The order is set, the players have done their workouts, the teams have had their meetings. The only thing left for us to do is have a mock draft. With the help of Ryan and Rodney we’ve tried to get into the head of NBA GM’s to predict their moves and lay out a roadmap for what they should do. We’ll post the full round one mock draft over the next few days, but here are the first 10 picks.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
With the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Dan Gilbert, Nick Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers, John Kasich, the State of Ohio, Joshua Cribbs, Joe Haden, Bernie Kosar Â and Vincent Connare select… Derrick Williams (PF) – Arizona.
While this pick does nothing to settle Clevelandâ€™s point guard battle between the ghost of Baron Davis and Under-Performing 1st Team selection Ramon Sessions, Williams is the safest pick in this weak and PG heavy draft. Heâ€™ll immediately compete with the aging Antawn Jamison for minutes and will surely shoot a higher field goal percentage. Williamsâ€™ biggest plus will be providing the easy buckets that the Cavs have so dearly missed since a certain someone took his â€œtalentsâ€ to South Beach.
Added bonus, everyone knows Khan canâ€™t resist drafting point guards so heâ€™ll have no choice but to field a roster with Johny Flynn, Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio and Kyrie Irving.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
With the 2nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft, David Kahn selects, Rick Jackson, Forward from Syracuse. Oh wait, hold on David Stern. Â Kahn was just informed he does not have to take players from Syracuse every year. Â It is true that he had knowledge from a good source, a B. Simmons, that this was a indeed a rule. Â With this new understanding, the Timberwolves will now select Kyrie Irving (PG) – Duke.
This pick allows Minnie to put Ridnour and Flynn back on the bench where they belong (if not in the D league), and gives Kevin Love a reason not to take a walk in cement shoes by the shores of one of the nearby 10,000 lakes. Â Ricky Rubio may be in Europe, but only God knows when he will be making the trip across the pond. (Editors note, Rubio just joined the Timberwolves, but Kahn canâ€™t help but make him feel right at home by selecting another PG.)
3. Utah Jazz
Jimmer Fredette, PG out of… Wait, even without Sloan the Jazz aren’t that stupid. The Utah Jazz select Enes Kanter (C) – Turkey.
Utah is the perfect situation for Kanter. Â He and Okur can talk about kebabs and Allen Iverson’s street cred in Istanbul. Although he hasn’t played organized basketball for a year, Kanter is 6’11″ and apparently likes to play in the post. NBA teams seem to believe that if a player is 6’11″, it doesn’t really matter whether that player has talent. Â History tells us that some team will draft a 6â€™11â€ stiff higher than it should because the stiff is 6â€™11â€ (right, Portland?). Â After missing out on playing with John Wall in college because his name was not Cameron Newton, leading the NCAA to enforce a rule regarding eligibility, Kanter misses out on playing with John Wall in DC thanks to Utah’s early selection. Kanter is a decent pick, it would have been better if Jerry Sloan were still the Coach.
Brandon Knight (PG) – Kentucky
At #4 the Cavs still get to pick up the best point guard in the entire draft. Knight will run circles around Beard Man, and lock down Ramon Sessions faster than he can request a trade. His SAT scores and classroom attendance are irrelevant now. All that matters is that Knight has been under the tutelage of a coach that has produced Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall in recent years. Knight will be the next in Coach Calâ€™s string of academically underachieving and athletically overachieving guards. Heâ€™s a rough, raw talent that will mature into a Russell Westbrook-like speedy, menacing defender that opponents must account for.
5. Toronto Raptors
Jonas Valanciunas (C) – Lithuania
The Raptors need a lot of help scoring and rebounding. I can see them contemplating Kemba Walker at this pick, but they already have $20M invested in Calderon and they have Jarred Bayless. Â I have no idea who Jonas is, what he does or if he is good, so letâ€™s hear from Fran Fraschilla. Â Fran says: â€œWhile Valanciunas has tremendous offensive potential, it is based more on his athleticism than his skill level. Right now, he scores most of his points off energy plays like offensive rebounds, fast breaks and in the screen-and-roll game, where he gets a running start to the rim.â€ Franâ€™s best case scenario is Pau Gasol, this sounds more like Anderson Varejao to me, good times at #5!
