Blog Entry

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Posted on: April 4, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: April 5, 2011 7:11 pm
Here's an early look at the potential lottery picks in a 2011 NBA Mock Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver and Matt Moore.


With the NCAA Tournament wrapping up on Monday night, it's time to turn our attention to the upcoming 2011 NBA Draft. While many top players have still yet to declare their intentions, here's an early look at how the draft lottery could shake out. All vitals are courtesy of Matt Moore and I take turns making picks for each team that isn't headed to the NBA playoffs.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke, 19 years old, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds

When you're as desperate as Cleveland is in the wake of LeBron James's departure, reliability is the surest route to a comeback. Kyrie Irving is the risk-free pick at the top: He clearly has an NBA position, he has his head on his shoulders, he displays all the leadership qualities and intangibles to build around, and he can shoot the rock. The Cavaliers have needs everywhere but they need to walk before they can run. A reasonable best-case scenario in the short term is that Irving blossoms to carry a lesser cast to big things, a la a young Chris Paul; The worst-case is that you have a solid floor general locked in for years to come. -- BG

2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania, 18 years old, 6-11, 240 pounds

Valuncianas should not go 2 here. He just shouldn't, not with Derrick Williams and others still on this board. The problem is Williams is 3/4 combo forward. The Wolves spent multiple assets to acquire small forwards, to the point where drafting Williams or even Harrison Barnes would simply create a further logjam at the position. Considering David Kahn's comments in March about rebuilding being "over," they're not looking for that next piece. A shooting guard replacement would be ideal, but there's not a suitable fit on the board. Brandon Knight would be a slight reach, and projects better as a scoring point guard. Kemba Walker doesn't have the size. Point guard is out with Ricky Rubio notched as the franchise savior and the Wolves can't risk anything to push him away from coming over next year. Which leaves us with Valuncianas. A Euro center with great size and extreme upside. A project. Eventually the Wolves will want an upgrade over Darko Milicic and drafting Valuncianas as a project would allow for just that. Darko can mentor him! .. Please don't throw things, Wolves fans, we're trying to spin this nicely. -- MM

3. Washington Wizards -- Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina, 18 years old, 6-8, 210 pounds

The Wizards have been extremely active in overhauling their roster and they find themselves, finally, at the point where they can turn the corner and enter the upward arc of a rebuilding effort centered around point guard John Wall and promising (although sometimes perplexing) big man JaVale McGee. Barnes, a multi-dimensional scorer that can shoot, fills a huge need for a team whose offensive efficiency was third worst this season. He has the ability to play off of Wall but also create for himself, lessening the burden on Wall to be a one-man show. That was often the case this season, especially as injuries ripped apart the second half of Washington's season. Barnes has excellent size and his work ethic has drawn lots of praise, a huge plus for any young player entering a dysfunctional situation like Washington, a team that very well may have a new coach next season. -- BG

4. Toronto Raptors -- Derrick Williams, PF, Arizona, 19 years old, 6-8, 235 pounds

Bryan Colangelo can't believe his luck as Derrick Williams falls to the fourth spot here. Even with Ed Davis a promising young power forward, the Raptors go for Williams, the best overall prospect. A center with great rebounding abilities would be preferable, but there's just not one with talent to match Williams. Williams provides rebounding and scoring along with the ability to get to the line, the kind of tough attributes the Raptors desperately need. Brandon Knight and Perry Jones are other options here, but Williams allows for the Raptors to go with a big lineup of Bayless, DeRozan, Williams, Davis and Bargnani, which might cover some of Bargnani's defensive and rebounding issues. -- MM

5. Sacramento Kings – Perry Jones, PF, Baylor, 19 years old, 6-11, 220 pounds

The Maloofs are kicking themselves, wishing and praying that Williams would fall one more spot so that he could become the SoCal face of the new SoCal version of the franchise currently known as the Sacramento Kings. They pull it together and decide to swing for the moon, nabbing Perry Jones from Baylor after also giving consideration to Jan Vesely and Terrence Jones. The Kings ultimately talk themselves into Jones because his antipathy towards the paint and glass is manageable with DeMarcus Cousins in the middle and, should they relocate, they become, in effect, an expansion team. The risk and patience that Jones puts it together and reaches his potential as a long, dynamic scorer is worth it because expectations would be rock bottom in Anaheim. How will Jones play alongside Tyreke Evans? Who knows. But it's worth a shot. -- BG

6. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey Nets) -- Brandon Knight, PG, Kentucky, 18 years old, 6-3, 170 pounds

Knight serves two purposes for the rebuilding Jazz. One, he's the best talent available, a quick but not speedy point guard with something few point guards enter the league with: a jumper. Knight brings the ability to play either the 1 or 2, projecting as a combination game manager and spot-up shooter. Two, it gives the Jazz more options with their backcourt. They can move Devin Harris in trade (albeit with a remarkably lower trade value than he had months before) and start Knight at the point, or keep Harris and look to move the underwhelming combination of players at SG. Knight with Gordon Hayward is a frighteningly undersized 2-3 combo, but Millsap and Jefferson down low make a pretty decent combo to counter that. -- MM

