Thursday, June 23, 2011
By Gary Washburn
Well, the day is here and after some arduous work and research this is the best mock draft we can come up with. But this draft is so unpredictable and bizarre with several prospects who are talented but not quite ready for the NBA. So here's my best guess and we'll talk about these picks in the coming days.
1) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Kyrie Irving, Duke 6-4, 191
There is so much mystery attached to Irving (above) because he played just 11 college games. But the upside is so tremendous and Cleveland is looking to move forward after LeBron’s abrupt departure, this helps the process.
2) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Derrick Williams, Arizona, 6-9, 248
The Timberwolves are shopping this pick, but imagine a combo of Williams at the small forward and Kevin Love at power forward. GM David Kahn has bizarre ways but he is building a team and Williams has a polished game.
3) UTAH JAZZ
Brandon Knight, Kentucky, 6-4, 177
The Jazz are also considering Enes Kanter at this position and they are in the position of sitting Knight for a year or two and playing Devin Harris. But this is a key pick that could cause a domino affect with the rest of the draft.
4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Enes Kanter, Turkey 6-11, 260
The Cavaliers are looking to move this pick for an established veteran, however, the alternative is a solid big man and legitimate center who could team with Anderson Varejao for rebounds. Yet, he is another international mystery.
5) TORONTO RAPTORS
Jan Vesely, Czech Republic 6-11, 240
This could go in many directions, especially with new coach Dwane Casey carrying a defensive philosophy. He doesn’t want another scorer who can’t defend as in Andrea Bargnani but Vesely’s athleticism is to enticing to pass up and he along with Ed Davis and Bargnani are a strong combo.
6) WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Tristian Thompson, Texas 6-9, 227
Thompson said Wednesday that wants to go to a team that runs the ball, and there is no more perfect of a place than Washington with John Wall. Thompson is a strong character guy who could eventually replace the checkered Andray Blatche.
7) SACRAMENTO KINGS
Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State, 6-7, 228
The Kings are looking to make a playoff run and put fans in the seats to support a new arena and they need a swingman with defensive prowess. He will mesh in well with the team’s younger core.
8) DETROIT PISTONS
Bismack Biyombo, Congo, 6-9, 243
A team without a coach has many options with this pick but the defensive-minded Biyombo brings his lunch pail to the Motor City and eventually takes over for Ben Wallace. But the Pistons are also looking for another swingman.
9) CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Marcus Morris, Kansas, 6-9, 230
Michael Jordan called this draft the most important in Charlotte history and the Bobcats need an established scorer who can make a splash right away. Marcus is more polished than his twin brother and will make fans forget lamenting the loss of Gerald Wallace.
10) MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Alec Burks, Colorado, 6-6, 193
Burks is a player who could blossom into a star like Paul George the year before. He is a prolific scorer and shooter and has good size. With John Salmons already there, the Bucks don’t need Burks to produce immediately.
11)GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Klay Thompson, Washington, State, 6-7, 206
Thompson proved he could score in the Pac-10 and should flourish in a fast-paced offense, but there are questions about his toughness and character. But the Warriors are a piece or two away from being really dangerous.
12) UTAH JAZZ
Chris Singleton, Florida State, 6-9, 230
Jazz pass up on Jimmer Fredette to get best defender in the draft and someone to take pressure off Al Jefferson. Singleton is long and versatile and doesn’t need the ball much. But he may have to play some center.
13) PHOENIX SUNS
Kemba Walker, Connecticut, 6-1, 184
Phoenix likes to score and an up-tempo style and Walker could become the heir apparent to Steve Nash while playing with Nash as a rookie. This is a little lower than expected for Walker but it may be the best fit.
14) HOUSTON ROCKETS
Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania, 7-0, 245
He is dropping because of a European contract that has committed him to staying with Lietuvos Rytas but he’s worth waiting a year on as a legitimate center and Kevin McHale needs bigs to succeed with the Rockets.
