1. Cleveland Cavaliers from Los Angeles Clippers Kyrie Irving PG Duke Cleveland has major leverage and flexibility now that they won the NBA Draft Lottery. Not only do the Cavaliers have the #1 overall pick, but they also pick 4th overall. Cleveland has the option of taking Irving and one and Jan Veesly or Kawhi Leonard at #4. Their other option is to draft Derrick Williams #1 overall and Kemba Walker at #4.
I said back in March that the NBA would fix the lottery in Cleveland’s favor. I also said the Cavaliers would win the lottery with the Clippers pick and went one step further by saying the Cavaliers would pick 1 and 2 in the 2011 NBA Draft. Last year I said the NBA would rig the lottery with the Wizards getting the top pick in 2010 so their front office would ship Gilbert Arenas out of Washington. Except for the Cavs picking 1 and 2 I was dead on about the #1 pick for the 2nd year running. For 2012 I’m thinking the Nets will pick #1 overall in 2012 winning the lottery since they will be playing in Brooklyn in 2012-2013.
Kyrie Irving is like a John Wall point guard with durability concerns that Greg Oden had at Ohio State while Williams is a Kevin Durant type superstar who can change the fortunes of your franchise. Irving can be the best player in this draft if he stays healthy, but I’d feel a lot safer just drafting Derrick Williams considering the fact that he can change a franchise plus you can get Kemba Walker or Brandon Knight at #4.
If I were the Cavaliers GM I would take Williams at #1 because I believe he is a complete franchise player and because Kemba Walker can be just as good as Kyrie Irving and you can get Walker at #4. Kyrie Irving can be that complete point guard also, but he has durability issues and got injured at Duke this season. Arizona knocked off Duke in the NCAA Mens tournament which is another reason I like Williams over Irving.
Plus if you take Kyrie Irving at #1 overall you have to draft Jan Veesly of the Czech Republic or Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State at #4 overall.
The media is set on Irving being the #1 overall pick so Irving probably will go to Cleveland, but I think the Cavaliers would be making a grave mistake by taking an injury prone Irving who suffered an injury at Duke when they could get Derrick Williams at #1 and Kemba Walker at #4 who could be just as good of a point guard as Irving if not better. A majority of NBA executives believe Irving is going to Cleveland.
I want to see what happens with the 2011 NBA Combine so I’ll have another update next week after the 2011 NBA Combine.
Nick Gilbert was shaking hands with Kyrie Irving after the Cavaliers won the lottery. I’m not locking Irving in as the #1 pick yet because I believe Derrick Williams can challenge him for that top spot, but Irving has to be the frontrunner to go to Cleveland right now.
Regardless of what Cleveland does with this pick, their sports teams are heading in the right direction. Charlie Sheen created a golden age in Cleveland Sports when his catchphrase Duh Winning went viral.
Derrick Williams SF Arizona Maybe Cleveland will realize how right I am and make the smart decision by taking Derrick Williams.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves Derrick Williams PF Arizona Minnesota takes the best available player here. Some reports about the Timberwolves shipping Michael Beasley and drafting Williams are already beginning to surface. I have to believe Minnesota will take Derrick Williams if Irving is the top pick.
Williams is a franchise player like a Kevin Durant. Minnesota is getting a huge reward if the Cavaliers pass on Williams to take Kyrie Irving. Williams can be a shooting forward and he plays that secondary position at power forward because he has the size and versatility to be a power forward.
Minnesota can move power forward Kevin Love to his secondary position at center if they draft Derrick Williams as a power forward while keeping Michael Beasley at small forward. You add shooting guard Wesley Johnson and a point guard and you got yourself a playoff team with a starting 5.
Kyrie Irving PG Duke Minnesota will take Irving at #2 overall if the Cavaliers decide to pass on Kyrie Irving.
3. Utah Jazz from New Jersey Nets Enes Kanter C Kentucky Enes Kanter was the Kentucky big man who got kicked off the team for being payed to play overseas in Turkey. I should say Kanter went to Turkey, but he technically did go to Kentucky.