6. Washington Wizards
Kawhi Leonard (SF) – San Diego State
The new-look Bullets have needs at a lot of positions, and by that I mean . . . they need help everywhere. But they seem to be content trying to grow around the Wall, Blatche, and McGee contingent. Since the Bullets canâ€™t draft â€œRashard Lewis showing up on game day,â€ they go with the greatest talent and player with the most potential left on the board. His speed, high motor, and tough-minded attitude will give the Bullets some much-needed help on the defensive end. The Bullets really need a rangy guy, who can push the ball, lock down the other teamâ€™s best wing player, and hit the boards. A Tony Allen-type player. Put another way, Josh Howard without the pot problem. And thatâ€™s what theyâ€™ve got with Leonard.
7. Sacramento Kings
Jimmer Fredette (PG) – Bringham Young University
The cash strapped Maloofs veto Petrieâ€™s proposed pick of Kemba Walker at the last minute and force him to select Jimmer. Â Unaware of the rules, they believe that Jimmer will be an easier sign as a college senior, making him an easier sign. Â At this point, the Maloofs are willing to do anything to save a buck and the Palms from a Chapter 11 filing. Â This author and Mike Dâ€™Antoni are both upset because Jimmer was drafted too early and wonâ€™t be playing in the Garden where his one truly plus skill – shooting – would have helped Amarâ€™e and Melo. Â Instead, Jimmer is banished to Sac-Town where he will get to compete with other non-point guards Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans. Â The Kings should improve a lot with 3 primary ball-handlers that donâ€™t pass. Â The over-under on games before Demarcus Cousins clocks one of Jimmer, Marcus, or Tyreke for failing to get him the ball is now set at 15. Â As Chuck would say, Chris Webber is rolling over in his grave right now.
8. Detroit Pistons
Kemba Walker (PG) – UConn
Detroit is in a world of trouble, and their basketball team is a mess as well. Â With Rodney Stuckey being an unrestricted free agent and not showing the promise that the Pistons had hoped that he would, I can see a situation where they let him walk and draft Kemba. Â Walker is a tough, proven scorer and should help to rebuild this franchise that is crumbling as fast as the American auto industry. Â Tristan Thompson and Chris Singleton are both decent options here, but I see Detroit rolling the dice with another UConn Husky.
9. Charlotte Bobcats
Marcus Morris (F) – Kansas
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan has almost as many wasted first round picks as championship rings. Â Marcus Morris does nothing to change 45â€™s reputation for blowing draft picks. Â This author wonders whether 45 got confused and meant to pick Markieff, the Morris twin that realizes that his spot in the league requires him to play as a face up 4 rather than the Morris twin that is trying to convince general managers that he is a good enough ball handler to play the 3. Â This author also wonders whether 45 realizes that this is the same Marcus Morris that got dominated by Jamie Skeen, who the â€œexpertsâ€ project to be drafted in the second round at best. Â This pick ranks consistent with 45â€™s selections of Adam Morrison, Kwame Brown, and DJ Augustin, and will help cement 45â€™s drafting legacy.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
Jan Vesely (SF) – Czech Republic
Scott Skiles and his Bucks had been growing together as a team and improving every year, but have been set back by the injury bug with alarming consistency. Â Ownership seems confident in Skiles and their young talented roster. So the Bucks look to shore up their bench with a young, 6â€™11â€ Czech with a lot of versatility who they can afford to be patient with. Â When Vesely decides to join the Bucks he will be able to work himself into the rotation behind Carlos Delfino and Corey Maggette, and even pick up some minutes at the Bucksâ€™ crowded power forward position.