June 23, 2011

2011 NBA mock draft

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

This should be one of the zaniest NBA drafts in a long time. There’s a lot of uncertainty flying around and that should make for a lot of interesting plotlines. There should be quite a few trades – involving picks, players and even some stars – thanks to the coming lockout. You also have two teams picking twice in the lottery and other teams with multiple first rounders. That’s always good for a few trades to see teams move up or down as desired.

So what will happen? Well, here’s my best guess, excluding potential trades.

1. Cleveland – Kyrie Irving
He’s nearly the consensus No.1 and the Cavs would love to build around him. The Duke PG also makes more sense than taking Derrick Williams and hoping the Jazz pass on Brandon Knight.
2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams
He’s the only other sure thing in this draft and the Timberwolves can’t afford to blow this pick.
3. Utah – Brandon Knight
The rest of this draft hinges on this pick – Knight over Enes Kanter. Things could be drastically different if the Jazz pass on the big PG who could evolve into a new Deron Williams.
4. Cleveland – Enes Kanter
Not much is known about the big man for Turkey who hasn’t played in a year, but he’s the best centre in the draft.
5. Toronto – Kawhi Leonard
The Raptors absolutely need defence and Leonard has far more offensive upside than Bismack Biyombo with equal defensive abilities.
6. Washington – Jan Vesely
He’s big, athletic and should fit nicely onto John Wall’s wing. The Wizards are apparently very high on him.
7. Sacramento – Kemba Walker
Can work without the ball and play decent defence. Would be a nice complement to Tyreke Evans.
8. Detroit – Bismack Biyombo
He could be the next Ben Wallace, or he could be a Darko-level bust. I actually see him being a fouling machine.
9. Charlotte – Tristan Thompson
He could go as high as No. 4 in the right scenario, but either way this is the highest a Canadian has ever been drafted.
10. Milwaukee – Jonas Valancuinas
The Bucks will have to wait a year to get the Lithuanian big man, but he’ll be worth it.
11. Golden State – Marcus Morris
They certainly don’t need any guards unless they deal Monta Ellis and rebounding should be a priority for them.
12. Utah – Klay Thompson
There’ll be a lot of pressure to take Jimmer, but I really can’t see it happening after drafting Knight. Look for a trade back.
13. Phoenix – Jimmer Fredette
Fredette falls to perhaps his best possible location – learning from Steve Nash. The comparisons have been made and this will give Jimmer the best chance to live up to them.

As for the rest, well I don’t even expect to nail the lottery teams so there’s no telling what’s going to go on with the teams that were good enough to make the playoffs. My one prediction is that the Spurs will take somebody who’s international and the Bulls will deal away either the 28th or 30th pick.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki and tell me how terrible my picks were.

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