Kanter is mainly a power forward, but he has the versatility and size to play center as a secondary position.
The Jazz have depth everywhere except center and point guard. Once the Jazz add depth in their lineup they will be back in contention.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers Kawhi Leonard SF San Diego State The Cavaliers really like Kawhi Leonard so I could see the Cavaliers reaching for him at #4. Leonard has the size and versatility to move to power forward if necessary, but his main position is at shooting forward.
Jan Vesely PF Czech Republic Jan Vesely was projected to go #4 overall in every mock draft before the lottery. Maybe the Cavaliers take him at #4 overall if they want Irving at #1 overall.
Kemba Walker PG Connecticut If the Cavaliers take Derrick Williams at #1 overall there is a very good chance that the Cavaliers take Kemba Walker at #4 overall.
Jonas Valanciunas PF Lithuania The Cavs GM mentioned Jonas Valanciunas on the Herd with Colin Cowherd along with Vesely, Williams, and Irving so Valanciunas is an option for Cleveland at #4. Valanciunas can play power forward or center. This class is weak at center so maybe the Cavaliers get a player with the versatility of Valanciunas.
Donatas Motiejunas SF Lithuania Motiejunas is a 7 foot small forward with the size and versatility to move to power forward.
5. Toronto Raptors Kemba Walker PG Connecticut Toronto had the worst 3 point shooting percentage in the league only shooting 31.6 percent from downtown. DeMar DeRozan is only making 9.6 percent of his shots from 3 point range. DeRozan, Toronto’s best player is one dimensional. Toronto needs to get someone who can convert from long range to open up opportunities for the Raptors offense.
Walker’s long range ability to hit 3 pointers will open up chances for DeRozan from mid range leading to easy layups for Andrea Bargnani from short range.
Its going to come down to Walker and Vesely, but Walker is the 4th best player in this draft after Irving, Williams, and Kanter along with being a top 5 pick while Vesely could be a top 5 pick and is graded out as the 7th best player.
Walker may move to shooting guard which is his secondary position if he doesn’t work out as a point guard.
Jan Vesely PF Czech Republic Vesely is a top notch power forward who could go as high as #4 and fall all the way to #8. If Toronto wants a power forward I have to believe Vesely is the pick here.
Tristan Thompson PF Texas Jay Bilas has Thompson graded higher than Vesely. This would be a huge reach on Toronto’s end if they passed on Vesely to draft Tristan Thompson, but it certainly would not surprise me to see the Raptors taking one of the Texas forwards. The Raptors are more likely to take Tristan Thompson since their set with Derozan as their small forward. Derozan can play small forward or shooting guard as as secondary position.
Jordan Hamilton SF Texas Maybe Toronto does something dumb like draft Jordan Hamilton. I doubt that is a real possibility, but teams reach for players plus Kevin Durant went to Texas.
Bismack Biyombo PF Congo Biyombo is 6 foot 9 and can play center as a secondary position, but is better suited as a power forward because he lacks the size of a center even though he could have the versatility to play center.
Jonas Valanciunas PF Lithuania Toronto will want a power forward who can also play center because Bargnani is a center who is a better fit at power forward. Getting that second power forward who can play center as a secondary position is key for the Toronto Raptors.
Donatas Motiejunas SF Lithuania Motiejunas can play small foward as a primary position, but can also play power forward as a secondary position. Motiejunas has the size and versatility to be a power foward even though he is considered a shooting forward at small forward.
Trade Down The Raptors have multiple needs and only have 1 pick in the top 5 in the entire draft. I doubt the Raptors will trade this pick, but the Raptors have a multitude of needs to address so they may want to try to trade down this pick if none of the options entice them at #5.
