NBA: Bold Predictions for All Lottery Picks for the 2011-12 NBA Season
This year's draft was one of the weakest ever. It was filled with mainly role players and final pieces to the puzzle, meaning most lottery teams didn't receive any major help.
Even though it was a relatively weak draft, many of these players might turn out to be really good NBA players, though I only see maybe three or four possible All-Stars in this group.
Here are my bold predictions for all of the lottery picks in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Kyrie Irving Will Be the Starting Point Guard from Day One
Why is this bold?
Well, it's bold because of the fact that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott already stated that no matter what, Baron Davis would be the starting point at the beginning of the season.
Byron's a man of his word, so Irving just might not be the starter when the season starts. I'm just hoping that Scott doesn't stay true to his words, because in all honesty, would you start one of the laziest players ever (who also happens to be way past his prime) or the guy you just took with the first overall pick in the draft?
Please Byron, please, make the right choice.
Derrick Williams Will Start After Kevin Love Is Traded
Kevin Love? Traded? There's no way that will happen!
Uh, yes there is.
Kevin Love has been complaining about Minnesota for a long time now, and it's starting to get obvious that he wants out. There have also been many rumors about him being traded, most notably to the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol.
This would leave an opening for the newly-drafted Derrick Williams to show what he's made of.
Williams' skill set is closer to that of an NBA power forward than a small forward, so that's where I see him producing the most efficiently at the next level. His game is all about efficiency, and so is Love's, so I see the transition from Love to Williams being a smooth one that benefits the Timberwolves by bringing in a legitimate big man to play center.
Enes Kanter Will Play as a Power Forward, and Not a Center
I know that Kanter is listed as a center, but his game really fits that of a power forward's.
He has range on his jump shot and a nice touch in the post. He can also rebound with the best of them, and has a muscular frame that could abuse many of the softer perimeter-oriented power forwards in the league.
He's also just a little undersized for the center position, unless he grows another inch before the season begins.
Also, Utah already has an undersized center in Al Jefferson, who is more used to playing as an undersized big man. The Jazz would much likely rather have Jefferson continue at center than have Kanter struggle against the likes of Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah.
Tristan Thompson Will Surprise Many and Make the All-Rookie First Team
I really like Thompson's game as an athletic four who can block shots and grab rebounds, while also scoring easy baskets off of pick and rolls and offensive rebounds.
That said, he was still a really big stretch as the fourth overall pick.
Thompson has already kind of helped the organization, in a way. After being brought in, the team found no more need to keep another athletic four on their team, JJ Hickson. This trade brought them an underrated player in Omri Casspi, and more importantly, a future first round pick.
Seeing as Sacramento won't be getting out of the lottery soon, this would give the Cavs an even better chance at next year's first overall spot.
Things are looking good in Cleveland, but back to the bold prediction.
I'm predicting an 11-7-2 rookie season for Thompson, enough to earn him a spot on the All-Rookie first team. Yes, I'm being really bold with those stats, but they are possible.
Jonas Valanciunas Will Not Start His First Game with the Raptors
Many Raptors fans are eager to see Jonas play, many predicting him to be a future 18-12-3 kind of guy.
No, please, just no, stop it right there.
Jonas may have potential, but a possible 18-14-4 guy would never be passed on with the first pick, even in a strong draft. Being a fifth pick in a weak draft further hurts his cause.
Many people are looking at his U19 tournament and predicting stats based off of that.
1. He plays for a team where he is really the only offensive threat.
2. He's playing against people under the age of 19.
3. NBA competition like Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, Andrew Bogut and Andrew Bynum will eat this kid alive if the Raptors decide to throw him straight into the fire on day one.
Here are realistic predictions for a prime Jonas: 13, 10 and 2. That's still a pretty good player, but nowhere near the All-NBA First team player some fans expect him to be.
I also believe Toronto won't start him and will favor a front court of Ed Davis and Bargnani instead. Ed Davis is already a way better player, and has more potential too, so I don't understand why people are calling Jonas the next face of the franchise.
Jan Vesely Will Win the 2012 All-Star Dunk Contest
"I think Blake Griffin is the American Jan Vesely"
That's the moment when I could tell that this kid would be something special. How many people could go out on a limb and compare Blake Griffin to them, not compare themselves to Blake, but compare Blake to them? And then, how many of them actually have a point when saying something like that?
Jan Vesely is certainly the most athletic big man in this draft class. On top of his athleticism, he has great size, a consistent perimeter shot, and a motor that never stops.
There is no way he won't be in the Dunk Contest, and I'm predicting that he'll win it. What a way to one-up his NBA comparison, Blake Griffin.
