2011 NBA Mock Draft (With Explanations)
1. Cleveland - Kyrie Irving (6'2'', PG, Duke, Fresh.)
It appears at this point that Cleveland has decided on their man. Irving lacks the freak athleticism and upside of John Wall or Derrick Rose, but he is a steady floor general who can put the ball in the bucket. Cleveland needs pretty much everything, and a franchise point guard is a good start to long rebuild. Compares to: Mike Conley.
2. Minnesota - Derrick Williams (6'9'', SF, Arizona, Soph.)
Only Minnesota can get themselves in a situation where they have no need for either top level pick in this draft. For a team that was so bad a year ago, they seem to be set at a lot of positions. I think Minnesota would love to move this pick and grab a good starting center, but even if they keep the pick, it should be Williams. There are two players in this draft head and shoulder above the rest, and Minnesota will not pass on the one that falls to them. Compares to: Michael Beasley.
3. Utah - Enes Kanter (6'11'', C, Turkey)
The prevailing wisdom has had Utah in love with Knight from the get go. That said, he supposedly looked like he was just coasting in his workout with The Jazz. Kanter was said to really gel well with the Utah staff at his workout, and the ability to take him and then possibly get The Jimmer at #12 will just be too tough for Utah to pass up. They need to appease their fans, and drafting Jimmer will get that done in spades. Utah has a lot of big men, but none are really lighting the world on fire. Adding Kanter to the mix makes Utah a real player in the trade market. Compares to: Al Horford.
4. Cleveland - Jonas Valanciunas (6'10'', C, Lithuania)
With Valanciunas' buyout still an issue only a day out from the draft, I think the Cavs would rather take Enes Kanter here. Unfortunately for them, I have Kanter going to Utah at pick #3. This presents a problem for Cleveland. Do they take the player they like best and risk him possibly not coming to the NBA for a couple years or do they take someone they consider to be a lesser prospect? I think they will take the big seven footer and hope his buyout issues can be cleared up. European scouts rave about Jonas Valanciunas, and the allure of locking up their future at both point guard and center will be too much for Cleveland to pass up on. Compares to: Tyson Chandler.
5. Toronto - Brandon Knight (6'3'', PG, Kentucky, Fresh.)
This certainly worked out well for the Raptors. By most accounts, Knight is the top prospect on their draft board, though a week or so ago it looked pretty unlikely he would be there for them to pick at #5. Toronto needs a point guard and a scorer in the worst way, Knight brings both north of the border. This is a slam dunk pick for a team in desperate need of one. Compares to: Devin Harris.
6. Washington - Jan Vesely (6'11'', SF, Czech Republic)
Washington has been high on the athletic European combo forward from the start. They would prefer Kanter here, but they will be more than happy to add Vesely to their good, young core (Wall and McGee). Vesely has all the tool to be an excellent wing player on both sides of the ball. He just needs to put it together and continue to grow as a player. Compares to: Andrei Kirilenko.
7. Sacramento - Kawhi Leonard (6'7'', SF, San Diego State, Soph.)
Leonard, Kemba Walker, and The Jimmer are all in play here with this pick. While the Maloof's may be tempted to take The Jimmer to make the fans happy, I think they ultimately go with Leonard here. It is no secret that Sacramento needs a small forward, and Leonard is the kind of small forward they need. He is a worker, who will defend and does not need the ball a lot. Which is good, because Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins both will need the ball a lot to be effective. Look for Sacramento to take Leonard here and look to add a point guard in the early second round. Compares to: Shawn Marion.
8. Detroit - Kemba Walker (6'0'', PG, UConn, Jr.)
The Pistons were likely not expecting to see Kemba fall to them here, but they will almost certainly grab him if he does. Detroit needs consistent point guard play and scoring, so Kemba is a natural fit. He can come right in and play a Jeson Terry like 6th Man role, while being groomed to replace Stuckey sooner or later. Grabbing a big to play next to Monroe is also a possibility here, but no bigs left on the board will likely cause Detroit to pass on Walker. Compares to: Jason Terry.
9. Charlotte - Bismack Biyombo (6'9'', PF, Congo)
Charlotte has a lot of needs, and a center who can defend is right at the top of the list. Biyombo is a wild card in this draft, but his size, motor, and shot blocking ability will be very intriguing for pretty much every team from here on out. Charlotte is solid in the backcourt, but their frontcourt needs a lot of help. Biyombo would be an excellent start. Compares to: Serge Ibaka.
10. Milwaukee - Marcus Morris (6'9'', PF, Kansas, Jr.)
Morris is a very skilled forward who can score in a multitude of ways. His style appears to fit very nicely along side Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings. Milwaukee is tough to gauge here because they need pretty much everything except a center and point guard, but Morris seems like a solid fit. Alec Burks, Klay Thompson, and Tristan Thompson will all likely be in play here as well. Compares to: Darrell Arthur.