6. Washington Wizards Jan Vesely PF Czech Republic Vesely was locked into Washington with the 4th overall pick before the NBA Lottery started in nearly every mock draft I read. That’s not changing if Vesely falls to #6. Washington should end up with one of the Texas forwards in Thompson or Hamilton if Vesely goes in the top 5.
Tristan Thompson PF Texas Thompson is projected as the 6th best available player in some NBA Draft Boards plus he fills a need.
Jordan Hamilton SF Texas Washington may like Hamilton better than Thompson.
7. Sacramento Kings Brandon Knight PG Kentucky Brandon Knight is a borderline top 5 prospect who will likely be a top 10 pick.
I think Calipari should jump ship like Pete Carroll and go to Sacramento as an NBA coach. If Calipari did commit recruiting violations at Kentucky he may as well get out of it. Then Calipari can convince the King’s owners to relocate to Kentucky where he can build an evil empire of college recruiting at the NBA level.
There is no proof that Calipari committed recruiting violations at Kentucky, but he has a history of committing recruiting violations. He broke recruiting violations at Memphis when recruiting Derrick Rose and DeMar DeRozan.
In all seriousness the Sacramento Kings will draft Brandon Knight at #7 unless the Kemba Walker falls all the way down to #7.
Kemba Walker PG Connecticut If Kemba Walker falls to #7 he is going to be the pick for the Sacramento Kings.
8. Detroit Pistons Bismack Biyombo PF Congo Biyombo and Detroit seems like a match made in heaven plus the Pistons need some size inside to compliment Greg Monroe. Biyombo is a good pick here.
9. Charlotte Bobcats Tristan Thompson PF Texas Thompson could go as high as #6 overall plus this is great value for a team desperately seeking a starting power forward a starting center, and depth everywhere else. The Bobcats have to take the best available player and that’s Thompson at this point.
Jordan Hamilton SF Texas If the Bobcats want to address small forward at #9.
Alec Burks SG Colorado Burks is a top 10 talent, but he may not be as good as either Texas forward.
Jonas Valanciuas PF Lithuania Valanciunas has the size and versatility to play power forward or center.
Donatas Motiejunas SF Lithuania Motiejunas has the size and versatility of a power forward, but his primary position is small forward.
10. Milwaukee Bucks Jordan Hamilton SF Texas Jordan Hamilton is the best player available. Milwaukee has to take him if he falls this far.
Kawhi Leonard SF San Diego State Leonard may be an option for Milwaukee at #10 if the Cavaliers pass on Leonard at #4.
11. Golden State Warriors Alec Burks SG Colorado Golden State adds depth at shooting guard by taking the best available player. Burks is the only top 10 talent left at this point.
Jimmer Fredette SG BYU Fredette can play point guard or shooting guard. He mainly plays shooting guard, but can move to point. Fredette and Curry could hit 3 pointers all day in Golden State.
Jonas Valanciunas PF Lithuania Valanciunas is a really good prospect. The Warriors may take him if he is still available at #11.
Donatas Motiejunas SF Lithuania Motiejunas mainly plays small forward, but he is 7 foot. Motiejunas has the size and versatility to move to power forward.
12. Utah Jazz Jimmer Fredette PG BYU Fredette can be used as a backup who eventually becomes the Utah Jazz starter at point guard or shooting guard. The Jazz have nothing behind Devin Harris for depth at point guard so Fredette would be the Jazz backup at point guard.
Trade Down If Fredette is gone the Jazz will trade the 12th pick.
13. Phoenix Suns Jonas Valanciunas PF Lithuania Valanciunas can play power forward or center. Phoenix takes the best available player for depth on the roster.
Trade Down This is the only pick the Suns have in the entire draft. Lottery picks have higher value than most picks so the Suns may move down if they want to address multiple needs. Washington and Chicago both have the luxury of moving up to get this pick.
14. Houston Rockets Donatas Motiejunas SF Lithuania The Rockets need a small forward. Motiejunas is 7 foot and has the size and versatility to move to power forward down the road if necessary.