7. Detroit Pistons -- Enes Kanter, C, Turkey, 18 years old, 6-10, 250 pounds

The Pistons were the most frustrating team to watch from afar this year, as professionalism evaporated on numerous occasions and management was unable to take the necessary steps to plot a future course with so much ownership uncertainty. Detroit really has terrible luck in this draft as they need a strong scoring two guard of the future but this year's crop is devoid of that kind of talent. While center Greg Monroe is their single best building block and it might seem strange to draft another big, Kanter is arguably the most talented player left on the board and his physical low-post nature would finally allow Detroit to move into the post-Ben Wallace era. Monroe has the mobility and passing skills to play the high pst in a solid high-low game and that could make for a nice partnership that allows the skinny Austin Daye to do his thing on the perimeter without putting the Pistons at a disadvantage on the glass, where they were a bottom five rebounding team this season. -- BG

8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Clippers) -- Terrence Jones, SF, Kentucky, 6-8, 244 pounds

The Cavs go SCREAMING to the podium to get Jones as fast as humanly possible. J.J. Hickson becomes a nice trade chip and Irving-Jones gives them an immediate 1-2 punch off the pick and roll. Get them a coach who can actually develop talent (Byron Scott ain't it) and the Cavs have something going here. Jones finishes with authority, can play wing or big, could wind up as a solid all-around power forward, or a versatile power three. Imagine Jeff Green if he wanted to rebound with inferior range. The Jeff Green invert, kind of. -- MM

9. Milwaukee Bucks -- Alec Burks, SG, Colorado, 6-6, 200 pounds

The Bucks -- the NBA's least potent offense this season -- need scoring, especially from the wings. While he might be a bit of a reach at nine, Burks would make for a dynamic backcourt pairing with Brandon Jennings, giving Milwaukee two guards that can create and attack the paint. His lack of three-point range is definitely a limiting factor but with an offensive need so glaring, beggars can't be choosers here. -- BG

10. Golden State Warriors -- Donatas Motiejunas, PF, Lithuania, 20 years old, 7-0, 215 pounds

The Warriors BADLY need to land in the top five to get a crack at Perry Jones, but since they're not, this is going to have to do. Basically, it's an Andreis Biedrins fill-in, only bigger and with better range. Montiejunas could be a Pau Gasol clone. He could be the Euro Yi. But the Warriors need size. He's there. Have we mentioned this is a shallow draft for bigs? -- MM

11. Charlotte Bobcats -- Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut, 20 years old, 6-0, 180 pounds

It's a bit too obvious to guess that Michael Jordan and company will draft the best available Tar Heel -- John Henson -- but that's definitely a possibility. If Kemba Walker slips this far, though, I'm not sure how the Bobcats pass on him, even if D.J. Augustin stepped up in a fairly big way last season. Walker's ceiling is higher than Augustin's and he has that star power swag that could help put fans in the seats in Charlotte. Really, he could be groomed to be the point guard of the future, assuming the Bobcats ever get around to having a future. -- BG

12. Utah Jazz -- Jimmer Frede ... KIDDING ... Jan Vesely, SF, Czech Republic, 20 years old, 6-11, 240 pounds

The Jazz need a bigger 3 that Gordon Hayward. They already addressed their guard situation with Brandon Knight. They have bigs, and there's no standout center available (it's a theme, you see). So what happens here? The Jazz draft insurance in case they are unable to retain Andrei Kirilenko with Vesely, who's a 6-11 SF. Long, athletic, with some upside for range shooting and great physical tools. He also tries to dunk on everyone. The Jazz need some aggression. Again, it's predictable, but not as predictable as Jimmer. That's a win. -- MM

13. Phoenix Suns -- Jimmer Fredette (NOT KIDDING), PG, BYU, 22 years old, 6-2, 195 pounds

Call me crazy but I'm not sure Jimmer drops this far. If he does, Phoenix shouldn't hesitate. If they decide to roll the dice with Steve Nash for another year, Jimmer is the ultimate spot-up shooting specialist to free up the pick-and-roll. If the Suns move Nash this summer, they will be in desperate need of Jimmer's hype factor and offensive prowess, not to mention someone that can handle the ball for a fair number of minutes. Is he likely to wind up disappointing fans in the short-term if he's the face of a Nash-less Suns team? Sure. But that team is going to be terrible anyway. -- BG

14. Houston Rockets -- Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State, 19 years old, 6-7, 225 pounds

Well, the Rockets have their point guard going forward (Lowry), a great shooting guard (Martin), and are chock full at power forward. Again, a center would do wonders here, but yet again, no reasonable options. Loading up with another tweener power forward like Marcus Morris does no good. So the Rockets take Leonard, and he's a good fit. A counter to the spot-up Chase Budinger, Leonard provides handle and explosiveness in a small forward. He's able to attack the rim and work in the paint. A good rebounder helps at the small forward since, again, the no center thing. Leonard is a bit of a reach but he and Patrick Patterson could be devastating as a one-two punch in certain situations. -- MM

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: April 7, 2011 9:40 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

If people keep mocking these guys in the top 5 there is no way they are not coming out.

