jerryd Bayless really isn’t a true point guard and Walker can really elevate the games of DeRozan and Bargnani.
Kemba has the ability to be a great floor general in this league and, despite his run to a championship at Connecticut; he still seems to be overlooked.
Other options could include Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesely, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard or Enes Kanter if he drops.
6. Washington Wizards: Jonas Valanciunas, PF/C (Lithuania)
This may be the most intriguing pick in the draft.
There are a number of routes that the Wizards could go here.
I have them going with Jonas Valanciunas due to being one of the best bigs in the draft, potentially better than Kanter.
The Wizards already have Blatche and McGee, but they don’t seem to be a good match together on the court.
They still need a defensive and rebounding presence down low, and Jonas gives them that.
Now they could obviously look at a small forward or even a shooting guard here. There is only a couple other guys I see going at this spot, and they are Alec Burks, Kawhi Leonard or Jan Vesely, and possibly Klay Thompson as well.
7. Sacramento Kings: Jimmer Fredette, PG (BYU)
Jimmer would really look nice alongside of Tyreke Evans.
Whether Jimmer would be a starter or sixth man is the question, but either way Tyreke should get some much needed relief from opposing defenses with Jimmer on the court.
However, there are other needs for the Kings and I could easily see them going with Jan Vesley, Kawhi Leonard, or possibly Chris Singleton.
They could even take a chance on Bismack Biyombo or Jonas Valanciunas, if he falls, for some much-needed size.
8. Detroit Pistons: Jan Vesely, F (Czech Republic)
Jan Vesely would likely be the best player at this spot, and with Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince likely gone, they will need to fill that void. Vesely could fill that void well.
Vesely has great size and athleticism, and he is known as a high-intensity player.
There are some other places the Pistons could look out here as well.
Bismack Biyombo is said to be high on their wish list and would give them a solid center prospect.
Other options could be Tristian Thompson or Kawhi Leonard.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Marcus Morris, PF (Kansas)
With two first round picks, I see the Bobcats taking a power forward at this spot and taking their chances with a wing player later on.
Morris is the choice here, and although he is a bit undersized, he can still finish well in the paint and he has the ability to hit a jumper from 20 feet out.
Bobcats could look at the multiple shooting guards in Marshon Brooks, Klay Thompson and Alec Burks.
Or they could take the other highly-rated power forward Tristan Thompson, or even go small forward here.
Tons of options for Charlotte, which makes this an interesting pick and it will all be contingent on what they decide to do with their other pick.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Marshon Brooks, SG (Providence)
Here is a bit of a surprise pick.
The Bucks are in need of a serious scoring threat to help out Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut, and Brooks is one of the wing players that fits the bill.
Brooks was a dynamic scorer and often was forced to be a one-man wrecking crew at Providence.
Obviously, there are some other equally talented and younger options here, like Alec Burks and Klay Thompson, but the Bucks seem very intrigued by Brooks and are seeking a second workout with him before the draft.
Other guys to look out for are Marcus Morris and Tristan Thompson, or maybe one of the various small forwards.
11. Golden State Warriors:Kawhi Leonard, SF (San Diego St.)
Another team that I am unsure on, they could try to obtain a center in either Bismack Biyombo or Donatas Motiejunas or they could go with any of those shooting guards if they plan on dealing Monta Ellis.
However, at this moment I am going to guess that they hold onto Monta Ellis and have Mark Jackson try to work with him.
Thus, I have them going with another defensive-minded small forward in Leonard.
He needs to improve his ball handling and perimeter shooting, but he could make for a solid piece for the Warriors and could probably play some shooting guard too.
12. Utah Jazz: Alec Burks, SG (Colorado)
With them going with Brandon Knight with the first pick, they will likely look at a shooting guard or a small forward.
I will say they go with a shooting guard, and Alec Burks is arguably the most talented of the bunch left.
With good ball-handling skills and good athleticism, he could become a good slasher and driver.
He does need to improve his shooting, but there are a lot of positives about his mechanics during the workouts.
The Jazz could also go Klay Thompson or Marshon Brooks if he is there. Small forwards Leonard, Singleton, Hamilton and Harris also make a lot of sense.
13. Phoenix Suns: Tristan Thompson, PF (Texas)
This seems like one of the obvious picks in the draft, if Tristan does indeed fall to this spot. He has good athleticism and is very quick, which should fit in perfectly with the Suns’ scheme.
If he is not there at this pick, they could look towards getting more improved wing players, such as Klay Thompson, Burks, Brooks, Singleton or another small forward.