15. Indiana Pacers Marcus Morris PF Kansas The Indiana Pacers have to draft a power forward and Marcus Morris is the best player available at this point.
Markieff Morris PF Kansas Markieff Morris is the other Morris twin. He brings good size and physical ability while stroking mid range shots. The Pacers may like Markieff better than Marcus Morris, but I’m leaning towards giving Marcus Morris to the Pacers.
16. Philadelphia 76ers Markieff Morris PF Kansas The 76ers will take the best available player for depth. I’m guessing they will go with a big man for defense since they took guards during the last 2 NBA Drafts.
Kenneth Faried PF Morehead State Faired is a quality rebounder who can crash boards on offense. The 76ers may consider him at this point.
17. New York Knicks Kenneth Faried PF Morehead State The Knicks need either a power forward or a center. If they draft a power forward Amare can move to his secondary position at center. Faired is the best available player that fills a major need. Faired would gain some team chemistry by going to a team like the Knicks.
Lucas Nogueira C Brazil The 7 foot center from Brazil is a good option for the Knicks if they want Amare to remain a power forward.
18. Washington Wizards from Atlanta Hawks Tobias Harris SF Tennessee Tobias Harris is the best player available and could be a lottery pick. There are multiple small forwards left at this point and it will really come down to which small forward Washington likes best. Putting Harris in a starting lineup with Wall and Vesely would be very effective in the nations capital.
Tyler Honeycutt SF UCLA Tyler Honeycutt is a player with an outside shot of being a lottery pick. He’s a bit of a project at this point. Honeycutt may have tremendous upside and potential, but seems like a project player at this point.
Chris Singleton SF Florida State Singleton is the best defensive small forward available.
19. Charlotte Bobcats from New Orleans Hornets via Portland Trailblazers Tyler Honeycutt SF UCLA Charlotte can wait to start someone. They just need depth on offense.
Chris Singleton SF Florida State The Bobcats may try to add a defensive player with this pick.
Tobias Harris SF Tennessee Harris will be the pick if Singleton is gone at #18.
20. Minnesota Timberwolves from Memphis Grizzlies via Utah Jazz Lucas Nogueira C Brazil Minnesota has to take Nogueria if he falls this far. Otherwise the Timberwolves will trade this pick or take the best player available.
Trade Down The Timberwolves have no second round pick so trading this pick for a future pick in 2012 or trading down is a realistic option for Minnesota. Chicago has 2 late first round picks, the Lakers have 4 second round picks, teams with that kind of flexibility have the luxury of moving up on draft day.
21. Portland Trailblazers Reggie Jackson PG Boston College Jackson can play point guard and shooting guard as a secondary position. Jackson provides an outside threat from long range.
22. Denver Nuggets Klay Thompson SG Washington State Denver will need a shooting guard for depth with size. That’s exactly what Klay Thompson provides.
23. Houston Rockets from Phoenix Suns via Orlando Magic Nikola Mirotic PF Montenegro The Rockets draft the best player available with this draft pick.
24. Oklahoma City Thunder Trey Thompkins PF Georgia Oklahoma City gets their long term starter at power forward.
Chris Singleton SF Florida State Singleton can provide depth and a defensive presence when Durant is on the bench.
Kyle Singler SF Duke Singler is an option if Oklahoma City is looking for backup behind Kevin Durant.
25. Boston Celtics Chris Singleton SF Florida State Singleton could go as high as #18 to Washington, but I get the feeling he will fall if teams are drafting by need. Boston will be in perfect position to obtain Singleton.
Darius Morris PG Michigan Darius Morris is a top 25 talent so the Celtics may not hesitate to draft him if he falls this far.
Kyle Singler SF Duke The Celtics may like Singler better than Singleton plus Boston may not be in a position to draft Singleton.
26. Dallas Mavericks Kyle Singler SF Duke The Mavericks need a starting small forward with upcoming free agents at small forward.
Nolan Smith SG Duke Dallas could use a shooting guard, but they can find one in round 2.