11. Golden State - Klay Thompson (6'6'', SG, Washington State, Jr.)
To me this pick only makes sense if Monta Ellis is on the move, but that is a real possibility and we all know Golden State likes to collect guards anyways. Thompson's stock is really on the rise right now and Golden State has taken notice. They are said to be incredibly high on him. With Thompson and Stephen Curry, it could be raining three pointers for a good long time for the Warriors. Compares to: Reggie Miller.
12. Utah - Jimmer Fredette (6'2'', PG, BYU, Sr.)
Utah passed on Knight for Kanter with the #3 pick and it pays off for them. The Jimmer is a bigger star in Utah than anyone playing on the Jazz right now and he would sell tickets by the truckload. Utah, like Cleveland, would get their point guard and center of the future in this draft and could then move Devin Harris along with one of their glut of bigs for a wing scorer. Compares to: Mark Price.
13. Phoenix - Alec Burks (6'6'', SG, Colorado, Soph.)
Not only is Burks the best player available here, but with Vince Carter being bought out, he fills a pressing need. Alec Burks is a top 8 player in this draft and will look very good playing next to Steve Nash, if The Suns keep him around. Compares to: Brandon Roy.
14. Houston - Chris Singleton (6'8'', SF, Florida State, Jr.)
The trade of Shane Battier has left a need for a wing defender in Houston. Enter Chris Singleton, the only lockdown wing defender in this draft. Compares to: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
15. Indiana - Marshon Brooks (6'5'', SG, Providence, Sr.)
Most people have Indiana taking a power forward, but that will likely be dealt with in free agency. Marshon Brooks is the kind of scorer that every good team needs coming off their bench. Adding Brooks and a free agent power forward like David West could catapult Indiana into Eastern Conference contention. Compares to: Jamal Crawford.
16. Philadelphia - Tristan Thompson (6'9'', PF, Texas, Fresh.)
A lot of mocks have Tristan Thompson going in the lottery, and that is very possible. If he slides though, Philly would be ecstatic to take him at #16. It is no secret that Philly is a good young team in need of inside help. Thompson can provide that on both ends of the floor. Compares to: Paul Milsap.
17. New York - Darius Morris (6'4'', PG, Michigan, Soph.)
New York is looking for it's point guard of the future. Darius Morris is a skilled guy who could do wonders learning under Chancey Billups. The Knicks worked him out twice and supposedly really liked what they saw. Compares to: Andre Miller.
18. Washington - Markieff Morris (6'9'', PF, Kansas, Jr.)
Morris is simply too good to pass up here at #19. You can never have too many talented big men. Compares to: Drew Gooden.
19. Charlotte - Jordan Hamilton (6'7'', SF, Texas, Soph.)
Charlotte improved their defense by taking Bismack Biyombo with the #9 pick, ow they look to ass offense at #19 by taking Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton is one of the best one on one scorers in this entire draft. If he can clean up his shot selection, he can become a nice NBA scorer. Compares to: (Oddly enough) Stephen Jackson.
20. Minnesota - Iman Shumpert (6'5'', PG, Georgia Tech, Jr.)
Shumpert has all the measurables to be a great NBA player. If his game every catches up to his size and skills, watch out. Minnesota is a good fit as they need shooting guard help, and in my opinion, Shumpert projects to be more of a Ginobili-like ball dominate shooting guard than a point guard in the NBA. He should compliment Ricky Rubio nicely. Compares to: Javaris Crittenton.
21. Portland - Donatas Motiejunas (7'0'', PF, Lithuania)
Motiejunas is by no means a perfect fit in Portland, but he is simply too talented of a prospect to fall any further than this. Maybe someone trades up here to grab him, or maybe Portland takes him themselves, either way he is great value at #21. It was not so long ago that Motiejunas was considered a front runner to go #1 in this draft. That is the kind of talent he has, and if his work ethic every matches the talent, he could be an all star. Compares to: Andrea Bargnani.
22. Denver - Tobias Harris (6'8'', SF, Tennessee, Fresh.)
Harris to Denver has been rumored for a while now, and it makes a lot of sense. Denver needs a small forward and Harris' game would fit in nicely with what George Karl is trying to do in Denver. Compares to: Jared Dudley.
23. Houston - Nikola Vucevic (7'0'', C, USC, Jr.)
With all the uncertainty around Yao Ming, Houston needs to look to other options at center going forward. Vucevic is a skilled 7 footer who would step in and fill that need. The only question is if he will last until the 23rd pick. Compares to: Mehmet Okur.
