2011 NBA Mock Draft

The NBA draft, otherwise known as basketball's consolation prize, is coming soon! It's time to take a look at the top prospects in this year's draft and make a mock of who I would select if I were in the shoes of each NBA GM. Every team has several different voices in the room and makes its own executive decision so predicting their thought process strikes me as a pointless exercise; but it is certainly interesting to make picks for them!

This draft has been widely panned as the worst since 2000 but that is actually not doing it justice. There are no franchise changing headliners like Derrick Rose, John Wall, or Blake Griffin in this group but there are several borderline All Stars at the top of the draft and, even better, there are at least five less scouted prospects who could develop into superstars if they are drafted by capable, patient teams. Also, beyond that, this draft has the deepest group of fifth starters and key bench contributors of any in recent years; it is not inconceivable that we could see more than twenty useful rotation players come out of this draft.

The Mock:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving, PG
    Cleveland needs a safe pick and a franchise leading point guard to build around. Irving is perfect for those needs and now the Cavaliers can begin to move on from King James.
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: EnesKanter, PF/C
    Kanter would be a nice fit at the five spot next to Kevin Love and can also get minutes at the four to produce more varied lineups. Beasley-Love-Kanter is an impressive front line that is more than a collection of names; their complimentary skills could produce great chemistry and a future contender.
  3. Utah Jazz: Derrick Williams, F
    Williams is a great fit as a hybrid 3-4 and an efficient scorer for a Utah offense that lacks versatility and non-guard playmaking.
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jan Vesely, PF/C
    Vesely is not the sexiest pick to casual fans but basketball enthusiasts know he is a special player: he is an elite European big man with special athleticism and a hard-nosed attitude. He is also nearly seven feet tall and would be a great fit at the five next to J.J. Hickson. The Irving-Hickson-Vesely trio is not a championship group but it could be the foundation of something special. After all, unless owner Dan Gilbert pulls the trigger too fast, the team will be terrible next year as well and get a top pick in a loaded draft, which will add the final special piece that they need to contend again the future.
  5. Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard, SF
    The Raptors are an interesting team that needs a versatile player at the small forward spot; Leonard will fill the role nicely. He is quite possibly the safest pick in this draft.

  6. Kyrie Irving
    Guard Kyrie Irving (1) of the Duke Blue Devils dribbles during the Duke Blue Devils game versus the Arizona Wildcats in their Sweet Sixteen game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

  7. Washington Wizards: Marshon Brooks, SG
    Brooks is a serious upside pick but he will rise into the lottery during workouts and I think that, if he goes to the right team with a strong culture (like the Wizards under new owner Ted Leonsis) he could be the one true superstar to come out of this draft. He has great height, size, and elite athleticism at the two guard spot and a freakish 7-2 wingspan that will help him become an aggressive and elite defender who can also finish on offensive transitions. Even more importantly, he produced at an incredibly high rate at Providence and, when you watch him in clips, his game reminds you of a young Kobe Bryant. He would be a perfect option next to John Wall in the developing Wizards backcourt.
  8. Sacramento Kings: Brandon Knight, PG
    Knight is an elite guard talent coached by John Calipari. He will be a nice fit next to Tyreke Evans and add a winning attitude to a questionable locker room.
  9. Detroit Pistons: Tristan Thompson, PF
    Thompson is the type of talented athlete and capable blue collar rebounder that the Pistons need at the four next to Greg Monroe.
  10. Charlotte Bobcats: Chris Singleton, G/F
    Singleton reminds me of a more coachable young Stephen Jackson. He is also a truly special defender already and could become a great foundational player for the Bobcats along with developing D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson. That group won't win any scoring awards but they could be the best defensive 1-2-3 in the NBA for ten years.
  11. Milwaukee Bucks: Alec Burks, SG
    The Bucks need a two guard terribly and the athletic, slashing, smooth Burks is the perfect fit. It will also allow them to move Salmons back to the three, which could result in a quick turnaround next season.
  12. Golden State Warriors:Klay Thompson, SG
    Selecting Thompson would give the Warriors a true 2 guard next to Stephen Curry and the best shooting backcourt in the NBA. It would also allow them to trade Monta Ellis for an impact player at the 3 or 5 spot, which could help get this franchise moving in the right direction.
  13. Utah Jazz:JimmerFredette, PG
    Fredette is not the most talented player here but he is loved in Utah. Sometimes you got to make a pick for your fans and the Jazz fans will flock to see Jimmer play. Not to mention he is a true winner and I think he can become a capable sixth man, which means he is a good pick here regardless of fan pressure.
  14. Phoenix Suns: Josh Selby, PG
    Selby is an elite talent at the point and, while he is immature and has a raw game, he could learn from Steve Nash and become the next great Suns point guard. From my point of view, this pick is a no brainer.