14. Houston Rockets: Bismack Biyombo, PF (Congo)
During the trade deadline, the Houston Rockets emphasized finding a center.
Well, if Bismack Biyombo slides down to the Rockets, expect them to take him.
He provides good length, athleticism and defense; he could fit well with Scola/Patterson.
However, he will likely need some time to develop as he is very much a project and basically is just a raw talent at this point.
If Biyombo is not there or they pass on him, look at Chris Singleton, Jordan Hamilton or Tobias Harris at this pick, or possibly Donatas Motiejunas.
15. Indiana Pacers: Markieff Morris, PF (Kansas)
This one is hard to pick, but I will go with Markieff Morris for this pick.
With a lack of size on the bench, Markieff would be a nice addition to a young and rising team.
He would bring energy and an all-around solid game, with a solid jumper, rebounding and defensive skills.
Indiana could also look to draft one of the shooting guards in this draft as well (K.Thompson, Burks, and Brooks).
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Donatas Motiejunas, F/C (Lithuania)
Philadelphia is a young-and-upcoming team with some nice pieces in place, especially in the backcourt.
However, they could use some help in the post, and with slim pickings at this point, expect for them to look at a guy like Donatas Motiejunas.
Motiejunas brings a lot of great potential.
He has a very good jump shot and some solid post skills, however, he is going to have to change his attitude in order to have success in the NBA.
Many believe he has character issues, including not playing 100 percent on the court.
He also needs to pick up his defense quite a bit, which also ties into his attitude. Again, there is a lot of potential here and he could be a poor man’s Dirk or Andrea Bargnani.
The 76ers will also give the Morris brothers a look, as well as Biyombo and Tristan Thompson.
17. New York Knicks: Klay Thompson, SG (Washington State)
Their top priority is likely a center or possibly a point guard, but with a lack of those in the draft expect them to go shooting guard to relieve some of the load from Carmelo Anthony.
There is also talk that Knicks are very fond of Klay Thompson as well.
Klay reminds me a bit of Brandon Roy in the style of play. He likely isn’t as talented or as good, but his game seems to mirror Roy’s a bit.
He can shoot well, handles the ball well, and has good body control when driving the lane. His quickness is likely what separates him from Roy, but he can still have a big impact in the NBA.
Other prospects to watch out for are Brooks, Burks and possibly Darius Morris, as they may need a point guard.
18. Washington Wizards: Chris Singleton, SF (Florida State)
If Washington does indeed take a big or doesn’t draft Vesely, expect a small forward to be taken at this spot.
I went Chris Singleton here, simply because Washington needs to shore up their defense and Singleton is a very good defender.
He could also be a solid running mate with Wall on the fast break.
Other options include Jordan Hamilton, Tobias Harris and Justin Harper.
And if they do take Vesely, possibly throw Faried or Mirotic into the conversation.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Jordan Hamilton, SF (Texas)
With the Bobcats going for a post player for the first pick, it would make sense for them to look at a small forward or shooting guard with this pick, and Jordan Hamilton fits the bill nicely.
Jordan Hamilton has the skills of a shooting guard, with nice shooting range, solid athleticism and good height.
However, he is likely not quick or fast enough to guard or play shooting guard, so he will likely have to move to small forward, which could cause major matchup problems for other teams if he maximizes his potential.
Bobcats could certainly look at Tobias Harris or Tyler Honeycutt with this pick, or look for a backup guard like Darius Morris or Reggie Jackson.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Tobias Harris, SF (Tennessee)
With the likes of Derrick Williams, expect the Timberwolves to look for someone who can give them good minutes off the bench.
They will likely look guard first, but at this point, they will look for the top talent.
Tobias Harris gives them great versatility and can cause matchup problems, but will need to work on his jumper to be a more dynamic offensive player.
Also, don’t be surprised to hear Beasley in trade rumors during the draft as well.
Minnesota could also look at some post players like Nikola Vucevic or Kenneth Faried
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Nikola Vucevic, PF/C (USC)
Portland has plenty of options here.
The Blazers could look at another post player with Camby aging and Greg Oden becoming a free agent.
So Nikola Vucevic could make a lot of since here.
He could give them a lot of size and spread the floor with his excellent shooting ability.
He needs to improve his defense, especially with his lack of quickness, and he could polish up his post game to make him a dual threat offensively.
Other options include Faried and other post players.
Also, they could look at point guards as well, especially Darius Morris, who could be a good replacement for Andre Miller down the line.
22. Denver Nuggets: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State)
Denver will at this point likely look to add some size, and although he is a bit undersized for a power forward, Kenneth Faried would be an excellent pick for the Denver Nuggets.