24. Oklahoma City - Reggie Jackson (6'3'', SG, Boston College, Jr.)
It was thought for a while now that Reggie Jackson had a promise from Boston at #25, but it is now looking more likely that the promise has come from Oklahoma City. They are shopping Eric Maynor currently and adding Jackson is likely the reason why. Compares to: George Hill.
25. Boston - Justin Harper (6'10'', PF, Richmond, Sr.)
Boston needs to get a lot younger in the frontcourt. Harper is a talented big who could play power forward or center in the NBA. Compares to: LaMarcus Aldridge.
26. Dallas - Davis Bertans (6'10'', SF, Latvia)
Dallas has a lot of depth and not a lot of holes to fill. They roll the dice here on the best shooting prospect since Dirk and let him learn from Dirk. Bertans is a long term prospect, but his upside is lotto level. Compares to: Mike Dunleavy.
27. New Jersey - Tyler Honeycutt (6'8'', SF, UCLA, Soph.)
New Jersey is not trying to win right now, so it makes sense that they grab a high upside talent like Honeycutt. If he pans out, he can be a very good scorer on the wing someday. Compares to: Rasual Butler.
28. Chicago - Kenneth Faried (6'8'', PF, Morehead State, Sr.)
Chicago gets some insurance in case free agent Taj Gibson gets overpaid and leaves. Faried is a bit like a 6'7'' Joakim Noah, in that he plays hard and does the dirty work, but is not a big scorer. Compares to: Dejuan Blair.
29. San Antonio - Jeremy Tyler (6'10'', C, USA)
Pure upside pick here. San Antonio scouts outside of America better than anyone, so they no doubt have done their homework on Jeremy Tyler. He has lottery talent, but Derrick Coleman's brain. If any team can fix him, it is San Antonio. Compares to: Marcus Haislip.
30. Chicago - Travis Leslie (6'4'', SG, Georgia, Jr.)
Chicago needs help at shooting guard. Leslie is a talented kid with big time upside. He has yet to put his game together, but if he does, watch out. Compares to: (Poor man's) Dwyane Wade.
31. Miami - JaJuan Johnson (6'10'', PF, Purdue, Sr.)
32. Cleveland - Malcolm Lee (6'5'', SG, UCLA, Jr.)
33. Detroit - Trey Thompkins (6'9'', PF, Georgia, Jr.)
34. Washington - Josh Selby (6'2'', SG, Kansas, Fresh.)
35. New Jersey - Nolan Smith (6'3'', PG, Duke, Sr.)
36. Sacramento - Norris Cole (6'2'', PG, Cleveland State, Sr.)
37. LA Clippers - Kyle Singler (6'9'', SF, Duke, Sr.)
38. Houston - Cory Joseph (6'3'', PG, Texas, Fresh.)
39. Charlotte - Keith Benson (6'11'', C, Oakland, Sr.)
40. Milwaukee - Jimmy Butler (6'7'', SF, Marquette, Sr.)
41. LA Lakers - Nikola Mirotic (6'10'', PF, Montenegro)
42. Indiana - Jordan Williams (6'10'', C, Maryland, Soph.)
43. Chicago - Charles Jenkins (6'3'', SG, Hofstra, Sr.)
44. Golden State - Jon Leuer (6'10'', PF, Wisconsin, Sr.)
45. New Orleans - Scottie Hopson (6'7'', SF, Tennessee, Jr.)
46. LA Lakers - Andrew Goudelock (6'3'', PG, College of Charleston, Sr.)
47. LA Clippers - Jereme Richmond (6'7'', SF, Illinois, Fresh.)
48. Atlanta - Greg Smith (6'10'', C, Fresno State, Soph.)
49. Memphis - DeAndre Liggins (6'6'', SG, Kentucky, Jr.)
50. Philadelphia - Chandler Parsons (6'8'', SF, Florida, Sr.)
51. Portland - Shelvin Mack (6'2'', PG, Butler, Jr.)
52. Detroit - Bojan Bogdanovic (6'7'', SF, Croatia)
53. Orlando - Diante Garrett (6'4'', PG, Iowa State, Sr.)
54. Cleveland - Justin Holiday (6'6'', SF, Washington, Sr.)
55. Boston - Jamie Skeen (6'9'', PF, VCU, Sr.)
56. LA Lakers - Julyan Stone (6'7'', PG, UTEP, Sr.)
57. Dallas - Michael Dunigan (6'10'', C, USA)
58. LA Lakers - Malcolm Thomas (6'9'', PF, San Diego State, Sr.)
59. San Antonio - Isaiah Thomas (5'10'', PG, Washington, Jr.)
60. Sacramento - E'Twaun Moore (6'4'', SG, Purdue, Sr.)