Thursday, June 16, 2011

 Less then a week until the draft, and what do we know? We know nothing.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Los Angeles Clippers) - PG Kyrie Irving, Fr, Duke. Sure, the Cavs could maximize their two picks by taking Derrick Williams here then hoping Brandon Knight will be available at #4. But if he isn't they come out of this draft without a point guard. They can't get too cute here. They want Irving. Take him and let the chips fall after that.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves - SF/PF Derrick Williams, So, Arizona.
Since the beginning of the season, I have had the Wolves taking Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas no matter where they picked. But It is looking like Williams will be taken #2, whether it's Minnesota or another team. The Wolves were the worst team in the league last season, so we can't say they have too much at the forward positions to pass on the clear second best player in the draft. If they can't move the pick they should just take him and work some trades later on in the summer.

3. Utah Jazz (from New Jersey Nets) - PG Brandon Knight, Fr, Kentucky. Knight is starting to look like the third best player in this draft. He has great size, is strong and a smart kid. Devin Harris is what he is at this point in his career, a solid player who won't bring his team to the next level. Knight has a lot to learn, but Utah is the perfect place for him to land. The Jazz are collecting a lot of young talent.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - C Enes Kanter, Turkey. I can't see the Cavs passing on Kanter if he falls this far. If Kanter played a year of college ball I would unquestionably put him at #2 for the Timberwolves. Teams are just put off by the fact that they have so little game tape on the big man from Turkey. He would be an immediate upgrade over Anderson Varejao at the 5 spot for the Cavs.

5. Toronto Raptors - SF/PF Jan Vesely, Czech Republic. Raptors fans might groan at the team taking another Euro here, but Vesely is no Andrea Bargnani. He is a high flyer that many call the European Blake Griffin. He is more of an athlete then basketball player at this point, but can play defense and dunk the basketball. The question for the Raptors is what to do with all their power forwards. Vesely, Bargnani and Ed Davis. A couple players will be playing out of position.

6. Washington Wizards - PF/C Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania.
I think Valanciunas will be the best of the four foreign big men (not counting Kanter). He's not a 7 foot three point shooter. He can bang down low and should grow into a healthy 7 foot. The Wizards would probably like to replace Andray Blatche with someone tougher. I've read conflicting reports about a nasty buyout, but I still don't think he falls out of the top ten.

7. Sacramento Kings - SF Kawhi Leonard, So, San Diego St. You would think Kemba Walker would be an obvious choice here. I don't think he will be a good fit next to Tyreke Evans. Plus the Kings plan on resigning Marcus Thornton and starting him with Evans in the back court. Walker is a tough forward tweener that reminds some of Gerald Wallace, who was actually a King way back when. With soft big men DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson, the toughest player on this team would actually be a small forward.

8. Detroit Pistons - PG Kemba Walker, Jr, Connecticut. I think the Pistons go "best player available" here as they look to replace the poison on the roster with some young blood. Walker is the best of the remaining players. Detroit could then move troubled guard Rodney Stuckey to shooting guard or just choose not to resign him.

9. Charlotte Bobcats - SF/PF Marcus Morris, Jr, Kansas.
I have had Morris here for months. The Bobcats have always taken the productive college star over the young stud. New Bobcats GM Rich Cho came from Oklahoma City before his breif stop in Portland. He will want to build the Bobcats like the Thunder were put together. Unfortunately for him there is no Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or James Harden available here. Morris has a low ceiling, but is a good offensive player who can play both forward positions.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - SG Alec Burks, So, Colorado. The Bucks were dead last in the NBA in scoring last year. They will look to add a player who can put the ball in the basket. Alec Burks, Klay Thompson and darkhorse Jordan Hamilton could all be in play here. I will go with Burks because I think he is the best of the three.

11. Golden St. Warriors - SF Chris Singleton, Jr, Florida St. Eveyone seems to think the Warriors will go shooting guard here. Klay Thompson will make sense in this mock and is available. But I think Dorrell Wright can switch to the 2. Maybe one day the Warriors will decide they will like to play some defense. Singleton may be the best perimiter defender in this draft.

12. Utah Jazz - SG Klay Thompson, Jr, Washington St. The Jazz could go big here, but they already have Derrick Favors to develop (yeah, I forgot he was on the Jazz too) so they could go with a guy who could help them right away. Thompson has good size for a shooting guard and can really stroke it from deep. He would be an instant upgrade over Raja Bell.