Darius Morris PG Michigan Morris could be a successor to Jason Kidd, but they have Barea so I doubt the Mavericks go Morris here.
27. New Jersey Nets from Los Angeles Lakers Darius Morris PG Michigan The Nets can draft Morris as a 6th man for their lineup. Plus the value of Darius Morris is way too good to pass up on at this point.
28. Chicago Bulls from Miami Heat Nolan Smith SG Duke Smith mainly plays shooting guard, but can also play point guard or small forward. Very versatile player. The only thing the Bulls need is a starting shooting guard.
The Bulls have depth at power and small forward with Rose and Noah two first round picks who are the core of the Chicago Bulls. Chicago needs that shooting guard and Nolan Smith provides amazing versatility.
The Bulls could mortgage their entire draft move up for Alec Burks or Jimmer Fredette and I would not criticize Chicago, but the Bulls should probably draft smart by getting Nolan Smith and depth behind Noah and Rose with their 3 draft picks.
29. San Antonio Spurs JaJuan Johnson PF Purdue San Antonio has their center of the future with Blair. Now they get their power forward of the future in JaJuan Johnson.
30. Chicago Bulls Jordan Williams C Maryland Williams can play center or power forward. He is primarily a power forward, but Williams can move to center and provide some depth behind Joakim Noah.
31. Miami Heat from Minnesota Timberwolves Shelvin Mack PG Butler Shelvin Mack is exactly the kind of point guard that the Miami Heat could target in round 2 of the 2011 NBA Draft.
32. Cleveland Cavaliers Marshawn Brooks SG Providence Cleveland needs depth at shooting guard behind Daniel Gibson. Brooks can start out as a backup behind Gibson and work his way into a starting role in Cleveland.
33. Detroit Pistons from Toronto Raptors Jereme Richmond SF Illinois The Pistons need a small forward and Richmond is a premium 6 foot 7 small forward with great size for a small forward. Detroit should roll the dice and take a chance on the raw project with great upside and potential.
34. Washington Wizards Keith Benson C Oakland Benson had 15 points and 11 rebounds against a battle tested Texas Longhorns team in the NCAA Tournament. Benson is worth taking a flyer on if your the Washington Wizards in round 2.
35. Sacramento Kings Justin Harper PF Richmond The Kings need a power forward and a small forward. The Kings need a power forward like Justin Harper with this pick.
36. New Jersey Nets Davis Bertans PF Latvia Bertains can play power forward and has the versatility to play small forward as a secondary position.
37. Los Angeles Clippers from Detroit Pistons Josh Selby PG Kansas The Clippers build their team around Blake Griffin with a starting point guard.
38. Houston Rockets from Los Angeles Clippers Jeremy Tyler PF USA The Rockets get a project power forward in round 2 in case their first round pick does not pan out.
39. Charlotte Bobcats Andrew Goudelock PG Charleston Goudelock can be an effective 3 point shooter. Plus the Bobcats need depth at point guard.
40. Milwaukee Bucks Jon Leur PF Wisconsin The Bucks take a hometown prospect who fits a need at power forward.
41. Los Angeles Lakers from Golden State Warriors via New Jersey Nets Ben Hansbrough PG Notre Dame Hansbrough can play point guard or shooting guard as a secondary position plus something tells me the Lakers really like Hansbrough.
The Lakers have depth everywhere except point guard behind Derek Fisher.
42. Indiana Pacers Chris Wright SF Dayton Wright is a hometown prospect who would make a nice fit for the Indiana Pacers.
43. Golden State Warriors from Phoenix Suns Iman Shumpert PG Georgia Tech Shumpert is a point guard at 6 foot 5 who can also play shooting guard. The Warriors will take the best available college player and at this point that’s Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech.
44. Chicago Bulls from Utah Jazz Norris Cole PG Cleveland State The Chicago Bulls get some depth at point guard behind Derrick Rose.