Kenneth is a tremendous rebounder and defensive player who is also very athletic and would be an excellent fit for an up-tempo team like Denver.
He is not the ideal size for bigs and he doesn’t have much of an offensive game, but he should be a valuable piece off the bench who will bring tons of energy into the game.
Other possible picks would include Nikola Vucevic, Justin Harper, Tobias Harris or if one of the international post players fall.
23. Houston Rockets: Darius Morris, PG (Michigan)
In need of a point guard of sorts, Darius Morris would be a great pick at this point of the draft.
That is if he is available, and it sounds like his stock is rising.
He has the ability to create shots for himself and others and finishes very well at the bucket. He needs to improve his defense and his perimeter shooting.
Other guys in this spot would include Tyler Honeycutt, Iman Shumpert, Davis Bertans, Justin Harper, Tobias Harris, Shelvin Mack etc.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Nikola Mirotic, PF (Montenegro)
With the Oklahoma City Thunder not needing any major pieces, at least not from the draft, they could look to find a prospect with a ton of upside.
Nikola Mirotic at this point would be an excellent candidate.
Mirotic has outstanding range for a big and is an excellent shooter with good agility.
However, he needs to improve his defense and bulk up a bit more for the next level. If he improves on those things, he could be an excellent find for the Thunder.
Other options here could include Justin Harper, Kyle Singler, Davis Bertans, or an experienced college player who can help out right away and deepen their bench.
25. Boston Celtics: Reggie Jackson, PG (Boston College)
There have been a lot of talks that Boston is very much interested in Jackson here.
Celtics could use a backup point guard and Reggie Jackson has a lot of potential.
He is a great athlete with an unbelievable wingspan; seven feet (remind you of anyone else? Rondo?).
He will need to improve on a bunch of areas, though, including his defense, passing skills, and his jump shot, which did improve this past season.
Other options for Boston include Justin Harper, Tyler Honeycutt, Travis Leslie, Josh Selby, Kyle Singler, or other backup point guards.
26. Dallas Mavericks: Justin Harper, F (Richmond)
Dallas could go in a couple of directions here.
The Mavs could look at some international talent or young raw prospects to groom and hope they can find a star. Or they could find a useful piece that can come off the bench for the time being.
Justin Harper would be a real nice addition to the champions. He is versatile in that he can play the three and the four and give rest to Marion and Dirk.
Justin Harper has great range, but will likely need to get stronger if he wants to be able to play power forward consistently. And if he does, he could be a very dangerous pick-and-pop guy.
27. New Jersey Nets: Travis Leslie, SF/SG (Georgia)
The Nets are in need of a small forward or shooting guard at this position.
Travis Leslie could be both, although he does not have ideal size for a small forward.
He is a very strong, quick and extremely athletic player.
He needs to improve on his range from behind the arc to really continue to work on his ball-handling skills.
Other options here for the Nets are Justin Harper, Josh Selby, Tyler Honeycutt, Reggie Jackson, Kyle Singler, Chris Jenkins, etc.
28. Chicago Bulls: Josh Selby, SG (Kansas)
The Bulls are in need of a shooting guard pretty badly, and at this point there are not as many guards as talented as Josh Selby.
Selby has a lot of potential with good athleticism and shooting ability, but he has had some character issues.
He also struggled a bit last year which, combined with his character, are the reasons his stock is slipping.
The Bulls will likely not be in this spot as many executives believe that they will trade this and the 30th pick to move up or trade for more proven and experienced players.
But if they do stay in this spot, also look for them to look at a backup point guard for Rose in either Darius Morris, if he slips, or Nolan Smith, or possibly even Charles Jenkins.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Davis Bertans, F (Latvia)
The Spurs are known for their late-round international gems, and it may be time for another one.
Bertans is very young and raw, but has excellent size and shooting range to become a good player.
Like any 18-year-old prospect from overseas, he will need to develop the other aspects of the game and he will likely be staying overseas for a couple of years.
Also, there have been rumors that the Spurs may have made a promise to him, if he falls that low.
Other options could be another small forward like Tyler Honeycutt, Kyle Singler, etc.
30. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Honeycutt, SF (UCLA)
Loul Deng logged a lot of minutes for the Bulls last year and it would be wise for the Bulls to give him a bit of a breather.
Honeycutt is a very athletic and lengthy player who will likely excel on the defensive side of the ball, which Chicago likes.
However, he needs to improve on his shooting and decision making as he was very turnover prone, turning it over more times than getting assists.
Yet again, don’t expect Chicago to be at this spot, but if they are, they could also use a backup point guard.