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: April 7, 2011 9:39 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

If people keep mocking these guys in the top 5 there's no way they don't come out.

Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: April 7, 2011 6:15 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Dude you're funny. Danny Ainge had a pretty good career in the NBA don't ya think lol? Jimmer Fredette is better than Danny Ainge and last summer he was 1 of 10 players invited to play against the Olympic Team or FIBA Team whatever you call it and everyone of the players said that Jimmer was REALLY good! So say what you want but Jimmer is like another Steve Nash without the flashy passing. Quit hating on talent. Oh yea Steve Nash wasn't suppose to be a good pro did that work out! 
So basically what your saying is the only thing the guy can do is shoot. And shoot more than he should. Yep he's an overglorified ball hog. But he's really good at it.

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: April 7, 2011 6:03 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

scbull, I'm glad I don't think like you.  And I'm glad so many people have already called you out on your xenophobic rant.  People want to see skilled players, regardless where they are from.  Welcome to 2011!  Jingoism has really fallen out of favor since some thinly veiled racist law in Arizona passed.  Did you not get that memo?  Or did you think the El Heat and Los Suns jerseys were just for show?  I bet they blew your fragile, weak mind!

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: April 7, 2011 4:22 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

That has to be the most ignorant post I've read on this website.  I thought the next line was going to be a list of nationalities he would like to exterminate.  That just further proves that ignorance is NOT bliss.

Since: Mar 1, 2008
Posted on: April 7, 2011 12:39 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Dude you're funny. Danny Ainge had a pretty good career in the NBA don't ya think lol? Jimmer Fredette is better than Danny Ainge and last summer he was 1 of 10 players invited to play against the Olympic Team or FIBA Team whatever you call it and everyone of the players said that Jimmer was REALLY good! So say what you want but Jimmer is like another Steve Nash without the flashy passing. Quit hating on talent. Oh yea Steve Nash wasn't suppose to be a good pro did that work out! 

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: April 7, 2011 12:36 pm

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Great reply.

Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: April 7, 2011 6:28 am

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

scbull0303's post is excellent because it's so ridiculous on so many levels. Where to begin?

I am sick of pro teams picking non americans in the draft.  Do they have a passport?  Are they a citizen?

I'm pretty sure the foreign players have passports. Without them, it would be somewhat of a hassle to travel in and out of the U.S. as airports are pretty stickler about this National Security stuff these days.

Pretty soon I will want to watch basketball just as bad as the NHL which is loaded up with Russians or the MLB which is compromised mainly of Cubans.

There are only about a dozen or so Cubans currently in the majors but I'm assuming that you consider anyone from the Caribbean, or anywhere in Central and South America for that matter, to be Cuban. But as long as they have a Spanish name, I'll give you a pass on this one.
Americans want to watch people they can at least remotely relate to.  Donatas Monyjueakljnd....or whatever his name is.......I do not want on my team regardless of skill level.

Americans can relate very well to many homegrown NBA athletes because we all know what it’s like to be really tall millionaires. However, without the foreign players, the NBA would be about 99% African American as opposed to 90%, putting the league in danger of failing to reach it’s quota of having at least one token white guy on every team. And I’m not sure how teams would feel about having to replace Manu, Scola, Bogut, Nash, Pau, Dirk, Deng, Z, Hedo, Bargnani, AK47, etc. with the likes of Scal, Cardinal, Madsen, Morrison, etc. to satisfy the quota. Having Kevin Love, Birdman (to appease the white crack smoking demographic) and half of Blake Griffin only goes so far.

Start drafting people grown here rather than some giant freak whose joints are going to break down by the time he gets off the plane!

If that’s a slam against Yao, a lot of people in China and Houston are going to be very upset. P.S. Greg Oden says hi from the post-op room.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: April 7, 2011 1:40 am

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

Once NBA scouts get a chance to put Jimmer through some drills, they will soon find he is just a one hit wonder. He can shoot, end of story. Yes, he shoots very well. But he is not that quick, does not defend, and his athletic ability is very questionable. Someone will take a chance, but watch him slide to the end of the 1st round, possibly 2nd. Then the D-league or Europe. Which team is going to give him 35 shots a night for him to score 30 points? The sacrifices the other players made on Jimmer's college team were tremendous, that is over. Please Utah Jazz, don't consider him, remember your little experiement with Rafa Aruajo? BYU does not send players to the NBA.........

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: April 7, 2011 12:47 am

2011 NBA Mock Draft: Version 1.0

 I agree if things fall in place order wise, that the cavs should take Irving.  That's a no brainer there.  I have a problem if my T-wolves do get @2 and don't take Derrick Williams.  Barnes is great, but Williams can play any position.  I think that Irving and Williams are the only two can't go wrong guys in this draft.  We shall wait and see.

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