Bismack Biyombo Will Be Traded by Next Year
There are a lot of teams out there who need defense. Charlotte is not one of them.
What Charlotte needs is scoring, and Bismack Biyombo is possibly the worst scorer in the lottery this year.
He has zero offensive game, but he is an amazing shot blocker and an outstanding athlete.
I see him being traded for a scorer to complement newly drafted Kemba Walker, and maybe he can be packaged with someone like DJ Augustin and sent to a team like Atlanta for someone like Josh Smith.
Smith is an athletic scorer and great off-the-ball defender, and trading Augustin would free up space for Walker to start.
Atlanta would be getting a real starting point guard, something they've been looking for for a while, and an athlete at the level of Josh Smith. Learning to play in the post from Al Horford could be very helpful for Biyombo's NBA career.
Brandon Knight Will Be the Best Player from This Draft When All Is Said and Done
Knight has all the tools needed to succeed in the NBA.
A knack for scoring.
High basketball IQ.
Amazing ability on the defensive end of the ball.
Above-average shooting ability.
The ability to set up his teammates and make them better.
The will to win and perform in crunch time (something LeBron can't even do yet).
The only thing holding Knight back from succeeding in this league is the possible re-signing of combo guard Rodney Stuckey.
Stuckey and Knight have very similar games, but Knight's potential is through the roof. I expect Detroit to opt to not bring back Rodney and trade away players from the glory days of 2004, like Prince and Hamilton, to bring in more help for Knight and Greg Monroe, who I can see becoming a top big man in the league.
Kemba Walker Will Make a Serious Run at the ROY Award
What Walker lacks in size, he makes up for in intangibles.
He's a proven winner, an outstanding competitor, and has a high motor that helps him perform on both ends of the floor.
He is probably the best scorer in the lottery (sorry Jimmer) and he can produce from day one.
One thing Kemba has going for him is that scorers have the easiest transition into the NBA from college. They know their roles from the second they first step into the locker room, something you can't say for someone like Kyrie Irving, who could be either a scorer or a facilitator.
Kemba can win Rookie of the Year, but it all depends on if DJ Augustin is traded to make room for him in the starting lineup.
Jimmer Fredette Will Average Less Than 10 Points in His Rookie Season
Now that's bold.
I'm not questioning Jimmer's ability one bit, I'm questioning the rotation he's stuck in.
On a team with Marcus Thornton, DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and John Salmons, I find it hard to picture Jimmer getting the necessary opportunities and shots he needs to be efficient.
That's the thing, this game isn't based off of efficiency, which is a bad fit for a team filled with players like that. He's a volume scorer, who needs to get off atleast 15-20 shots a game to be effective.
Unfortunately, he is stuck in the wrong situation.
Klay Thompson Will Not Start a Game for the Golden State Warriors
That is, unless Monta Ellis is traded, which I doubt since the Warriors management has already discussed their interest in keeping Ellis.
Even if Ellis was traded, the most likely player they would get in return is Andre Iguodala, who plays the same position as Thompson.
There's a slim chance he will get to play small forward, since the spot is already occupied by a more athletic version of Thompson, Dorrell Wright.
Sorry Klay, maybe you should ask for a trade right about now.
Oh wait, never mind, there's a lockout going on...
Alec Burks Will Be a First Team All-Rookie Player
He may have a lot of competition for the spot, competing with Irving, Knight and Walker, but I think Alec Burks might be able to pull it off.
He is in the perfect situation, a team in need of a shooting guard is just where he landed. He will be given many opportunities, and I really like his chances at succeeding as a slashing scorer.
One thing he must improve is his jump shot from long range, without a doubt.
He is average at best from mid range, but his stroke from deep is a completely different story.
He has a lot of time to practice with shooting mentor Chauncey Billups due to the work stoppage, and I can see him improving his shot a lot.
Markieff Morris Was the Right Choice for Phoenix
Markieff may be the less talented of the Morris twins, but he has a defined role. He is not a tweener like his twin brother Marcus.
Phoenix needed a power forward with a post game to complement high-motor center Marcin Gortat.
Markieff is the bigger and taller of the Morris twins, and is also the better low post player. If Phoenix were to pick Marcus, they'd be stuck with someone who doesn't know his role with a team yet.
Markieff knows what he needs to do, and that's rebound and score down low.
Marcus Morris Will Have a Hard Time Finding Minutes with the Rockets
Let's make a list of people he will be competing with for minutes at both forward positions, shall we?
That's a lot of depth, and I don't see Marcus Morris getting consistent minutes on a team who could possibly make a whole separate team out of just forwards. Tough luck Marcus, looks like your brother's situation just one-upped yours.