15) INDIANA PACERS
Jimmer Fredette, Brigham Young, 6-3, 196
Larry Bird loves Jimmer and he could be the point guard the Pacers have been seeking for years. Indiana just needs bodies and it seems stacked in the frontcourt, so Fredette is a risk but a smart one.
16) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Marshon Brooks, Providence, 6-5, 195
With Andre Iguodala being shopped, the 76ers need a new scoring guard who can develop into a standout player. Brooks put up major numbers with little fanfare in the Big East and he’s a good fit here.
17) NEW YORK KNICKS
Nikola Vucevic, USC, 7-0, 260
He is a versatile big man who can shoot from the outside and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni, who played for years in Italy, is not afraid to nab a European-born player. And he is a legitimate center.
18) WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Jordan Hamilton, Texas, 6-9, 229
The Wizards take Thompson’s teammate in this spot to fill their small forward void. Washington already has a point guard and center and Hamilton is skilled enough to become an impact player.
19) CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania, 7-0, 245
Quick. Name Charlotte’s starting center? Kwame Brown and the Bobcats can definitely use a home-grown upgrade. He can score and has NBA size, and Charlotte needs to get serious about developing a big man.
20) MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech, 6-6, 222
The Wolves need swingmen and athletes and they choose Shumpert to team in the backcourt with Ricky Rubio with Wesley Johnson at the small forward. He will find his way into the rotation.
21) PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Kenneth Faried, Morehead State, 6-8, 225
Portland has longed for the athleticism and aggressiveness of Faried and they seem set in most other positions. The Celtics would love for him to slip down the 25, but the Trail Blazers get a much-needed tough guy who doesn’t need the ball.
22) DENVER NUGGETS
Tobias Harris, Tennessee, 6-8, 223
With Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen likely gone, the Nuggets need to get younger in the paint and the inexperienced Harris likes to play defense and is coachable. He should have stayed in school but bailed when Bruce Pearl got into deep trouble in Knoxville.
23) HOUSTON ROCKETS
Reggie Jackson, Boston College, 6-3, 209
Kyle Lowry is a solid NBA point guard but he is undersized and injury prone, so Jackson comes in here to learn the position and give the Rockets some backcourt help. But he has not worked out for teams because of a knee injury.
24) OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Markeiff Morris, Kansas, 6-9, 241
The Thunder like rugged players and Morris is their type of guy. Nick Collison is 30 while Kendrick Perkins showed signs of slowing down after coming over from the Celtics. Morris is a glue player with solid shooting skills.
25) BOSTON CELTICS
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA, 6-8, 188
If he had stayed another year, Honeycutt would be a top 10 pick, and the Celtics don’t need him to produce right away, but they need a player who can grow into a star. Honeycutt makes the game look easy and he is just starting to scratch the surface.
26) DALLAS MAVERICKS
Jeremy Tyler, Italy, 6-11, 262
With Tyson Chandler as a free agent, the Mavericks invest in their future and they don’t need the inexperience Tyler to perform immediately. And Mavs owner Mark Cuban has no problem taking draft chances.
27) NEW JERSEY NETS
Justin Harper, Richmond, 6-9, 228
With their point guard and center all set, the Nets go after the talented Harper with their only first-round pick. They have to score with this one because they gave so much to Utah for Deron Williams.
28) CHICAGO BULLS
Nolan Smith, Duke, 6-4, 188
What better for Tom Thibodeau’s system than a defensive-minded two-guard? Smith has an NBA pedigree with his late father Derek and he comes from a four-year stint at Duke. He immediately becomes a rotation player.
29) SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Davis Bertans, Latvia, 6-10, 210
The Spurs are all set for one more title run but they could use another big man down the road. Bertains may stay overseas for a year or two but he will be back.
30) CHICAGO BULLS
Chandler Parsons, Florida, 6-9, 220
Parsons is polished and can shoot from the perimeter. The Bulls lacked perimeter shootings and none of their forwards are outside threats besides Luol Deng. Parsons fills a needed role.