2011 NBA Mock Draft: Who Will Get Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette?
Now that the early entry deadline has passed, the 2011 NBA draft picture is starting to come into focus. Forecasting where players like Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker or Jimmer Fredette is now slightly easier.
This week's biggest withdrawal from the draft was Kentucky's freshman forward Terrence Jones. With him out of the picture, the first round will look a bit different.
This mock draft will endeavor to predict the landing spots for these prospects and all 57 others who will hear their name called by the commissioner (or deputy commissioner for second-rounders).
Let's get started...
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1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kyrie Irving
Weight: 180 lbs.
Comparison: Chris Paul
Kyrie Irving's return to Duke for the Big Dance helped his stock. He didn't get a lot of assists, but he showed his ability to score in a big way.
He averaged almost 18 points in Duke's three tournament games (including a 28-point outburst against Arizona).
With Kevin Love and Michael Beasley on the roster, the Timberwolves will likely select Irving over Arizona's Derrick Williams (even with Ricky Rubio in limbo).
As far as point guards go, he's the closest to a sure thing in this draft.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers: Derrick Williams
Weight: 241 lbs.
Comparison: Michael Beasley/Thaddeus Young
Derrick Williams officially became a legitimate top overall pick possibility after he thrashed Duke.
In that game, he scored 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting (including 5-of-6 threes) and grabbed 13 rebounds.
That was his signature game, but he's been nothing short of spectacular all season long.
For the year, he averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. Plus, he shot 60 percent from the field and 57 percent from three-point range.
3. Toronto Raptors: Enes Kanter
Weight: 255 lbs.
Comparison: Luis Scola
We didn't get a chance to see Kanter at all this year because he played professional basketball overseas before he came to play for Kentucky.
Even still, it looks like he's almost a lock to be selected in the top 10 of this year's draft.
Think of him as a longer, more athletic version of Luis Scola.
The Raptors really aren't set at any position, so they'll try to select the best player available (or at least the one with the most potential).
4. Washington Wizards: Jonas Valanciunas
Weight: 230 lbs.
Comparison: Nenad Krstic
He still needs to add a lot of strength, but his solid fundamentals should help him transition into the NBA.
5. Sacramento Kings: Brandon Knight
Weight: 185 lbs.
Comparison: Tyreke Evans/Jason Terry
John Calipari has sent four freshman point guards to the NBA in the last three years. Athletically, Knight is similar to those guys, but he's a better outside shooter than any of them.
He really showed off that ability against North Carolina in the Elite Eight.
Knight's stock has been rising steadily over the last couple weeks. He and Tyreke Evans could be a very dynamic, young backcourt.
6. Utah Jazz: Jan Vesely
Weight: 240 lbs.
Comparison: Tyrus Thomas/Andrei Kirilenko
Vesely has great size and length for a small forward, but he's still very unpolished at this point. He needs a lot of work on offense, specifically in the post.
Considering their roster, you'd think Utah doesn't need a power forward. However, they may be moving Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap this offseason.
Plus, if Vesely adds some strength, he could eventually play center.
7. Detroit Pistons: Bismack Biyombo
Weight: 243 lbs.
Comparison: DeJuan Blair/Ben Wallace
Biyombo has burst onto the scene of this draft class in the last couple weeks.
He's come out of nowhere to become a very legitimate first-round possibility.
He's long (7'7" wingspan) and athletic, but like most 18-year-old prospects, he is very raw.
Detroit has completely lost their former identity as one of the toughest teams in the league. Building their future around a frontcourt of Biyombo and Greg Monroe could help them get back to their old ways.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kemba Walker
Weight: 172 lbs.
Comparison: Brandon Jennings/Ben Gordon
Kemba Walker led his Huskies on one of the most ridiculous runs in the history of college basketball this month. He did so with more than just his scoring.
He's a solid distributor, an underrated rebounder and he works hard on defense.
On the season, he averaged 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
He's not a very efficient scorer (43 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range), but he has a hunger that may be unparalleled in this draft class.
He's proven to be a great leader, and his success in March could very well get him drafted in the top five.
If he slips to this spot, Cleveland should snag him in a heartbeat. Adding Derrick Williams and Walker could have the Cavaliers well on their way to a bright future.
9. Charlotte Bobcats: Alec Burks
Weight: 195 lbs.
Comparison: Brandon Roy
Alec Burks is my dark-horse pick for 2012 Rookie of the Year (for a lot of the same reasons I thought Brandon Roy would win it).