45. New Orleans Hornets from Philadelphia 76ers Charles Jenkins SG Hofstra New Orleans could use a shooting guard like Jenkins for depth who may even start down the road.
46. Los Angeles Lakers from New York Knicks Bojan Bogdanovic SF Croatia Bogdanovic can play shooting guard or small forward. The Lakers don’t have to rush him into the lineup and can develop him at a rapid rate. With the depth and flexibility the Lakers have, the Los Angeles Lakers can wait on Bogdanovic hoping they get another international superstar like Pau Gasol who can be a big time player on offense.
47. Los Angeles Clippers from Houston Rockets David Lighty SF Ohio State Lighty played small forward at Ohio State, but is better suited as a shooting guard.
48. Atlanta Hawks Travis Leslie SG Georgia The Hawks get some depth at shooting guard.
49. Memphis Grizzlies Greg Smith C Fresno State Smith mainly plays power forward, but he can move to center. With Marc Gasol projected to be a free agent Greg Smith will make that transition in Memphis.
50. Philadelphia 76ers from New Orleans Hornets Jimmy Butler SF Marquette Jimmy Butler is the best player available and that will be the player the 76ers take.
51. Portland Trailblazers Nikola Vucevic PF USC The Blazers need a power forward for depth and Vuvevic is the best player available.
52. Detroit Pistons from Denver Nuggets DeAndre Liggins SG Kentucky Liggins can play shooting guard and has the versatility to play small forward as a secondary position.
53. Orlando Magic Chandler Parsons SF Florida The Magic really like Chandler Parsons plus he is a hometown player. Parsons would blend in nicely in Orlando as a reserve player.
54. Cleveland Cavaliers from Oklahoma City Thunder via Miami Heat Rick Jackson PF Syracuse Jackson is a 6 foot 9 power forward and I have him going to Cavalier with the 54th pick in this draft.
55. Boston Celtics Malcolm Lee SG UCLA Lee is mainly a shooting guard, but he can also play point guard. Lee would be an effective successor behind Ray Allen down the road.
56. Los Angeles Lakers Scotty Hopson SG Tennessee Hopson is mainly a shooting guard who is 6 foot 7. He has the size to play small forward, but is he versatile enough to make that transition. The Lakers continue to take the best player available at this point.
The Lakers only primary need is getting depth at point guard then they can focus on taking the best available player. With 4 second round picks they can mortgage their draft to get Michigan’s Darius Morris, but if Morris doesn’t works out and neither Shannon Brown who is a free agent after this year or Matt Barnes ends up as a successor to Kobe, the Lakers are right back in rebuilding mode where they end up with lottery picks until they turn their team around. The Lakers have the luxury of mortgaging their draft to get a point guard in round 1, but they would be better off adding youth to their team in round 2 for the new coach in Los Angeles.
This pick is the 3rd of the Lakers 4 picks. The Lakers final pick is at #58. Dallas is now on the clock.
57. Dallas Mavericks Jamie Skeen PF Virginia Commonwealth Skeen was part of the VCU team that took the College Basketball world by storm in 2011 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament during March Madness. Once April struck VCU lost to Butler in the Final 4. Butler had an amazing tournament run knocking off tournament favorite Kansas. Skeen was the leader of the unselfish VCU team that came together to make the final 4.
Dallas needs a power forward to groom for the future behind Nowitzki in case Tyson Chandler leaves. Even if Chanlder returns he is not a long term player. Skeen has high character and has a chance to be a round 2 steal.
58. Los Angeles Lakers from Miami Heat Malcolm Thomas PF San Diego State Thomas may be better suited as a small forward, but played power forward at San Diego State. This is a good pick for the Lakers to take in round 2.
59. San Antonio Spurs E Twaun Moore SG Purdue The Spurs add some depth at shooting guard behind Ginobili.
60. Sacramento Kings from Chicago Bulls via Milwaukee Bucks Gary Flowers SF Southern Miss Sacramento finally gets the last player they need to complete their starting 5.