2011 NBA Mock Draft


Yes, I am in the NBA Mock Draft business. The Magic do not have a pick until No. 53, but rumors have the Magic in talks with the Trail Blazers trading Andre Miller and the No. 21 pick for Jamer Nelson. A lot can still happen obviously and more rumors are going to surface before the night is done.

It is going to be a lot of fun starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. I will be on the chat with Zach McCann over at OrlandoSentinel.com. Feel free to join and happy drafting. Here is what I see going down tonight:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Clippers): Kyrie Irving, Duke – Irving probably has the most talent of any player in the draft and is the surest thing available. This after just 11 games at Duke. A good place to start for the rebuilding Cavaliers.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Derrick Williams, Arizona – Williams is the next best player in this draft and probably has the most upside between players in the top five. I really like how he plays and could develop into a solid player. Of course you still have to figure out what position he is going to play at and whether he will have to share time with Michael Beasley (a very similar player).

3. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey): Brandon Knight, Kentucky – Knight is a scoring point guard that plays very similar to Devin Harris. But he is more of a truer point guard than Harris. It sure feels like the Jazz are preparing a major rebuilding project. Knight is a good building block to start with.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Enes Kanter, Turkey – I do not think the Cavaliers imagined they would be able to get both Irving and Kanter in this draft. Many consider Kanter the most polished and ready prospect and someone who can come in and contribute immediately. Of course, nobody knows because he has been sitting on the bench and just practicing with Kentucky for the last year. A lot of talent, just nobody knows what exactly he can do.

5. Toronto Raptors: Jan Vesely, Czech Republic – New Raptors coach Dwane Casey is looking to establish a new defensive mindset in Toronto. Rumors have him taking Bismack Biyombo, but Vesely is the better pick in my opinion. He is a lot more ready and could turn into a great perimeter defender as a three or four. Still needs to improve his offensive game, but he has a lot of athleticism.

6. Washington Wizards: Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State – Leonard is the type of glue guy you want to put on a team with John Wall. He is going to be able to run the pick and roll and do the nitty-gritty things under the basket. He is a bit undersized for a four, but could be very much a player in the Udonis Haslem mold.

7. Charlotte Bobcats (from Sacramento): Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania – Valanciunas might be the best foreign prospect in this draft. A lot of people really like this young center. But buyout issues might keep him from coming over to the NBA immediately. The Bobcats pulled the trigger on a major trade and acquired a bunch more picks. I think they can wait for their next “franchise” center.

8. Detroit Pistons: Alec Burks, Colorado – Burks is perhaps the best pure scorer in the draft. He is going to attack the basket with reckless abandon and score successfully most of the time. Still needs to improve his shooting, but a great scorer for sure.

9. Charlotte Bobcats: Kemba Walker, Connecticut – Walkers might just be too good to pass up. He has been slipping on draft boards lately because of concerns over size and fit. Eventually he takes over for D.J. Augustin and becomes this team’s point guard. He certainly has the potential to be a great player in the NBA, just those questions about his size will not go away.

10. Sacramento Kings (from Milwaukee): Jimmer Fredette, BYU – apparently the Kings made that major trade today to grab the sweet-shooting guard from BYU. He fits in nicely next to Tyreke Evans because Evans can play point, allowing Fredette to play off the ball more and work for his shot.

11. Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson, Washington State – Thompson might be a better shooter than Fredette and he seems more NBA ready than Fredette at this point. The Warriors have been high on him for a while and drafting him might signal Monta Ellis’ departure. Bismack Biyombo might also be in play here.

12. Utah Jazz: Bismack Biyombo, Congo – The Jazz’s latest rebuilding project needs a center. Biyombo is going to be a foundational defensive center and should help relieve Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, who play more naturally at power forward. A buyout provision might keep Biyombo in Spain a few years longer.

13. Phoenix Suns: Marcus Morris, Kansas – I like Morris a lot. He has decent range and does a lot of things well, but none fantastic. Finding a fit for him is difficult right now. Might be the best player available here though.

14. Houston Rockets: Tristan Thompson, Texas – Thompson is a freak athlete, but is going to have to find a position. Is he a three or a four? Can he score efficiently at this level?

15. Indiana Pacers: Chris Singleton, Florida State – Singleton is perhaps the best perimeter defender on the board. That is what this guy does. His offense needs to catch up, but he should be ready to play next year.

16. Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Hamilton, Texas – Hamilton is a versatile swing man who has the talent to succeed at the next level. But inconsistency at Texas keeps questions around. His defense is also not where it needs to be.

17. New York Knicks: Kenneth Faried, Morehead State – The Knicks need defenders and guys who will do the little things. He is much more athletic than Rony Turiaf and is a guy who could play alongside Amar’e Stoudemire. Faried is going to succeed wherever he goes, he has that big a motor.

18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta): Markieff Morris, Kansas – Morris is a slightly lesser version of his twin brother. Does a lot of little things and should help the Wizards off the bench.

19. Milwaukee Bucks (from New Orleans via Charlotte): Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania – Bucks need some help down low to help Andrew Bogut.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis): Nikola Vucevic, USC – Vucevic’s stock has risen in the last few weeks as teams like this versatile power forward. Does not quite have 3-point range, but at this point, you are drafting more on potential. Especially if you are the Wolves.

21. Portland Trail Blazers: Marshon Brooks, Providence – Brooks is a big scorer from a smaller school (still in the Big East). Portland seems to be a team that always finds a way to develop these types of players. Brooks is capable of big games, but can be inconsistent too.

22. Denver Nuggets: Tobias Harris, Tennessee – Harris is long and has great defensive potential. But he is still a bit raw and undeveloped as a basketball player. Could have used another year in college.

23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix): Josh Selby, Kansas – the Rockets have Goran Dragic as their point guard. Selby could be a guy that helps out. He was a star recruit heading to Lawrence, but injuries and suspensions slowed him down. He has the talent, now he has to put it all together.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA – Another freak athlete with long arms for the Thunder.

25. Boston Celtics: Kyle Singler, Duke – Singler helps the Celtics at power forward while also giving them someone who will stretch the floor and play hard. Pretty much do what Glen Davis did since it feels like he is going to leave in free agency.

26. Dallas Mavericks: Iman Shumpert, Georgia Tech – Shumpert is a freak athlete with a lot of upside and talent. Has a long way to go to develop. Not quite ready to help the champs, but could be a younger version of DeShawn Stevenson when he is ready.

27. New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers) : Reggie Jackson, Boston College – a solid point guard, but nothing spectacular.

28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami): Nolan Smith, Duke – Smith already has a veteran point guard mentality. He should be perfect to come in and manage games while Derrick Rose is resting. This is a late round steal.

29. San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy Tyler, Japan – Tyler was a top 10 pick before attitude problems delayed his growth overseas. Now the American is coming back humbled. That world experience should serve him well as the Spurs look for some athleticism from their big men.

30. Chicago Bulls: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue – I really like Johnson. He is a bit undersized, but works hard and plays the glass well. Defensively might still be an issue, but he is a really smart player.

53. Orlando Magic: E’Twaun Moore, Purdue – Hard to project who might be available here, but I like Moore. A bit undersized, but someone who can score and shoot. Two things the Magic always need.

Photos via DayLife.com.