He's a very polished, complete scorer. He has a prototypical NBA shooting guard's build. He's long and athletic. In addition to being a great scorer, he does just about everything else well, too.
After Gerald Wallace was dealt, the Bobcats fell out of the playoff picture, and a spot in their starting lineup opened up. Stephen Jackson could slide over to small forward and start opposite of Burks.
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Marcus Morris
Weight: 235 lbs.
Comparison: Al Harrington/Carlos Boozer
Marcus Morris is considered by most experts to have more upside than his brother Markieff. What's clear is that Marcus has the more polished offensive game.
Milwaukee already has a solid frontcourt in place with Drew Gooden and Andrew Bogut, but Morris would be a good backup big and could start over Gooden soon.
11. Golden State Warriors: Tristan Thompson
Weight: 225 lbs.
Comparison: Brandon Bass
First he was in the draft, then he was out. Now he's back in. If his status stays the same, he'll almost certainly be a lottery pick.
Thompson is a bit undersized for an NBA big man, but he has a wingspan (7'2") that makes up for his lack of standing height.
He plays hard, and that helps him on defense and on the offensive glass.
He still has to work on his perimeter game a bit, but that will come in time. If he can develop a reliable midrange jumper, he could become very effective.
12. Utah Jazz: Jimmer Fredette
Weight: 195 lbs.
Comparison: Stephen Curry/Deron Williams
Fredette put up huge numbers in the tournament, but he missed a lot of shots in BYU's loss to Florida.
His critics focus on his 11-of-29 shooting and ignore some good things he showed.
The experts have been telling us all year that Jimmer wouldn't be able to get his own shot off against quicker defenders, but he blew by Florida's Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker whenever he wanted to.
Then he showed the ability to finish over legitimate big men. If only someone on BYU's coaching staff could have compelled him to keep attacking, the result of that game may have been different.
The legitimate question mark on Fredette has to do with defense. I'm not sure if he can guard anyone at the next level, but that's the same thing all the experts said about Steve Nash when he entered the league.
The Jazz probably won't be able to pass on Fredette here because of the emotional connection many of their fans already have with him.
13. Phoenix Suns: Jordan Hamilton
Weight: 220 lbs.
Comparison: Kyle Korver/Martell Webster
Hamilton has been a fantastic offensive player this year, averaging 19 points and eight rebounds a game. He shot 44 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
His numbers are pretty similar to what Kyle Korver put up in college (plus they have similar builds). However, I think he might develop into a better all-around player.
14. Houston Rockets: Donatas Motiejunas
Weight: 220 lbs.
Comparison: Andrea Bargnani/Kevin Durant
His game is a lot like Bargnani's, and his toothpick-ish arms and legs are reminiscent of Kevin Durant (when he was a freshman at Texas).
He needs to get a lot stronger and needs to develop every part of his game, but he could become a decent big man.
15. Indiana Pacers: Kawhi Leonard
Weight: 225 lbs.
Comparison: Shawn Marion
Kawhi Leonard is anything but polished on offense, but his athleticism, intensity and defensive prowess could get him drafted in the lottery.
Plus, he's an elite rebounder for a 6'7" player (he averaged nearly 11 a game this year).
If he plays with a great distributor like Marion did for much of his career, he could put up some solid numbers.
He can be a great backup small forward to Danny Granger as Mike Dunleavy comes off the books this offseason.
16. Philadelphia 76ers: Kenneth Faried
Weight: 225 lbs.
Comparison: Paul Millsap/Louis Amundson
He may be undersized, but he has everything else that a great rebounder needs (work ethic, wingspan, explosiveness).
He led the nation in rebounding at nearly 15 a game (after averaging 13 in each of the last two years).
He should follow the example of Paul Millsap and work hard on every aspect of his offensive game.
With Elton Brand aging rapidly, Philadelphia would be wise to select Faried. He has the potential to become an elite defender and rebounder, and would be a nice addition to the 76ers' young core.
17. New York Knicks: Markieff Morris
Weight: 245 lbs.
Comparison: Carlos Boozer/Al Harrington
Markieff Morris is a great rebounder and defender, and was a huge part of Kansas' great season. He averaged almost 14 points and just over eight rebounds a game.
Plus, he shot 42 percent from three-point range.
The Knicks are in desperate need of a defensive-minded center, and that's exactly what Markieff is. Plus, his ability to knock down 19-foot jumpers will help him fit in Mike D'Antoni's system.