13. Phoenix Suns - PF Tristan Thompson, Fr, Texas. I hear almost every team likes Thompson, so he should sneak into the lottery. Thomas is a bit undersized but can play defense and rebound, something the Suns need desperately.

14. Houston Rockets - PG/SG Jimmer Fredette, Sr, BYU. I really have no idea where Fredette will go. He could go as high as #7 to the Kings. I have him holding up the rear of the lottery. The Rockets are deep everywhere, but have the minutes for Fredette to step in and chuck it for about 20 minutes a game.

15. Indiana Pacers - SF Jordan Hamilton, So, Texas.
The Pacers could use depth along the front court but I think Hamilton offers more value here. He is one of a few players with the potential to score 20 points per game one day. He is nowhere near ready, but the Pacers are pretty deep and can afford to develop him.

16. Philadelphia 76ers - PF Bismack Biyombo, Congo. I just cannot put Biyombo any higher then this. He has been compared to Ben Wallace and Joel Anthony, probably the two worst offensive big men in the league. It's a nice way of saying he has no offense to speak of. The Sixers are desperately looking to add toughness in the front court. Biyombo will tear down some boards and swat some shots into the front row. Good enough.

17. New York Knicks - SG Marshon Brooks, Sr, Providence. The Knicks are looking for some star power here. Very few players fit that bill here. Brooks scoring ability should translate to the next level. He will provide a nice contrast to the extremely overrated and mediocre Landry Fields.

18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta Hawks) - C Nikola Vucevic, Jr, USC. The Wizards just break the heart of every playoff team picking in the 20's that want a legit 7 foot backup big man. Amazingly, Vucevic is the only player listed at 7 foot in this entire draft, meaning he will be a first round pick by default.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans Hornets) - PF Donatas Motiejunas, Lithuania. Motiejunas has really struggled in workouts showing any type of strength and toughness. That shows that he is likely a big time project. The Bobcats plan on doing some losing before they win so they can afford to try to develop here. The upside at this point of the draft is huge.

20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies) - PG/SG Josh Selby, Fr, Kansas. The Wolves are still in "talent collecting" mode, and no one offers more talent at this point in the draft then Selby. He could use some good coaching to unlock that potential, and unfortunatey Minnesota probably will not offer it.

21. Portland Trail Blazers - PF Kenneth Faried, Sr, Morehead St. Faried probably has more deficiencies in his game then any other player in the first round. He is too small, can't score at all and is slow. But he has a relentless motor and can grab a rebound or two or ten or fifeen. Guys like DeJuan Blair and Reggie Evans have shown that there is a spot in the league for a guy like him.

22. Denver Nuggets - PF Markieff Morris, Jr, Kansas. For the first time since the Nuggets took Carmelo Anthony (other then Ty Lawson), they will look to add talent through the draft. Whoever they take here will play a big role for them next year. Morris has good size and is athletic enough to keep up with his Nuggets teammates on the break.

23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando Magic) - SF/PF Tobias Harris, Fr, Tennessee. Harris is wise beyond his freshman years, with a very good overall game. He falls this far because he is not great at anything.

24. Oklahoma City Thunder - SF Nikola Mirotic, Serbia. Mirotic is widely believed to have a promise from the Thunder to be taken here. It makes sense. The Thunder don't really have any roster spots available and could use the money for upcoming extensions. Mirotic has lottery talent but won't be coming to the states for the next few years.

25. Boston Celtics - PF Justin Harper, Sr, Richmond. The Celtics have been rumored to be looking for a stretch four here.

26. Dallas Mavericks - PF Jeremy Tyler, USA. The Mavericks are deep enough that they can afford to develop the talented big man prospect. It was not that long ago that Tyler was a top recruit before his horrible career choices.

27. New Jersey Nets (from Los Angeles Lakers) - SF Davis Bertans, Latvia. The Nets save money here for free agents.

28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami Heat) - PG Darius Morris, So, Michigan. The Bulls would probably like to upgrade the backup point guard position.

29. San Antonio Spurs - PF Jon Leuer, Sr, Wisconsin.
Leuer is the new Matt Bonner, a stretch four that is too slow to do anything else except shoot 3's.

30. Chicago Bulls - SF Tyler Honeycutt, So, UCLA. Honeycutt has a way to go but I don't think he falls out of the first round. Bruins often fare better in the NBA.

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