1. Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke
The Cavaliers’ front office is sending out smoke screens that they are unsure who will be the pick, but I believe they’re locked into Irving. He’s a pure point guard who has drawn some comparisons to Chris Paul. He has excellent basketball IQ and is a floor general. In a draft lacking elite talent, Irving stands out.
2. Minnesota: Derrick Williams, F, Arizona
The Timberwolves are looking to move this pick in exchange for a solid veteran. The latest rumors include Washington’s Javelle McGee and the #6 pick for the #2 pick. Another floating around is the Lakers trading Pau Gasol for Kevin Love and the #2 pick. Neither trade looks very likely. With the Timberwolves willingness to move the pick, expect a few more offers to roll in. If the team decides to keep the pick, look for Minnesota to take Williams and try to trade Michael Beasley or Anthony Randolph to bolster the backcourt.
3. Utah: Brandon Knight, PF, Kentucky
The Jazz are in an interesting position, owning a pair of lottery picks. The team brought in Knight, Kemba Walker, and Enes Kanter within the last week. All are in play at pick number three, but the real question is what direction the team wants to go. Ideally, Williams would fall to them. If that doesn’t happen, the question is what would make the most sense: drafting Kanter when team already has Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap, or nabbing a point guard to compete with Devin Harris. In the end, I think they’ll go for Knight.
4. Cleveland: Enes Kanter, C, Kentucky
Talk about things falling into place. This is the best case scenario for the Cavaliers, who add a pair of building blocks to the lineup. In five years, we might look back and say Kanter was the best player to come out of this draft; his upside is that high. But word is the Cavaliers are not sold yet on Kanter, and could pick either Jonas Valanciunas or Jan Vesely. But based on the roster, Kanter should be the pick.
5. Toronto: Jonas Valanciunas, C, Lithuania
Bryan Colangelo is notorious for scouting and ultimately drafting foreign born players, and that reputation is reinforced on draft night. Walker will also be in the discussion, but scouts are raving about the upside of Valanciunas. A physical bruiser will pair well with last year’s pick Ed Davis and add some depth in the front court. The one drawback (and it could be a big one) is Valanciunas’ buyout number from his current team. Would Colangelo draft a guy who might not come for a few years? We’ll have to see.
6. Washington: Jan Vesely, F, Czech Republic
Washington likes its front court, and has locked up the point guard position with the selection of John Wall last year. The Wizards are looking for an upgrade at SG and SF, and Vesely would fit in well. He has great size (6’11”), but can step out and hit a three. He’s got a non-stop motor and is just as good working off the ball. He’d make a lot of sense for a Wizards team that is looking to add talent.
7. Sacramento: Kemba Walker, PG, Connecticut
This is an ideal situation for the Kings, who are looking to move Tyreke Evans to the 2-guard. Walker will be a stabilizing force for a young team filled with talented, but troubled players. He’ll contribute from day one, and should fit in well within the offense.
8. Detroit: Bismack Biyombo, PF, Congo
This is my surprise pick of the lottery. Biyombo is being compared to Ben Wallace, a guy who anchored Detroit’s defense in its heyday. Biyombo will provide instant defense, rebounding and shot-blocking and will pair well with Greg Monroe.
9. Charlotte: Marcus Morris, PF, Kansas
The Bobcats are in desperate need of some size in the front court, and Michael Jordan has vowed to no longer take big risks and add pieces that can help the team now. Morris was a star at Kansas, and has a very complete game for a man of his size. He may never be a superstar, but he’ll be a solid player for a decade.
10. Milwaukee: Alec Burks, SG, Colorado
I think this pick comes down to a pair of players: Burks and Klay Thompson. Burks is a better slasher, while Thompson is a better shooter. Looking for a boost off the bench, Burks will provide instant offense and makes more sense for a team that should make a charge for the playoffs next year.
11. Golden State: Klay Thompson, SG, Washington State
All indications are that the Warriors are serious about unloaded talented guard Monta Ellis. If that really is the case, Thompson would make a lot of sense. If the team decides Ellis and Stephen Curry can coexist, look for the team to add a big man.
12. Utah: Kawhi Leonard, SF, San Diego State
Utah adds the point guard early in the round, then look to fill a position of need. Leonard has a good chance of going in the top-10, but if he falls, his descend stops here. With Andrei Kirilenko likely out the door, Leonard would fill a need, and would continue to add athleticism to a team that is starting to look like a good track squad.
13. Phoenix: Tristan Thompson, PF, Texas
The Suns would like to improve their defense and get younger in the process. Thompson helps in both areas, while adding the type of athletic game that Steve Nash seems to feed off of.
