The NBA draft is about 24 hours away and we once again find ourselves trying to figure out how the chips will fall. In typical NBA fashion, this seems to be a year where many trades will be made leading up to and during the draft. With some much uncertainty after the top two and a looming labor dispute, teams may look to shed some contracts.
Once we get past Irving and Williams, the draft is wide open and could go in just about any direction. Cleveland seems to be staying put at the top and 4th spot. San Antonio has been dangling Tony Parker in hopes of cracking the lottery, however, everything seems to hinge on the Minnesota Timberwolves in the #2 spot. Do they select Williams and deal him to the Suns for Steve Nash or do they keep him and pair him with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love forming one of the more exciting young trios in the NBA?
The Boston Celtics, as with most teams outside of the top eight, will basically look to take the best player available at their spot in the draft. Ideally, the Celtics could use some length in the front court, but again anything that late in this year’s draft is just a crap shoot.
The consensus has the Celtics taking either center Nikola Vuceic or forward Jeremy Tyler. Vuceic is limited defensively, but adds size to the front court and Tyler potentially had top ten talent had he not dropped out of high school and attempted to play pro ball overseas.
Now onto the mock:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2011 1st round selection: Kyrie Irving G, Duke
The logical top choice capable of stepping in and contributing right away. Injuries were a factor, but the talent is there and ready to make the leap to the NBA level. A trade would really have to blow the Cav’s away for them not to make this selection.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
2011 1st round selection: Derrick Williams SF Arizona
This is where things get interesting. Williams is a combo/tweener forward. Minnesota is in shambles and could look to deal Williams or take the Bill Bellichick route and trade down a few spots collecting a bevy of picks along the way.
3. Utah Jazz
2011 1st round selection: Brandon Knight G, Kentucky
Jimmer Ferdette makes sense here if selling tickets was the prime objective. Brandon Knight fills the void left by Deron Williams. Look for Sacremento to make a play.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
2011 1st round selection: Enes Kanter PF-C, Turkey
Time to take the best prospect available and Kanter fits that mold perfectly. Kanter is viewed by some as a Darkoish workout warrior type.
5. Toronto Raptors
2011 1st round selection: Jan Vesely F, Czech Republic
The Raptors sure do like the foreign players and will look for Vesely to play the combo spot capable of scoring down low. Kemba Walker has been trending here, but I am not sure his game translates into being a top 5 pick.
6. Washington Wizards
2011 1st round selection: Jonas Valanciunas C, Lithuania
At only 19, Valanciunas is a huge raw prospect. The potential is there for him to form a nice inside-out combination with John Wall for years to come.
7. Sacramento Kings
2011 1st round selection: Kawhi Leonard SF, San Diego State
One of the better all around games coming out of college, Leonard was a double-double machine. Leonard’s success in the NBA will hinge on how well he can transition from the 4 to the 3.
8. Detroit Pistons
2011 1st round selection: Kemba Walker PG, Connecticut
Kemba is a born leader with unquestioned explosiveness to the hoop. Lacking ideal size will be an issue playing defense in the NBA.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
2011 1st round selection: Alec Burks SG, Colorado
Burks is one of the better 2-guards in the draft and would be a steal for Michael Jordan at the 9 spot.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
2011 1st round selection:Bismack Biyombo PF, Congo
Other than having an awesome name and tons of athletic ability, Biyombo remains a mystery.
11. Golden State Warriors
2011 1st round selection:Marcus Morris PF, Kansas
The better of the Morris brother is yet another tweener forward. Morris is a proven scorer, but needs to work on his rebounding in order to make a smooth transition to the NBA.
12. Utah Jazz
2011 1st round selection: Klay Thompson SG, Washington State
Arguably the best shooter in the class, off the court issues whilst in college could scare some teams away.
13. Phoenix Suns
2011 1st round selection:Tristen Thompson PF, Texas
Lacks ideal size, but a 7-2 wing span and overall aggressiveness makes him a nice defensive prospect.
14. Houston Rockets
2011 1st round selection: Jimmer Fredette G, BYU
There is no question that Jimmer can score, it’s what Jimmer does when he doesn’t have the ball that makes him a liability.
15. Indiana Pacers
2011 1st round selection:Jordan Hamilton SF, Texas
Hamilton can flat out score and could be a nice pick should he fall to the Pacers.
16. Philadelphia 76ers
2011 1st round selection: Chris Singleton SF, Florida State
Does just about everything good, but nothing great. Could be a steal if he can put it all together. Aggressiveness on the defensive end will justify the pick.
17. New York Knicks
2011 1st round selection: Donatas Motiejunas PF, Lithuania
Has the body to be an NBA center. The Knicks need help in the front court and could take the gamble on arguably the best Euro prospect to enter the draft in recent years.
18. Washington Wizards
2011 1st round selection: MarShon Brooks SG, Providence
Has the intangibles to be a great two guard, needs to work on shot selection and move to a more team first mentality. Skills are there, the rest could come with good coaching.
19. Charlotte Bobcats
2011 1st round selection:Markieff Morris SF, Kansas
He is not his brother, but his rebounding ability make him a decent selection for the Bobcats.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves
2011 1st round selection:Tyler Honeycutt SF UCLA
Above average jumper and passing ability. Stock could continue to fall due to injury concerns.
21. Portland Trailblazers
2011 1st round selection: Darius Morris PG, Michigan
A playmaking point guard with decent size that could step in and contribute right away.
22. Denver Nuggets
2011 1st round selection: Shelvin Mack G, Butler
Capable of scoring in bunches from either guard spot. Has shown the ability to make the big play.
23. Houston Rockets
2011 1st round selection: Kyle Singler SF, Duke
Not as athletic as you would hope, Singler makes up for it with a high basketball IQ and a smooth mid-range jumper. Could be a nice addition in the right half court system.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
2011 1st round selection: Nikola Vucevic C, USC
Decent scorer and rebounder, could turn into a serviceable NBA big with improved strength and lateral quickness.
25. Boston Celtics
2011 1st round selection: Jeremy Tyler F, Tokyo Apache
A one time lottery pick will be selected based solely on potential. The decision to forgo his senior season of high school and a questionable work ethic could see him fall to the Celtics. The C’s veteran leadership could be just what Tyler needs to get his basketball career back on track.
26. Dallas Mavericks
2011 1st round selection: Josh Shelby G, Kansas
Did not quite live up to the pre-college hype during his freshman year. Will need to work to prove that his subpar performance was more system related.
27. New Jersey Nets
2011 1st round selection: Trey Thompkins PF, Georgia
Thompkins did not impress scouts with his lackluster off-season conditioning. Ability may be too much to pass up at this point in the draft.
28. Chicago Bulls
2011 1st round selection: Kenneth Faried PF, Morehead State
A Dennis Rodman type with hustle and defensive ability. Will need to work in an offensive game.
29. San Antonio Spurs
2011 1st round selection: JaJuan Johnson PF, Purdue
Can run the court well for a big man, lack of overall strength will impede his development.
30. Chicago Bulls
2011 1st round selection: Davis Bertans SF, Latvia
Bertans has one of the better pure shooting strokes in the draft. Could use a few more seasons overseas to grow into his 6-8 frame.