  15. Houston Rockets: Reggie Jackson, PG
    Jackson has everything you look for in an elite NBA point guard: measurables, passing, aggression, and coachability. Was Lowry a one year aberration? Hard to say but Jackson will give the Rockets great flexibility with Lowry in their search for a true impact player they can acquire via trade.
  16. Indiana Pacers:Kemba Walker, PG
    The Pacers need a great young winner who can be a backcourt sixth man. That spells Kemba Walker. The combination of Walker and a couple good free agent adds could make the Pacers a future contender in the East.
  17. Philadelphia 76ers: Jonas Valenciunas, PF
    Valenciunas is a top six talent in this draft but he will fall due to low exposure and serious contractual issues in Europe. But he is a perfect fit for the Sixers as they wait patiently for Elton Brand's deal to expire and develop their young core.
  18. New York Knicks: Malcolm Lee, PG
    Knicks fans will hope for Selby-and rightly so-but Lee is a special talent in his own right. Coached correctly, he could be the next great point guard in New York.

    Washington Wizards: Jordan Hamilton, SF
    Hamilton has his foibles but he will be a great scorer at the three in the NBA if he is placed in the right environment. Developing behind the professional Rashard Lewis and next to John Wall and Marshon Brooks, he could be an integral part of a dangerous new Wizards team.

  19. Charlotte Bobcats:BismackBiyombo, PF
    Biyombo is a risk worth taking here. He looks like a hybrid of Ben Wallace and Serge Ibaka. That is especially true for the Bobcats; with him and Singleton they would have a top three defense in the league for many, many years.
  20. Minnesota Timberwolves: Markieff Morris, C
    Morris would be a great option to create the optimal 4-5 rotation for the Wolves since there are no great 2 guards left in the draft. Morris, Kanter, Love, and Tolliver is a very interesting group.

  21. Markieff Morris
    Kansas Jayhawks forward Markieff Morris (21) blocks out during a free throw attempt during the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. The Oklahoma State Cowboys led the Kansas Jayhawks 41-35 at the half at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

  22. Portland Trailblazers:DonatasMontiejunas, PF
    Montiejunas would be a great weapon for the Blazers to add and he will be great trade bait as Portland spends all of next season trying desperately to trade for Chris Paul.
  23. Denver Nuggets: Marcus Morris, F
    Morris is the type of selfless, skilled, hybrid forward that can help this team continue to develop.
  24. Houston Rockets: Lucas Noguiera, C
    This would be an unexpected pick but Noguiera has great upside and could be the long term solution at center for the post-Yao Ming Rockets.
  25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Honeycutt, SF
    Honeycutt is a talented do all player to come out of Ben Howland's system, which tends to add up to NBA success. He would be great add to the Thunder's core.
  26. Boston Celtics: Kenneth Faried, PF
    Faried is the best rebounder in the draft and fits an important need for Boston as a tough gritty four.
  27. Dallas Mavericks: Davis Bertans, F
    Bertans is an elite talent who is totally unproven. But he looks a bit like Dirk and who better for him to learn from than the great German himself?
  28. New Jersey Nets: Nikola Mirotic, F
    Mirotic is a top ten talent but, like Valenciunas, won't be in the US soon. But, he is a great future asset for New Jersey.
  29. Chicago Bulls: Darius Morris, PG
    Morris is a very underrated sleeper at point guard. He is not a top fifteen starter in the NBA like some scouts are suggesting because he has no elite skills and lacks lateral quickness. But, he will be a very capable backup and spot starter and fill a critical need for the Bulls.
  30. San Antonio Spurs: Jordan Williams, C
    Williams is a tough, tall five who will be a great fit for the Spurs.
  31. Chicago Bulls: Travis Leslie, SG
    Leslie is an upside pick here. He does not fit an exact need for the Bulls but his athleticism is off the charts and, if he can be coached and taught how to improve his shooting, could be a special 2 guard in the future.

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