14. Houston: Nikola Vucevic, C, USC
In a desperate attempt to add size, I think the Rockets could get caught reaching for Vucevic. Standing at legitimate 7-feet, he is an instant upgrade over Chuck Hayes, who manned the middle last season despite his diminutive size (6’7”). Some scouts are very high on Vucevic’s upside, it’ll be interesting to see if some of those scouts hail from Houston.
15. Indiana: Jimmer Fredette, PG, BYU
Fredette is getting buzz as high as pick #7, and I don’t think he falls past Indiana. Fredette will add shooting off the bench immediately, and could develop into a solid point guard given some time to get accostomed to the speed of the NBA.
16. Philadelphia: Chris Singleton, F, FSU
Singelton might not be on the board this long, given his great combination of strength and athleticism. With the rumors of Andre Iguadola for Monta Ellis trade, this pick would end up making sense. If the team sours on that deal, they could add Markieff Morris instead.
17. New York: Marshon Brooks, SG, Providence
New York would love to add Fredette, so much so there is talk they’d like to move up as far as #8. If that fails, scouts say the Knicks are very high on Brooks, whose ability to score and distribute the ball would be welcomed to New York’s backcourt.
18. Washington: Jordan Hamilton, G/F, Texas
At #5 the Wizards added a big man with range to the mix, at #18 they go with a slasher who will add instant offense. Hamilton is a solid shooter, and would fit in well with John Wall.
19. Charlotte: Markieff Moriss, PF, Kansas
Would adding the Morris twins to the same team make for good publicity? Yes, and maybe that’s not a bad idea for a Bobcats team whose popularity is waning. But it would also fit a need for Charlotte’s depleted front court. If you can double-dip and win, shouldn’t you?
20. Minnesota: Donatas Motiejunas, C, Lithuania
The Timberwolves spend a lot of money on international scouting, and there has to be a reason for that. Montiejunas has great size, is aggressive in the post, and has a reasonable buyout.
21. Portland: Kenneth Faried, PF, Morehead State
Word is, the Trailblazers are enamored with Faried. He has a non-stop motor and is relentless on the boards. With the futures of Marcus Camby and Greg Oden up in the air, Faried makes a lot of sense.
22. Denver: Tobias Harris, PF, Tennessee
A bit of a ‘tweener, Harris adds versatility and a very high basketball IQ. His game won’t wow anyone, but he can contribute in a lot of ways. All teams need a gritty guy like Harris who just gets things done.
23. Houston: Josh Selby, PG, Kansas
Point guard is a huge need for the Rockets, and Selby is a solid option. He has the potential to develop into an above-average player with proper coaching. The Rockets will also take a hard look at Michigan’s Darius Morris.
24. Oklahoma City: Kyle Singler, SF, Duke
Sometimes it’s just as much about the fit as it is the player. Singler would be a great backup to Kevin Durant, adding scoring, length and some rebounding. Some scouts might consider Singler a bit of a reach, so keep an eye on Nikola Mirotic, a player with similar skill sets.
25. Boston: Jon Leuer, PF, Wisconsin
It was telling that the Celtics brought in a number of tall shooters to their first private workouts. Word is, Leuer perfrormed very well against the likes of JaJuan Johnson. Leuer can shoot, has a decent post game, and doesn’t back down defensively.
26. Dallas: Nikola Mirotic, PF, Serbia
The small forward could go as high as #20, but Dallas seems to make a lot of sense. Mirotic will likely have to stay overseas for a few years because of a massive buyout, but you’d have to think the defending champs have time to wait.
27. New Jersey: Reggie Jackson, PG, Boston College
Word is, the Nets have made a promise to the BC point guard. Deron Williams needs a better backup and possibly a replacement in a few years. Jackson is an above-average scorer who could play next to Williams in certain situations.
28. Chicago: Tyler Honeycutt, G/F, UCLA
Chicago owns two of the last three picks in the draft. The team is young, and does not necessarily need to add more youth to the team. Miami and the Lakers are rumored to be looking to buy their way into the first round (for aroudn $3-million), and Chicago is a likely target. Look for the Bulls to look to add a slashing scorer with at least one of the picks. Honey cutt adds a lot of versatility to a team in need of backcourt help.
29. San Antonio: Jeremy Tyler, C, Tokyo
No one is better at finding under the radar international talent than the Spurs – see: Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli. Jeremy Tyler is an American-born player who has been playing in Japan. He’s still raw, but has start potential.
30. Chicago: Davis Bertrans, SF, Latvia
If the Bulls do keep both picks, it would make sense to stash a player overseas for a few years. Bertrans is raw, but very gifted with a silky smooth shot, and could be on the roster in two or three years. If they draft for this season, keep an eye on Hofstra’s Charles Jenkins and Duke’s Nolan Smith.
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This post was written by Stephen on June 21, 2011