18. Washington Wizards: Nikola Mirotic
Weight: 226 lbs.
Comparison: Linas Kleiza/Andrea Bargnani
It seems like people are looking for the next Dirk Nowitzki every year. Unfortunately, that has led to a lot of Nikoloz Tskitishvilis.
That's sort of the best-case/worst-case for Mirotic.
If he does pan out, he'd be a great addition to a young core of John Wall, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford and JaVale McGee.
19. Charlotte Bobcats: Tobias Harris
Weight: 226 lbs.
Comparison: James Johnson
Harris does just about everything well, but nothing really well.
He could very well be drafted in the first round, but may have a hard time finding his way onto the court during his rookie season.
Charlotte does need to fill the hole left by the Gerald Wallace trade, and Harris may be able to develop into that kind of player.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Klay Thompson
Weight: 202 lbs.
Comparison: Martell Webster/Marco Bellinelli
Thompson needs to add some strength and improve his ball-handling, but he does have some very important foundational skills in place.
Most importantly, this guy can really shoot. In his three years at Washington State, he's averaged 18 points a game while shooting 39 percent from three-point range. And he's shown he can hit from NBArange.
A lot of experts think he may sneak into the lottery. If he falls this far, he'd be a solid pick for theTimberwolves.
21. Portland Trail Blazers: Trey Thompkins
Weight: 245 lbs.
Comparison: Al Harrington/Channing Frye
The Blazers need to add size, and Thompkins' offensive tools would be nice to have behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby. He can play inside and out, and has NBA range on his jump shot.
The team needs depth and defense inside, and he's already a decent rebounder and shot-blocker.
22. Denver Nuggets: Lucas Nogueira
Weight: 218 lbs.
Comparison: Tyson Chandler
To call Nogueira raw would be an understatement. He has a special set of natural tools, but has a ton of room to improve on his skills.
His length (7'6" wingspan) and athleticism could help him become an impact player on defense within his first few years in the league.
23. Houston Rockets: Reggie Jackson
Weight: 208 lbs.
Comparison: Jrue Holiday
The Rockets will likely address their need inside with their first pick of the draft. They may look to add some depth behind Kyle Lowry with this pick.
Jackson is an extremely long (7'0" wingspan) and athletic point guard who can score from all over the floor.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him take Goran Dragic's role as Houston's backup point guard within his first couple months in the league.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Singleton
Weight: 225 lbs.
Comparison: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Singleton could become a great perimeter defender at the next level. He's very long and athletic and could give some of the league's small forwards a few headaches.
His offensive game needs a lot of work, but his defense could help him be an impact player early.
The Thunder are pretty much set at every position, but they could use a more reliable backup small forward to relieve Kevin Durant.
25. Boston Celtics: Tyler Honeycutt
Weight: 188 lbs.
Comparison: Josh Childress/Landry Fields
In terms of numbers, Honeycutt's season at UCLA has been very similar to Chandler Parsons' at Florida.
He rebounds and passes well, but is never terribly aggressive as a scorer.
His game is a bit like fellow Pac-10 guy Fields, while his physical tools are similar to Childress'.
The Celtics are slowly transitioning into their post-"Big Three" era. A young core of Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Honeycutt could help them remain competitive as their stars fade away.
26. Dallas Mavericks: JaJuan Johnson
Weight: 221 lbs.
Comparison: Amar'e Stoudemire/Hakim Warrick
Purdue got knocked out in its second game of the tourney, but you can't blame Johnson. He scored 41 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in those two contests.
He had a great season at Purdue, and his solid all-around game could help him stay in the league for a while.
He's shown great athleticism and a decent midrange game all year. In a best-case scenario, he could develop into a player like Stoudemire. Or, he could be a career backup like Hakim Warrick.
The Mavericks need a solid backup big man who can relieve Dirk Nowitzki.
27. New Jersey Nets: Kyle Singler
Weight: 230 lbs.
Comparison: Mike Dunleavy/Grant Hill
Singler came back to Duke this year to win a second national championship. He didn't, and he may have hurt his draft stock in the process.
Pretty much across the board, his stats dipped a bit, and he didn't look nearly as consistent this year as he has in the past.
Rest assured, I didn't compare him to Dunleavy just because they're both white and played at Duke.
They actually have very similar bodies and numbers. Krzyzewski recruits players to fit his system and these two had the same role.
The biggest hole in New Jersey's lineup right now is at small forward. Singler is a mature player that could thrive playing with a distributing point guard like Deron Williams.
28. Chicago Bulls: Nolan Smith
Weight: 185 lbs.
Comparison: Kyle Lowry/Devin Harris
Nolan Smith had a fantastic senior season. He averaged career highs with about 21 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.
He played point guard for most of this season, but has a skill set that may be more suited for shooting guard.
He could be a perfect fit for the Bulls, who have two picks at the end of the first round.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Charles Jenkins
Weight: 220 lbs.
Comparison: Kyle Lowry/Stephen Jackson
Jenkins was a fantastic scorer this year. He averaged 22.6 points a game while shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.
His position and body are a bit like Lowry's (only wider), but he plays fairly low to the ground like Jackson.
He's extremely tough and could play differently in the league than just about any other guard.
Following San Antonio's early playoff exit, the team could be in store for some changes. They need to get younger, especially in the backcourt. Jenkins can help them there.
30. Chicago Bulls: Justin Harper
Weight: 225 lbs.
Comparison: Channing Frye
Harper has a great outside game for a big man but still needs a ton of work on his rebounding, defense and low-post skills.
On the year, he averaged 18 points and seven rebounds a game while shooting 53 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range.
His outside shooting could help him be a role player for the Bulls as early as his rookie year.
As he learns the game from a veteran like Carlos Boozer over the next couple seasons, he could become a great player.
Second Round: 31-40
31. Miami Heat
Josh Selby (6'2" PG, Kansas)
After struggling as a freshman, Selby would be best served returning to school for at least one more year. His raw talent will still get him drafted.
32. Cleveland Cavaliers
Travis Leslie (6'4" SG, Georgia)
33. Detroit Pistons
Darius Morris (6'4" PG, Michigan)
34. Washington Wizards
Jereme Richmond (6'7" SF, Illinois)
35. Sacramento Kings
Davis Betrans (6'10" SF/PF, Latvia)
36. New Jersey Nets
Jon Leuer (6'10" PF/C, Wisconsin)
Chandler Parsons (6'9" SF, Florida)
To me, this is one of the most underrated prospects of this class. He could become a great point forward.
38. Houston Rockets
Malcolm Lee (6'5" PG, UCLA)
39. Charlotte Bobcats
Norris Cole (6'1" PG, Cleveland State)
40. Milwaukee Bucks
Nikola Vucevic (6'10" PF/C, USC)
Second Round: 41-50
Shelvin Mack (6'3" PG, Butler)
42. Indiana Pacers
Ben Hansbrough (6'3" PG, Notre Dame)
Hansbrough is a perfect fit in Indiana. They need a backup point guard and uniting with his brother would cause some buzz.
Keith Benson (6'11 C, Oakland)
Benson seems like a perfect fit here. They need size and defense, and he provides those things in addition to outside shooting.
44. Chicago Bulls
Demetri McCamey (6'3" PG, Illinois)
Bojan Bogdanovic (6'7" SF, Serbia)
46. Los Angeles Lakers
Jordan Williams (6'10" C, Maryland)
47. Los Angeles Clippers
Marshon Brooks (6'5" SG, Providence)
48. Atlanta Hawks
Cory Joseph (6'3" PG, Texas)
Scotty Hopson (6'7" SG/SF, Tennessee)
50. Philadelphia 76ers
Jeremy Tyler (6'11" C/PF, United States)
Tyler is on a strange path into the NBA after forgoing his senior year of high school to play professionally overseas.
Second Round: 51-60
Isaiah Thomas (5'9" SG/PG, Washington)
52. Denver Nuggets
E'Twaun Moore (6'4" SG, Purdue)
53. Orlando Magic
Tomislav Zubcic (6'11" PF, Croatia)
54. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jimmy Butler (6'7" SF, Marquette)
55. Boston Celtics
Augusto Lima (6'10" PF, Brazil)
56. Los Angeles Lakers
Jamie Skeen (6'9" PF/SF, Virginia Commonwealth)
Skeen took himself from complete unknown to legitimate draft prospect during his team's run through March Madness
57. Dallas Mavericks
Robin Benzing (6'11" PF/SF, Germany)
58. Los Angeles Lakers
Iman Shumpert (6'5" PG, Georgia Tech)
59. San Antonio Spurs
Matthew Bryan-Amaning (6'10" PF, Washington)
60. Sacramento Kings
Jacob Pullen (6'0" SG/PG, Kansas State)